Chugging along

I haven’t blogged for awhile. I keep meaning to and then I just…don’t want to. Life and work has been getting me down and I just haven’t been up to it? Life’s got me down for no real good reason.

The horses? They’re doing OK. Jiminy has decided to get all heaves-y on me so that’s fun. I have him on zyrtec plus leftover ventipulmin as needed. It’s fine. I should start steaming his night hay but the issue is he doesn’t necessarily eat a full flake if it’s in a net so I don’t really know how much to steam. If it’s not in a net, he’ll eat too much. Dilemmas. So I do nothing.

Doesn’t get much cuter than this, does it?

Subi. Subi is currently feral. Some days he’s dead quiet and others he’s a wild maniac. So typical Subi. He’s also grown a coat for the first time ever so there is that?

This fool… there are no words.

And Nay Nay. We’ve been alternating really good rides and less than great rides. He does better when he’s ridden a lot. I’m just trying to find the right balance. We had a fabulous lesson the other week where he pretty much grew up.

Blurry video but video nonetheless

And the proceeded to have crappy rides every day after.

It’s not that they were bad. They weren’t. They just weren’t… good. They were fine. But I’m struggling to find the balance between forward and quiet, slow and dead, and spooky and stupid. Most of the time he’s been slow, dead, and stupid. But not actually dead or slow? I guess what I need to do is suck it up, get after him, and find the forward button?

I’m not exactly sure what’s going on. He’s fine. He’s not doing anything. But some days? Work is sort of, kind of optional. And then I struggle to keep him moving forward and we end up with this behind the leg crappy canter that I just can’t ride. And, instead of smacking him with the crop and saying knock it off you fool, I just sit there and don’t do anything? I don’t know. User error.

The far end of the ring has become spooky town for us (read: me). And well, that’s not helping. I mean, we’re fine. And Nay doesn’t do anything. Other than the weekend before our lovely lesson when neither of us were feeling it (and I was almost dumped 3x). But besides that day? He’s done nothing to make me nervous so who the heck knows.

So that’s where we’re at. Lesson tomorrow. We’ll see how we do.

The tale of 2 rides

Or however many rides as it’s been since I’ve actually blogged.

There seems to be 2 Nay Nays out there: Good, perfect, willing Nay Nay and opinionated, angry, energetic Nay Nay.

They grow up fast

Neither Nay Nay really does much wrong, but Good Nay Nay is my preferred ride where as Angry/Opinionated Nay Nay is a little more unpredictable and makes me work harder.

Also clipped Nay for the first time last week.

A couple weeks ago, Angry Nay came to play. Leading up to my lesson, I just didn’t ride enough (lacking motivation) and Nay Nay, enjoying his time off, was a bit bitter about this “work thing.” A normal horse might try and buck you off or take off or be fast. Nay Nay doesn’t buck. In fact, he was pretty quiet. But, instead, he put all his excess energy into spooking. And by spooking, I mean, getting distracted by various things like cats because, Nay doesn’t really spook either (he did at the end of the lesson when some crazy farm equipment came speeding down the road — he was fine once he saw it). But, scary invisible cats just… Yeah. So cats plus just not feeling the ride? Not good. He decided he didn’t want to jump (we got over our outside line) and then he decided he under no circumstances was jumping the inside single. Not because of the jump, just because he didn’t want to. So we fought it out and he got angry and lost. It had NOTHING to do with the jump, but it was that kind of day. His brain hadn’t been engaged enough leading up to the lesson and yeah.

Just a little canter fence, no big deal

Post lesson, I decided to put my sweaty horse into boot camp. We working Friday-Sunday plus Tuesday and I had a very perfect horse. He was happy, quiet, but annoyed with this work thing. Yet, perfectly awesome to ride. Then, because, adulting, we skipped a lesson that week, and resumed riding this past weekend with rides Saturday and Sunday.

We can trot in, but cantering into this line? I screw up the striding every time.

Saturday? The outdoor was a bit mucky from rain, but despite that (and a lunging horse at the start of the ride), Nay was a gem. I mean, he is a wild thoroughbred as all videos will show (my husband has retired again so enjoy video until he un-retires in 2-3 months). But, completely, utterly perfect thoroughbred. Showing shades of growing out of his green been status.

