I’ve a good friend down the yard who’s just got a new horse. Every now and again she gives me the kick I need. Despite the dreadful conditions on Tuesday she persuaded to join her and her new steed in the indoor for some desensitisation groundwork.
It was crazy windy outside and, at times, it sounded like the roof might blow clean off, but once Abbey was listening to me, she was a superstar!
By the end I’d open and closed an umbrella in close quarters and held it over her head, played football with a balloon near her legs and rubbed it all over her body and head, had her walking through narrow gaps and over tarpaulin! Some of these (the tarpulin and the gap) she’s done before. The the real super star is her new friend, who did all of this at only 4 years old. She’s only had him a few weeks too!
Wednesday we tried to have a lesson but with the wind up Abbey’s bum it was challenging to say the least! She’s started to be silly about the bottom end of the school again.
She’s never be very relaxed at that end; she can hear the cows moving in the shed behind the hedge (the YO is also in there sometimes on a tractor moving silage about too), it’s where we store all the jumps, poles etc and it runs along the track which leads to every horses field. So despite the fact she walks passed it twice a day, every day, she’ll spook and scoot and ‘banana’ down that short side. Last Wednesday, with gusts of wind at over 45mph that end of the school was particularly terrifying!
After trying most of usual tools (small circles with frequent changes of rein and pace, leg-yield), my instructor had a good idea and laid out 5 poles at this end (not equally spaced) so that Abbey had to think about where she was putting her feet. It really worked and we spent the lesson going over the poles in trot and canter, coming out on the 2nd, 3rd or 4th pole and doing a 20m circle, then finishing the line.
By the end Abbey was concentrating on me so much that she’d forgotten about all the scary stuff outside the school.
Thursday I took advantage of her being a little tired and did a short schooling session with a 5min warm up, 10min run-through of a dressage test and a 5min cool down. She was awesome and not one spook at the bottom end of the school! Which makes me think that it can’t be that scary if she can’t be bothered to spook at it when she’s tired!
I had a 5.30am start with work, so we took Friday off. On Saturday we went round the tracks and today we’ve been round the block on the roads. I was very proud of how she handled the tractor and trailer yet alone the car transporter that we met – eeek! The car transporter was turning away from us at a cross roads, which was probably the best introduction to an articulated lorry that you could wish for!
All in all it’s been a good week and the forecast is for cold calm weather. It will make a lovely change from this wet and windy that’s been driving Abbey and I crazy in recent weeks!