Yesterday, Thursday, I took her on a ride with Cowboy & some friends. I ponied her behind--up and down hills, over rocks, and I trotted her around the arena for quite a while. She looked great.
Since everything was looking good, I figured today was the day to give her a shot in saddle.
So, I called my trainer to come by and get in the saddle.
My trainer didn't respond, therefore, I had to get in the saddle myself. I guess it's only fair--why ask someone else to do my dirty work?
I thought about it--Rebecca says always have a plan--and I decided to put her to the test on the ground first. What would Leah do if presented with a scary crossing? Would she shoulder her way through me--like she does in the saddle when she goes left?
I pulled in a large piece of heavy-duty plastic.
Leah was prancing around at the trailer, thinking, uh oh!
I took her in and had her cross over it length wise and width wise. At first, she tried to balk, but I had my whip handle ready for her and I gave her a swift bump on her shoulder. She moved right back where she should be. It only took a couple more bumps during our 15 minutes or so doing the tarp training, and Leah was walking across nicely.
Time to saddle up. We walked did all our work at the walk, but eventually, as usual, Leah decided she was tired going to the right and pulled to the left. This time, however, I gave her some left leg. Leah trotted forward, but went right. I let her trot it out and brought her back to the walk. That happened a couple more times in the same order--and finally, Leah was going both ways with NO RESISTANCE.
I got off and praised her! She's ready for tomorrow's clinic! If she hadn't been ready, I was going to take Cowboy, but she is good to go, and this going left thing is going to be easy to work through--from I could tell from today. What is left in the resistance seems to be habit, and Leah is not a big fighter under normal conditions. When pain was involved, it was a different story.
I wanted to analyse her swirls and facial features, so I took some shots today.
Facial swirl: Long Single Swirl
Getting in TTouch: "A single, long swirl that may be between the eyes or extend below: Indicates a horse who is friendly and particularly enjoys relating to people. Over the past twenty years I've repeatedly found that when horses with this swirl are unfriendly , it is because they are in pain or have been abused."
Nostrils: Large, open nostrils, loose at bottom, flaring at top. "Intelligent and an indication of a horse who thinks a great deal."
Lips: Heart shaped upper lip: "A lip like this can be an indication of an expressive, curious and extroverted character."
Profile: Straight "A horse who is very uncomplicated and learns easily."
Jowls: Medium: "Average ability to learn."
Mouth: I can't tell--short to medium. Horses with short mouths are hard to fit with bits and do better in hackamores.
Refined, soft muzzle-"Usually goes along with a sensitive personality."
Ears: wider at the top than at the base, sest wide apart at the base, fine fluted. "Indicates steadiness and a tendency to be uncomplicated. Likely to have a good capacity for learning."
All of those things are Leah. She is uncomplicated, that's for sure, and she loves people. She's not over reactive and she learns fast. Now, I just have to keep her from getting fat, and we should have a wonderful life together.
I'll write more later on how I've completely changed the feeding for ALL my horses. I have a lot to say about that subject and why I felt the need to overfeed them.