I can barely believe it is August already. More than half a year has passed and before long, it’s going to be sweater and gloves and ear cover season. Sheesh!
Right now I am trying to get in as much driving with Chewbacca as possible. It is no longer a question of “will he ever drive”. He just now needs as much time in the shafts as I can manage- even if only for 15 minutes, which is about all we got done last night.
It was pretty questionable whether or not I would get any work done with anyone after work yesterday. First, the weather was so incredibly hot it was definitely too hot to work anyone. When I left work, my car was reading anwhere from 93-96, and it was humid and I was dying.
Battling the weather has gotten worse with every passing year, so I guess that’s a sign of battling my aging, too. LOL. Not that I’m old, I just recently turned 32, but when I was 22, I was thinner and handled the hot weather a lot better than this. Thankfully I am working on the thin part, but when it’s hot like this, I can barely breathe and have a harder and harder time exerting any energy. The horses, too – they don’t want to work when it’s hot like this.
So, luckily by the time I got to the barn, it was 90 and a good strong breeze moved in – a sign of the impending thunderstorm we were supposed to get.
I had on the agenda a plan to work everyone – all 4 horses last night. My husband and I got Luke & Dixie out for a very short drive, again only about 20 minutes. We quickly put them away and I got out Chewbacca.
He was great. We worked in the arena and I was on the “race against time” plan. I didn’t actually do much trotting with him, only just twice around each way. He was hot from standing around in the high heat all day anyway, and I had plenty of things to work on with him at the walk . We worked on circles, changing direction, and the biggest thing he needs to learn- turning on the spot through lateral movement.
That’s a skill that’s going to take time, time, and more time for him to learn, but I did an intro to it with him as the sky grew ever darker over our heads. Right as the thunder started rolling in, I actually practiced some back up with him.
Initially, the biggest problem with Chewbacca was that he would back instead of going forward. This was his 7th drive, and all the time, I’ve been avoiding the back up and encouraging go forward always no matter what.
Still, though, backing is a skill he must have. Most arena driving tests call for back up, and a back up is called for at the end of every pleasure driving class.
I had questions running through my head of course- would he back up continuously and revert back to how he was before? Would he stop when I asked? Would he walk forward when I asked. Am I pushing this too soon?
Well, right as the thunder clapped loudly and the sky turned black, I said “whoa.” “back” (2 steps) and “whoa”. He did all of it perfectly, and then a “walk on” and “whoa” and we stopped right back where we started.
Jumped out of the cart and managed to get into the barn as the rain hit. I ended up having to put the carts away in the rain, although I was able to get my car windows shut just in the nick of time.
I didn’t get Jesse worked, so I’m a little irked that I missed a work day with him. Now that I’ve got him started, I want very much to keep him on my version of a program, which is a 3 day a week work schedule. I’ll have to squeeze in a make-up session with him.
I’ve worked Jesse 3 times and the more time I spend with him in the round pen, the more I realize he knows. I believe he’ll be very very easy to re-start, and while he may not drive perfectly at the beginning, I am not expecting anything unhandle-able. He’s already round penning wearing the harness, and in 2-3 more sessions, I plan on bridling him up and long lining him.
He’ll probably by hitched sometime towards the end of August. I’m looking forward to driving him. And I’m looking forward to teaching his owner how to drive him 🙂 !!
Oh, and if you have not read this article, please do:
This is an excellent response to a situation that resonates so very much with me. As soon as I read it, I thought all about Spyder and the issues I had with her, and it made me think about all the mistakes I’ve made as a horse person, the reason I don’t ride anymore, and the misconceptions I’ve had about horsemanship and handling, and the relationships I’ve created with each of the horses I’ve owned.
This article is so very true and so very useful, and I hope someone learns from it. I really do.