Do you ever look back at your old self and laugh, Silly, silly, silly me? That is what I did this morning, looking back on yesterday.
I remember a thought, quite small, and fleeting, going through my head while working with Tumbleweed: Is he going to be so laid back that I get bored?
First off, a thought like that jinxes you on the spot. An invisible lightning bolt rains down from the sky and zaps the moment. Fate rubs its hands, up in heaven, and gets a gleeful smirk--wait until tomorrow, hehehe. This is going to be fun!
And there you are, innocently walking into your tomorrow, with the foolishness of yesterday, and your horse takes a bite at your arm while you're saddling up.
Me: Ahem, where did that come from, Tweed? Wake up on the wrong side of the bed, er, stall?
Tweed: Uh huh, whatever. Looks away. Thinks to himself: I've got lots more where that came from, lady.
Sometimes, it is very, very difficult to separate the horse you have today from the one you THINK you have. Both good and bad. You have a bad day with your horse, and the next day, you're still holding it against him, and a bit nervous. Or, in my case, you have several amazing days with your horse, and the next day you think he's still golden, even when he presents evidence otherwise.
Usually, I put Tweed out to graze in the evenings, and stall in the morning, but for some reason, I let him out last evening, but he wanted in around 9:30, so he was in his stall all night. I have no doubt, that little change made a big difference.
We worked on 4 point turns. No problem. But there was squealing going on over in the mare herd, and Tweed kept looking over.
Off to the large circle work. Walk? yes. Trot. yes. Lope? Um, no. There was some heavy duty bucking going on. I stopped and examined his tack, but it was all good. I examined his body, it was also good. We started again, and continued until he did smooth lead transitions, then quickly ended on a good note, because he was starting to sweat, I was starting to sweat, and it was already getting dang hot!
At that point, it was sinking in that he was, indeed, a different Tweed. And I dug for Sarah's advice--what was that thing she said.....um....something like, if you don't have their attention, don't get on.
But I had plans to ride, darn it! We were going to do pole work, darn it!
I grabbed his halter and mecate, and figured I'd at least do some bending, backing, disengaging, and softening in the bit from the ground.
We did this little exercise of bending and disengaging the hind until his front end stays put and he moves with gusto away from me, then resting, as I stand in the neutral area at the fender of the saddle and rub his hind and fore. When he gave me his attention, we rested. When he gave the mares his attention, we moved.
Mares = move that butt boy.
Me = rest and love and all good things in life.
He chose Me.
And so, my plans changed again! The horse of thirty minutes ago was not the horse I had after a little bending work. In fact, he appeared to pass Sarah's attention test in spades.
I mounted up and did walk, bends, turns, side-passes, and backs, in saddle, resting after each success while patting his neck and making sure he was still tuned in. We didn't do anything beyond the walk, because I did not discount the possibility that he was, indeed, sore along his back, and I didn't want to push him into discomfort or pain.
After a bit, I called it good, ended on a positive note, unsaddled, and hosed him down.
Lesson learned: Lord, stop me, if I ever think I might be bored again! Tumbleweed has plenty left to throw at me along this journey! And that is how relationships are built, working through the good, the bad, and the ugly and getting to partnership.
On another note, I am going to go out with him this afternoon and do Masterson bodywork, just to see if there are some ouchy spots along his back that contributed to his mood. I saw him tense him up the moment I laid the blanket on his back, which tells me there is, most likely, something along there bothering him.