It's been so hot here, I feel so bad for Lacey! She's been sweaty just standing around. Then, she gets winded so much more easily because she is hot. Today I didn't work her hard at all (maybe ten minutes of trotting and cantering, then 30 of walking) and she was seriously dripping sweat, she's a horse that NEVER sweats (it's not lady-like, don't you know? Haha) so I felt really bad for her. I did hose her off when we were done and she seemed to enjoy that. She looks SO mangy right now too. I haven't taken pictures in a little bit because she's just so yucky looking. Like, she has bald spots in both her armpits, going up towards her shoulders and then back by her udder going along underneath her belly and minimally up the sides. She's just been shedding so much that I am just pulling out clumps of hair and her summer coat hasn't had a chance to grow in. I would just leave it but I feel like such a jerk making her stand around and work, in t-shirt/shorts weather, when she's basically wearing a snow suit.
Today, I mostly groomed her for an hour or so, then roundpenned her for ten or fifteen minutes, then I threw my bareback pad on her and we rode around a little for a cool down. It's really weird, suddenly I've become able to sit her trot riding bareback. We trotted around a little today and I had no issue staying with her at all! That used to be a real challenge for me and I have no idea what's changed... Maybe she's figured out that it's more comfortable for her if she takes it easy and trots gently when I'm riding bareback? I don't know... I'm sure part of it is that she has randomly and miraculously slowed down her trot significantly when I'm bareback... I'm not sure at all where that's come from since she can't hardly jog worth anything undersaddle, but whatever! I'm not complaining!
I'm hoping to be able to practice trotting bareback more once it cools down or she loses more fur, but soon I'm going to try cantering bareback! I have never ever done that so it'll be a big step for me. I'm a little scared that I might fall off, but Lacey is one of those horses that will do anything to keep her rider on. She actually will stop/slow down if she feels me getting really off balance, bareback. It's cute. Heehee
Also, she's really cute (in case you weren't aware of how I felt about her). She's started nickering for me ALL the time again. I find it super adorable. I'll go into the barn and return with a brush and she'll nicker at me. I'll walk 30ft away from her to talk to my BO and she'll stand there nickering away like "commmmmeeeee baaaacccckkkk!". She always nickers for me when I dismount after riding for a little while, but she's stepped it up a notch lately: now she nickers and backs up, then rests her head on my shoulder like "hey mom! Where'd you go? I missed you!". Maybe it's because she's feeling her hormones again and therefore being clingy... I dunno, but it's sure cute!
I'm going to try to get a real ride in tomorrow, so hopefully I will have something more interesting to report.
I went out and worked her a smidge on Tuesday but I totally forgot to report how it went! Lacey did just fine. She's such a good girl.
However, craziness happened today!
First off, I've been doing more round pen work with Lacey and she is LOVING it. I finally figured how to get her to turn in when I tell her to turn instead of turning to the outside, and she is getting so good. I love how in tune she is to my body language, I can get her to stop or walk by just taking a step in front of her shoulder, and I can get her to turn in and around just by taking a step back. It almost feels like we're dancing. She's really enjoying herself with this too. I love it when we do something she loves, her face just lights up and there's a vague change in her energy that I can just feel.
Oh my, that thought is making me tear up. She is truly a once in a lifetime horse. I'm terrified for the day she dies. After working with her for only 2 years I can just feel how she's feeling. I don't have to be touching her or anything, I just know. She's not a horse anymore, she's my best friend.
Anyway, so I hopped up on her in the round pen after I round penned her a little and I rode her around a bit in there. Then, I'm SUPER proud of this too, WE OPENED THE ROUND PEN GATE TOGETHER!! We've never done that before. I've tried but she always gets worried about me leaning forward or my arms and legs touching things that aren't attached to her. It makes me wonder if she had a bad experience a long time ago or something. But, today we did it! I think it'll be easier to do again after this because she's realized that nothing bad is going to happen.
Anyway, she was proud of herself after that, all prance-y and "lookit me guys!" So I just let her wander and only corrected her when she started trying to take advantage.
There's a ditch on the property, about a foot wide and two feet deep, so totally something she easily can (and does regularly) step over. But! Today, we got to the ditch and she stopped. It was her "I'm concerned about this" stop so I didn't do anything, just let her assess the situation. Then, she decided to try to go around it another way and I let her since she had made a decision and usually her decisions are fine. Well, she misjudged the width of the ditch and got one front leg in the ditch. She was on her knee with her other front leg with her back legs still up all the way. I thought for sure that I was about to come off, I saw the ground coming up to meet me and I was like "aww, crap. This is how I'm going to fall off Lacey the first time?" My thigh was way over on her withers and I was seriously on her side, BAREBACK. So basically, I had no way of staying on. I have no idea how she did it but she got herself up, and in getting up she also rearranged me so that I didn't fall off! I'm still kinda in shock, she totally saved my butt. I wish someone could have been taping it! Haha I have NO clue how she did it either, I mean, I wasn't holding mane, I was just on her back and some-freaking-how she managed to save us both.
I LOVE MY HORSE!!!
