Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Playing between snow storms

It's been nasty weather lately! Usually below zero in the mornings. Ick.

So the other day it was around 3 degrees, brrr. I took Xena over to the arena, but there was another boarder. He knows I'm just doing groundwork with her right now, so he let me stand with her right outside the arena while he was running his horse around. She has some seriously strong Mustang instincts of "I must run away with the herd!" every time a horse passes her, which has lead to blowups on trail. So I'm going to start playing with getting her focus while around other horses. My new, very very distant, goal for the future is to someday be able to circle another horse off of her... calmly.

So there was some snorting, lots of approach and retreat, but eventually she just stood there watching him and cleaning up the dropped hay in the barn aisle.

Then we went in to the arena after he was finished, and played some more yeilding hindquarters, backing up, and stick to me. We are getting very good at staying together at liberty!

Then another snow storm hit and when the wind gets up she runs aroud like a bronc, so I decided to stay out of her pen while she's acting like that, and when she came inside just play some friendly, not really ask her to do anything. I have been making a point to have some sort of daily interaction with her, even if it's only long enough to give her some scratches and cookies. I've actually been trying this with all 8 of the horses, even if I can't get each one out to do something, 5 minutes of undemanding time is still important to them. I'm pretty sure that's the realization that I needed to have, to get un-stuck from where I was. After all, it's about the relationship.

The next time I played with her, as soon as I got her halter on, someone started up a tractor, so she was high-headed, snorty, up on her toes. At first I was just defending my space to get her off of me, then we went into her stall where it was less scary and did yo-yos in and out of it until she got left brain. Then I sent her backwards out the gate, and lead her (properly!) to the arena, with just a few hide your hiney's to keep to following. Once we were in there, we played put your nose on something, but since she was getting bored of the arena and I hadn't brought any obstacles in, we played "find the carrot." In all of the usuall places, I put a carrot down. Once she got the game, she really had fun trying to find it! I think this is an awesome way to build curiousity, maybe I'll try that the first time we go into the big outdoor arena. That is, if the snow EVER goes away!!


  1. I just found your blog and Love it btw :). Xena is very pretty and she sounds like a HUGE handful :)! Hope everything goes well with her nxt time y'all play!

    ~Lauren, Sonny, and Toby

  2. Aww thank you for following us! Xena is definitely the most difficult horse I've ever played with, she is teaching me SO much.
    I think I'm actually seeing progress! Lots to catch up on in writing....

    Thanks! :)