Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Quick Groundwork 8/25/15

Shar and I had talked about riding, but she ended up going out to see a movie, plus it was really smoky, so I just decided to do a quick groundwork session and head home.  I got Arya out and tied her to the trailer to give her a once-over and a quick grooming session.

Flash was loose on the property (front gate closed to make sure he didn't wander TOO far), and he not only came over to my car when I first drove in, but he followed me around while I worked with Arya, too.  Not in an obnoxious way, he's very polite, but just . . . constantly there.  I got her out of the pen, and he tried to follow me.  Of course, I went through the lush green backyard, so I'm sure that had something to do with it.  But then I took her over to the trailer, and he followed us there, too.  I tied her up, and went into the barn to fetch the grooming kit, and he poked his head into the barn to check out where I'd disappeared to.  Then as I brushed Arya and picked her feet, he followed me around from one side to the other, watching, and snuffling my neck when I bent over.

I took Arya over to the round pen, and Flash followed along.  He probably would've followed us right inside if I'd let him, but I shut the gate behind just me and Arya.  Ha!  While I worked Arya, Flash just stood outside, not far from the gate, munching on the weeds.

Meanwhile, I got the whip and got myself situated.  I am SO uncoordinated that handling a rope with one hand and a whip with the other are pretty much beyond my capabilities, but I give it my best.  :-)
I pointed with the rope hand and clucked to Arya, fully expecting the next step to be to flick the whip at her (and the next step after THAT, if she hadn't started moving, would be to actually flick the whip to hit her in the butt).  To my great surprise and pleasure, she moved off with just the point and cluck!  After a week or so of no work!  I was so proud of her!  Of course, it took another cluck to actually get the trot, and she did get lazy and I had to remind her a few times to trot when she broke down to a walk.  But still...

After the first couple reminders that no, I wanted her to trot and expected her to take on the responsibility (Celena's word, and a good one!) of maintaining that gait, she did, grudgingly.  :-)  That girl is nothing if not LAZY.  :-)  We worked on stopping and facing me, and she did so nearly perfectly each time.  I think only once did I have to ask her to swing her butt a little further.  She always stopped when I asked, and didn't try to move in toward me.  GOOD girl!  I asked her to back (from the end of the rope) and come toward me a couple times, and she got face rubs a few of the times, but we worked on stopping and then starting back up, making sure not to always have her start off going the opposite direction, but switching it up between same/different to keep things at least slightly interesting.  But she was always VERY good about departing, not crowding, and stopping when I asked.  WHAT a good girl!

I tried to take some video to at least send to Celena, but if I'm clumsy with a rope and a whip, you should see me trying to negotiate with a rope, whip, and phone!  And Arya trying to figure out what on earth I'm trying to ask her.  "Hm, that looks like go, no wait now she's saying stop, no, now she's playing a game that involves whapping herself in the face with a whip.  What is up with my crazy human?  Maybe I'll just go hang out next to Flash."  Anyway, so here's a still from when I was trying to shoot video.  Cut off her ears and her hooves (what, she's big!) but at least you can see that look of confusion in her eye.  :-)

I probably should have also done a walk out the driveway, but now it was me who was too lazy.  And it was smoky and starting to affect me.  (I think the meth-y Zyrtec-D I've been taking helps, and was starting to wear off.)  So we called it a day and I took her over to the grass and let her graze a bit as a reward for a good session (well, ending the session quickly and not doing anything else was probably already a good enough reward, and grass was just the icing on the cake, or whatever).  Flash dutifully followed and kept her company while she grazed.  :-)  She didn't MIND, but she certainly didn't care whether she had company or not.  She'd wander off, and Flash would realize she'd disappeared, lift up his head to find her, then follow along.  Too cute.

So here's a funny.  Emma's the horse that Arya's been the most bonded to, probably causing her barn-sour-ness (though it's also somewhat just because that's HOME, and not because of WHO is waiting for her there, I'm sure).  Emma is in the pasture that's just behind Flash and Arya in that picture above.  It adjoins the pasture that Arya's in, and they can visit over the fence, but the majority of both pastures doesn't have visibility to the other.  So when I pulled Arya out of the pasture and into Emma's view, Emma started hollering.  And when I took Arya to the opposite side of the trailer to groom her, Emma REALLY threw a fit.  Either she calmed down when I took Arya to the round pen or I was too busy concentrating to notice her, but whatever.  Then when I turned Arya loose to graze, Emma was standing at the gate, right near the grassy area, nickering at Arya and banging on the gate, trying to get her attention.  Arya completely ignored her.  However, after a few minutes of nibbling (no, that makes it sound too dainty--she was SNARFING) the green grass, Arya moseyed over to the dry dead grass right next to the pasture Emma is in.  Emma, now that she finally had her friend close enough to almost touch, moseyed off toward the hay feeder.  Sheesh.  What was THAT about.  Weirdo.  :-)

But anyway, very proud of my girlie for remembering our training through her week or so off, and then willingly performing for me when I asked.  Hopefully soon we'll do an actual ride, either a training ride around home with a buddy horse (lots of circling and such just like we did with Celena) or else a nice long trail ride OFF the property.  One or the other, hopefully both within the next week or so...

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