When I arrived at the barn today both Aspen and another horse came over from the field to greet me. :) I put her grain pan down in the arena then shooed the other horse out back into the pasture. For the first time ever Aspen had a mini RBE-meltdown when the other horse left! Starting running around, running, and running, and running. I let her work it out for a bit while I set things up in the arena. She was visibly calming down when she and I realized at the same time that I did not fully latch the arena-pasture gate. Argh! She pushed on it, it swung open, she turned to look at me with a "huh, would you look at that!" expression, and off she went! She ran around for a while in the pasture but then let me catch her right as it began to hail. What a lovely day! She and I walked back in the hail storm together into the arena, it was still rather warm, and I'd just lugged all my stuff out there so I figured I'd at least get a few minutes of time in with her, even if only to brush her and hang out.
As suddenly as the hail came it stopped and the sun came out! :) It became the wonderful sunny afternoon I had hoped for so I decided to stay and play for a while. Aspen had a lot of go and adrenaline to use up but was listening pretty well so I let her out on the circle and ran her into obstacles and incorporated changes of direction until she was more settled. When she was ready I wanted to try my boyfriend's Hereford Tex Tan saddle on her, I figured if it didn't fit then at least I'd take some pretty pictures of her all dolled up western. But it did fit! I stuck a shim over his felt pad and it looked like it was sitting pretty well on her! Possibly could have been a bit farther back, but upon removing it at the end of our play sessions she had no weird sweat patterns, dry spots, or ruffled hairs. MUCH better than when I put my english saddle on her. Maybe I'll be riding western for a little while. :) Also note - my cinch hobble couldn't be tightened so in the pictures you see the rear cinch sitting a little father back than ideal and it also wasn't as tight as it should have been because of that.
She was pretty eager to try everything I put in front of her, put her foot on the tire, aim for and jump the jumps, even a good sideways without the fence.
We played with some transitions on-line which were very improperly balanced with a lot more go than whoa. It took barely anything to get her moving forward but A LOT to slow her down. By the end of it though not only was she using her whole back more and moving with her head down but her downward transitions were a lot smoother.
I then wanted to play with gaining permission to mount - which I currently do not have! I was finally able to see where her first negative response/threshold is - and that's right when I reach for the stirrup. And I mean REACH for it, not even make contact with it, my hand goes out and her ears go back with her head up. Interesting. So I did a lot of approach and retreat and plan to really focus on this so we can get to riding as soon as I have permission to get on. If I only have her 80% willing for me to mount I'll have way less than that when I'm on - and how can you expect to achieve excellence when you only have 50% of a partner under you?
Fun things to work on and improve my horsemanship! :)
I am also trying to get a couple videos up each week on my blog that are either educational or inspirational. If you have one you think others would like to see please shoot me an email as I'd love to post it!
Here are some pictures from today - enjoy!