I started with Gem and zone 5 driving. I used my new feather lines for the first time. I've only done 1 line driving with Gem so far, so this was new to him. At first, I think he felt slightly worried and he tried repeatedly to get me in zone 1. He got better over time and we even did some trotting together. The feather lines are so light and honestly, they are harder on my hands than the normal lines. They are hard to throw over Gem's back or other things I want to do. I might try to use a surcingle with them next time.
Gem and I need to work a little more on the forward ask from zone 5. He goes backwards like a champ, but forward is not as soft. He's unsure of what I'm asking for so that tells me I need more consistency with "how" I ask for forward from behind him.
We did some very nice sideways from zone 5 - I was impressed with his try! Also, some nice sideways from zone 1 today.
We ended up in the round pen for a little liberty play. His draw started off great but by the end, his draw was wavering. I must have been too forceful at liberty. We got some beautiful flc's and he was quite respectful of my requests. We will build more draw at liberty and maybe start playing with more transitions at liberty.
Got lots done with him today!
Chrissy played with Cowboy a little today, too. She wasn't really into it. The wind was calm all afternoon, but when it picked up she abandoned any thoughts of hopping on Cowboy. Too bad. Maybe this weekend she will get some time to hop on and do some development for her and her horse.
Then, I tacked up Z for a conditioning ride. This was tough today. It became so windy and it was quite cold. I thought I had enough clothes on but when I got out there, and as the sun got low, I was too cold. I got off and ran/walked next to her to keep my body warm for the 2nd half and we didn't go near as far as I'd intended. Not a great conditioning ride, but time spent together at least. There's a section on the trail that is quite scary to her and tonight she balked and refused to go closer and pass it. It's a yard that has lots of "junk" along with goats, chickens, dogs in kennels, beehives, etc... They have definitely added stuff to their yard since the fall when we were riding trail. I thought of my plan for a minute as I asked her to weave forward (approach and retreat) and she told me louder and louder, "I just can't!". I decided to get off and lead her. She was fine being lead, head low, not afraid. We stopped at the peak of the scary stuff and I let her soak in the environment. Then we moved on. I hopped right back on after passing this yard and she was fine. We'll have to spend some time at that yard and work through her fears there. I have to be careful not to push her through her thresholds when she's so clearly telling me it's too much for her to handle.
Starlet looks so much better today. She's been on extra fat for a few weeks and I've been blanketing her on these cold and windy days. She just needs the support right now. I brushed her the other day and removed a lot of that dead hair and winter coat. When I pulled her blanket off today, there was a more full horse with lots of shine. Good! I feel better about where she's heading.
It was a good evening with two of my best. I really, really hope the wind settles soon. It's wearing me down - 20 - 25mph winds every day is hard to bear.