She's so much calmer nowadays too, I thought for sure that she was going to be all worked up and freaky about the ditch, but no. She was totally fine, no freaky-ness, no funny business, it was all in a day's work for Lacey, evidently. Haha
But yeah, my horse is awesome. I even accidentally kicked her really hard in the gut when she rearranged me as she got up and she was totally fine! A year ago she would have been psycho pony after that, but oh no. "Who's psycho pony?," Lacey says innocently. Haha
She is a pretty good horse. She has her days but most of the time she's a God-send. :)
This is an update for Saturday (May 1st) and today so it might be kinda long...
On Saturday, we went on another big trail ride, 4 1/2 hours, and she was really pretty good. She's back in heat again and she was on the first day of it so right at the really vocal "hiya boys" stage, and we were riding with 3 geldings and no other mares. >.< Haha Needless to say, her mind was more on being a flirt than the ride so I didn't expect too much from her. I did of course expect her to follow "the rules" but I didn't ask her to do anything special because I could just feel that it would turn into an argument. She crossed some pretty deep water (knee high) pretty willingly which I'm very proud of since she hates splashing water in a significant way. We did quite a bit of cantering and she was great! She really kept herself under control and didn't try to bolt or anything. I was kind of expecting that we might have a problem about that, because she was feeling good and she was feeling her "womanliness" but nope! The only problem we had was that the girl that was in front of us for most of the time kept barging past Lacey and having her horse shove Lacey to the side. And she kept cantering ahead with no warning, which wasn't good for Lacey since Lacey was being so dang clingy. I wouldn't have had an issue if she had just let me know before she took off since I could have told Lacey to canter at the same time. >.< Dumb people. I wish I had sane, real horse people to ride with, not crazy "I love running more than anything!" people. I don't mind running but let's run as a group because everyone wants to, not just because one person decides that they need to go. Also, because of Lacey's age, I need to be way more careful abotu where she's running since she could hurt herself way more easily than a younger horse, so I can't just be running along, dodging ditches and potholes. And she just doesn't have the stamina of a younger horse and I need to be able to care fore her like that, not just have a freeforall. Geez.
And then, today didn't go so well at all. She was having a major major "mare day". She's usually pretty good on her mare days, but today, she was feeling good and young, therefore, excitement ensued. I was reminded about why I don't ride bareback in just a halter during the summer. First, she was charging ahead as I was leading her and jigging next to me. Then, I got her all groomed and hosed off her legs since she got a cut on her left hind fetlock area that's a little swollen but she's not off and it's not warm or anything, just swollen. I'm not too worried about the cut yet but I will be in a few days if it hasn't solved itself. So, after that, I got the lunge line and the whip out to lunge her. She was pulling all the way to the feild and I was doing my best to correct her but she was just not figuring out what I was telling her to do. I ended up getting a little too forceful which I'm pretty sure caused her to be worse because she was confused about what I wanted. So I lunged her and she did fine, she was being very fast and energetic but I decided to pick and choose my battles and that was not one I wanted to chance losing since I probably would have with her little mood today.
Then, I decided to hop up bareback. Bad idea, my friends, bad idea. She immediatly started prancing around, pulling on the halter, trying to go where she wanted to go instead of where I was telling her to go, humping her back up, that sort of thing. I kept it up though and after about ten minutes she started to settle. I got her to behave herself ok but there was a lot to wish for. And then, I had to laugh at this, when I went to get off, she did a little mini crow-hop to "help" me off. She was nickering at me and she gave me a "hug" once I was on the ground so I didn't take it personally, but I thought that was pretty funny. Like she was saying "here mom, let me help you off!"
Such a funny girl.
But, I think I'll be putting bareback riding on hold for a bit and spend more time in an actual saddle since I've been kinda slacking in the actual saddle time department. I think tomorrow, depending on how the weather is and how Lacey's leg looks, I might work her pretty hard and hopefully get the sillies out. I really don't mind if she acts differently when she's in heat, I just need her to behave well. I need her to be stable and steady whatever her hormonal state is. She can be more "up" but she had better be respectful, which she wasn't being so much today.
I'm sure it had something to do with me though. I'm pretty sure I was escalating my reactions to meet hers, which is not the way to do things with her. The more excited she gets, I need to get just as calm. So, I know she's not totally to blame, at all.
And, so as to not end on a negative note, I will share with you this picture I took today. I was playing around in Picasa with it and I kinda like how it came out.
I have come to the conclusion that I have accidentally created a holy terror. Lacey extremely fit right now, compared to the average horse, and I'm not fit enough to keep up with her! Ahhh! Haha
She's doing well though, just really ready for anything and everything. She wants to go go go and I just don't have that kind of stamina right now.
We had a great session today, I took her out the arena and just let her run and run before I rode because she was acting like a shaken soda pop bottle that's about the explode, all sorts of barely contained power. She was running for about ten minutes, flat out, before she got tired enough to walk. And even after she was willing to walk, if I kissed at her to canter again, she'd step right into it.
