I did ride today–bright, sunny, chilly day–but not until later in the afternoon than I wanted, due to a site visit from the solar people in the morning and some internal upset. Finally all that was out of the way, and I got on Rags with some difficulty but measurably less than when I started. He was in the mood to “Get this OVER with; it’s too close to feeding time.” He was reasonably cooperative at first, but increasingly concerned that the person on his back had forgotten about supper. So we had a shorter ride than planned, and in some places some pretty determined resistance, but worked through most of that. Getting back off was a struggle because he would NOT line up near the portable stall so I could use the top rail for assistance, let alone use a lower rail to brace my left foot on so I wasn’t standing in the left stirrup too long while hoisting my right leg over. But it finally worked.
Besides “Never start a ride after 3 pm if you feed at 4 pm” which is kind of like not taking your preschooler grocery shopping too close to *their* mealtime…Rags definitely has a preschool attitude at that point, I learned that for sure it’s going to take ground training + work under saddle to get him to shift his hindquarter where I want it…for instance, in standing near the portable stall or any other fence-like object. He did better on some “whoa” commands today and just as bad on others.
Oh…the horses have started gnawing on the old trailer stairs which last year I had to use to mount Rags, but am not using now. They hadn’t touched that thing for over a year (two years?) but now all of a sudden they’re gnawing on it and it’s dangerous–they could swallow splinters. I don’t know what to do–it’s way too heavy for us to move. I’ve never put feed on or near it. They have abundant hay…(tearing hair out!) Tomorrow I’ll go to the feed store and see if they have any deterrent products to put on it, but if that doesn’t work I don’t know what to do.
But on the brighter side, he is catching on to *some* leg cues for turns (trying them w/o using the reins), and is beginning to “weave” through the line of bur oaks more fluently. He still alerts to the old deer feeder and the machinery in the construction yard, but appears less worried…just wants to stand and look for a moment, but when is easy to get moving again. I rode him out of the Near Meadow into the south East Grass today and he suddenly spotted cattle in the field across the highway…THAT got his full attention and zero interest in getting nearer. That field is higher than our side of the highway…not sure how a horse processes distance on slopes. We walked, stopped for him to take a look, walked on a ways, stopped again. The cattle were looking at him, too, they and their calves, so was it being looked at?