She arrived Friday morning around 10am and I was able to cancel some meetings and spend a couple hours visiting with the 2 new horses and demo some of Tina's groundwork. The new horses are Emler ("M" will be his blog nickname) and Eureka ("Reka"). M is a big, big just 2 year old demonstrating very LBI personality traits from the first moment I met him. Reka is a just 1 year old filly who is fairly new to the world of humans. They both have the pleasure of living on large acreage in a small herd of other youngsters, so my goal is to put some good ground work in them and teach them to yield to pressure and be comfortable on the end of a line.
M has worn a halter, been trimmed and some other very basic things to keep his health maintained. He's pretty dominant, so I imagine he'll learn brilliantly as long as I preserve all his confidence. Reka seems pretty weary of humans and has only just begun to be handled before being loaded on the trailer. She'll need to start with the catching game and learning to be haltered. I smile just thinking about putting these two through the paces with natural horsemanship. They are basically blank slates and natural horsemanship will work well for them and help them adjust to serving their owners.
While we stood and talked and got reacquainted, I watched these two in my round pen. Reka is not nearly as confident as M and seeking M's leadership. However, they are both quite calm and don't seem to show much extroversion at all. So interesting.
I decided to step in and visit. Reka was stand off-ish, but M wanted to know what I was about. I decided it was a great time to see what the catching game would yield. I put myself in zone 5 and added a little commotion. I was watching closely to see how they perceived this pressure and what they thought to do about it. M was under-impressed, but still moved off the rhythm. Reka was more right-brained about it, but still showing introversion.
After 5-10 minutes, M started to understand that if he gave me an eye, the pressure would cease. Smart boy. Reka was following her instinct of being in the middle of the herd. M got annoyed a bit and threatened with a little pressure back at me once. It was so half-hearted and gentle, though - not really a threat at all. He'll be a blast to play with!
After that, I grabbed Tina and showed a bit of her ground work knowledge. We did a little sideways, squeeze, circling, and maneuvered some obstacles. I think this stuff is foreign to Nanni, but I believe she enjoyed seeing how much her mare knows. Tina did well and showed how calm and confident she's become. She made me proud.
We finished up and I went in to do some work. Later, Nanni came back to see Tina ridden. I just rode her in the rope hack to show what we do and how I've been building her under saddle. I didn't push Tina, just kept her calm and in her comfort zone. I think Nanni enjoyed seeing her mare ridden and decided to get on herself! I was pretty sure Tina would be ok, but I asked to lead them at first to be safe. After all, Tina's only had me on her back and she'd gotten rigid and bucked just a week or so prior. Tina was so calm though, she just seemed fine. So after a couple minutes of leading them, Nanni rode off. Wow - I've put in a lot of time and energy to get Tina to this point and it felt wonderful! She was perfectly fine with Nanni. They only walked and it wasn't long, but it meant the world to me. What an amazing moment for me, as a horse trainer, to see Tina make it this far! She's had a rough, rough road.