Though it’s been a little chaotic behind the scenes here, there’s a definite bright spot for me, and its name is Apache.
I’ve been listening to the things my trainer says and reading her stuff, and I’ve gotten a lot of insight from another horse person, Warwick Schiller, who stresses the importance of your relationship with your horse. He often talks about building the relationship on the ground first.
I finally got the schooling circle built so I could practice my Apache homework. I got these little cones, then realized I had bought some old ones from Lakota’s owner. Sara gave me some good advice on cobbling my circle together, and it came out good. Plus, it’s easy to move or put away, like when the wind kicks up.
I figured since my next lesson isn’t for a while I could spend a few days just working on connecting on the ground. Now that I have guidance on keeping him paying attention to me in the round pen, we are progressing well. We both have fun. He really likes following me around the pen wherever I go (with no lead).
But the best part comes when we go out. He has been walking beside me in that “partner” way. He walks beside me politely and doesn’t bump me. He doesn’t veer off to grab grass or be squirrelly. Nope. He only tried to eat grass ONCE yesterday and once today.
It’s been totally stress free. If he starts to rush, I just stop. Neither of us got worked up. Once he tensed up, and we just waited. We walked all the way down the driveway and around that circle in and out. His head was down and relaxed, he snorted, and he had a nice time. So did I. This stuff is working. I’m pleased. It feels like we’re starting from the beginning, but the right way. Yay.