All this winter weather (and the new year) had got me thinking about preparing for the spring, and the goals I want to work on with Ashe. I had a whole list of goals for us, ready to prepare for our first event in the spring.
Today he shattered everything when he seemed to have a regression moment with the lunge whip. I didn't have time to ride, so I figured we'd do some in hand lunge work including some lunge jumping. Not a lot, but enough to get him to stretch and thinking about working.
He was always nervous with crops/whips... but he generally tolerated them. Today we had complete flight reflex the first time I even tossed the whip line near him when he didn't listen to my cue to trot. Sideways panic, head in the air, eyes and nose wide...
What was going to be a half hour time at the barn turned into two hours. I hated to reschedule my errands but I wasn't about to leave without him being okay with the whip near him. Eventually I got close, then rubbed it all over him, tapped it... his flanks were especially sensitive, flinching at the slightest touch of the end of the whip.
He's still wary of it but we were able to rub it all over, tap it, walk and trot both directions without a blow up... progress... The things I do for my lovely 11yo who has the green mind of a 4yo.
So after having my lovely goals re-written in the space of five minutes... here are our goals. They are less lofty, but they cover the basics.
1. Work on the lunge line with whip without panic. This includes being touched by said whip.
2. Stand single tied. He is a panic puller. We've purchased a blocker tie ring for training so crossing fingers!
3. Bending. As the prelim rider (friend of a friend at the barn) who tried him out said "he's like a little sports car! Lots of power in a small package. Unfortunately he also turns like one." So bending, bending and more bending!
If we can do these three by spring... I'm sure we'll be ready for our first show!