Thursday, October 7, 2010

Where, Oh Where has My Painted Pony Gone?

The Blu was gone. I walked all over outback before I finally found Misty, Ginger, and Connor, but Blu was missing. Hoosier had been up front when I got there, but when the three got to the front, he was gone, too. What if Blu had gotten out? The neighbors didn't have him (they were out and about in their yard). What if he was half way to Colorado, now? Well, I wasn't panicking, but I did jump up a tree and call out to him. It was a younger tree, so it was only 20' or so (old trees are 50 years old and 50' tall). I called and called, watching the bushes and trees for shaking, but nothing. I decided that I had no choice but get on Misty and go search for him in the pasture and, if he wasn't there, on the surrounding properties. The only flaw in the plan was that I had not started riding Misty, yet. You might recall that this morning, I did not even catch her.

I got Misty and lead her to the corn crib stoop. I told her this was an emergency and I really needed her. She came to the stoop and was totally relaxed as I got on--no head coming up, no widening eyes. I waited at thresholds, but she was very good.

Blu was at the back gate nibbling when I got out there (go figure), but we still were missing Hoosier. She was worried about going to the back alone, but she never paused, she just asked if it was ok and stayed alert. We rode around outback, loping, jogging, and walking around. No Hoosier. When we got back to the gate, Hoosier, Blu, and Connor were all nibbling by the gate.

I had made a promise to Misty that as soon as the job was done, I would get down and let her go, so that is what I did. I itched her head from the halter, and she did not leave off immediately. I was very greatful to her. As a side note, it is very important to keep your promises to your horse. I believe they know.

As all the horses were headed to the North Pasture, Blu was the caboose. He continued to slow down until he finally just stopped, turned around, and came to me. That was reallyu nice because he stopped following the herd to come meet me.

I put the halter on and let him follow me while I fixed the invisible round pen; a lot of the pieces had been kicked out of place over the past few days. He followed like a good little boy. I took him out to graze just outside the gate for a moment. Then I got on with the 12' line and halter and two carrot sticks. Working the gate, Blu figured out that he needed to stay in position at the gate. As I opened it, I had him stay within arm's reach and back into the pasture.

I tied the reins to my pajama bottom's tie and used just the two carrot sticks. I warmed up on the rail at the walk and jog. He was really good. He needed several leg corrections in the beginning, but very few stick corrections. Great at maintaining gait, too. In each direction, I stopped from the jog with just an exhale and bringing down the life in me. Those were precise, on his part.

I directed him on the figure eight, next. I was surprised because he needed very little direction and he actually shaped his body very well. I did have to put him into shape when we changed direction the first time, but then he was doing it by himself.

That was our warm up. I need to remember to start teaching him to stop with two carrot sticks next time. With the confidence snaffle and saddle, I started with the fluid rein on the rail. It took him a while to put his head down, not that it was up, he just wasn't stretching down.

I wanted to start swinging the shoulders tonight, so I started with the walk on the rail. I learned when I started doing it at the trot that I needed one long fence line. So that's what I did. I had to clear some stuff away, and Maggie and Mom helped out with that front. So, we were cantering up and down the rail, stopping at the ends and backing up until he went lightly, then turning to the fence on the haunches. He needs to grow in the swinging shoulders department, but the idea was introduced today. His stops got more and more on the hindend as we went along, and his backs got better. At first, he was stiff and sticky and slow. The opposite was true at the end.

We worked the big gate, staying withing arms reach of it and backing into the South Pasture. He was really good, but could definitely improve in . . . well, he actually wasn't really good, because he forgot how to back up, all of a sudden. I think he was just having problems making brain connections with managing his body the way I wanted to in respect to the gate. But we did it and it will get better.

I rode him into Maggie's little pasture for Ginger where Ginger and Hoosier were nibbling. I took the bridle off from his back. He wanted me to itch his mouth and face, so was doing that for him. I had to sit up because he was about to fall over from me leaning forward and his head leaning down. He would, too, I am not joking. He has terrible balance, or rather, is really bad at realizing that he needs to change his foot placement in order to not fall over.

Now, I itched his belly and sat with him for a moment after taking the saddle off, but then I left. As I was getting the saddle and bridle situated, I thought to myself that Blu probably wouldn't come with me because of the food and the other horses. Why would he follow me? As I walked away, I called him: "Blu-uuu, come on, buddy." And he followed me.

Natural Horsewoman Out

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About Me

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I am a young horsewoman with a million things on my mind. I have been a student of the horse all my life. As a little girl, I had a desire to understand horses on deeper levels. I believed that there was no such thing as a bad horse, and I believed that all horses were beautiful. One might say that I was a naive child, but I guess I don't have an excuse anymore, because I still believe all of that, and Parelli Natural Horsemanship is helping expand on this perspective.

What We Are Currently Playing With

  • Moving Close Circles at Liberty
  • Soft, Balanced Canter on 45' Line
  • Zone 5 Driving