Since we have had monsoons in the weather department... we really could not ride together this trip in town for my sister. We decided to go to my stable and do groundwork and my sissy would ride the mare, and tell me what she thought on her soundness.
I had allowed her to get too "Goaty" with long hair everywhere, so her other mother, trimmed her up for me.
For being in (open stalls to 150 ft runs) for almost 2 weeks and having my ride last -5 days prior, and only arena turnouts. We have had record rains of 1-2 inches a day...and a TORNADO, yesterday, in Oregon!It just missed Oregon City, yet another town, less than 100 miles away, did NOT get missed. fortunately, no one was seriously hurt.
This day, mare was totally docile. Her whole herd was in the barn with her too, which made for a relaxed time.
She yields very well to my sister needing to look at her work on the bridle path.
I did ride *the arena last time out, which makes it the second time for me since we moved in.
***For those of you that may be wondering why I mention it and have moved to an arena...my mare dislikes the arena, and it is pain mostly she remembers and associates with it from a previous trainer(s). This trainer tied her into frame, used a very harsh bit, beat her when she misbehaved and used a saddle the left open wounds on her, and he'd then put plastic over them, and saddle up!
Almost 30 days in a row.
So... When I ride the *arena, I must be sure nothing is painful.
I have no saddle to comply with that(right now) so a bareback (and padded) saddle pad is used. I usually ride bitless, though I have her dental work done yearly and also checked from time to time , in between, by my Equine therapist. She loves the footing, it is soft and even. She has had massage, stretching and warm ups...
Today, my sister decided to try her out...as I do get nervous sometimes...though the last ride -5 days ago- was excellent. We did in hand, and then lunge, both directions for 6-7 minutes, Cavallettis...lots of obstacles to look at and manage around.
My sister is a traditional trainer, she likes the use of bits for the horse to accept light contact and partner with her. So I used the rubber mouth, unjointed snaffle. Just a straight piece of rubber with the rings on the ends.
Part , if not all of my mare's problem now is-"MENTAL PAIN".
This is what we decided it really is with her and the arena, is her great fear of being trapped.
So having a soft bit and also a non-reactive rider is tantamount. Me, having all sorts of trainers in the various stables I've been in, has given me all sorts of actions/advise for dealing with my mare's eruptive behaviour.
It all had failed...and I have tended to ride the vast outdoors instead. Though- an outdoor arena suits us fine too.
Today, the goal is soft and relaxed. Hoping to have the mare bend a little and stay supple and longer while doing walking/halt/walk transitions. She also wanted her to accept the outside rein.
(please accept my apologies for the terrible photography..low light and high action has me stumped!)
We lunged for a short time...just to warm the mare up, she tends to be very cold backed and stiff. Then my sis walked long reined into short and back again...over and over.
The mare remained calm
This is my mare's impression of a race horse...looking through the starting gate.
The mare was fairly receptive for the first rounds of walking, my sis letting her head out and then gathering up the reins.
Then, as she instituted the outside rein as the guiding rein...the mare got agitated...that familiar "look of- don't hem me in" came across her face into body. My sis was leaving the inside rein open and sometimes leading her with it...but still...
She was about to do her thing that she does to me...and I think my sis had the thought it was me, and her responding to me...till...
And UP they went!
The mare surprised herself, I think. My sister sat back...till she had to reach around her neck, to remain on her. There was never any danger of my mare going over...though I think my sis thought so.
She came down again, my sister collected the reins and asked for a walk, as if nothing happened...and it was as if nothing happened!
Though as they continued on, my sis talked to me about this event, she said her heart was racing and knows now what I go through, in the arena!
My sis was being totally fair, following her mouth, sometimes resting her hands upon her withers and not asking for much. The mare reacts violently to connection to the bit and feeling trapped.
Even the hint sometimes, of connection to one side only. And sadly, bitless too.
She was good for the rest of the ride mostly. Here, she takes offence with my sister asking for a little bend and release
There you go Wa mare...just chill out!
A little horsey hug, a little more rubbing of the reins to supple and accustom the mare to a contact without pain. It looks like my sis is pulling, though she is massaging her hand, up and down the inside rein.
She "recovered quickly"..and that is what we are looking for!
You are such a sensitive girl Wa mare! And We love you so much- REALLY!
This is where she really strutted her stuff, enough for my sister to say again...you're mare is sound and moving up nicely/evenly.
She volunteered a nice canter several times
Though she did not watch where she was going, on occasion and tripped once-that turned out to be hilarious ~ Out takes at end.
She fussed a little, but relaxed into her short small trot, and here her "trot up" trot. My sister did many transitions, requiring the mare to remain in contact and lower or she had to move on again...till finally...the session ended on a very good note!
You did so well Wa!
Out takes...that made us laugh...she tripped once, then spooked herself another time as she rounded to the middle and saw a barrel in her way.."oou where's that come from!"
Funny thing was, as my sis asked her to calm down, in quiet tones, the mare did, very quickly and never jerked the lunge line..she remained in light and steady contact while she jumped around!
Though the mare was reactive, my sis did not give resistance and it lent to her recovering quickly.
My next ride, will be in the bitless and I will take all the same measures to engage her mind in groundwork before hand and also to remain calm, as my sis did.
We shall see....I have all the time in the world and there can be as many "Details" as the day calls for...and someone will come and feed me...is what I tell her..as well as MUCH praise for any effort she offers!