Last night I got to see Smokey before the monsoons set in for the rest of the week (Happy birthday, America!).
I did the usual quick groom and such with him and put him down in the arena while I got my dogs set up. He’s gotten way better about not messing with the arena gate when I walk away. It’s nice.
Mom takes stupid pictures of my face when all I want to do is eat her phone.
I started off by asking for some ground maneuvers since he was clearly in sleepy mode. I was going to hop on him right away to use his energy that way, but he was far too asleep for me to feel comfortable on him without waking him up a little. Remember that he threatens to stumble and fall over if he’s too sleepy when I get on him.
He did alright with the groundwork. He does this thing where he puts his cheek up against my shoulder when I’m asking him to back that basically renders anything I do null and makes it next to impossible to get him to move. Thankfully, a quick pop of the muzzle typically fixes this, but he certainly tries it almost once a day with me.
After a few minutes, I decided to hop on him. He’s caught on to the misdeeds of the mounting block, so now when I set it next to him, he tends to move off from it. We’re taking a few steps back on that and just setting it there, rewarding, taking a step up on it, rewarding, taking two steps up, rewarding and so forth. He’s getting better slowly with that. I hopped up on him with no drama the first time. He walked off (forward!) a few steps while I fumbled to get myself upright. He took a few extra steps once I was settled and moved a little off my leg pressure side to side. Good boy!
Then he stopped. Donkey mode. And it was time to hop off.
I got back up on him a second and third time with more luck with the forward motion. Both times he did almost a half round of the round pen and then would stop at a fence or some such. The third time, he walked towards the gate, and under the paranoia that he would fancy himself a jumper and launch over it, I stopped him. Yes, I stopped HIM. Fancy. As I was preparing to dismount and tell him what a fancy little pony he was, he did some weird hop thing with his back end. I couldn’t tell if it was a fly stamp with his back leg or if it was a mini buck. Either way, it was weird, but I hopped off and made a big stink over what we had done.
I’m happy to say that he seems to get the leg pressure thing pretty well thus far. If I can learn to stop pulling on his face, we’ll be in good shape. He tends to throw his head when there’s pressure applied to the halter, so that’s my learning for the session. Overall, not a bad night for a quick pre-rain session.
In other news, my disaster dog is headed to the vet again today to check out his previously diagnosed partially torn ACL. He can’t bear weight on it right now, so we’re off to see how much money I can throw at the problem to fix it. I can’t stand to see the little guy in pain. He didn’t even eat last night, which is just silly since he’s such a food monger. I’m sure he’ll be fine, we just need to solve this one way or another and I know it’ll be tough on him and his sister while he heals.