Thankful. Earlier this week, Dad and I took our second trail ride together. “Thankful,” doesn’t even begin to describe how I feel about life these days. The fact that I started a new job at the end of September that allows me to be at the barn and on the trails by 3:30 PM on a weekday was once a pipe dream. But I’ve realized - life is short. These days, my most precious commodity really is TIME.
I want to spend as much of it as possible making memories with the ones I love before I am unable to. Each morning I spend about 20 minutes at my mom’s house drinking a cup of coffee and solving the world’s problems. Together we discuss everything from politics to how we would solve small issues around town. We chat about any and everything. Now, I have an opportunity to do something similar with Dad. The nature and fortune of these things are not lost on me.
But enough gushing, I’m sure what you’d rather know is how is Jean-Luc? Simply put – he’s a rock star! His winter fur is growing in nicely and I’m looking to have his shoes reset one more time before winter.
Each time we go out our quarrels look less and less like full-blown lightsaber duels, and more and more like Han and Leia’s bickering. I would really like to get one more group trail ride in somewhere before it becomes too bitterly cold. The temperatures are dropping fast, for sure, and my options for weekends are becoming more and more limited.
I also really need to order Jean-Luc his own Myler bit (on the left). I keep putting it off though because I am curious if there would be something even better out there (plus the price tag is about $116).
The lady who keeps her horses down the road from mine also has a Tennessee Walking Horse. She really likes the Imus brand bits, but with a similarly high price tag, I'd like to try it before I buy it. Call me slow, but I just never knew how much a simple bit could enhance your horses performance. Someone I used to work with when I lived at the ski resort assured me that the bit is key to a good gait - so I want to get this right.
That said, I realize the online community that I interact with is mostly endurance or evening based, but if there happen to be any resources out there you may have heard of, I’d love to read/meet / try them. It may just be another trial, error, and learn kind of thing, but I welcome any input!
Today was the best day Jean-Luc and I have had since we came together back in April, of this year. Around 9:00 AM, my husband and I kicked into gear with a delicious breakfast at our local Bob Evans. Together, we enjoyed someone else cooking our meal, and sipped on our coffee before we both started our respective adventures for the day.
I made it out the barn by about 9:50 AM. The temperature was a delightfully brisk 43 degrees. After cleaning a few things up in the barn, I found the horses munching on dew covered grass in back field.
Though he didn't come when called, Jean-Luc was still a really easy catch. Upon closer inspection I noticed, for the third time in a row, he'd managed to style his own hair with more burs. While I don't mind cleaning them out every now and then, three times in a row is about my limit. However, since I was in no rush and really didn't have much else to do today, I decided I would take the time to really clean him up. I even braided his tail in hopes that it wouldn't attract as many burs later. Regardless, they would be easier to pluck out of the braids.
My man looked quite spiffy when I was finished and I honestly believe he appreciated the braid. His mane was incredibly silky, too. I enjoyed running my fingers through it when I was finished. Additionally, now that his winter coat is growing in, when Jean-Luc is in the sun you can really see his champagne color shine. While "pretty" is never what I was going after, some days I can't help but feel extremely lucky that I ended up with such a pretty boy.
Per our regular routine, after cleaning him up, I tossed a saddle on him and took him into the barn arena for some surcingle work. He was really focused today, paying attention to each cue. He sped up, slowed, and turned nearly on a dime. The few times he didn't were miscues from me.
After our work in the arena, I figured he'd been so focused I would see how far I could get on the trail with Jean-Luc. Usually we don't make it more than 100 ft from the barn. There's an old road cone I try to make it to just before a creek. He always baulks at the little down hill slope of the creek, so I consider it a win we are able to make it to there and just stand quietly.
Today I really wanted to push through this though. It took about five tries, but eventually, with enough hip action and positive reinforcement, we did it! We were past "the spot" and into the creek. We stopped for a drink and I really wanted to see if he would keep going. Sure enough, with a little more hip action and praise, we were moving! In fact we even made it to the field through a way Jean-Luc has never gone! - He's braver than he ever wants to let on, of this I am sure.
I figured I could be pushing my luck, considering how much Jean-Luc truly hates to be away from the herd, but things just felt good so I kept going. He tried me 3 or 4 more times as we went into the woods near the barn. That said, the Mylar bit that I was using, I believe, made the difference. This new bit made it so that he was unable to completely ignore me like in past experiences. Also, I was able to stay really calm.
We made it all the way to a road (a place that I know is about a mile away from the barn). Then we even walked down the road approximately 150 yards before I made a deal out loud to Jean-Luc.
