Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Lena uses her brain for good instead of mischief

Steve is off playing music tonight, which he does every Tuesday night, so I had time for both horses tonight. My arm wasn't sure this was a good idea, but my heart was. Yes, I promise I stayed on the ground.

I started with Lena, because she had already snarfed her grain when I got there and was looking for entertainment. We did some basic work in the round pen, and I was able to get her to transition on command (up and down) and stop when I asked her--all good things when it comes to Lena, who sometimes forgets who is the alpha mare. (ME!) She was very anxious to please, so I took advantage of that and sent her around me and over and around obstacles to get her to use her big, spotty brain.

Then I set her up just a tiny bit. She is goofy about poles and things that fall over, though sometimes I think it's just an excuse to bolt when whatever it is she nosed falls over. There are two upright jump braces in the indoor arena, just hanging out by some poles on the ground. I deliberately stepped to one side of one of them so the lead rope looped halfway around it, with Lena on the other side and--positionally--next to me. She snorted. She started to walk towards me in the way that would pull the pole over, saw the pole move, and stopped. Then she lowered her head and thought about it a little while... and came around the pole on the other side. It was at a trot, but she still used her head, so I didn't complain and gave her lots of praise.

Then I made her do it again going the other direction, and this time she walked.

She was surprised, I was not. I know the ability to think and learn is in there, we just had to find a game that brought it out.

Bar got his knee washed, drank out of the hose (his new favorite thing), and we played some, too, before he was re-swathed in pink and purple vet wrap. Good times.

I get a new (hopefully shorter) cast tomorrow, and Bar is nearly healed enough to start working again. Patience is not my strongest trait, but we may make it through all this--and learn a few things in the process--in spite of ourselves.

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