Sunday, August 31, 2008

He is a real horse!!!

It is official! Boomer is now a real live earning-his-keep horse!!! I have been looking forward to this weekend since John left for Houston! With John back I could try riding again! Saturday my dad came out and got to visit Boomer, which was really cool. It was really interesting to hear him talk about my horse days as a kid. I was really pretty ignorant to how much he actually picked up in my days of being a bossy kid. He still remembered that you have to hose a horse from the legs up. It really meant a lot though that he was so interested when I was young. It just really made me feel warm and fuzzy. It also gave me hope that maybe someday he would crew for me at an endurance ride! That would be awesome to have John and my dad both there for me for something like that!

Today was awesome also. We set off a bug bomb in the tack room in hopes of eradicating the wolf spiders. Wolf spiders are the bane of my existence. I like spiders to be confined to their web. I also do not like that wolf spiders actually hunt their prey. But I digress. We tacked Boomer up and even bridled him without his halter on! He didn't give any problem at all! He held his head low and opened him mouth willingly!

I just talked to John about an interesting idea on his bridling experience as a whole. At first he was very stubborn- backing up and rearing, tossing his head, clenching his teeth shut. Now he is easy to bridle and compliant. He no longer tests. I compared this to his balking behavior when he doesn't want to bathe. The difference is that he has gotten away with saying "no" and that being the final word for the last five years (not the case for the last 2 months). Bridling is a newly introduced stimulus and he has never said "no" and gotten away with it. In the end, he must always comply with my wishes. So, he has stopped testing while bridling (for now, at least). This gives me hope that eventually he will begin to understand that he must comply on all other things as well.

I longed him for a few minutes in both directions at a walk and trot and had John do the same. Then I got on and John longed us in both directions. We then detached the line and I walked and trotted around him. Up to this point was not completely new. We did this same routine last weekend in the round pen. The new part was that we were in the extra paddock/arena. When I felt good I had John walk down the length of the ring and I took Boomer down and made a lap around the whole ring! After a while I had John stand still and we started doing circles around him, adding figure eights, and I even did diagonals from all of the corners! His straight lines were pretty good but he was shaky when he realized we would have to turn eventually and he acted like he wanted to anticipate my turns but didn't know which way to go. I had John take a short video and Boomer looks great! Admittedly, my shoulders are forward and rounded. But, I'm not trying to win an equitation class here! I haven't seen myself ride- on video or in mirrors- in years. Literally, its been seven years! Over all, I was really proud of Boomer and of myself! He has done an incredible job so far! He really seems to get the idea of riding and he totally enjoyed his neck scratches after I dismounted!

*My computer has gotten over its social anxiety and allowed me to upload pictures, so enjoy!*

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