So I should have taken more pictures, but I thought I had the GoPro recording the groundwork session. Turns out, I didn’t- I still need to figure out working it!
We made it down to Jessica’s last Saturday. It was pretty much a messy, statewide effort to get Cello there! My friend Alicia, who works with the Mountain Valley Horse Rescue, kindly offered to trailer Cello to Ft. Collins. The problem was the weather- on the day she was supposed to bring up the trailer, there were chain restrictions over both mountain passes. Not worth risking, so she just brought her truck up that Thursday. Saturday morning we had to drive an hour out of the way to pick up a 3 horse stock to put Cello in, using Alicia’s truck (it has a brake controlled) to haul him down the mountain. The horse trailer, though, had to be returned Sunday. Since my truck is out of commission due to a hauling incident, we had to rent a 2012 Suburban (which can tow easily) and follow Alicia down to Ft. Collins, where I had rented a brake controller from RV world. The trailer we picked up was steel and very heavy, so I wasn’t about to be risky and tow my horse without a controller. Our friend’s stepdad picked up the controller for us, since I wouldn’t be around during business hours. Didn’t even know this guy, but he stepped up to help out and made sure everything was working before we went back up the mountains! Between favors from Alicia, Rifle Truck & Trailer, RV World & Tyler’s stepdad we had a lot of much appreciated help.
This week Jessica mostly did groundwork, riding preparation and desensitizing. Cello is a little naughty about being caught, even with her, and really didn’t want her to touch his ears. He got a little ear shy with me in the last few weeks, but nothing too bad, but it progressed when he was worked less at home due to weather. Cello had also never seen a training flag before. Jessica’s goal was to keep him light and sensitive on the lead rope while desensitizing him to the flag rubbing all over, especially his ears. At this point, even when he is unsure of where the flag is going, he is light and responsive. He also is allowing nice ear rubs. He didn’t know how to lower his head from pressure being applied to his poll, which he has learned now. He knew what pressure on the bottom of the halter meant, but not when it was just applied to the top. As far as circle work and lightly changing directions, that was pretty drilled in by Justin and continued by me when we came home. Jessica kept it up, working on keeping him quiet and having him respond to less cues, quieter cues. Not everything needs to be loud and fast, especially since he’s going to be a therapy guy.
Cello also self loads into the trailer now, even into a tighter space than an open stock. We will work on the 2 horse straight load still, just as training lessons, even though I’m looking for a larger trailer at present. It’s still a good thing to do. When we were done with that I mentioned to Jessica that I had felt like we didn’t have that typical “mustang bond” you see, with the kids who have their horses trotting and cantering at liberty next to them. She was so nice about that, took us back in the round pen and showed me some at liberty work to do to obtain that connection. This training month isn’t just about working on Cello, it’s about working on our relationship as well. That’s really important to me!
This week she will start work under saddle. Between Jessica and Justin Cello’s foundation has really solidified. I can’t be happier with the personality coming through in the last few months. He’s back to being a walking stuffed animal, just sweet. I left the ranch feeling awesome about him!
Cello & Dani