I am SO glad February is over! It did NOT go according to plan at all! Hopefully spring is coming, and we can finally get the ball rolling with Immy's saddle work. Winter is the worst time to try and start a young horse, especially with no arena.
1) Take her to the AquaTread once a week
Fail! She only went once during the entire month. Granted, I made that choice on my own, due to the fact that the work farm has been full to the brim, and we had no open paddocks to keep her in during the day. The only other option was to keep her stalled in the barn, totally alone, all day long. Not gonna fly! I plan to redo this goal this month... hopefully a paddock or two will stay open so she can be left outside all day with companions next to her.
2) Trailer out to other places once a week, whenever possible (even if just ponying, lunging, groundwork, etc.)
Again, fail. I honestly just didn't thinks she was ready, with what little work we got done. (Not to mention the fact that when it rains, my trailer gets bogged down in the mud if I don't preemptively pull it out. I have to plan ahead for these kinds of things!)
3) Ride 3 times a week (or 4!) and alternate with lower-key things
Total fail. With all the rain, mud, dentistry, and light days for the sake of her mental state, I only managed to squeeze a few rides in here and there. She needs consistency in her saddle training, and a few rides here and there just aren't doing anyone any favors. Hopefully, spring is arriving, and we will have better weather, warmer days, and less mud. I plan on making this a March goal.
4) Be going comfortably w-t-c on a loose contact by the end of the month
See above. I plan on redoing this one as a March goal as well!
5) Continue desensitization to bridling
We've actually come a long way with this one! I had to alter the actual bridle itself to just make it into a simple headstall with only one piece of leather, and totally nix the browband, noseband, and throatlatch for the time being, but it has REALLY helped. I still can't pull it over her head, but bridling is no longer a horrible ordeal for her. We still have a LONG way to go, but we'll get there!
6) Continue desensitization to clippers
We only worked on this once, when she was heavily sedated for the dentist. It woke her UP, and even through her drug-induced stupor, she managed to bolt across the stall and run herself into the wall. I got the running clippers to touch her shoulder and neck on her left side, but I left it at that, and didn't pursue it again. We have more important thing to work on besides this... we'll pick it up again in a few months. I'm not all that concerned about it... it's a low priority, compared to everything else!
7) First trail ride (while being ponied)
Success! It wasn't terribly great, seeing as all she wanted to do was bulldoze the pony horse over and go charging ahead, but she kept it together for a lap around the field. She's not ready for another one just yet, I don't think, but we might try again this month!
8) Standing quietly tied out
Success! She has gotten much quieter over the month. It helps if she has other friends around, and she does tend to get fussy if P is loose and she isn't, but she had stood solidly and quietly while tied in various places like a good girl, and I'm happy with it.
Basically, March's goals are a total redo of all the goals we never got to complete in February.
1) Pool once a week (and Eurociser - some weeks will be twice a week)
2) Ride 3 times a week (4, some weeks)
3) Being going comfortable W-T-C by the end of the month on a light contact
4) Continue desensitization with bridle, head - do massages with daily groomings
5) Second craniosacral appointment
6) Set up a daily/weekly/monthly calendar ahead of time, and stay with! (I always do this, but last month I hardly stuck with anything I had pre-planned!)
I think that's a good place to start, don't you?
Our best-case scenario monthly plan goes like this:
Monday: Lunge/Groundwork, or Off
Wednesday: Pool (with possible Eurociser)
Saturday: Ride, or Pool/Eurociser (alternate ever other week)
That gives us 3 or 4 days of riding, interspersed with less complicated things. Obviously, we won't be able to totally follow it to a T - some days she will need more mental down time, some days will be wash-outs due to weather, etc. - but I have something to shoot for.
As per this schedule, Friday was supposed to be her off day, and Saturday was a swim/Eurociser day, but I decided to add some extras in on both days. Instead of having a day off yesterday (since she already had Thursday off), I lunged her in sidereins. She was very good to the left, and pretty stiff and resistant through her neck to the right, much moreso than usual. If I had to take a guess, I would say that her traveling crooked in the pool (while she tries to look at her friends in the washbay) might have caused that. She is learning to travel straighter, and will get straighter and stronger on both sides of her body the more she goes in it, so this should be a shortlived issue.
We had a few momentary issues when Rue decided to bust up into our space. I closed the gate behind us when we went into work, but didn't bother to latch it, seeing as the boys always leave us alone. Apparently not that day, though... I had to stop and kick him out!
(No Rues or Immys were harmed in the making of this blogpost. They love each other, so the worst thing that happened was that Immy stopped to snuggle.)
I'll have more updates shortly on the pool and riding, but for now, I need some SLEEP!