Friday, September 18, 2009

Tina begins and Rain gets a job

Started off with Tina today. I'm really keen to get her going and figure out her strengths in character and where I can help her become an all around smarter, calmer, braver horse. She's been super impressive in the short time she's been here.

I started by seeing what she knows on the ground. How she yielded to pressure and how she feels about following feel. I'm pegging her now as a left-brained extrovert, but she's not quite as playful as I'd expect to fit that title. She's extroverted in her feet, but not her mouth. She's left-brained about a lot of things. I'll continue to assess her personality.

We played all 7 games and she actually seemed to understand quite a bit. I'm not surprised, as she's had considerable ground work by a Texas trainer. She's not quite sure how to maintain gait yet and it seems that she's used to being fairly close to her handler during ground work.

Then, we started to play with the saddle and pad. I asked her to wear the pad on her head, her rump, I swung it over so it stimulated the opposite side of her, just basically thoroughly desensitized with the pad being all over her body. Then, I did the same with the saddle. I use my endurance saddle, which is treeless, so that nothing bothers a new horse's back and helps make the transition to carrying something like a saddle easier.

I walked her into the round pen and let her move her feet. She needed some time to sort out wearing that saddle and there's nothing I can do to help her with that except give her time. She bucked very little, a rounded back and few humps, but then she was ok. There's only a front cinch - a rear cinch will be tougher for her. We'll move to that once this saddle becomes a breeze.

Then, I got my trusty assistant - Rain. Rain and I lead Tina around the arena and let her feel the saddle more. I also begin to create commotion above her head and her back to gently prepare her for having a bridle go on and a rider mounted. She was having a hard time leading up, but I'm sure that's because Rain was giving her dominant signals. I tried to keep Rain on her job and not worrying about being in charge of Tina. It was important for Rain to focus on her job and not on herd dynamics. She settled down quickly and Tina was leading up better and better. I wanted to take Tina out on the trail to see what she thought of the world, but the sun was going down.

After a while of asking for different things from Rain's back, and getting some nice, comfortable responses, I took both mares out and tied them. While Tina stood tied, I took Rain into the arena to practice follow the rail and give Chrissy a little coaching. After her tough session with Lakota where she bailed off during a spook, she's been having a hard time getting back on. She wanted me to pony her and her horse in the arena until she felt more comfortable.

That didn't work so great. She wanted to get off as soon as she'd gotten on. She'll have to work through her fear on her own and I'll support whatever she needs from me. I hope that it won't take her too long. I worry that the more time put between her and being on her horse will only make the fear worse.

I then, decided to take Rain down the road. She and didn't go far - the day was nearly over and I still had chores to do. I wanted to get started on Tina's hooves and see if I could get some shape going. I started, but her hoof wall is so overgrown and so thick. Her bars are very overgrown and her hoof wall has nearly an inch clearance from the sole. When Rain and I got back, I got started on Tina's hooves. I have more to do for sure.

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