Sunday, June 6, 2010

Training Tonka

In the  last three days Tonka (formerly Isabelle, Izzy, or Bella--it took awhile to find the right name)  has learned to longe both directions and not run over me while doing so.  Maggie has ridden her bareback on the lead line and that went well too. So tonight I decided I would set a goal to get on her, if I felt like it was safe.  I did everything we've been doing with her, except I did it tacked up. Tacking her up was really easy. I ground tied her and she stood still while I put the saddle and bridle on her.  I discovered that I need a bigger girth...she is not a size 28.  I played the circle game (only it's really more like a Clinton Anderson version of the circle game), the yo-yo...more me asking her to come back than her wanting to be in my space and a little bit of sideways game (which started out being more an attempt for her to evade my attempts to move her front end over)  I brought her over to the mounting block, and discovered she has learned to move her butt away from the person who wants to get on her. I refuse to get on a horse who won't stand completely still for me.  So, I put off the idea that I was going to ride and went to training her to step up to the mounting block.  I think I need to carry a crop to cue her butt to come over, but I did manage to do OK with with I had. I shook the saddle, put my foot up and down and after about 20 minutes of desensitizing her, I finally sat on her...and then I got off. Then I did that about three more times and discovered that she was NOT going to move, even when I wanted her to.  I also discovered that she doesn't like being told where to go. I barely picked up the reins and she started shaking her head. This is a mild, rub the head on the ground kind of shaking, not the "I'm going to give you a bloody nose" kind of shaking that Liberty does, so it wasn't a big deal.  I found that I had flexion on both the right and the left, which was nice.  I walked around on a very loose rein for about 2 mintues, and then I asked her to stop so I could get off...only she kept backing and backing, so note to self, very sensitive on the reins, or always taught to back up when stopped.  I hopped off her and gave her lots and lots of praise and treats.  She seemed very surprised. I could almost hear her say "where is the rest of my work out"  She was very mild mannered except for one moment in the longing when she bucked up a was like a flea bucking and didn't concern me too much.  I have the chiropractor checking her out before I do any real riding. I'd like to know if she's in pain before I start riding her.

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