I'm doing better, but still not 100%. After talking with my Grandma on Friday, and promising her to take it easy, I just did some ground work and other stuff with Diego this weekend. Friday I had a pony torture session and dug out an old tarp and tied that to the side of Diego's corral. It was quite frightening at first (it was breezy too so it was flapping) and much snorting and big eyeballs were involved. AJ happened to be home between jobs so was up there with me. We both worked with Diego alternately, working on leading him with no halter (hand under his chin), moving him via body language (he's good at this) and doing a trust exercise where you cover his eyes with your hands for a little while until he relaxes and lowers his head. After doing all that stuff, we walked down to check out something in the camper, and Diego walked over and investigated the tarp all on his own. =) Good boy. He actually seemed to be having fun with it, tugging and pulling on it with his teeth.
I found a blue foam pool noodle in the camper so that was the next torture device. Although it was quite exciting when I was first walking around with it, he soon didn't care while I was tapping and rubbing him with it all over. AJ and I both were cracking up at him curling his lip up and showing off his teeth after trying to bite it a few times. Soon I could tap and rub him everywhere, between his legs, back, butt, belly, and head. No issues. I left him the noodle for a bit and he bit it and seemed to have fun wiggling it around. I was wishing I had the camera (perhaps I can get some pictures later).
I've left the tarp up there all weekend. Yesterday I caught him playing by going over to the tarp, biting it and flapping his head around, and then tearing off bucking and jumping across the corral, only to run back over to the tarp and terrorize it again. Funny boy!
It's Monday night now and I'm feeling pretty good, so hopefully will be back in the saddle this Friday and Saturday. I found a pretty cool site last Friday, www.horseflix.com, it's like a NetFlix for horse training and riding DVD's. I also checked out a John Lyons book at the library and have been watching some more of the Clinton Anderson stuff on RFD-TV. Lots of good ideas and its good to know that I'm currently "on track" with stuff. One interesting thing was that John Lyons is a REALLY big advocate of getting the horses out on the trail very early on in their training. I'm just worried that Diego's going to bolt off for some reason (not that he's ever done that in the arena), so I'm still a bit leery of riding him "out" a whole lot. But I do need to start getting him out in other non-familiar environments, so perhaps will go to a different arena this weekend, or maybe get a short little trail ride in. I'm still torn between using the sidepull or the snaffle. He responds really, really good to his sidepull, but I worry that it might not be "enough" if push ever came to shove. On the other hand, he had a total snit fit the last time I tried to one-rein him in a snaffle, so I probably am better off in the halter. Decisions, decisions...
The Nevada Derby ride is a two-day NASTR-hosted endurance ride this weekend. I may go volunteer one day, I'll have to play it by ear and see how I'm feeling. I don't want to set myself back again. I feel like I should be there since I'm a club member and it is a local ride (about a 45 minute drive from me). We'll see.