See now that Lady KNOWS the right answer (lunging nicely) she is testing to see what goes well with herd leader Emily and what is going to get her butt corrected. This is a good thing. It's all part of teaching.
Lacey stepped in to tell her off, be careful with this. Good on your for doing a few things before you pet her. I think she just feels on par with you (herd leader.. sharing??) so just make sure you don't let her feel as though you and her are both the big bosses but just when in your presence, she and Lady need to both be respectful and behave.
Hahaha tooo true, Caroline! I've worked with plenty of mares 1 on 1 but watching them in a herd situation is something else entirely!
Maggie, I think you may be tired, my dear!... xD I think I understood that last sentence...
But I totally see that! I actually thought about what we talked about last night while I was making Lady run and it made me laugh. I totally saw the difference. I think she was trying to get me to "play" with her - she had that playful "gleam" in her eye, but still totally unacceptable. On the plus side, Lady is relatively easy to read. She has many many "tells". She just reared and stuck at me because I didn't respond correctly to those tells - I thought I'd just get her moving again by pointing my arm out and snapping the lunge whip (forgot that while that works for Lacey, Lady isn't that trained yet). I should have stepped to the side, lined myself up with her middle (vs the head to head situation we had happening) and focused on her butt like I was predator going to eat it. Ah, the things I learn for next time, right? Lol
I think you're 100% right, I think Lacey definitely thinks we're "co-herd bosses". Over the years I've kind of cultivated that from her because she has a tendency to become overly fearful+then blow up, so in an attempt to get her out of that fearful zone and into one of confidence, I tried to get her feeling like we're pretty "bad" when we're together. That worked great for her undersaddle issues and she's very respectful of me on the ground but we've never had an instance before where she was ever like this to another horse. It was always the other horses coming after her, if anything. Perhaps tomorrow we'll do some work (after our ride) where I get Lacey really close to Lady and correct any aggression on either part.
My feeling was/is that as long as she's following the many rules I have in place, outlining proper behavior etc, she can do whatever she wants. Generally, so far, the basic rules have encouraged good/well thought out "whatever she wants" behaviors but obviously that currently needs a little/a lot of fine tuning.
I think probably you've really hit on something, I've encouraged her to think we're big and bad together but we've also never had another horse on "our" turf. Other horses have always been very temporary and our "unit" has never tried to incorporate another. It's always been the two of us against the "others" and that's changing - gotta be confusing for the old girl!
And, in case anyone missed this, here's the SMB video!
She starts walking at 6:06 if you want to skip ahead... :)
I'm glad you didn't personally know anyone involved! But how terrible for your friends. :( and I totally get that. At least for me, when a friend of a friend dies or is seriously injured, there's an element of sympathy grief where it's almost like I knew them too because I see how badly my friend is hurting... Pretty un-explainable but still SUPER tough to go through... :(
Aw shucks. It's a work in progress! But thanks. :)
Today I took Lacey on a ride, just the two of us, and it was so great! She was so happy to be out, she was happy to go home eventually too but it wasn't her usual sort of pushiness about going home, it was more of a wanting to go home because it was her "duty" or something.
Anyway, it was really nice. The weather was gorgeous, she felt good, yknow, the whole thing. We went on Lacey's favorite trail (not sure why she likes that one so much, it's the longest and the steepest but whatever! Haha) and had some really nice trot sets and some nice canter sets.
Both times I've ridden her out alone since Lady got here, I've always stuck two reins on her pelham (usually I just ride with a rein to the snaffle portion because it's her favorite bit ever+she doesn't usually need the curb anymore - she used to bolt off with me so I had used 2 reins during the retraining process, then took the second off once the bolting was fixed) in anticipation of issues. Both times she's basically laughed in my face and been totally soft and responsive on just the snaffle rein.
I'm actually thinking that the next time the farrier is out (Friday), I'm going to ask him to cut the shanks off that bit for me with his cool kid tools. I pretty much always use it as a snaffle anymore and if I ever needed something like that bit to re-school her in again, my western curb is basically the same thing and it has a snaffle slot. Not to mention that that pelham has pretty much the longest shanks ever and I often worry about getting shanked (puny, I know) with them if Miss "I'M BLIND!" decides to wave her head around.
