So Charlie's abscess popped and he was pretty much sound immediately. I hacked him on the following day, just walking. We practiced what we had done in our last lesson with Carolyn which conveniently happened at the walk. I was only on for about 10 minutes before a storm blew in. Now even if I wanted to ride in the rain (keeping in mind I'm a tack fanatic and cringe at the thought of it getting soaked and Charlie is a diva about getting wet while being ridden), it was thundering and lightening and the way my luck is going, I'd probably get lit up. For the 10 minutes, I really focused on getting him to accept my outside rein. I focused on keeping it quiet and on his neck (no opening rein!). He was very good considering he'd had yet another week off.
Charlie safely indoors, looking out at the rain. Don't even have to tie him up - he's not going anywhere!
Trying to get a picture of how hard it was raining but someone kept sticking his nose in the picture...
Wednesday had us going to a new place for a lesson with Carolyn. Once again, it was mostly walking with a bit of trot. She really focused again on the outside rein and the connection. She had a great analogy that the weight of that rein (for the moment) should feel like a fishing pole with a fish on it and if you let it get too loose the fish will get away but if it's too tight, you'll break the line. The inside rein is focused on flexing him in and keep his jaw super soft. We did a little bit of trot work and we had some of the best upward transitions I've ever had. Period. On any horse. Ever. Lucky for me, super mom was in attendance and kindly videoed the whole thing. I just need to have Carolyn's voice on constant repeat. Almost forgot! Charlie went in an indoor for what I believe is the first time ever. He thought it was pretty exciting, especially when the owner was opening the door at the far end of the arena. It was what I would call an old school indoor - metal sides with no real windows and about the size of a large dressage arena. It was very nice with a lovely breeze and he calmed right down and went to work. Good pony!
Thursday I got up at the break of dawn to ride (because I had to go out of town in the afternoon) and once again we spent a lot of time walking. I'm trying to focus on three things - flexion and softness in the jaw with the inside rein, consistent contact with the outside rein, and ensuring he's listening to my inside leg. Charlie's so smart that I think once I get the correct feel, everything will fall into place. He was quite good, I think (because I honestly can't remember that far back although I think I would remember if he'd been bad, haha!).
I came back early on Sunday to ride but the stars failed to align so I was only able to give Charlie a bath. He was fine, I just didn't think it was a good idea to hop on him. Unfortunately, he was left out the whole time I was gone and managed to develop a lovely case of rain rot. Again.
I flatted him yesterday and today - he was quite good, especially yesterday. He was very consistent as well as forward. I've been carrying a whip with me and reminding him that when I ask him to move off my leg, be it forward or laterally, he responds immediately. He's been very good about the taps (meaning no explosions or shenanigans) and I've been trying to praise him every time he gives the correct response. I think he really appreciates that - he's so funny; I swear he talks to me, I can hear him. I promise I'm not crazy though!
Eating his dinner after he dumped it out of his bowl. I'm going to start feeding him out of a bucket hung on the fence. I can see $ in the grass...
Just because she is so funny looking - poor Snowball!
You can really see how dirty her face is - I have no idea and don't want to know where she's sticking her head to get it that dirty,
Hopefully I'll be able to get another lesson with Carolyn this week. If not, I'll meet up with her next week at Julie's.
I want to give a quick product "shout out" - Cowboy Magic Detangler and Shine is the quite possibly the best thing ever. Works a million times better than Show Sheen or Vetrolin Shine to keep tangles out of Charlie's tail. I know it costs more but you only need to use a little bit and one application lasts more than a week before you need to reapply. Highly, highly recommend it. You won't be disappointed!