Jan 7, 2012

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Teamwork. Nearly every day I try to do some sort of groundwork with Dharla as a part of our team building. Sometimes it’s moving the hindquarters or backing or desensitization work of some sort and sometimes it’s an assortment of things. If the footing is good I might lunge her too, working on different things on the lunge line. With winter holding off on the white stuff I’ve been able to keep a fairly consistent schedule, which is quite nice. So it goes without saying that I could keep reblogging about the same old exercises, but that gets tedious to read and write. So from here on, I’ll just say that I did some groundwork and leave it at that. If I start a new exercise I’ll be sure to explain it and explore the results a bit before lumping it into the groundwork category.

Today I did two split sessions of groundwork. Initially, I went out in the morning and worked with Dharla in the paddock, but later in the day Aldo informed me that he was going to go riding, so I came up with another idea. I decided that rather than wait until he left and Dharla was worked up about being left behind, instead I’d go out when he went out to tack up and I’d halter Dharla and leave for the arena (down back, out of sight) while he was still getting Bullet ready to go. This worked marvelously for us. Dharla was none the wiser that Bullet was going to leave and we had a very nice training session down in the arena.

We did a repeat of the morning groundwork followed by some lunging. Dharla was a bit feisty at first, but I just kept her on a 15′ line until she settled down. Once she was working with me and using her brains I switched her over to the long line. We moved all around the arena, making a point of working in all 4 corners. She was a bit spooky at the far end by the pasture, but soon conquered her fears.

I picked up one end of the PVC pipe and decided to drag it around the arena as I was walking her. That caused a bit of a meltdown for a few seconds, but she soon realized the big bad pipe wasn’t going to eat her and walked quietly along beside me. I relocated the pipe to a new spot in the arena and then lunged her on both sides of it. This turned out to be a great idea … she was spooky when the pipe was in a different location so we worked on that until it wasn’t an issue anymore. Then I moved the pipe again, dragging it along beside us and she didn’t bat an eyelash at it. Then I lunged her alongside it at the other end of the arena until she decided it wasn’t going to attack her. Last, I picked up one end of the pipe and then dropped it beside us. At first Dharla jumped a bit, then she flinched, then after a couple of drops she didn’t move a muscle. When she finally dropped her head and licked her lips we called it a day.

Interestingly enough, when we walked back to the barn Dharla didn’t whinny or holler once for Bullet. She didn’t run around looking for him, which I expected she might do. I was pretty surprised by that and pleased. I put a little hay in the rack for her and she went to work on that, never once making a fuss about Bullet not being around. Amazing!

Thoughts: This girl can be a handful if she wants, but get her thinking and using her brain and she’s a totally different horse.

Work Time Total (2 sessions) : 1 hour