Today I was reminded how much easier it is to soften Amber and get her working by throwing in random ground poles in our work.
We utilized them in full. I used the training fork today, loosely, but it was obvious it was a mere aid to keep her head from going so inverted that I can't get her back. It was all she and I. First, it came loose when the twine I had tied (my girth has no clips) came undone...and I didn't even notice she was being so responsive. Thank God Emma told me!
I tied a more secure knot and after making sure it was good to go, we tried again and got some GREAT work. She's in heat and I was expecting no attention, but she was fannnntastic. Even with construction going on beside the arena. The window and door company was installing garage doors on the storage shed and obviously making quite a bit of noise with power tools and such.
There were two ground poles sitting at a V angle, perfect for figure 8s. And three on the long side set at trot length.
So I decided, a few minutes in, to take her over them. We did some 8s, a few times with canter transitions. She jumped them a couple of times, then started to remember how to time her strides. We even cantered over a few times.
She loves obstacles. Even ground poles. She's going to jump, whatever we do. Hunters, eventing, jumping, equitation - I'm sure the more we advance, it will be clear which she's best at. But I get so much attention and effort when I add poles.
She was dripping when I cooled her out, but she was STILL full of energy. I didn't want to work her any longer though, even if she thought we should trot over poles all day.
I gave her a bath and threw her in her stall. Gave her some pepsi, treats and a piece of taffy. Not spoiled at all, like I've said before.
A couple of hours later, I rode her bareback on a short trail ride, which we enjoyed very much. She's a much better trail horse than I imagined. Ever since I got after her that one time, she's awesome. As I mentioned before, Christopher bit her on the butt during the last ride, and she did nothing but jump in surprise. Even though he had his nose up her rear end, she didn't make a nasty face.
Today, Star bit her on the butt as well and stayed perpetually stuck to her rear. Not a nasty face, only a jump when she was bitten. I mean, really. You gotta give a horse props for putting up with that BS on the trail. I can't even really expect her to behave as well as she does. I wouldn't have scolded her for kicking when another horse does that, but she's just golden about it.
It was a great day. She's not perfect by any means. But she's so smart and willing, I have a lot of faith in her. Even if something happened, God forbid, and she could never be ridden again, she'd stay with me until she was an old, old mare. There will be bad days, just like the good, but I feel so strongly connected with her. More so than any other horse, and I mean no exceptions. Not even Gulliver.
Got tomorrow off and I plan on washing my wraps and pads. They are *gross*.