We have a right lead canter now

Sunday? It was windy and ugly and I rode inside because, why not? Ride started perfectly with a quiet horse. We jumped some fences as part of our flat work (I like to incorporate some crossrails or tiny jumps into flat work just to spice things up and all was good. Then, later, we jumped a small jump on the diagonal (we’re not jumping much, just a handful of 18″ fences that we usually trot over and then 2-3 2’+ fences that we usually also trot and maybe canter 1-2 18″ fences) and things went… array? You see, he landed on the wrong lead, no problem. Except, he landed, balanced, and when I unintentionally touched my spur to his side, someone decided to toss in a full change. Then, he did it again the next time we landed without any accidental cues. Then, he decided he could toss his legs all over the place because he’s awesome like that… Not that his legs go anywhere because he’s not athletic, but….

And a left lead

So, the rest of our ride was spent dodging legs and remaining vigilant, and getting out excess energy because a certain bay horse suddenly was feeling very full of himself… He didn’t toss in anymore changes, but he did think about it. I don’t plan to try any on my own (I’d like help for those thank you very much!). After I finished some work and a particular display of… leg flinging, we ended up trotting for 20 minutes to end and cantering a few times around each direction without acrobatics before we ended… Despite all of that, he never came close to unseating me and I don’t think he was trying. There was no buck in there, but lots of front leg flinging… I wish I had video of that.

Nay’s favorite jump

Freaking Succeed?!?!

Back when Nay Nay was having all of his stomach/ulcer issues from March-June, I stuck him on Succeed at some point in a fit of desperation. I had no idea if it did anything, but he liked the taste and something he was on (Ulcergard, Succeed, Outlast, or Redmond’s Daily Gold) plus a massive diet overhaul seemed to fix his stomach. Not the way to test supplements/medicines but I was desperate and Ulcergard wasn’t doing it (and by month 3…).

Well, mid summer, I decided to remove the overpriced Succeed. Haha. Something went wrong (saddle fit) and Nay Nay got a touch grumpy and back on Succeed he went and I don’t know if it was the Succeed or just life working out again.

I recently decided that spending $100/month for 1(!!!!!) supplement was crazy. Especially one that I don’t know was doing anything. Nay is on Platinum Performance ($$) plus Outlast plus Daily Gold plus electrolytes on top on his diet of alfalfa pellets and rice bran and special hay and alfalfa. Feeding this damn horse costs a freaking fortune. Not to mention Ulcergard as needed for lessons and/or rides if he’s feeling stressed…

Nay has been off the Succeed for almost 10 days and is becoming increasingly grumpy. Until yesterday, he’s been good under saddle. Yesterday he was fine, but had the bug up his butt attitude. Today? Complete turd. Until we jumped. Then he was happier. But he’s grumpy. He’s got mushy poop too. And a sensitive flank. And he kicked out at me. Once. He learned never to try that again.

All coincides with time off the Succeed. So, thanks to his generous sponsor, a new autoship is being placed and back on he goes. There’s something in this oat flour concoction that makes his belly happy. And a few days of Ulcergard or Esomeprazole/nexium might not hurt either.

Horses. Trying to bankrupt us every step of the way!

That pesky right lead.

I’ve talked some about our right lead issues. We had a right lead and then suddenly it was gone.

Saddle fit played a role, I’m sure, but honestly? I don’t really have a clue what caused Nay Nay’s right lead to pretty much disappear. But it did.

We’ve been working on it. And it’s been frustrating.

What’s worse is that when we get it? The right lead is actually BETTER than the left lead. I mean, there is NOTHING to do once you pick up the right lead. You just sit there whereas the left lead? the canter is less consistent in terms of pace and gate and all that. But the right lead? The canter is PERFECT.

During Wednesday’s lesson, we worked with the spurs on moving his hind end over. First standing still, then walking, then trotting, then eventually when asking for the canter. We weren’t able to pick up the right lead, but he did get the concept of moving off the spur.

Nay Nay visiting Ranger

Thursday we took another lesson and continued the above. When it became clear that we weren’t getting the lead, my trainer got on (yay!). First, I need to be way more assertive with my leg/spur… But, it was actually nice to see someone have similar issues. After a little bit of wrong answers (which were ignored), Nay Nay answered with the right lead and OMG so much praise. Then he was asked again, and again, and again. The thing is, he is OMG THIS CLOSE and then, hesitates, and left lead. All in all, he picked it up 4 times, each time getting so much praise.

