September 18, 2016

More Baby Steps

First things first, as always I gave Gossip a decently thorough grooming. The wind was howling, so I didn't worry about her mane and tail, but I got as much of the mud from a recent roll off her as I could. I also released as much shedding hair as I could. The seasons are definitely changing.

Today's baby step was to introduce pressure/cues from the noseband of her longeing cavesson. I put the cavesson on over her halter and booted her up all the way around, and led her away from the hitching rail. Once she was through the initial "OMG hind boots!" leg flinging, I switched the leadrope from her halter to the middle ring on her cavesson. Once the weight of the clip on the rope was added, it became clear that the cavesson could use about one more hole both on the noseband and the crown. Duly noted, I'll make sure I bring out my leather punch next time. I kept leading her in loops and circles, and after a bit of initial surprise she picked it up very quickly.

I then tried to introduce the idea of moving around me in a circle. I had her whoa and stand, and moved behind her drive line. I then asked her to walk on while I stayed opposite her hip. This didn't quite go as smoothly as I'd hoped. She pretty much turned herself into a pretzel and tripped all over her legs trying to follow me with her head while I was moving with her hip. Flexible, but not so coordinated. Part of the problem was that I didn't have a whip to extend my reach, but it certainly wasn't the whole issue. I think it might work better to get a friend to lead her in a circle initially, in combination with me longeing her from the usual position. She usually picks new things up very quickly, and I'm sure once we're over her initial confusion this will be the same. Watching her trip all over her feet made me very glad that I'd booted her all the way around!

After I undressed her I turned out her friend and got her food ready. I've been turning him back out a bit sooner each time, so she has his moral support initially but then has a gradually lengthening time on her own as well. Once I'd set him free I grabbed her food and fed her, and fly sprayed her for good measure. There aren't many bugs left, but the late season mosquitoes are often the ones that carry West Nile so I figure a coat of fly spray may be cheap insurance. Once she was done eating I turned her out as well and called it good. I'm very happy with how we've been progressing since her breeder helped us with her feet (a non-issue since, by the way). I feel like we're slowly turning into a team.

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