We finally got a reprieve from two weeks of rain on Saturday but unfortunately, I had to split and stack wood with Rick (we were out there working non-stop for 7 hours) so, no sustained horse time then. I say unfortunately because I'd rather be doing anything with horses but truly, I enjoyed our work and what a workout! LOL Sunday looked nice but ended up being drizzly and very windy (cold too). (Please note: I always do a little of this or that with the horses, anytime I am with them, PNH is integrated into my life as a whole.) Anyhow, I got lucky yesterday. I left work early, skipped the gym, and went straight home to play with Lola. (The only other times I have been able to play with her were once in the field for 5 minutes, for about 10 minutes in the rain waiting for the vet, and in the barn doing some of the Parelli 10-minute Tips stuff.) The weather was cold but not rainy, the footing was much better too. I whistled to her and the boys who were out in the big field and they all came running to me (they cannot see me until they get to the alley but heard me and stopped eating to gallop to my location), she even pushed her way to me (a first). She has been checking in with me on occasion but this pushiness was a first and to me a good sign. I haltered her and took her away from them over to our round pen. I decided we'd just start with the basic level 1, 7 games and see what we had. She has never been in the round pen and on our way there, she was leery of things but willing to walk there. I let her check stuff out (a tent, a boat, two trucks) and she seemed to appreciate it. Once at the round pen, I just started with the friendly game, the boys decided to tear back out in the field like lunatics but Lola was interested in me, not them (another good thing). She looked but came back to me. We played the games and figured out where things needed improvement. I then played with the obstacles with her (cones, barrels, tarp). We eventually did some liberty stuff and at one point, she was tearing around like a nut, squealing and bucking, and seemed to be having fun (our round pen is nothing fancy, it is literally plastic push-in posts and one string of white tape (not electrified), she did not try to escape at all (which means the amount of pressure on her was just fine). The footing is sand, it is still working in so too deep in spots but for what we were doing, ground play, just fine. I also played the stick to me at the walk and she did that quite well. (She was getting some treats throughout too so she definitely was looking for food too.) There were a few times she had a hard time looking at me but did eventually (a confidence issue). I really want to chart her horsenality, she is different from the boys and their two horsenalities. There are a lot of strange sounds and smells I think that she still is learning, we live in the woods with the wildlife. After the round pen, I walked her over to our play ground and the "horse" henge (huge boulders) for some play time (weave pattern and figure eight) and grazing time. She also was learning about our car wash obstacle (scary at first but eventually she played with it and walked calmly through), we mosied a bit working on OK eat, OK let's walk, then off to the huge tires for some squeeze and yo-yo, the mailbox, serpentine with cones, and then to another turnout area where I have log jumps. She walked over them and around, etc. This time, the boys were with us but she was now paying attention to me, not them. I also sent them away showing her I was there to protect her. Overall, she shows some opposition reflex but is willing to try. She is testing my leadership and testing the whole , "you can't make me" theory at times. Our playtime was about 90 minutes long and ended on a very good note (me feeding her dinner). I am really looking forward to more time with her.
However, in the barn, at liberty, with the boys, and food, she is a different horse and is defensive--although getting better. She is becoming more confident as I am teaching her that I run the herd, period. I am very used to doing everything with the boys, especially at feeding time and that is something I guess she needs to figure out, that it is OK to let her guard down and that I will protect her and that I am the leader. Our interactions have been mostly at this time which is when the red flag went up for me, I was concerned about her until now, until I had real play time with her, one-on-one. I see now, this is situational (and I jumped to a conclusion too soon, oops, my mistake) but I also think that, she has lost confidence and needs it back in all areas of her life and interactions (she was shuffled around a bit over the last year or so).
Anyhow, I think all is well at the farm. I want to get to know her better before I ride her. I think she needs to trust me as a leader before we do any riding as you know, leadership is a whole new ball game when mounted.
Finally, I've rented the private use of a local indoor arena for the winter so, we should really make progress then. I can haul there (10 minutes) and will start by renting 2 hours every Sunday beginning in November (and can add from there if I want). I need to get there for a tour to be sure it is ok but, the owner hosts clinics of a variety of sorts so it cannot be too bad (I hope).