Today Immy had a full set of tack on (minus reins) for her lunging session!! She looks super sexy in her getup if you ask me - like a proper event horse in the making!
It's hard to tell from the pictures, but she has a gorgeous 4-beat walk. And that trot is a knock-out too! Also notice the back boots - she wore them for the first time and didn't care!
I suppose we can update this list again:
Stuff Imogen Knows How To Do:
- Pick up all four feet & stand on the hoof stand for trims
- Shots & deworming (with only minimal fuss)
- Stand for sprays
- Stand for grooming & touching of all parts, ears & legs & belly included
- Baths (including water on her face)
- Catch in the field
- Lunging loose & on the lunge line
- Bridle (wearing only)
- Boots & polos
Stuff Imogen Doesn't Know How To Do:
- Everything else
Her lunge session went well today, but we are trouble-shooting with some small things that need to be addressed. Being a bit of a hot-head, the first thing Immy wants to do on the lunge is trot right off. I want her to walk nicely to warm up for a few minutes, but she isn't interested in that - she just wants to GO. I walked with her today for a few minutes in circles, slowly letting her out onto a longer line, giving her the command to trot once I had her all the way out there. That worked pretty well, but it needs work! Her other problem is that when she gets confused, she slams on the brakes and turns to walk in towards me. Trying to send her back out confuses her further, and she always makes the move to turn around and go the other way. Once you get her sorted out, she wants to explode out and power trot away again, which goes back to her not wanting to walk quietly while starting out. Other than that, she is listening to her commands quite well, although she doesn't respond well to commands to slow down when she gets rushy. It's a constant matter of slow down, slow down, quiet down, slow down. And when you do slow down, don't hit the brakes and come in to the middle!
We also have the enormous issue of how terrible ear-shy she is. She is absolutely convinced that any time I touch her ears, especially her right ear, I am going to ear her. She lets me rub her poll and touch her ears now with relative peace, but putting tack on her head is a huge ordeal for her. Once it is on, she could care less about the halter or bridle being on her head, but getting it over her ears results in panic, bolting, and sideways thrashing. We have a LOT of work to do with desensitizing her to the process of ear handling, but this is something we'll work on side by side with training with tack on. Lots and lots and lots of friendly touches, as well as the command for putting her head down, are on their way. I expect this problem is going to take a very long time, seeing as it is severely ingrained in her mind. Poor, poor thing.
Readers with headshy horses, what did YOU do to help your critter overcome their fear?