Saddled her up yesterday and headed to the indoor arena with both of my girls. I usually take Cody with us and tie her up along the wall while I work Lady. Good tying and patience practice for Cody, she used to be a bad puller and a very impatient horse when tied, usually standing there digging to China the whole time. She's gotten MUCH better over the years, but still, might as well kill two birds with one stone and train both girls at the same time. It usually draws some odd questions or comments from newer boarders that aren't used to me doing this. I mean, why on earth would you tie your lame unridable just had knee surgery horse up in the arena while you ride the sound one? I usually just shrug and say "Moral support for Lady."
But anywho, we made it to the indoor arena and tied Cody in her usual spot, then walked over to close the monster heavy overhead door that usually requires my entire 125 pounds hanging off it to eventually get it pulled down. Lady's bug eyed stare and steps backward as I wrestled with the overhead door should have been my first indication that she'd checked her brain at the door. Score a point for my mecate reins, Lady was able to take a couple steps back to a "safe distance" and I still had plenty of lead line draped over my arm in case she did decide to take off so I could continue wrestling with the door, which was particularly stubborn yesterday.
Door finally closed, I discovered someone had left a jump set up kind of close to the wall. No biggie, but I decided to move it so I could work on the rail without having to squeeze between jump and wall and risk getting my knees banged into something every time I went by. So lead line draped over my arm, I set the rails down on the ground. Lady took a step back. I picked up one of the jump standards to carry it out of the way, and Lady freaked. Big snort, eyes wide, flying backwards several steps. Another point for the mecate reins, Lady retreated to a safe distance and I still had ahold of her and the jump standard. And it's obvious now that Lady is definitely having one of those really rare off days, because I can't count the number of times I have picked up and/or dragged those jump standards around to move them out of the way with her lead line just draped over my arm or shoulder because they require two hands to move, and Lady following along behind me like a half asleep puppy dog. And while she did follow along behind me, it was at a very bug eyed distance, making full use of that 12 foot of mecate lead line, no half asleep puppy dog yesterday!
One standard moved, and we go get the second one, and same reaction when I picked it up. Ok, I should probably desensitize her to it at this point, but those standards are way too blasted heavy to stand there picking them up over and over to desensitize my horse, and I realize Lady is just having one of those rare off days, she'll most likely be over it and be back to her old self next time I have to do this, like she normally does when she has a bad day, but if she's not, I'll worry about it then rather than throwing my back out lifting these heavy things when it probably won't even phase her on any other day. Pick your battles.
Ok, time to pull out the Clinton Anderson groundwork and get her using the thinking side of her brain! And score another point for the mecate reins, I don't need to go get a lunge line out of the barn, because I already have a 12 foot one in my hand! So we work on lunging for respect and the sending exercise over the ground poles. At first she was stopping wide eyed in front of the pole every time, then jumping over it, then she'd finally keep going, but would still jump over it, eventually she was finally tip toeing over them, making sure to lift her feet extra high.
Eventually she pretty well clamed down about the ground poles, thinking rather than reacting, but I noticed she looked a little foot sore on her front feet. Lady's feet grow like wild fire between trimmings, even in the winter, so my farrier always has to trim her a little on the short side when he does her feet to prevent her from getting just way too long and out of balance between trimmings, and when she doesn't have shoes on in the winter, she can be a little tender footed for a couple days if I don't use her easy boots. She did just get her feet trimmed on Thursday, and I thought she would be ok without her boots, but apparently I was wrong, and her easy boots were down in the barn. Score yet another point for the mecate reins, because there is a certain way you can loop and tie them so that they become a neck rope that won't pull on the bit if the horse pulls back, and enables you to safely tie your horse with a bridle on. So mecate rigged up for tying, I tied Lady to the wall next to Cody and headed off to the barn to get her easy boots, grumbling the whole way because, in my opinion, easy boots are anything but easy to put on, but I haven't found any other boots that work on her feet without rubbing her raw.
As I returned to the arena with "easy" boots in hand and the tools required to up them on with (hoof pick and nylon strap), I started talking to let the girls know I'm coming, because Cody tends to spook if the people door suddenly flies open unexpectedly. Well, this time it was Lady who did the spook in place and bug eyed stare when the door opened, while Cody merely shifted her head to look then went back to her nap, one back foot still cocked. Maybe Cody's holding Lady's brain for her today?
Ten minutes and a few curse words later, and Lady was finally sporting her easy boot epics on her front feet and looking more comfortable as she moved. But in the time it had taken to retrieve her boots and put them on, and get on her back, the ground poles had apparently grown teeth again. Seriously, Lady?!? Score still another point for the mecate reins as back down to the ground I go, unlooping the lead line from the saddle horn, and back to the groundwork we went.
So again standing at a bug eyed distance as I rolled my eyes at her and wrestled and grunted to open the overhead door, we collected Cody and headed for the barn. And I guess she found her brain again upon exiting the arena, because she was back to her old self in the barn, standing there half asleep, back leg cocked as I unsaddled, took off her polos and put her blanket back on. So I guess it was just one of those odd days for Lady. I hope so anyway, since she has a riding lesson to give tonight!
Oh Lady, you're such a silly girl sometimes!