Hello, Pony World! Happy Weekend to You!
I’ve got some really good training updates, but first I must share that Comfort’s winter coat has shed out, which means new spots! I took a lot of photos chilling with her in the woods, yesterday.
Furthermore, Paisley is LOVING the spring weather!
When it’s not raining that is…. Which it’s been doing a lot. Never really understood “April Showers” until I lived in Virginia.
Me too, Paisley. Me too. . .
Hopefully the may flowers will come and the showers will end because Comfort and me, pony trainer bestie, and two other friends are all going horse camping together, next month! Maybe some of you have done this before, but I have not, and I am SO EXCITED! I’m not really sure what to expect, but I know the campsite has stalls, which is pretty cool! I’m especially stoked since I’ll be in the company of really experienced, competent horsewomen I can learn from! Yippee! Another horsey friend of mine was suggesting to me that a great way to help my progress with Comfort is to get her off the property more, so this is a good start and I’m excited to measure the results!
Back to my honest assessment challenge!
I saw a whole different pony after one session of doing the relaxation techniques. I was so relieved, to be honest. I’ve been stressing and worrying that Comfort has started to hate our work together, but it turns out I just needed a new approach and a break from the norm. Comfort and I had a crazy-cool connection; it was slightly spiritual. NBD.
So basically I couldn’t find the horses anywhere so I went into the woods and there they all were being precious and Comfort came right up to me!!! If I can get that twice more, I’ll take issue #9 (hard to catch) off the list! I hung out for a while on a log and took a lot of photos of her and then the horses migrated out, at which point Comfort looks back at me like hey are you coming? Which I did manage to capture in photo form:
So I hang back and then go into the field after the horses to actually get comfort and do something with her, even though I was soooo satisfied just with her feeling chill in my presence. I felt like she would be ok with me squeezing in a little extra time together. Sometimes once she’s sniffed me, she’s done with me, and I was worried she might feel that way once I went out to the field, but instead she let me come right up to her and put on her halter! Success! I walked her all the way across the field (it’s HUGE) and she was completely relaxed the entire time. She stopped twice (she usually stops 5 or so times because she has anxiety about leaving the herd), and I just told her to keep going and she did and stayed right where she was supposed to be (she also likes to try to get ahead of me). This was seriously phenomenal. I walked her up through the gate and then past the barn and right into the arena. She was so relaxed for the whole thing that I did one lap around the arena just walking her in hand and then walked her all the way back across the field to where her buddies were and just turned her back out. I was SO proud of her for how laid back she was! It really goes to show that it’s so worth it to check in and make sure your pony is relaxed. We were going to do our relaxation exercise, but she was so great that I just decided she needed to be finished for the day. I’m really glad I did, because I think short, happy sessions are great positive reinforcers, and Comfort completely agrees with me.
So we didn’t work on problem #1 (sniffing things) because she was so great!!! But next we will definitely do the relaxation exercise again and work on duration of time, per my pyramid chart, and then see where things go. I might work on sniffing things or I might let her be finished. It will depend on how she’s feeling. More updates next time!