Sunday, April 11, 2010

All Gear, No Skill

There's another blog that has that name, but I'm thinking that I should use that one for my blog title now. Lol, got the new bridle, new bit, new saddle pad, and new saddle out on Saturday. Tacked up Ms. Denali and lunged her for a bit. Our trainer worked with us for a little bit on the proper way of doing it. It's been a while since I've worked Ms. D on the ground and I know that I need to do a lot more of it.

When we were finished I put her back into her paddock and started to clean my tack. During this time Ms. Ophelia was getting wormed. She broke loose and took off running around the property. Ms. Denali got all excited and fell AGAIN. Ugh. She is a walking disaster.

Today I went out to do some light lunging and to see how she was doing. As I was tacking her up, I stretched out her legs. She reached down, started nussling my hair, and then sighed. It was so sweet. She was super lovey today.

We went to work. She's still off on her right hind, when we were lunging to the right she was definitely off on it, but there was no heat or swelling. After a little time she seemed to loosen up and was doing better. I'm assuming falling down isn't helping her heal, whatever is wrong with her. She likes stressing me out.

After warming her up for a while, I asked our trainer to "hold her" so I could try riding her. I haven't ridden her in a while, and wanted to see how the saddle felt for me. Of course she spooked! What the hell! Here's my logic, you tell me what you think:

She knows I'm not confident and she doesn't feel safe when I'm on her back. When something happens she feels responsible and needs to react. Almost like she needs to save us, because she doesn't trust that I will save her. I don't honestly think she does it to be evasive. She's not that kind of horse, if that makes sense. What do you think?

I'm going to do a lot more ground work with her in the coming weeks. I want her to realize that she can trust me. After our ride I hoped off of her and she FREAKED! I got off of her the way I get off of all horses. So of course after her little 'episode' I had to get back up on her to get off again. I asked her to walk on then 'emergency dismounted' She really freaked out and about ran over my trainer. She does NOT like me coming off her back. I think it's a "flash back" to me coming off of her. So then it was back to ground work. We put things on her back and trotted her so it would fall off. She did okay with that. Then I took her saddle off and she jumped at that, so then my trainer had me put it on and take it off at least 20 times until she stood still. My arms hurt! She calmed down and went back to thinking everything was fine.

Ophie's mom brought her super amazing, wonder camera to the barn and we had a photo shot. We groomed the girls up beautiful and took them out to the grass field to graze and take pictures. We had Ophie's mom's boyfriend chasing them to get them to run for the photos. We didn't tell him that her camera memory was full, and let him continue to chase them. It was hilarious. I'll post some of those pictures when I get them. I also need to get her permission.

Sorry this is a kind of random blog. I have a million things to think about and wanted to at least put down part of my weekend. I'll try to organize my thoughts and make a better blog this week.


Frizzle said...

Thanks for the kind words on my blog. :-) I miss Salem so much and keep thinking, "What's he doing now? Does he miss me? Is he wondering where I am? Does he feel abandoned? Is anyone scratching his scritchy spots? Is he getting his daily carrots and mints?!?!" So, don't worry, you are not the only crazy horse person, lol! Salem isn't even mine and I am giving myself an ulcer over him.
As for Denail, I think that doing a lot of groundwork with her is the way to go. You two can build your relationship from the fround, where you feel more confident. Work on backing, turn on the forehand, walking over scary stuff like tarps, getting her to halt when you stop walking, etc. Maybe even implement some clicker training with it. I kow that really helped Salem a lot (partly because it meant he got peppermints!).

Kristen Eleni Shellenbarger said...

I agree with Frizzle (of course!) and think ground training will help both..I am saying that from my experience now too. It's helping Laz learn that I'm his fearless (ha) leader. We had a moment where I was free walking him and he spooked BIG time and instead of running me over, he planted his feet and moved to not knock me over. I'm not sure he would have done that in the past.
I think Denali needs some little reminders and she will calm down. I would still work on the emergency dismount as much as possible in the event of it really happening, you know she will stop. I worked on that with Laz for about 3 months and now he stops and stares at me 'falling' with no freak out.

Tammy in TX said...

Gonna have to agree with Frizzle and Kristen. Just keep it up and one day, that light bulb will just click on above Denali's head and she will finally "get it".

SprinklerBandit said...

And remember, Denali (like most TB mares) is extremely sensitive and reacting to you. The more comfortable you become around her, the more comfortable she's going to be. When I had my TB girl, I have to have completely ironclad emotions and NEVER EVER get excited because she knew as soon as I did. It takes practice, but it's amazing how much influence you'll realize you have over her emotions.

Story said...

HAHA, every time I walk into a tackshop I think, here I go again...all gear, no skill.

I was talking to a trainer this past weekend (while looking at a mystery horse) who seemed really fascinated by the issues I'm having with Page and he said he'd go back to ground work with her. I think it's an excellent idea.

I can't wait to hear how you and Ms D progress with groundwork. I think it will help build trust between you. The same thing that I need to work on with Page.

Leah Fry said...

OK, OK, so I have a lot more gear than I have skill, too. But hey, I'm having fun, aren't you?

A lot of what I am now able to do with Poco has been due to extensive ground work like the kind Frizzle suggested. We never did tarps, but we did ground poles, wove in and out of various obstacles (cones, whatever I could find, etc.) I also worked with him to get him to follow my movements, stop when I stop, back up when I do. It's fun. It also sets the horse up to succeed — gives them the chance to get lots of praise. When I set him up like that, he just eats up that praise.

As SprinklerBandit said, I have to completely empty my mind, go to lala land when I'm riding Poco, because he picks up the slightest apprehension and will take advantage if I am not completely confident.