Then, I got her all saddled up and we rode around a bit. I made her a new halter yesterday with rings on the nose so that I'll be able to have her tied at camp, but still not need a bit (she can't drink water with a bit in her mouth and I don't want to have to take her bridle off all the time so she can drink at camp) so we were trying that out. She did really well in it. We rode all 3 gaits with no issues slowing down or turning. She needs more work backing up in it, but that's kinda understandable. She was very good. Most of the time I just let her trot and I posted. She just wanted to GO so badly that I figured that we could practice neck reining at the trot. We even cantered a little bit and she was really phenomenal! She responded to my leg aids and I didn't have to direct rein her at all at the canter. The reins were in one hand.
The only issue we had was that she's put on some weight (which is good since she was really too skinny before) so now she's pretty round, and the saddle likes to slide when she's good and round. >.< But it didn't slide too badly, I just had to keep shifting it back to the right spot.
But yeah, in all, we had a lovely day! And I will be posting pictures of little miss attitude shortly.
Happily, the whole being too fit for her own good issue seems to have mostly fixed itself. I've been free-lunging the bejeebus out of her and I sadly haven't been riding much. I haven't been riding much just because I haven't really had the time lately. I have been hopping on her bareback and in a halter for our cool-down time which she seems to be enjoying. So, basically, she's figured out that the arena is the place to be crazy and run around as much as she wants but that once she gets that out she needs to be good.
Today, she was being hilarious. She was being a little forward so I groomed her and took her straight to the arena to free lunge her. She went around the arena like it was no big deal, w/t/c for about 15 minutes. Then, I decided that she seemed pretty calm so maybe she was done.
What I have her do when we're done is I have her stop, then I ask her to come to me. Sometimes, she doesn't want to so I give her about a minute to decide, then I chase her off and make her work some more until she's ready to be done.
Well, today, she didn't want to come in and she started eating grass which is a big no-no in our rule book, so I immediately chased her off. We went through that same thing about 3-4 times (usually she's ready to come in on the second try, silly girl!) and I was getting more and more irritated. I wasn't mad, I was just a little irritated and I think Lacey could sense that because the next time, she didn't start eating, she just put her head down really near the grass and looked at me. She still wasn't coming in though so I chased her off again, but this time the little bugger wanted to play.
She cantered around once or twice and then you could just see the lightbulb go on "This would be SO much more fun if I were galloping!" So she put her tail WAY up in true Arab fashion and started galloping around like nobody's business. She wasn't bucking or anything, she was just showing off her shexyness. Haha It was so funny, she was seriously running for about ten more minutes. She was SO playing with me, sliding to a stop and turning when I so much as accidentally made a small "turn" gesture, etc. Then, I hopped the fence to get my camera (THE ONE TIME I FORGOT IT IN THE CAR!!! I was mad. Haha) and she just stopped running immediately like "Party pooper!" and then she wouldn't get back into it when I came back with the camera. :(
Needless to say, she came right in to me when I asked again. Haha
The coolest part about that is that I've only seen her run like that and flag her tail one other time in the 2 years I've had her. The other time was only a few months ago. It makes me really happy that she's finally feeling good enough in her body to really exhilarate in it instead of just live in it. Especially at her age, horses her age don't seem to make comebacks like this.
She's also SO pretty when she's running like that, flagging her tail. You can totally see how she might have been as a youngster. The kind of horse everyone stops to watch because she really is a showstopper. There's just something about her that draws people in, I think. She's such a perfect combination of athleticism and beauty, delicate-ness and strength that I don't even know how it's possible.
Also, tomorrow my camp starts and she's coming on Monday so it'll probably be three months before I update since it's an all summer camp, but maybe I'll have time.
Hey wallaby...have you noticed a difference since the massage?
On Tuesday (the last time I saw her before today) she seemed pretty sore and she was very hollow through her back doing everything (I only free lunged her a little then let her be done since she did seem sore). She also seemed extraordinarily tight in her muscles on Tuesday.
Today though! I could totally see a difference. Her muscles were all soft, and she was moving very very fluidly. She was actually over-tracking by about a hoof print at a normal trot where she usually only just tracks up. And then this whole running around like a youngster thing, that's totally something she only seems to do when she's REALLY happy.
I think the biggest change in her since the massage is in her attitude. I'm not really sure how that works but maybe it got out all the excess tension that she's been holding on to for years since she used to be really "up" all the time. She was getting better but it was really slow. But after that massage, she's like a different horse! She wants to be petted (she never really did before), she's being much more lovey towards me, and she's SO much calmer. For instance, today I was taking all her stuff to my van to take it to camp tomorrow and I had too much to carry by myself so I decided to make her wear some of the stuff and help me. We had to go off the property and on to the road to get to my van and she didn't blink twice at that. Before she would have been all balky and dance-y, but not today! And even when we were at my van and I slid the back door open and a showsheen bottle and a helmet launched themselves at her, she just kinda looked at them, sniffed, and really couldn't have cared less.
She's also been a lot more willing about everything. Usually she has an attitude of "if I have to, I will. But you can't make me put more effort in than I want to!" but she's just been being very "let's go have some fun! I would LOVE to work, if you would like me to."