The Next Chapter
Unfortunately I cannot add photos from my phone, but those who have me on Facebook would know that I have found a 'new pony'. Hopefully! I'll have her on a trial period first and then I'll lease her (with potential to buy). I'm so excited! Her name is Willow and she is a six year old Thoroughbred x Stockhorse.
She seems very willing to learn, however, she is very green at the moment; she's a project. I absolutely adore her and she is so different to Chinga, making me very excited to what she'll be like :) I plan to event her once I tune up her flatwork a lot, get some groundwork in and of course teach her to jump. So, I decided to make my journal now but won't start posting 'daily' entries until I get her home (and fingers crossed she passes vet check). Yay! Exciting news.
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I remember reading your story about what happened to Chinga, and how devastated you were. I would've been too.
I'm very happy you've gotten to the point where you can share your love with another horsey. I look forward to reading about your adventures with Willow. :)
Bless her! Willow coped so well with everything today. She loaded well, floated excellently and unloaded even better. I couldn't have asked for a better trip with her - such a good pony. Her owner mentioned that she has previously had a lot of trouble floating and became quite stressed out and sweated up. So, I was really pleased to see that already she was doing well. Spent the day with her letting her settle in and then popped her in the round yard to let her stretch her legs and have a little bit of a play. Previously, she hasn't been roundyarded or lunged much so it was a new experience for Willow. She did well, was a little confused and a bit 'pushy' but she'll get there. She had a little bit of a rear and a dance around, even threw in a canter - which was a good opportunity to look at her canter and see how unbalanced it was. She does need a lot of work, so I'm excited to start riding her over the next few days.
She is very noise responsive - so I thought about teaching her a couple of tricks using clicker training, and I thought it might be a good way for us to bond. I'll hopefully start playing around with how she responds to the clicker tomorrow.
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Worked Willow for the first time out of the round yard today; which meant introducing her to our jumping arena and all the loud noises and distractions that came along with it. She was a complete star, I couldn’t have asked for her to be more cooperative. At first she was very hesitant, having not being lunged she was a baby and not particularly enjoying that experience – but she quickly learned. I think having her in a paddock near the road has also helped as she has had the opportunity hear and hopefully zone out all of the ‘white noise’. Willow has a good rein, and a very bad rein. I started her off on her good rein to build her confidence and understanding of the concept and she did very well. Even did a small amount of canter; which I was very pleased about occurring to how unbalanced it is.
Put her on her ‘very bad rein’ and she instantly became very unbalanced and lacking in trust in herself. Thankfully, she is already beginning to trust me and with encouragement I had her trotting around nicely. It was a little rushed and unbalanced – but an improvement on what she started with. I think already Willow is the type of horse that will benefit a lot from rider support. However, I am wanting to keep up with the lunging sessions to allow her to learn that it is okay to trust her own judgement in things. She had a few ‘freak outs’ at particularly loud cars or trucks that went past; all she did was prance around on her back legs a little. But I focused on ignoring it and verbally encouraging her to go forward. I want her to eventually learn that these things are actually not that big of a deal.
Fitted her to her new bridle and it suits her beautifully; she is an excellent horse to bridle and very accepting of the bit in that sense.
I decided to challenge Willow today and test out her jumping experience over some small fences on the lunge. She coped better than I had expected in the end; but of course she had her baby moments along the way. Started her out on her ‘good rein’ again and she picked it up quickly. Her canter was pretty much the same as yesterday, but I was pleased to see she balanced herself fairly quickly. She popped over the cross-rail nicely, although she lacked in ‘style’ but over a jump that small it did not give her much opportunity and I didn’t expect much in the terms of performance – I was looking for confidence. When I made it a small vertical; the confidence she previously presented with quickly disappeared. She threw in a few ‘dirty’ stops and had some decent slides. But again, she quickly learnt that there was nothing to be afraid of and popped over it a few times. She loses her ‘motion’ a bit in front of the jump though; however, I think with a rider encouraging her to go forwards with her seat would quickly teach her otherwise. Again, she just needs to build her confidence.
Unfortunately, when I swapped to her bad rein another rider came out and she became more focused on them, rather than me. Having not been worked with other horses since she arrived meant she was eager to check out what they were doing. Jumping her on her ‘bad rein’ was more difficult because of this and because she was just generally unbalanced. But I wanted to do a little bit of it; to even things out. She was very un-confident on this rein and struggled to even go over the cross-rail. To encourage her, I ended up leading her over it and showing her there were no scary monsters that were going to jump out and eat her. Rewarding her is a big thing for her; she is very body language and voice motivated – so telling her she is a good girl and giving her a pat really does go a long way. Ended up getting her to trot over it in a semi-confident manner and ended on a good note. Overall; a good day.
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