Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Tim has been getting out the past couple of days to work with Brego a bit, warm him up and get him into a more energetic "working" mode, then I get on and follow up with some exercises Tim suggests.  This has been working well.  Tim has been doing a little groundwork with him, then getting on to work on his gait and also cantering him, to get him into a more relaxed canter.

So far, I've mostly been working on walking straight, speed changes and stopping. We've been "riding the rail" or rather, alongside the fence, to keep Brego going in a straight line.  It's good practice both for Brego and me.  For me, I'm practicing sitting relaxed in the saddle and holding the rein loosely with one hand.  Brego still goes a bit crooked when we get off the fence and go across the pasture, but we're getting better.  This is good. Today I was even successful at getting the back gate open while on Brego.  Tim was going out back with the tractor, and went right by us with no worry on Brego's part.  Later, I was in the barn with Brego, just about to let him out to the paddock when Tim came into the barn on the tractor.  Brego didn't even twitch with the tractor running right next to him.  The fact that I was giving him snacks at that moment may have helped, but he's a good boy!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Brego's wounds on his leg are getting better, and he does not seem to have any muscular problems due to the injury. It looks like the fence wire rubbed against his leg kind of like a "rope burn". There are a few open spots that are scabbed over, and some dead skin around those flaked off, but he is definitely mending nicely.

While we were still taking it easy with Brego, Tim and I took him out one day last week with the other horses--I rode Cody, Tim on Strider, ponying Brego alongside. It was nice to get out, and nice to ride good ole' Cody again, and Brego got to come along.

We got out to work with Brego (and Tim with Cody) a bit a couple of days ago, and as Tim observed the problems I was having with Brego, he realized he needs to work on some of the issues first with Brego, while I observe, then have me continue the process so I can learn, too. It's hard for me to think quickly enough how to correct Brego and get him to understand cues, which in my case are not as consistent as they should be. So, hopefully with Tim giving him more attention to teach him what the cues mean, then it will be easier for me to learn the cues and give them more consistently. Since I am still learning, I think it will be easier for ME to get the cues down if I'm on a horse that isn't misbehaving so much.

I am frustrated that I seem to have such difficulty catching on. There are so many things to remember all at once, that when I'm remembering one thing to do I don't realize I'm causing a problem in another way. For instance, if I'm leading his head to the left, I need to remember to release pressure from the right at the same time, or I'm confusing him with conflicting cues. Sometimes I'm so focused on the left hand I don't pay attention to what my right hand is doing.

I just need to be more observant of what the horse is doing, as well as other things going on all around, while at the same time thinking about what I'm doing with my entire body, all while being relaxed in the saddle.

Yesterday I was comparing this to my working years. As a waitress, or office administrator, I had no problem multi-tasking, thinking of several things at once and doing more than one thing at a time, while being aware of others and the environment around me. I don't know why I can't seem to do that on the horse (or at the end of his lead rope). I suppose it's because I'm working with a 1,000 pound creature who has a mind of his own, and who thinks differently than I do.
I suppose it's a matter of time and consistency--I was a waitress and office administrator for a lot of years, after all!

This whole adventure is much more challenging than I ever imagined, and I'm afraid at times that I'm not going to get this. I'm sure I'm able, I'm hopeful that I'll "get it" and eventually laugh at the days I had such difficulty. Right now, it's frustrating, and I'm disappointed in my lack of progress.

Yesterday we practiced stopping and also getting him to go straight. He tends to veer off to the left or right, so Tim had me ride along the fence to get him to go straight and keep his speed more consistent, at a fast walk. It's strange how he veered so much to the right at one point (fence at left) that he ran himself right into the bushes, and after I straightened him out he did it again. He's done this with me before. Was he just not paying attention? Was he paying more attention to the bunnies, or the neighbors cows? Hmmm...anyway, we have lots of work to do! I'm glad Tim is planning to spend more time with me and Brego.