Afterward, he was VERY proud of himself. My trainer basically said, the canter is LOVELY and there is nothing physically preventing it. He just needs this to be repeated over and over and over until he realizes that, yes, we do canter on the right lead. She was shocked at how balanced the right lead is. It is THAT lovely (loop your reins and occasionally cluck/squeeze but that’s it. He does it all).

I guess he’s staying…

On Saturday, I picked it up 3 or 4 times. I had to work for it, but praised the hell out of it when I got it. Then he landed from a few fences on the right lead so we held the canter and again, praised the shit out it. He’s crazy happy about jumping so I’m trying to pop him over a few fences every ride just to balance out the canter crap.

Sunday? 4 right lead canters and then he landed from his roll top on the right lead several times again. The canter was so lovely that we held it all the way around and cantered into the roll top — first time cantering that fence. And it was perfect. I can’t say enough about this kid’s enthusiasm for jumps. Even when I miss a distance, he says, “I got this!” and takes care of it.

Nay Nay requests new accommodations…like his stall. It’s pouring rain and he shouldn’t have to be outside.

So yeah, that’s where we’re at. If nothing else, the fact that he’s trying to land right is progress. We’ll see what progress we make in a few more weeks…

Evidently we jump liverpools?

I’m blogging because I’m angry at the state of the world and focusing on my horse sounds like a good idea? Caveat? I have ZERO media.

Love this horse so freaking much

After recovering from VACCINE FEVER 2020 (we need to booster the botulism vaccine in 30 days and see if he spikes a crazy fever again), I rode Saturday and had WILD HORSE. Well, not really. I had distracted horse. He had energy? But was slow as molasses. Like I tried to longe but realize that Nay Nay didn’t need it? And, why move forward when you can spend all your energy screaming to the new Bay Horse in the front paddock that you can’t even see from the outdoor ring?

Yes.

My horse screamed.

The ENTIRE FREAKING Ride.

I didn’t realize until I was leaving that he was calling to Bay Horse who was calling back.

Pretty day, little jumps

Idiots.

We trotting and screamed. I had zero focus. I thought he’d explode? But he didn’t actually have an energy to do so… so I popped him over so jumps. Easy peasy. Then we added in a new jump. A scary roll top. Scary roll top? Nay Nay’s new favorite jump. Then, things were grand, so why not introduce a broken line? So we did that. No issue. We jumped around slowly. And screamed. And jumped. And eventually I got annoyed so we cantered around (we can jump and scream, but turns out cantering and screaming is hard). And jumped a course or 2 and called it a day. All in all? We introduced 2 new jumps and I think I put a rail up on one of them?

New favorite jump!

Sunday we came back out, armed with a touch of ulcergard just in case all that screamed stressed him out. He was better, but Bay Horse still called and Nay called back a time or two. Before I got on, I looked around the outdoor and realized that I had jumped everything but 3 fences and the liverpool. The outside line was a little big for my liking, but other than that? Still, Nay has been so brave lately I thought, what the hell? So, we marched up the the in which was a large gate with some stuff. The gate itself was 2′ which was my issue. But I stepped over and Nay just followed me. Ok then. And after that? The out was no issue. Then we walked over the other single I hadn’t attempted as it was just a bunch of boxes and flowers and felt built up. Nay didn’t care. Turns out? He has this jump stuff figured out.

You can see the damn liverpool…

That left the damn liverpool. It was set up pretty big (well, 2’6″) so I dropped it to about 12″ and walked over and held my breath. See, I have post traumatic water jump syndrome as a result of the number of times I’ve landed in them. I didn’t actually expect that we’d tackle it today. But Nay just walked over it and looked at me like I had issues. I do. Ok then.

Granma came to visit!

So, we got on, warmed up, and started over our quest to conquer every fence in the outdoor. We trotted our chosen singles and roll top, we trotted in and cantered out our broken line, and then, somehow, we jumped the liverpool. First time, we trotted, then Nay decided the jump was so amazing that we needed to pick up the quietest canter ever and just canter down to it and over. Distance didn’t matter, he just wanted to canter over that damn jump. He landed quietly too. But it might now be his favorite thing ever?!?!?!

