A walk with ML
|July 16, 2015||Posted by Melinda under Uncategorized|
Last night ML went on a walk with me on my regular riding loop, which is about 3.14 miles through orchards, over the levee and into the riverbottom trails that are mostly a combination of wide open trail that is appropriate to canter even if ponying an extra horse or two, combined with a portion of overgrown single track trail. There’s a “back portion” to this loop that also has some deep sand but that did seem excessive to add to the itenary considering I was in minimalist sandels, forgot to put sun screen on (but had my hat!) and forgot my anti-boredom devise (ie podcasts on the ipod).
Not that walking a three year old on the trail stays boring for long.
She spent the majority of the time looking very adult like. And in the tradition of her older sister finding every opportunity to get a bite to eat.
She seems to have stopped getting much taller and is filling out more. I’m hoping that the weight and filling out she’s done in the last couple weeks is NOT so she can sprout up like a weed again…..
There was a couple of spooks and hesitations – fruit bins staged under trees, irrigation sprinklers starting up, deer and rabbits unseen in the bushes.
When she would spook or startle I would just stop and watch. What would she do next?
The answer? Boldly approach the object and touch it with her nose, or start (calmly – not stressed out) eating. I like this!
ML gives very clear signals when she’s uncomfortable, and when she relaxes. While it will be a cold day in hell when Farley loosens her jaw and chews (it happens, just not often and I often have to “help”) ML does it very consistently. Two or three times heading away from the barn I could feel her just getting a little bit tense. We would stop and I would do some of the passive relaxation exercises we do in the arena and roundpen until she started chewing, and then I would start walking again. When she was unsure about an object I used the same principle, except she took a more active role in “figuring it out”, and I would either stand quietly and disinterestedly or offer support depending on what I felt like she needed. Since relaxation is the goal, and not a horse that touches objects with it’s nose, walking up to it and investigating it was allowed, but touching it wasn’t the cue to go on – only when she gave me relaxation and acceptance signals did we turn the page and continue.
Reading these subtle signs of tension and working through them NOW will serve me well in the saddle. As minor and petty (obvious?) as this seems, it’s something I learned from Amber while visiting ML while she was in training.
In addition to some minor spooks, and some VERY stellar and patient pony moments as I cursed and leaped my way through star thistle patches (remember the sandals? ) there was one pony melt down. Well, less of a melt down and more of a very confident horse that wanted to see if we could do it her way, which started with trotting up the hill instead of walking.
As I started to do some schooling on the ground it quickly became clear that the trotting up the hill was just a way for her to express her larger opinion that perhaps it was her turn to lead the walk.
How handy that she chose a wide dirt road that inclined up the levee, that had a substantial shoulder that had good footing but also random star thistle bushes. That meant that as I was sending her around a circle at a trot and asking for hindquarter yields she had to really pay attention to her feet. Ooops. My bad. I guess it’s REALLY hard to buck and kick out when you are trying to go up, down, sideways on the incline, AND avoid the star thistle. Bummer. That looks like a lot of work.
On the agenda today: taking another furry creature out for a river bottoms excursion (I live just a couple miles up the river so can access a different part of my stable trails from home) and then it’s time for another hoof trim! (really???? Already? ML is *this* close to being able to dremmel instead of manually trimming which would oh so nice…….). I tell you what Dear Reader – life outside of school is AWESOME, and I LOVE having the ability to work part time while still being able to contribute financially to the household in a meaningful way. Just gotta ignore the daily interest accumulation on those student loans and I’m perfectly content ;).
What I posted…
Five years ago: Tevis Gremlins Strike Again!
Six years ago: Southern Eats