Before bath time, I rode Husky (inside again…the outdoor is still a soupy mess from that storm the other night) and he was pretty good. He was more willing to get into his frame and round his back, but he wasn’t consistent. We did a lot of serpentines and stretching of the neck before working on lead changes a bit. There’s an exercise I like, where you do a figure-8 with a small jump in the middle, so you’ll go over it as you change directions. It’s helpful because the cue to change leads is more exaggerated, and even if you don’t land on the correct lead, you are set up to help them try for the flying change. Husky did a pretty nice job with this today; not super consistent, but he’s starting to understand the idea of lead changes. He certainly is starting to get the concept of flying lead changes, too, if not totally the execution. When he lands on the wrong lead, I’ll half-halt several times to get a simple lead change with one or two trot strides, and he’s starting to understand it; instead of fully breaking to the trot for several strides, he knows to bring it back and switch leads quickly – and will sometimes even shuffle his feet a bit for a not-very-pretty flying change. Progress. This is something we’ll be working a lot on this fall and winter.
After our ride, it was off to the wash stall for some pampering/torture. Dang, was he ever dirty! It’s like he knew what was coming and purposefully caked himself in dirt and as many stains as possible. Whoever invented whitening shampoo is my hero.
Is it weird that I like braiding? A lot of people complain about it but I like doing it. And when it’s done, it just looks so classy. Plus, it’s sort of like yoga for your fingers. After some coaxing, threats and finally bribing with hay, Husky is bathed, braided and wrapped up in his superhero outfit. Adorable. I think he hates me a little…not only does he have to get a bath, but he also had to stand still to get his mane braided and then he didn’t even get to go outside with his buddies. Life is so unfair. Thankfully, his BFF Cinnamon was also in for the night, and with hay and a pep-talk/threats about getting his knees and belly dirty, he was just fine.
Tomorrow should be a fun day. It’ll certainly be interesting, since Husky has never encountered all the fun/scary things that show up at the County Fair. (Cows! They’re terrifying!) But he’s been jumping well, although those lead changes are still inconsistent. He’s also been less than perfect with his headset and frame, but we’ll see how things go tomorrow. Last show was excellent, so here’s hoping for another great one!