Monday, May 26, 2014

The Battle Continues

(I am about to kill Blogger's formatting, or lack thereof, so I apologize for the way photos are portrayed in this entry. I had to post it before I deleted the whole thing in a rage. Grumble.)

The battle to regain the horse I bought and not this new spazz mare that has emerged.

Things I have changed and things we have been doing since the initial freight train episodes:

Flat work with tons of transitions and changes in direction in the field - Walk -canter - trot - halt - back - canter - walk - halt - trot - canter - walk - trot - halt - back - trot - halt - back - canter - walk - etc. Add lots of directional changes to that mess and you'll have nearly every day since that entry about the freight train. This is working. She is more focused on me than ever. She's not overly rushy in the home directions either. However, she is still spazzy and super cued up and on edge. Its insane. I've got her focused, but she's still manic and panicky about things. To the point where a blade of grass blew in the wind and she balked and her whole body shuddered violently. She's not even in heat! When she's in heat she can be like that, but she's not usually that way out of heat. Its getting ridiculous.

Video still: A nice halt. Go Q!

Video still: Backing - halt - canter!

Ported kimberwicke > snaffle - Yes, I bitted up. I did it initially to see how she would even respond before making a final decision. And, guess what? Miracle difference in her. She was a bit appalled at first when the curb action made contact, but after her initial disgrace at my added control against her evasions, she shuttup and focused. My aids are light and she is responsive again. Its amazing. I hated the force that I had to apply to the double-jointed snaffle to get any sort of response from her when she was having A Moment. It wasn't good on any level. She likes this kimberwicke more it seems. She's responsive and light again.

Running martingale - She hates that this is on still. But her hate of it is only evident when I request something she really wishes she didn't have to do like SLOW DOWN and STOP instead of making moves to push forward. While she's not rushing like she had been, she is trying now to make the Correct Answer be Going Toward Home Direction As Fast As Permitted And Not Stopping. So when I ask for a downward transition or a halt she will shake her head no more than 3 times to demonstrate her dislike of my request. Its not very predictable, but the times it happens are always in the home direction and usually when asking her to downward transition from the canter.
Flat work with *surprise* jump - I'll march her around with flat work and then pop her over a *surprise* jump. There is no rushing in any direction. She gets a little excited when allowed to canter a jump, but she's not a completely crazy bat about it, just exuberant. I can deal with that.

Video still: Hunt that jump!

Video still: launch!
Yes, no ground pole, shame be on me. They'd brush hogged the field, a surprise to me, and all my jumps
had been moved everywhere.

Video still: Wee!

Video still: Clearly the fence is much higher and wider than the naked eye can see.

Video still: Wee!

So, yes, lots of positives. 

A looming negative though is still her elevated spazziness lately. It has reached new levels. I don't know what crawled into her head to whisper things in her ear about how awful the world is, but it needs to end. SmartMare Harmony and a Mg supplement will be arriving soon. I hope that in the next 45 days there is a marked difference in her behavior because it is getting OLD.

Our first really awesome breakthrough ride with lots of transitions and her attention on me was a really big high for me. It felt great. I thought I was getting somewhere. Only to come back to the barn and have Q flip her shit over Mystery Something. She flailed and thrashed about in a manner that made me think she was likely to flip herself onto the ground. I wasn't about to step into that, so I just turned around and set to putting her bridle away as I had been doing. She would either stop her thrashing or hurt herself, but I wasn't about to get in the middle of it and get hurt, too. That helps nothing. When I emerged from the tack room seconds later, she had slipped her halter and was running the far fenceline in the barnyard, visibly upset. Ugh. 

I brought her back and finished untacking her and turned her loose, but the whole thing - even though I had NOTHING to do with ANYTHING that caused her alarm (I was in the tack room during the whole ordeal) - really put a damper on my spirits. 

She's not even in heat! This elevated spazzy behavior is outrageous. Typically she's FINE around the barn/barnyard. No problems. Calmest horse you ever met. You'd have a hard time believing she could ever be a spazzy witch. But ugh. Its hit or miss lately. I don't know what's going on with her hormones or the hormones floating around from the little mixed herd of 9 horses she lives with, but eegads. 

Tomorrow we do a demo for 200+ elementary schoolers. All I can do is pray that she is her usual away-from-home self. Calm. Happy. Cross your fingers and light a candle that this is the case!

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