So my farrier and I had a small discussion today about how to discipline a horse that isn't standing up straight and is leaning, fidgeting, etc. Aspen was feeling nice and relaxed and wasn't holding her front leg up on the stand, instead she was putting all her weight against it and letting it slide off. I was trying to bump her halter to keep her standing but apparently that wasn't enough. As I was about to suggest that perhaps I back her up or move her around a bit to kind of wake her up my farrier whacked her with her rasp! Aspen flew backwards and looked rather surprised and offended. Now for anyone who's been following my blog you know that she can be confident and calm one minute and it takes a splint second to make her RB or scared. Aspen did come back forward and let my farrier pick her foot up again and start working so I was very proud of her. I asked my farrier not to hit her again and that instead if she could let me know when she feels Aspen needs a correction and I will do something about it. My farrier didn't think this was fair because Aspen was 'disrespecting' her, not me, so it didn't make sense for me to provide the correction over the farrier. She explained why she was hitting the horse - that it was like a mare hitting her foal with her head because...that's apparently what they do when they need to correct their young. I said again I was not okay with it, explained that I was working hard to build Aspen's confidence and that if the farrier wanted to provide the 'discipline' herself that she could use rhythmic pressure, increasing in phases, to get Aspen to move or lean back off the stand.
It was a bit awkward but I needed to stand up for my principles and what I think is best for Aspen.
Before my trimmer got there I had Aspen in the arena loose while I went around and put up all my obstacles. She followed me around observing my work until I was done. I then thought that maybe we'd try a couple things at liberty and see what we had going on. It went great! We played touch-it with a variety of objects and got her feet on a few of them. We played squeeze between me and objects, between the barrels, and even over the jump!
|I was sitting on a bucket in the arena sending a text to my Mom when someone came over to say hi! :)|
We played on-line a bit to warm her up under saddle after the trimmer left and pretty much moved straight into riding. Did some passenger lesson, lateral flexion, 9-step backup, and tried to work on some relaxation techniques. When I pulled the saddle I didn't see any ruffled hairs or dry spots so I think out saddle is fitting fine, and I'm trying to remember to breath, relax, pedal my feet, and be loose... So I'm thinking it's an emotional brace to me on her rather than a physical issue right now. We shall see how it improves as time goes on!