Wednesday, February 25, 2009

What's going on inside that pretty little head?

With the help of my sister, Jenny, I got to ride my horse a little the other day. Really, I just had her lead me around like a pony ride. After a few times around the arena, we just let her walk where-ever she wanted and I  just went along for the ride. The next two days in a row I took her for walks, in hand, through the neighborhood. I can tell that she's the kind of horse that would get bored easily with too much repetition. She seems to enjoy going out and seeing new things and she's never spooky or worried. She made me laugh because she'll drag her nose along the asphalt or the rocks, like a hound trying to pick up a scent, then perks ups and looks around. I think that by spending more time in the neighborhood, she'll see that she can trust me as her leader. When we got out to the farthest point away from the stable, I gave her a snack and a rub down. I want her to look forward to going out and know that this is what she was made for, not standing in a stall all day. She gets irritated when it seems like when doing pointless drills. She needs to be challenged, and likes variety. That's a great quality for a trail horse. I used to have a horse that hated going down the trail.  She'd toss her head, keep looking over her shoulder, weaving back and forth along the trail. She was green  and so was I. I fell off that horse lots of times. She was more insecure, spooked at every rock and tree stump. She would have liked the repetition of arena work, to help her build her confidence. Calico is about as opposite from that horse as one can be. I've fallen off her too, but for a very different reason. I tried to make her do something without asking first, she bucked. What does Clinton Anderson say, "just before you hit the ground, you remember...ground-work!"  For most of her life, Calico has been able to do what ever she wants, with no one telling her what to do. She seems a little incredulous now when she is asked to do more than she wants, actually, she throws a little tantrum, bucking or rearing. Usually, I ignore it and just keep asking, then insist. She will always settle down and do what she's told, and then I reward her. The most important thing I've learned is to not let my emotions get in the way, not let the tantrum bother me.   Maybe I'm over analyzing, but I want to understand how she thinks, so I can tailor our training sessions to get the most out of them. Every horse is so different, and not knowing or caring about that can lead to hours of frustration. I want every minute with my horse to be fun for both of us. 

The Pictures under "Endurance" were supposed to be with this post. Oops.

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