I promise a picture post of us riding is in the near future. In the meantime..
It was there yesterday! That bond-thing that I’ve wanted to happen for real, not just have glimpses of. We’ve been doing ground work a lot since Alicia came out, and Emilee posted a video for me to watch of the groundwork she did with him, so that’s been our focus. Groundwork, long grooming/relaxing sessions, shorter rides.
Yesterday I went out to the large pasture to bring Cello in, and when I was walking towards him I had perky ears and his interest. I haltered him in the large pasture. Aside from once when Emilee was here, we haven’t been haltered outside of the arena. Our routine had been me walking out to the large pasture, him running in to the arena to the corner where we first joined up, and THEN I could halter him. The last week or so he’s been really receptive to me, to the point where he generally moves where I want just from my body language on the other side of the pasture. That was really cool the first time it happened, too.
So after haltering him we did some groundwork out in the field, then his long grooming. I had to refresh him the last week or two on ground tieing and standing still in general, especially not dancing when I first sit in the saddle. That’s all down 100% again. For the ground tieing I was just tieing up the lead rope and letting the weight hang, then correcting him everytime he moved, which I wasn’t sure was the right way to go about it. I asked Emilee about it when she was here and that’s what she said to do, so I guess it was right. In any case it worked for him!
When Cello got dancy on me while grooming, I would take him and do a few trot circles, making him move. I had his halter with his training lead on, which gives me enough length to semi-lunge him. With another horse you might have to run a few circles, until they realize standing still is easier than having to move on YOUR terms not theirs.. with Cello, trotting worked because of his laziness. We did that once- literally he got dancy on me, and we trotted a few circles once, and now he’s stood stock still when tied the last 4 times I’ve been out there. He also hasn’t moved a muscle when I mount until I ask him to.
Let’s see.. what else. When I knelt next to him and put light pressure on his poll and downward pressure on his face he relaxed and dropped his nose to the ground for me. He used to be really resistant of that, even if we had joined up and worked well that day.
Eric came out and helped me set up a jump for real yesterday. Cello LOVES jumping. I was super surprised- we had popped over an x a few times, but nothing serious. When we really started doing it he perked up, locked his eyes on the jump, approached at an even pace and was straight. Not every jump went perfect- I have a ton of pictures of him doing a Friesian trot over the X’s, so we did our first straight rail. He picked up both knees good a few times, but we didn’t get great pictures of those moments. They happened though! I have witnesses! After quite a few times of popping over, we were straighter and more balanced with Cello alert and really carrying himself.
We are still working massively on balance to the right. We did much better yesterday than we had been lately. I feel like this week we’ve really morphed, from our relationship to our riding. If you’ve backread this, you know that for a while I was really not confident, and then when I was confident about getting things done I wasn’t too confident that we would have a bond and that he would WANT to do things for me. I have no worries on any front right now. I left the ranch insanely happy and satisfied yesterday.
Cello & Dani
P.S. Mor about bits coming soon! I put in a bid on EBay on a sweet iron french link snaffle.