So I haven't posted anything in a few days because Lady has been driving me NUTS.
I'm sure it's a case of "the second weeks", where she's over the "first week best behaviors" and on to being a lil tester.
Anyway, yeah, she was doing great with ponying in the field so yesterday I decided "What the heck! We're going on a trail ride!"
To make a long story short, Lacey loves trotting/cantering on trails and Lady apparently plants her feet and refuses to move when she doesn't want to go. Where did Lady not want to go? Oh yeah, THE TRAILS.
So Lacey was getting more and more frustrated because I was asking her to be really patient and she hadn't gotten to run in over a week and Lady is just standing behind us like a statue.
Anyway, it was overall really really frustrating for everyone involved.
So today we kinda addressed that. I thought that perhaps Lady's quick-catch halter would maybe help. It's basically 2 loops of rope that go around her throatlatch and nose that'll tighten up more and more the more she resists coming along. Then it'll loosen up dramatically as soon as she takes a step forward - I felt like since yesterday went SO badly in a normal rope halter, I needed to make the wrong thing REALLY unpleasant and the right thing REALLY rewarding.
So I started out in the field and both girls did well. I even got them both trotting next to each other for a time. Lacey loved it, Lady was like "stoppppp making me work so hard!!" (I think her work ethic is lacking from 10 years of laziness because seriously? Being bested by a 27 year old=pathetic).
Then, I decided that instead of going all the way down to the trials and having to drag Lady along, I'd just work with them both on the gravel road right outside the pasture.
Pretty immediately Lady planted her feet and refused to come along. I tried to stay on Lacey and just haul Lady along but Lacey was wanting to walk so fast and Lady was going 0mph so I ended up getting off and hauling on Lady. She DID NOT like being forced to do anything but after probably 5 minutes of me just solidly pulling her off to the side (I figured pulling her off to the side was a better bet to get her moving) she finally took a step. Handily, the halter loosened up immediately, faster than I could have, so she was immediately rewarded. The next step, she OBVIOUSLY couldn't give in (too easy, right!), she planted her feet again but this time it only took maybe 30 seconds to get her moving. Then she tried it one more time but gave in pretty much immediately.
Then I hopped on Lacey and Lady came along all the way up the road and back again but once we got to the gate, fight time!
This time I just pulled on her really hard from Lacey's back and she came along after a minute or two so I immediately stopped Lacey and rubbed Lady's face.
Then I just walked them both up and down the road a few more times. Lady dug her feet in a feeewwww more times but they were all pretty easily solved so hopefully something "clicked" in her mind.
I think I'll just repeat what we did today, tomorrow and hopefully we'll be able to go on a good
trail ride on Friday or Monday. And I think I'll keep using the quick-catch halter on her for ponying until I know she'll come along.
I feel kinda mean doing that to her (since I'm basically coercing her with pain) but really, she knows she's bigger than me and I cannot let her just not do stuff she doesn't like. I'm refusing to play silly games with her and that's really what she needs so yknow... :/
Hopefully she'll soon figure out that "work" can actually be fun because this lack of work ethic on her part will get old really soon. She's in the midst of a major life change though so I don't really blame her for being a little bleep-y about things.
In other news, she's doing better with personal space. She's doing fantastic with yielding her hindquarters as well. Not as good as Lacey yet, but Lacey pretty much reads my mind about stuff I want her to do so I'm the tiniest bit spoiled.
I also introduced her to a spray bottle filled with water today. She was nervous at first but after I rubbed her with the bottle, let her sniff the bottle, and the sprayed the air next to her a few times (while sporadically feeding her carrot pieces for exemplary non-reactions) she allowed me to spray her all over with the bottle. She'll still need some work with that, of course, but she did really amazing for a first time.
She's really put on A LOT of weight too. The hollows behind her shoulders are nearly gone, her back bone is only protruding a bit, and her butt is starting to look less like a famine victim's patootie.
I REALLY think that once she realizes that work feel good (I know she has tons of pent up energy), she'll come around pretty fast. It almost seems to me like something happened to her in the past that left a terrible taste in her mouth about any sort of work. Or, of course, maybe she's just a brat and she doesn't want to so she won't!
I'm still housesitting but once I'm finished with that (Saturday!) I'm hoping to go free lunge the girls in the evening again. I tried yesterday during the day but I think it was just a little warm for them because they really were not happy about running.
And I hope everybody had a great 4th of July!
Also, because Lacey is adorable, here's a picture a neighbor of mine took the other day. The neighbor's granddaughter (3yo) LOVES talking to Lacey through the fence and that day they caught me right as I was walking back from riding Lacey. The little girl was really excited about being close to Lacey but was understandably nervous. I offered that she could help me lead Lacey so "we" decided that I'd hold on to Lacey close to Lacey's face and she'd hold on to the end of Lacey's reins where she felt safe.
It was adorable. She helped me untack and feed Lacey. She was SO proud of herself. It was the cutest!