Since my last post, Baron has made a lot of progress in healing up. I am cleared for light riding again, and I’ve been able to start back with my trainer. My trainer, Mary, wanted to do some groundwork with Baron. She has recently started studying Parelli’s techniques and thought some basic groundwork would benefit our work under saddle, as far as getting Baron to respect me and do what I ask. I have already worked with him quite a bit, but thought I would see what Mary could add to what I’ve already done. The day she came out to my barn was rainy and windy. The rain let up enough to do some work, but the wind was still quite strong. We worked on standing quietly, moving over the hips and shoulders with pressure from my hands, backing up and desensitizing with the carrot stick. I had done all of this except the “stand” command. Mary was impressed with how calm and responsive Baron was. She said he was like a different horse from the last time she saw him. We worked for under a half an hour and then decided to stop since he was doing so well. She told me to keep working with him and to give her a report in a couple weeks. I was so proud of him. The last time she saw him, he was so amped up and more spazzy than he typically is. I have seen calm, quiet Baron and was happy that she was able to see him too.
Last Thursday, my friend Gary and I trailered up to Bartow County Saddle Club to ride in their big covered arena. Baron loaded into the trailer with no problem. I was so proud! All that groundwork paid off. When we got to the arena, we were the only ones there. We started tacking up and Baron stood quietly at first. When Gary led Rumble off into the riding ring, Baron started flipping out and wouldn’t stand still to be saddled. His herd instinct is so strong, especially in a new situation. It was a struggle to finish tacking up; he was tossing his head and sidestepping and being a pill in general. However, once I mounted, he immediately settled down and was very responsive to all my aids. He trotted nicely around the arena and did excellent circles to the right and left. I was able to control better than I expected, actually.
This was a great trial run for a show. He still has a lot of desensitizing to do, and I’m sure the busy show atmosphere would be a trial for him. But when it was time to go to work in the arena, he was a champ. This arena is where Bartow County Saddle Club holds their shows, so it was nice to practice in the same arena I would potentially show in.