Last night I took Cady for a hack for the first time in a couple of weeks after her spot of mild lameness.
We had company, another livery on a slightly younger but level-headed mare.
At first it was a bit dramatic. We set off and with Rodney galloping along the fence line next to us and Cady getting pretty overwhelmed as she was lead horse.
I am less delicate about these matters after hard-learned experience. She gets lots of encouragement but she has to go forward as when she plants it's dangerous. When she goes forward there's lots and lots of praise. I did lead her for one small part of the ride early on as there's a gateway she finds very spooky but after that we just kept going and did several large laps of the farm in a fashion. There was some ginger tip-toeing, a bit of mad leaping and one of her trademark spooks where she abruptly jolts and shivers from top to toe.
I hope as we progress it will all look and feel a lot more elegant but at the moment it's a question of prioritising. She's a naturally very leery (heard this expression recently, love it - means eyes-on-stalks) horse with a high sense of self-preservation. If she were in the wild NONE of her herd would get eaten by predators! She has all the qualities that have helped horses survive over millions of years.
In addition, I am quite a high energy person so together we can be like a Catherine-wheel...
This makes hacking pretty interesting! In four years she's never been eaten by a lion but she's still ready for the eventuality that one might pop out of the hawthorn hedge. So I was really pleased with her last night. She settled right down, led the vast majority of the way and after a bumpy start, obliged in my reguests for forward.
I felt much more confident and clear in what I was asking for and able to reward the right behaviour which I think shows a little bit of progress on my part. I also tried my damdest to keep breathing, stay centred and offer her a gently but consistent contact.
Rodney actually stomped over to see me last night instead of me having to sidle up to him. I just brought him in for a brush and a few carrot stretches. He seems quite happy which makes me happy :)
Happy horsing everyone x