Thursday, August 1, 2013

Pony Boot Camp Days 4, 5 and 6

Monday July 22nd
I got to the barn and groomed and tacked up Pony with my new revelation that maybe my whole saddle problem was from me clearly not being an english rider. Checking with my trainer, she told me that as long as she isn't telling me that it was too far back, and it didn't look too far back, then it is working for me! Sweet!

She was well behaved, somewhat slow pokey.  I had trouble getting her to pick up her left lead (which is where her problems started with needing chiropractor work).  I commented on how she is getting super softer in her face, and that while we still weren't doing much trot transition work, I thought we were heading in a good direction!

I untacked her and gave her a massage, because I noticed she was somewhat back sore. At first we were all baffled, since she was looking great, but then my trainer remembered that (being the funny little pony that she is) that she can be kind of funny and sensitive when you touch her when she is hot and sweaty.  Since the next day she wasn't back sore at all, that was what I chalked it up to.

After her massage, I took her in the round pen and worked with her a little.  She was doing great! Her bowing/laying down has improved, definitely at a slow pace of 1% a day, for like 300 days, but still.  Being a half feral pony thing, trusting me enough to lay down near me is a VERY daunting task for her, so we're taking it slow.  I'm also trying to get her to pick up her feet when I touch it with a whip.  I would like her to eventually pick up a foot when I cue her with my foot, but I'm starting from sticks and stones with that one.  My method has been to tap a fetlock with the whip, and then continue tapping it while I pick it up.  Once it is up (I hold it in front of her) she gets a carrot, and then gets to put her foot down.

Before I took her home, I worked on sending her over some things to try and improve her confidence.  Also, I worked on leading her from the right (her right) to try and improve her confidence.  She gets really nervous when she is out of her comfort zone, so I'm also working on that with baby steps.

Tuesday July 23rd
We had a completely Liberty day, except for the ride itself.

I went to get her from her paddock, and she followed me up to the tack area without me ever having to touch her with the halter.  She then stood to be groomed and tacked like an angel! I think that she seemed to enjoy being groomed at liberty more than she does when she's tied up.  She was way more relaxed than normal.

The ride itself was great.  She was way softer in the face, and slower in her lope.  She was also able to sustain being collected up for a longer time.  We did do a few simple lead changes that she was awesome at.

After our ride, we took a lap around the ranch, and she heard something she has never heard before... a goose! She was mesmerized.  She couldn't see him, but she could hear him.  So funny.

She stood awesome to be untacked and then I took her in the round pen.  I worked on picking up the feet with the whip and also her bowing.  Such a good pony!

Wednesday July 24th
We did a liberty day.  She wasn't exactly an angel.  I groomed her at liberty, and then I tried to tack her up.  However, she wouldn't leave the tack area, and my saddle was in the trunk of my car! She kept looking at the tack room, and no manner of pulling on her to leave the area (and go back towards her pen, might I add) would she leave! At the time, I couldn't figure out what she was trying to tell me, however, later, I realized I think that she was waiting to be tacked up!

Since I couldn't figure out what she wanted, I decided to grain her, with a big scoop of electrolytes.  I am worried about a mineral deficiency.  Pony has been constantly head to the ground eating dirt, and I can't figure out what it is that she is lacking.

After she got grained, she was happier to leave the tack area.  We walked around the ranch and over poles and through a few little obstacles.  Then, I pushed my luck and tried to walk her over this big drain pipe thats laying around.  I walked straight, and she veered to the side to try and go around it.  The second that she was out of my reach, she realized it and took off for her pen at a gallop.

Obviously I ran after her with a chorus of people yelling that my horse was looks.  Yup, thanks, figured that one out, I don't generally take runs around the barn for fun.

She reached the gate at her pen and turned around and walked halfway to meet me.  Like, what the hell pony! She got confined to a collar around her neck.  I took her in the round pen and worked on her bow and picking up the feet.  This day, when I tapped her right foot, she shifted her weight off of it, so she is starting to figure out what I am asking for!

Then, I jumped on her and we loped around the round pen bareback and bridleless... a lot.  So much fun! And makes me remember how far I have come :)

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