Ground training update

This week has been fun. I’m learning more about this little pony every day, and I’ve been pretty impressed with the brain she has.

I put together some ‘scary’ objects to introduce to Joy. One is a feed bag I filled with twine and then tied a rope around the top so I could toss or swing the bag around. The first time I showed it to her I just let her “chase it” while I slowly dragged it away. The next day I worked on swinging it, tossing it, and dragging it under/over/around her. It was a little scary to her at first, but then she just wanted to step on it and make it crinkle.

She was putting her nose on the bag, and then moving her top lip back and forth quickly against the bag. Either to make it make noise (which it made quite a bit), or it smelled like grain, or she liked the texture… I’m not sure. When I tried to pull the bag away she stomped her foot on it and wouldn’t let me have it. Ha!

The other day I walked Joy to my neighbors house. I’m trying to build up my confidence to start trail riding Joy. I thought hand walking her over to the neighbors would be a good test of how she’ll react. I worried a bit over whether to bring a chain with me or not. I also debated using the rope halter instead of her regular halter. I finally just said f’ it.. if she twirls around me like a circus freak then so be it. We set off to the neighbors with her plain halter and lead.

There was a bit of a tense moment when Joy thought she’d be safer if she put her feet on top of mine while going up the super steep, yet very small, incline. Joy’s getting much better about respecting my space though, and after a small reminder she decided she could probably walk up it herself. The rest of the walk went well. There are some objects down the path that used to make Ava nervous, yet Joy didn’t seem to care much.

At the neighbors, I took her up to the “bridge” (basically a wooden platform). Joy normally jumps shadows or odd patches of dirt, so I expected her to balk at the bridge. Nope. She clamored onto it like it was routine. We walked over it, and also backed off it, several times. No issues. We tried the poles. No issues. I let her loose in the paddock next to my neighbors horses. Joy sniffed around, sniffed the other horses noses, then pestered my neighbor for scratchies. I walked Joy back home. Again… she was excited, but sane and respectful. There was slack in the lead rope.

What else.. oh, I loaded her in the trailer for the first time since the “disastrous trailer ride” home. I was nervous. Joy didn’t give a shit. She hopped on. I gave her a bit of grain.

I didn’t close the dividers or rear doors this time. I thought I’d let her get used to the noises and smells a few times first.

I just want to say… all of my previous horses were self-loaders. I taught them to be that way. But Ava… ugh. Nothing I tried ever convinced her that a trailer was worth getting on. And trust me, I tried it all. The point being, my confidence in training a horse to self-load has been thoroughly shaken. So, we’ll see with Joy. I’ve got time, and more importantly, living with my horses means I can work on it multiple times a day for as many weeks or months as needed.

I would really like to have a horse again that just hops on the trailer and rides nicely. It’s makes life so much nicer.

….

I went for a long trail ride with Ava and my neighbors today. We had a lot of fun. Ava was sassy today too. She’s fun when she’s sassy.

I cantered her for the first time in 8-9 months. I did get a tad nervous for a minute when Ava snaked her neck down. She sure seemed like she was thinking that a good, rollicking buckfest might be in order. Luckily she didn’t.

God, she felt like the old Ava today. She didn’t feel lame at all. We were trotting and all I had to do was tighten my core and she’d float.

It felt like… like heaven.

Hopefully I didn’t over do it on her today. Some days, when she’s feeling good, she’ll move like nothing in the world is wrong.

My trail riding partners today:
image

This pic (below) is a more accurate depiction of personalities (don’t tell them I posted this 😉 ):
image

I think the combined age of these two horses is about 46. Ava and I can’t keep up with the cute little Arab mare. Such a spitfire. I hope Ava is as spry at that age.

….

I was sneaking a peek at the horses one evening when I heard this loud buzzing sound. I immediately panic (we’ve been inundated with bee’s), and when I turn to look, I see this little guy hanging out.
Hummingbird, if you can’t see it:
image

….

I’m working on a post with Joy’s riding training. I should have something posted in the next day or two. I’m having problems. Green beans are so frustrating.

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