Tia and I have been working really hard on learning to square and stand nicely for halter and conformation classes. Our first hurdle was the fact that she wants to rest her back leg whenever she stops to stand. This is getting a bit frustrating. I have to be really careful about how I teach her to keep all four feet on the ground without making her think that she has to move away from me when I touch her hip to get the weight back on her foot. At the last practice, with someone else who could take pictures, this was the best she could do without resting her back leg.
In this picture she is so far stretched out in the back and she locked her front end, that she looks like she is wayyy over at the shoulder! She really isn't And honestly, its my fault. I need to really work with her on squaring up and standing properly.
I have started lunging her occasionally in a surcingle with a twisted wire snaffle. The reason I am doing this, with this bit in particular, is because she hangs on the bit so much otherwise, that she isn't using her back at all. She will fight the bit tooth and nail before really giving to it and relaxing. With the twist, she settles right down. No pulling, no fighting. Just nice natural movement with slow even footfalls. I want to keep her in a snaffle for riding, but I have to get her using herself and respecting the bit before I can go any further.
The other hurdle, I know I am jumping around a lot today, is the fact that jogging on a lead line is more foreign to her then speaking Irish. She just doesn't understand why on earth we would want to go faster then a walk...ever! The only way I have been able to convince her to jog with me is to carry a lunge whip or to have a whole pocket full of goodies...both of which are not allowed in the show ring. But, regardless, this is what I get when we actually get the jog underway!
So, we have worked..and worked...and worked on this stuff. She is finally getting the hang of it. A good friend of mine was putting on a show that next Sunday and says "Just bring her! You can show her in halter and just hang out". That sounded like a great idea! So, the show prep began. (Check out this awesome new show series here in Southern Maryland)
Bath time for pretty ponies!
(Practice Photo) Here we see Tia with whiskers and
eye whiskers and ear whiskers...and well lots of whiskers!
And here she is with NO whiskers.
Now, I have to tell you all just how proud I am of this little mare. She had to, at one point in time, be in a home that used clippers on her. Most horses would have freaked out completely. Tia? Nope. She let us clip her face, her long eye whisker things and under her chin. She let me crawl underneath of her with scissors to chop off the horrendously long fetlocks she had growing down there. She wasn't thrilled about the clippers on her ears or bridle path, so I used scissors and the little purple manual razors. I hate to admit that I cut her ear a little with the 'far sharper than I thought it was' purple thing, but she never batted an eye. She actually went to sleep!
So the night ended on a wonderful note. She was amazing during practice, she clipped and bathed like a dream and then she settled right in for a nice long nap before show day.
You guys should have seen the next part coming...really....
We had some issues with the trailer we were going to use and ended up having to "steal" Nikki's truck and trailer. We got to the farm and loaded the trailer and then pulled Tia out. Half way to the trailer, she stops. Now, I have dealt with horses that have had major major issues with loading, so I knew what to do. (Let me interrupt here to say that our class was at 8am...it was now 7:20) So I turned and talked to her and closer to the trailer we went. She took one step on the ramp and NOPE. I'm pretty sure the words going through her head were "Oh Hell No" and "Ain't Nobody Got Time For Dat". Sigh. So we went to work. We tried bribery, we tried a chain over her nose, we tried putting Mia on the trailer with her, we tried tapping with a dressage whip, we tried lunge lines. By the time we got Tia on the trailer, it was 10:15am. On she went. Lots and Lots of Love!!! Backed her off. Loaded her again. 15 minutes later she is back on the trailer. Lots of love and kisses and treats. Backed her off. Unloaded Mia, and put them both outside. I had already missed my class, and I didn't want to get to the show and her not get on the trailer again. I mean, it isn't like I can just take Mia with me...(I found out later that morning that Mia's owner would have been completely fine with that). Either way, we now have something else to work on...Trailer Loading. We have a Mounted Wanderers Show on Sunday the 26th that she will be at even if I have to ride her to the show grounds myself!
On a better note, Nikki has graciously agreed to meet us at the farm tonight with her truck and trailer to practice the art of trailer loading like a big girl...as opposed to non trailer loading like a butt-head!
I did, however, buy a nice jacket and shirt to show her in. Hopefully I wont look like 2 ton Tessie and have to feel completely and utterly embarrassed for my poor little mare that is hoping no one sees her with a black and white version of the Stay Puff'd Marshmallow Man.
In other news, I have gotten some really good feedback on my photography. I have contacted a few schools to take some courses online as well, and my Aunt sent me a phenomenal class that is all on Youtube. I am pretty excited about that. I spent about 5 hours last night working on the website for BHAD Photography, and I think it came out nicely! What do you think?