So, Lady is my foster horse from an organization called Sound Equine Options.
She's a ten year old (approximately, no one's checked her teeth yet) Arabian mare who was rescued about a month ago from pretty serious neglect (she's put on probably 100-150+lbs so far). She was literally living in someone's suburban backyard with her year old filly, a donkey, and a mini.
Her filly was signed over to the rescue as well and I think she's already found a new home, or at least she's being fostered by some people who want to adopt her eventually.
Lady was a bottle baby (orphaned at some point) but so far she's not showing any of the really bad orphan "traits". She doesn't have much of an idea about one's personal space but she's not terrible about it.
She's supposedly broke to ride but the owner she was removed from said that she (the owner) was the only one who could ride her... We're thinking that maybe a couple rides were snuck on to Miss Lady but that she isn't truly "broke".
I just got her yesterday so I figured that now would be a good time to start writing about her, start from the beginning, right?
So, basically my "job" is to get her trained up to actually being ridden. If I wanted to, I'm "allowed" to actually get on her eventually myself but I don't have to. Depending on how she progresses, I may start riding her myself but that really really depends.
Right now, our goals are: getting to know each other, leading well (she's under the impression that leading probably means she takes humans somewhere...), desensitizing to everything, being touched all over - she does not want her belly touched right now, saddling, blanketing, fly mask, I want to teach her to pony so she can come on trail rides with Lacey and I, etc.
Basically, I need to get her up to normal handled horse level.
So far I'm loving her attitude. She's very looky and not spooky - very curious about things that scare her. I've seen her get scared a few times but I have not seen her actually spook. She's also pretty spoiled - what she wants is apparently what she's used to getting. However, oh darn for her, I definitely have lots of experience with horses like that *peers accusingly at Lacey*.
She also loves to be touched so it's super easy to reward her for the right things (Lacey hates touching which always makes rewarding her more difficult).
Summary of today:
The goal was working on leading, I also tried a few sending exercises - turned out to be a terrible idea to try with a horse that doesn't know what "whoa" means.
It got a little scary when she decided to trot super fast around me, on the lead rope, while turning her head and shoulders in towards me -trying to intimidate me. I dumbly ended up backing away from her the first time she did that so she tried it a couple more times. Thankfully I was using my 14ft lead rope so I just started smacking in her the shoulder whenever she turned towards me. She decided that would be a good time to bolt but oh, guess what? I was prepared for that so it totally did not work. After that, she basically stopped and was like "oh, I'm dumb" so we went back to walking 2 steps, backing up one, etc etc.
Then, we finally got down to the shed - thank Jesus for Lacey, she was basically glued to my shoulder the whole time (except for when Lady was playing up) all like "Hey guys! I'm so kewl! Does not need lead rope=CHAMPION!" so she was being a great role model.
I tied Lacey up to one post and clipped Lady to a leadrope I had "installed" on the wall of the shed in such a way that if she pulled back, the lead would get looser (no one knew if she tied solid) but not set her free. She stood pretty well there and I groomed her shoulder (I haven't touched her all over yet so I wasn't sure how she'd be with more than that).
After both girls were groomed, I took Lady 15 feet away to work on some more leading. She was a little easier this time but still really didn't understand what I was getting at.
Then I "tied" her back up and took Lacey 15 ft away to work with her. And well, Lady decided that she was done being "stuck" so she started testing out how well she was tied. To make a long story short, Lacey was a gem and Lady ended up being tied solid which she still didn't like but she didn't pull back or anything so yay! She even got the lead rope over and behind her ears but didn't panic, just untangled herself. Smart!
After that, I took Lady off for another 5 minutes and touched her all over with the lunge whip. She was scared of the whip at first but then realized that it wasn't hurting her so she settled right down. Then, as we walked back to the shed, I practiced leading correctly with her some more and she showed that she was really catching on. She even backed herself up a step, before I even asked, right before we got to the shed!
Then I fed them and let them both go. I'm really pleased with how far we got in just a couple little sessions.
I gave Lady some raspberry leaves with hers, likeI do with Lacey. Hopefully that'll calm her current heat down a bit (she's super in heat, all squealy and it's probably not helping her be not bratty, lol).
Tomorrow, I think we're going to work more on leading, obviously more on standing tied, I'll probably do a little more with the lunge whip - to get her thinking, and I'm going to hopefully get her brushed all over. I'm a little nervous about picking up her feet but she did just get them done so the trimmer must have survived...probably I will too... I'll probably also show her about flysheets, just so I can start doing that to her everyday since I figure that'll be CRAZY for her.
And here's a picture of the girl that I took yesterday. She's come a long way since she was rescued but still has a bit of a way to go.
Thanks for reading!