"Get to that tree," I said, "and we can turn around and go home."
Of course he tested me, but we made it. Then, we stood still for about 10 seconds, and turned around to go home. The entire way back all I could think of is how proud I was, not only of my horse, but me! We did a thing today. We did a really big thing. We rode out, alone, and did not have a complete panic attack or meltdown when the herd wasn't with us! Sure, I was tested, but I don't know that this feeling would be as amazing as it is right now had we not worked through those issues.
I'm really proud of this guy. I am also very thankful that the work we are putting in starting to pay off. When we got back to the barn the temperature had risen to about 63 degrees (that's fall in West Virginia for ya). Jean-Luc's chest was pretty warm and covered in sweat.
I let him stand and cool down, showering him with praise before one last treat and tossing him back into the field with his friends. I am looking forward to many more rides like this in our future and can't wait to see the places we begin to explore!
Yesterday I got to hit the trails for the first time in about a week and a half. The best part, I had the opportunity to ride with someone I haven't really been in the saddle with since I was about 13 years old - my dad!
My BM was gracious enough to say he could try riding one of her horses, Lil Bit. Together, we rode out and just relaxed, enjoying the wilds of West Virginia. There is much I could say about that ride, but the short of it is, Dad reminded me of my roots, roots that I am truly proud of.
"I should have been a cowboy," Dad hollered up to me from behind.
I just laughed. His posture is terrible, back crooked, heels high, but he's still the man who gave me the chance to fall in love with the equine world (my mother, too, even though she's afraid of them).
Dad asked if we could trail ride ride at least once a week for the next few weeks. I gladly told him, "of course!"
AND MORE SURCINGLE WORK
For this week, Jean-Luc has had to share some of my time with a new addition to the family. Mr. Theodore “Teddy” Jones, joined the family on Saturday, October 7, 2017. While I don’t talk about my other critters much, my husband and I have a dog, April. We also had a cat, B.G. (Baby Girl), until this past July. She passed away of a sudden kidney failure while I was away on Jean-Luc and mine’s first ride through Durbin.
The entire event was heartbreaking and one I’m sure many of you have experienced. B.G. was my girl. She was a beautiful Bobtail/Manx-Mix. She truly had one of the most chill, dog-like personalities I’ve ever experienced in a cat. While I took her lose hard, I don’t know that anyone took it harder than our 8 year-old German Shepherd-Mix, April.
For weeks April would walk up and down the street in search of her best friend. They had been together, just the two of them, for 6 years. April’s immediate instinct is Alpha Dog, followed closely by, “mother”. When we adopted her from the pound, we learned that she had puppies, and that they were likely taken from her too soon. Anytime she has the opportunity to be around something even remotely similar to a puppy, she will go into full-blown mother-mode.
That is why my husband and I decided, “April needs a puppy.” We have joked saying this for nearly two years now, but with the loss of B.G. Cat, the jokes became reality. Since July, we have attended several animal shelter events in search of April’s puppy. We are pretty big proponents of rescue animals, and as much as I would adore adding some kind of Corgi, or French Bulldog to the mix, we really wanted to stick to our philosophy and provide a home for some critter that needed it. We decided to not rush things and be somewhat picky when it came to things like size and temperament.
Last Friday, on his lunch break, my husband noticed a sign outside of a little country gas station/market combo known as (brace yourself, it’s bumpkin) “Bob’s Mini Mart,” up the valley. The sign said, “FREE PUPPIES.”
While we usually question things like “Free Puppies” he thought he’d call the number provided. They sent him a photo and it might have been love at first sight. The woman who owned the puppies showed a momma pekingese and poppa beagle with two adorable brown eyed fluff balls. There had been a total of six in his litter and these guys were the only two left.
I’ll admit, I know there is a ton that goes into raising a puppy and I wasn’t sure we could handle it. At nearly 8, April isn’t a spry young thing anymore (even though she sure thinks she is). I wondered if she’d even be up to the task of raising a pup? Would her alpha personality kick in? She could really hurt a puppy if she wanted to.
Saturday morning I enjoyed the last of the fun Mountain State Forest Festival activities (lumber jack contest, mini-horse show, and craft fairs). Then I hurried home to start puppy proofing the house. I purchased a few new toys, one of which is this really fun fried egg with wrapping paper inside that makes it sound like it’s actually sizzling when you move it. God bless the clearance bins! And awaited the new little guy’s arrival.
