Thursday, June 5, 2008

- She's doing great! I'm so excited for her! has either had some work done with her in the past or she has, overnight, become the most docile horse on the place.

I began yesterday afternoon with just leaving her in the round pen, by herself for a few minutes, while I tacked up my mare, Pie. Pie needs help with accepting other horses around her while under saddle so I thought this would be a good time to work on ponying Shelby.

I brought Pie into the round pen and hopped on. Well, clumsily clambered aboard with the aid of an overturned bucket. I just "herded" Shelby around with Pie to get both of them used to each other being in the same small area. I really wanted Shelby to know that it is okay for someone to be above her, at the height that seems like something scary is on her back. She didn't care at all. Not one little bit. Interesting.

Then, I started scratching Shelby, from Pie's back and she came right over to me and stayed right by me, putting her head on me and Pie alternately. O...kayyyy.

I dismounted, haltered Shelby and had Adam (my husband) hand me her lead rope after I had remounted Pie. I led Shelby around the round pen from Pie. Pie hated it, pinning her ears and swishing her tail, but didn't try to kick or bite, which I considered a "win". Shelby did just fine, albeit a bit slow in the following, but more of being a teenage slacker than a disobedient or frightened one.

Adam opened the gate to the round pen and I led Shelby, while still on Pie, out to the pasture. Adam opened the gate to the dry lot, where I had previously dug a shallow trench and built a large mound, as trail obstacles to work on. We went all around, through some still quite sticky mud. Over the mound, through the trench and back out the gate. No problems, other than the aforementioned sluggishness from Shelby. Well, and I need to work on some quiet manners issues with Pie. Another issue for another day.

Pie was exhausted after almost 15 whole minutes of ponying Shelby. Yes, I'm being sarcastic, but Pie acted like that. I tied Pie in the shade and took Shelby into the round pen. I picked up her feet and, other than losing her balance, was not truculent about it. I showed her the saddle pad and she did not care. I flopped it over her back and let it drop off her hindquarters. Nothing. I put it over her head, and though she didn't really like that, she didn't really care either. Hmmm...this horse is full of surprises today. It's like the lightbulb was lit in her head that signaled a knowledge that I wasn't going to kill her.

So, here are pictures with the saddle blanket on. The first pic is the only time she let me get far enough away to almost get her whole body in. The rest of the pics were like this, or even less of her body in them. She just wanted to be by me. I like that, but wonder at the change.
So, brought out my Cashel Soft Saddle. A glorified bareback pad, it's lightweight, but has plastic stirrups to flop and create racket. You can see how horrified she is by it. Not.
I don't think I've been pushing her too hard. I think she just turned a corner in her trust. I stood on the bucket over her and she still didn't care. Not the wisest move I've made lately, sans helmet and with no one around. Adam left to shoot a gun or something.

I'm excited to work with her again. What a change. What a horse.

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