January 3, 2010
Today was a milestone, although there is no guarantee that I'll be able to do this again the next time I think she's ready to, but it shows that my wokring with her has paid off. I decided not to lunge her today and just focus on standing still while mounting. She has problems with it and it's become dangerous for anyone trying to get on her. I started out with just getting her to stand still when I move over to her side. Me moving over is the first time she'll move, usually it's away from me. Everytime she stood still when I moved to her side, I rewarded her with a scratching on her neck and hindquarters. When she moved, I moved her back and then told her to "whoa stand."
After she was standing still consistantly when I moved to her side, I acted like I was going to reach up to the saddle. If she moved, I moved her back over to her starting spot in the arena, if she stood still, I rewarded her. After she was consistant in this I actually put my foot in the stirrup and then took it out after a few seconds. If she moved, she got moved back, if she didn't mve, there was a reward. A couple of times it seemed like I was taking one step forward and then two steps back, and at times I needed to remind myself not to lose my temper and that this she was learning something again. As a few members on this forum have said, "Retraining is always harder than the original training."
I was finally at the point where I could actually stand in the stirrup and act like I was going to swing my leg over her back. But at this point, I didn't get on completely and lowered myself down again. Bad news on my part though, everytime I lowered myself down, I jabbed her with my toe. This caused problems, because she started moving again. So I went back to square one again and started over. Eventually I was able to get off her without jabbing her with my toe, and we were able to move on.
My original intention was not to ride her today, especially in a snaffle. Bad memories from the last time I did that. But when I was actually able to sit on her back without her moving at all, I decided to push my luck. And now I'm glad I did, she was an angel. I refused to let myself canter her, because I figured I was pushing luck to far already by riding her, but I successfully was able to trot, walk, turn, half-halt, back, stop a spook, and most importantly, halt with her. In a snaffle! With no other contraptions on her to prevent movements. I'm so amazed. The training session today took almost an hour with only maybe 5 minutes of riding involved. After I untacked her and grommed her we worked on backing up to build back muscles.
Like I said, there's no guarantee that next time she'll stand still for me, or allow me to ride her successfully in a snaffle bit, but we had a breakthrough today that shows she is capable of it and all hope is not lost.
"And somewhere in the northwoods darkness a creature walks upright. And the best advice you may ever get is: Don't go out at night..."
Last edited by tempest; 01-03-2011 at 06:33 PM.