April 30, 2017

Going in Circles

In a good way, I promise!

Last weekend I headed down to the Mane Event and picked up a fancy new bridle since the one we had didn't fit. Hubby doesn't want me having a collection of bridles for one horse (how little he understands lol) and said "get the one you ultimately want." Don't have to tell me that twice! Gossip now has a beautiful dressage bridle complete with champagne coloured crystals to offset her dun colouring. The Mane Event is the place to go if you want to comparison shop, and I did exactly that. I had to laugh... I wound up buying it from my favourite tack shop that's like 15 minutes from my house. Yup, I drove almost 2 hours to buy a bridle from them. It was worth the trip!

So today's first mission after a cursory grooming was to try on said bridle, with many prayers for a good fit.

That'll work!

It was nice to have someone there to hold her for a picture!

Once she was bridled, we took the horses up to the arena area where the round pen, trail bridge, and some ground poles are set up. The others rode in the main area, while I took Gossip into the round pen and worked with her. It was her first time being round penned, and it went really well. There was some distraction from the main herd running and playing as well as the horses being ridden, but she mostly stayed focused on me. I worked her in both directions (tracking right is definitely her weaker side, so we worked in that direction a little more) and was able to turn and stop her using just my body and a swinging leadrope. It made her work a bit, and think, and deal with the bridle on her face and bit in her mouth in a different context than just standing being groomed wearing it. It felt like we did a lot of circles (in reality it was *maybe* 10 minutes) but by the end she was softer and responsive, and she came to me and followed too. I was so happy with her today!

April 08, 2017

Win Some, Lose Some

Just a short report this week, and unfortunately no pictures. I seriously need about four more hands some days!

I tried my bridle on Gossip today, and it mostly fits well enough but the noseband is too small. Good thing the Mane Event is coming up... there should be lots to choose from there. Instead I put the bridle her breeder is letting me use back on her, and let her wear it while I groomed her again. Then I decided it was time for the next step.

I untied Gossip, but left the rope looped around the hitching post to slow her down if she decided to leave. I let her sniff my saddle briefly, then I set it gently on her back. She seemed totally unphased by this new development. I took it off and put it back on three or four times, and ran my hands under  the panels to assess the fit. I didn't try to girth it up because she's never worn any kind of girth and I was alone out there if something had gone wrong, but ungirthed it seemed to fit very well and she stood very well for this new experience.

I decided to leave it there for today, but we've definitely made another step down the path to becoming a good equine citizen. Now to do something about that bridle....

March 20, 2017

Baby Steps

Low key day yesterday, as we continued with baby steps on the road to being a big horse. First I had to bring Gossip up of course, so I brought her buddy out the top gate and tied him, and then decided to try an experiment. The middle of the sacrifice area (where they are during this freeze-thaw nightmare) is a bit of a lake. Gossip generally comes when I call her, so I went in the bottom gate (closer to the hitching post but on the opposite side of the water from where she was) and called. She hesitated for a minute, and then carefully picked her way across the lake to where I was. This got her praise and scratches, of course. I haltered her and led her to the gate, where there was another respectable puddle. I walked out the gate and gave a gentle tug on the rope, and again she hesitated for just a minute and then followed me through the water with careful steps. What a good baby!

Gossip's shedding like crazy, and she has always loved being groomed in general and being gone over with the shedding blade in particular, so I decided to use that to my advantage. I slipped the bridle we'd used last time onto her head over her halter, and set to work with the blade. She fussed and mouthed at the bit some, but as long as I was working away she was mostly quiet. She wore it for almost 45 minutes as I worked on helping her get rid of her winter fuzzies. Of course when I stepped away to get a picture for proof she started up mouthing again, but no worries she's getting used to it.

This, for the record, is the new halter that I'd bought that turned out to be too small. The store let me exchange it for the correct size 😃. After I finished grooming her I took off the bridle and turned her back out. So much hair on the ground, and even more on me... the birds will definitely have plenty of nesting material this spring at this rate!

I can't wait for the sleek summer coat and the hot summer weather, so we can really get to work!