Friday, December 14, 2007

Owner lessons

Sometimes, a horse doesn't behave, turns the tables, and gives the owner a lesson.

I took Lena out for a ride Thursday morning, after she hadn't been ridden in 3 days. As much as I love her, she was a complete brat. Granted, she was "fresh" and it was very horse-friendly weather - cool, breezy, and sunny - but still.

We got tacked up and headed down to the outdoor arena with no real indication that things might go a little nutty.

I decided on working in the big arena, figuring she would like the room to run and blow off steam. Usually, you can get on Lena and trot her around, lope her a little, and she winds down enough to pay attention to what you want to work on that day.

Not this time.

We started with walking and working in our circles, but every time we got near the bike-path side of the arena, she would bolt sideways. Turning her - it didn't matter what direction - only made her fight and lope in crazy spirals away from that side of the arena.

So, I decided to lunge her in the indoor arena, in the round pen. Now, we have only lunged Lena about 5 times in the time we've owned her. She was quite affronted when I not only walked her into the round pen, but then actually attached the lunge-line to her halter. Horrors!

I know lunging is a good thing to do with horses like her, it's just not something we've ever gotten in the habit of doing because usually we can work through her mood and settle into a good workout from up on her back.

She did settle out, and we did manage to get a good workout done, though not a lot of specific training -- more energy-release than anything else, which I think is okay sometimes, too.

I don't know what all was going on with her, but I had to change my tactics to get anywhere. All in all, it was a day of lessons for the owner, not so much the horse. Not such a bad thing, though.

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