Sunday, January 19, 2014

Progress is progress no matter how small

Jazz is currently suffering from winteritis. If there is one thing Jazz hates,  it's bad weather. Also she's the big fancy herd matriarch,  five (I really can't stress that enough), and has an owner with a finite amount of knowledge (I would like to really emphasize that I am not an example to be followed without significant work, research, commitment and knowledgeable people there for backup).

That being said, today did feel like a tiny success,  even if it is several steps backwards from Jazz in her prime (read: Jazz in the summer).  She was dozing out in the pasture today, enjoying the moderately nice weather, so she started out pretty chill, and I took her into the barn.  She was being a jerk standing (so to speak, very little standing was actually involved) tied, so I told her firmly that that was not acceptable, and untied her, putting her into her own space and keeping her there until she was being respectful. It took a few minutes, but I brought her back from standing still but paying zero attention to me, glancing around at every possible thing there was to look at to a nice relaxed,  respectful stand. 

She got a nice reward and I moved into the arena,  where she got overstimulated again because "Mom the roof settles and there's different sounds and everything is plotting to eat me and I just know my friends are out having fun in the pasture without me". With some doing I got another nice stand out of her at the back of the arena and started to take her towards the door when she charged ahead because she thought she'd had about enough of manners for the day. Needless to say she got asked to do a bit more respecting, which she decided to make more interesting for me with a few head flails and a rear just to spice things up a bit, but I did find some remaining shred of manners underneath all that. 

You can't fool me little horse.  I know your three year old brain that wants to learn things is in there somewhere.

I'm assuming I didn't offend her too badly with my demands for basic respect,  since she kept following me over the fence once I'd let her go. Oh horse, you make it so easy to love you even when you're refusing to do the most basic of tasks. It's definitely not without it's challenges to have a young horse,  but it's far from without it's rewards. 

Thing to work on #2:
Space space and more space. There's nothing more paramount than reinforcing my space

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