Willow’s little pea brain was officially blown last night. It was a little bit hysterical, from a Mom point of view.
The stars actually aligned last night, and off I bundled to the barn. (Can we just take a moment to say how kind of cruddy it is to leave your hubby and baby snuggled on the couch to go into the freezing cold to wrestle with an overly large toddler who has four legs and hates you? Mmkay?)
I was greeted with the typical snake face, but ignored her and she actually stood still so I could trim her tail/fetlocks/etc. It’s funny how quickly those ears perk up when she hears the crinkle of the carrot bag. Not such a wenchy anymore are you, Will? We suited up, and off we went.
I always lunge her in the winter before I get on, it helps her warm up, establishes who is the boss (over and over and over), and I can get an idea of the kind of
crazy horse that I’m going to be swinging onto. Some may call me a chicken, I call me wise beyond my years (and also, the ground is frozen in the winter and it hurts to fall off).
She had a few moments of high headed snorty dragon moments, but relaxed pretty quickly and trucked along with her head down. I spun her once in the other direction and called it good.
She was (not surprisingly) *terrified* of the end of the arena that the mounting block was on, but we had only one episode of “Lets fly Mommy like a kite all the way to the other end of the arena, juuuuuust in case we’re in any danger of the boogeyman I know doesn’t live under the mounting block.” Seriously y’all, I had no clue that I could get that much air.
After she got over her drama llama episode and I swung on, it was apparent that today’s lesson would be to just walk. Willow is much happier rolling along, trotting as fast as ever she can with her head stuck straight up in the air. Me, not so much. The first thing she wants to do is trot, trot, trot. I created that monster by getting after her when she decided that all she wanted to do was stand still and buck around in a circle.
We walked down the long side, made the turn, and then all the sudden I didn’t have a horse in front of me. She was happily playing (my fellow horse people know those big rolly happy bucks) underneath me. After another quick thank you to the ponies of my past, and a fit of the giggles, I pulled her head up and just made her stand. Like, still. Her little mind was totally blown. I think I could see the smoke rolling out of her ears.
We walked on a circle, spiraling in then out until we were using the whole arena, then back in again. It was walk two strides, jig eight, walk one, buck four, for about ten minutes. That’s fine, get the tickles out of your feet horse. I just sat and kept asking her to just walk. Once she realized that nothing was going to get her out of it she plugged along like a reasonable creature.
I set my hands a little bit higher so that she couldn’t yank downwards to buck (she was ever so please, I tell you!) and then let her trot a bit. Again, spiraling in and out to keep her engaged and focused. We had a few really lovely extensions that in no way did I ask for, and one piaffe that was glorious but again, not quite what I was going for. So back down we transitioned to just walking. She stuck her head up in the air and got a bit pacey so we slowed it down even more. One. Two. Threeeeeeee. Four. (Cue more smoke). It was harder for her than asking her to trot forward into my hand. It was kind of funny, really.
Once she got that down we did a whoa and a stand while Mom scritches all over and she did lots of huffing and puffing. Then promptly took advantage of the loose rein to leap in the air, do a 180, and stare at the cat. Thank the powers that be that I have a sticky seat! So back to work for us. I was really hoping that we could have been done. More walk work, this time it included some awesome lateral work away from the cat. Gotta love my horse. She settled back down after another few minutes and we did another whoa/scritches. She didn’t try to kill me this time.
I dismounted and, of course, we had to go over and investigate the cat. After 10 minutes of puffing and blowing at him, she chilled out and stopped trying to run backwards.
She did lots of snake faces while I was untacking her, but warmed up for a snuggle when I busted out her end of the day candy cane. Food whore.