Kat - Two Weeks In
Kat has completed two weeks of ground training as of yesterday. Kat is relearning her ground manners to make it easier on her owner to handle her. Kat is now more aware of my body language instead of disregarding me and pushing ME around.
Retraining old habits and behaviors is not easy and it does not happen over night. Kat has been set in her ways for over a decade, so for her to just want to give up her union card and say, 'Ok Kristine, what ever you ask...' ya right. But do you blame her? She has not ever had expectations set of her before, so you cannot blame her or become mad at her. It is my job to teach her what the new expectations are and it will be up to the owner and handler to pay attention and keep firm on these new rules or else the horse will test the waters and each time something is not corrected, things start slipping back to old habits. I think we could all apply this thought towards other things rather than just horses and training! lol
Kat's big deal has been moving her feet when and where I ask. She is very pushy, not respectful of your space and loves to use her big shoulders to lean on you, step into you, or on you. She would rather stand around on top of you than anything else. When asked to lunge she would get very anxious and zip around you creating a mini tornado, really no control at all, and when she was done getting some energy out, she will stop and come back and stand on top of you again.
It has been very fun to work with her though. She is a pretty solid mare as far as brains are concerned. Not much spooks her, but she is still sensitive enough that you can get that awareness out of her. We are working on all the basics which includes both equal doses of sensitizing exercises and desensitizing exercises. You can guess which one is easy for her, yes, desensitizing. I may spend more time sensitizing her by backing her up, moving her shoulders or hindquarters, but it is always balanced with desensitizing in-between. This way I will not overwork that sensitive side and still keep that laid back attitude.
The last two weeks of our training together for this first month, we will continue to solidify these new expectations and keep adding on as Kat progresses. I am also incorporating several stretching exercises into each session to help with some shoulder and neck stiffness that she has. Kat is very obvious when we hit a tense/tight spot on her neck. She will stretch out and move into my hand pressure and almost every time she gets something to pop. Then it's followed by lots of snorting, blinking and yawning. She will most likely benefit from some body work now or before spring time riding and training starts.