April 08, 2017

Win Some, Lose Some

Just a short report this week, and unfortunately no pictures. I seriously need about four more hands some days!

I tried my bridle on Gossip today, and it mostly fits well enough but the noseband is too small. Good thing the Mane Event is coming up... there should be lots to choose from there. Instead I put the bridle her breeder is letting me use back on her, and let her wear it while I groomed her again. Then I decided it was time for the next step.

I untied Gossip, but left the rope looped around the hitching post to slow her down if she decided to leave. I let her sniff my saddle briefly, then I set it gently on her back. She seemed totally unphased by this new development. I took it off and put it back on three or four times, and ran my hands under  the panels to assess the fit. I didn't try to girth it up because she's never worn any kind of girth and I was alone out there if something had gone wrong, but ungirthed it seemed to fit very well and she stood very well for this new experience.

I decided to leave it there for today, but we've definitely made another step down the path to becoming a good equine citizen. Now to do something about that bridle....

March 20, 2017

Baby Steps

Low key day yesterday, as we continued with baby steps on the road to being a big horse. First I had to bring Gossip up of course, so I brought her buddy out the top gate and tied him, and then decided to try an experiment. The middle of the sacrifice area (where they are during this freeze-thaw nightmare) is a bit of a lake. Gossip generally comes when I call her, so I went in the bottom gate (closer to the hitching post but on the opposite side of the water from where she was) and called. She hesitated for a minute, and then carefully picked her way across the lake to where I was. This got her praise and scratches, of course. I haltered her and led her to the gate, where there was another respectable puddle. I walked out the gate and gave a gentle tug on the rope, and again she hesitated for just a minute and then followed me through the water with careful steps. What a good baby!

Gossip's shedding like crazy, and she has always loved being groomed in general and being gone over with the shedding blade in particular, so I decided to use that to my advantage. I slipped the bridle we'd used last time onto her head over her halter, and set to work with the blade. She fussed and mouthed at the bit some, but as long as I was working away she was mostly quiet. She wore it for almost 45 minutes as I worked on helping her get rid of her winter fuzzies. Of course when I stepped away to get a picture for proof she started up mouthing again, but no worries she's getting used to it.


This, for the record, is the new halter that I'd bought that turned out to be too small. The store let me exchange it for the correct size 😃. After I finished grooming her I took off the bridle and turned her back out. So much hair on the ground, and even more on me... the birds will definitely have plenty of nesting material this spring at this rate!


I can't wait for the sleek summer coat and the hot summer weather, so we can really get to work!

March 05, 2017

Headgear

This is one of those days I so wish I had pictures -- Gossip had a bit of a milesone.

I got out to the farm late because I had a ton of running around to do. Happily we're getting closer to spring, so there was still plenty of daylight to work with. I caught Gossip's buddy, and there was a bit of a scene at the gate as I was taking him out. Next thing I knew, I had a loose Gossip sauntering past me, seeming completely unconcerned. I quickly tied Gossip's buddy and grabbed her new halter that I'd brought out for her to wear for the first time, aanndd... it was to small. I couldn't get it done up on the loosest hole.

Time for a new plan! I buckled the halter around her neck like a collar, and led her over to the tack shed to grab her other one. I got the other halter on her and got her tied, and set to work with the shedding blade to make her a bit more presentable. While I was grooming her, her breeder came out and joined us. We started chatting about where I want to go next with her training, and her breeder led me over to the tack shed to show me something she said I was free to use whenever I liked. We looked back over, and Gossip had untied herself (this is a recently learned trick) and was getting ready to leave again. We quickly headed back over to grab her, taking the item her breeder had been showing me with us.

Well, the next thing Gossip knew she had a bridle on and a bit in her mouth. It was a D ring with copper rollers, so very gentle with something for her to play with, and we'd taken off the reins and left her halter on underneath so as not to confuse her with new signals on top of the new sensation of having something in her mouth. She fiddled and played and tried to spit it out, but no such luck. We untied her, and I led her in a few circles. She was initially a little excited, but very good.

After I took the bridle off her, I let her go. She's a smart cookie, so I know she'll think on her new experience. I can't wait to take this further, but in baby steps.