Had a lesson today :) We so needed it. Oh the ups and downs of horse ownership...
Decided to pull out the blocker tie ring and test Ashe with tying... Well at least I can say that it works!
We stood for about half the grooming session, but he was twitchy, tense and worried. He spooked at the shedding blade, yanked back, got free and nothing broke. I was pleased but then I spent five to ten minutes getting him back over. I retied him and once again we were good until, oh no, trainer comes over with the saddle measurer! (We're keeping track as he's developing muscle)
Once again, he pulled through, I kept a hold of him but this time he was done. Flinching, wide eyes, snorting. No way in hell were we getting anywhere near him with anything. We did circles on the lead rope, getting his brain back. Eventually he calmed, I commanded "touch" (which he did, I love this command), and we were fine.
We checked his back, brought him back over and I finished tacking up and getting ready ground tied. It was amazing the difference between him being tied to the wall, and ground tied. Tied: Tense, head up, eyes worried, ears alert. Ground tied: relaxed, head lower, licking lips, resting back leg.
Well... I had always said I wanted to train a horse! I don't think at this age I will be able to completely get rid of his tying problem, but we'll take it slow and steady.
Onto the positives!
The lesson was great :) We worked on turning and half halts and yielding. I learned that I will probably need knee rolls to get the subtle half halts I need with him as my legs just don't physically close the way one should no matter the height of the stirrups.
Don't misunderstand, I have steady contact the whole way down my leg, but to push my knee in as far as it needs to I have to take my lower leg off of him. My trainer deemed it wasn't so much a muscle strength issue (I can squeeze like heck if I need to), but how I'm built instead.
I've been so used to hearing that knee rolls and blocks are bad things, they hinder rather than help, etc. So it was interesting to hear that in order to be as subtle as I want, I will need them. We're going to test it out at the next lesson so stay tuned for the results!
I also realized the different a straight line from bit to elbow makes! It'll be hard to get ride of the habit of hands high so they're in the special "spot" for hunters... but the difference in how he responds will help a lot. Trainer had me practice moving my hands from "up" spot to "balanced" spot to "low" spot. It was eye opening!