At approximately 4:30 PM on Saturday, the husband walked through the door with the most adorable bundle of furry joy I’d ever seen. It was strange, he immediately took to me. I, for whatever reason, am his “safe space.” And our dog April has adopted this little guy like he is one of her own. B.G. Was my cat, and I wasn’t sure the next animal we brought into the house would love me as much as she did. I think this guy might love me more.
Together, my husband and I went through nearly 100 names, but on Sunday we dubbed him Teddy. I mean look at him! He just looks like a Teddy. He has a few small, and relatively normal puppy health issues like intestinal parasites from the fact that his previous owners never took him to the vet. In fact, had we not adopted him the day we did he was on his way to the pound.
My hope is to be able to bring him out to the barn eventually, and maybe one day on trail rides with the group. His legs are WAY too short, so he would have to say behind or ride in my saddle bags. That said, this guy exactly what the family ordered. Welcome to the family Teddy.
Also, Jean-Luc and I have continued focus on shorter surcingle work and I think the shorter amount of time is helping. We usually work for about an hour, but with Teddy at home I have had to cut it back to a half an hour. I am a very routine person, and this reminds how important it is to sometimes toss in a few surprises.
This weekend the largest Festival in West Virginia takes place in my home town. It is called the Mountain State Forest Festival (google it). It is filled with pageantry, fun, and all magic!!! The entire event culminates in one massive "Grand Feature Parade," on Saturday.
I wanted ride ride through the parade, but it seems this year is not the year. That said, "Parade" is an event few people participate in and I wondered if any of you have ever competed in the pageantry or a parade in general?
I would love to hear your parade experience?
Lately, Jean-Luc hadn’t had much focus. Since our 20-mile ride, he was a little all over the place. I figured it had to do with the season changing, so I gave it little thought. Saturday I went out and worked with him for about two-hours in the morning. As you can see, it was a beautiful morning.
We started around 7:30 AM. Let’s just say the beauty stopped with the sunrise. He was a basket case. He whinnied the entire way across the field. After I brought him in the barn he I just kept that crazy look in his eyes. I knew it would take quite a bit to get him to settle.
Our newest focus, as you might remember, is working on strengthening up Jean-Luc’s top line. On Saturday he still wasn’t too sure (or willing) to pay attention to his side reins, for a few reasons, but I believe the main thing going on (aside from attitude) had to do with the fact that I changed his bit.
Until now, we had been using a simple D Ring snaffle provided graciously to us by, Liz. That said, he tends to pull through it, chew on it, play with it, and sometimes, he can altogether ignore it - something I learned the previous weekend. Our BM had an extra Myler SS5 HBT Mullen Barrel Low Port that knew she wouldn’t mind me trying out. She and another boarder acquired them a few years ago at Congress.
At first I wasn’t sure it was going to work. The little monster had quite the rampage when I moved him from the indoor barn arena to the outdoor grass area for work. He threw his head to the ground and assumed a bronco like position. His main malfunction - he wanted to be with his herd and he could see them. At the time I hadn’t given much thought regarding how many new things I had thrown a at him. I did know, however, that I was building on blocks that had already been put in to place.
I knew Jean-Luc was familiar with the side reins. He’d worked outside before (just not successfully without throwing a mini fit). I knew Jean-Luc understood the concepts of lunging and changing directions. He did have a new bit though, and I should have probably expected his mini spazz. Yet, the reality is, I knew I wasn’t throwing anything at him he could not handle (he is 13, and was a part of a riding team prior to my ownership).
The side reins were always on the most lose setting (something to be aware of). Jean-Luc was eager to canter as a means of misbehaving, and I kept him going at the canter outside for his attitude. After only a few minutes (2 or 3) he settled right in, and we continued out day like nothing happened). The bit did give me quite I bit more control after saddling up and leaving the barn. With Jean-Luc in the rare feisty mood he was in, I was pleased to be able to push him through and get him further from the barn than we’ve ever rode alone. Sadly, that is only about 100 feet from where we start out.
Yesterday was much better. Finally, I felt like I had my horse back! Though he made me hike all the way on top of the hill again to find him, he never whinnied once, not even at the end of our time together. We followed the same routine as Saturday, only this time, he could not even see the other horses and he kept his head the entire time.
The only thing we did not repeat was our attempt to see how far we could walk away from the barn. Turns out my saddle had lost one of the screws on the stirrups and I was a stirrup down! It isn’t “No Stirrup November” yet! I found my stirrup but not the screw, so I just figured I would end on an extremely good note. It was a 9/10 kind of day!
