Sunday, February 1, 2015

Turning a Fail into a Win

We've had a pretty mild winter this year, drier, warmer, and sunnier than normal.  The weather was foggy in the morning all last week, but would burn off in the afternoons.  I rode McKenna on Thursday, starting inside because she had had a few days off.  She was good, a little excited but listened to me and offered no baby moments.  It was sunny and I hadn't worked her outside for a few weeks so outside we went.

I had heard the neighbor's lawn mower going, but McKenna has to grow up and deal with distractions at some point.  Right as we walked outside one boarder pulled up and then one of the 4H girls' dad drove up in his work rig, a big excavating truck.  The boarder tends to leaver her border collie in the cab of the truck when she's at the barn and McKenna's spooked pretty hard at him barking and running around the cab before.  Then the neighbors started their tractor and were grateing new gravel for their driveway. 

I decided to hand walk McKenna around the ring a few times till she stopped looking like a deer in the headlights then got on.  She was so tense and obviously distracted but she couldn't decide what was scariest. We did another two laps at the walk then I got off and told her she was good pony for not freaking out or trying to kill me.
She says "I wasn't scared". Don't believe her.
Friday I was able to get off work early and get out to the barn to ride in the sun again.  She seemed to be calm so instead of starting inside then going out, we just headed to the outdoor.  But again, right when we walked down the barn aisle one boarder's horse (the same one with the barking dog) ran out of its stall.  Luckily she was right there and caught the horse but her other horse, in the stall next to the escapee, started rearing and freaking out.  So of course McKenna freaked out and bye, bye cool and calm pony.

I threw her on the lunge and she spent  about five minutes being a complete spaz and running till she was blowing.  Once she came back to reality she was pretty lazy and just loped along so I stopped her, got on, and put her right to work.  Lots of circles, figure 8s, transitions to get her baby brain focused.  She was still tense, but didn't really pull anything naughty.  We finished by trotting over a little pile of poles and a small cavaletti.

I got lucky Saturday and other than my BO doing some spring cleaning of tack and blankets I had the barn to myself.  A quick lunge and I got on outside.  She was much more relaxed and willing so we did a quick walk-trot including the pole piles and cavaletti before cantering.  We did a few circles then added cantering the pile of poles.  This is only the second or third time cantering poles and every time before she would be strong/rushy/nervous/a baby.  But yesterday she was quiet and calm about it.  Even when I couldn't find a distance and sat there like a lump she just quietly figured it out and kept going.  My BO said she was looking great and I was able to convince her to video us with my phone.
She still needs some strengthening in the canter, especially going left, but that will come.  I'm just so happy we went from beyond freaked out baby on Thursday to quiet, calm pony on Saturday.


  1. glad she worked through it! all those distractions could turn out to be really educational and desensitizing for her lol! also - for whatever reason the videos didn't load so couldn't watch those. she's cute in the pic tho!