Saddle up and let's ride down the trail of tales or tails.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Bringing Her Back to Work

We have a horse named Goober who is just kind of hanging out. It has been a year since Goober has been out of her pen and asked to do anything. Last year she wasn’t ridden, just worked a little on the ground. I think I rode her some in 2010. Some lessons learned the hard way are that rushing a horse is hazardous to my health. So, in the interest of keeping myself in one, kinda usable, piece, I have hired a young lady to come to my place so we can get Goober back to work.

 Savannah Bonds took lessons from  me at one time when she was Junior High age. Over the years I have kept up with her as she continued her equine journey. She has become a good rider and has retained her deep love of the horses, wanting to learn what she can and become better. We discussed this possibility (riding for me) about a month ago and – she said yes. We began today, March 20, 2012.

We just caught Goober today and took her into the barn for a good grooming and get acquainted with Savannah. Goober did pretty good about standing – she did move around some but it was low key – not nervous or panicky.

Goober’s lesson actually began as soon as she was led out of the pen. I like my horses to watch my body language and not to run over me when being walked.  I have a quick exercise that Savannah applied from the pen to the barn. It indicated she was listening immediately.
After the initial brush down, Savannah took Goober to the round pen. I had her drop the line to see if she was full of energy that needed to burn off. NOT. We have bindweed coming up and she was more interested in filling up the gas tank.

When Savannah picked up the end of the lead line Goober had the rope wrapped around her leg. She did some pulling to go the way she wanted and I told Savannah just to hold her ground. She did and Goober was a little frustrated but did not offer to fight at all. I had Savannah give her a few minutes with it wrapped fairly tight in order to get another read on her attitude – which was good.

I showed Savannah how I wanted her to circle Goober on the lead line – not lunge – then turned her over. The principles are different from lunging so Savannah is on a learning curve – she did well. Goober did a lot of ‘sight seeing’ but also was fairly tuned into what was being asked. Savannah learned about horses asking questions – Goober did a lot of that. Before they finished I showed Savannah how to use obstacles as part of the exercise and she was beginning to get the hang of it. I shared with her that it took me many sessions to figure it all out and get the results I wanted.

Before quitting, I took Goober to see if I could back her through three obstacles on a loose line and with my body language. We didn’t do too badly.

We finished with a short groom out in the barn. I had to laugh at Goober. When I was riding her last, I was asking her to stretch to saddle and unsaddle. I noticed that she offered the stretch as she was being finished up. Savannah commented that she had fun, which was really cool because I could tell that Goober did too. Amazing, when the human is having fun the horse can too.

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