Photo by Margaret Chant and edited by Jessica Metropulos

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Three LBEs in the Snow

Yeah, that's what happened at Brown Coulee Farm today. It was chilly again, though not nearly as cutting as it was yesterday. I was going to play with Prin, but one look told me she was not in an active mood, which is never pleasant when it's chilly outside. But I knew who would be in the mood to move...

I have a little project visiting me for several weeks right now--my friend Micky's horse, Shadow, is here to have some foundation time put on him. It's a nice swap, Hart is living with Micky for a while to get some extra feeding and provide her with some confidence.

Anyway, Shadow is a character, I blogged a little about him when she first got him last summer, but here's a little refresher. Shadow is a 3 yr old bay roan AQHA gelding. Totally a LBE, very dominant, (I must be drawing these horses to me, subconsciously!)and so far, hasn't really done a whole lot just with schedules being the way they are. So he's pretty fresh.

I've had a couple sessions with him already, but figured I wouldn't blog until there was actually something to talk about. Shadow, being extremely dominant, is not the type of horse that I'm going to be playing with on my own on the ground at first. It's really difficult, and not safe for me to try to build rapport with a horse that wants to be on top of me, and even more unsafe for me to try to establish boundaries with him, because of his punk tendencies (that include rearing and striking--I've watched him extensively in the herd). So with that in mind, I've decided that until I can safely, lightly, and effectively play all 7 games with him from the back of another horse, I'm not going to attempt to talk to him on my own.

Today was my second day of playing with that, and I used Crest as my back-up, because he is Mr. Amazing when it comes to colt starting...something about the responsibility that it gives him really works well. Anyway, it was quite interesting, it was really a good-natured battle of wills between the three of us (all LBEs, yikes!), but the fortunate thing was that I had Crest on my side. We played with only very basic things--friendly games (He has the same over-sensitivity to high energy that Crest does), and learning to yield HQ and FQ, which wouldn't have gone nearly as well, had it not been for Crest's awesome assistance. He was not only solid and confident for me, but he also helped out applying pressure when it was needed, and reinforcing my phases when Shadow got sassy. He's turning into such a fabulous partner.

Shadow learned the basics of yielding his forehand and hind-quarters, follows a feel, and plays stick-to-me pretty well. We need to keep playing with desensitizing him to high energy, but sensitizing him to driving games (in other words, creating more of a defining line between the two), and all around developing more respect. I'll keep blogging as we go, and I'll try to get some pictures of our upcoming sessions--perhaps even tomorrow, since Micky's going to spend the day with me.

Savvy on, I'm going to bed early!

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