Today I got up at 5:30 am and went down to the barn to feed. It was 32 degrees with frost everywhere. Annette elected to stay and bed and dream about getting a new saddle for Jackson. Actually, I had to get Flash ready for mounted patrol training. We left at 6:30, drove for an hour, and arrived at the training facility, the first ones there. I like to get there first because parking is really tight and it's difficult to maneuver my trailer. The training, (this time in a western saddle), starts out with formation riding for two hours, and then two hours of sensory training. Most of the horses are pretty good at a walk, but when we pick up the trot, a lot of them blow up, and their riders lose control. We don't usually try canter, because it becomes total chaos. I usually try to get next to a horse that has a good head with a good rider. The problem is that people forget the movement commands or speak too softly, so Flash and I have to lead in the difficult movements, like doing a "wedge" and moving people off a wall, or the rail in this case. Flash was really tired when we got there, but he was a good boy; and when I picked up the reins, it took him only a few seconds to start working correctly. He looked out of place with the other "head high" horses, but the lieutenant was pleased.
After a short break we started doing the sensory. It consisted of walking by balloons, thru a flare pattern, over tarps, thru a "car wash" while at the same time a ground person had a gas powered leaf blower with caution tape attached to the blower end pointing it at the horses from three feet away. None of it bothered Flash. At one point I picked up a trash bag full of empty soda cans and put it on his neck, under his belly and on his back while the person with the leaf blower walked all around him about 2 feet away trying to spook him. He just said "whatever". Then they started up the "air man" who is Flash's best friend. While all the other horses wouldn't come closer than 20 feet, Flash walked right up said, "hey buddy, I missed you".
|Flash and his "air man" buddy.|
|Flash with the "battle ball", another one of his favorite friends.|
We ended the training with shooting shot gun blanks near the horses while a police car was a few feet away with the lights and sirens going. I think the siren bothered Flash a little, because it took him a minute to walk up to the car. But when he did, he put his nose on the closed window and seemed to be admiring his reflection in the glass. Another long day though. We didn't get back home until 3 in the afternoon. Flash rolled and decided to make more compost. I decided compost was a good idea, and wrote this blog.