So I got to ride a couple times this past week, and most of the time Seneca was really good. Last Sunday when the weather was a bit cooler, but not windy or rainy thank God, she was a bit of a pain and we did almost no jumping and mainly worked on transitions, bending and relaxing. Then Monday when it was freakish windy she was totally sweet and easy to work with.
I can always tell what kind of a ride day its going to be by how easy the High Queen is to groom. If she flits around like a humming bird on crack its going to be a hard day. If Seneca just stands there on three feet, hip cocked barely moving we're going to have a great ride.
Over the last several months I have been tweaking the High Queen's feed. I switched her from a high fat feed that had a lot of starch in it to a lower fat, lower starch feed. But this didn't have the desired effect, yes she came down from the high strung cloud she had been living on but she lost more weight than I would like. So I switched her to a slightly higher fat feed but it still had a lower starch ratio. The lower starch seems to be helping to keep her temperment on an even keel.
Since we hopefully have our horse trial coming up next weekend I have been working with Seneca on her trailer loading. I borrowed a dvd from my trainer T. and tried to implent the exercises that were outlined. Basically it's a mix of Clinton Anderson, who I like, and some other methods. You use the Clinton Anderson sending/lunging exercise to get the horse moving, then use basically a wooden bridge that simulates a step-up trailer. Seneca already knew the lunging exercise, but the bridge was new. When my husband built the bridge I used Cowboy our Appaloosa gelding as the guinea pig since his loading skills are almost always guranteed and he's very brave. He walked right up on the bridge no problems.
So next it was the High Queen's turn. She bowed away from it during lunging but eventually got tired of circling and gave up giving the bridge the evil eye. Then I asked her to come up on to the bridge. She would step up to it, sniff it, but would not step up. I finally had to cheat a little, pick up her foot and set her foot on the bridge so she could see that it was safe and not scarey.
After that we had no problems she walked right up on to the bridge. The next step is to either pull out the older step-up trailer from the back field or wait until Friday when I have the open stock bumper-pull that hopefully the High Queen will be cooperative about getting in. Because I already spent 85$ on the entry fees.
In preparation for our debut I trimmed, pulled, and braided over the High Queen's mane. Because she has a wildly massive amount of mane and left to it's own devices it will flop on both sides of her neck. I also bought Seneca a fly veil to keep the bugs out of her ears and I have to say with her mane tamed and the bonnet on she looks like a total show horse, rather than the wild pony on the range she was this winter and Cowboy still is. As soon as I get this horse trial behind us I'm going to start spending more time with Cowboy who has grown a little more attitude over the past few months. He's gotten that teenager, I'm a big boy 3yr old and you can't tell me what to do, attitude that I need to squash pretty quick. Plus because Cowboy loads well I can take him to the trail rides for the organization I belong to.
We rode today and Seneca was really good, bending in the circles, listening, and jumped all the new scarey jumps in the riding area although I always have to have lots of right leg and left rein because if she's going to run out she always ducks right.