Saturday, August 08, 2009

Two horses on the docket today: Mona and Kat. Since these are the horses with deadlines, they get priority sessions. First up was Kat.

My initial challenge was getting her from the pasture with Mona to the round pen on the other side of the barn. Sounds simple, right? Not with a RBE with separation anxiety. A whinny duet commenced, complete with panicked left-behind Arabian tearing around the pasture, and panicked Pintabian trying to run over me.

Oh, yes, I was being very mindful of the thresholds. But for Kat, her threshold is five feet away from Mona on the other side of the fence.

Actually, let me rethink that. It just occurred to me that it's really away from Mona with a human on the end of the line.

I had a plan, though. We'd successfully gotten Mona to the round pen in the same condition the first day; and since our round pen session, she was much better. I think I made a mistake with Kat the previous day, and went in with a new plan.

Instead of being firm, I'd try mirroring her.

It started with her being so upset she was half-rearing at the round pen fence trying to get out. I just ignored that and kept mirroring her behavior like Linda did on the Dec 2004 (I think) SC DVD.

Guess what.

It worked.

Pretty soon she tuned into me, and both stopped whinnying. When it was "safe", I entered the corral and continued mirroring. At some point it changed to becoming leader. I don't know how to describe it. It was more of a knowing. I got her through games 1-4. She is having major trouble with friendly stick and string. This is why I think she might be a difficult horse, not ready to ride in a week or so. She cannot tolerate string on back; how will she tolerate a saddle let alone a rider?

The last thing we did once she'd sighed hugely and put her head in my lap was to work on gate entrances. She rushed the gate. I sent her back and forth until she went in calmly, stopped, waited, and came out calmly. Then I released her to the pasture.

Mona was up next. She whinnied a bit, but was much more manageable on the trip to the pen. I mirrored her, too. They need work to get over the separation thing. Eventually, she forgot about Kat, hooked onto me, and we made it to Circling. She became curious. She was very light and responsive. She got the concept of circling. I hung out with her, even squatted to remove pressure.

She tolerates things better. I think she'll be rideable much sooner than Kat.

That was the day.

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