Tuesday, 28 August 2012

This Time Last Year

I'm thinking it's time to do a comparison of what's changed over the past year. Since last September was the beginning of Ginger's training, this is the appropriate time of year for an annual update.

I moved to the prairies in April 2011. It took me quite some time to find an appropriate barn where I felt safe bringing Lainey and Ginger. I had made arrangements to see Ginger in April, but a storm of conflicting events and vehicle trouble happened and I was unable to even meet Ginger prior to Lainey's prescheduled shipping date in June. The seller had sent me lots of video...the vet had given her the all clear...and the hauler offered to bring her with Lainey for half price. So I took a giant gamble and had the hauler pick her up and bring her out with Lainey. After obsessing over the sale ad and being on contact with the seller for well over a year, to say I was a bit anxious about Ginger's arrival would have been an understatement.

When the horses arrived, they were hungry and thirsty, and most of all tired. They had also declared themselves best friends for life. We put them in a shared paddock and I let them be and gave them a week to settle in. Lainey, of course, settled in immediately. Ginger, however, was quite fearful of everyone - horses and humans. She was difficult to catch and very reactive. So, for the rest of the summer, we took things very slowly. She had to learn to trust me to pick her feet, (not to mention behave for the farrier), how to lead politely, to let me brush/touch her everywhere. She had quite a bit to learn from Lainey's bootcamp as well. Once we got all that under our belts, she still had issues with 'strangers' i.e. anyone but the little kids on the farm, myself, and the barn owner. Blanketing, tacking up, lunging (mostly the lunge whip) were all very time consuming things to have her accept quietly. I know form the sellers videos she had been handled at least minimally, but I suspect she was primarily out in a pasture with the other mares and a round bale, with the odd trip in for the farrier. She's naturally quite reactive and anxious, so I imagine the move to a new barn with a new owner was the primary reason she appeared so wild.

I got to the point where I finally had my first couple of rides on her, then winter and bad driving conditions arrived. Thankfully, a trainer had moved into the barn and had time to put a few rides on Ginger for a month. At the time, Ginger was super well behaved and very quiet. I was wondering how she could be so anxious on the ground, but so quiet under saddle! I continued on, riding her a few times a week, mostly slow and steady and getting her to accept and move off my leg. The snow and winter weather had come, so I was trapped in the indoor and didn't get to ride her outside at all. It was starting to be difficult to find things to keep Ginger occupied.
Then, a couple of weeks before Christmas, Mr G and I hit a deer on the highway on our way home from the barn. Sadly, my almost new truck sustained major damage and was in the repair shop until mid February. Since the barn was a good 40 miles each way, and my insurance only covered a couple of weeks of rentals, I was unable to see the horses as much as I had been used to. I also had a two week vacation to Mexico at the end of February. So Ginger was officially on vacation for about 3 months this past winter, and ready for a job.
Things at that barn ended up not really working out, barn drama we don't need to discuss here. It was time to move on in a more positive direction and get Ginger going again. I moved the horses in March to a place that is ridiculously far away, but came highly recommended. Ginger got put into a regular training schedule and I started her blog!

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