Monday, August 8, 2011

The calm after the storm

Saturday Starbuck knocked me down for the first (and I hope last!) time, leaving me with rope burned hands and a scraped elbow and knee.  I was just walking her around inside the ring and something spooked her, I guess she caught me off guard because usually I can calm her down but on Saturday she just ran right over me (gotta work on her respecting my personal space no matter what!).  So clumsy old me went down trying to dodge her and got dragged a few feet since my instincts kicked in and it happened too fast to let go, but she finally stopped and I was able to get up, dust myself off and resume the lesson-- I definitely didn't want to teach her that when she does stuff like that she gets the day off!

Anyway the point of this story is that yesterday when we worked on some lungeing in the same area she had spooked, she was supercalm and collected and we even were able to do a few circles in both directions completely at the trot.  She was also really attuned to my vocal cues, slowing down with "whoa" and stopping with "para" (Spanish for "stop", she's going to be a bilingual horse) and backing up when I asked her to step away from her paddock gate.  And in the shower after the lesson she behaved better than a lot of the grownup horses do.

So what I wonder is if perhaps the very act of running into me and knocking me over made her think twice about getting so out of control the next time.  I know that I'm probably reading too much into her behaviour and if anything I should be twice as careful since she's "learned" that she's stronger than me and that her calmness yesterday is most likely just a result of practicing the same thing over and over.  I guess we'll find out soon :P

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