So today we did that.
I won't say that we picked up right where we left off, but seriously, for a horse that has not been ridden but maybe 2 or 3 times in 2 years...I am highly impressed with this little lady. I even made her wear her snaffle today, something she has only done maybe 10 times in her whole life. She did not love it, but she wasn't bad about it either.
I did give her some bute this morning, and next time I will actually dose her the night before and the morning of, because I think she could have used just a touch more in her system. Then I also booted her. Another thing I will do next time is cut a new set of pads and use those only for riding. She did limp some, but I decided to just push her through it. Here is what I noticed.
Although to the left it never went away, it did to the right (I think) and it definitely got better the longer we worked. So with that in mind I think this light exercise is going to be the best thing for her.
I ground worked her first, reminded her how to move her body parts from the ground, how to follow my cues, and really she remembers it all. I have done so little with her (I know, bad horse owner) other than lead her around or ask her to do a few circles in the round pen, I really didn't know how she was going to do. I can move her shoulder with a push of my hand in the air, I can move her hip by just focusing and pushing my energy that direction, I can back her up by standing in front and using the slightest of body language. I can control her speed around the round pen by simply raising or lowering my energy and if I shut off my energy, she stops...like right now stops. I never have to touch her once.
My friend Jay taught her all of that. Then taught me how to do it too. He learned it from Dennis Reis. Not everyone agrees with Dennis's theory that if you cannot ride them from the ground, you cannot ride on their backs. But I think there is a certain amount of truth behind it. The problems I have with Trax on the ground, are the same problems I have on his back. Sassy's strong points on the ground are also her strong points when I ride her...and she has a lot of strong points.
So I got on her. I took it slow of course, leaned over first, wiggled around some, rubbed my hands on her butt. She was fine, totally relaxed so I started over and mounted up. Asked for the lateral flex just to see where she was at. Light as a feather. Almost too light. She likes to bring her head all the way to my toe, which I know is wrong, but hey, who's complaining? Not me!
I asked for forward, she walked right out, we went a round a few times then I quit riding and said "whoa". She stopped instantly. I love this horse. I asked for forward again, we did a lot of that. Forward, a couple of laps, stop riding. I don't even have to say whoa, I just have to stop riding. No reins needed for that command. How cool is that?
We worked on turns and we did some backing up. She was a little sticky on the backing up, in fact at first she fought it. But I didn't push and I didn't get big with her, I just waited it out and the second she shifted her weight back, I released. Pretty soon I got a step, and another and then another. Then I asked for forward again. Sometimes she got a little confused as to whether she should go forward or back, but I helped her out of those times by simply touching her neck and she immediately would take a step forward. Using that and my body position she soon had it all figured out.
We did trot just a little, mostly to the right because it is harder on her with the left on the inside, and she was fine mentally. I could have loped her I am sure, but am trying not to over do her physically.
We also just worked on a tiny bit of collection. All I did was ask her to go forward, and set my hands. When she gave to the pressure I released and gave her lots of praise. There was some head flinging going on, and some other antics but I kept with it until her first choice was to give to me, and once she did that 3 times, we quit there.
I tried really hard to keep everything as soft and as slight on her as I could. My cues were small and I waited for her to get it. I am doing everything I can to keep her from turning into a hard horse like Trax.
Lets face, I'm no trainer, but I am figuring some things out as I go and I have had, and still have, some great guidance from some folks who do know. I know what I don't want her to be, and I think that really is making a big difference in how I do things with her. It helped that Jay put such a good start on her, but then he always told me that she was one of the easiest youngsters he ever worked with. He always said that her biggest hole was her lack of confidence, but I don't know that she still has that. She is a big girl now, and seems to be ready to go out and see the world. I will put a few more rides on her in the round pen and then we will move on to the arena.
I think I should probably also mention that the entire time I was working her the construction crew was over there with an air powered nail gun, and skill saws, and banging on metal and just making all kinds of ruckus. I won't say she never reacted, but no more than an occasional flinch. She is a good good girl!
|Looking quite pretty with her newly cut bridle path|
|"I am a good girl"|