July 27, 2010

September 24, 2006
I took Nova to his very first clinic today, and he was utterly amazing.

The poor guy was picked up at 7:00am from my aunt's with Su and Kaila, then brought home, where we unloaded the two girls, then shut the door and immediately hauled him over to Sandy's (the lady who's place he was boarded at when I bought him). He did rock the trailer once he realized he was stuck in it by himself, but Mom said he settled down and travelled really well. I am happy that it was only a 15 minute drive over. We unload him at Sandy's, and he was a wee bit stressed, and gawked around. Sandy suggested we put him in one of her smaller pens that is attached to a stall in her barn. He was very excited and did lots of talking and looking. I didn't do anything with him in the morning, so he got to just chill out in the pen and snack on hay and cubes.

After lunch we went and worked in the arena on some in-hand trail obstacles. Oh my, I was so proud of Nova! He took to everything I showed him like an old pro. Here are some of what we did:
  • He walked across the big wood board on the ground
  • He walked through the L (we did back through part of it, which he wasn't so keen on... But he's a bit rusty with the whole 'backing up' concept)
  • The cavelletti we walked over (didn't trot them though)
  • Did some figure-8's around tires (do have to work on having him move his shoulder away from me when we're turning)
  • There were four sort of stations: one with part of a garden hose (which he could have cared less about), one with a kids winter jacket (which he didn't care about either, I put it right on his neck, and pulled it over his head), a lariat that I rubbed him all over with and smacked the post to make it make noise, and a grain sack with some seed in it, which he wanted to eat.
  • There weresome poles on the ground to walk over, and he was pretty careful about stepping over them.
  • And the box that he had to turn around in, which could have been better, though he didn't step out of it (mostly because he's small enough still).
  • And the thing I'm so mostly proud of him for is the tarp that was on the ground. They put poles along it, and then some sand and branches. He sniffed at it, then stepped right across. We even went the long way down it (it was actually pretty narrow and long) and he was awesome!!

I was so happy with how he just took to everything with barely a glance. Dawn (the clinician) was pleased with how well and quiet he was about everything. It was a nice surprise how well he did as he has not been handled a lot lately. I could tell where he was rusty on some things, but that is to be expected.

Once everyone had worked through the stuff, we actually moved back down to the round pen so she could work with the rest of the horses. While we were waiting for our turn, I was sitting on the fence holding him, and he actually almost took a nap standing there. He cocked a leg, and just chilled. I had her work with Nova just to get him to lunge. She's really good with the horses, so I was comfortable with her working with him. He picked it up pretty quickly (which made me proud), and she even had me get in there and do a bit with him. So now I know that he gets the concept, and I can work with him down at our arena. As he was going around, I did get a few compliments (there weren't that many people watching at that time) about how cute he is, and how he was going so well. Dawn said I'm going to have fun with him (not in a bad way!) and he's going to be a hoot.

So, I had a wonderful day at the clinic, and to top it off, Nova did load fairly well to come home. He wasn't all that happy about it, and was screaming his head off, but he did get in - and when he decided to get in, he just stepped right up and in without a second thought like he seems to be doing.

It may have been a bit of sensory overload today, but he took everything like a pro! When I go to show him, he's going to be just great. I can't wait!

Perhaps he's a keeper? Yes, I think so!

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