Australian Brumby Challenge ©
Day 64, 65, 66: A busy week at Mona farm, so Honey had these days off. Work should be settling down after next week so I can spend a lot more time with Honey.
Day 67: After a few days off Honey looked keen to get out of the paddock and learn a few things. I planned on taking her out last week on a trail but didn’t get around to it, so now was a great opportunity (before the rain hits). I did all my pre-flight checks as normal, saddled her up and walked her to the arena to meet Kristen who was on her horse Sav. I walked Honey for about 100m before getting on (as I had just girthed her up and like horses to stretch out before getting on). We walked over the bridge and I hopped on. Honey put her head up a little as if to say “hang on a minute, this isn’t normal” a quick pat for reassurance and started walking off. We were walking in the laneways between paddocks which are full of horses that run up and down the fence lines whenever anyone rides past. Honey was relaxed, yet still aware of everything around her. Kristen led all the way out, sometimes side by side and sometimes pulling away to give honey lots of space. Initially Honey wanted to follow Sav, but after a couple of adjustments to her direction she was quite happy to go where I asked. Her stop is great in the arena but wasn’t so good on the trail to start with, so I did a lot of stopping and starting until she got her focus back. On the way back Kristen and I took it in turns leading, often walking side by side (when Honey could keep up with savs 16.2 hand thoroughbred strides!). As we got closer to the bridge which separates the property, I could feel Honey wanting to turn back. We had a small disagreement at the top of the bridge and I had to ask a few times for her to go down the other side, but as normal with this little mare, with a bit of patience she agreed. We went back to the stable to brush down and ended it there.
Thought of the day: ”First of many trails complete, Honey felt very safe and sure footed”
Day 68: After the trail yesterday it reassured me that the way I have been starting Honey was the right way for her. It also made me realise she is ready for a bit more pressure. So today I did a short session just working on everything we have been through from the start, and finished with some trotting focusing on her direction. Now and again she gets to a point when she is determined to go her own way, I am not overly worried about this because time is on my side. The way I see it, if Honey is not going the direction or pace I asked then she is either not completely focused on me or unsure of what I am asking. Like I said, time is very much on my side to get her to where a horse like Honey should be in 150 days. We ended the session with figure of 8s in a trot and walk.
Thought of the day: “82 days to go”
Day 69: Today we had some fun in the arena. Lots of trotting and changing direction, and repeating with more trotting and changing direction. At this stage of training I do a lot of repetition and mix it up with things like getting on and off from the mounting block and opening and shutting the gate into the arena. She is great with the on and off at the mounting block but the opening and shutting gates needs some tweaking, which will come when we start working on side pass. Nothing too difficult today just lots of trotting to build up her muscles.
Thought of the day: “trot, trot, trot…….and some more trot”
Day 70: This would normally be a day off for Honey but as there was a break at the start of the week so I just wanted to have a quick play around with straight load float loading. At the moment we don’t have any floats at Mona, just the truck. I want Honey to be comfortable with any transport so I need to get her used to everything. We have already done truck loading so the ramp was no problem. After getting hold of a straight load float, I walked her up the ramp then backed her down and repeated this 4 or 5 times. On the second time up the ramp, she had a little freak out and exited off the side. Then I walked her the whole way in... and Honey froze. I could see she was very uncomfortable, so I stood and calmed her until she settled down. It took a few minutes for her to understand that she needed to back out and down the ramp instead of turning around. Once she figured this out she backed down off the ramp at a steady pace. I left it there as I didn’t have the float for long and I didn’t want to start anything I wasn’t going to be able to finish. I was happy with how she went onto the float but there is still a lot of work to do.
Thought of the day: “Once Honey is ok with being in the confined space of the float, she will be ready for part 2 of float loading… the travelling!”
I know I say this every week, but thanks again for reading and see you next week!