Today's ride was so fine, there are no dilemmas to write about so I thought I'd take you on a little tour of our ride.
This is the pasture gate where I enter and Rocky exits and Simba stalks. Today we did a little of the Natural Horsemanship Friendly Game and Porcupine Game in the pasture before we left:
Here is the barn to the left of the gate. No animals, except some wandering very strange looking duck-like fowl. This barn sees a lot of coming and going and banging and four wheelers and clanking with the wind . . . Just to give you an idea that there are quite a few odd looking, noisy, large things that he has acclimating to.
Here is the left edge of the barn and the bumper of my vehicle (aka portable tack shop where he is groomed, tick-picked (none today with the tick bands and spray YAY!) and tacked up:
Here is how easy he is with standing ad nauseam- no tying needed just a drape. Beside him are the blocks I used to mount- with success! Initially I had him still tied to the car, I mounted- he was perfect, wormed the rope out, had several tries at getting the rear closed and was proud I did. I unlatched him Then I realized I didn't have my helmet on. Now if a kind neighbor hadn't implored me yesterday to be careful because it was in the paper that a woman had just had her head kicked in and was killed by a horse yesterday, I probably wouldn't have bothered. I never wore a helmet in the states. Ever. But I was afraid I'd be looking a witch-horse (i.e. fortune-teller ) in the mouth. Soooo, I had to dismount, unlock the beach-buggy and remount without him being tied but using the block- good as gold! He was on solid ground like in this photo :
Here is where the saga always begins. It's usually about ten minutes to get through this area and it requires several one rein stops to calm his flightiness and fidgeting down. I praise him every step of the way when he is calm and attentive. Today was MUCH better than ever before:
And this is the hill we then have to get up to get out away from the pasture and barn and among the living. I keep him in the grass- he does not have shoes:
This is the top of the hill and entry to The World. We usually have to sit there a few minutes and get our bearings, and inspect the scene. Across the way is the area we practice on which is quite large- pics to follow:
But first here is the view of looking backwards from there back down to the barn/pasture area, from where we just came. It used to be a major task just to get him through the gates:
Here is the area we always warm up in. Today he responded much more quickly and became intuitively receptive to where I wanted him to go in half the time. Much less spooking (except one major when my helmet brushed tree branches and he started so abruptly he almost lost me- but it was absolutely innocent) and generally more comfortable. In the far left corner is a walk way that is at an incline and goes between houses. He always is spooky around there and does NOT want to go. He went much better today:
The walkway I just mentioned. So proud of him today- we went back and forth and in between the big scary things several times. This is the view looking back after we've reached the road. It's quite steep:
Then if we take a right out of there and walk down this road to get used to the barking dogs and big scary houses (left in this photo):
Here are those scary rocks with the monster gecko that gets him every time, but today he all but ignored him. YAY!!!! I really felt like he's understanding that I won't let him get hurt:
Here's the other side of our practice area-- it's quite expansive. Today, for the first time, I had him weaving in and out of those plants and trees in this photo with great results:
I called it a full session after about 45 minutes of riding while he was doing so well and we calmly went back, even with Simba pacing at the fence and talking. Here he is patiently standing at the beach-buggy tack room at the end of our session:And here he is looking for some carrot bites, which I forgot, so instead he got to chomp on some really green, beautiful, high grass by the fence as his treat before I put him in the pasture.
So there's today's report. I understand that if anyone actually reads this, it must seem like overkill, but after my recent experience with Ernie I am already finding this very helpful to concretely see the documentation of the progress. OR know there will be a log here for an "expert" to evaluate if need be.
That said, I also want to say I think New Zealand is a magic horse land. I'm so amazed at how many free horses there are out there, or free leases or very reasonable purchases. And this trial period concept is excellent.
Let's hope this progress continues!