Last weekend Julia and I took both horses to an Obstacle clinic. You may remember that I like to do at least one of these every year. Last year I took Quaid instead of Carmen. It was a great experience for both of us. This year I signed both horses up and offered Julia to take Carmen if she wanted. I felt that it would be good for her to learn groundwork from the exercises. If she wasn't able to I was still going to take them both but she was able to get the time off so we packed them up and hit the road.
|Where am I now?|
It was a different stable then last year but the stalls were a nice size. We arrived Friday night and started at 8:30 the next morning. As always, everyone introduced themselves, their horses and their goals. I shared what happened (briefly) and the impact it had on Quaid, myself and our relationship. My goals were to:
- reestablish our working relationship
- get feedback on what I'm doing
- get some direction on where to go
An additional goal was to to work on their separation anxiety by having them be in different groups.
The format of this clinic was the same as before:
Saturday a.m: ground work
Saturday p.m: obstacles in hand
Sunday a.m.: obstacles in hand and mounter
Sunday p.m: practice a pattern.
|I love this so much|
You may think when you watch the video that Quaid was afraid of the flag and felt trapped between the A frame and the flag. But we'd worked through there lots of times before then and the day before. So I didn't feel the need to move him away but rather to work him through it. This is all part of the work I've building on with him in terms of learning to raise his energy and bring it back down.
|Quaid: nope, nope nope|
A big success was that both horses were good at leaving and being left. Saturday morning there was a few whinnies but by Sunday they did not care. Now I just need to keep building on this. Carmen was a rock star. she really enjoys this work and was quite happy to teach Julia the ropes. The first day she kept looking at me but transitioned really well.
I was really happy I went to the clinic. I felt like I had a much needed reset on my ground work. Nikki and Mike gave me lots of great tips to tighten up my body language. Carmen has come so far that I have let things slide. But this is all new to Quaid so I need to be better.
|Baby Genius or Donkey?|
That's all the good stuff. Now for the not so good things. Saturday I learned that there was a forest fire at the end of our road. On Sunday morning it was not clear if I'd be able to get home. The owner of the stable said we were welcome to stay. But late Sunday afternoon Ed told me that the fire was pretty much out and they would let us drive down the road.
When we loaded the horses Carmen walked on as usual. I walked Quaid up to the ramp, put the lead line over his neck and asked him to walk on. With a brief hesitation he walked on and stood like he's been self-lauding his whole life (though this was his first time).
As we were driving out the barn owner came out "are you sure it's safe to come home? You can stay' I told her that my husband said it would be fine and since he was the fire chief I had to trust him. On the drive home Julia learned that there was a fire in her parents neighbourhood. By the time we got home a mandatory evacuation order was in place.
The fire continues to burn out of control. At least 150 homes are gone and 14,000 people displaced. One stable was able to get all their horses out and taken to a show venue. Another stable was not so lucky and the trailers were not allowed in. The horses were turned loose and left. It was heartbreaking. But by the next day all the horses were located and rescued. One was badly injured and we don't know if she will make it. One of the mares made her way back to the barn and put herself in a stall.
The horse community has rallied to support the displaced horses. Others are working to rescue pets that were in homes. My heart breaks for everyone. The south part of the province is also on fire and today we can smell smoke all day. We need rain desperately.