Sometimes when you sit in one position too long your foot or leg or hip goes to sleep and when it "wakes" up there is an incredible tingly, almost itchy feeling.
My legs, my arms, my hands, my seat are all tingly and itchy with this intense desire and need to be in the saddle. Gabe, of course, could really care less whether I ride or not, as long as I visit him every day with peppermints and plenty of good scratching.
Actually, that might not be entirely true. When I walk out to his paddock with halter in hand he's never walked away...he always comes to me, even after watching me get out all my riding gear and put it near the hitching post. I think he enjoys our rides as much as I do.
I have also come to the conclusion that there is a rather large hole in our training that I need to fix ASAP, a problem I CAN fix on the ground (in the mud, rather) while I'm waiting for my marshy swampland to dry suitably enough for riding.
Gabe doesn't get the "move away from pressure when I tap you" concept. Yesterday I was cleaning his run-in and of course he had to be right there, head hanging over my shoulder, grabbing the manure fork and trying to wrest it from my hands or stealing my coat from his feed tub so I'd have to chase him to retrieve it.
He started getting on my nerves because he just wouldn't move enough out of the way for me to chuck the scoopful of bedding and poo out of his shed without making some rather interesting contortions while lugging 200 pounds of poo and pee-soaked shavings.
I pushed him and told him over. Nothing.
I did it again, using two fingers stiff against his side and told him over. Nothing.
I poked him in the side with the butt end of the manure fork and told him "over."
No response. I did it again. Poke.
Still nothing. He turned his head and gave me that "have you lost your bloody mind?" look and relaxed a hip.
Poke. Poke. Poke. Poke. Poke. Poke. Poke. Poke. Steady. Repetitive, hopefully annoying enough to get some response from him.
Well, he flinched a bit with each poke and leaned into the end of the manure fork instead of away from the poking. I couldn't decide if he was being a stubborn oaf or truly not understanding what I was trying to communicate.
And I started thinking. When he's tied up I have a similar issue. He doesn't move over with a slight touch of my fingers, as he should. I have to put a shoulder into him and move him over.
This is not a good thing. This is a serious, serious oversight on my part. This lack of understanding to move away from pressure is going to put a serious crimp in any further training, and, it also explains why our leg yields, TOFs, and TOHs suck royally.
I felt like poking myself repeatedly with the manure fork to get it through MY head that I'm a great big dunce. Duh.
This is basic training stuff. How could I have overlooked it? I have a few ideas about how/why I overlooked this basic training concept, and most have to do with some other more serious issues I was dealing with such as the rearing and running backwards problem we had in the beginning as well as the spook, spin and gallop sideways for no apparent reason issue I had to deal with quick and in a hurry.
I guess we'll be taking a few great big steps backwards to fix the hole before we can start moving forwards again. Gabe is just smart enough that I don't think it will take too terribly long to get him where he should be so we can get back on track again. I need to also re-evaluate everything to be sure I haven't inadvertently left another hole somewhere along the line.
Good thing my mind kicked into gear now and made this realization before we got much further along, which could have made going backwards to fix it a more difficult issue.