Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Nerves are back!

Tina... I wanted to ride her around the property today, that was my plan. She warmed up fine and we did a bit of the hanging obstacle (her very toughest). She actually handled it worse than previous sessions. However we played with it until she seemed to be thinking through it. We did some circles with voice commands and she seemed slightly more forward than normal, but nothing extraordinary. Then I hopped on. She seemed ok, head low, walking when I asked. A couple times though, I felt her flinch in a tense way. No big deal.

Steve had to leave to pick up our daughter, so I hopped off and decided to figure out what was going on with the "edginess". I've made it a rule to not ride the young ones alone (with no one home). We went back to the hanging obstacle and she was just a tense mess. She was terrified. This means to me that she's been coping in an introverted way with that obstacle and wasn't really handling it. How interesting!! I made the obstacle simpler by moving some of the items to the side and sent her through repeatedly. I really don't want to send her home knowing she can't handle things swinging or touching her as she goes through. So we played with this until she got more calm.

I then took her into the barn to work on clipping. She goes home soon and I want to make sure she can be clipped easily, too. Boy, this was incredibly hard for her as well. Something was going on with Tina today. She was a tense ball of nerves and lacking confidence like I haven't seen in a while. We worked on the clippers, then back to the hanging obstacle. We went back and forth for a couple of hours. She flinched and twitched and really struggled. I need to take her over the edge a little, I believe. I am going to work this week on helping her come back from this terrified place because she wasn't able to cope today. She won't be able to cope at a show or with the environment a show brings if she's like she was today.

Could it be a heat cycle thing? She got this flinchy back in April - maybe a season start/end for her? What else could have caused this change in her? I started her back on Magnesium and she'll stay on it until she goes home. I'll also recommend that they keep her on it through her transition to the home environment. I'm perplexed by this change in her. I'll be watching her closely during our sessions before she leaves and hopefully help her get her feet back on the ground.

M and I had a GREAT session tonight!! He's really learned to yield to the pressure on the poll and showed some great softness tonight! His sideways was very nice, forward was easy, turning on the haunches was responsive. Wow - he's stepped up to the plate and he's ready for the next level of learning. His respect has shot way up and he's been a perfect gentleman. He's easy to catch in the pasture, which means he's handling what we're doing just fine. I always end our session on a nice quiet and comfortable note, which is paying off. We focused on backing up tonight. I would like that to be better so I backed him all over the place for a while. He wants to swing his hind around, meaning not back up but just get out of the way. I'm being particular that I need him to back up straight. There's a huge difference and he's starting to understand that. We had a very good session.

Eureka and I played with being touched everywhere, being brushed, being caught and prepping for trim work. She's come far in a short period of time! She's so easy to catch now that she actually came to me in the pasture! She loves the tender petting moments, especially on her chest. I've handled her every single day since she arrived and she's really learning that I can be a good, comfortable thing to have around. When I brought her in from the pasture tonight, I wanted to get her final steps of trim prep done. I'd like to trim her this week. Her feet aren't terrible, but she grows wide quarters and no toe. So tonight, we practiced picking up all four feet, patting the soles and holding her leg up and letting her practice the 3-legged balancing. She did really well - calm and obliging. She's ready for her first trim.

Great evening playing and learning about these great horses!

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