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A Conversation with Lily August 2, 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — theridingwriter @ 5:23 pm
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Lily has scratches. That’s a blog post in itself, but for another day. The first day I tried to rub the scabs off she had a fit. I understand they hurt and I understand she is sensitive, but trying to kick me while holding her hind foot is unacceptable behavior. So Lily and I went outside and had a conversation. This was the first serious talk she and I had, and she was initially stunned. I started moving her one direction and then the other and she exploded because she didn’t like being told what to do. However, within only a few minutes she settled down and listened. Good enough for that day.

The following day I went back to work with her again. I figured she would either be like “get away from me you mean lady” or would listen nicely. I was very glad to see that she listened quite well and acted like a lady. She was relatively good for working with her scratches, and she continues to be. She doesn’t like it, but she has not tried to kick me again.

I have since worked with her several more times and she is spot on. Lily is quite smart and willing to work as long as she has her thinking brain on and not her flight brain. (She did break her lead rope spooking at someone wearing a rain slicker. Sigh… We have not gotten to desensitizing with a rain slicker, but it’s on the list.) Today was the first time she had to work while something else was going on around her. A person was bringing horses in while I had her in the outdoor arena. At first she thought it was impossible to focus on me when other things were happening, but it took very little to convince her that she could. Then she tuned into me and didn’t look at the other horses again. I am very impressed with her brain and her willingness. Now only if she can learn to tone down the flight response…

 

Working with Lily July 14, 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — theridingwriter @ 8:17 pm
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Stylized Lily

Lily surveying her new digs at Windy Oak Farm.

Lily has settled into her new life pretty well. This is the first young horse I have not had living on my property. I didn’t give it much thought at first, but I have quickly come to see how important that is to a young horse – especially a sensitive Arabian. Lily is smart, but very reactive, opinionated and has a strong flight response. She is independent and the sort of Arabian that demands you meet her standards of perfection – not an easy task.

When I had horses on my own farm I was the person handling them 99% of the time. I did everything – turn in, turn out, feed, water, clean, exercise, hold for the vet and farrier, etc. The horses learned I was their person, and they could expect the routine to be the same day in and day out. Everything from the order they go in and out to how they walk through gates and into their stalls. Consistency was key, and it worked especially well for the sensitive ones.

With Lily being boarded, there are 6 people (including myself) that handle her. That’s a lot for a young, impressionable filly. It’s impossible (and an unreasonable thing to ask) to keep things completely consistent across the board and with Lily it shows. Initially I thought working with her 4 days a week would suffice, but I didn’t factor in the fact that I am no longer the person doing everything. I underestimated the value of that crucial aspect. Thus, it’s up to me as a horseperson to figure out how to best educate Lily in her current circumstances so that she is a well-mannered filly. It’s a new challenge and new learning experience for me, but that’s what different horses do. They teach you all sorts of things you didn’t realize you didn’t know.