What a disgusting day in Western Washington. Ben was a muddy, wet, gross mess- even after being inside for a couple of hours. He dried as much as he was going to, so i pulled him out and decided to work on a few little things, rather than ride.
First thing: cross tying. He's been very, very good at this. Today, however, there were horses being ridden in the arena, behind him, and I know how he gets insecure about those noises he cannot see. Today, though, he was great!
Second thing: Polo wraps on all 4 legs. Now that we've practiced with boots all around, today was polo-wrap day. Good boy for standing and letting that happen.
Third thing: spray from the bottle. LOL. He was ok for that until about his rump. Then he got nervous. But he's such a people pleaser he just stood there, kind of shocked still, and let me do it- holding his breath. Note to self: do this regularly from now on.
Fourth thing: Bridle work. Read Below.
While Ben seems to love his star scratched and his ears massaged- he isn't very fond of the rest of his face being touched. He just avoids it, and moves away when you try to touch him. One can imagine this might be a bit of a problem when trying to bridle him....he's a very tall horse with a high neck set and can put his head up much higher than I can reach.
So, I thought today I'd dedicate as HEAD DOWN day. I've already laid the foundation of this in the halter, but I hadn't yet introduced the concept while dangling the bridle near his face. So- thats what we did. Head down, massage, lots of good boys- I think he actually started to like it, because he was putting his head down faster and faster at each try, and leaving it longer and longer, even when I released him. He also loves verbal praise. It was actually quite endearing, my heart is all squishy with love just thinking of his cuteness.
When we got that far, I introduced handling the bridle near his face in a gentle, respectable, quiet way. He totally figured it out. So I praised him a bunch of times, and after he was reliable with that, keeping his head down letting me rub my hands and bridle on his face, i bridled him. He was great. Lots more praise.
From there we did some longeing- Ben had lots of energy tonight! He wanted to show me he has been working on his canter in his spare time- boy has he gotten better at that, lol.
Lots of cool down walking- he did not get nearly as sweaty as he has in the past, so I think he's getting in shape, finally!
I then did some in hand work in the bridle- bending and flexing. I think I got him to understand my request to the right- it is difficult for him to do, but he did try.
Once done we practiced with the bridle on/off/on/off and then called it good.
More spray bottle action, more nervousness- but he took it like a champ. He's got tomorrow and likely Wednesday off. Thursday thru Sunday will be more fun for us.