Sunday, April 18, 2010

Hidden Mesa and time with Tina

KK and I rode 8 miles at Hidden Mesa. Had a great ride! Lots of traffic on the trail (bikers, hikers, other riders) and Kendall handled Rain beautifully. The horses worked hard and we tried to trot/canter the majority of the time. The horses are getting more fit for sure.

I came home and spent the rest of the evening with Tina. I've been worried lately that she's getting more afraid during mounting/riding rather than more confident. Today I watched her and played with her and mounted her and realized she is less confident. I've been thinking it's the wind that's impacting her and I'm sure it's playing a part, but I really believe that she's becoming more fearful in our mounting/riding sessions. I also think she's becoming more concerned about work in the round pen. This is the last thing I want to happen with this mare as she's such a nervous and worried horse by nature. I also realize that I'm putting a lot of emphasis on getting on her and putting mounted time in and she's feeling the pressure. She is going to take time to develop into a safe horse. Her nature is skittish and worried and I want to be sure I don't let her go to that place.

So, after playing with her for a long time and mounting work, I sat down and decided it's time to take a step back and rebuild her confidence with having a rider on her back. It's just going to take the time it takes with her. She needs things to go slowly and she needs the time to understand and process that she's not in danger. I've let that become 2nd priority over the past 2-3 weeks and she's telling me it's not wise and it's not working.

I'll be doing more work with obstacles, with her having objects on her back (bags, ball, etc), always in a saddle when we play, and more rewarding time in the round pen versus strictly teaching and hard work in the round pen. If you listen to the horse, they will tell you what they need. This is what Tina is telling me and this is how we'll proceed. She's too fragile and she'll be more dangerous if I don't change the course of action. She's a fun challenge and I'm confident she'll get to a good place... one session at a time with her confidence and calmness as the most important thing.

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