Today Starbuck behaved so well!!! We made two big advances which I'm really super pleased about:
- She calmly lifted ALL FOUR HOOVES for me and let me clean them all out. FINALLY!!!
- She completed a full circle going in both directions at the canter.
I can't really say enough about how important the first one is for me... this means that I can finally start giving her the hoof care she needs and deserves. Cleaning, moisturizing, rainproofing, trimming and maybe even shoeing at some point... I feel a little guilty that it took so long, but I know that I've been working on it every day and except for the first tries she's been in the learning zone the whole time and that the best part is that she now won't associate having her hooves lifted or cleaned with anything bad or scary.
As far as the canter thing, this is something we've been working on for quite some time. Obviously Starbuck has been able to canter since she was like two days old, but it's one thing to canter in a straight line in a field and another thing altogether to canter in a fairly small circle and with a bunch of tack on. In all our previous attempts she would start cantering and then lose her balance a little and fall back into a trot, but today I was able to urge her on to a lovely and controlled canter for a full 40 foot circle before she came back down to the trot. So this means that she's finding her balance and learning how to control her body, and that now all we have to do is keep working on getting a little more distance out of her every day!
I also wanted to share this picture of Marina (at the left) and some of her students enjoying the first oranges of the season... the stable is in an old orange grove and yesterday one of the boys climbed up one of the trees and threw down a bunch of slightly green, acidic but superjuicy oranges and we all sat in the sunshine and peeled and ate them-- they were delicious! All in all a lovely day and I feel confident about making real and visible progress.