Here are a few images of our work focusing on creating the right form with our surcingle. What do you think? We are getting there, slowly but surely.
Monday, September 25, 2017 happens to be one of those days that changed my life forever. Though I have chosen to utilize this platform primarily for discussion about me and my horse, Jean-Luc, I believe this particular event warrants a post.
I have been blessed to hold some pretty unique and fun job titles in my professional career. A few titles include Production Manager for a film company, both national and international Recruiting Manager for a ski resort, an Executive Director of a Chamber of Commerce, and even an Account Executive for a strategic communications firm.
Though seemingly very different, there is one thing each of those positions have in common – they each involve communicating with people. I love people; especially people who are “different” or “unique”. Learning what makes individuals “individual” happens to be, what I believe, makes the world turn. In college, I mastered in Journalism and Mass Communications because I am fascinated by the nuances needed to actually perform effective, strategic communication.
I used to believe I wanted to be the next Leo Burnett (god among advertisers). I was sure the life of neon, night clubs, advertising and Mad Men was meant for me. I was wrong. And that is something I have only recently come to terms with. Please understand I don’t say this to be braggadocio, but to get a better understanding of the present, and my insecurities when it comes to following this new path.
At my university was good…really good at what we did. I graduated top of my class in both undergrad and graduate school. Doing anything other than working on 5th Avenue in New York City, or for some big agency out in L.A. felt/feels as if I was/am falling short of the potential everyone and everything thought I had/have.
The truth is, one skill, I have carried with me in my tool box from age. It made me exceptionally good in the communications field and it just came naturally. My one skill that makes me special happens to be… teaching. For me, breaking down concepts to their smallest steps and finding individualized ways to communicate those ideas to others happens to be something I am unusually accomplished at.
For me, there is something very exciting about being able to relate to someone on their level, and share an idea or concept with them that they maybe never knew before. I especially love when it’s something that can help that person in the future.
The answer to the question “how I became a teacher ” is long and boring, but as of this past Monday I took my first steps down the hallways of the high school I happen to be an alumni of as Mrs. Jones; Special Education Teacher. People “around town” are very confused. I can tell many wonder if I have lost my mind. I get looks, and am often questioned, “Why would you want to do that?” I am more than happy to report, however, that my give a d*mn, when it comes to their options, is busted!
I LOVE IT! I will admit, teaching youth with mid to moderate autism made me nervous. I knew this would challenge even my best communication skills. At the start of this week, I wasn’t sure if I could relate to my students. Their communication is more than a little different, some days it is down right bizarre.
Words escape me though, when I try to describe just how incredible and rewarding being their teacher is. My students are funny, smart, and allowed me the privilege to just fall right into this new career. I understand working in Special Education isn’t for everyone, but I believe I was made for this. Each day, I smile as we figure out, together, ways of communicating with each other to accomplish the tasks or goals set before us.
In many ways, it does remind me of working with horses. Jean-Luc clearly does not speak the same language I do. Thus, it is up to me to communicate clearly and effectively to ensure we become a team. The mental games he plays sometimes mirror the mental challenges my students set before me. Did I meant ion… I LOVE IT!
After taking the week to adjust, I have figured out one more bonus to teaching. I have actually gained about 15 hours back to my life per week! That is incredible. This career path isn’t what others may have expected of me, but it is allowing for me to take care of a really important person in my life – ME! And that is something I’m very thankful for.
In the weeks to come, there will be many more stories about Jean-Luc and me, but the horseback writing blog is truly a blog about communication. For those of you following along, thank you. We look forward to communicating with you, too!
As always #BloldyGO!
The weekend of Sep. 22 was absolutely lovely. I, along with approximately 30 individuals from the Randolph County Regional Riding Club rode 20.3 miles through the wilds of West Virginia. I have wanted to write and share more, however, my life took a drastic change (for the better) that same weekend. This change has not allotted me much time to write, lately.
That said, Jean-Luc was about as good as the other 29 equines that took off Saturday morning. Riding with that many horses yields tons of energy! The herd stepped out much faster than anyone wanted, but there were moments of chill where we were all able to enjoy an adult beverage or sip on something from our saddles.
I am so, so very thankful to have and know these people. They have made my horse journey worthwhile! They also reassure me horses help ordinary people accomplish amazing feats. One gentleman on the ride was 83! Yes. An 83 year old man rode 20.3 miles like a pro. Getting to know the people on that ride reminds me that good people aren't too hard to find, if you just look.
