First of all, we need to get this week DONE - between Mickey's accident, Sonny's injuries and Milkman's terrible news, I think it would be best for all concerned if we declared it Saturday and be done with it.
Everybody, lock the horses in the barn and wear your helmets and hang on to what you can, there is some tough mojo out.
Tonight I stopped over to visit Cibolo and Lily by myself. The heat here is still oppressive - it was 102 at 6:30 - that's when I made it to the barn. I knew I wouldn't do much with Cibolo, I just wanted to spend time with him. Yesterday I was there so late that all I did was ground work and a little walking before night fell. I mucked around with my new saddle, figuring out how to cinch it up and realizing that I'll probably need a different pad and a breast collar. But that's a different post (okay, I forgot to take pictures of it. It's an Aussie saddle.).
So I got out the bareback pad and the reins and we walked over to the round pen. I wanted to make sure i was listening - sometimes I go through excercises when they aren't really needed. Cibolo was well latched on, listening well, so I didn't want to make him do circles. I read this great article (thanks Kate!) that made me realize that I can change some elements of my round pen technique. I can also decide when it's necessary.
And when it's not.
Instead I did a few ground manuevers to make sure he was listening, then climbed on.
With Canyon it was months and months before I'd ever get on him without a good 15 minutes of round penning. I think if I was going to canter on Cibolo I might have felt that I needed to do more. But it's 102. I had no desire to put either one of us through that. So instead I worked on how soft I could whoa and back up.
Cibolo is begining to respond to just a seat and breathing cue. We still have work to do, but it's going very well. So well I decided to try the one thing I could never do on Canyon (except for one or two occassions).
I'd worked on the ground with Cibolo about a week ago and after a few tries he was side passing. But because I never did get Canyon to do it well, I wasn't very confident that I even knew the cue.
So, I decided that we were doing so well, it was worth a shot. Stop forward momentum. Open up the side door. Cue at the girth. Slight weight shift.
A little confused but after a few steps there was one step that was a side pass! We stopped and I gushed praise. We tried the other side. A little confused again, but then one step over.
More gushing. Two more tries, a little less confusing, a little clearer of a step.
Then it happened. Four beautiful steps to the right. Cross, step. Cross, step. Cross, step. Cross step. Like floating.
I gave him a good amount of praise and jumped off. I was about to bust. He looked quite please with himself. I untacked and we went off for a grassy grazing reward.
I have a horse that can side pass - and, I know how to make a horse side pass!
But the most exciting part - I'm doing this very softly, all my asks are very soft and he's responding well, while still continuing to respect my space and my leadership.
Oh yeah. AND he self loaded after only two little circles and the second time he BACKED OUT.
I swear, it's like I was channeling Monty Roberts or something.
Of course, even though it was planned that I'd be home late, when I came home the house was in chaos (grumpy kids and grumpy hubby - how fun!). It's never good when Mommy gets home after 7 pm.