The title for this post could also be stranger than fiction. Already used that, though. I am wondering if this is now just to be the new normal.
Today was another head tilt day with Sunshine. I went out in the field to get him, and he was standing at alert, staring at who knows what off in the distance. He took a couple steps toward me, and put his nose in the halter, and also tried to bite it and me. This is becoming a little more of what I am considering the new normal, even though it’s not my favorite way for things to be. I have learned a lot about starting where you are and not where you wish you were. This seems to be another one of those examples.
Sunshine and I made it into the arena without any side adventures. This surprised me a little, and I was very glad at the same time. Once we got into the arena, Sunshine had to throw himself on the ground and roll. There was a deliberateness, or a determination to his movements. When he got up, he started pawing. With a deliberate intensity. I just watched.
Sunshine laid down and rolled again, and this time when he got up there was a little bit of a buck in his rise to his feet. I figured it would be a good opportunity to remove the halter, and let him move around the arena unattached and on his own.
He let me know that this was not the good fit idea for the day. He let me know this by trying to bite me with much more purpose then before. Instead of proceeding with my previous plan, I decided to let him move around the arena while he was still attached. This is what he was telling me, so I chose to listen.
The diamond in working with him today, was the shape of his body as we made circles and shapes in the arena. Both at walk and trot his head was either bent in the direction that I was, or in neutral. Generally, his head is tipped so his nose is pointing away from the center of the circle. Today was a different story.
I tried best that I could, to keep slack in the rope and keep him moving in a way that if I were riding him I would have considered him in front of my leg. Not sure exactly why this was working, but it was a pretty cool thing to witness. Whenever I would let my life die down, and allow Sunshine to stop, he would come right up next to me in those places that would make his tail swish before. Today, there was no tail swish. There was however, more attempts to put his teeth on me. His actions were half-hearted attempts at biting, and I just kept myself away from his teeth as best I could, and let him position himself where he needed to be.
When it felt like it was enough for one day, and I managed not to get bitten!, I let him out of the arena. I walked with gentle determination to the field gate. I led him in the first gate, and then shut it behind us. The second gate I led him up to, and managed to slip the halter off his head without getting bitten. Then I opened the gate and invited him through. He came through politely, and stopped to hang out a bit. I slowly raised my hand to pet him, and watched his reaction. The pre-biting look was in his eye. I put my hand back down. Sunshine lowered his head a little, and watched me. As we stood there, he gave some long, slow blinks and yawned several times. I left him to his releasing without trying to pet him anymore. I am very curious to see what happens next!