Comfort and I have been a little derailed by my travel and a training setback or two where she just stopped having her head in the game. I am proud of us for overcoming those minor challenges, and now we are back on track! I could have written about these things, but I think comfort and I both were just stretched too thin, barely hanging in there, and I know I was exhausted, personally, and it was damn hot outside. I think my posts would have been pretty much worthless, because I lost my capacity to think.
Mostly, lately, I’ve been trying to just have short, chill sessions with her and we’ve also had a pretty sub par ride followed by a great ride, recently.
In other news, I went home to Austin for my sister’s wedding which was RAD! And I missed Comfort so much, but both of us needed a vacation, I think. when I returned, she walked right up to me like MOMMY!!!!! And then she let me cuddle all over her. Then when I let go she walked away like NBD, I am in the cool group of my herd and I don’t need a mommy. So I ignored her for a couple minutes and then came back and she was all about the snuggles for round 2! Also, since I’ve last posted, we’ve had 3 bareback rides, 2 which were awesome, and the 3rd which was total %&*$. These are the first bareback rides I’ve had since my fall with Comfort, so I am pretty stoked about that!
I also rode a normal size horse and did some jumping and forgot what a workout riding can be! My legs were so sore, but it was TOTALLY WORTH IT. Also, I have developed a very very minor fear of cantering a big horse, apparently, which I have full confidence I’ll overcome in like 1 or 2 more rides.
So, back to our training regimen! This week, Comfort and I have a goal to trailer load!!!! I LOVE HAVING GOALS! I turn into a sad, lost sole (EDIT: BAHAHA I am just imagining myself as a sad lost sole of a shoe! I meant SOUL! Too funny!) when without a game plan. I am particularly excited about this goal, because, well, many reasons.
- I always improve my relationship with Comfort when we can overcome something scary.
- It’s way better if you have a horse that isn’t freaked out to trailer load, obviously.
- I kind of want to get a trailer and start getting her off property as much as possible. She’s such a smart pony and she gets bored easily. Going off property would be very very good for us.
- WE ARE GOING TO OUR SECOND EVER SHOW ON JULY 8th!!!! And it will be my first time riding her in a show EVER! Even if it turns out to be an ugly, awkward, ride, it will still be so good for us.
This week, I’d also like to work a bit on super zen riding, but we haven’t started, yet. I’ve been pretty wrapped up in the trailer loading thing.
I can’t take credit for this brilliant method of trailer loading, but basically the idea is for Comfort to eat all her meals in the trailer, forcing her to go inside if she wants to eat dinner. This is no easy feat for my pony. She is very scared of trailers and has only had rough experiences with them. She basically only ever rides in a trailer when she’s taken to a new barn, and I think it’s just not any fun for her and it’s scary and sad for her. So to fix this, I’ve been feeding her all her meals inside the trailer. first I just held a handful of grain inside the trailer for her to eat – just barely poking in her head. Then we progressed to her eating out of a feed pan just far enough inside the trailer to get her to stick her head and neck in.
Today, I will push the pan back far enough where she has to put in her two front feet, and we will continue in this manner until she’s all the way in and comfortable with the space. I should note, if you want to try this yourself, that Comfort did not want to hang out behind the trailer the whole time, and I think that would have been a little overwhelming for her. When she’d lift her head up and start looking
around, I’d take her to the side of the trailer and tell her to graze. I gave her the full length of her lead rope so she felt like she could graze and investigate the trailer. She would sigh and blow out and chew and really liked having that break from the inside of the trailer. Then she’d walk up to me and wait, and we’d go back to the trailer and eat more grain. I was really excited about this because we were able to establish a new communication which was – every time you stand facing me and wait, I will take you to get more grain. She figured that out very quickly and would let me know when she was ready to go back. I was so excited she actually wanted to go back to get more grain from inside the trailer!
I hope we can knock this out in a week, because Comfort and I are doing a schooling show on July 8th, and I really don’t want to start off on a bad foot with trailer loading. I just want to take it slow and ride her in a walk trot or go as you please kind of class. I am a very nervous shower; I am getting a little freaked out right now just thinking about it. Comfort doesn’t need that kind of influence, so I want to keep it real simple and easy and just do something that we already have down pat like walking and trotting. Which technically we are still working on but that’s ok. Nobody at this show cares how you look or what you and your pony are doing. It’s just good experience.
I am so proud of Comfort and me, because we’ve really had a nice streak, lately, of cooperation, affection, and relaxation. Comfort always lets me catch her from the field, she has gotten way better about leading, and she’s looking to me for leadership. Also, she’s been backing up really nicely, lately. I am so proud!!!