Friday, August 20, 2010

Someone needs some schooling

So...despite shows and drill team and such like that we've been doing this summer...Kieran and I haven't managed to get much in the way of regular schooling in and it's starting to show.

Somewhere in there, he's developed a touch of herd-boundedness. (OMG THE OTHER HORSES ARE LEAVING WE'RE GOING TO DIIIIIIE!). I exaggerate a bit on how frantic he gets because, for him? It's fairly frantic and foot stompy and jiggy and OMGAGGGHE! But in the grand scheme of How Badly Horses Can Act Up? It's not really that extreme. He did bolt off with me one day when we were all of fifty feet away from the other horses but he stopped immediately upon returning to them (and if we hadn't been surrounded by spectators and about to be called into the ring and I'd had my wits together I probably would've made him go away from the horses again and walk back calmly).

Anyway, he's also been developing bad habits about standing. I think because of nerves or anticipation because at the end of drill team when EVERYONE is standing...he's cool with it. But like, at the Montgomery County fair show the other day, at the end of the English class when everybody's in lineup, he absolutely refused to stand. He kept sidestepping over into David and stuff so we'd circle, come back into place, stand for half a second, start fidgeting into David again, circle, stand, fidget, wash, rinse, repeat.

And in drill team practice, like I said, finish the routine and everybody's standing? He's good. Stand in the starting lineup? Stand in the zipper and wait his turn to trot off? Stand in the lineup for the pinwheel before we start turning?

Yeah, not so much and it's getting to be really obvious.

So last night, after we practiced, I asked if we could spend a few minutes on teaching him how to stand quietly again wherever I tell him to (because we won't get another chance to school on it before tomorrow when we're doing the performance). So first they had me move him out of the lineup and back in and have him stand a minute. And that was fine, because he knew we were "done". So they had me walk him to the other end of the ring and stand facing away from the rest of the horses.

That didn't last so long.

So then they made me take him back to the horses, trotting (working trot!) the whole way, circle around them a couple times, turn, circle the other way, then trot back to the spot on the other end of the ring facing away and stand. He stood.

Then we lined up like we were going to start the routine. He stood. Then we lined up into the "zipper" formation. He started jigging and got made to trot around everybody again several times before reentering formation and being made to stand. He stood.

Then we had to do it again in the pinwheel lineup. Same thing, he started jigging, he got made to work.

He quickly figured out it was easier to just stand until I asked him to do something else.

Here's hoping that carries over into tomorrow. :)

(and I need to remember not to tense up when he does this stuff, but just take a deep breath and sink down in my seat.)

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