First I want to make some changes to the last post. I'm not going to be a bitch, but I will be firm. I am probably soft with Fox but if I get too hard, he is going to fight. Definitely not what I want.
So, I will be firmer, but not too firm unless Fox goes way over and does something like try and kick me again.
Fox has been back in work for three weeks now. The first week was just handwalking for 20mins three times a week. During the handwalking we worked on his responsiveness to whoa and go and stand which doesn't work so well yet.
Second week I rode once, went for one handwalk and did one session of groundwork. The first ride back was fantastic, I'd forgotten how much I missed it. Fox was an angel, responsive listening, no rushing. He was however a total prick when I was saddling up. He started threatening kicks and tossing his head and evading. Next time I groomed him I carried my dressage whip and every time he lifted his back leg, he got a flick. Not a hard one but enough to know it was there. He stopped very quickly and then stood nice and still. The groundwork is going well too. And after a session, Fox is much better with his feet.
I think when I found out he may be sore, I gave him a lot more slack than I should have and he took full advantage of that. Now I know he isn't, he's got no excuse.
This week so far we have done one ground work session and one ride. The groundwork is getting better and better. He will move back, forward and sideways with only a small amount of pressure. He will also drop his head with poll pressure which is awesome as he normally hates this. Doing the 'Friendly game' we also discovered that he LOVES his ears being rubbed. His eyes rolled up and he stretched his neck out, it was so cute. He will also follow me, which he has never done before.
The ride was ok, lots of rushing at the trot and falling in especially on his right rein. We did have a good canter around the outside of the arena. Fox is feeling good!! I was riding with no stirrups and was sore for two days afterwards LOL. But good for me.
I probably won't get much more work in this week as the weather has packed in and it is freezing!! Fox has his winter cover on again. I had even put a salt block out which is now half dissolved.
The key thing I need to work on with Fox is his basic responses. Go, stop, left and right so I will be working on those before we start real schooling.
We also really need to go on a nice long hack and do some exploring. Hopefully we'll be able to find a place that Fox can have a bit of a blowout. He needs a good run.
Working with clear goals in mind is definitely improving our relationship. Instead of just riding, I'm working towards something. Everything I do around Fox now, has purpose. I'm more aware of every action I do and every reaction from Fox.
We are also on the hunt for a proper barefoot trimmer. Fox has been without shoes for over a year now but the guy doing them is a farrier as apposed to a trimmer and maybe hasn't been doing the best job. It'll be interesting to see what happens with that!