As many of you know, Sour is an extremely moody, difficult mare with a trademark hate for all people xD somehow though, I've managed to break through to her. And today was yet another large breakthrough for us!!!
I've tried joining up with her four times before, but every time I have had to back off after 45 minutes to an hour because she will literally run herself to death. She'll lather so much that she looks brown instead of chestnut, will foam at the mouth, and will pretty much sound like she's going to have a heart attack. I ran her so hard twice that as soon as I left, she collapsed on the ground for over ten minutes. I was afraid I'd worked her too hard! So I'd pretty much given up on joining up.
Well today I was free lunging her in the round pen, not really intending to do anything than give her a bit of a workout. About eleven rounds of cantering into it though, I began to notice signs of her listening. She was beginning to chew and dip her head, glancing at me every few moments. And I was like 'YESSS!' so I turned her so that her right side was towards me (we still have minor issues with that side) and again, after a few laps she began to chew! Already I was happy with out session because she was having fun when we first started, and obviously paying attention to me- but when I stopped and turned away from her and she WALKED RIGHT UP TO ME and waited for my commands, I was beyond estatic. After two years of work, Sour has atlast acknowledged my leadership!
So I finished the session with desensatizing her to the rope as always, using my hands to pet her everywhere including her back legs and girth (which she is usually very touchy about) and she just stood there like an old pro. We headed back to her pen with her leadrope draped over her back, following me like a puppy even though I wasn't holding her ^^ very happy.
It amazes me at what we've acomplished even in the past 6 months. At two and a half she was still rearing when lead, bucking/crowhopping/charging when being lightly lunged, nipping, attempting to kick, would NOT let you on her right side AT ALL, you had to sedate her to clip her feet or even properly clean them, she wouldn't walk the trails, you couldn't touch anything but her face or her neck, and she absolutely positively did not ever trailer, worm, clip, or even stand tied without dancing and squealing.
Now though, at barely three years old, Sour leads, lunges, joins up, side passes, backs on command, walks trots and canters on command on and off of the lunge line, walks trails alone, in the middle, in the front, and in the back, allows (some)females to lead and brush her, allows (some) males to lead her, stands to have her feet cleaned and shod, trailers, clips (just face and bridlepath right now) girths up (for surcingles), pivots, disengages, reacts to pressure, steps up onto things, can be messed with from the front, back, right, and left, ponies, blankets, and best of all- now GROUND DRIVES!
I am so proud of her! I think she has officially graduated ground-manners school ^^ The next step is getting her a bridle and introducing her to that, and in two-three months (we're waiting until she's atleast 3 1/2 before doing more than ground driving) hooking her to an unmanned buggy.
I have a video of her having fun at the beginning of our session. Camera is VERYYYY shaky because I was running to keep her moving (I don't have a long whip yet xD and the pen is 60x60 ft) but you get the basic idea she has such nice paces, too.
View My Video
And some pics of her following me ^^
And just for fun, her best friend- Little Feather- a cremello 13 year old dwarf