Friday, August 12, 2016
Sometimes You Gotta Be the Parent
This was me today. I was the parent. Leah was the spoiled child.
It started yesterday, when I came off and barely escaped getting crushed, as she tripped herself up blowing out to the left. I couldn't wait to get back out with her, but I only had time to work from the ground last night. As usual, she did great on the ground.
This morning, it was time to saddle up again. I tried not to let myself think about yesterday. I hopped right on and started working her at the walk, then the T-Bone, then the parallelling to the fence. Leah, however, had found out that blowing to the left--and even the right--was a good way to get out of work. She was tossing her head, getting amped up, and throwing her shoulder around. After yesterday, I realized it was a recipe for another fall. So, I started to work her in a circle both ways and at the trot, but still, I couldn't get past her stubbornness and her escalating willfulness.
I got off and walked her to the trailer, grabbed my lunge line, and returned to the arena.
Leah looked happy as we headed to the trailer, confused as we headed back to the arena.
And we worked. And worked. And worked. She tried to take control by switching directions, getting into the lope, pulling back on the line. She was working herself WAY harder than I was asking her to. But I stayed calm and continued to move her: direction changes, speed changes, whoa, and reverse. Then, I took her back and put on her bridle and returned to our lesson--walk, trot, T-Bone, and parallel. She still wasn't perfect, but she was 10 X better.
As I was walking back to the trailer again I realized I have been making a BIG mistake at home. When we're done with our ride, I put her back in her stall near the herd. (She's on a diet and separated from the herd, but they can communicate and touch through the panels.) Horses are linear thinkers.
Leah: When I get her to quit working me, I can go back to my buddies. Work = Being away from buddies. Getting her to quit = be with my buddies.
I tied her up, went and got Cowboy, rode Cowboy, put him back in the pasture because he was perfect, and I left Leah tied while I came in here to write this and get a drink of water. (I can see her from my window).
It's hard to know when you've got a brat attack vs miscommunication, pain, fear, etc. But all you can do is your best at the time. In my opinion, I had a case of her not wanting to work and her wanting to be with her buddies.
This was her before today's ride. She was a bit sweatier afterward. I'm going to get her in a few minutes and give her a bath.