I am very proud of the Pickle! He successfully tackled his 'fear' of water last night and took a step in becoming a big boy by actually paying attention on his working hack as opposed to being a tourist the entire time.
Last night, I had some company for the hack, which in all honesty, was fantastic!!! Abbie & Casanova joined us on our hack...which I warned Abbie about..."this isn't a mosey along hack, we're working"..she had no problem with that and WOW, what a difference having Cass along for the ride made. Hard to believe, but Chester actually seemed to pay more attention to me and what we were doing as opposed to everything EXCEPT what we were doing...it was amazing!
The damp, dismal weather we have had lately has created a couple big puddles along our hacking route...which I was stoked about...Chester, is petrified of water...I chalk that up to him never having to really deal with it, ever. Whenever I would see puddles, I would try to make him walk through them...he, on the other hand would prefer to half rear and pull a one 180, half pass around them, jump across them rather then walk/trot calmly through them...he is a maniac. So, we came across a PERFECT puddle last night to get him over said fear. Cass is also deathly afraid of the water monsters that are waiting to eat him at the bottom of the water, so it was good for him too. The puddle was about 10 feet long and maybe 5 or 6 feet wide...all I wanted was for him to walk through it a couple times and not freak out about it...well, there was definitely freaking out (both Chester and Cass) for a solid 5 minutes. At one point, Abbie goes to me 'Chester's spooks look really floaty'...and she couldn't be more right...EVERYTHING about this horse is 'floaty'. (huh - imagine that a spooky horse who likes to jump 12 feet to one side on no notice, but it is somewhat 'easy' to stay balanced because he floats....). After reminding myself to look UP, open my reins and encourage him on (i.e CHIN-UP and KICK-ON) he walked right thought it like it was no big deal....twice, then trotted through too...it was almost like he just said 'FINE, I give up, I'll go through the horse-eating-monster-infested-water...but only because you are making me.'...I was so so so SO proud of him.
On to the hill...we trotted the entire way to the hill - about a good 4 minutes - then went straight up it....Chester, is scared of everything...grass, tress, things that are different colours, the changing of the ground from grass to dirt, a pile of wire balled up on the side of the road...his tourist mentality, do NOT make my job any easier. With Cass along for the ride, I was able to maintain a steady, clam even paced trot withOUT having to have a strong contact on his mouth...which, was a first. He was paying more attention to me and to Cass, he forgot to be a tourist and actually focused on what he was supposed to be doing. What a change! We trotted up and down the hill several times and then headed back to the barns...the sky was about to open up and I didn't want to be in the middle of a field in a downpour.
There was only one thing that made me go uh-oh....on the way back, Cass was cantering up ahead of us, Chester, was trotting calmly and he broke into a canter...calmly, so I let him do it...I am so so so very hesitant to let him canter yet....so, we're cantering and I can see him fixed up on Cass and Abbie up ahead...he tosses his head a couple times (we are going to have to figure out a way to stop that, because the last thing I am going to need is getting head butted) then it felt like he bucked...BUT, here is where I am stuck...I don't know if it was a buck, or his leg getting locked and him having to kick out to unlock it...I guess I will never know. I brought him back to trot immediately after I felt him do that. But, his canter, while we were cantering, felt great!
He has today and tomorrow off and I will be out on Sunday to do some gird work over some cavaletti...the DVM extraordinaire comes Monday evening for her follow up and next step in Operation: Rehabilitation
Until next time, Chin-UP and Kick-On!