I haven't given any updates on the spotted beast lately. No worries, he is still cute and fun as ever I just haven't had much to write about. It was really hot out, then I had a stretch of working, took a vacation up to Seattle, then immediately went to work again. It was great to actually get out of town for the first time since graduating. I don't think we have taken an overnight trip since last summer, maybe longer. I was happy to get home though and back to playing with four leggers.
Dickie was feeling full of drama and energy the other night. He has been in more often than I would like (long story, that will soon change) and I could feel it right away. Instead of calmly looking to me for our next adventure, his mind was everywhere but on planet earth. He was gazing off into the distance and wasn't interested at all in what I had to say. I went into the normal routine of asking him to put his head down by touching behind his ears and he went straight up. He was not having any of what I was selling. What I have learned about him is that he doesn't really kick, never bolts out of my hands, and doesn't usually do crazy tantrum bucks. What he does love to do is his best impression of Trigger, whether he is having fun or expressing extreme displeasure. It isn't every session by any means (maybe 2-3 times since I have had him) but it does happen.
By the end of our work out he was willing to step from side to side, move his haunches, respect my space on a walk from both sides, lunge at a walk, and stand still without eating me. His mind was still all over the place and he never got to the point where he was chewing and relaxed but was obedient. Today he was MUCH better. There were no signs of a levade but he was still quite distracted.
The last few days pointed out several problems to me. One is that my horse is so smart he already knows the routine and is bored. He knows what is coming and really needs something new to work on. Smart is a good thing so this just means I need to step up my game. It isn't that I won't keep doing all the basics but if I do it in the same order each time I am going to run into a grumpy horse who looks at our time together as something to endure. I have been meaning to bring toys and a clicker into our training but keep putting it off. It seems lazy mom needs to get cracking. Tomorrow I will stop and get a clicker and maybe check out goodwill for some balls and pool noodles.
Another problem is the fact that he isn't turned out as long as I thought when I moved him there. He goes out pretty late and comes in pretty early. It wouldn't be a huge deal if he was older but he is 2 and big and has lots of energy. He needs to be out 24/7. I want him to be worn out from playing before I get to him so he can actually listen. I can't blame him for wanting to eat the lead rope, or be in every one's business if he has been bored out of his mind for hours before I arrived. Don't get me wrong. The barn he is at takes incredible care of the horses, and the owner adores Dickie. However, horses are individuals so the living situation that allows each one to shine is unique as well.
Lastly, I REALLY need a round pen. The arena is too big for me to work him at liberty. He goes to one end and starts playing with the gate and looking out the window, then runs and farts down to the other end to dig in the shavings pile. Neither of which is helping us. Plus, it varies between being dusty or deep from watering. I use the makeshift outdoor most of the time but it is HUGE and just pasture w a dirt track that will soon be mud. I love working him up at Bre's barn but I am realizing it isn't feasible to always walk him there. We have pretty early barn hours at Dickie's and I work grave so I sleep late. By the time I see my honey, have dinner, and skip rush hour it is too late to walk him to Bre's and back. Some days by the time I get ready for the stable it is too late to go out period. And frankly sometimes I am just too tired to haul myself up that hill.
Moral of the story? The amazing barn despite all it's awesomeness doesn't fit our needs. The bad news is that I love the barn owner and really don't want to give notice. The good news is there happens to be a place not far down the road. He would have a half acre pasture attached to his stall. There is a nice sand round pen with sturdy wooden walls to avoid leg injuries. It has a nice loop around the property for walks. There is a full size dressage arena with brand spanking new footing (no dust baby). I would be allowed at the barn any time 24hrs a day. And it is the same price. More for the same price? Sounds good to me. The only pitfalls I see are the chance of a crowded arena (probably not an issue when this vampire will be there) and the fact that he won't be out with another horse. I really like horses in a herd situation. But he will have plenty of room run and be out right next to others. And there are shared pasture options if a stall comes up in one of those areas.
Other moral of the story........... When it comes to babies sometimes you take two steps forward and sometimes you take two steps straight up in the air with hooves pawing.