Today was one of those days where I look at Gracie and question whether she’s a year old, or ten years old. I swear, she is the most relaxed yearling I’ve ever encountered.
I came home from work today and immediately started moving brushes over to the wash stall. In my back-and-forth from the garage (some day I’ll get the tack shed situated), Gracie spotted me and walked over to greet me at the fence. Always so happy, that one. She followed me over to the gate and graciously waited for me to put her halter on. Normally, she pulls a bit of an attitude when we’re walking through the yard – probably due to the thick, green grass I don’t let her eat. But today, she was completely focused on me and walked with me right up to the cross ties.
As a side note- I feel like a mean mom sometimes when I don’t let her have a bite of grass after she’s been so well behaved, but really I’d rather her not know it’s an option. Anyone who has had a horse suddenly stop to munch away can understand, I’m sure.
Anyway, she spun right around in the tight wash stall area and pretty much instantly had the “time to sleep” look about her. I didn’t even put the ties on for the first five minutes – she just stood there, letting me brush her. I’d go and grab a new brush and she’s slightly perk her ears up, watching me. I love how much I can trust her at such a young age.
I clipped the cross ties on before finishing up brushing her, then moved on to the polo wraps. Today was the second time I’ve put them on her and she was really very well behaved. I got the first one halfway on before she even realized, and when she did, she just took a couple steps and lifted her leg a few times. Not nearly as bad as some horses that are much older and more experienced.
I did have an uh-oh moment, though, when I was putting the second wrap on. She had slowly backed up without me noticing, and was leaning back quite a bit. As soon as I noticed, I stood up and put forward pressure on the cross ties. She gave me a look like, oh, right, sorry. I think she was thinking about trying to break free, but really didn’t put any effort in. At all.
She let me finish wrapping her second polo wrap, and we walked off to the arena. This is actually the first time I’ve had her walk around with anything on her legs, but she didn’t even react. She acted like nothing was different.
After confirming that polo wraps are super boring to Gracie, I had her stop and wait while I clipped her lunge line on and collected it. Today would be the third day in a row of successful lunging, so I was feeling pretty confident.
I’ve noticed that Gracie requires me to flap around a bit to get her moving. Not exactly the prettiest or most professional plan, but hey, it works. I lift my arms up and ask her forward, and there she goes. Every time she looks like she’s trying to slow down or stop, I lift my arm and wave the whip around a bit to encourage her forward.
We’ll get to a point (hopefully) where I don’t look quite so ridiculous. This is new to me, so we’re both learning.
Gracie responds very well to “whoa”. I lower my hands and ask her to whoa, and she does. I tried to see if she would understand me tapping her shoulder to switch directions, but she didn’t, which is fine. I started her in the other direction and, although she found the lead line in her path to be very interesting, she kept up her circle until I asked her to stop.
And here’s the video:
After the video ends, I asked her to jog in hand next to me for a few steps. We also worked on stopping, backing, and then her natural ability to square up.
To end this wonderful evening, Gracie and I went back to the cross ties and removed the polo wraps. She stood perfectly still, and walked calmly with me back to her field. She stood by me after removing her halter, until I gave her the cue that it was okay to leave.
Did I mention this was all right before dinner?
Yeah, all of her friends were waiting along the fence for dinner while I had her on the cross ties. Yet, she didn’t seem bothered.
Gracie had such a relaxed, easy going temper through this whole evening. She was calm, but focused; sweet, but respectful.
I have so much love for this bright little filly. She picks up on things so easily, and really loves human interaction. She loves to be groomed and played with. Who am I to say no to this cute face?
Hopefully we keep up these successful days! I’m very proud of my Gracie!