|Mezza in a borrowed show halter. I didn't take a photo tonight--we used a regular flat halter and her heavy lead with a stud chain to simulate a show halter and show lead with the required chain. She is handling it like a pro!|
The session lasted about an hour and Jen had a chance to watch Mezza being stalked, walked, turned, backed, and trotted. Then Jen got a chance to do the in-hand work with Mezza so she could feel how Mezza handled. They did really well together!
Next we put the flat halter on Mezza, along with the stud chain in the "show" position--running beneath the chin. She's had it on once before in her run, while we tried on an actual leather show halter and lead.
Now Mezza needs to get used to the feel and sensation of this.
We repeated our in-hand exercises with the flat halter and stud chain. She did really well. Jen and I switched so each of us could work Mezza. Even with the lead loose, she was initially high headed in her trot at side with me, and I need to stretch my legs more. She finally relaxed and put her head down, but she still held her ears back. Jen had better luck with her pace, and the head stayed fairly low. Again, the ears are kinda laid back. We aren't sure why, she's not trying to bite, the lead is loose, so that may just take time for her to relax more. She is definitely watching our position though, as she is really good about slowing to a walk or stopping when we do.
The turns on the hinds need further work so that we can keep our hand just on the lead beneath her chin and turn her without her body bending or her moving her back feet before the full turn is completed. This will simply take more time and practice.
The last thing we worked on was her giving her head downward to pressure on the lead with the stud chain. She does this pretty well in a rope halter, but wasn't so good at it in the flat halter and chain. She started giving, and I got a really good release finally. I need to practice this daily so the release becomes automatic. Dawn and Jen seem pleased at how she's doing, and I think she is coming along well! It will be a lot of fun to watch/show her in halter and showmanship. I'm sure we'll learn a lot as we do.