Yesterday it was in the forties. Today the highest I saw was three degrees. Yesterday I got to go out and give Rusty a good workout. We worked a long time. went clear out around the yard and got to see many different things, work with different stimuli. Today we did a short workout in the arena. As soon as I got Rusty out the small children who had been off doing their own thing, happily unbothered by me suddenly turned into needy clingy little monsters, determined to be underfoot.
I want then to be far away when I work with Rusty. He is a very good boy but they’re so tiny. I’ve seen him go after calves, goats, and dogs, it’s worrisome when he looks at a child with great interest. Especially when he is in one of his fierce moods.
Yesterday we walked out around the yard, we practiced walking next to me. When did that become difficult? We went into the bulls pen and worked on sitting on the large piles of manure that got pushed up but not hauled out. All the directions say to use haybales but, I say make do with what’s at hand. We ran up and down the hills, piles?, and worked on standing still, everything I could think of to make it not all the hard sitting work, but fun too. I ran up the steep walls of manure and he followed. We stood still on top to practice. We ran down and went to the next pile. I enjoyed it and got my exercise if nothing else. The sitting is coming slowly. Maybe. He is squatting a little behind if not sitting yet. We walked back and I got on in the arena rode him around for just a couple of minutes bareback.
It’s fun to sit directly on his back and feel the muscles move beneath me. I can feel his back lift when he does a Spanish walk. He doesn’t know what to do with me up there flopping around. I ride Coyote bareback all the time. He’s like sitting on a big cushy couch and easy to stay on. Rusty in lean and taunt and terrifying. The more I worry about staying on the harder it is to do so. Rusty is so responsive that I drive him insane with my inefficient cues making him more tense, making me more nervous. It’s a viscous cycle. If we don’t try it we will never master it though, and putting a saddle on is way to much work, completely out of the question for these short little rides, so we persevere.
The whole thing was awesome and left me floating with joy and satisfaction.
Today we were playing outside in the cold and snow, the children and I that is. They were off climbing and digging and whatever else children do in the snow. I foolishly thought that it would be a good time to play with my pony. A silly thing to think. I got a bucket of cake for the other two, a little something extra in the cold weather, and pulled Rusty out of the pen. As soon as he was loose in the yard the littlest of the children showed up and wanted to play. I ordered him back to play with his sister. And led Rusty off the other direction trying to escape. I was tense and getting grouchy. He was overly arched, lips curled back and teeth bared. Fierce.
Rusty is a double whorl. For those non whorl reading people, he has two whorls/swirls/cowlicks high on his forehead. Double whorls mean that a horse will display two personalities and switch back and forth between the two. Also that they will mirror their riders mood, capabilities, and temper. I know that in a scholarly sort of way. Thinking back after we finished what was a fairly good if not fun and relaxing session I pondered the differences in the days. The main thing that popped out was the difference in my mind set. I was relaxed and having a blast one day. Tense and worried about the kids the next. Rusty was enthusiastic and playing one day. Fierce and ferocious the next. Was it a symptom of his whorls? A natural occurrence for any horse responding to his handler?
The first day, relaxed and playing:
The second day, imagine him as the sorrel minus the headstall and doing this at liberty. Silly pony