Monday, April 26, 2010

Following the leader!

Is what we played on Friday.

It all started with the trip to the trailer to tack up. We got to the last gate (after an arduous journey out through two rows of gopher-hole-ridden pasture) and all of a sudden all the slack goes out of my rope. I look back to find a Jou Jou with her head up in Giraffe imitation, nostrils flared and ears pricked so far forward that they point inward (which I find ADORABLE). Turns out she was oogling the newly constructed x-country fences in our mock course. The nearest one was a few barrels turned over that were new and scary.

I've been worried that her reactive nature will make it hard to go somewhere new and get her over a set of fences that she's never seen before, so I took this opportunity to test her. I got her to walk up to the barrels, let her realize they were just going to stand there, and then I hopped over them, and tugged along for her to follow me. She wasn't super game at first, but after another tug or two she came leaping over them after me. We went around the whole field playing follow the leader like this. She jumped almost everything both directions as long as I was paying attention and not letting her duck out.

Then I tried to 'lunge' her over things. This was really hard for a few reasons:

1) I was on the end of a 10 ft lead, so when she did jump it was hard to reward her by not pulling on her, although I did get the hang of it.
2) We'd never done this before
3) She's not so sure about what the concept of a circle looks like sometimes, even when there's nothing in her way.

But in the end I got her to jump the biggest scariest black irrigation pipe twice in a row. We were both sweaty from running around the field, so I walked her around and made up her grain.

All in all a fun day, and I hope with many more of these experiences I'll start to gain some real trust and respect that I'm not going to put her in a situation where she'll get eaten.

Goals: as always, ride more. We'll see with the dang on again off again rain

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