Tuesday 28 August 2012

Day at the Barn

With a whole Sunday to myself, I of course elected to take a trip out to the barn.
Lainey was standing in the field looking absolutely miserable. Happy to see me, but with the other horses her ears are pinned permanently. They are all generally being rude and making nasty faces at each other. The herd dynamic is changing, for whatever reason. Lainey is the boss, but now there is a gelding that persistently tries to push her around and he is also "best friends" with Ginger, who is taking her cues from him and also attempting to boss Lainey around. Lainey is NOT impressed. She was so rotten to deal with yesterday that part of me was happy to see her being put into line a bit by her herdmates. The other part of me feels a bit sorry for her. She's used to being the queen of all things! Let's hope the drama settles down soon, otherwise I may take pity on her and put her in her own paddock. Previously she's always been happier on her own. This summer I thought she might be making friends, but it looks like the party's coming to an end. At least her behaviour yesterday makes a little more sense.

Ginger got out for another ride. I groomed her in the crossties, thinking how weird it is that when you groom her she stands like a statue. Nice in a way, but strange because she has her head up, ears forward, and standing square. Like she is posing. And she absolutely does not interact with you. She is the itchiest horse ever though, so the odd time I'll catch her moving her lips a bit when I get an itchy spot.

Our ride was pretty quiet and relaxed. She still felt tired from Saturday, so we did a lot of spirals, leg yields, and shoulder ins at the walk. Also some walk to halt transitions just off my seat. A little bit of trot practicing the same things and an undemanding canter each way and I called it good. All in all, maybe 30 min in the saddle, tops.

The best part of the day came after I got off. I had to scoop her poop out of the arena. Usually I have a hand on the reins and one on the manure fork, but this was a bigger job than that. I tied off her reins and took a chance she wouldn't go too far while I cleaned. To my surprise, she followed me like I was leading her. Of course, that got me thinking. So we did a few patterns I remember from some showmanship clinics I took years ago. She was perfect. I didn't touch her or grab the reins once. It was all just her reading my intent. There was one awesome moment when I tried to trick her by running as fast as I can and then stopping as quickly as I can. So cute, she stopped about 1/2 stride in front of me and backed herself up to put herself back at my shoulder. I guess I am mostly impressed because there were a whole lot of distractions, and a couple of times where I used too much invisible pressure and made her uncomfortable, but she seemed to be having fun and stayed with me regardless. I am fairly strict with her ground manners, so she knows she needs to stay at my shoulder when I lead her, and turn when I move towards her shoulder - but all the rest today was pretty much her own initiative. After that she is more than forgiven for being creepy statue pony when I groom her ;)

Time off for good behaviour:

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