Monday, December 4, 2017

Oh, Bannie

It's no secret that my time with the horses is limited - I am trying to fight the lack of light and lack of space to do anything productive to keep Annie on the right track. Of course, I've let myself just slide into a state of "good enough" simply because there is no point in fighting the waning hours of daylight and making myself crazy about things I can't control.

It's been nearly three weeks since I was able to really hack Annie. The most I've done is a few laps around our street or around the neighboring street. The last time she was lunged was even longer - 3 foot crunchy snow drifts do not make safe (or fun) lunging spaces!

Good Bannie and Spudley.
So when I was tacking up yesterday afternoon and Annie became super shifty and wiggly, I knew it was going to be an interesting ride. I had debated about bringing Spud along, mostly because I knew once Annie settled into the ride, she'd be happy to pony Spud along. Typically, when she's had a long time off, she walks quite fast and objects heavily to being halted. Having to worry about another horse following along didn't seem like fun, but I decided I'd try it out and if things became problematic or unsafe, I'd dismount and take Spud home.

No harm, no foul.

We had one of the longest mount-ups in the history of mounting. Mare could not stand still if her life depended on it, and Spud was no help because he was like "Oooh I see grass over there, let's go that way."

"I'll just casually sneak a bite out of your boot, lol."
-Spud, always.
Eventually, I had Annie halt quietly and hopped on. She popped forwards and I asked her to stand while I collected my other stirrup. She popped forwards again before I even had a chance to grab my stirrup - I reminded her to stand and she rooted hard into my hands, pulling me up out of the saddle. I gave her a hearty boot in the ribs, verbally asked her to stand and continued to collect my reins/ Spud's lead. I just remember thinking, "Oh god, please don't rear, please don't rear."

She was raring to go tho, and had I been a bit better prepared, I'm sure I would've been able to get past the little hissy fit. With Annie being too focused on "GOING NOW", I found myself arguing right back that she STAND and stand QUIETLY. This, evidently, was too much for her pea brain to process at the time and she rooted forwards again, yanking hard down on the reins and pulling against my hand. At this point, I had had enough and put my legs on and pulled back - she took protest by rearing several inches in the air.

I recall thinking, "Ok well, this can't get much worse." So I booted her hard, asked her to "fucking stand" and then asked her to walk off properly. As she did, I gave her a pat and told her she was good.

"If we stops nice, does I get treats too?"
Yes, yes you do, Spud.

Such fun. Much wow.

The remainder of our ride around the subdivision featured many halt-walk-halts with some prolonged halts thrown in. The first few were pretty awful, but as we neared the mid-point of our ride, she was becoming more respectful and more agreeable to my requests.

It doesn't seem to take her long to get her brain back into her head, which is nice. I was still able to pony Spud and didn't run into any huge problems. We were able to practice a lot of our halts at the end of people's driveways to let cars by, so it was a good "test" in a way.

Because I was ponying, I couldn't really do much, but we did work on some leg yielding and stretching. Her trotting down the one street was pretty terrible, lol. All of her muscles are gone and she felt super weak - we trotted fast, slow, fast, slow... walk break?.. fast. Which is fine, she was trying. It just felt weird trying to fall into a pace with her because it was nonexistent, haha.

Trying to decide between finishing what's in her mouth or
begging for more cookies.
While I don't condone it, I don't necessarily blame her for her behavior - there is not much room to expend extra energy in the paddocks (being that they are snowed in), and without the ability to lunge her, we kinda had to just "go with the flow". I am quite proud that by the middle of the ride I was steering her without using my reins and trotting down one of the side roads, as well as cantering down the dirt road (wherein Bannie was like "Do I has to go fast?" and Spud bucked almost every stride). She has her moments for sure, but like most babies, when coming back into work they sometimes have a brain short before they get on with the regularly scheduled program.

Aside from that tho, it's not excusable and not okay, which is why I've already started to play around with ideas for our next ride. I actually started to use a treat during the middle of our ride and it worked out quite well for when she was halted, because she apparently can't walk and eat the treat at the same time. She is quite an eager beaver tho, because a lot of the times she'll try to skip past our street to keep going vs heading home (barn sour she is not!).

You'd never know just how terrible the beginning
of our ride was by this lol
Despite the minor hiccup and a few spooks at random piles of snow, I was really proud of her. Our last "real" schooling ride was October 13th and since then we've had such an inconsistent schedule with mostly light walking hacks. I do love her enthusiasm, but I'd prefer to curb it to all four feet remaining firmly planted on the ground.

We finished off the day with working on her feet again - she attempted to pull her hoof away a few times but after that I was able to fidget around with all of them and stretch them forwards, backwards, etc. All while she was ground-tied, so that's pretty exciting!


  1. Yay for a decent day and an outing! My new life goal now is to pony little Lily out with Bridget!

  2. Well, at least you ended on a more positive note than you started on! I love the gif

  3. Omg that pic of Spud staring up at you is my new fave.

  4. Weather woes can definitely be tough. Since you are working on ground work too have you thought of clicker training the halt while mounting? I think a couple bloggers do it

    1. That is actually one of the things we are going to be working on :) Not necessarily clicker training, but some form of it!

  5. I'm impressed you're able to get out at all! My horses would definitely not be able to horse in those conditions. Hence why I stop riding once the snow falls. Nice work having a productive ride. And OMG Spud is just the absolute cutest.

    1. Haha thank you!!

      And yes, he totally is the cutest.