Ups and Downs

Today with Aspen started out really well, it's a gorgeous day and she's almost all shed out! :)  I played a lot of friendly game and touch-it in the beginning of our session.  Something I am really careful about not overlooking is making sure we spend some good quality undemanding time/friendly time together.  :)  A plastic bag fluttered through the arena and spooked her so we played approach and retreat toward the bag until she was pawing at it and smelling it.  I let her stand on the bag for a while until she started yawning, blinking, licking and chewing, shaking her head, and blowing out.  Wow!  That was a lot of tension she had in there!  It was a good reminder to me to understand how she handles even a small amount of pressure.

I played with the usual things On Line and the patterns, she's really getting transition of gait On Line walk/trot and the changes of direction are still really nice.

We've yet to play outside of the arena so I took her through the pasture playing touch-it from Z3 and then found a ditch to practice crossing while maintaining gait and staying with me.

I thought perhaps I'd get on her in the pasture just for a change of scenery since she was doing so well.  I mounted her from the fence and instantly she wanted to head to where her friends were at the other end.  She got really upset and tried to bite my leg and then as I tried to disengage her hinds threw her head up in the air and threatened to buck and started kicking out.  :(  So, naturally I jumped off - riding bareback, without a helmet, on a green horse that doesn't want me on her, in a 40 acre pasture is probably not the safest idea.  We played a few games on the way back toward the arena and the other horses to try and engage her mind and connect back to me again.  Once in the arena I thought I'd try riding her in there as her friends were right outside the fence and maybe she'd feel calmer in there.  It went okay but she was tense and then got angry again and I could feel myself at first getting nervous and then getting annoyed because I really just WANT TO RIDE! I bought her thinking I had a horse I could progress equally in the ground and riding savvies with and she's just not coming along like I had hoped in our Freestyle.  BIG BREATH.  Not her fault, this is a great way for me to test my leadership and resourcefulness, and I can't blame her for not having a very positive feeling about humans on her back.  None the less I was pretty sad that I haven't been able to ride and that I couldn't figure out what I needed to do next.  I got off, rubbed her, and took her halter off.  I was no longer in a good emotional state to play with her anymore.  I'm pretty sure she picked up on it too because she ran way from me when the halter came off.  I put a bit of pressure on her as she ran off until she came back to me.  I rubbed her some more and she stuck to me as I picked up all my belongings in the arena then opened the gate to turn her loose.  She went out and then turned around and thought about coming back to me in the arena, which was cool, then sauntered off to see her friends.

I'm pretty bummed right now because I have been trying really hard to put our foundational pieces in place very carefully and respect her thresholds and honor her as my partner.  I think the best thing for me to do right now is see if I can find a PP to take a lesson or two from and focus on the riding issues.  As long as I'm making progress I don't care how slow we go.  Take the time it takes so it takes less time.

Aspen after she conquered the plastic bag :)

Jump what?