He's super trustworthy and great at the basics, but I wanted to work on body control - moving his haunches and forequarters independently, eventually sidepassing and opening the gate correctly. I also wanted to work on lateral and vertical flexion and softness in a bit that is new to him. It's Tonka's old bit, which is a shanked curb bit like Sawyer is used to, but has swiveling shanks and mouthpiece so you can use it for lateral movements.
We made good basic progress, and will work on it more on other days. One thing I love about Sawyer is how much he loves to get the release and hear, "good boy." It's pretty sweet. He was distracted today - it's super windy! Any other horse I probably wouldn't have even ridden. But even distracted, he hunted for the release and we had a lovely quiet time playing give and take.
Besides the honor of carrying Tonka's bit, he also wore my sister's special handmade bridle that is now my special bridle. He doesn't know how priceless his head is. :)
Miss Juniper really wanted to come out and play, so we did. She loaded in the trailer like a pro. You'd never know how hard we hand to fight to have to learn that dance move.
She's still a little nervous in there but we just stand around and cuddle and it's not so bad.
Then we did some body control on the ground, and it's as if she's always known how to yield her fore-and hindquarters and back up nicely. Lateral flexion was just a bit hard at first today, though, thanks to Scout and Bella racing around in the wind. And she remembered how to circle around me, even though she was nervous about the sound of metal banging in the wind. It was rough, but it wasn't bad. We can dance without offending each other.
I picked her hooves when I put her away. She hates that, but she tolerates it. This time I think she hated it less. Maybe I imagined it. Maybe she's growing up?
Then Duncan wanted to be part of things. One thing led to another and I found him happily volunteering to be haltered. He was so happy to be the chosen one this time! Oh my gosh how we dance! The lightest touch, like he's reading my mind. I just put him through a quick imaginary "demo" because I actually placed an as for him today. :( He would be happy to have someone more devoted to him, who can train him further. We've done so much but I can't ride him. I just hope I can find the right someone. If I can't, he stays.
It's fun to think back on how things that are now second nature used to be so hard. Some things that are hard now are easy when I let my muscle memory take over. I don't know if that's normal or part of the brain injury. And of course some things that I can't do now, I'll be able to do someday in the future. I just have to keep learning! Which is often hard for an old stick in the mud like me. But no matter what, when you have good dance partners, it's worth it.