well folks, I don't think I could be any more proud or impressed with Loki mare than I was yesterday!
She was wonderful for the farrier. We had a couple of moments where she pulled her foot away, but most of the time she stood still and let her feet be trimmed like she'd been doing it all her life. Even the parts where her foot was elevated on the hoof stand to rasp around the edges she was really good for, considering I didn't have a hoof stand or anything sturdy like that at my disposal for her foot handling training. The farrier at my barn is a very gentle man and he has a calm and deliberate way of working. I like him :) Loki's feet look great now too.
After her trim I figured it was a good day for Loki to find out about western saddles, how they have two cinches and long flappy stirrup fenders. She did great :) no issue at all with the heavier/bigger/more cumbersome saddle. No issue with the rear cinch, and no issue with me flapping stirrups all over the place either.
We went for a walk in the arena where I had a pole laid over two tires. No wide eyed behaviour at this strange contraption on the ground. As it is, when we walked up to one end of it, she put her head down and gave the end of the pole a chomp, lol. Walking over said elevated pole was no problem at all, and she followed me with a loose lead every time.
We practiced putting a bit of weight in the stirrup with both hand and foot and making the saddle move around on her a bit - preparation for mounting! Both sides she was great, and I was able to do the little hop hop as one would do when mounting without her getting too wide eyed. She did move away a bit, but it was only a step or two and standing still for all that will come in time.
However....... I have now found out one thing that makes this unflappable mare a bit nervous! I decided as we were walking the arena to see how Loki was with people jumping around her. She doesn't like it, lol. I'd do a little hop and she'd be fine, just put her head up and give me that 'what the heck are you doing human?' look. If I took it past a small hop and actually jumped, she would back away and get right nervous. I figure I was acting a little too 'predator' for her liking?? Don't think i'm going to transform into a mountain lion and jump on her with my paw claws ready to sink in, lol. But I did sure make myself look silly out there, jumping around like a fool, hahaha. And then I find out I had an audience in the viewing room of the tack shed......... lol! No big deal though, i'd rather look silly to those that might not understand what i'm doing than have my horse end up with training/desensitizing shortcomings.
We came out of the arena and I untacked Loki. She doesn't care about stirrup fenders dragging across her back when a saddle is coming off.
Took her into the round pen for a few minutes. Not sure if she'd seen a longe whip before so I rubbed it all over her, including her belly and legs. She didn't care. Sent her out by holding the longe whip up behind her bum and sending her off with my energy and a 'walk on'. Right away she moved off. Increased my energy and asked 'trot' and off she went trotting. Decreased my energy, backed off and asked her to walk. Right away she responded. Another trot, within two strides of my request. Walk again, right as I asked. Asked for a halt, done. Asked for a reverse to the other direction and she did a beautiful turn on the haunches, to the inside of the pen. Repeated walk, trot, walk, trot, walk and halt on the other direction. She tried to come in to me once (no malice, just wanted near me) but I sent her back out and her response was almost immediate. Good girl Loki!
After the round pen I figured we could work on the "jumping human bean isn't scary" issue a little bit more. I didn't jump quite so high as in the arena, but not just a little hop. She wasn't as leery and just raised her head. We'll work on this, and get up to the point where she stands there calm while I look like I have ants in my pants, lol.
Then we picked up feet while she was standing in the middle of the yard with the lead draped over her neck and the freedom to move off in any direction she wanted. She stood perfectly still for all four feet.
Dang, i'm proud of this mare!
All in all a great day with Loki! :)