Saturday, August 18, 2012

Upping the Ante (Ginger pt 3)

Friday, August 17th, 2012

It's been a little over a week since I've been able to get out to work with Ginger.  The other folks who are working with her have worked with her briefly in the arena.  All the obstacles in the arena are no problem to her now.  I found that her ground manners have regressed, so I've still got a battle coming on that.  The main issue with her is her performance under saddle, so that's what I'm concentrating on.  She has to be rideable by the clientele of this stable, or the boss won't keep her through the winter. 

Today, I raised the ante a bit.  I brought my quirt, and wore my spurs.  I wasn't sure what use the quirt would be, but I wanted to have as many tools as possible at my disposal.  My main tactic was going to be with the spurs.  Ginger has no problem with commands to move out, so the spurs are not needed in that way.  My thought was, that when she refuses and tries to spin away, I would bring my foot up with my heel to her shoulder.  That way, she would run herself into the rowel unless she moved in the proper direction. 

We rode out to the perimeter trail, and she immediately balked at turning off the driveway onto the trail.  I'm not as nimble as I used to be.  She was a quarter of the way around her left hand spin by the time I got my foot in position.  She spun around twice against the spur, then moved on out down the trail.  Not far down the trail, she balked again.  Once more, she spun twice against the spur.  We rode completely around the farm and she balked again as we approached the driveway.  This time, however, she only spun once before accepting the direction I wanted to go.  We worked for a bit over an hour.   She balked twice more, but spun only once against the spur each time.  We rode around the farm, changing directions frequently to approach the driveway from opposite directions.  Most times I could feel her preparing to dodge down the drive  But , that was corrected with a light touch on the reins.  A few times, she actually walked past the drive without a thought of changing directions.  To finish up, I stopped her at the head of the drive, and stood there for a minute.  Not long enough for her to get nervous, I wanted her to be successful.  Then we turned to the road, stood there and watched a couple of cars drive past.  I turned her back down the driveway, stopping at irregular intervals to reinforce that we don't just blast down the driveway going home. 

We'll be working some more this weekend.  I hope she remembers how to behave.

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