Since Copper was 1,200# of Nope on Thursday, we scheduled Jessica to come out and work with both of us. First, she worked with me and Skeeter, and then she worked with Copper on trailer loading. It was a long, amazing day.
My niece, Autobot, came over to observe our lessons. We were trying to talk her into doing the Youth Division of the Extreme Mustang Makeover next year, but she's decided that it's too much of a time commitment. I completely understand. Jay and I were willing to sponsor her (adopt the horse, pay for the feed, etc.), but it's an hour and a half round trip from her place to ours so I agree with her decision not to do it. I wouldn't want to make that commute every day before or after school either. But if we had a spare bedroom, we'd just move her in with us for three months and it would be a totally different story. :)
Anyway, I pulled Skeeter from the pen before Jessica got there and started grooming her, but she was wound up. I should have worked her first. I managed to give her a half-hearted grooming session and then we got to work.
Skeeter didn't get worked on Friday or Saturday after she came home because we had chores in town most of both days, so she got two days off to settle in. Boy was that a mistake. She had two days of pent-up energy when we went to work.
With Jessica's coaching, we worked on circling and longing. Now, I worked at a livery, we didn't have much time for "fancy" stuff like ground work. Once a horse accepted a saddle, we just rode its hide off until it was well-broke. This round pen, circling, and longing is all new to me. I've been working on it for the last couple of weeks at her place, but I'm still not very comfortable with it. Since we don't have a round pen, it's important for me to be able to longe her when she needs it. I am not a proponent of longing every horse before they get ridden, but during the training period it's nice to get the "woo-hoos" out. I'm getting way too old and the ground is way too hard for me to "buck it out".
Skeets had some attitude issues that included throwing a hoof at me and telling me very clearly to eff off, but we worked through it. Once her energy came down to an acceptable level, we threw a couple of saddles on her to see which of the two I had to choose from fit the best. She's got thoroughbred-y withers, so finding a fitting saddle could be tricky, but I have one that's okay.
The saddle that fits her the best is the one we started her saddle work in, so I feel good about choosing it in the first place. She was still feeling a bit "up", but not dangerously so. I might have put off riding her, but who knows when I can get Jessica back for a lesson and I definitely wanted other people there on my first ride at home. We don't have a round pen or an arena, so all of her "wet saddle blanket" training will be done "in the wild". I think I rode for less than half an hour, but feel much more comfortable than before I rode. We worked on steering and I worked on not neck-reining. I've got to break that habit for a while.
Her 'workout' schedule with me is going to be much different than with Jessica due to my crazy work schedule. The way I think it's going to work is groundwork on Tuesday/Thursday and riding Friday/Saturday/Sunday, weather permitting. I can't just let her sit, not with Copper gone, because she needs constant stimulation or she'll get destructive.
Fingers crossed it will work out nicely.