Thanksgiving always brings late nights and early mornings… Too late… And too early. I think I averaged about 3.5 hours of sleep from Wednesday through Monday morning. Thanksgiving Day wasn’t even the craziest of days… It was more the weekend. You don’t really think about how much people travel that time of year but holy crap. I think it was my busiest yet and I only have a few jobs on Christmas. New Years will be a bit busier too but not as bad.
Now that it’s over and I can finally sit on my horse again, it doesn’t even seem like it was anything worse than working Black Friday hours all weekend at the mall. Still though, it was rough on all of us… Really wish that Chevy could drive during times like these though, that’s for sure. Most of my dogs and clients seemed pretty happy on their return… If you follow my Instagram (which you should if you like puppies), you would’ve seen this picture. It makes it all worth it.
The worst part was not being able to wind down at the end of the day with Brantley. I had extra co-op barn duties this weekend to while the BO travelled so I got to see him obviously but… Didn’t really have time to do much more than to lead him here and there and throw him a cookie. I pretty much got the cold shoulder up until Monday night when we finally had some one-on-one time.
I won’t lie, I was a bit nervous first walking into the arena with him. He was definitely up and there was a cool crisp zip in the air. Right away I took off his halter and kissed to him. The indoor is just small enough to do some round pen work but also big enough to let out some good bucks when I asked him to canter. I really want to use this winter to get back our mental connection and work on my feel and his softness as a hole. I kind of lost it this past year so in return, he’s been pretty stiff.
He caught right on to my stepping in front to stop his forward energy and he’d turn in and look before moving off into the opposite direction. He always starts off quick and reactive at first and doesn’t really think or wait for my next cue. He has a big tendency to “know” exactly what I want him to do next and I’ll admit, he’s not wrong. I would just like him to wait for at least half a second before answering my mental cue. After a few “hey’s” and “woah’s”, it clicked for him to stop and listen.
Before having him drop his head into the bridle I asked him to both turn on the forehand then hindend before take a couple steps back just with a few body cues. He dropped his head and took the bit right away ready for a ride.
I really wanted to just walk around. Get my sea legs back. Get my heart to stop pounding. So that’s what we did. I let him cruise around at the walk and we did some fence work once he felt pretty warmed up. Had him stop and point his nose to the fence, move his hindend back and over, then push his shoulders over to follow his nose. Then a few turn-n-go’s working down the quarterline. Sometimes you’ve just got to take a step back and go over the basics.
Last night wasn’t much different except we did some ground work on the line and then I hopped right on. Walk, trot, canter. He seemed a little sucked back but more of a, “Mom seems nervous… must behave” kind of sucked back. Once I had him moving out a bit and warmed up at the canter, he felt better. Something happened over this year where we used to halt straight and square but now he wants to stop… then turn. Doesn’t matter what direction… weirdo. So, we’re working on walk… halt… trot… halt… canter… halt.
We’ll get it back!