There has also been wind, but wind can be such a great training opportunity.
Last week, on a windy Tuesday, I tied all my horses up to wait for the farrier. Cowgirl, our big palomino, untied herself and ran around the property. I caught her and tied her again to a solid ring in a large post. After about 45 minutes, she pulled back and broke the ring, and part of the wood block, and ran into the barn where the farrier was trimming Bee. She was also a bit grumpy during her own trim, pulling her foot back from the farrier. I'd like to blame it on the wind--but it's really a lack of being used.
She's my daughter's horse, and my daughter has a busy life, so I asked if I could start working with her. She gave me her blessing.
Last Sunday I took three horses next door to the obstacle course.
First, I let them run free and explore the arena.
It was another windy day, and you have to click, if only for a moment, on this video, to hear one of the doors pounding away. The barn owner came in to fix it, but I asked that he leave it be as a training tool.
After they explored, I took turns tying them up and taking one through the obstacles in-hand. Then, I took turns riding them through in-saddle.
That was the first time I'd ridden Cowgirl, my daughter's horse. She was super fun. I'm going to steal her.
Beautiful went through the course being driven from the ground in-saddle. I'm trying to work on making my hands as soft as I can and getting a partnership that is based on the gentlest asks. Actually, I have been doing a lot of work "heeding" with her, but I'll write about that on another post.
Beautiful is becoming a much different and braver horse. She stands tied longer. She did the best of all the horses with the farrier, and she is facing her fears. Like facing them. Putting her nose on them, rather than getting that cloudy, blocking it out, kind of eye.
Here's a very short clip that shows her standing tied quietly, even with the banging of the door behind her. You can see Cowgirl standing, unhappily, in the back. She hates standing tied, but when you give her a job, she is rock solid! Cowgirl isn't scared of anything.
Leah did great, too, but I did have to use a little spur to get her to face up and go through the car wash obstacle. I use these spurs.
I'll give her a gentle tap, tap, and that's about all she needs. She responds far better to the spurs than she did the crop. I wish I'd dug them out of retirement a few months ago. There was a time I used them every ride, back when I was starting out with Cowboy. I didn't retire them until maybe four years ago. Used correctly, they are a wonderful aid.
Today, I'm going back to ride Leah through again. She is on the cusp of another break-through--the ability to work through some tougher ranch-work skills. I'll try to describe what I mean by that in another post. This one is already getting too long.
Happy fall, y'all! Hope you're getting lots of time with your horses!