Sunday, June 17, 2012

Rondo's big news and Panama's quiet ride

I promised to tell about the rest of our news...

After his second demonstration of his disinterest in plastic bags this past Thursday, my trainer decided to do some more work lying over his back and having me lead him.  He is doing really great with this, and has even become accustomed to being touched and petted while she is lying over him, so she decided to try sitting on his back bareback very briefly.

It took a few tries -- initially when she threw her leg over, he tried sidestepping away from the mounting block, and when that worked, he kept doing it, every time.  He got into some trouble for that, and then didn't want to stand next to the mounting block (obviously associating it with getting into trouble).  We convinced him to stand there again, and then she was able to go back to work without him stepping away.

She took her time at it, mainly because Rondo tends to get mad or resentful sometimes when he is learning something new.  So she started with just throwing her leg over, and then putting more and more weight on him, until she was finally able to just scoot all the way on.  His head went up in surprise, probably at the way it felt, but he handled it just fine.  She sat on him fully a couple of times, albeit very briefly each time.  I'm so pleased with his progress lately!

Since I couldn't stay for Panama's session, I decided to head back to the barn that evening after work and ride Panama.  My broken finger has been healing pretty well -- it's only a little sore now, and in fact I'm typing with it right now -- and since I have regained most of my range of motion in that finger, I decided it was time to get back in the saddle.  For a real ride, that is, as opposed to the brief 5-minute ride a couple of weeks ago, when I discovered my finger was still too sore to close over the reins and pull effectively.  Not having any breaks is generally a bad idea when riding Panama!

When I got there, though, I found Panama to be surprisingly sluggish.  He stood in the cross ties with his head lower than I've ever seen it, and was remarkably quiet when I rode him, despite the fact that I rode him outside when I haven't ridden him (a real ride, at least) for over a month.  I made a mental note to ask my trainer how the plastic bag desensitization went, but before I could send her a text, she called as I was leaving -- to tell me about how exhausted he was going to be.  In fact, she said, "If you want a nice quiet ride, tomorrow is the day to get it," and I cracked up and told her I'd actually just gotten that nice quiet ride!

She wanted me to do a little work with him the next day (Friday) to see if he was retaining any of what he'd learned, but of course I didn't have a chance.  I'm hoping I can get out there today, do a little bag work, and then (providing he doesn't lose his marbles) perhaps get a ride in, too!

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