After tackling that thing, I put on my brave pants and pointed him to the outside line, legging him up for the in and somehow we managed to land in a canter and added about 12 strides to canter out over the second fence.

All the treats in the world for these boys

With that? I burst into tears, did a couple of courses, and told Nay he is the most amazing horse ever.

WHO THE HELL IS THIS HORSE?

So, on Sunday? Nay Nay jumped every single fence in the outdoor ring including a freaking liverpool and didn’t care one bit about anything.

So freaking good!

Holy Fever!

The boys have had some tuneups this week. Monday was dentist day. Nay Nay was power floated without any sedation because he’s cool like that. Subi got drugs because he gets stressed out. Jiminy? He probably would have been fine, but after his choke 2 weeks ago, he got some dorm gel just because he’s lacking a little trust right now.

Jiminy needs to be seen in 6 months as does Subi (old man has some loose teeth that might be reaching end of life plus some other old man teeth issues) while Nay can be checked though likely will be fine for a year.

Yesterday? Fall vaccines. All went well until I walked outside at 6:30 to do stalls before turn in and found this pathetic site.

So freaking pathetic.

He wasn’t colicking. He sort of passed the cookie test. I stuffed a cookie in his mouth and he chewed without enthusiasm but he did eat it even if he chose not to take it from me. And after cookies, he followed me to the gate.

When I did bring him in, Nay did pick at dinner, but without his regular enthusiasm. And he felt hot.

That said, I didn’t expect the thermometer to say his temp was 105.4. So I took it twice and got the same result. Immediately I called the vet office and somehow the on call vet got back to me 30 seconds later (new record).

Plan was NSAIDs (banamine or bute) and check temp in an hour for some progress. There was a tiny bit but I moved forward with plan b of an alcohol bath which seemed to really help. Eventually he was down to 103.2 which he stayed at most of the night. After a second dose of banamine, he finally dropped to 102.3 this morning and 101.5 when I turned out.

But seriously? 105.4?! What the hell?

He’s still not feeling 100% and while he attacked breakfast, he didn’t finish. That said, the Cookie Monster has resurfaced… so he’s definitely on the mend. And next year? We’re pre-treating with banamine before fall vaccines!

Big Kid Jumps

Well, not quite.

Still, Nay Nay is really starting to get it. When we first introduced jumps, I really questioned whether Nay was going to be a hunter. I thought we might have to take up low level dressage.

You see, he sort of freaked himself out and crashed into the jumps, they collapsed, and he panicked. I mean, maybe I’m exaggerating? But not entirely. He was OK with poles or cross rails, but more that that? He could quite get it. We had a pretty bad lesson where he felt overfaced and… After that we took it back, but… Now, we didn’t ask him to do one thing that he couldn’t walk over, but still…

Always happy, even with vitamin e on his face

After Nay’s time off for ulcers, we eventually reintroduced some jumps. We had a REALLY good lesson where he did great (he loves this plank fence that’s both inside and out) and did great with flowers. But, the next ride? He felt a bit overfaced and all my uncertainty came back (which didn’t help him). So, we took it back to cross rails and he did great. Confident and fabulous. Plan was just jump cross rails until he was 100%.

Happy ears

At some point, we started adding back solid fences. It was hit or miss. Not crashing miss, but hesitation miss. But, we always got over it. Then, when I rode on my own, I started walking him over stuff before I got as I set stuff up. Somehow, whenever my trainer tried to walk him over he’d nope out of it, but me? he’d happily follow me anywhere. We started walking over flowers, and boxes, and gates, and all of the above combined. Jumps got wider (I started struggling to get over… LOL). Nay didn’t care. We’d get on and walk up and over. Then I’d point Nay to them and instead of walking over? He’d pick up the trot and trot himself over. Hesitation just… gone. After the trot, he’d start dragging me to his fences because jumping evidently is fun.

This weekend the weather was gross so we spent Saturday in the indoor with his “older” girlfriend Fiona. Since everyone has been outside as of late, the footing was a bit choppy. But, not terrible. We stuck to 2 singles (nothing huge) and eventually strung them together at the canter, cantering 2 fences together for the first time.

Yes, we have our own little cheering squad.

