Side note: Life is beginning to settle down. We're on a path now, together, and we've survived as a family. The financial aspect continues to unfold, but the true rock of who we are, our family, has solidified again. I honestly wasn't sure that was how things were going to end up.
Whew. Thanks for hanging in there with us. So now my attention returns to Smokey.
Smokey's has had a great deal of time to himself, and while I've come over at least once a week, mostly we'd just do round pen work, because I really didn't have time to do anything else.
I went to the barn Saturday on my own with very little time on my hands, but restored and ready to begin anew.
I just had no idea how anew it was for Smokey.
We did some round pen work at liberty, and went back to saddle up. When I got on him outside the round pen, and he started to gape his mouth and act really odd. So odd that I got off him to see if the bit got under his tongue.
I decided we'd work this out in the round pen as well. We walked over and it looked like his mouth was just fine with the bit in there.
We all know what comes next. I walked him over to the round pen and mounted. He was a mess.
Smokey: Wha da ya put in my mouff?
(He walks around like a clown with vertigo)
Me (pulling gently on one side, then the other.): Smokey. It's the bit. You know, that thing we use all the time.
Smokey: AAAAAhhhh Wha? Wha ya puwwin on my mouff? AAAAHHH!
Me (eyes rolling): Okay, let's walk in a circle. (cue for hindquarters yield with my leg, tiny cue on reins)
Smokey: Are ya crazy? I canna do da! Dere's sumthin in my mouff!
Me (sighing): You're doing it. Don't worry. You'll figure it out.
It took about 15 minutes before the lightbulb went off in his head.
Smokey: You want me to turn? Fine.
Me: That's the idea.
Smokey: I'm just a free spirit, ya know?
Me: Really? Then how come you're always at the gate, wanting me to get you out?
Smokey: I just do that to make you feel important.
Me: What a guy.
Smokey: Glad we got that settled. Oh, look! The Gate! Let's leave.
Me (cue): I don't think so.
We did several exercises to try to reduce his anxiety about the whole bit thing, and slowly but surely we managed to get it back together. We worked on head position and giving softly. We backed 10 steps. We finished with a few "trot to the pole" bits and called it a day, keeping it short.
I'm not sure I understand what that was about, other than the time off doesn't do him good, especially at this point in his development. Hopefully I can get more rides in now that things are settling in and I feel better about life in general.
I'm looking forward to stopping my lurking and coming over to your place to visit more often!