Thursday, February 2, 2012

Day 7

Today was a pretty good day. I switched things up and worked on ground work in the morning and under saddle in the afternoon. This morning I worked a lot on leading. I want my horses to be comfortable with me on both sides, so that means being able to lead from both sides. She is comfortable with me on the left, but needs some work when I am on her right side. We were able to overcome her nervousness, but not after some serious discussions about her position. Once she figures out where I want her to be she is golden, but often times when I make a small correction she tends to over react. I really have to think about how I am correcting her so that she learns not to over react. I also worked on leading her over the bridge instead of sending her like in the video from yesterday. She did okay but sometimes she decides to be opinionated and refuse to move forward with me and we need to go back and revisit what it means to move forward when I say so. I kept the morning session pretty short and left her to eat her breakfast.

The afternoon session was pretty cool. I saddled her up. She didn't move an inch as I saddled her so I didn't need to send her away at all. Once she was saddled I longed her for a bit and then stepped in the stirrup a few times before mounting. Once I was mounted I asked her for some movement. She did okay. She was a little unsure of my leg, but did not over react. I don't like to pull on them for the first few rides because I want them to move forward freely and they can't if you pull on them. However, Oakley wanted to walk around with her nose to the ground and I wasn't about to let her drop down and roll with me on her (ahem... Remington) so I kept pulling her head up. I kept it short, about 5 minutes and hopped off. She didn't move a muscle on the dismount so I was happy with that. I unsaddled her and decided to be brave. I led her out of the arena... and then out of the barn! We took our first walk together outside of an enclosed area. She looked around a lot. My intentions were to get her across the driveway to the large pasture and work her a little in that very open but still enclosed space. We made it to about 20 feet in front of the pasture gate when she decided to make a break for it. I'm not sure if she spooked or if she just wanted to test her boundaries. I was able to keep her facing me as she tried to bolt sideways. She was on the grass when her spook started and she took 3 big leaps sideways. I went with her, pulling her head around each time. I knew if she hit the blacktop she would end up slipping. It would not be the first time I've seen a fast moving horse go down on blacktop. As soon as her feet hit the blacktop (hind feet first) she slipped, but she did not go down. She was quick to realize her footing was not in her favor and she came to a halt to think things through! I was happy she has the brains to realize when she is in a dangerous situation and to be smart enough to stop moving on bad footing. I gathered my slack and walked up to her to rub her. She then calmly followed me back across the driveway to where she had originally bolted. We made it into the large pasture safely and I was able to lead her and longeher without anymore bolting or spooking. That made me really happy. She did look around a lot but I was able to keep her attention on me when I needed to.

I kept her out for about 10 minutes and then decided to head back. Things went well on the way back until we got to the barn doorway. She wasn't ready to give up her freedom yet. So I waited with a taught rope until she decided that being pulled on was not as fun as moving forward when asked. I put her away in her stall with some hay and she got right down to eating. I am glad her appetite appears to be improving.

Sorry I don't have photos today. Tomorrow my friend is coming out to help get Oakley used to more people, so maybe I'll get some photos then. Thanks for reading!

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