Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Learning together

This weekend saw another step in the training process with Sati and a small realization for me. Saturday was nice and sunny so I went to spend a few hours with my girls. I decided I'd work Sati first then maybe Ketah and I would go for a ride. Since it was nice I took Sati out into the arena (well the area that will be an arena but isn't yet) and lunged her on the long lead. She's getting better every time. She stops on a dime, when she's paying attention to me. I can mostly get her to move out in both directions without a fight, though she still dislikes doing circles to the right and she'll generally stand still, again with the caveat that she can see me at the end of the rope. For some reason that isn't translating in her head to the tie rail.

However, she had done great through the week. Including workin on her feet (still trying to get rid of the "scratches"). My farrier came on Friday and trimmed both girls and Sati was great for him, picked up all four feet without a protest at all. Anyhow, we were doing pretty good on Saturday. So I put my dressage saddle on her. She's had it on several times now and doesn't much care. Though I can't tighten it down as much as it would need to be to actually ride her. The girth is Ketah-sized. Even with it slightly loose she is a little unsure of herself and instead of making her nuts, it slows her down. Not a bad thing in my opinion. I put her, with the saddle, back out in the arena at the end of the line. We lunged a bit more and she did pretty well. She gets a bit grumpy when she's tired or bored so I didn't push it too far. Next week we'll try a bit in her mouth.

Well, I let her loose in the round pen so she could watch me ride Ketah as we did arena work. Ketah has slowed down a lot lately but we did manage some good trot and canter work and she was bucking a little on the lunge line. Sati was having fits, pawing at the gate and yelling at Ketah. She did listen when I yelled back at her for pawing though.

I finished up and decided now was a good time for tieing up and reminding Sati that I can groom her, including her feet. First foot was no problem. And then...kids came running and screaming and making all kinds of noise. Someone else tied up a horse at the other end of the rail. It was too much for Sati's brain. She started dancing and jumping. Despite that I did eventually get all four feet without any kicking.

I've determined what I need for training her now is a lot of distractions. Since most of our work lately is in the evenings alone I need to come up with a way to make up those distractions. The radio doesn't bother her much and the kids are in the house. So plastic bags, loud noisy wheelbarrows, maybe a bicycle...

I would make one final note. I can't help but compare Sati to Ketah at that age. Poor Ketah had been abused and mishandled (by other people) for some time and was a basket case. She wasn't trying to hurt anyone but she didn't trust people either. Sati is just acting young most of the time. And she does trust me, so I can generally "talk her down" without broken halters or tie rails. If I think about it too much I'm sad that I didn't know more when I started working with Ketah and that she had to grow up so painfully. She never really showed the curiosity about me that Sati has until much later in her life. I know we've made up for it, 20 years and all, but it did leave scars that took a long time to heal for her. I'm glad I'll be able to do better with Sati.

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