Sunday, November 9, 2008

We had planned to go to the Showgrounds in Helensville, they have a race track (grass) there, so I was looking forward to doing some follow the rail.

Well it didn't really go as planned but that's the way it happens sometimes with horses.

I was a bit nervous and Garbo always picks up on that. It's I think because it's a big open space and we had not been there before.... plus I was meeting Michelle at the bottom of the road (time limit - which horses always know about and decide not to load).

So - I fed Maraschino and Garbo saw that - 2nd mistake - and decided he should be getting fed rather than loading!

Took me about 40 minutes to load him and his adrenalin ended up being quite high - but got him on ok in the end with some patience. I started off the normal way leading him on and he went on and backed off in a hurry. I tried again (many times) but he kept backing away from me, sometimes at speed. I tried to not pull hard when he was pulling back, but just went with him. I tried another tact of backing him up (my idea) when he started backing up. That didn't really work - just meant he backed up faster and for longer. Oh well - 50/50 chance it would work right!

I tried facing the float to take the pressure off him but as soon as he got to the ramp he just tried to set his head down so he could stop and not let me pull, (in the old days he would turn at this point and run off).

So after 30 minutes, I got out the carrot stick, and waved the stick and string towards zone 4 any time he was not going forward, or if he was backing up. Sometimes I had to use phase 4, string made connection with zone 4 but it definitely made him think twice about going backwards!

So I did what I had tried once before unsuccessfully, to send him in a semi circle away from the flaot - with lots of energy and when the float got in the way I would stop and rest. Actually - that's not entirely true - I didn't try that last time I just tried to ask him on to the float with me standing outside (like squeeze game I guess) and that didn't work. So this was new for both of us. I had in my mind Pat and the many horses he does this with and I tried to stay consistent. Tried to be assertive and not aggressive. It was hard. But eventually he looked like he was ready to try again (nearly loaded himself) so I led him on and he came straight on and stayed on. I don't know yet if I asked too much of him. His adrenalin was still quite high.

By now Maraschino has finished his food and was watching us leave (not the plan) - so as I drove out of the drive I saw him running around alot so I texted Michelle and said I think I should go back and do it another day when George is home just in case - it would be nice to know he calms down after a bit of a run around - so I turned around at the bottom of the road and headed home. When I got back Maraschino was standing on top of his clay pile - not too distressed but pleased to see us.
Garbo rushed off the float at 100 miles an hour - backwards....must work on that... he was shaking a little.

Michelle came up with the two horses she had on board and she went for a ride round the track, while I played on the ground with Garbo. We did some amazing figure 8 at trot, some circles and weave - like Cilla says - amazing to have some extra energy when you have an LBI! But in my case he was actually a bit stressed. These two new horses were running round the track (in his mind) and Maraschino was following along next to them (so Garbo kind of thought they were leaving). I soldiered on and got him busy and told him that he must concentrate on me and not what they were doing. It was quite exhausting but we did it.

It also was really windy today which didn't help - on top of everything else (20 knots at some stage).

Anyway - so George is back tomorrow so we will try again then.

I felt like I sabotaged the day a bit - by being nervous, but like Michelle said I followed my instinct and went home, otherwise I would have worried.

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