Here re a few photos from our trip. Unfortunately, I was either working pretty hard to hold Jean-Luc back, or simply too in awe of the views to remember to take more photos. Luckily, I can safely say, "I'll do better next time." Because, I have my own horse, and that is a beautiful thing, knowing there surely is a next time.
For those of you who know Liz, her Blog is currently on a hiatus. She has every intention of writing again soon, but in the meantime, I'm happy to share a little part of what she's been up to recently - helping me. Liz and I have been in each other's lives since we were five years old, (maybe before). She is amazing and her dedication to a lifestyle of horsemanship is something I respect. Since purchasing Jean-Luc I have been blessed to have her friendship and guidance.
She is also insanely busy, so when she offered up some informal lessons in the very little free-time that she has, I jumped at the chance! Her training philosophy makes the most sense to me because it is based on classic and natural techniques that when done correctly, result in a healthier horse and rider.
Because the techniques I'm learning are not unique, I was able to "study up" on concepts prior to my lesson. The video below from www.EquitopiaCenter.com, "Art 2 Ride" features trainer Karen Loshbaugh and Equine Veterinarians Dr. Joanna Robson, Dr. Sarah le Jeune and Dr. Sue Dyson. I believe, is a great detailed explanation of what Liz often discusses when teaching me. The video demonstrates what incorrect riding can do to your horse. It also explains why a person would want to use these gymnastic-like techniques to build their horse's back, as well as what happens when a rider/trainer gets this process right or wrong.
This process is not something that happens overnight. Jean-Luc and I have at least a two-year road ahead of us before he will be able to sustain his core and back muscles while riding and that's more than okay by me.
When I arrived at the barn the other night for our lesson, Liz had kindly caught Jean-Luc and tied him for me (#spoiled). It saved both of us time, and we learned he will follow behind a 4-wheeler (quad for those of you up north), with no issues.
While she worked one of her horses in the field, I quickly cleaned and tacked Jean-Luc up. I was excited to toss on his new girth that I'd found a the Galloping Grape Labor Day weekend. It's nothing special, but it was the correct size and made the entire process of saddling up go faster. It's amazing what having the right tools for the job can do.
To start, Liz asked me to work Jean-Luc in the arena with his side reins. She showed me that I had been using them backward (sorry buddy, momma's learning too). Then we worked on getting Jean-Luc used to the feel and encouraging that forward motion, through the bit, and tucking his rump. He could only hold the correct body position for fleeting seconds, but thanks to the video from above, I knew this was to be expected.
We worked at the walk for about 10 min on each side. Then Liz asked me to take him to the outdoor round pen to work on speed changes under saddle. The outdoor round pen is slightly larger and allows for you to canter.
This is where things get ... #fun. You see, I can be kind of a wimp. Once upon a time, I had a knack for hitting the dirt. Now that I have few years on me, the dirt seems so much further away, and it really does take more time to recover. When Liz asked what I wanted to work on, I knew it had to be something that would build my confidence.
Again, rather than tossing me to the wolves, she's kindly suggested working on "speed changes". This made me happy because it is also something that Jean-Luc and I can practice without anyone around. It's quite simple. The goal is to start out at one speed, ask for another speed, and keep changing it up in an effort to have you and your horse go the speed you tell him at the exact moment you say.
Last week I clued her in on something that surprises even me though - I haven't worked at the canter... at all. Yes, I know, every girl's dream is to run through a field of wildflowers as the sun sets over the mountains. How have I not done this yet!? The short answer - I am a chicken.
Liz and I both knew it was time begin whatever steps necessary to make this happen. I mean Jean-Luc is smart and likes to move. Only working his lower gears has a purpose (discourage the pace), but he enjoys moving. So, we started moving around the arena slowly, then a little faster, then changing his speed up and down throughout his different gears. Finally, I got to a point where I believed both we were ready to canter.
The short celebratory version of this story is ... he was ready to canter. I was ready to canter. So we did. The best part of this being a story told in the 21 century is that Liz had her phone on her and was able to take some pretty memorable photos. Remember that old phrase, "A picture's worth a thousand words." This is no exception.
Photo Credit: Liz Stout
As difficult as these are to share, I can actually laugh with you at them. I thought for sure I'd swallowed my terror and I was hiding it well. Liz's camera proves otherwise. It also helped prove something else, though. My fear is somewhat irrational. Look at that happy little critter just moving around in circles! Sure, I can make all the excuses I want, "he isn't balanced", "he moves weird", etc. But the truth is, I am the one re-learning what I once knew. I am the one who needs to just chill.
