Monday, December 14, 2009

Everyone Should Go Camping With Their Horse!!

Renegade and I went camping last weekend with some other members of our OPP Play Group and had a fantastic time. There is something about spending a whole weekend with your horse that changes your relationship. It's a real bonding experience.

We arrived Friday about noon time and got our horses comfortable in their living arrangements. Renegade and Cayenne bunked together in a large paddock and they really bonded and got along well. Renegade was his usual "play with me, pllleeeassseee" self and Cayenne was long suffering target of his play attempts. Cayenne was a good sport about the whole thing and it seemed they enjoyed their play sessions together. It was fun to watch Renegade not give up his zone 1 but was happy to move his zone 5 while driving Cayenne around him in a circle. Hummmmm...this is a game he tries to play with me often but I generally "win" this one!! Cayenne was not faring as well LOL!!

After settling the horses, it was time to pitch the tent which I hadn't done in a while so had to figure out which tent stakes went where. It only took three of us to get it figured out!! Finally the tent was up, beds were set up, and it was time to go play.

We went to the arena where Tinker had set up all the obstacles Bess Wall had so generously loaned us for our play weekend. I must say there was an interesting assortment of obstacles and many ways to use them. We played out there for about 3 hours both online and at liberty and had fun, fun, fun. We gave the horses a drink of water, some hay, and a little rest and got everything ready for supper. After we ate, it was time for undemanding time with our horses letting them graze and just hang out with us for a while. When we put them up for the night we watched some of the new Level 3 DVD's and then it was time for bed.

Up early Saturday and took care of horses needs, had a quick breakfast and some coffee then out to play again in the arena with the obstacles. This time I played online, at liberty, and freestyle. We had fun and Renegade was so connected with me - it was a fantastic feeling! We did some FTR with minimal corrections, cs riding, follow my focus, "don't make me pick up the reins", go and whoa buttons. I loved the fact Renegade was focused on me and not the other horses in the arena!! started raining, lightly at first then harder but we all stayed out and played in the rain like a bunch of kids. Didn't care that we got wet, muddy, and cold - we were having fun. Eventually it started raining hard enough to be uncomfortable so we called it quits for a while and it's a good thing we did cause the tent sprung a leak and the beds got wet. We had to put a tarp over the tent and dry things up a bit. Then we retreated to the barn where it was dry and gathered to watch more DVD's. Then more undemanding time with our horses before dinner. After dinner I wrote in my journal and we watched more DVD's and had some discussions about where we are with our horses, where we want to go, how we might get there, what we've learned lately, etc. Then it was off to bed - it was only slightly damp but I was soooo tired I didn't care and slept well.

Too soon it was Sunday morning and that meant only a few more hours to play then had to pack up and head home. Fed the horses, grabbed a quick breakfast, tore down the tent and packed everything up while the horses ate then went to play. Some of the group went for a trail ride to the land bridge, others went for a trail walk and found water obstacles to play with and deer tracks to investigate.

All too soon it was time to say goodby, load up our horses and make the trip back home. The weekend seemed to go by sooo quickly - we were just getting started and it was time to head home!!

When we arrived home, I opened the trailer door and asked Renegade to wait until I asked him out. He came off the trailer at liberty, softly and easily and promptly walked off. I thought "oh no, what have I done this weekend that offended him that he didn't want to be with me"? He answered my question when he took a pee then came right over to me. Guess he was being considerate to move off to pee!! We walked together to the pasture and he rolled at the gate, a favorite sandy spot. We went together to the water and he got a drink then off to the hay pile he went.

I bought a new Cradle Bridle and had wanted to try it during the camping weekend but was so occupied with everything that I never got around to it. I did introduce the Cradle to Renegade Monday night during our online and freestyle session but that's a story for another blog post.

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