Monday, August 8, 2011

Toadie's first day of school!

Today was the first day that Trainer V. and Trainer K. worked with Toad.  It was fun because T. who leases Girlfriend (at least until the end of the month ... sigh ...) and Penny's owner and the girl I bought Toad from and her mom all came out to watch.  Trainer K. commented that every time she looked over toward the bleachers there were more people there to watch.

Toad did fine yesterday when I put the saddle on her and walked her around.  Other than having someone ride her to try her out she hasn't had a saddle on in months so she kept looking back at it yesterday, but today it was business as usual.  But when Trainer K. went to put the reins over her head to put on her bridle she threw her head back and refused to let her - just like she did last week about the cavesson.  She hasn't, by the way, done that with the cavesson again after that one day so I was surprised she did that with the reins.  It wasn't that she didn't want them around her neck, she didn't want them touching her ears when they went over her head, but she's so tall and hasn't learned to duck her head for us so it's impossible not to touch her ears.

None of us could figure out what it was about except Trainer K. did feel a fresh scab on her head from where she must've hit her head at some point and maybe she was sensitive about that.  But that doesn't explain why she was so not into me putting the cavesson over her ears last week one day, then turned around and was fine with it again.  I told Trainer K. how I'd put the cavesson on her before and folded her ear over to push them under the strap, so I don't know what brought this on.   Toadie got so upset by it that at one point she tried to run over Trainer K. to flee the grooming room.  But Trainer K. knew how to handle it and diffused the situation quickly. 

After much gently touching Toad's head with the reins and gently touching her ears with the reins she finally relaxed and let out one of her huge post-panic-attack sighs and was fine with them putting the reins over her head and putting her bridle on.  Then she did great on the lunge line (and would stop and turn in toward Trainer V. just like she does with me so I knew it wasn't just me) but came around with enough correction.  Then Trainer V. got up on her back.  I made a comment about how I'd forgotten to bring my camera and it "probably would've been good for the insurance claim".  Luckily, Trainer V. could not hear me.  Despite her worries that Toadie was going to freak out on her, Toadie just stood quietly at the mounting block - which of course made T. and I say "She's already ahead of Girlfriend!" who walks or trots away at the mounting block.

Then they walked around the arena a bunch of times and before ending the session they trotted once around the arena and Toadie has the most fluid, smooth trot!  I can't wait to ride her!  Trainer V. and Trainer K. said she was really nice to work with and not at all the wild, out of control horse that I think was expected.  Trainer K. actually said, "You've been doing a really good job with her," which made me feel great because she's not the kind of person I don't think who says that just to be nice.  I have been trying very hard the last few weeks to start teaching her manners and help her learn to focus when she's working - and she has been responding really well to that because she really does want to have a job and be given direction.  It seems to relax her if she has instruction and structure around her, along with lots of carrots and kisses on the nose.  I'm feeling proud of myself for being a good horse mom to her.  I really do believe with enough structure and training (and snuggles and love) that she can be an amazing horse like Girlfriend.

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