Thursday, November 24, 2016

The Rogue report

We had quite a snowfall, starting early early this morning and carrying on until 10am or so. It wasn't too cold -- just a thin layer of that warm packing snow. I had hoped to go back out and try Rogue again today, and decided this kind of snow would still be okay footing. So, out I went.

I've been watching lots of videos with tips for dealing with horses who are pushy on the ground, so I thought, okay, let's do this and see what happens. When I got there, I got everything out and ready in the barn, then went and got Rogue from the field. I snapped the lead on and got her out of the paddock, and thought, okay, before we go in the barn I'm going to lead her around a bit and see if she's paying attention and respecting my space. So, we walked. And stopped. And turned. And walked. And turned. And backed up. And walked. And turned. And backed up... Fine, all fine, all paying attention and respectful and great. Good! Okay! Now that I have your attention, let's go in the barn.

I led her to the back cross-ties, where there's a wall behind her, hoping she'd be less doofy about the situation if she had something behind her that she could back into. But.

Antics included:
-Giraffe horse!
-Whinnying horse!
-Pretend-you're-not-there horse!
-Stretching her body down and back, front legs straight out in front of her, like a dog
-Crowding me, so that I had to use a crop to reinforce "OVER!"

And finally she chilled right out and seemed cool. So the saddle pad went on. Cool cool. Saddle went on. All fine and good. Girth went on. Sure sure, this is fine. Girth got tightened, tightened some more. Okay, yep, relaxed and happy here. Done with the idiot dance. Reins up over her head. Yeah, we're good. Cross-ties unsnapped. Ho hum yep yep all good. Halter off. Doot doot doot happy happy. Bridle in front of face, bit coming towards mouth...


I tried to hold her for a moment but she was too far and it was past the point of being safe so I let go and hoped she wouldn't strangle herself on her merry romp back to her buddy Lina. Grrrrrrrrrrrr.

After said romp she was grazing beside her paddock, relaxed and happy as could be. Ahhh, facepalm. No damage done except a broken noseband. I brought her back in and finished bridling her in a STALL. This was still a lengthy argument, but at least she didn't/couldn't head for the hills.

I felt slightly unsure about riding her after that fun display, but decided to at least lunge her so she wouldn't get out of everything by being a dork. The second we were out of the barn? Perfect behaviour. Paid attention, perfect on the lead-line. Perfect when I lunged her -- obeyed every command and seemed focused and relaxed. Sooooo...

I hopped on and thought I'd at least walk her each way to see how it would go. And? Perfect. So we trotted. And? Perfect. She did everything I asked how I asked, and didn't put a foot wrong.

When we were done, I untacked her in the exact same EVIL HORRIBLE cross-ties and she was completely relaxed and fine. Untacked, brushed, feet picked, blanket on... Fine fine fine! So, next time... Tack-up in M's old stall with the cross-ties in there. Closed door for the bridling. And we'll keep the aisle cross-ties for just the end part until the beginning part is a less dramatic experience. 

Also, I somehow lost a hoof pick.


However, I'm proud of how I handled things in a few ways:
I didn't let her bully me except for the bolt, where trying to stop her would have been physically dangerous.
I was (reasonably) patient.
I didn't let myself be scared off of working with her, BUT...
I wasn't stupid, and felt out the situation as I went along.

Also, regarding the walk thing I was noticing with my hips last time: at the end of the ride I remembered to do as I had planned, and let my hips have complete range of motion and move completely with her in the saddle. Felt good, though it was surprising just how much they moved and how much I've been blocking without even realizing it.

Hoped to get to lunging Apple today, too, but Miss Fussypants took up too much of my time. I'll take care of her first, next time.

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