I have recently gotten back to ground driving my mares and I'm currently focusing on my WB mare. She needs to go and it will be best if she is a productive member of society before she goes out into the world. Bottom line? She needs a job. She needs consistency and lately she's getting it. I have upped the ante and have started working her 3 days a week with the others. Everybody gets turned out while their stall is cleaned, worked before put away and the order of rotation changes all the time.
Ms. Thing was NOT enjoying boot camp! She was having a serious temper tantrum and throwing a hissy fit almost routinely. Her biggest issue? She is not comfortable with me behind her for ground driving. Part of it may be because I am short and she can't see me back there, Especially when her head is down where it belongs, rather than sky high like a giraffe. . She can't see me over or around her butt, but I am back there making her work. Part of it too is that I'm not on her back, so there is no weight, no legs, no saddle, nothing for her to 'feel' me up there or take her cues from. Instead there is a rope running along her side and around her butt to move her hip over with or to help with the laterals.
Many horses do blow up at one point or another in long lines. They just do and Ms. Thing is no exception, except that maybe she has blown up more than most. When it happens, it is sometimes difficult to avert it or shut it down. Sometimes they just have to blow, to get it out of their system. Their 'fight' mode may include running backwards, pulling on the reins, refusing to give to one side, the other or both, locking up their front end and refusing to budge in any direction or spinning around and tangling themselves up in the lines. Some horses will rear, some will buck, some will fall down, go over backwards, sideways, etc. and when it happens, it happens fast. Sometimes all you can do is stand there and watch, while trying to stay out of their way.
Aruba has tried everything she can to get out of work and when none of it does her any good- she will finally resolve and admit defeat 'this time' and then she is just as pleasant as can be, moves out like she should and is as gorgeous a mover as ever. Her tantrums are shorter, not as severe and she is getting the idea that if she just behaves from the start, we end quicker and she gets put away and fed sooner. Well DUH!
When I move her out to the end of the lines and let her move and work, she is much better. Whoa is not as solid as I would like it yet, but we are getting there. Canter almost always involves a leap forward and up as if she's launching into it. I'm not concerned with that right now, I asked her to canter and she cantered. It's the little things. I want forward, she gave me forward.
A while back, when I first wrote this, Ms. Thing had given me a wicked fight. She was an all out shrew to deal with. She wouldn't give, she wouldn't budge, she wouldn't stop when I asked and didn't want to go until she had to... I asked, she refused. I upped the ante and she blew up. I let her and when it was done, I adjusted the tack a little and asked again in a firm but very direct way. After a while she finally relented and gave up the ghost on being such a bitch. She must have finally figured out that I can be a bigger bitch right back when I need to. What I got after that was absolutely gorgeous movement. She was soft, fluid and just awesome. I was feeling a bit deflated until that, but ending on a good note like that- it was all worth it.
Since I am working the horses 3-4 days a week, after a day off when I went back at it with her again- What a difference! She was compliant, agreeable, accepting and I had bend, give, forward, stop and a lovely walk too. I told her- "THIS! This is how it is supposed to be all of the time. See how much easier, better, nicer it is when we work together?" Because she was sooo good, this workout was short. She deserved it, plenty of praise and a good rubdown. She was an altogether different horse than the last workout.
Then two days later she was sore as could be in the front end. She will be getting some time off while I get this sorted out, but it was nice to end on a good note with such wonderful movement and her having a happy attitude. The vet was out to geld Kat and although he didn't have the time (and I didn't have the money) he didn't think it was anything serious. Most likely a stone bruise, gave me some bute for both horses and said if it doesn't seem to improve, he can come back out (when I can afford it) and we can do a more in depth work up on her and see what's going on.
Meanwhile I am working my TB mare and I am excited. I rode her once several years ago for my birthday. It lasted about 10 seconds and she was awesome. After that- I just never had the desire to throw a leg over her again... Until recently. The more I work this mare, the more I want to ride her. She has always been one of the sweetest mares I have ever owned and I want to get on her. She just moves so nice and I have always liked everything about her. I'm looking forward to the day.