Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Back on Z after a long break

Work has just kicked my butt lately! Between travel and my job, horse time has been scarce. So frustrating.

I wanted to get back on Z w/o being too intense or intent on a certain thing. I wanted to use the break as an opportunity to start fresh and give Z a reason to think I'm better. I'm better for the time off and time to think and soak. I hope that she is too.

We started off with a little groundwork and then I mounted for some bridleless riding. We circled the round pen working on transitions with just my seat between walk and canter. She was great! Then, my boarder, who was riding Gemini at the time, was finishing up in the arena and talked about some of the stuff she's working through with Gem. He's having anxiety when he leaves home or the herd. I offered to ride up the road with her and so we did.

It was very cool to see him being used and how he handled the situation. He was calm and cool, but apparently that's not the way he is when she normally leaves the property with him. She's not a natural horsewoman, so I'm sure she's often pushing him through his thresholds. It was interesting leaving the property because it was my first day back on Z in about 2 weeks and here I was asking her to leave the property! I had reservations, but I was just going to have to make the best of it and be the best human for her that I could.

I felt her tugging for home slightly and I responded by following her lead, then asking her to follow mine. That was quite effective and getting her mind off the barn. Then, I asked for some half-passes, some side-passes, we did a few small circles, whatever I could think of to get her thinking with me and not about home.

We hit a point, just outside the gate, where she seemed much better. She had sighed and was partnering up with me. We played around on the neighbors cross-country course, then in the jumping arena. Z was super calm by now and it was neat watching Gem jump the big ones with my boarder. Z and I played with jumping a little but mainly, I was keeping her calm. At one point, there was a pole on the ground and Z literally leaped over it! Made me giggle.

We walked back nice and calm and I was super proud of my mare. Back at my place, in the front acreage, there was some sloppy, puddled areas and Gem wanted to fly through it upset and worried. My boarder didn't react in a way that I would have, but I offered to help she and Gem do better. Z was thinking that flying through the water was a great idea, too - so it was perfect for us as well. We did a lot of approach and retreat and then slowly walking through it, 1 step at a time. Then Z and I stood in it while Gem went through calmly. That was very helpful so she and Gem did the same for Z and me.

We slowly walked back to the barn and it was a great, calm ending. Z was comfortable and happy and I was super pleased.

After I took the tack off her, we tried to see how her head-shake trick is coming along. I point to her ear and she shakes her head. She's had a hard time learning this trick - it's her first one. I was ecstatic to see that she was finally getting it! She gave the slightest head shake to earn her treat and I laughed so hard! She hasn't gotten it until today! Once this trick looks good, we'll move on. Tricks could really help our relationship.

A great day!

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