Today I was supposed to work at noon but with all the snow we got I wasn't able to get out of the driveway and since this is the first time I've missed a day in the two years I've worked here I didn't feel too bad. I was also excited because it freed me up to work with Katai some more.
I had put her and Myshla in the large stall that they share last night in preparation for the snow storm and had planned on getting them both out this morning but we got a lot of snow and its still coming down pretty hard so I decided to leave them in. However, since working in even a large stall with two ponies would be dangerous I took Mysh out and tied her and kept Katai in the stall. I had been out this morning before I decided I wouldn't be able to make it into work and did her feet since that was the top priority. That meant that I had some options as far as what to work on and since I had limited space I decided it was time for her to wear a bridle again.
She has had one on a couple of times but I have never been consistent enough for her to really be used to it so its time for her to wear it more. I also got a bridle for her for Christmas that I hadn't tried on yet and just yesterday her bit arrived and I wanted to be sure it would fit. I ordered her a 4.5" which was an educated guess on her size since Myshla's 4.75" bit seemed a little loose on her and I was right, the 4.5" fit perfectly.
She always pulls away when I go to put my hand by her ears with the bridle but after that she doesn't fuss very much and today was no different. I got it on and adjusted it a bit so that it sat right in her mouth. I'm sure that as I get more consistent with her and start to put her bridle on more she will get over some of that and eventually things will smooth out.
Once she had her bridle on and buckled up and was loose in her pony safe stall I decided to grab my trimmers and get Myshla's bridle path trimmed. Once I had the trimmers in the barn and had finished with Myshla I realized that it would be a perfect time to start to desensitize Katai to them as long as she didn't freak out too bad in which case I would need to wait until we were outside and had more space.
As it was she did the typical Haflinger thing, she takes after her mom alot, and didn't care at all while I turned it on, rubbed it all over her on both sides and even trimmed some of the long hairs on her neck until suddenly I must have done something a little different and she freaked. It wasn't really a bad freak out but there was a lot of stubbornness behind it so it took me almost half an hour to get back to being able to just stand next to her with it on. The more I read about Haflingers the more I find that this type of behavior is very common. They have good minds and tend to have no issues with new things until suddenly they do lol. It is easy to push too fast because they are calm and steady and then they freak out about the same thing that they were good with a minute ago.
Luckily it was still easier to have the trimmer around her than it ever was with Sora who would have hit the wall if I even tried to turn it on with her in a stall. We ended with me standing right next to her hold the running trimmer and tossing the lead rope over her back on both sides. I'm sure that after a couple more times I'll be back to rubbing it on her and doing some clipping, at least in areas that she's not too sensitive about.
Through that all she wore the bridle very nicely and it was good to have her mind on something else so that she learns to just hold it nice in her mouth while working. She usually has more issues with having the bridle taken off than put on which is pretty normal since if they don't relax the bit hits their teeth on the way out. We have made a lot of progress on this though because every time she's worn the bridle I refuse to take it off and leave it off if she throws her head. Instead I keep putting it back on and taking it off until she relaxes and drops the bit nice. It took her three times today but eventually she dropped it nice rather than flipping her head so we ended on a good note. I put Mysh back into the stall and gave them another chunk of grass hay to keep them busy. Hopefully the snow will stop soon so that I can get them put outside.
The plan for tomorrow is to get up early to get to the gym and then still have enough time to at least have Katai wear the bridle some more and maybe do some more desensitization. Hopefully the Easyboot Fit Kit will get here sometime this week so that I can try that this weekend.