What a day! So much fun - just wish I had hadn't stayed up all nigth doing cakes because I was tired! I loaded up The Biscuit and hauled out to Tyrrell Park. There were 13 participants and a few folks auditing the class.
We had an orientation first where he had his horse that he hadn't rode in quiet a while. Nice looking dun gelding. He hadn't done all of the obstacles so he said he'd be learning right along with our horses. Someone's horse got away and we stopped while the horse was retied. Later we heard a HUGE CRASH and Kenny's tractor engaged and rolled off of the trailer and banged into a trailer! OMG thank God their horse wasn't right there - it was on the side of the trailer.
He stated that horses have to go straight. That is the biggest thing is going straight. No butt going to the side. Let them dip the head maybe 3 times when looking at something new and that is the limit. Keep pushing til they go and give them props for just trying. Ok ...we are ready to go so then we saddled up the horses. We were asked to get the horse to move around us in a circle and Biscuit will to the left and was doing well but he has always been a pill about going to the right. I was making him turn turn turn but he still wouldn't walk on. Chad came and used the stick high on his neck (where Lee Ann and I did it on his shoulder) and he decided pretty darn quick to go to the right. We did some desensitation for a stick and bag. Biscuit did a good job for the most part but at one time his eyes were bugged out! I was proud of him.
He said not to direct your attention at the horse as you are swinging this all over the place and not to be "sneaky" about it. Just matter of fact. I was surprised at how well Biscuit took it as he can be a little anxious about things swinging around him.
We were directed to start circling the arena with just enough space to see the hocks of the horse in front of us and keep that speed. Chad's wife put out crumpled up and flat feed bags. We were going to have to walk straight over them...not side step them EVER. Back them up but the horse can not go forward or the "win". Push their butt over if they swing their butt over. Walking straight over it is ok but not side stepping. It took a little bit on some of them but Biscuit finally stepped on them. He tried to give me trash and came up a little off his front end once but that was it.
She then put out some flat wooden disks in various sizes and colors. They were maybe 12" so they were not large but the horse had to step on them. Biscuit wanted to side step darn near everything but he finally did what I made was directing him to do. She then put out sofa cushions. By that time Biscuit was pretty much resigned to "I will have to walk over what ever she makes me go over" and put his hoof right on it and went on.
We started with the bigger things. Walking over a flat piece upside down astro turf. He had some "bridges" made out of two by fours. They were probably 8 feet long or so and 2 feet wide. One was not covered with anything and the other had a rubber mat run over it. Biscuit wanted to walk around it but I made him go across it. He was ok with everything like that. Later we went horizontal down both of them. Stopped backed up, etc. They put out a small mattress like maybe a double bed size. It had a mat or something over the top of it and Biscuit went over it and I think he was a little surprised by its squishiness (is that a word?)
We then progressed to stepping into a 1 foot tall box about 3.5" foot square. Lots of the horses wanting to go around it but they have to step into it and then out of it. Biscuit tried to evade it at first and then he stepped into it. There was another smaller one with the corners blocked off. He hesitated and then went. Once he got a back foot kinda funky in it and he stumbled but other than that it was flawless. Next they put down a bunch of plastic bottles. Lots of noise of course on that and Biscuit hesitated but went after a little urging. Most of the horses did just fine. One little paint mare that Kellie and I thought looked so familiar was giving her owner a little flack. Chad got on her and worked it out. They added more bottles and containers and it was a bigger area to go over but Biscuit just went and didn't seemed bothered. Progressed to filling the box with the bottles. They set up a tall thing with the funnoodles which Biscuit passed through but had a little hissy when it touched his butt. I told him "for God's sake you walk through trees that do the same thing!"
We broke for lunch around 12:00 and I took Biscuit's tack off and Barry and I ran home, got the wedding cake, ran to the Elegante, dropped it off and ran to Jack in the Box for lunch.
Walked over half round barrels which was not a problem as Biscuit crosses downed trees all the time. They had some barrel things up on a cross bar that the horses are to push with their chest or nose. Biscuit was not a fan but I finally got him to push it with his nose once - that is because Elan was on the other side pushing it! Elan could have turned that into a merry-go-round!!! Biscuit had to move to keep it from hitting him in the bum. Then they pushed huge balls around and some horses really got into that. Biscuit pushed it but he wasn't the best at that by any means. A frame set up that was covered with tarps so it was like walking through a "garage". Biscuit didn't have a problem with that at all.
He told us to just walk the horses in the free area during the day if they were getting anxious or getting overloaded. I did that several times when I could tell Biscuit was getting a little annoyed. A crotch rocket rider keep zooming around the park and the city road next to the park revving up the RPM's like crazy but oddly enough none of the horses paid attention
He had us go in a circle while he started popping a bull whip low and not that hard while he increased the noise and how high it was. He said not to increase the grip on the reins but to continue to act like that is all normal as to not make the horse think it is more than it is...just noise. It made Biscuit a little anxious as I think he has been on the receiving end of a bullwhip from the trainer he was sent too. That is really the only thing that made him anxious. Some of it he didn't want to do but this was a little different. When it was over the guy was walking towards the back of Biscuit and Biscuit scooted over fast to move away from him. Sissy.
Then they started with smoke and loud noises. Biscuit did fine with that. He said some people complain about the smoke. I said it smelled like fun because it smelled like fireworks. That is what it was...smoke bombs. The horses were kinda curious about it. Biscuit and Rogue walked through parts of Kistatchie this spring that were still smoldering and were fine with it. They had a pipe to add more smoke to the garage....Biscuit and Elan did just fine.
Biscuit didn't want to step on some of the stuff but he did. Once he did come up off of his front feet a little bit to let me know he didn't want to but I just kept pushing him on. At the end of it we were in a tight circle with the horses heads literally touching. We were throwing a nerf type football to each other. Object was to catch and not bing a horse in the head. Some one binged Biscuit in the poll area but I still was able to catch it. Biscuit amazingly didn't have a hissy over being binged.
Biscuit is not a very spooky horse at all. He is more afraid of a human hurting him than stuff on trails. He is more about avoiding stuff, throwing it into reverse to evade. This gave me tools to stop that or to work it at. I think I may have grown a 1/2 a cajonie yesterday and along with the 1/2 cajonie from cantering in the arena Wednesday I think I have 1 small cajonie. I now need another cajonie and I will be doing a Limited Distance ride without whimping out.
Kellie and I thought we recognized a horse there and I asked the lady what kind of horse it was and she said a Spotted Mountain. I later asked her where she got the horse and she said the horse originally cake from Tennesse and I asked her who she had purchased her from. She said a neighbor and then said, Maurice. I said "my cousin and I thought we knew this horse! I have rode this horse!" I went back and looked in my blog and I had never put anything on the blog about the day we went over to Maurice's house. It was 2 days after I dropped Red off to Heather. I rode this little mare to try out a gaited horse and I loved her!!! Maurice took this video of me and I found it on my MAC computer. The little mare screamed at Elan right in his face when she was nose to nose with him in the woods. LOL Elan did a quick 180 turn and off he went...he didn't have to take that trash from some little mare!!! Kellie and I both laughed at him.