Thursday, October 27, 2011

Better Days Are Made By Repetition

I hadn't ridden in a week or so.  The last time I got on, even though I had planned for an early afternoon ride to stave off my mare's need to constantly be on feeding alert, the bugs were horrible, she was cranky, and my ankle was not thanking me for getting in the saddle. But any time I work with my mare whether I am going to ride her or just groom her I always involve loading in to the trailer.  When I groom her she gets tied to the trailer, when I get ready to ride, she gets groomed, loaded, unloaded, tacked, ridden, untacked, groomed, loaded and unloaded again.

Several times now instead the 3 to 5 minute staring, and tension on the lead line contest my mare has reverted to her previous trailer loading skill and walks right on behind me no fuss, no staring, no pulling. We have not yet progressed to closing the door, or the dividers.  I wanted to work on leaving the dividers open, but closing the door.  But any time anyone goes near the back of the trailer while she is in it she unloads herself. Of course I make her get right back in. I only let her be done with the loading training if I ask her to get off. I want her to get out of that mindset that she can unload herself without me asking and that A. it's okay for her to do that, and B. that at that point she's done and can go back to her horsey business.

Yesterday even though there was a breeze(breeze= hyper alertness=spooking) and I was extremely tired, I wanted to ride.  I had been in a funk for two days due to some work related/life related stuff and I needed to ride. I needed something good to lift me and give me something else to focus on. So I went through the routine, groom, load, unload, tack. 

The ride was actually really good.  She did give me the warning signs a couple of times that she wanted to spook.  Usually she's pretty obvious if she's thinking about it.  But we did transitions and circles working on bending, getting back in to a frame, and working on fitness for both of us.  Neither of us had done much physical activity in almost six months. Though the High Queen had still be able to move around her pastures, tormenting her brother as she went, I had not, and she has some considerable bulk to loose before we can do any serious training.

I also threw in at the end of the ride, checking to make sure el husband was not watching from the garage, a hop over one of the small logs in my main pasture/riding area. This actually was the same log that had landed me in to my broken-leggedness. Evil log, I shall jump thee and call myself the victor.  Seneca hopped over without a single second of hesitation. Yippee!

And the best part of the ride?  My ankle only protested a very little bit. It was down right comfortable. Though I did let my right stirrup down a lot during the previous ride so the angle, and percussion on my injury weren't so bad. I'm supposed to be starting physical therapy, though I just haven't gotten around to making the phone calls for it.

After the ride I untacked, gave treats, groomed and then began the loading and unloading again.  Over the last few sessions I had began trying to get Seneca to move past me in the trailer as a precursor to trying to get her to tie without pulling back in the trailer, so that eventually I could get behind her and shut the divider. So far I haven't been successful in getting behind her. I can stand at her side back by her huge belly, rub her, leave the lead line loose, but not leave her. If I try to leave she unloads herself.

I did start trying to get her used to the divider touching her.  She was not happy the first time I used to the divider to push on her. She unloaded herself.  The second time she stood with me having the divider touching her. So progress was made.

I really want to start trailering her out to places later this fall and in to the winter. I want to be fit by spring, I want to get to a horse trial, I want to be doing Beginner Novice by next fall.  I would love to be doing a recognized BN by the end of next fall but I don't know if that is too optimistic or not. I guess we'll see.

All in all just being able to ride put me in a much happier frame of mind, which bled over in to being slightly happier at work. I still hate my job, I still hate getting up early, throwing on the uniform, and not being in total control of my life.  I really hate being forced due to economy and that fact that I am not giving up my farm or my horses to sign away my life again for another six years, which will put me at seventeen years, and make it completely idiotic to get out when I would only have three more years until my full twenty where I can get my retirement checks every month.

*sigh* The things I do for my horses. Anyway, keep it between the flags my friends.

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