Here is my cute boy, Pie, on our ride today to the cemetery. We haven't been here in a long time but he has been "asking" to go, so today we attempted this big adventure.
I finally kicked the flu (thank you for all the kind well wishes) and got back to riding this week. I have been alternating riding Pie and Sovey each day and yesterday I tacked up the new, sweet Foggy for the first time. I walked him (me on the ground walking beside him) around the ring in his tack. He walked nicely for me, but I can tell he is nervous about "something new". I have read in blogs and internet articles that a sign that a horse is calm is when they chew. I have to say that I must not understand what is meant by this. Both Pie, and now Foggy, "chew" and lick and move their tongue around when they are nervous. By contrast, Pie lowers his head and gives a nice, long sneeze-snort-sigh when he is relaxed and Foggy did that very thing after a few laps around our ring. As soon as I heard that and felt him relax and lower his head, I untacked him. He was much more worried about our new program than I like. I didn't tack him today, but I will again in a few days. He is just going to take a long time which is fine. His weight is still very low so there is no hurry.
I am getting bored riding around the farm and I know Pie and Sovey would like a change too. Today, I pictured going north off our property and Pie headed right out there straightaway. How do they know?
We have to pass an automotive garage on the way to the cemetery. Pie will not walk by without visiting there. It is sort of embarrassing, but I like that he is interested and not frightened. My mom was walking along with me so you can see her talking to the mechanic in this picture. We gave the man treats for him to feed Pie. Pie loves him now. He took our photo (below), but unfortunately he got his hand in front of the lens.
Pie continues touching "targets" everywhere because of our clicker work. A few days ago he was determined to touch every single plastic bag that had blown over from the auto-auction. Our treats were long gone, but he would not stop! Today in the cemetery he wanted to touch the monuments but I would not let him. He had to settle for this trash can. He loved it, but of course, thought it was smelly and made his "stinky face".
Pie and I headed down a path and somehow got lost from my mother. He was determined to go home a different way than the way I wanted to go. He started throwing his head and popping up and down in the half-rear that he does when he is nervous and wants to go home but won't listen to me. I stay with him and have small successes with sitting tight and pushing him forward. He gets very frustrated, but we are working on these tantrums. As usual, I am kicking myself for not going home when we were at the trash can. I always have to push it and not quit when ahead. So, I kept working, but it was clear that he was not moving forward. He started backing up and tearing up the cemetery grass. I only ride him on the pavement or way over at the grass edge near the woods, but still I didn't want him to be destructive. I had to dismount which is the kiss of death for me because I am not as confident with him when I am on the ground. I let him graze and pulled out my cell to phone my mom for moral support. Pie really calmed down when I started talking on the phone which is weird, but tells me that my body language and voice probably calmed down first. My mother was wondering how a huge horse could disappear in a cemetery. She had started home when she lost us.
I walked back out to the neighborhood beside the cemetery and found her. She gave me a leg up while complaining how much I weigh. She said that it was much easier to give me a leg up when I was in high school. I reminded her that my mare was only 14.2 back then and Pie-Pie is almost 17 hands. I was so proud of how still he stood. I have been using clicker and treats to get him to stand better for mounting and it sure paid off today!
Back on our property Pie put a nasty rear in when a loud truck passed. I just couldn't get my breathing together and I held my breath when the truck approached. I'm not entirely happy with today's ride, but I am not mad at Pie.
Foggy is out all night tonight with the boys for the first time. I hope I can sleep!