Monday, March 17, 2014

Solving the Puzzle + Blog Challenge Day 6

Blog Challenge, Day 6 - Describe your equine facilities.
I live on a 10-acre piece of land. There is an approximately 1.5 piece that is fenced arena-style, with a run-through 2 stall barn attached to it. This is where my horses are living currently. About 5-7 acres of the remaining land is fenced for pasture, but has been scraped recently and is growing grass. There is a good-sized pond in this pasture, which is awesome for keeping water bills down.  ;)
Attached to the larger pasture are several holding pens, which are the right size for playing at Liberty or even for solving a riding difficulty in a smaller space.
I'm planning to pull up some of our wire fences and "re-plant" them into a sort of track system so that the horses get some more exercise this summer, so some of what I just described will probably change in the next while.

Lady was rather put out by being asked to come back to me.
At least, so long as I wasn't holding a treat for her!

This morning, before tossing out hay and food, I haltered Lady and just did a few little things on the ground. We did the same leading thing as the other day - a few stops and starts to test her responsiveness - and then did a few basic games: tossing the lead rope all over her, steady pressure and rhythmic pressure yields, backing up on a very soft cue (that one really got her thinking!) although she didn't come back to me on a soft cue (hmmm....), small circles at the walk, and then sideways. I actually got her to come sideways towards me without a stick at all, just my body language and a bit of rope.  Pretty happy with that :)

I'm pretty sure that Lady is in heat (its hard to tell...) which would explain some of her crazy behavior last week on our ride out. She's rather grumpy and has an attitude right now.  ;)

This evening, Lady was quite pushy and frowny yet, but she seemed to feel okay besides that, so I warmed her up and rode for a while. I had set up 4 barrels to make a large rectangular shape and all we did was go from one barrel to the next.
What I'm looking for right now in our rides is Acceptance and Calmness. I need Lady to accept my leadership and today she was still pushing against the rein a lot. I also need her to be calm and today she was still fidgeting at the "halt" and veering around instead of aiming for the next target (barrel).
I did ride her today in a bridle and bit, which I've only done a handful of times, but I want to do it more. I'm not sure how much that affected her attitude about the session, but it may have done more than I thought. I plan to play with her at Liberty in the morning, and want to put the bridle on her for that, so that she can play with it without the pressure of reins or a rider.
What I'm aiming for in the future is the ability to do collected work, with contact on the bit. Right now she doesn't like consistent contact and pushes or tries to evade. When she's calm, she still thinks she is supposed to yield, which I like better. For the moment, I will just work part of the time with shorter reins than normal, but no real contact.

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