Today when I ventured out into the brisk early dawn air, I found my little arena frozen solid. With all the muddy hoof print from the last ride, it would be a treacherous endeavor to work the horse’s on that footing. So pondering my predicament I decided to make a little obstacle course and do some basic ground work with Maggie.
Up until this point I haven’t been able to do much with obstacles or tarps and the like because the ground has been too slippery with the ice and snow. Now that we’re back on solid ground I can start to introduce some new stuff.
Maggie has matured a lot mentally in the last couple of month, and I decided to review a few things at once to see how she handles it. I planned to add on new thing (or something she hasn’t seen in awhile) at a time and judge whether to add the next thing depending on her reaction.
I was happily surprised to see she had no reaction at all!
Here’s a break down of what I did…
- Brought her to the arena and started hitting the ground with the stick n’ string. (something very familiar to her)
- Rubbed her all over with the stick n’ string (also familiar)
- Add the bareback pad (she’s had the saddle on a couple of times, but not since about a month and a half ago)
- More desensitization with the stick n’ string
- Introduced the activity ball (she has seen it but I hadn’t dribbled it or bounced it off her yet)
- Introduced the tarp for the first time
- Added the bridle (she’s worn it around 10 times)
- More work with the tarp
- And I finished with some simple maneuvers to move her feet around that she knows well
Here are her reactions (the ones I consider negative, but normal)
- When whipping the ground she wanted to walk forward, wasn’t scared just forgot that it means more than one thing.
- She wanted to spit out the bit. Which is totally normal.
- She avoided stepping on the tarp
Other than that she had no adverse reactions to the new things I was showing her. She took everything like a pro, which amazes me considering that in January she was making a big fuss about lunging and dragging me around the arena! She has come a long way!
My plan now is to do some more sessions like this one, introduce some more new stuff, and then start doing the riding prep exercises when the footing is a little drier.
Also need to make a mental note to get someone to come and take some pictures of her working!