Still trying to focus on Gemini so that we're in good shape for the Pair Pace next weekend. I was feeling a little lackluster today, still fighting the virus and probably doing too much yesterday. The weather is gorgeous and I have lots to do to keep things moving, so I decided to do what I could and sit down to contemplate when I felt over-utilized.
I got the chores going first and then brought Gemini in from the west pasture for hay and easy accessibility. Chrissy wanted to get her L1 filming done, so that was first priority. Her filming went well and I'm sure it was great for her to see herself on camera and imagine ways to improve. We ended up doing 3 takes and I really think any one of them would pass fine. She's not quite satisfied, so we're going to film again tomorrow and see if she can get her best take on film. Filming is tough, something invariably goes wrong and when you watch it, it's so easy to wish something looked better. It's a tough, tough process.
When we took a break from filming, I haltered Gemini thinking to just ride him a bit and see how he'd do. I expected him to be better as I've been giving him good, focused time lately. Each day should be better than the last - if I'm doing the right things with him. He was amazing today! We played some, getting some exhuberance at liberty in the round pen, lots of changes of directions, a little cantering at the circle game (this needs work), transitions on the circle, and moving the hind. He was a little dull today and I wanted to create some more energy.
After some time at liberty, I decided to ride him down the road. I wanted to feel where his threshold was and know when he got tense. I felt it twice as we headed to the gate at the end of the driveway. Each time, he looked back and paused. I allowed the pause and when he relaxed again, I asked him forward. I thought about taking him back when he hit the threshold, but for whatever reason I decided to honor the threshold, wait for relaxation, and ask for forward. I was just trying different approaches to see what has a positive effect while feeling and listening for his state of being and respected it.
We got to the gate, I let him eat grass for 5 mins or so, then we quietly and thoughtfully walked back to the barn. He was relaxed and thinking the entire time. Just what I want. Tomorrow, I'll take him back to Hidden Mesa and see how he feels about being out there with me alone again. I expect improvement over Friday, but if there's no improvement it just means I have to reapproach a different way. I'm really enjoying the time with him and appreciating what he's teaching me about being in the moment and honoring thresholds.
Then, I tacked up Rain and ponied Gem on the trail for about 5 miles. I wanted to see if he was better about leaving the barn/herd for a longer ride. Last week, when I ponied him after months of time away from the trail, he was very stressed. He called and called and just became right-brained. Today, he was calm, easy, looking to eat grass. He was back to the Gem I used to pony regularly - minding his position as the pony horse (head never ahead of Rains zone 2) and keeping pace without worry. I was relieved. He made a lot of changes in a week. We'll keep building and we should be ok for Saturday. If not, I won't ride. No pressure.
I touched up his front hooves and let him stand tied for a while with Rain. Rain had been my awesome trail horse ponying Gem. The trail took a beating this summer from all the rain and a ton of erosion has occurred even from last week. We are having to make our own trail in lots of places and Rain is so good for trudging along, following my suggestions and trying her heart out on the trail. At one point, we came upon a huge new water feature! Erosion caused a new little pond - 2 feet deep and about 30 feet in diameter! Cool! I've got to get the young horses down here to play in this! Tomorrow, both Nina and Tina will get a turn to feel water that deep.
I wanted to play with Tina and do some more saddle work, but I was feeling very drained. I'll play with her tomorrow and for now I just need to cut myself some slack and get better.
Z's wound is healing nicely and I'm thinking I'll ride her in a couple more days. The would will probably support the riding work with a few more days of skin growth. I miss my mare!