High humidity and temperatures. Everything has ground to a halt! The humidex has been above 40 for several days and will continue (according to the forecast) for three more days. It’s tough to garden in these conditions. Tough to work with horses any time after 11:00 in the morning. Turns out I’m constantly tending to them…checking to see if they’re OK; if they need to be brought in from the paddock; if they need a bath; if the bugs are driving them crazy… What was a part-time job is now FULL-time!!!

However, I have accomplished something. Zelador will now lie down on cue at a specific spot. In the past he’d lie down the first time I asked (he was lying down sort of for me, but mainly for himself). The second time I asked him to lie down it would take several minutes for him to find exactly the right spot to do it. Now I have a “marker” (a bed sheet) that I place on the ground. I ask him to kneel (I’m on his right side and I tap his forelegs), he kneels. I then tap his barrel (I can tap the side near me or the far side) and he lies down. What a BOY!!!!

The reason I’m on his right side is: I cue the bow when I’m on his left side. I need both front legs to bend for the lie down.

The interesting thing is I’ve only asked him to kneel about three times in his life. The last time I asked was years ago and Zelador had no problem remembering the cue and performing the movement.

Since it’s SO hot I’ve been playing around with a walk routine with Zelador, both under saddle and at liberty. While riding I love working with the song, “Ho, Hey” by the Illumineers. Yesterday Zelador and I filled up the 2:00 minutes of “Ho! Hey!” with pirouettes under the garracho pole, then side stepping over the pole on the ground and the tunnel. Next section was placing his front hooves in a hula-hoop and doing a turn on the forehand. We finish with me tossing hoops onto a cone with ever-increasing distance between me and the cone. I’m sure the routine will change…probably a lot, but for now we’re enjoying playing games at 40 plus humidex!

At liberty our music is “Stand by Me” by Ben E. King. The liberty pattern is: walk parallel to the arena wall (about three metres from it), leg yield to the wall. Walk along the wall, do a shoulder-in, volte, return to the wall, walk, halt, back up. We leave the wall and do the same pattern on the other side. To help Zelador I started the pattern under saddle. The next step was walking beside him with his bridle on, using the reins to direct him when he needed help. The final step is at liberty with a wand to help guide his hind legs. It’s an interesting journey!!!!

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