The snaffle portion of that pelham just isn't made (stainless steel, low-port Fulmer Baucher snaffle) by itself and she just adores it. She'll go ok in a mullen mouth snaffle but something about the snaffle part of that pelham just gets her salivating+extremely soft and I love it! The snaffle part is extremely mild since most of the "special" things about it just encourage acceptance - low port=tongue relief without any roof of mouth contact, Fulmer=positives of both a full cheek + a loose ring, and the Baucher=bit stability in the mouth. I wish someone manufactured plain old snaffles with all that!
And that pelham is also "vintage"=bonus! Lol
Anyway, before I was waxing poetically about my favoritest bit in the entire world, I believe I was telling you about the ride.
The other part that I'm really proud of Lacey for is that even while Lady was having a literal cow about us leaving her, Lacey only neighed back twice and was corrected both times. That's a massive improvement from last time when she neighed at least 6-7 times on the way down to the trails. I wouldn't so much mind if she had a nice neigh (but then again, neighing=focusing on friends, not on working) but Lacey doesn't just neigh, she BELLOWS. Good luck if you're standing in front of her and she neighs, your ears will be ringing.
Anyway, I was happy with her about that.
I also put a note on the gate before I left stating that it was ok for Lady to be running around neighing and that Lacey and I'd be back soon. I decided that was probably the best way to keep any nosy/caring neighbors from panicking about Lady panicking. I made it so that it was easy to stick in my saddlebag on our way back in the gate so that it would just be basically attached to the saddle for other times when I'd need it (since the shed is so far away, I just knew that I'd forget it sometime and that would be the one time someone panics, if it wasn't actually attached to something in a way that did not need prior thought. Lol!).
I think that is all for now... I really didn't do anything with Lady aside from feeding her. I did brush her off - at least with Lacey, a stiff brushing after times of stress often seems to "even her out", if yknow what I mean, so I figured I'd do that to Lady just for niceness sakes.
I might mess with her tonight but I might also not.
Oh yeah! This is very interesting to me - I've basically been hosing Lacey off after every ride because she just gets so sweaty+I hate the look of sweat marks, and she hasn't really been acting itchy at all! Usually at this point (two weeks post bath) she seems really really uncomfortable and she usually has started damaging her own skin by rubbing on things. Maybe it's her own leftover sweat that causes issues??
I'll probably give her/them both baths on Monday because Lacey has started feeling...the best way I can describe it is "oily", again and that's gross. She's basically like a sweet old dog: she feels weird to touch, she sheds all over you, she slobbers all over you, she loves being close to you - "forcing" you to touch her, and she adores being petted. Sweet ol' girl!
Lady's been being a real poo-face lately. Sky/Maggie and I talked about it and we decided that she might be a little justified in her bad attitude, seeing as how she's coming off 10 years of no rules, no learning, and no expectations. So I'm trying my hardest to be patient with her. I realized that my expectations are still a little high for where she's at.
I mean, it's great to have high expectations but I need to have more accessible short term expectations, you know? I realized today that I have definite long term goals for Lady but my short term goals are less clear. Probably a better idea to have really clear short term goals and, if anything has to be murky, it's the long term goals.
Gotta slow myself down! Haha
Anyway, so I'm working on just letting her be and forgetting what we "HAVE TO GET DONE!!" and just focusing on what comes along as it comes along.
Today I took the girls on a really nice long ride. "Really nice" is open to interpretation (both girls were being a bit sassy but they did have Sunday 100% off and yesterday I only worked with them very minimally so there was a lot of pent up "mind energy") but it was all manageable and we ended on a really great note.
Basically (this is hard to describe, so bear with me if you care about descriptions, haha), the girls and I live on top of a very very extinct volcano group. So, there's a whole lot of elevation changes depending on where you are. For instance, the top of their field is about 1500ft above sea level. My house, a 5 minute walk away, is at about 750ft. The trails we ride go from about 350ft above SL, to about 2000ft above SL. It's pretty much the best.
There are "4" trails (4 is in quotes because the one I come down on is only about .25miles long so it's REALLY 3 trails with any significant riding worth) that I can ride on. All connect neighborhoods together and they all connect in a way that's reminiscent on a 4-way stop:
You can kinda see the trail "straight" ahead that goes up to the top of the next extinct volcano in the chain (L+L's pasture is at the top of the other volcano, we come down into a kind of valley on the trails ^^pictured) you can go all the way up it and down the other side - 5+ miles total, then there's the trail to the right in the picture - that one's pretty flat and relatively short (only about a mile, round trip), and then there's a trail off the left which is Lacey's "favorite" - about 3 miles total (getting to the trails+going home adds another 2 miles to the total), very hilly with about a mile long flat stretch at the bottom. And then there's the one Lacey+I are on in that picture, the one to/from home.
