Saturday, February 25, 2012


After a pretty solid week of Starbuck doing really good groundwork and the sun shining long enough to dry out the footing in the roundpen, I finally was ready to ride her again today!  So before lunch I took her out to longe for a little while on the scary side of the arena and work on her spooking, then after lunch I ran out to saddle her up for a little ride.  At first I was supernervous - I hadn't ridden her in so long and at first she was NOT happy about it, but my friend Virginia reminded me to do my breathing exercises (breathe in three counts, breathe out six counts) and relax my upper body and we both started enjoying the ride.  We worked on turns with some coaching from my friends - I've been pulling my hand too far away from her neck which overflexes her and leads her to stop midway through the turn so a little advice helped us out a lot.
After about 10 minutes in walk, I pulled out my crop, took up a little more contact and asked her politely for trot (fully expecting to need to have to use heavy side-kicking and the crop to get her to do so).  And what do you know?  She went right into a nice trot without even having to kick her once!  At first she was a little rebellious about staying with it and even tried a couple of bounces, but nothing serious and she quieted down really quickly.  I'd much rather she rebel in a controlled environment sooner rather than later, and figure out fast that it doesn't tend to get her what she wants.

One of the things Virginia suggested was for me to just THINK about her hindquarters while I was trotting to see if we could get some of her weight off her shoulders, which I'm pretty sure I could feel working (although with all this thinking about hindquarters I forgot to think about where we were going and the circle turned into a pear!).  But it was super interesting nonetheless.

After all that, we just did some work around cones, doing some cloverleaf patterns, walk to stop transitions and finally a little rein-back.  All in all a really nice ride and in the end I feel like the past month hasn't been wasted after all.  And to reward her when our ride had ended, Virginia and I took Starbuck and Coco on a grazing walk where we ran into some supercute goats!  Starbuck was great on the walk too, she didn't freak out or act up at all.  I can't believe my luck today and know she won't always be this way, but I feel renewed faith in my abilities as a trainer.

The video is only for folks who are really interested in our progress or superbored, but I hope you enjoy the goat photos!

Thanks girl for a wonderful day!

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