On Sunday, another first! Nay was definitely tired from Saturday so instead of working at the canter, we stuck mainly to the trot (the canter just didn’t feel great with the footing) and strung together a 6 fence course, adding in the outside line to our 2 fences from the day before (we repeated the one and jumped the other both ways).

All in all, 2 successful rides. Nay Nay just continues to gain confidence and impress.

Starting to click.

I’m very behind on blogging. I think I got tired and then decided I didn’t care? I had some good rides and then took most of last week off because work tried to kill me and I gave up and then had a bunch more fabulous rides this past weekend and a lesson this morning. So I guess it’s time I blog? Or not?

The Best Thoroughbreds

A couple of weeks ago, Nay Nay decided that he no longer wanted to jump this one jump he loved. He didn’t want to walk over it or anything. Other stuff? Fine. His favorite jump? Nope. So I just hopped off and walked him over it. He followed me like a puppy. Since then, everything has changed. Before I get on, I decide what jumps I want to work on and we set them to our chosen height and fill (we started by removing flowers, now? we don’t care about the damn flowers) and we just walk over them before I get on. I walk, Nay follows me and all stress is completely gone. It’s like he saw he walk over it and suddenly something clicked and BAM! He realizes that we go over jumps? I don’t know but it’s working. Nerves and hesitation are gone. We’ve added several (5-6 difference fences) difference jumps with boxes and gates to our repertoire now. They’re tiny. Like under 2′, but who cares?

This weekend we strung together several into a mini trot course and mostly I had to work on keeping him trotting in between. He has enthusiasm for the jumps and often will canter out nicely, but the rest of the time? Nay thinks sleep is good. He also gets bored easily and while he’ll put out a good effort once or twice, he’s learned that he can also land in the trot and save calories.

Our right lead is hit and miss. Today we worked less on picking it up (there was a giant truck removing the barn’s manure pile and I was just thrilled that Nay wasn’t bothered by the that) and rather focus on landing the lead from our end jump. He had other ideas… We eventually got there. The thing with the right lead? Once we get it? His right lead canter is SO MUCH NICER AND MORE BALANCED AND EVEN than his left lead. It’s just picking it up that’s an issue. And then he gets stressed out. So… We’re still working on it. I’m going to see about getting some body work done and seeing if that helps.

But we’re getting places. Hopefully I’ll have some folks to ride with this weekend and I’ll have some updated videos. These are from a couple weekends ago and I feel like we’ve progressed so much already. But, media is media. LOL.

He’s turning into something pretty darn special

Going through the motions

Nay Nay and I have had some pretty fantastic rides as of late. I just haven’t really felt like blogging about them. What can I say? I’m lacking media and work is picking up so…blogging is taking a backseat. But, I do want to capture some of what we’ve been doing.

To be honest? It’s not very exciting. We’re in green horse mode. So there is a lot of rinse and repeat going on, and that’s just OK with me. But guys? This horse is quiet these days. The quick and forward and up and down trot I was dealing with a month or 2 ago until we worked through that crap? Completely gone. It’s sort of like he realized this saddle doesn’t hurt and he’s back to being quiet and light and not draggy Nay Nay.

Lawn mower

That’s not to say that things are perfect. That right lead is a work in progress. Bending to the right is looking really nice at the trot and we hold the bend nicely at the canter once we get the lead. It’s just picking it up. Building muscle is hard and Nay Nay has some muscle imbalance going on in his back. We’re going to test a few things to make sure that pain isn’t an issue, but, we’re suspect that if pain is involved, it’s pain from weakness vs pain from injury. So, once he builds that muscle? Picking up that canter shouldn’t be an issue. It’s not so much that he can’t, but rather some anxiety that it could be hard or might hurt. Once he gets it? Ears go forward and he’s 100% on board and OK, just significantly weaker.

We’ve played around with a little jumping work too. He’s a couple of lessons ago he jumped a gate for the first time. We practiced that for a few rides in which he then decided said gate did not need to be trotted but instead should be galloped. But, despite some enthusiasm, we maintained an acceptable pace without pulling. He also jumped a cross rail with a flower box this weekend just because. He didn’t care for it one direction (we took it as a 3ft fence), but happily trotted in the other way because???

