So. Brego. *wistful sigh* He hates the heat. I was actually loving it this year but he and Mary would stand in the shade with sweat dripping off of them. I normally work the horses all winter and give them the hottest part of summer off, but last winter was solid ice, not snow. I'll work them in snow but not on ice. So they got the winter off, then like 3 months of work, barely, since two months of that the world was mud. So they only worked when the mud wasn't so deep that it pulled my boots off. Then the heat hit us like a brick wall. My heavy duty training had happened last late summer/fall. Then way too much time off, then some in hand ground work this spring (and some time with me sitting up on him but not asking much of anything), then more time off.
Well, I went out and longed all three horses two days ago. Brego and Sparrow pretended to be too stupid to work and Mary made it clear she knew what i wanted but didn't want to do it.
Brego was so funny. He was on the longe line and i said, "Walk on!" He stared at me with his mouth hanging open. I lifted the longe whip and said "Walk ON!" he looked at me, looked to each side, looked over his shoulder, then looked back at me. As if he was SURE I must be talking to some other horse who was standing behind him somewhere.
I pointed at him.
"YOU! Big hairy one! I'm talking to you! WALK ON!"
He glared at me, eyes squinted, ears back, nose all pinchy. Then he sighed in disgust and walked on. Then he seemed to remember that the sooner he does what he is asked the sooner I let him stop and he gets scritches and cuddles.
Sparrow just acted like he had never been on a longe line, and like he thought I might try to kill him. As usual once he blew off some steam his brain reengaged and he was pissy but behaved.
Mary. Sweet Mary. It's wrong of me to delight in her naughtiness as much as I do. She stepped of sharply like an old pro, then the second i relaxed she whipped around the other way and took off at a dead run. I worked her into a corner, made her turn around and go the way i had asked her to go. She started to back up until she hit the barn. I gave her one way out, and it was the way i wanted her to go. She stepped off calmly and responsively, went around once, pinned her ears and spun the other way again. Rinse and repeat. Once she was going nicely the way I wanted her to without being a putz I stopped her and asked her to turn around. She got the worlds most sticky feet. lol. Now that i wanted her to turn she would be darned if she was going to do it.
You could see it on her face, "Oh no, I changed my mind. I'm going to stay RIGHT HERE!" So I grabbed her by the halter and made her turn in tiny circles going the direction i wanted her to. That seemed to reset her brain a little. She glared at me the rest of the time but did as i asked with minimal protest.
So then yesterday I got ready to work the horses and just as I got my shoes on the skies opened up and thunder rolled and i took my shoes off. A few hours later the paddock had dried so i stepped out to work the horses before another storm rolled through. I usually start with Brego so he can have some extra hay while i work the littles. I contemplated... do I longe again and do some in hand ground work, or should i just put the long lines on him and see how he does?
I've taken out the divider in my training area so if he WANTS to bolt away from me now he can. My hope being that I have enough training on him to stop him from doing that foolishness like he used to do. i figured why wait, and got his surcingle and long reins.
It was like we had not taken any time off. Aside from being wobbly ground driving when I was directly behind him at first he was spot on. And to be fair, he is ALWAYS wobbly at first when I am driving him and he can't keep his eye on me. I worked him on the lines for about 10 minutes then put loose side reins on him and free schooled him in them. he tends to want to shove his nose out in the air, so I just put them on to keep him from doing that, he has free range of motion as long as he doesn't try to giraffe his nose to the sky. He still moved a lot with his head up and back hollow but he also started to use his hind quarters and propel himself from behind while lifting his back and really using his bum.
i was sooo pleased with how he did. he has basically just been a cuddle pony and pasture pet for months and months but he held on to everything I taught him and didn't act like a prat at all. Man, I love that horse.
At any rate, I was getting ready to start with Sparrow when I heard a rumble of thunder. I contemplated working him and hoping to get the work in before the weather hit when a splat of rain hit my forehead. I managed to get everyone fed before the weather hit, but Mary and Sparrow lived to work another day.