Monday, September 20, 2010

Weekend in Review

It was a whirlwind of a weekend, but it was fun. Obviously, I didn't have time to blog, so here's a few highlights from the past two days:

I ran.

I've really been bad about staying on schedule, but I do have a good excuse: my back. It's been acting up. Yes, my back does hurt some after running, but here's the deal--if I run more, I weigh less and therefore there will be less weight on my back, hopefully resulting in less pain in my back. In other words, no pain, no gain, girlie.

The coolest thing about running is reaching little milestones. I finally dropped two pounds off my plateau weight--a number I've been at for the past six months no matter what I do. This means I finally weight less than I have in years. I hope that this is the end of my time on that plateau.

Another milestone I reached was being able to run a mile and a quarter without breaking my pace at all. I usually have to walk a few steps (between 5 and 10) every quarter mile or so, but yesterday I pushed it all the way. I didn't walk until I got well past my mile mark and the thing is, I might have been able to make it to a mile and a half. My breathing was good, my legs were a bit wobbly but ok, and I had the right mindset, but I ran through some deep sand and it broke my gait--I just wasn't strong enough to get through it at that point without walking. Then I continued on back with my usual running, then walk a few steps every quarter mile. Walk/run is still a good training method, but to know that I've gone from being thrilled I could just run a quarter of a mile to now being able to do five times that in just a couple of months absolutely thrills me, especially after walking all over the fair AND the Wichita Towne West mall on Saturday.

I know I'm bragging, by the way, which makes for boring reading, but I can't help it. If I can't tell you, whom else can I share with?

Aww, you're all such good friends.... Group hug everybody!

Sorry, moving on.

Friday I worked with Fabian in the roundpen for the first time.

Fabian came to me because he was having some problems being broke out. Friday he was perfectly fine with being groomed and me leading him to the work area. However, I soon found out, that to Fabian, this relatively innocuous roundpen

equates to pure evil.

The minute we went inside he tensed way up, so I proceeded to do my best to calm him down. We did some flexing exercises and unfortunately he's stiff as a board on his left side, which we will need to work on before ever even thinking about saddling him. I did manage to get some very nice, calm responses from him when I asked him to move his feet, both front and hind in both directions. When I felt that he had relaxed some, I unsnapped the leadrope and allowed him to free lunge.

Unfortunately Fabian immediately felt paniced and threatened. His flight mode took over. I've never seen a horse so completely fear-stricken when I hadn't moved a muscle in his direction. I attempted to calm him down and I stepped back and relaxed my stance until he finally stopped trying to climb the roundpen panel. Slowly, all the while talking to him and keeping my lunge whip horizonal and directly in front of me, I asked him to move out with my body language and speaking only.

Thankfully it worked, but Fabian somehow has it embedded in his mind, that "moving out" means "running as fast as one possibly can." It was so sad to see him in such an utter panic. I allowed him to run a bit out of his system while I spoke calmy and deeply, "Easy....easy Fabian...easy boy." I hunched my shoulders and relaxed my stance as much as possible, while still trying to convey confidence. I wasn't entirely sure that he was scared to death of me. He seemed more scared of the situation. I wanted to get him to look and listen toward me for the answers to his fear.

I never ran towards him, but when he'd change direction I'd move in front of him, trying to get him to at least think about moving back to the original direction. I remained calm but firm, and never stepped out of the quiet composure I attempted to convey to him. It took a while, but eventually you could see the fear in his eyes change to recognition. He stopped.

I approached him, hoping he would not turn away from me in fear. He didn't. He was exhausted, still tense, but he was trusting me. I petted and talked to him, trying to get him to relax.

We could have stopped here. He was chewing and listening. He was still tense, but he obviously was open to trusting me. But I wanted more. I wanted to get him to listen while he was moving. I wanted the "whoa."

So I asked him very calmly to move out again. He did much better this time. He listened to me and watched, although he was still in panic mode, he was at least in the present. He at least was willing to look to me for guidance. We did a few turns on the rail and when I finally felt like I had his attention, I asked for the "whoa."

And he stopped. Then he looked straight at me, chewed, and his head went down.

Fabian had a huge breakthrough that day. He realized things were easier if he listened rather than paniced. He trusted me and looked to me for instruction, rather than running away from me in fear. I walked over to him, rewarded him with a big scratch and hug and we walked very calmly out of the roundpen.

Even after his workout, he was completely relaxed with his back foot cocked and his head nice and level. He enjoyed a post-work curry and then I lead him to his pen and removed his halter. I sort of expected him to trot off, ready to get to his feed bucket, but he didn't. He actually walked toward me as I walked away--he wanted more attention. He wasn't scared or mad.

This is a horse that took me over an hour to catch the first time I tried to halter him. Now I can't get him to quit following me around, even after a hair-raising work session. Bless his heart--I have no idea what sort of miscommunciation when on, but I am so happy to have him now. He's part of the family.

Then, this weekend, (speaking of evil) there was the matter of this:

Over the past few days, he's been literally bouncing off the walls, the bed, the chairs, the TV, the shower....

He's been everywhere. He's a total spaz. I haven't been able to figure out what's been going on in his tiny little brain...until now, that is:

This explains a lot.

What can I say? My life is never dull.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi there

Thanks for writing this blog, loved reading it