Wow, it has been a long time since I posted. A lot has happened since then. From October-December I had three funerals to go to - not pleasant. So I took a bit of a break from riding and, obviously, from posting on the blog!
Let's see - after our cow-working clinic I sent Mac out for a couple weeks of training while I went on vacation. When I got back from vacation, I only got a couple days to ride him before I went out of town for the second of three funeral services. He felt great, nice and supple and forward. He also seemed to gain a bit of patience while out for training as well, as he stood tied very well and, well, just seemed more patient!
When I got back from vacation we had a lot of rain and mud so I couldn't ride for a couple weeks. It wasn't until last week that I was able to swing a leg over. So basically, Mac has been out of regular work since before Thanksgiving. I think he thought he was retired or something! The first couple of rides last week weren't pretty - he was fairly resistant. My friend had given me a lunging cavesson for Xmas, so I put that on and put him on the line with side reins and let him fight it out with himself and he was much improved. He is definitely a horse who needs regular work to keep his "work ethic."
Yesterday I took him on a trail ride and went somewhere we hadn't been since at least the summer. It was a cold day and so I wore the quarter sheet blanket over his butt and my legs to keep us warm. We had a wonderful training opportunity on the ride. At one point we came to a line of sandbags put on the trail to divert water and Mac didn't like the looks of them. He stopped to stare, then turned to go the other way, then I turned him back and we walked forward. Bit by bit he got up to the sandbags and when he reached down to sniff them I rewarded him with a cookie. Then it was game on! He really responds to treats in situations like that so when he walked over then he got another cookie. As we turned to go down the trail (looping back toward home) I could see ahead on the trail at least four more lines of sandbags - great! Mac marched toward them, brave and bold and confident. Of course the cookie bribery didn't hurt! It was nice to get out for a couple-hour ride.