Thursday, March 17, 2011

Liberty at Last!

Today started off great because I got to sleep in this morning!  Finally!  Seems the mornings I get up before the sun happen way too often!  To my pleasant surprise it was sunny outside and not very windy, which meant a trip to see my lovely Aspen was in order. 

Somehow earlier last week the horses opened the gate again from the pasture to her paddock and all shuffled around.  Her donkey, Bambi, is now out with the herd on the pasture and she has a new, very handsome gelding by the name of Michael to keep her company  now.  Michael is very dominant and was very sure that I really brought out the oats and Dynamite vitamins for him instead of Aspen.  At first as I chased him off it really bothered Aspen and she went running with him but after a few moments decided to come back over.  She quickly realized that she was safe by me and that I was going to defend her and her breakfast from Michael.  I'm pretty sure that earned me instant bonus points for the day!

I spent a long time brushing her and rubbing her and finally headed over to the arena to set all my stuff back up that between the wind and the horses is always a mess when I get there.  She followed me into the arena and all around as I moved everything and reorganized some of my obstacles.  Then, here was a first, as I was untangling her rope halter and trying to get it ready to put it on Aspen stuck her nose in it for me!! Really cool!  We then played On Line for a while, spending a little more time on Sideways with and without a fence as well as a straighter Yo-Yo.  She had a really excellent draw coming in which was very nice!

I don't have a pedestal for the L2 Touch It task but I do have a tire in the arena that she can put her feet in or rest one foot on lightly.  We played a bit with both the Driving and Porcupine games to get her foot in and on it.

Because Aspen had so much draw to me today I decided to try her in the round pen at Liberty and see what we had.... Moment of truth!  I started by playing some Friendly with her and getting her to turn a full circle on her hindquarters and forehand!  Then asked her to move out into a circle!  The first couple times she offered to come in - cool! - but after that I politely asked her to stay on the circle.  Well - wouldn't you know she had an opinion about that!  Tossed her head, kicked up her heels, and jumped and frolicked back out on the circle!  Very fun to see her getting into it and with enthusiasm!  When I did ask her to come in she trotted to me!  Every time she trotted in, and the one time she didn't I kind of jogged in place and she instantly picked up the trot as she was drawing in!  Perceptive! 

We then played a little Stick To Me.  Started at the walk (with stop and backing transitions) then moved into the trot.  At one point she started looking around at other things besides me so I took off and she came galloping after me!!!  I slammed on the brakes and she skidded to a halt behind me, sand flying everywhere.  I turned and ran off the other direction and she zoomed off after me and stayed with me as I transitioned down to a walk!  I had to tell myself not to get greedy and quit while I was ahead - this was only our first Liberty session.  I opened the gate to the round pen and asked her to go out, turn/face/wait all at Liberty still.  She did, then I jogged off around the arena to gather my ropes, jacket and stick and she stuck right with me!  When I opened the gate into her paddock she again very politely went through the gate, turned and waited for me, then walked with me up to the front fence where the rest of my stuff was.  SO FUN!  I can only hope we have this much fun the next time I see her.  She's really coming out of her shell and I can see her wanting to try new things and be with me more and more.

If tomorrow is nice I'll see if I can't snag a friend to take some pictures and if not I'll take some more myself.  I'm really very excited about all of this! 

Also got permission to play with two more horses at the barn, I'll be keeping some updates and photos on here of them as well as Parelli Connect

Take a look at my post below this one - I have a list of wanted items.  If you have anything you'd like to part with let me know!

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