The Comeback Kid
Yup! It's true! The creature has come home, though not without making us wait an extra week because he felt like getting a repulsive snotty nose and being on antibiotics for ten days. Horses, man.
Before the new BM and I brought him home, Roddy gave him one last ride so he'd have the rest of the day to settle in at home. Of course, he was great. Loading was another story; it's clearly a claustrophobia issue, since he gets on the open and slant stocks just fine. Straight load two-horses freak him out, but Roddy taught me how to work him through it, and we loaded him up twice for practice.
He loved how big his stall was, and had zero issues settling in. According to him, the hay is the greatest thing ever; he was actually refusing his grain and going straight to hay until we added something slightly sweeter to it. And he got his first treat in over three months, a fact which he was pretty intent on reminding me.
He wanted that cookie real bad.
Since move-in, I've tried to ride five days a week, and we've been pretty successful. Except Christmas week. That's been a wash so far, only worked him twice. (Fingers crossed for no bucking in 2017!) There's a lot to get used to, and the indoor with mirrors was the most fascinating thing for him.
Call him Narcissus.
There's some spooky corners he's pretty much over now, and he'd rather leave the arena every time we pass the door, but there's progress. He's starting to stretch when we trot instead of running around amid the other dressage horses like a rogue giraffe. Free lunging and lunging are feeling more productive in terms of our connection, and I don't get rattled when he zooms around and drops his shoulder like an unbalanced idiot. Get it out, horse.
Go zoom yourself, stupid human.
I know we have a long way to go, and I worry about it more than anyone (Java would like everyone to know he doesn't really give a shit), but I'm excited. There's a really nice horse in there, and I just need to tap into both of us to make it come out. In the meantime, we're taking it day by day, a tiny victory at a time.