Guess who I saw???

Phooooeeeeeebeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!! 

More cookies?

With her tentative “come home date” on the calendar J and I have been talking about the best way to transition her back into my care/riding. The first part of that is me having some lessons on her ideally once a week as I can make it up north. The other part is utilizing her fabulous working student who has been helping a lot with Phoebe help me. She happens to live about 30 minutes away from me, just is attending college near J’s barn so fingers crossed her semester doesn’t start until a few weeks after Phoebes is back. That way she can work with us while the delicate grey flower settles in and we get used to each other again.

So back to the good stuff! My dad drove up with me, per his insistence, to see his “grandhorse”. He loves to feign annoyance at any “horse talk” yet has never missed a single horse show and has both helped financially here and there as well as being genuinely interested in Phoebe’s progress. He’s a pretty good guy to have around.

Once we got there we had a little time to kill so we walked around the barn, found Phoebe, gave her lots of pets and a good curry (always a pigpen that one), and watched a bit of the lesson before me which was pretty fun. It was a nice looking chestnut gelding and they were working on two tempis and half passes. Always cool to see that close up and to hear the instruction along with it!

The father unit himself. Making normal sized horses look like ponies.

Since this was our first lesson of sorts, J tacked up Phoebe with me, all the while showing me where her things were and just sort of vomiting all kinds of info at me. Vomiting sounds like a bad thing, I suppose it was more along the “stream of consciousness” line. J talked about where her weaknesses and crookedness was (stifles and left shoulder that’s lower then the right) but most of it is stuff we already knew, just nice to have it described in person when I can look at Phoebe’s body as J points out different things.

 

Then we moved on to lunging. Only moments after J told me that Phoebe really seems to feel most relaxed in a routine when Phoebe had a leaping moment on the lunge. It was a different time of day then she is normally worked, and a horse was in his stall that was visible from the arena when he is usually turned out. That was just NOT OK. J explained to me that she has found just pulling her in to a complete halt and waiting for Phoebe to take a big breath and drop her head seems to currently be the most effective way to kind of shut down any shenanigans and come back to relaxation. That is sort of the whole SOP right now. Phoebe doesn’t work unless she relaxes. If she gets super tense/worried/leaps at all then J comes to a halt, waits for that breath, then continues. So basically Phoebe is dictating how much they do each day based on how she mentally feels. If she is working and “with” J then they push it a little. If she is up and worried then they scale it back and work on something that can be ended on a good note.

We were rapidly running out of time after J had ridden for a bit so I hopped on real quick and did a few laps at the walk and then a little at the trot. You guys. I sat on my horse. There was zero freakouts. She knows how to go on the bit. She knows the very very beginnings of lateral work!!!! Even though J said that it was one of Phoebe’s bad days, when Phoebe was home I would have considered it one of her average to good days! Progress!!! I have to celebrate the baby steps you know? Otherwise green babies and horse riding in general would be a terrible passion for me hahaha.

Oh man, I am super excited to get back up there this week and hopefully see her on a good day. My baby is starting to grow up you guys!!

4 thoughts on “Guess who I saw???

  1. aw yay! glad you got to see her and rider her! bummer it wasn’t one of her good days but that’s super promising that it was so much better than what a typical ‘bad’ day used to be! progress! also that’s an interesting idea about the whole bringing Phoebe back to stillness to wait for her to breathe and relax before resuming work. i can imagine some horses for whom that wouldn’t work (ie the ones who would associate their negative behavior with then being asked to take a break – something typically reserved for rewards) but they’re all so different!

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    • Yeah for sure! The whole concept of wait and chill out then go back to work was not one I’ve personally encountered before and certainly would NOT be applicable to all horses. I think one of the reasons it’s working for Phoebe right now is because she really does want to work and she does want to do the right thing, so if giving her a moment to get it together before moving on sort of allows her to learn that work isn’t punishing and that she can kind of independently relax on her own instills confidence then yeah I’m all for it. I’m sure everything will just keep changing though!

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