Vaccinations and a relaxing ride
Aslan had his vaccinations today; I did C/T so that he wouldn't start to fear needles or the vet. He was a good boy and took it all in stride. He wanted to see what the vet was holding. (Treats right?)
That night I surmised that his neck muscle might be sore, so we just did a grooming session. Where most horses enjoy the fact they will get a rub down and not be exercised, Aslan finds this highly annoying. (When are we going to start? What is in this for me? Do you have something in your pocket? Stop touching my tail, I can't see you. Don't touch my forelock. Don't touch my mane. Are you done yet?). I don't think anyone really groomed him much, up until the time I bought him. So up until year 6, he never really learned to enjoy grooming.
Anyway, in this session, what surprised me the most was when I reached up to touch his forelock, he lifted his head and put his ears back. I was like, wow.... Normally he doesn't really like his mane and forelock being touched, (he will shake his neck if you touch his mane, and I have C/T mane touching, so it has improved) but this time he was being a bit rank about it. Obviously we were pushing his patience the whole time, and his neck was probably sore, so maybe the experience was more irritating than normal. But I don't appreciate a bad attitude, and we worked on that and I got his good nature back. (Using +R)
I'm going to test him out in the arena again next time and see if his attitude is still good. I do not appreciate ear pinning, as to me it's kind of like a threat. I night be wrong, but I don't want to be right, so if he decides to be pissy he is going to get a spanking (I'll move his feet in a way he won't like). It's not like we've ever done anything mean to his mane or forelock. I've gently brushed it and used detangler. Granted he still doesn't like it, but I've never seen him get that angry, so I will be watching for this in the future.
(Two days later)
We did do the circle game before I started riding: He's learning to canter on the lead line and not to rush into the transition, but it is taking a while. I really have to cluck A LOT and he goes faster and faster and finally breaks into and YAY C/T. For whatever reason, he transitions to the canter more easily on his right lead than on his left lead. I don't know why, since he is left handed; I figured that side would be easier. Beautiful transition on that side, stop, jackpot, move on!
When I mounted and asked him for some bending, he didn't bend like he normally does, so I think his neck might have been sore (?). I didn't push the matter and let him half do it.
We went for a long walk in the pasture; he followed my mom who was walking on the ground. Only one spook on the spot - a white paper flapping on the ground.
It's funny how he is quite happy to be a follower if someone else is leading, yet he wants to be a leader of his herd and has been beating up his pen mates. My guess is that he lacks confidence on his own and is learning to trust a rider to guide him. He still tries to look for monsters. It's like he feels alone, even though I'm on his back. He just needs more experiences. He has a lot more confidence than he did in October and November. Oh and when we walked back, he didn't even rush. This was the first time I've ever taken him that far from home. He was happy to just plod slowly behind mom. I can't guarantee he will always plod home, but it was definitely a change to not have a horse rush home.
When we got back, I took him to the outdoor sand ring and did a trot and a canter weee! Our second canter together! He rushed into it a bit, but not as bad as the first time. He has a very powerful canter when he wants to, he really went fast for a couple of strides and then slowed down. I keep forgetting to reinforce the transition because it's so fun. I reinforced once we came to a stop (How useless is that!! I'm so derpy sometimes) and I got off right away. Good boy! Hopefully he connected the two but if he didn't, I have only myself to blame on that one.