On Tuesday I spent two hours at the barn - a half hour lunging, an hour riding, and a half hour working with a feed bag.
Walker was pretty calm on the lunge line which I took as a good sign. Consistent work is always a blessing.
My ride was not so good. I got all caught up in the good thing I had going in my last ride and tried to push it too far. Lately I've been noticing that his right lead canter simply isn't up to snuff - like there's a weakness there. I kept trying to get him to push through it, so he became vocal (i.e. he threw a couple well placed bucks). I was also trying to get him to put his head up so totally my fault - trying to work on too many things at one time and also pushing too hard. I can always count on Walker to let me know when he's not cool with what we're doing.
After that, I worked with the feed bag. One of the girls at the barn was trying to get the horse she was riding to walk over a feed bag as part of the desensitization training they do in the Program. Since Walker's only fear is bags, I decided that it probably couldn't hurt to finally introduce the concept to him. I know, I know. I've been lazy. And avoiding it.
I was actually quite proud of him in one regard. We managed to have our entire ride in the arena while this girl flipped this bag through the air and while her horse freaked out over it. Luckily, the sound wasn't that audible and Walker doesn't really feed off the fear of other animals. For a brief second I thought that maybe he wouldn't be afraid of the bag when I got it out, but nope. He was not impressed.
We started out with him not wanting to be within 10 feet of it, but by the end of the half hour, I got him to stand at the edge of it and sometimes step on the corners by accident. I consider this a win.
Meanwhile, the other girl spent an hour and a half working on this. I kid you not. I applaud her determination, but there comes a point when you need to give in. That horse was not going over that bag. I told her to quit while she was ahead, but she was of the mind that she was not "ahead" since she had gotten the horse over the bag every day this week.
She told me that she's a firm believer in the adage that most people quit just as they're about to succeed. I disagree - at least in this circumstance. There comes a point where you do more harm than good, at least in my lowly opinion. And as a person with my own phobia (needles - let that be the last time that word is ever spoken on this blog), I told her straight up that if she had put me through that, she would have only made things worse.
But to each their own. I guess you have to know the horse you're dealing with. If there's one thing I do not do, it's judge other horse people. Of course, I have no problem with judging idiot non-equestrians :)