My Beautiful Brucie
(taken in Scotland)
Denise and I have had a few sessions with Bruce since I last posted. Their partnership is improving. Denise has stepped up to take on the things I am asking her to do with him, and he is having a lot of fun playing and enjoying the extra attention. Yesterday evening was really fun, though!
We started by looking at playing Games 4-7 in a flow, and I suggested that Brucie should really be trotting 90% of the time. I played first, and I have to say I was surprised at just how well he did. I didn't need to ask him to pick up the pace much at all - he just went. Denise also had a good little session, although she needed to remember to "expect a lot" as she just didn't realise he could easily do much more for her at first.
We then had a look at tacking him up with a bareback pad. Typically, he was trying to undo the latigos and "help" her put it on. He is always impatient with tacking up. He thinks it take too long.
In the interest of continuing with the Impulsion Programs, I had to think of a way to play the Trotting Game dismounted. I decided we could try Liberty. We were in the small arena, so Denise and I each took a half and I sent him off - really to go where he liked as long as he trotted! And if he went over to Denise's side, then it was up to her to keep him trotting. Naturally, he had no idea what we were asking him to do. However, that just seemed to make it more fun for him and he was pretty expressive. Only one or two little moments of "uh-oh, I guess I'm wrong!" He mostly offered to do big circles around us, and we ended up having to sort of discuss how to get him to go to the other person's side. We all had a blast, and ended up asking him not to canter more than not to walk, by far. It would be very easy to get him to do a big Figure 8 around the two of us, I think.
Denise then mounted up to work on her lateral flexion, friendly game and a bit of Passenger Lesson. I'm not sure that too much Passenger Lesson will be a good thing for Bruce, so this may be a bit of a compromise. Hopefully, Denise can sort of get that just riding him around with me and Iona before too long.
Because of Bruce's impending trip, I thought I'd better work on his trailer loading. We haven't done much with it since the Trailer Woes thing this autumn. However, after a little initial scepticism he went on and off several times easily. I then experimented with how he felt about me coming in. No problem, so we played a little Yo-yo game and stuff in there, and I also experimented with running the lead rope through the bars to simulate tying him up. That also went just fine. I think that's where we had problems the last time - or at the next step, where I dallied the rope to something and left him - and then he panicked a little. No problem this time. I didn't dally the rope, but did get out of the trailer and go around and give him a treat through the bars from the outside. A pattern he knows from our old trailer in Scotland. I was really happy with that session, and with how the whole evening went.