Saturday, February 21, 2009

Back in the saddle

The last 6 weeks have been challenging at best. My job has been kicking my butt and I've had little time for my horses. I've had a hard time keeping my spirits up in the midst of all my work. We also went skiing for several days over 2 trips. Anyway, I just haven't had horse time and I was elated today to get out and play with my beasts!

I started with Rain because when I went out Zarah saw me and took off in the opposite direction. Our relationship needs mending right now and I will not play with her until she gives me permission. I have plenty of other horses to play with and I can wait for her to come around. Rain came to me from across the pasture, so she was obviously interested in what I may have in store for her. Good!

I brushed her, gave her a touch up trim, tacked her up and talked with one of my boarders. She's about to start a lease with Gemini and we talked about how to get things going nicely with him. I offered to spend a little time with the two of them, show her what Gemini knows on the ground and then give her some ideas of things to try in the saddle. He's not doing a great job of maintaining gait with her, so we played with Corner game and giving him the responsibility. It was interesting because she's a traditional student and natural techniques are new for her. Her thought process is very traditional and I'm trying hard to say/do the right things to help her look at things a little differently. She had a great time riding Gemini and trying out some of my ideas. She seemed very happy in the end. Good deal!

I was helping her from Rain's back and just asking her for little things here and there. All I normally do is ride her down the trail in a straight line, so this was a change for her. Then, we played with opening and closing the gait, followed by untacking her and playing in the round pen. We practiced bowing, and then I asked her to play stick to me in a circle at all gaits. She was thorougly confused, but she picked up the game very fast! It was a blast to teach her something new. Then, I took off the halter and played a little at liberty. I just wanted her to stick to me and be with me at walk and trot. She never left, which is nice after all the time we've had between liberty sessions (months!).

Then, I haltered Nina, who was standing in the trailer :-). I gave her a touch-up trim, then put my western saddle on her. We played a little and she was doing great! She understands the communication. Then, I took her into the round pen to play the stick to me game. She was also thoroughly confused, like Rain, but she caught on fast, like Rain! She would go to buckin' in the canter with the western saddle, but she would settle down nicely and it wouldn't last. We did a little sideways, some squeeze, and she was calm and understanding. Then, I decided to bend her towards me and put a foot in the stirrup. I wanted her to feel the weight of me on her back. I jumped up and down next to her and put a foot in, lifted my weight over her, rubbed her opposite shoulder, hopped down. She was a little curiuos, but not afraid. I finished by asking her into the trailer a few times. She was willing and happy to oblige.

I smiled and I felt really proud of her. We walked back to the barn and called it a day.

Cowboy felt like playing, I could tell. He watched it all and whenever I came into the barn, so did he. I want to play with him badly and ride him! I'm trying to let his heel bulb heel from earlier this week. It's closing up nicely - a few more days and I'll have him back out.

In the end, I went out to where Z was, about 30 ft away, looked at her and subtly asked her to come to me. She stopped eating and walked right over. I scratched her favorite spots, gave her a cookie, and walked away after a few minutes. Hopefully, I put a white marble in the jar.

Such a great day.

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