Sunday, March 15, 2015

Cows and Hackamores

So, in this post we'll be talking about what River did the last two days.  Even while recuperating from the surgery she underwent this last Friday, she is a busy girl.  We are following the good doctor's orders of keeping her quiet for 10 - 14 days, but that doesn't mean she can't get out for some fun, and have her mind stimulated, right?

Yesterday Jessi got on her  young mare Sombra, who, if you remember from a post a week ago, is very green  herself.  Sombra ponied River like a champ - it was a good training exercise for the both of them.  I like the big star on both of their heads.  They even went outside the arena for a little bit - both relaxed as can be.


Later, it was time for River's second adventure of the day - going to meet the neighbor's cows.  I had no idea whether she's ever even seen a cow.  Could be that she lived with them in her former life, but, who knows?  Before we could  wander down to the back of the property where the cows are, Asston Martin and Rose Royce wanted to meet River.  They had met when River first arrived here three weeks ago (wow, it almost feels like she's always been here!), but there was a fence between them.  It was a quick meet and greet - everyone wanted to be friends.

We could see the cows grazing in the distance in the pasture, so Dean and River waited patiently for the inevitable...the cows can't seem to help coming up to the fence to see what's going on. 

River couldn't have cared less about the cows!  It's so good to know this about her, because working with cows could possibly be something she does in her future life, so we at least know she's not afraid of them.  The cows themselves were more interested in Dory.  Actually both the cows and River were more interested in Dory.

After meeting the cows, we came back up to the barn where Asston and Rose were waiting for their treats, so carrots were  handed out all around, and everyone was put to bed.

Jessi and I have been talking about it, and we'd like to start River in a hackamore.  She will learn to carry a bit as well, but we both really like hackamores.  Today River wore one for the first time, and learned how to give to the slightest pressure on her nose.  The first thing was to get it on her - two to three weeks ago this would have been a real trial.  Today, it was fine.  (We will be working with her to put her head down a little better so we don't have to do all the reaching to  get it over her ears.)

She looks so grown up with "real" clothes on!

Jessi started out by working her from the near side, her comfortable side, to get her to bend around with slight pressure.  No problem.  Next was to reach up and turn her to the right from the left side. This imitates a rider being in the saddle and using a rein on each side of her neck.  It also gets her used to hands being up behind her on each side, and to the reins touching her neck and shoulders.  Then she worked River from her less comfortable off side, turning her to the left and to the right.      

River gets a lot of rewards in the form of hugs, scratches and "Good girls", all of which she eats up.

River got more and more flexible, with a lighter and lighter touch - just how we want her to be when we eventually get on her.  She's got a fabulously light and sensitive response to things when she finally really understands what it is you want.

 Jessi did a little lunging to the right in the stall - River is getting more comfortable with this.  And, of course, more loving!  This young horse is going to be a wonderful mount in the not too distant future, I'm sure of that!

A little aside - the raccoons are wreaking havoc in my office/tack room!  We keep peppermints on the desk for horses and people - and I guess for raccoons as well now!  The little stinkers take them out of the wrappers, eat them up, and turn everything into a surgery, sticky mess!  Notice their incriminating footprints on my calendar book.  I'd love to have a night time camera on them to see how much fun they have!

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