Thursday, August 28, 2014

Growing Up (Warning: wordy and media heavy)

Tuesday was a busy day for Skeeter.  No more coddling, she's on her way to being a grown-up horse and one step closer to being ridden.  Bill would kill to get up on her, but for now he's mostly okay with just playing Dead Indian with her.  I won't be able to hold him off much longer, so if I don't hurry up and get my ass on my horse, he's going to end up with the first ride.

Mom and Bill offered to come down on one of their scheduled days off this month (yes, they only schedule two days off a month for themselves during the season) and help get Skeeter moving.  We've kind of been in a rut.  I tried clicker training, but she's just not getting it, but she's a horse who needs to learn new things on a regular basis.  With Copper coming home, she was preoccupied (as were we) with the new family member, but now it's time to get back on track.

I cut my work day short and headed home, but Mom and Bill still beat me by a few minutes.  When I arrived, Bill had Skeeter's halter on, with the rope tied around her neck and was introducing her to neck reining from the ground.  Sorry, no pictures because I just watched in awe as she moved forward, to the left and right, and stopped.  It wasn't pretty, but she was thinking it over and trying really hard.

I left him to it and ran in the house to change out of my scrubs.  By the time I was done (it only took me about three minutes), the storm I was hoping to avoid had moved in and thunder was rolling.  Mom made Bill put Skeeter away and we ran a quick errand during our rain delay.

Luckily, the rain delay didn't last too long and we were able to resume when we got home.  Bill took Skeeter out of the pen, while Mom and I stayed with Copper.  Apparently, the first time Skeeter left the pen, Copper lost his mind, so we tried to get some video. He must have realized that Skeeter would be back, because the second time was much less exciting according to Mom.  He was concerned and called for Skeeter, but didn't seem to be out of control at any point.

Copper was boring, so I followed Bill and Skeeter around like the paparazzi.  First, they had to squeeze between the truck and the sheds.

They wandered around and looked in the other shed ...

... then Bill got the brilliant idea to have her walk under the clothes line ...

... they did their "Peeping Tom" impression after Skeeter saw Allie-bird move through the window and had a little moment of bolting panic ...

... then they visited the "Tree of Happiness".  I think Skeeter thinks that apples - her very favorite food on the planet - are gifts from the heavens.  She didn't know (and how could she?) that they grew on trees ...

I forgot that she loves apples so much that her brain short-circuits, so Bill had to make her feet move to re-engage her brain, then back into the pen we went.

A visit to the trailer, where my "elasti-mare" consented to putting three feet in the trailer.  She's so long that she doesn't need to put the backs in to reach the hay in the bunker.  With enough coercion from Bill, she finally put that third hoof in.

And then she backed out nicely with a voice command ...

Whew, she did so much, but we weren't even close to being done.  Bill tied up her lead rope and tried with the neck reining thing again, but she wasn't having it.

He deemed her focused enough to get to the main event: Saddling!

I was warned that the second time might not go as well, and I knew it was a possibility, but I wasn't worried.  I asked Jay to come out with me to hold Skeeter while I saddled her up for the second time and it was fine.  She didn't stand stock-still like the first time, because she knew what I was doing and didn't want to put the squeezy thing on, but Jay corrected her and she stood nicely.  We walked around a bit and I tightened the cinch a couple more notches.  She wasn't thrilled with the cinch being snug, but she was good about it.  She twitched her ear and flicked her tail.  That was the extent of her temper tantrum.

She's so good it makes my heart all full and happy.

Tomorrow, the focus will primarily be on Copper and working with leading so that he can come out of the gentling pen soon, but Skeets will still get saddled.  This time, from the off-side, as that's how I usually saddle up at Mom and Bill's place.


Rachel said...

Where to start. I love that she has so much fantastic progress. She is a real thinker! And Beel will challenge her to keep having new experiences without freaking out... because that's what good alphas do.

And YAY for you getting up on her soon!

Shirley said...

Nice job!

Allenspark Lodge said...

It was such a fun day!!!!

Momma Fargo said... make me miss you guys and the mountains so much! Love the clothes line. Have to admit I was holding my breath. LOL. And the Tree of Happiness...I wanted that one apple just right there...