Sunday, December 7, 2008

The Workout..

Ok, I finally got to put some of this excellent help that I've been receiving lately to use. We went out and while my dear hubby (I call him my stable boy sometimes ;)hehe) cleaned both stalls, I worked with Sassie. I decided if it took all day, I was going to calmly get her to go to the left. I began with lunging her to the right. As usual, no big deal. She was a little worked up because it's been a few since we've been out, so I haven't been able to work with her. She blew off a little steam and I actually got her to lope on the lunge line to the right. She only did it for a few short spurts, but she did it. And she was on the correct lead. No problems. Working her to the right took all of about 10minutes. I switched to trying to the left. We got into the pinned back ears, cow kicking, backing, turning to face me, etc. The normal stuff she's been pulling while trying to get her going to the left. I kept on calmly redirecting her to the left. I tried using my left hand with the lunge line in it to point her in the direction I wanted her to go and used the lunge whip in my right. At first she just kept turning towards me. Then I got her to start standing still while I would position myself at her shoulder. As soon as I tried to get more than 2 feet back, she would turn so I'd dart up there to keep her head facing to the left. It was like a race, who could go faster, her whipping to turn to the right or me getting to her side. When I finally got her to stay still with me a little bit away, I would start tapping her on the butt with the lunge whip. What I got? A statue of a horse with pinned back ears and an almost white eyeball pointed in my direction. When she gets upset (either mad or scared) she freezes and her iris shrinks and it's a little light blue dot the size of a pencil eraser. When she's relaxed and happy, her whole eye is filled with deep blue. Definitely little light blue dot today. So, I started just walking her to the left. No problem. As soon as I started trying to get some distance from her, she'd spin to the right. Trying to make a long story short, after about 30 minutes or so, quite a few little whacks on the rear with the whip, a couple little snaps and no yelling but lots of clucking, she finally took off to the left. I out willed her. She got mucho "good girl!!!!!!"'s yelled her way. Then she all of a sudden dropped her head and the lunge line chain smacked against one of her front feet and she flipped out, so I stopped her. I calmed her, gave her a few scratches on her her face and rubbed her eyes (she loves that) and started back on getting her to the left since it wasn't my idea for her to stop. It only took about 3 minutes to get her going again, again she got lots of good girls and then she just screeched to a halt. I patted her neck, said good girl, rubbed her ears and then stepped back. Since again it wasn't my idea for her to stop, I told her one more time and then I'd let her stop. It only took one try, one little bump on the rump with the whip, one quick side step to stay to her left and off she went. I had her go around about four circles and let her stop. She did good. I felt her chest and that was about the most worked she's been in awhile and it wasn't' really the physical work. It was just her getting herself worked up. Afterwards the barn owner told us we can turn the girls out in their pasture as long as it isn't icy out. Yay!! Turn outs! So, thinking about what BECG suggested, I wanted to see if she bucked and ran or what she did, and if she did lope, I wanted to see if she went to the right or left. Well, I think she was too pooped from the work out, she didn't lope or anything. Her and our other mare just kind of trotted around a little and then stopped to try to get some frozen grass. When we went to take them out, they did come running over to us, but it was more a straight path with only a little arc to her left. She was on what would be the right side lead, but I don't know if that counted as being wrong or not since she was technically going straight and not circling to the left.

So, all in all, it was a good day as I FINALLY got her to lunge go left. I didn't ride because I wanted to focus more on a little ground work to see what she's doing with that.

Thanks for the advice and support with this issue. Next time we work more on lunging to the left and I will try to get her to lope to the left on the lunge line since all she's currently doing is jogging.


20 meter circle of life said...

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BrownEyed Cowgirls said...

Yayyyyyyy!!!! You go girl!!!!

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Wow, Ezra. She got pissy with you, eh?
My painted girl does that sometimes, too. She has a good heart, though and doesn't stand her ground for as long as your Sassie does, though. Thank goodness. BUt she still tries to outwill me at times.
It's so good for you, in overcoming such obstacles and moving past them. What a great way to build confidance for you and respect and trust between you and your horse.
Beautiful job both of you!!

New Mexico

PS, my word verification today says 'coment'...Ok, I think I will! lol!

ezra_pandora said...

20 - thanks :)

BEC - It was tough, hubby kept coming out to see if everything was alright. She really only reared maybe once or twice and it was more little hops, like she was hopping and pulling back to try to avoid me coming to get to her shoulder. I was being careful though.

LOR - oh yeah she was! lol I think she has a good heart too, but she also has very strong will and until she knows that you aren't taking the crap, she will keep trying to give it. I'm hoping when we go out tomorrow that it takes less time for her to decide that going is just so much easier than this dancing game. Crossing my fingers.

BrownEyed Cowgirls said...

I'm so glad that it worked for you Ezra. The first couple of times are always difficult because it takes some figuring out just what position works to make your request clear to the horse.
Now that you have been able to work through the resistance, I agree with Mrs Mom about spending the time to build her balance and flexibility-both directions. Some ground exercises as a warm-up to your riding time will help her to build strength and suppleness that will start to transfer to your riding exercises. Should only take a couple of weeks to notice a difference.

Mrs Mom's ground exercises really do help-last spring I used them to help build the stifle muscles on my barrel horse. He was coming back after pulling the muscles and riding was making him sore. It only took a couple weeks of working with him on the ground a few minutes before and after each ride and he strengthened right up.


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