1. There were a few comments on my last post that make me think that I didn't do a good job of explaining the whole "you can't push Winston" thing. Horses need to know who is in charge and that includes Winston. If he doesn't know who is in charge, he worries and fusses and pushes. I constantly remind him that I am in charge; from a firm foundation in ground manners, to respect of my space in the pasture, to riding. Winston does not get to choose what we do. At the same time, I believe that you teach a horse by working up to the edge of their strength and understanding. If you go over the edge, you risk having the horse lose confidence, get hurt, or hurt you (in Winston's case by erupting and tossing his rider). He is not a belligerent or mean horse. When Winston is frustrated with an exercise we don't quit. We change what we are doing and it is often something more physically demanding. We might take a couple laps at canter or working trot, for instance, before returning to work. Have you ever gotten so worried about something that you couldn't think straight? That's what happens with Winston and continuing to push just makes matters worse.
2. I haven't heard from J or from her trainer, Ale. I'm not going to call him although I'm sure he is very good. We can't get to his barn with our trailer and I couldn't get there before dark during the week anyway. I've been hoping to ride with a different trainer, down near Sacramento. Brett gave me some lessons with Sandy Savage for Christmas and I've scheduled my first one for the 20th. I'm VERY excited. She was recommended to us before our move from Southern California as a good fit. Her barn is close to work so I can meet Brett there in the late afternoon or evening -- especially when the days get longer.
3. Another gift that Brett gave me is a new garden gate. Right now we have a small metal gate which is perfectly functional. The hardest part about leaving Aspen Meadows was leaving behind my gifts from Brett: my garden, my greenhouse and my fountain. Now I will have a beautiful garden gate here in addition to the raised planter box he built me a few months ago.
4. Brett took Mufasa on a trail ride today with our neighbor, Cindy. They started out just past Coloma (where gold was discovered at Sutter's Mill) and rode down to the American River. The scenery was beautiful and Mufasa walked over logs, exposed tree roots, and into the river.
5. We have been bringing the dogs into the laundry room at night. Since the nights are very cold, we've been able to keep the window shut so Sedona can't knock out the screen and leave. In the summer, we will put them in the barn since it will be too hot in the laundry room. No more night time barking.