Heart: on the road. 

Sunday, January 15, 2017

K seems to have pulled something in her shoulder and is slightly off so she’s on rest. If I had to guess it is a product of muddy fields and her self appointed job of keeping Wild Heart ‘in line’. Sometimes her bucking and galloping and sliding are less then graceful. 

She came in sound from our muddy ride so she could have pulled something there and it didn’t present till the next day- or it could be a combination… who knows!?

Since we did get a good training ride in Thursday and some cold rain is coming in – a short break isn’t so hard to accept.

I have been watching her saddle fit and some winter rough hairs and after the Thursday ride went back over her topline to check for any sensitivity and she is 100% good! I went back to try the Phoenix Rising pad instead of my toklat and I believe it helped. It is the pad made to work with the saddle and it seemed to clear up any rough spots the coolback was giving me. 

Trial and error. 

Also the scoot boots came in and they are a size too small so I’m in the process of exchanging them too. Any ride I do get in will still be on the vet wrap and duct tape program for now. 

So what about the good news?

Wild Heart:

Great progress with her!

We have been working her with saddle, and now we’ve added the bit – our choice with all my horses is the Phoenix Rising (was Imus) comfort bit. They are most known for a ‘gaiting’ curb bit (shown above) which is the bit my MFT (Faygo) rides in. With Khaleesi and Heart we will use the ‘transition’ bit that works off direct pressure- similar somewhat to a snaffle but doesn’t break in the middle with the most important feature for me being that it does not work off the concept of ‘pain avoidance’ but of clear communication. 

The bit we started with has D rings that we use (not the shank rings) while her transitions bit is on order. 

I can’t say enough about how good these bits are and if you’re interested in learning more- about the bits they sell and information about how bits work check out Phoenix Rising

With the ease she took the bit we moved to some ground driving with her to ensure we have some steering before getting on. 

At first the long lines around her rear made her nervous and we got a few panic bucks but she is smart and level headed and after letting her realize she was ok she did great for both me and Susan. 

Now hopefully she will also be less worried to things around her legs. This can happen out in the world!

She’s been ponied a few times with no trouble. 

Things were going well, then Susan had a day to work that I was tied up and she was left to her own devices. 

Or maybe I was out of the way 🙂

She took a suggestion I gave and hand walked Heart on the trail for a couple miles. Heart isn’t ready to take a solo rider away from the herd yet (or we are not comfortable with that step yet)  but if we want to take her on an intro ride in early March she’s going to need to be ‘ok’ with Susan taking her solo- separate from her buddies. 

This is our creative solution to getting their relationship moving even if the riding isn’t there yet. Starting on the ground. 

Then Susan worked her in the arena and rode her as well. 

Next step the following week was another arena ride that went so well we went right into her first trail ride since coming home to live with us. 

She was perfect! We left lame Khaleesi in an outdoor stall and took Faygo and Heart for a few miles loop in the woods. It was a nice first ride and Heart walked calmly from start to finish. 

I’ve been really pleased with heart’s progress and Susan has been doing great work together with her. In the year she has come to ride with me Susan has really upped her game and it’s fun to have someone to ride with and work together with that has the same goals of horse relationship and doing things with the horse in mind every step of the way. 

We have been helping each other hone our ability to observe and be always closer 100% leader which is what our horses want from us in order for them to give 100% to us in effort. It takes some focus and effort but is so worth it. 

I’ve been pleasantly encouraged by the process with Wild Heart all around. Between her great mustang genetics, solid mind and her good start with Jennifer it’s been even better so far than I’d hoped. I’ve heard what great horses these mustangs are, but seeing is believing as I watch her from session to session. 

It is like learning = survival in her; not that she’s in fear, but every step we take together she picks up amazingly fast and is ready for the next level. Learning is important for survival in the wild.

Looking back ten weeks ago – the night she springloaded off the trailer in the dark, head high and worried about a new environment I wasn’t sure I’d get her into her stall without being trampled… I went home, sat on my couch alone and thought: I certainly hope I know what I’m doing!

So it is gratifying and relieving to see things going so well. Susan and I have both agreed to keep the process slow and only do what we feel confident will be successful. 

Never put any goals ahead of this horse. Or any of our horses. 

I am glad to say that I don’t regret this choice for a second though when you’re deciding what to do at the time it’s hard to know if what you hope and believe will be… will actually be. 

We will keep her moving along the trail and hopefully Susan will move from hand walking to a solo ride in the next month. 
If we can just get her on the trailer we’ll be in good shape to take her to Blackwater in March (Camping and intro ride). 

We’re on that too!

Published by JaimeHope

Violin teacher and endurance rider living in a rural mountain county - one of the least population dense and without a single stoplight.

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