Sunday, October 11, 2009

Tina is officially started

Started my day with Tina today. We worked on confidence, following my body language and my focus, lots of friendly game in motion with the stick and string, and just calmness while doing what I ask. She started off worried but after we played some of the games she settled and started to understand that she was safe and things were easy as long as she followed my suggestions. Driving from zone 3 was fantastic with Tina figuring out where we were headed very quickly each time. I played falling leaf with her quite a bit until she started to understand to watch for me and she'd know when to lean back on her haunches and turn her fore around.

Then, when I felt like we'd made some good progress in our communication, I tacked her up with my endurance saddle and let her stand tied for a bit while I doctored Z. Z hurt herself again (ARRRGHHH!). This time, looks like she struggled against a blanket strap. It's her hind left and she's pretty sore. And I'm pretty upset. Hopefully she'll heal up quickly but in the meantime, I'll just be spending more time with the others.

After I'd cold-hosed Z and cleaned her up and applied some first aid, I went back for Tina and we headed to the round pen. I let her loose to see how her catching game was coming along. She never left my side - she stuck right to me. It's not a surprise, she's the kind of horse looking for a good strong leader and I'm proving to her that I can play that role. So, I put her back on line and started to practice mounting. She was very relaxed about mounting which made me happy. That means that the last time we did it was good and she'd learned it was not a negative thing. Keeping her relaxed is key and she'll do anything I ask. I went from the left side to the right side, back and forth, mounting and desensitizing her to my leg swinging into the stirrup and then my body on top of her back. I want her standing completely still for mounting and I'll get some of that now and fix it up so it's perfect later. I want to build good ideas about things right now, not seek perfection. She was doing great so I swung a leg over and there we were. She was calm, accepting and doing just fine.

I sat for a minute, giving her time to lick and chew and accept. Then, I started to ask for lateral flexion. It wasn't as light as I want it, so we practiced. Then I dismounted and mounted on the other side. Again, she was calm and accepting. More lateral flexion, more licking and chewing... then back to the other side. Then, it was time to ask for forward. I want her forward and then bending to a stop. So, I asked for a few steps and then disengaged her... then again. She got softer and softer and I found a place where I felt we could stop. I had her in such a nice state, I wanted to leave on that note. I hopped off, stood with her a few minutes and then we left the round pen.

Then I tied her and left her there for a couple hours. She was calm and relaxed and stood with a cocked leg for the whole time.

Now, Tina and I can start having some REAL fun - learning to be a mount and follow feel and suggestions from her rider while staying confident all the while. We've got lots of desensitization ahead of us, too. I want her as rock solid as she can be with the innate characteristics she was born with (extroverted, very forward, very submissive, and extremely sensitive).

Good day for Tina!

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