Sunday, June 5, 2016

Getting Out

For some reason it's like some sort of switch has turned on in my brain after the show and all of a sudden I feel really capable of making changes without involving other people. After watching this video  I realized that I really want to be able to get Katai outside and have her handle the terrain and just be able to be handled outside. Something about the calm, relaxed way that Elisa handles her thoroughbreds just really motivated me to get out and deal with Katai's behavior and start working on making it better.

I got Katai tacked up and ready to go and went out into a drizzle to do some good work. I decided to hop up to start off and jump down if I needed to. I schooled mounting and keeping her still for a little and then, once she was doing well there, I mounted up and she immediately lost her mind.

More on that later

At any rate, I dismounted and got her going forward around me in a circle. Then, once some of her brain was back in her head I started "ground riding" her with one arm over the saddle. She was doing pretty well until we got her near the trailers and then we lost it again so I started playing my version of the "Squeeze Game" and trying to get her to stop close to the trailer and making her work when she was moving away from it.

It worked really well and she caught on pretty quick and was standing between me and the trailer, facing it. So I ground rode her around the horse pens. It's a decent little trail ride and she did a great job.

Old me, would have just called it there but the new more motivated me hopped up and went to do the same thing actually riding my pony. Once I mounted up she got tense and naughty for a moment (again, more on this later) but I was able to ride her through it and soon we were walking in a relaxed manner back around the pens. I thought about hopping off before we had to ride past the trailers again but instead I stayed up and told her that I'd give her snacks (which she hasn't been getting at all) if she was good. She was! She walked right past and then halted and stood still while I dismounted so she got lots of orange snacks.

I was extremely proud of both of us, not only that we got out and did it but also that we did it on a slightly windy and rainy day when the other horses were pretty keyed up. It will be great practice for a show environment and I'm planning to do the same thing very soon.

Then today I rode her in the indoor and I had exactly the same fussy, bratty pony that I did last Friday right before the show. This time though I FINALLY put together that I think she's out somewhere either her ribs, pelvis or back. She is still really (as in literally traveling at a 45* angle) swinging her haunches to the left and when I dismounted I noticed that she's still got a bit of a twist in her tail when she walks which is really unusual for her.

I had seen that slightly odd tail carriage when I lunged her after a few days off after the show but I figured she was just a little stiff or sore. Now, when she's still doing that I'm sure she has something going on either in her musculature or, more likely, needs chiro. I feel bad that I didn't put it together sooner but I'm also wondering now whether that effected her show day at all. Who knows, I have a feeling there was enough adrenaline that it wouldn't have effected her behavior much but I'm still curious. At any rate, I'm sure it explains her bad behavior more recently.

I've texted my previous farrier, the one that I fired :(, because she's great with chiro and I think that we agreed that I'd still have her do chiropractic but we'll see. Hopefully she'll be willing to come out while I'm out of town, or hopefully she'll just be willing to come out period...


  1. Sounds like a good session with her. Nice work!

    1. It really felt that way! Thank you :)

  2. Loved that video! I agree that trainer has a wonderful attitude. I like your new plan of building her confidence outside. Checking into physical issues is always a great plan.

    1. Elisa is amazing and sort of a role model. She rode in Rolex this year and her coach is Karen O'Connor and yet she's so normal and down to earth and does so much work to get where she is.

      Yeah, I wish they could talk some days!