In our lesson today, we worked on a circle over a tiny plank. We’ve worked on this on our own several times, but it was nice to tackle it in a lesson. The the left, we just trotted it several times as I stayed out of Nay’s way. To the right? Same thing until he landed on the right lead. At that point? We let him hold the canter and canter into the jump. I think we held the right lead 2 or 3 times before landing wrong. Our homework? Continue this exercise as the circle will help him build the muscle. If he lands wrong, start back at the trot.

I did have a chat with my trainer as sometimes I feel completely out of place among the $$$ warmbloods and all that. But, she reminded me that everyone has different goals and this used to be what she did all day every day. Green horses and ponies. It was only recently that she ended up with a barn full of AA hunters. I’m having fun, enjoying the journey, learning each ride (as is Nay right now), and it’s OK to have different goals. And, riding and training isn’t linear. We have good days and bad days. We improve and improve and then suddenly everything goes wrong and you suck as a rider, but then you progress faster and improve more before you plummet again. Regardless, right now, I’m happy where I’m at. Of course, I’ll be happier when that right lead is consistent!

The tale of the missing right lead (and brotherly bickering)

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“What? You FOUND it?” says Nay Nay.

Welp, that missing right lead. It’s a bugger and really doesn’t want to be found.

BUT, we did find it so I know it DOES exist!

For more details, please read on.

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“I would NEVER lose my right lead,” says Subi.

I was scheduled to ride yesterday in the late afternoon. After all, when I signed up for a lesson last week, I picked a day when it was cooler. Except, the “cold front’ never happened and the end of the week brought temps in the 90s with high humidity vs the low 80s that we were promised. Fail. So, early that morning, I was asked if I could ride earlier and I jumped through hoops to make it work with my schedule.

Due to the heat and a very hard ride the night before (someone had way too much energy), I had a pretty quiet pony in hand. We skipped the longeing and just tried to make it work. Walk and trot? SUCH a good boy. We actually had some bending to the right so the in hand work (both at home and pre-rides) is starting to pay off. And, I think Nay Nay is also starting to accept his d-ring bit.

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“So much work, so little food. You’re telling me I have to share?”

After chatting a little about the canter (sans advice, just me saying it’s been missing since before the 4th of July), I was told to trot a really large circle and ask for it in the corner so that my trainer could watch both of us. Yep, fail. Then the advice started. Lots of inside rein, inside leg, shortening my inside rein, not asking until his nose was turned in… Still not happening. So out came the crop. Using the crop and inside rein and inside leg, and a whole hell of a lot of persistence and circles (and falls starts), I finally got the canter. The trick was truly getting him off that inside shoulder, getting (and keeping!) the bend, and picking up the canter while his weight was in the right place. It was tough but doable. We cantered on the right lead a good 3+ times around the ring for good measure at a nice, forward pace. Once he had the canter? It felt good. But, right now picking it up is HARD so why bother? — Nay Nay.

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“Yes, how else am I going to keep my new figure? My belly sways when I walk.”

We moved on to the left lead and did a little work there. That lead is easy and we were able to do some circle work. Even with my crappy late steering, we still were able to hold the canter for a nice tight circle. Nay Nay is just that much stronger right now.

To end, we returned to the right lead, now with a tired horse. This time it was both harder and easier. Nay Nay said NO several times. It’s hard, but he knew what I wanted. The problem? He was tired. The time he tried some rein snatching from my hand. We had better bend from the start, but the new ploy was bend, slow way down, snatch, and drop. So, I got a bit angry. A little crop behind the leg (he decided that leg/kicks no longer mean go when he’s tired) and suddenly (well, after a couple instances)? We had a right lead canter. It did help that he rocked back onto his hind end which stopped the drop/drop, but nonetheless…

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“This sharing thing sucks! And why do we have to wear these ridiculous looking fly masks anyway? They’re not much fun for me! I liked the other ones that I got to put in my mouth and pull until I could hear that velcro go…”

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“Get over it Nay Nay! I was here first! I LIKE wearing a fly mask (and you seem to as well since your stays on most of the time… We have to wear these bug masks because these are the only ones you haven’t learned how to take off me yet!”

So, we have our work cut out for us. Each time he picked up the lead correctly, Nay Nay got all the praise in the world. After the first right lead canter, suddenly Nay Nay moved right off my leg, so with some consistency, I think we’ll be there. It may just take a little time.