Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Bridle work updates

Drifter's first bridling was last Tuesday. I bridled her in a stall and lunged her with the cavesson over the bridle. She demonstrated a lot of tongue thrusting and mouthing of the bit. She quieted down with her mouth during lunging, with only an occasional attempt to remove the metal from her mouth. I almost wished I had taken more time to do mouth TTouches with her. I then worked on walking around with my hands on the reins in riding postion from beside her. This was a totally foreign concept to her and "driving" her around the farm this way was a challenge. I was able to bump her with my hip at the right spot for my leg to cue her to walk and worked on steering from beside her. She eventually got the hang of it from both the left and right sides.

I find that I am fairly regimented with her work at this point. I have been "very busy" and always have an agenda when I am there- I may modify it to suit her temperament and the ring availability that day, but it's mostly been about work. I feel like I have to keep working to meet some of our goals and therefore have neglected some of the more spiritual and connective work- this is fairly typical, considering that my paying job is "working" with horses and that mindset it the easiest for me to access. Having been very busy and very broke has not encouraged me to make "frivolous" trips to the barn or just given me the grace to spend 20 minutes "playing" with her. I usually have about two hours to "get it done", which means to work her and ride Fritz and put away all my stuff and to get in the car and drive home or to work. Maybe I should take Saturday and spend more time playing with her again.

On this Tuesday, a whole week from the last bridling, I went to get Drifter and she wasn't wearing a halter or sun/fly mask. I had to trek around the whole field (wasting time) to find the now broken halter. She must have snagged it on something good because she broke the leather crown piece. Poor girl. I was expecting that maybe she would be lame or sore or something, because pulling back hard enough to break a halter should have pulled some muscle or something, but she seemed okay. I groomed her quickly and put on her surcingle. I bridled her in the indoor ring and she was really horrible for this. She quickly threw up her head and bulldozed right through me. It took a couple of tries before I got it over one ear- the other ear got squished under the crown piece. I think I should drop it a few holes loose before putting it on again. I have the bit up high and tight because she got her tongue over the bit that first night. Occasionally, she is throwing up her head and turning away from the direct rein pressure. This time my focus was to long line her off the bit. I want to be very light with my hands on her newly minted mouth, but I also want her to learn to accept contact and to yield to contact. She did the same initial rubber neck, ewe neck, resistance, but learned that softening was a better solution. When I asked her to do more then she felt capable of she would just stop. Stop and stand and refuse to go! No amount of clucking, shaking the lines or saying "walk" was helping. I need to carry a whip to reinforce go. Although having a horse stop is sometimes not a bad thing when they are confused. She isn't threatening to go up stopping, she is just calmly stopping and waiting. This happened twice when I used an outside supporting rein contact with an inside bending rein. I think there was just too much pressure for her to figure out the correct response or I was too slow in responding to the correct response. She was also reluctant to trot and this was probably because we were uncoordinated together. She is wobbly and not straight steering from the bit and I have some delays in asking for the right thing, so I would over ask or not ask soon enough and she would feel unsure and come back to the walk. I am hoping this safety conscious part carries over into our mounted work the first time I get on her.

I am hoping to get on her soon. I am looking for someone at my barn who will hold her for me for the first time. I have the "question" out to someone, so hopefully they are willing and we can schedule a time that works for us. I plan on doing more bridle work on Friday and hopefully I can pull back on the work schedule for Saturday and enjoy spending time and fussing with her.

I also think that I saw the baby move during work time this week.

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