I agree with
, it's great you're seeing some positive things. There is always a balance between being challenged and being unsafe or stupid. There's also a balance between not giving up on a wonderful animal and being too stubborn or proud to realize when it might be in the animal's best interest to be in a different situation.
If any of you ever figure out how to know those things for sure, let me know!
Paulie possum was waiting for me at the gate tonight, tapping his watch. He already knows his feeding times. He is putting some weight down on his leg, but bends the foot under. After he took the last splint off, I was worried he might be causing more damage pulling on them so I'm seeing how he does without for awhile.
Tuesday there was high wind and high surf on the beach. We took Hero and Nala out in the evening, hoping things might die down. There were several rescues of people trapped by the waves on rocks and such over the past few days, along the coast.
We love the coast guard around here.
We could barely get the horses to go south, with the wind behind us. They were creeping compared to their normal speed. When we turned into the wind, Nala's rider lost her and they galloped away.
Hero was upset, I encouraged him forward but he got stuck and bucked some, and I lost a stirrup, saw the ground looming, but he's large so I managed to rebalance and get my stirrup back. Since I know his movements well now, I didn't get off but rode through. Soon he calmed, and Nala turned back.
We tried doing some circling and other things but both horses were just out of sorts with the wind. Hero simply would not pick up a canter, but only bucked. We did not ride long or far, and went home to try another day.
After the ride, Nala appeared unperturbed.
Of course then the wind died down. My sister and I went for a run, then checked out the sunset.
Today was also supposed to be windy and rainy. Nala's rider trailered us over to a friend's boarding stable that has an indoor and outdoor arena.
There was a lot going on at the barn. Chickens, dogs barking, new horses (one a precocious mini), busy road nearby.
Hero and Nala are the kind of kids who are bad at home but too overwhelmed to be naughty in a new place. That was never the case with my Arabs - the TBs will stand and look around wide-eyed and smell everything and think. The Arabs would stare and snort and their hooves would be tap-dancing all over the place. Good luck getting on.
As I've learned in the past, if you master the great outdoors an arena is far less challenging. A spook that flies 15 feet on the beach makes a 3 foot dart to the side in an arena feel like nothing. Flat footing with unchanging traction makes a horse's gait feel so much smoother. Hero was a little tense in the enclosed space. The only time I'd seen him in an arena was when we went to look at him when Nala's rider wanted to get him for her boyfriend.
Hero had difficulty with wanting to go forward, so it was hard to get him to pick up a canter sometimes. That's because he was insecure about the open doors on both ends of the arena, and all the barn ruckus. However, I was able to notice the vast improvement in his movement and strength, because he was able to go along with nice rhythm, impulsion, making lovely turns and circles. Every canter was picked up easily on the good footing with no bucking. He was able to stay in a nice canter for a time as well, until his mind would get insecure about something.
I truly believe that in order to get balance and straight lines through tighter circles in smaller spaces, the easiest way is to take the horse out to learn balance over tougher terrain and footing first. That's my take after going about it the opposite way in the past, trying to teach the horse in the arena first. It's far easier to teach them to deal with the more intricate things when they already have the strength and balance they need to do it. Taking a green horse to careen around a small arena, trying to not hit the walls and keep him from bulging out on the turns is the more difficult path.