My genius mare just keeps getting smarter and smarter by the second, I swear!!
Immy has been lunging well, wearing her surcingle without issue, wearing polos and boots (on her front legs) with no problem, and is totally over her temporary fear of blankets - I can practically toss them onto her and buckle away without worry. (A few chilly nights and warm days will make you bombproof to blankets REALLY fast!) Since I am severely short on daylight hours now that it is winter, I am unfortunately very limited in what I can do with the girls once I get home from work. The new place we'll be moving to has a barn with lots of lights as well as a lighted outdoor and covered roundpen, but the barn they are currently at doesn't have any lights at all. Once the sun goes down, I am royally screwed until morning - and by the time the morning light comes, I am already on my way to work. Such is temporary life, but we make it work as best we can.
Today I had just enough twilight to pull Immy out for a grooming, and decided I'd show her the saddle, just for an introduction. Much like when I put a surcingle on her for the first time, I had no intention of actually getting it on there and fastening it up, but she was so remarkably unphased that it just happened! She was a bit snorty at it when I first showed it to her, but once she had a cookie and gave it a look, she didn't care anymore. The one thing she does want to do when girthed up is take a slow step backward, but a quick whoa stops that problem right away. I don't think that will become an issue or stay for very long, so long as I continue to be careful about girthing. Even when I tightened the saddle up a bit after we had walked to the roundpen, she stood like a rock and let me.
I tied my stirrups up - I felt that swinging English stirrups were probably a terrible idea at this point - and let her loose in the roundpen to buck/leap/run around/do whatever she pleased. And... she did nothing. At all. She didn't care AT ALL!
Sorry for the dark dark dark dark pictures. Like I said, no lights!
If she continues to be a total peach like this, it won't be long before I am on her. She needs refining on the lunge, and she needs to start ground driving before I feel like I will have given her enough tools for go and whoa under saddle. She is still a bit too hot and reactive to be sat on just yet, but we're close!
Through the end of the month (while we are still stuck in the dark), I'd like to try and follow this schedule as best I can (light permitting):
Friday: Lunging/Groundwork/Ground driving
Saturday: Pony off of P
Sunday: Lunging/Groundwork/Ground driving/Desensitization
Yes, she'll start ponying off of P shortly! I don't have a western saddle anymore, as I sold my cruddy old rope saddle that I used to trail ride Gogo in (it rubbed P something horrible), so we'll see how that goes. Come to think of it, having a floppy old western saddle around would come in handy, as she is going to need a floppy heavy thing on her to bounce around for awhile before I ever get on. My English saddles are too lightweight and quiet!
We did do some desensitization in the dying light yesterday afternoon, and I can't tell you how totally easy it was for her. All we worked on was some Parelli Friendly Game-esque stuff, swinging ropes around and desensitizing her to the touch of the rope and to my hands all over her body. She didn't care at ALL - I had the dang rope swinging over her head and in huge circles around her, and she didn't so much as bat an eye. In fact, she cocked a foot! I rubbed her everywhere, pulled the rope around her legs, scratched her belly, rubbed her poll, and even touched her chi chis with my hand. She did NOT want her chi chis to be touched, but other than that she was rock steady. We'll work on touching the chi chis, we'll get there!