This weekend was full of mostly realized promise. I wanted to ride, check; Clip the beastly mongrel, check; Even jump the squirrely mongrel, check!
I lunged again yesterday, which was quite fun for Ms. Jou jou especially because she got to barrel around with her buddy Jack. Of course, after about 10 mintues of that she came up all in a lather, I'm talking rivulets of sweat between her eyes, down her nose, off her pointy shoulders, etc. So today I decided it was time for a clip. I did just a bare neck/most of shoulders clip and left her hind end all fluffy because both she and I were getting tired of dealing with the hair flying everywhere. S was kind enough to let me borrow her clippers, which tend to leave the coat quite long, but took off enough for Bijou to feel more comfortable for her lunge today.
She was feeling so comfortable in fact that I think she wanted to make today a challenge. She gets the whole go-around-in-a-circle thing, but every once and a while when I have to tug on her to get her to stay in a round circle she all of a sudden turns in and tries to flip the other way. Unacceptable. So I end up having to have this huge argument with her. She still got all sweaty, I popped a saddle on her (almost forgot the stirrups) and just rode around to cool her off, well except for the jumping part.
I had to poke and prod her to get her away from the other two spectating horses, and when she realized that something solid was coming her way (the red and white striped candy cane x-rail) she just wasn't having any of it, so I stopped her, and just walked her over it in the other direction. For some reason this was still very exciting, and we ended up doing a walk/canter transition over the fence and cantering/bucking around half the arena after the fence. That was enough for me, I just wanted to get her thinking about these things.
I am still at a loss on how to really get her to show some serious progress, or I guess the issue is really more about the pace. I have a hard time knowing if she's at the point where I should be just lunging her with tack/side reins, or if I should be riding her, or if I should be doing full sets of W/T/C every day, or if I should be taking her over our little 2' coops just for the heck of it. I don't know where the boundary lies between babying her and pushing her. I feel like if I take it slow I won't ever really know when she's ready to go from one to the next, and I don't like doing things sequentially, I like being able to switch it up a bit and master more things slower? I dunno.
With that in mind, I am going to start putting in a little more focus on her now that I feel like she's taking in the necessary calories to deal with a significant workload. Plan is as follows:
Since I can't get out to the barn from Wednesday-Friday my 'week' will start on Saturday
Saturday: Turn out in the arena, work on transitions, voice cues, have her follow me over obstacles. If she starts to mellow out, long lunge sessions on these days, lots of trot work, maybe adding in side reins
Sunday: Lunge to warm up, Ride with lots of stretches, neck bending exercises, free walking, long and low, over poles, between standards (which means I WILL take down jumps even if it's a pain) do some walk/trot pole courses. Work on slowing down and controlling the canter. Lots of transitions using my seat. Attempts at lateral work.
Monday: Work on an under saddle issue that was frustrating/puzzling/difficult from Sunday or do more transitions, bending, circles.
Tuesday: Do at least 1 trust building exercise, desensitize to something, whatever. I'll have to keep thinking up new things for this, baggies, balloons (I could even POP them!), tarps, buckets, etc. Go down the road away from the other horses and graze or some other trick I hope to find to get a horse to give up their buddy-sourness. Re-do tail with MTG and tail bag. I'll need to buy some shampoo.
Goals: stick to the program!