On June 12th, I headed to the 2010 Western States Horse Expo with Matt and my mom. My mom, although I haven’t written or said anything about this, had been away during Ink’s passing. My mom, one of my rocks, wasn’t there when I lost one of the most important things in my life, Ink. It was extremely difficult not to have her support, although I knew she was there, if even miles away. My Grandpa (my mom’s dad) became ill suddenly. He’s in his mid 90’s, but before this sudden onset has been as healthy, both mentally and physically, as an ox. (He’s truly an inspiration in determination, strength and character.) It was quite a shock, so my mom went up to where he lives (counties away) to be with him. She was there for about 2 months until a recent visit back home as my younger brother was graduating high school. Anyway, during my mom’s short return home, we decided to go to the Horse Expo. Stephen Bradley was there again to do his jumping demo, which I believe was the same format as last year when Ink and I took part.
I was planning on stopping to say hello to Mr. Bradley after his demo, if he wasn’t already busy. But alas, as I was scanning through a tack booth, and there he was! I stopped over the re-introduce myself and say hello. He asked me how Ink was and I told him what had happened. He had asked if I had gotten a new prospect, which I told him I did and he said that if he returns next year, hopefully I could ride again with him! I was excited to hear that. I think Reason and I might be ready, given how he progresses. I don’t want to over-face him. The crowds and, oh gosh those deathly strollers, are quite the subject of nerves with the horses.
I was happy to see Mr. Bradley again. C*, my riding partner from last year at the expo, told me I should go train under him in Virginia. That would be exciting! I look back at that expo experience and hold it dear to me. Ink and I returned home with a new confidence. It was something that I enjoyed so much.
Reason is doing well. I haven’t yet noted this on the blog, but Reason is uber sensitive around his ears and upper neck, near his ears. I’ve been trying to desensitize him to touch in general, but paying special attention to those areas. He’s becoming better already. Oddly enough, Reason takes the fly mask like a pro and has no problem with a halter either. To me, if a horse is sensitive around his ears, a fly mask seems like a question to the horse.
There could be pain or stiffness going on causing this reaction though, possibly. I do carrot stretches (asking Reason to stretch his neck while standing on each side). He’s a little stiffer on the right side, going about half-way down his side, however on the left he could almost stretch to his flanks!
Today, as I was going about business at the barn, Reason begins to run in disarray in his paddock. He doesn’t act like he’s playing, no something appears to have set him off. Similar to what happened last Tuesday. This time, I waited, watching from the barn, to see what exactly was going on before I went to his rescue. After a very short bit I walked to his paddock. He noticed I was coming, but was in flight mode, unable to ease himself. Although I was somewhat, literally, walking into an unknown horsey battle-field, I knew I could calm him down. I walked in and began to apply light pressure and verbal assurance to let him know I was here and he could come to me. Suddenly, he became quieter, a light bulb went off, he seemed to step out of flight and back into reality. Mommy to the rescue! He walked to me, unsure, a little on the muscle, ready to jump back into flight mode, if this plan failed.
As soon as I reassured him that everything was cool, he calmed right down. I haltered him and stood at his feeder bin, where he was before the commotion started. He relaxed, began eating again and once he was back to normal, I took him down the barn. He was calm, normal and happy for the remainder of the evening.