Saturday, February 06, 2010

Chilled Out

I had a particularly wonderful Friday this week. I didn't have to go to the gallery, so I went to the barn. Steen and I had the place to ourselves. I kept up with the smiles and he was very relaxed through the whole grooming and tacking process. I also bought a clip-able bungee for use with an elastic cross-tie so I can tie Steen up in a way that is secure but involves a quick-release and also has some give. All Steen's anxieties seem to crop up when he finds himself tied with a rope that has no flex. He'll pull against it and get upset when he feels he's out of rope. Then he'll pull more and get more upset. But if he's tied with a bungee, he doesn't seem to mind and will pull once or twice and then get over it.

So, it was a big help to have a way to leave him for a moment to retrieve his heated bit and my riding boots from the lounge. I then climbed aboard and had a good 45 minute indoor ride. We did walk and trot work, with a lot of emphasis on steering with seat and leg. We did weaving, circles, and figures eights. I was very impressed with Steen's overall performance. By and large, he stayed very relaxed and even seemed to enjoy the patterns.

At the very end of the ride he heard something outside that made him nervous and that carried over a little when I tied him back up to untack. I basically ignored his antics though, and he settled back down quickly.

Today was Duke-Day, so Steen and Cal both got a trim. Steen was impressively patient, standing around in the indoor arena waiting for his turn. So, hopefully the indoor-anxiety thing is behind us now.

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