Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Hitting the trails

April 7

Only time for the one horse today, so Little Yellow Horse got her session in...


Once again Chicks packed me bareback to the gate today, sloshing through the muck and genuinely playing the part of the long-time trustworthy mount. It did not even take a second thought after her great performance yesterday, and today's was no exception. She even stood quietly while I did my typical flying leap from a nearby tire, to land gently on her back. What a great little horse :P

Today the Dee and I hit some trails - it was such a beautiful warm, sunny day! We started out with our games and patterns as usual...her yo-yo was incredible though, she backed up when I simply glared at her! At first I thought it was maybe just a fluke, so I tried it again. The second time I had to softly wiggle my finger and then my wrist - the wiggle had not yet reached her chin though before she started backing up. Once she'd started, I backed my phases down to a simple glare and she backed all the way to the end of the rope! Her 22' circling - changes in direction, traveling circle, were excellent, so we took on the patterns. Her weave was fantastic at the trot, as was also her figure-8 around the cones! So we saddled up and headed out into the nearby 70-acre field. We sloshed through tons of fetlock-deep water, muck, and generally soft ground at the walk, trot, and even a little canter (in the drier areas). She was a little distracted (so much to observe out there!) but handled everything beautifully, even walking past a dump site the owners had been burning and over a massive sawdust pile the owners of the place had spread out for the cattle. At one point the sawdust pile shifted beneath our feet and there was a snap like cracking ice - scared the s*** out of me but Chicks just plodded calmly on. She handled everything like a pro, even when footing changed beneath us suddenly (ie. puddles were deeper than they looked, etc). She had no problems leaving the herd whatsoever (not even an ear flick or a call in their direction), and she was pretty calm throughout. Out of site of the pastures and barn she was a little tense - she kept trying to jog on me, but otherwise that was it (being comfortable out there will come with practise!) - no calling, no right-brained behaviour, and she remained very responsive. Most of our ride was done on a loose rein and her pretty relaxed!

Next week is our last week before she heads home so my plan is to throw in a lot of tarp and rope work, get our leg aids going nicely, and hit the trails each session for some experience out in the wild!

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