Thursday, December 08, 2011
I thought I might take a moment to talk about our ride yesterday, since I actually have a moment at the moment. :)
I hauled Bella over to my sister's and she rode surprisingly quietly in the trailer. I thought it might be because she wasn't shut between the dividers. But (to skip ahead a bit) she didn't ride home quietly at all. So I guess she still doesn't like trailering. And I think using the divider might be better than not using it.
Anywho. We did some work on the line, then I moved her around the round pen some. Lakota, my sister's highly offensive POA (other horses just don't like him - he's actually a really nice horse) was tied to the outside of the round pen, and the two of them had words. So we corrected both of them with a sound, a waved flag, or a request for movement whenever they responded negatively as Bella went around.
Then we did some desensitization with a very noisy flag, and then out came the rattly hula hoops. SCARY. Bella is interesting in that she can deal with scary things better when she's standing still than when she's moving. I think because she's not actually dealing with them, she's just "checked out." That's why it's a good idea to sack out at a standstill and also in motion. Eventually she came to accept the hula hoops more, so I went and saddled her up.
We did some walk and trot work that was really great. She is a more forward horse than Tonka and it's going to take some time for me to get used to that. She had a bit of a challenge keeping her mind on task with Amy's horses in the pasture nearby. Her movements were always better in that direction than away. Just another thing to keep in mind and work on. Eventually Amy rode Lakota into the pen and that was really great too. We worked at opposite sides, circling, reversing, circling, reversing. Then Lakota stood in the middle. Bella tried some snaky-necked, ear-pinned nastiness but I corrected her immediately, and so did my sister. She only tried it 2, maybe 3 times before she quit. I want to make sure I have a well behaved horse around others. That behavior can't be allowed.
The weirdest thing came at the end. I'd stopped her after a long time just walking in circles around the round pen. She likes to be moving forward, so that was good for her. When I moved my hand up her neck in preparation to dismount, she rocked forward, so I thought she thought I wanted her to move out again. But no, she kept rocking back and forth in this wavelike motion. It was really a weird feeling. My sister said that is a letdown of endorphins and it was a really good thing so just sit and enjoy the moment. After she stopped I continued to sit and Bella started breathing deeply and licking and chewing. What a neat thing. Weird, kind of dizzying, that swaying. I've never known anything like it.
While we were riding she never once pinned her ears or snaked her head around at me like she wanted to bite. She never really seemed to be irritated about the riding at all. That is a first for her. We're moving forward! Yay!
You might have noticed I moved back to the bosal rather than a bit with her. I had been thinking I shouldn't baby her and she should learn to ride in a bit. But her attitude change was not a good thing with the bit, and I think at this point I ought to set us up for success rather than force her farther out of her comfort zone. In the future I may try a bit again but she's made it pretty clear she doesn't like them so I may just leave her bitless.
It's nice to have such a great ride to make me feel more inspired and excited after finding that Tonka can't be ridden for now. I needed that.