Saturday, I rode up to the farm a little in advance of my lesson time. Mac, (Ginger's Morgan boyfriend) was in the same class so I had a riding buddy, yay! After giving the clinician a quick recap of Bridget's experience to date, he suggested I lead her through the obstacles the first time and then go from there. She proceeded to amaze everyone by going through the spooky tarps, over the bridges, up the bank, and even standing on the teeter-totter. (pics to follow , hopefully). Clinician guy was like "Why did you even bring her to this - she's awesome. That's a good horse!" So, we were all pretty happy with little Miss Bridget and she gained a lot of admirers. I stayed after our session to watch some riding lessons and Bridget was perfect about waiting in her little pen and camping out with me. We stayed for a potluck dinner and a drink, then headed home after a long and super fun day.
|Day 1, teaching Bridget to put her feet where asked|
|In case you wondered how a very tall man looks on my pony. He got on for 5 minutes at the end to check steering and get a better idea of where we're at (and looked ridiculous, so of course I have to share ;)|
|He also taught her to side pass in about 2 minutes. I want some of that cowboy magic!|
Today, I think we all had some pretty high expectations for Bridget. But, once you start thinking like that, you all know how it's destined to go, right ? :) Pony woke up this morning and was over the whole working for a living thing. As the clinician said, the first day she was interested and having fun so there was no real challenge there for her. So today, she was bored and her whole attitude about it all was "Why?" and "Make me!" Of course, once you pick that fight, you have to follow through and I spent the better part of an hour in various stages of getting the pony across the bridge she went across twice the day before. So funny. Clinician said that's pretty common with really confident, bold horses...there's no reward to them for completing the obstacles because the obstacles themselves aren't even on their radar as something to be concerned about...so they start looking for other things to occupy themselves, in this case checking to make sure I really am in charge of the situation. The actual getting her across the bridge was just all the non exciting horse training stuff we've all dealt with - just a ton of patience, making her work, letting her try out her options, and rewarding her for even the slightest inclination to do what you asking. I won't lie, there was a whole lot of pony attitude on display and she was pretty naughty. In between the antics, I got a lot of opportunities to remind her about moving off my leg and also got in some pretty nice bend in her trot circles while we put her to work. She's got a lot of self preservation so even during the worst of it, she never felt dangerous, if you know what I mean - I didn't ever feel concerned or overly worried about her.
Clinician guy called it when he said it was never about the bridge, since as soon as I got her over she quite happily went around and did everything asked of her for the rest of our lesson. Obviously I kept it pretty easy after that since pony brain was still processing such a dramatic change of events. Who would have guessed her rider gets to tell her where those feet go? ;)
All in all, a good clinic. I'm actually glad I brought her for both days, since I saw a hint of attitude towards the end of the first day and think it would have just been a matter of time before we had to have a discussion about the ways of the world. I'm glad I had someone there to help me through it! Clinician himself was great. I don't think he was teaching anything that isn't just common sense, but he's very calm and quiet and super positive about things, which I noticed was wonderful for the greener riders, and definitely a good thing for green horses. Just watching some of the other classes gave me lots of things to think over in regards to Ginger, which might be a subject for another post.
I don't think I'll do another extreme trail class, since she seriously owned that course and I do respect that she got a little bored by the whole thing. I may sign up next time for the riding lesson part, since he seemed good with the basics, which is obviously where we're at.
Overall, Ms Bridget gets a gold star from me this weekend - I couldn't be happier with her, particularly as she escorted a couple of nervous (older) horses around the place and served as the "steady eddie"!