Monday, May 14, 2012

Mezza and the stall

Working on entering and backing out of a stall as an aid in learning to step down from higher up and follow through with the hind feet.

Today was really busy out at the barn, with no turnout or round pens open. My initial idea of introducing the long lines got trashed quickly, as I wanted a round pen for that introduction. Since I didn't think Mezza had been out much that weekend, I decided that I would practice with her first with some in-hand work in her pen, and, if her focus was good, I'd then work on in-hand work and desensitization in the outdoor arena where there were already two other horses at work. She needs to get used to working around other horses if we are to show her in either showmanship or at halter, and she has been getting better about refocusing when she gets diverted.

The time went well. She never got jumpy, she simply paused from time to time to watch someone go by on horseback, or check out a horse in long lines. As for the desensitization, that work is progressing along with the dressage whip, which she is tolerating around her ears now, though she still doesn't like it.

Not so sure about this flippy wavy thing!

Hmmm, this really is not quite so bad!

What is even better is that we finished the day by working again with her in the stall, where she had to step up to get in and step down to get out. We worked on that a bit, and when she was stepping out and not hopping I took her to a stall with almost no step up and worked on the backing out.

Hopping out with the hinds initially

Mezza finally walking out nicely

Stepping out with the hinds!

Backing out was not as easy as I thought!  After I'd introduced her to this stall, and moved her around inside of it, I practiced walking her in and stopping her with just her front feet in, and then backing her out from that point. That went smoothly, so I brought her all the way in, with her back feet just in. It was not nearly as easy to back her straight!  I ended up staying at her front, and correcting (overcorrecting it seemed) each step backwards. She also scared herself once by stepping sideways right within the entrance of the doorway and hitting the door's edge. Backing straight really matters!

Possibly next time I work it, I will try for one step back, then bring her forward, then ask for two steps back, then bring her forward and really get more confidence into her backing. It will make all the difference in the world for a trailer!

Backing out of the stall is scary!

A little more...


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