A miracle has to pass a few tests to make sure it's a real miracle, right?
I figured the best way to put this "cure" to the test was to take Leah out on the trail--loose rein, massage, PLASTIC BAG.
Yes, the miracle cure is holding a plastic bag in my left hand, and when she bolts left to avoid crossing water, walking through mud or when she wants to go see her buddies--I shake the bag in front of her eye.
Rebecca suggested putting the bag on a small crop, and I will probably do that for the next ride, but I have to say the cure worked! She bolted left several times--down hills, in front of the Waste Water Treatment Plant, when she spied a large down log, when she didn't want to cross water--but I shook the bag and she jumped back over and stayed on track.
All the massage and bending, weight loss, and exercise has made her a much more athletic and balanced horse than she was three months ago. She was able to perform all kinds of pretzel contortions without tripping up.
Here are some highlights from our ride.
It took us a good hour working through several large puddles like this, first, on the ground, and then in saddle. (And the bag came in handy for that, too.)
I rode a loose rein the whole way and just rode the speed bumps. If she broke out in a trot, I'd pick up the rein until she walked. If she bolted left, I put the left leg on her and shook the bag towards her left eye. A couple of her early bolts happened too fast and were too powerful to get the bag up there in time, so I rode them to the left, circled back around and got my bag in place. Eventually, I had speed and direction control with no reins.
Me, Leah, and my plastic bag. Unfortunately, I ingrained bolting to the left into her because I didn't have a way to stop her until now. Too much back and side pressure made her go up. The bag, however, seems to act as a separate entity--not of me--so Leah and I can maintain our partnership. She even seems to like me much, much better than before the bag.
She did awesome on a loose rein! I couldn't ask for more. With time, I don't think the bag will ever be needed because she seems to be a quick learner. And, I got my HORSE BACK!
The scary down-log.
Teaching her to walk through water.
Putting it to practice in saddle. So proud of her!