Hey, it's like freezing cold outside and there's a ton of snow on the ground! Time for another Lynne and Sabrina adventure!!!!
That's pretty much how it goes. Some day in the distant future Lynne and I will do something where I am not at risk of losing some of my toes.
We ended up getting a hotel. Did you know that Tempurpedic mattresses freeze solid? Yep. Nice comfy bed AND waffles in the morning were pretty sweet.
I decided to take Stella out to Ed Chambers for the weekend to gain some experience hauling places, staying in strange stalls, and doing strange stuff. She was all alone in a strange world, so it was a good thing she became fast friends with her trailer buddy on the ride up. This led to all sorts of frantic behavior when her buddy went away and all sorts of whacking and yelling on my part. She was much less interested in her brand new bestie after I wore her butt out so that was good. I can't stand a herd bound horse.
The arena and part of the barn is heated, it was toasty warm Saturday and nearly as warm on Sunday. He heats using this wood fired furnace thingy. It was probably 50 Saturday night and at least in the upper 30s or 40s on Sunday.
Stella faced her first obstacle before she even got to her stall. This giant plastic curtain is in place to keep the heat in/eat little black mares. SNORT!!!
She got to practice patience tied to the rail.
Here's a picture of three obstacles all together. I worked her on the ground with all three of these before I got on. The bridge gave her no problems at all, she's been trail ridden at a place with bridges so I think that is probably why. The noodle pass through was a little scarier but she was quickly going through it with no issues, no rushing. The ball was a huge surprise to me. She went right up to it and touched it with her nose, and when I kicked it with my foot she followed it around. Some of the other horses were really good with this, and they'd get it going pretty fast, trotting behind it and shoving it with their noses. This didn't bother Stella at all.
Another obstacle not pictured was a wedge chute. Stella had to pass between a barrel and the rail, with a tarp draped over the rail. No problems. She was even fine when I was asked to lean over the rail, grab the tarp, and move it around. She just sniffed it with her nose and tried to eat it.
There were PVC rails on the ground that she had to pass through, and over. Thanks to our work with ground poles this was easy peasy! Not even a blink.
This obstacle was her undoing. I had a difficult time getting her to go through it even in hand and resorted to getting a lead through. Then I had to get out of the way because she'd come launching through with no regard to my location. We did this in both directions on the ground. After I got on I had to get a lead through as well. Then she'd pass through it going to the right, but not to the left so I had to get off and work again on the ground to the left.
The next day she still had problems, which I thought was a little extreme. I expected her to retain at least a little bit of her training from the day before instead of starting over from scratch. I had to teach her on the ground again, then teach her under saddle. Then when someone made the opening smaller I had to get off again to lead her through it then get back on to ride her through it.
Part of this issue is that she doesn't know how to be "sent" places. I've work a lot with baby Al on his groundwork and he knows that his tail had better be moving where my finger is pointing or else. He has respect for me on the ground, as well as confidence in my leadership. I've never asked him to do anything he can't do, and he knows that he always has to do anything I ask, which is something that Stella needs to learn.
On a side note, she doesn't know how to self load onto the trailer, which is something we will work on this spring when being outside isn't a painful experience. The ability to send her places without my having to lead her is important to her ground manners, as well as teaching her to respect my personal space.
We also learned how to back up, but then she started using backing up as an evasion, especially with the curtain. Including some bucking and kicking when I applied pressure.
Ed says that she needs to GROW UP. She needs more respect on the ground, and more respect under saddle. She needs more exposure. She needs to be challenged with different experiences every day and she needs to be expected to do those things obediently. She needs to GO TO WORK. Ed said that she needs to be allowed to ask to try to do things. To give her the opportunity to say to me "Hey! I think I can do that, let's go see!" But I also need to be firm with what behaviors are or are not allowed.
She was only bad a few times (such as tossing her head and neck to avoid stopping or avoid contact), but she very definitely had a firm idea of the things she was and was not supposed to be doing. Once you got her to do it she was fine, calm, and obedient, but she lacked the respect under saddle to do a few other things consistently well.