Day 4 was a struggle for me. I’m tired so I’ll keep this short and sweet, but I wanted to document it because disappointment and doubt are part of the process as well. I started the day a bit shaky — our morning circle brought up some emotion which I was probably still processing when we got down to the paddock for our training session, and I just couldn’t connect with Mirror. Perhaps her energy was more disorganized because mine was too, but working the reverse round pen wasn’t great — she kept wandering off disinterested and/or charging away with ears pinned at Calibri, the horse in the next pen to her while I just stood there and waited for her to come back to me (which did happen, albeit slowly and without a lot of enthusiasm). Overall, it was a big disappointing step back. We did a few things: targeting the buoy and the mat, sending to the cone, working on the back up, treat receiving mode, leading past the challenging part of the circle using the buoy and a higher rate of reinforcement, which kind of worked (in one direction, anyway). No start button and pets today — we just didn’t get there.
My second session with Mirror was worse than the first, unlike the past two days in which the morning sessions were a bit challenging/frenetic and the afternoons a little more relaxed. She was bitey and flighty, and we got nowhere so fast that Maddy suggested cutting it short, to my great relief. So I got to spend more time watching the others with their horses, which was really cool because there were a few breakthroughs and overall a solid steady progression in all the horses. Maddy worked with Mirror at the end of the day to get a feel for what was going on with her, and halfway through the session Mirror spit out a tooth (she’s 3 and I guess that’s about the time they lose their baby teeth), so that was a bit surprising and interesting and kind of funny. I’m not sure how much it explains the regression today, but we’ll see tomorrow, I guess.
And now for dinner and bed and hopefully a clean slate to start the day tomorrow on a better foot. I’m really grateful for the good vibes I got from the group to keep me going today, and also for the jet-powered hot showers I’m getting to take at the end of every day. After two months living in a trailer, my deep appreciation for a long, hot shower grows daily. Making the most of all the awesomeness here <3.