Thursday, May 13, 2010

Of lights, and evening faces

Sydney, over at Bitless Horse, is running a contest for a saddle level gadget. Go check it out! I want it!!

After over a year, I have lights at my barn again! Oh, the joy of it!! Early spring last year, a varmint chewed through the wiring in my barn and I have been without electricity for a looooooong time now. When Yalla! was born in the middle of the night last summer, my neighbor and I witnessed her birth all by flashlight!

Anyway, my son has been digging a trench and redigging and redigging as the bad weather and a hundred other reasons stopped him from finishing. I would nag at him from time to time, always afraid that the horses would get hurt falling into the foot deep trench. Several times, as it got covered over with snow, either myself or one of the horses, usually Nadia, would step into it. Finally, he got it dug all the way from my barn to the electric pole near the dog run. I bought 150 feet of outdoor wiring and enough plastic pipe to protect it and now it's all fixed. While he was digging, he busted the water line but he managed to get that fixed quickly, thankfully!

So tonight, I went out, after dark, and haltered up Yalla! I brought her into the breezeway of my barn and tied her up. This was a first for her, being tied, but she managed quite well. She did test the rope which I was glad for because until they know they can't get free and accept that, they are not trained to tie. She's also never seen lights! So, under the fluorescent lights, I groomed her down, brushing her with the soft brush and currying where the loose hair was pulling out. She is shedding like crazy now, all the "buffalo thick, matted, wavy, brown" hair on her back is starting to fall away. I still can't decide what color she's going to end up. Her body is a light mousey brown, almost dun color, like milk chocolate, although there are hints of a richer brown underneath. Her legs are black but her mane and tail have brown hairs (dun again) and she has a stripe down her back, or is that called undershading? And yet, her head and neck is a dark chocolatey brown. She may be the strangest bay ever! She already has the thickest mane of all my horses and she's not even a year old yet!

I decided to give her a leading lesson in the dark outside of the barn. Since there's been a foot deep trench out there for her whole life, she was extremely suspicious of the area and wouldn't walk over the newly covered hole. She also wouldn't go through the gate to go outside of the horse compound (again because of that treacherous trench that used to be there). I could NOT get her to walk with me. She seems to have one main vice- balking! Anyway, I decided that we had all night and I would just wait it out. I would turn and face her and then take a step forward through the gate and turn away from her, looking forward and down, with her standing behind and off to the side of me. I didn't apply any pressure on the lead. I kept turning and stepping back and looking at her and then stepping forward, turning away from her, and inviting her to "join up". After a few minutes she began licking and chewing, and then it only took a few minutes more for her to step forward, through the gate, to my side. I was thrilled! Then, we walked, in the dark, down the alleyway, alongside the arena. This was all new territory for her, especially at night. She walked very well next to me for a while but when we turned around, she got a little antsy, although she was still quite manageable. That is one thing I really appreciate about her. She's compact and small, and easy for me to work with. She has a really laid back attitude and even when she's afraid she is easily kept under my control. We walked back through the gate with no problems at all but then she remembered where the trench used to be near the barn entrance and balked again, refusing to go towards the barn. Again I faced her and then stepped forward turning away from her, and asked her to join up. Again it took several minutes, and then some licking and chewing, and then she took dainty steps right up to me. I love this little mare!!!

What a joyful day! I now have lights, there is no more treacherous trench, and my little filly had some great lessons on standing tied, being groomed, and leading in strange places!

Of lights, and evening faces - song: DJ, artist: David Bowie, album: Scary Monsters


Sydney said...

I love when they are young and absorb your training like a sponge.

fernvalley01 said...

Sounds great all around , funny how one little change in the area ,can make babies think the sky is falling!