Been an interesting few weeks. Xena's pretty chill with mounting now. Haven't done much though... 2 weeks ago we lost a kitten to some strange disease that took exactly one day to completely wipe her out. So the rest of that week was taking care of the others, one went to the hospital with a fever, but they are all doing just fine now. Then the mama Pheonix dissapeared for a while, I was actually losing hope that she'd come back as I've also been dealing with some nasty run-ins with coyotes. The coyotes here are freakin HUGE. The pipsqueaks in LA have nothing on these guys. Anyway yesterday Pheonix came back.... very pregnant. Oh goodie, more kittens to take care of! We're locking them all in the tackroom at night now, hopefully the next batch will stay safer.
Also been busy BREEDING! We've got 3 mini mares bred to our stallion for 2011 babies. I am so excited! My friends and I had a lot of fun with that this month, what with daily teasing and marking heat cycles and fun stuff. We'll try to pasture breed them next year, he was pretty well behaved with them.
My little mini gelding Charm turned 4 this year, so I've started him to harness. He's SO smart, it's remarkably easy! Have a pocket full of cookies and that LBI will do everything. So we've done lots of squeeze games, reinforced the cart as a good place to be, zone 5 driving, etc. Also done a bunch of liberty work with the cart in the middle of the round pen, getting him to maintain gait and direction without having a line on him. He'll maintain trot or canter for about 5 laps now, and come in, and back into the shafts as his reward. He's really loving it! He's now dragged around milk jugs, logs, and pushed stuff around backwards with the breeching.... next step is just putting it all together! Hopefully sometime next week I'll actually get in the cart with him.
Did a similar thing with my little RBI that was "professionally trained" to drive that I've posted about before. She used to be driven without breeching, show style, and was incredibly tense. All winter of squeeze games later, and teaching her to push into things with her tail, she no longer freaks out when people get behind her, and she knows to push back into the breeching. The first time she ever wore it she hunched up like a holloween cat lol! So many friendly games later, she's totally comfident.
It's hard to find time to ride in the HEAT, or drive for that matter, but I try to get as much done as I can. I've discovered that since that breakthrough day, Xena's new favorite savvy is Liberty. Did some level 3 liberty patterns with her last night, and had it not been for the mosquitos we woulda kept playing. She now looks to me when she's scared, and she doesn't even pay attention to outside noises or other horses calling for her. I'm so proud. Now we just need to explore the trails!!