Riding has taken a very back seat at the moment, and we've been sticking more and more to ground work. I'm determined to get Rio more confident, as it has become clearer that he really is lacking in self assurance.
We went up for a play at our friend's again on the weekend, and got to collect our brand new Parelli rope! Now our mission is to get rid of that shiny bright white and get busy with it. We learned more about backing up with sideways adjustments this week. Due to his claustrophobia, we have been working around poles and trying to get him to back up to a single pole. The first time we tried, he was having none of it, so it was rewarding this time when after a few minutes of trying, he managed it.
There was a moment where he was clearly in two minds and was just staring straight ahead in concentration. My friend made it so easy to pick up and learn, and I value her time so much. As soon as he blinked, and was "back in the room", we continued. It was quite funny to see him resist to the point that his front feet were backed right up to his back feet before he finally got his hind feet backed over it. His little face once he made it was priceless. More work to be done on this!
We then did some work on learning the circling game. As we are not riding much at the moment, I wanted to learn how to do this so that I can at least get him moving and try and keep him fit. The other benefit is that it gives him responsibility to maintain his pace. He relies heavily on being micro managed. Rio is a clever boy, and I'm sure he can count. He started out by taking off at a canter, and stopping at the start point! He developed on to trot two rounds before stopping where he started. I soon got the hang of a stronger send when he was doing this, and we ended on a very nice 4 circles before I disengaged his hindquarters and allowed him to stand.
Rio was a very sweaty boy by the time we had finished. It takes a lot of brain power for him to achieve these things, as he thinks about everything so much. In some ways, he is a bit too clever at times! This is also a downfall for him, because he will often over think things, but that's why I'm so keen to work on our relationship on the ground. I'm truly looking forward to our future together.