Whiskey has been worked with every day since comming here. Today after our arena session I introduced her to the pack boxes. She was nervous for sure about them. But after I trotted her in hand with them for about 10 minutes she calmed down. Her first trail with them on will be wide so she can get used to them before she bangs them into a tree for the first time.
I'm impressed! That's a lot to deal with but I agree - that is the kind of mare who needs to work and the more she works, the better she will get. It's great to see her acquiring skills that will increase her value even further.
Today I ponied Whiskey up mt. Baldy in Enumclaw. We rode for about 3 hours. Up and down steep terrain. I reaffirmed my belief that it is great schooling to pony horses out on the trail behind an experienced trail horse before asking them to negotiate the terrain with a rider on board. At first Whiskey took interesting paths up and down the trail, cut corners, tripped on roots, etc. By the end she was paying attention and making good decisions about where to put her feet. Once she gets really good she will be ready for the next step. Oh, she got tired! Yay! She is a hard one to wear out! A little drawn up at the end of the ride. Took some long drinks along the way and a big one when we got home. I'm starting to give her a little alfalfa because she's been working hard.
Looks as wet as I thought it might be up there today. Wish I could have joined you, but "real work" kept me home and tied to the computer and house most of the day. Soon we'll hook up for a ride. WOuld love to see Whiskey rockin' on the trails around here!
Kathleen she looks like she's doing awesome with you! It seems like she's also getting more fit- which is great. It sounds like she's plugging right along and has really given up on being a snot. What a fabulous testament to the great things SAFE does to see a horse go through such a transformation.
I've been thinking about her head tossing and general riding with her nose up in the air that I've seen on the videos of her being ridden and experienced being on her. Looking at that last picture of her, doesn't it look like she has very little muscle in her neck? When I brush and scratch her I notice that her neck feels thin and soft. Would you think that she throws her head because her neck and top line muscles are not developed? Wednesday was the first time she went thru a whole lunging session with the side reins on without throwing her head or trying to evade the bit. She gave in and worked with slack in the side rein and a nice head set. I think she will need more work like that to build her neck up to make keeping in frame easier for her. Any other ideas on building up her neck and top line?
OK, here it is! The good, the bad, the ugly, then the not so bad... Video of Whiskey under saddle from today.
The second video is the most exciting. It shows Whiskeys little protest buck and then her almost running straight into the fence to avoid going into the canter after her buck. She is gate sour (but MUCH better than she was) so both her bucks were after passing the gate (its out of the video but there.) I did a lot of direction changing because she starts rushing at the trot. So when I feel her getting ready to pick up the pace, or bringing her head up, I make her change direction. I also do a lot of hand paddling working on keeping her head low. Not my normal riding style. Check them out and let me know what you think.
I think you did GREAT with her. You rode her on the kind of rein she likes - soft but not so long that you didn't have control. What I see is that she's a little sour and she's still very strung out at the canter so she had her little protest, you growled at her and made her quit and then she pretty much gave up, which is the behavior I expect based upon everything I've ever heard about this mare. It's like the backup at the beginning - she says no, you say "no isn't a choice" and then she backs.
I do the same thing you do when they're fast - just pitch them into a turn and let them figure it out. That's the right thing to do with this mare and you'll notice she's not throwing her head with you, because you're not trying to slow her down via her mouth.