ANYWAY, we went on the trail to the right today and the one that goes up+over the second volcano. The one up and over the volcano is super super steep. It's really hard for Lacey to walk up so I usually have her trot up and it's about a mile+ of nearly straight up. It's the one trail that if you walk up, you=dead. I generally get off and hand walk her down because it's so steep, one misstep would be really hard for her to recover from if I got at all off balance.
Anyway, today we went up and came down. It's my favorite ride. That trail has a real "coniferous rainforest" feel to it. Loooove it!
Lacey was mad at first (she knows that trail=hard work) but she got over it surprisingly easily. Lady was like "WAT???! So much hills! So much drop offs to the side! Does not have understandings!!" but she did well.
I mainly had them walk today, I felt like we were doing tough enough stuff that both girls were going to be super pooped walking or not so I went easy on them.
I was really impressed with Lacey's attitude about the whole thing. She generally takes some convincing before she agrees to anything - we're both like that, hahaha - and so usually we have to have a little battle before embarking on any kind of epic journey, but not today!! She had a small cow right as she realized where we were going but after that, she calmed right down.
She was so sweaty when we got back to my house so I hosed off Lady (she was a little sweaty, she was more mentally tired than anything) and gave Lacey a bath. She loved it! Usually she just tolerates baths but today she was trying to mutually groom me the whole time - super cute.
Lacey is in really great shape right now. I'm really loving it. Even though I hate having to put the grazing muzzle on her, wearing the grazing muzzle for most of the day and being ridden, by me, 3 days a week is really doing good things for her. She's also worked pretty hard in her Friday lesson=bonus!
She's officially 1064lbs, down from 1190lbs in June. Yaaaay her!
Also, on the "Lacey cutting up her legs constantly on SOMETHING" front, 2 of her bells boots came today (apparently I cleaned out horse.com's supply...lol!) so she wore them during our ride on her fronts (no new overreaching cuts from today!) and I put them on her backs, upside down, before turning her out after the ride. Hopefully they'll help a bit.
She was trotting so great in them, when they were on her back legs - so much hock action!
Annnnyway.....Oh yeah! I put a bridle on Lady today! That was apparently something she has never had contact with before. I left it on her for 30 minutes while I got Lacey all ready to go, pre-ride, and she was still madly chewing the bit when I took it off her. She was flopping her tongue over it, shoving her tongue under it again, the whole deal. She wasn't really panicked about it, just kinda "What the heck??"
I would have left it in her mouth during our ride but the only real snaffle I own is a Fulmer snaffle, which is basically like a full cheek had babies with a loose ring. I didn't want her to stab Lacey accidentally so ehhh. I do have a mullen mouth, that's a half cheek but with less stab-ibility, that I might use on her next time so she can wear it for longer. I used to have a loose ring but I think I left it at camp last summer...or something. Since Lacey can't do broken bits, I never thought I'd need it again! Haha
I think that is all....
BUT!! I do have a picture. :)
Terrible quality=from my phone, but it's a picture.
Lady's giving me the stink eye! Silly girl, I FEED YOU.
I love that we're all looking so match-y in this picture. Can you guess that my favorite colors are 100% turquoise and purple? Nahhhhhh.
ETA- Also, I figured out ideal ponying strategies today. If I dally Lady's rope through a carabiner on the side of my saddle opposite to her, like I've been doing, and dally it short enough that she has about 5 feet of freedom, she'll stay placed well BETTER if I don't hold the rope vs if I do hold the rope. So, basically, yay for not constantly having to rearrange her! Since she's on the opposite side from where she's dallied, I can easily reach down and grab the rope if I'm needed. Other bonus- the carabiner doesn't hold it tight, just tight enough that there's opposing pressure if she refuses to come along but it'll loosenloosenloosen if there was ever a serious need for that/she pulls hard enough and I don't step in.
Oh man, lady looks a little ticked at you there. Sounds like you had a great ride though! I'm jealous of the trails you have access to, they look beautiful and sound like a blast to ride on. Around here the closet trails are a 45 minute drive from the barn. Not to mention I broke my collar bone so I can't ride for another month or so... I'm very envious! Good luck with lady & Lacey!