This morning I felt really good. Still tired, but determined to show up for Kastani. For the first time since I began this project, he popped his head up from the grass when he saw me coming. He still isn’t exactly shoving his nose in the halter. It feels a bit like he’s testing my resolve. Once the halter was on he went back to grazing and I couldn’t find a way to get his interest without pulling or pushing so I moved off and toward his rear quarter and turned on my music. He popped his head up and came to see me.
Things I need to note:
Coming in off pasture as we neared the gate to our work space I really picked up my energy. Not in a contrived way, but in a moving through my environment way. I was taking bigger steps over and around things. Hopping across ditches and then just ran underneath the top strand of tape into the paddock where we were to work - Kastani followed along really well and ducked right under the tape with me! I want to find a day to go for a neighborhood or property walk where I engage with obstacles and let him follow along. I’m super curious how he’d like this.
When I groomed him today all the crazy stuff he’s been doing that made me think he was really itchy was gone. I think this is significant because the last session he wanted to lean into me so much - so the itchy maybe wasn’t itchy so much as it was wanting me to dig deeper and do some massage on a few spots.
He still wanted some deep massage on his left neck, across top of withers, down back side of shoulder blade and then he moved me to his left hip, then right hip. He’s getting very specific about what he wants and is no longer grabbing at my shirt sleeves in frustration.
I started at liberty just to see how he felt about following my ‘lead’. He picked right up and followed me but he wants to hook on and follow rather than to out and move on his own. We did the figure eight and some changes of direction. He’s looking much better going left.
Today I introduced the saddle pad and surcingle. He sniffed both and stood at liberty while I placed the pad, then the surcingle on his back. No sign of worry other than a slight raising of his neck so once the surcingle was in place I did a little move to help him release some tension in his neck and then invited him to move around. He was quite stuck this first time having something strapped around his middle. Once he moved he was fine.
Put bridle and long lines on and worked him on the long lines. I love the long line work. It’s a great place to practice being specific with my body language. I’m far away and have to be organized and quite meticulous with a horse like Kastani that is kind of overly flexible in some ways (noodly) and stiff in others. We were able to practice a free walk on a loose rein and he found his power walk again. We had that 3 weeks ago but had lost in during our break. We practiced a collected walk. Halt transitions. Changes of direction and trot. He was brilliant and of course, my camera malfunctioned and I didn’t get ANY of it on video. UGH. I guess this session was meant for him and I to share on our own.