Hickory showed me that he just wasn't quite ready for me to climb back on on Sunday. He showed me he's a bit nervous & touchy on that right side flank. So this week, I spent a lot of time desensitizing that area. Flexing him around, rubbing, patting, & tapping until it was no big deal. I've found he's a bit more nervous with the saddle on than not. To work through this even further, we did Leading by the Front Feet, which went well & then I laid him down several times. While there was a bit of struggle with this, it's made him more confident. So much so, that I was able to walk up & rub him all over while he was taking a nap in the pen this afternoon. We also worked on Leading Beside to work on some of his stickiness that still comes out when leading from time to time. I also spent some time rubbing him from a top the mounting block to build some confidence there. He had some nervous moments when being flexed around to the right so I spent the majority of time working on that piece of the puzzle. He also got another hose down during the warmer weather early in the week & he did great.
Next week, I'll spend a lot of time working on Pick Me Up From the Fence. Here, I'll be able to ride him, without truly riding him. I'll be able to build his confidence flexing around to the right while moving the stirrup, rubbing his flank, tapping the saddle, etc. I'll also do a bit of Jeffrey's Method (aka The Human Curry Comb). We'll try for another ride next weekend. Should I still not feel like he's going to be successful, I might ask someone who's a bit stickier to get him through that first ride in the event he wants to give the bucking another try. I can work through some things on the ground to build that confidence, but it's hard to recreate a first ride to a "T" without actually doing it. Should he feel the need to buck again, someone who can hang with him & get him through the other side where he can realize he has nothing to be worried may be the route to go. Because he's so quiet on the ground, I'm sure it's there under saddle, he just doesn't quite know it yet.
- Lexy Nuesch
Next week's update will be posted on Sunday.
I do my best to get these updates posted in a timely manner, but it's not uncommon for me to be outside until after dark, depending on the weather, my schedule, & who gets worked when so updates will sometimes be posted quite late in the evening. Don't be alarmed if you don't see your update right away. In rare cases, I may have to push them until the next morning, but I'll reach out & let you know if so.