Saturday, February 12, 2011

Lavender Lady

I had a great idea to soak Aspen's mane and tail in baby oil to help smooth it out and condition it a little.  It worked really well and left her completely tangle free and super glossy.  It was really windy out at the barn and no matter where I was all I could smell was lavender!  I can't believe how strong that stuff is!  I think Aspen must have liked it because not only was she super relaxed but at the end of our play session while I was braiding her tail she rummaged through my brush box and dug out the baby oil to carry around.  Super funny!  I tried to get my camera out fast enough to get a shot of her carrying it but couldn't get organized fast enough.  Oh well.  I think this lavender baby oil idea is going to be a keeper though - way cheaper than Cowboy Magic and worked just as well. 

She caught me again today!  She knows the sound of my truck now and is all ears when I arrive.  Nothing too new in development with the games today, she is getting better and better at understanding what I'm asking and responding appropriately.  At times though she's beginning to anticipate, part of that I think is that she's still a bit flinchy with sudden movements of my ropes or things in Z5, so she sees me move my stick and string and thinks, GO!  So I guess that means I need to play a lot more Friendly with her so she'll assume less and start responding more. 

I put my 22' line on her for our Circling game, she goes on a 12' fine but I wanted to see her move out a bit.  Can I just say WOW?  I've never had a pre-L1 horse be SO soft and connected while on a circle.  Even with commotion going on when all the other horses came galloping over to see what we were doing.  She was really thinking in toward me, had a soft feel on the rope until she got out to the end and then offered to put slack in it herself - even TROTTED to me during the draw.  As she got out and began trotting around she really loosened up after a few laps, started blowing and licking and chewing with her head down a lot.  I was very excited to see how clean the whole circle looked from the purity of her gait (at this level) to the connection we had!

Asked her to park next to the fence today and she got it almost immediately.  When I sat on her (bareback) she instantly gave me a super grumpy face.  So, I offered her a carrot.  Boy did that change her opinion real fast!  "Well in that case, let me take you for a ride! I'll even look sweet about it!"  Did a short passenger lesson, did some lateral flexion, disengagement, and swung my rope back and forth over her head to change sides.  She did really well with all of it.

For a horse that seems so innately LB she's really sensitive to my body language and suggestion.  As I mentioned before she seems to be an interesting combination of RB and LB traits.  I think as she gains confidence in me she'll become increasingly more LBI and not be so concerned that I'm going to get after her or "make" her do anything.  I was really pleased with how everything went today.  She couldn't get enough of being with me either at the end (so I know I did something right!).  Followed me all around, stood with her head down next to me while I sat in the sand and scratched her, and even crossed the "ice river" in her paddock and waited at the gate for me until I drove away.  She's really bonding (another RBI trait showing here?)...

Side note: was thinking the big play ball will be good to help with her flinchy-ness and overall confidence.  Definitely waiting until we have more going for us before breaking out the giant bouncy ball. :)

 Digging around for the baby oil :)

              Proof aroma therapy works!
 After she dropped the oil - now she's just hunting for other goodies.

 Aspen's private river frontage ;)

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