Thankfully, even if my head doesn't seem to remember, my body hasn't forgotten everything. These photos do show a relatively balanced rider. For the most part, I'm happy with my hands the placement of my feet. My shoulders need to be relaxed and squared up a bit, but I think that will happen more as I remember to BREATHE! After all, it's been 10 years since I've really done this.
By the end, Liz and I both agreed to "fake it till you make it." I practiced cantering on both sides a few more times with a giant fake smile (note the photo at the top of this post and the one below).
I am so thankful to have someone willing to take the time to point out things I, myself, could live in denial about forever. Having a friend to push me through, but still let me do it at my own pace is truly priceless. I am looking forward to working on the things I learned the other night with Jean-Luc. These photos a valuable, because no matter what, I believe in the progress we will soon see after them.
Over the weekend I watched one of my dearest friends commit a lifetime to her best friend in a wedding that I will remember for years. Later, I spent an afternoon rediscovering my creativity, as I prepared for a traditional holiday event in our town - The Polar Express.
For the purposes of this blog, however, I was thrilled to have some much needed, and productive horse time on Friday and Saturday. Recently, I realized just how horrendous Jean-Luc's body position is. He is about as strong as a new born kitten in his hind end and stiffer than a rock.
Jean-Luc's neck is held so high and tight that even my BM noted how crazy he can look sometimes. "When he turns he doesn't even tip his nose in the slightest," she said as we reminisced about our days, watching the sun set around her newly finished gas and stone campfire.
Friday evening was glorious. After learning a bit more about what it means to be "behind the bit", "on the bit", and how surcingles work to correct body position through strengthening pinpointed areas on a horse, I felt pretty prepared for my next few sessions with Jean-Luc.
When I pulled into the barn Jean-Luc actually came running. This is only the second time that has EVER happened and man did it feel good.
"I don't know what you're doing," my BM said, "But he recognizes you and your car. He really calls for you!"
(Just a hunch: I think it might have something to do with what I'm calling the "crack apples" off my mom's apple tree. I started adding them to his grain, just as treat, about two weeks ago. The tree itself was planted when I was about 10 years old, and this past year they produced the biggest, most delicious apples to date. The tree drops 10 - 20 new apples daily, and the ones that aren't worth making anything with I've been collecting for the horses. I give them away freely, and toss a few tennis ball-sized apples in Jean-Luc's grain each time I bring him in from the field.
Though not 100% sure, I will say that I was elated on Friday evening when he and his boyfriend Cody came all the way to the side gate by the barn. Literally, I opened the gate for him to walk into a barn, no hike into the field, nothing! Easy as pie!)
Once caught and cleaned up some, I tossed a blanket and the surcingle I'd only ever used once on Jean-Luc. We walked into small round pen inside the barn and, with reins still clipped to the surcingle, I pulled out four ground poles in preparation for our work.
The pen inside the barn is small, so you can't move too quickly inside. That said, I figured a few ground poles would add just a little more work for Jean-Luc and encourage him to really reach his feet underneath him as builds his top-line.
In previous days moving over poles without a surcingle went really well. Jean-Luc actually likes working in the barn. The surcingle, however, is not his friend. Note the photo below.
When I first started working him in it, he would hardly move. After some encouragement to move forward, though, he really settled in. It took him around 3 minutes on each side to get his head in this position.
We repeated the lesson on Saturday, bright and early. I had to hike to the top of the hill to even find the little bugger, all the while listening to some random commotion in the woods that sounded like a coyote taking down a very upset bird. Jean-Luc is usually pretty bad about calling out to his friends and walking very quickly / out of control when I have to lead him that far away from the herd, despite all the commotion, he didn't make a sound the entire way to the barn. He got a little prancy but for the most part, he was great! He didn't call out at all until we were actually back at the barn.
Saturday, the only thing we changed in our work with the surcingle was our location and the amount of time we worked on each side. We went for 15 minutes instead of 10 on each side and moved outside instead of inside the barn. We also tried for a few more changes in speed.
Outside meant it was obvious Jean-Luc's focus would be split between me and trying to find the herd, but I believe I overcame his obsession pretty well. Future lessons may have us back in the barn until the concepts are locked-in a little more, but for now, I am pleased.
My name is Chelsey.
Generator's Cuevo Gold, or as he's known around this barn, "Jean-Luc Ponycard", was foaled in 2004 from Generator's Hurricane & Cheyenne's Little Bit.