Yesterday was my first time spending any sort of real time with Kat. And I’m not sure I’m going to continue calling her that- I tend to come up with nicknames as I go, and as I get to know horses’ personalities. These names do not always make sense to other people, but that’s OK. Right now, I find myself just calling her “Lovely” like it’s a name, rather than an adjective.
I brought her in from a light drizzle yesterday, and we went straight to the indoor arena- I figured that she should at least make its acquaintance, plus I wanted to see Klondike going, as another boarder was riding him. I did not anticipate that Klondike had fallen deeply and totally in love with her, and would start acting like a pill as a result of her presence. So this little foray into introducing her to things like ground poles and mirrors ended with me handing her off, and climbing aboard Klon. I think I talked about this on his blog, so no need to get into details. Except I will say it’s the first time I’ve ever ridden in a dressage saddle that I was actually comfortable in. The only other times I’ve tried, I guess the saddles were too big and so riding was hard, but hers is pretty nice. I’ll have to get one someday.
Ahem. Back to Miss Kat.
After Klon got straightened out, we continued to check out the ring. She was very mystified by the mirrors, and kept staring at herself in them. Then she’d stare at Klondike’s reflection for a minute. Then she’d turn to look at the real Klondike. And back at the mirror. Then she’d snort and pull her body back from it, before starting the whole cycle over. Overall, she didn’t seem too fussed by it, really, but just really intent and puzzled.
I brought her in and stuck her in my horse’s stall with half a flake of hay. To be honest, I had no idea what kind of tying skills she had, so I figured we’d just start in there. Grabbing my trusty shedding blade, I then proceeded to pull about a small dog’s worth of hair off of her, which she enjoyed very much. Then we worked through the progression of curries- the big grooma one with the large “fingers,” then the regular flexible rubber curry, then the soft grooma one. Then through the progression of brushes.
She was in heaven. She even stopped munching hay, and just stood there very happily. The door was open, so she eventually shifted over so she could look out. Even with me not holding the lead rope, that’s all she did. So after I got done combing her mane out (which took a ridiculous amount of time), I figured she was probably safe to cross tie, and moved her over to the grooming stall. She stood just as quietly there, even when I took some scissors to that mane and cut most of it off. She continued standing perfectly still even when I climbed up on a stool with a pulling comb and commenced pulling it. She clearly didn’t like it, but she didn’t fuss either. Her main method of resistance was to turn her head to me and press it against my chest (funny, my own horse does the exact same thing).
I didn’t quite finish with that project, but my fingers were cramping, so I called it quits and supplied her with several of my horse’s apple cookies (she’s quite willing to be spoiled rotten, it seems).
Next I brought her to the little ring to see if she would lunge. I’m pretty happy to teach horses that skill- I find it fun for some twisted reason. At first, she kept trying to pivot around me as I tried to drive her forward out onto the circle, but within two minutes she figured it out and was trotting at the end of the rope. I had to reel her in a little to get her to slow down and walk, but after the first “whoa,” she seemed to understand, and was doing some walk/trot/walk transitions mostly off of voice commands. I asked her to stop, which took a little more reeling in, but she did stop- squarely, and ON the circle instead of trying to turn in. That, of course, made me very happy, since that’s one of those dorky things I’m kind of anal about.
We switched directions, which as usual is like starting from scratch, as things don’t always translate in different directions. But again, we went through all the same steps, and got the same results. I’m just guessing, but all this is making me think that tacking upand riding won’t be a really huge deal 🙂