...without the occasional come-to-jesus session.
I have been a major slacker. I haven't been riding consistently at all, and Lucy is not really a horse you can let sit for four days and then hack around on, which is what I tried to do on Wednesday. She was quiet at first, until I asked for a little canter and her response was a display of impressive bronco moves around the far end of the ring. It occurred to me that it may be intelligent to lunge before we proceeded further, so I hopped off and grabbed the lunge line. She did one nice circle like a lady, then dragged me while running backward from the far end of the ring to the gate. I guess she would have preferred to go back to her paddock and continue her holiday from work.
Well, too bad, horse. The bronco moves were understandable and I almost felt like I asked for that show. Dragging me around is A BIG NO NO.
The no-nonsense rope halter was summoned. Tack was removed, and she got her attitude realigned with an hour of solid, serious ground work. Right at the start, she tried to pull me over to some grass to eat, and without a second of hesitation I gave her a smart smack on the side with the end of the super speshul lead line (which has a little bit of leather, so it gives a really good SMACK sound). Instantly she went from giving me the middle finger to listening very carefully to what I wanted.
Oh, horse, you don't want to have a nice leisurely 1/2 hour hack in the outdoor? Ok, we can do an hour of solid, sweaty, difficult ground work. Yes you can move your smart little ass in a small circle. Yes you can move away from me when I demand it and then walk toward me when I demand it. Now you're going to jump this little pile of logs. Yes, now. Ok, you're feeling more cooperative? Good, then I will tie you to this tree for 20 minutes while you patiently stand there and think about things.
She had a totally different attitude from start to finish. She went from saying "NO" to "What would you like next? You want me to jump? Ok, how high? You want me to trot? Would you like a medium trot or an extended trot? You want me to stop? Yes, ma'am. You'd like me to pivot? Would you prefer a turn on the haunches or a turn on the forehand?".
THAT'S MORE LIKE IT, HORSE.
In other news, she has gained so much weight, I could just cry with happiness when I see her. I have started giving her hay in her hay net. This prevents her from wasting as much as she does if I just put it on the ground, and I can also give her 6+ flakes in the beginning of the day and she goes through the whole thing. She was getting 2 flakes AM and 2 flakes for lunch, and there would be so much waste at the end of the day that it was worthless to give her more than that. She will not eat anything once it has touched the ground.
She's still getting lunch grain so between AM grain, 6 flakes throughout the day, lunch grain, 5 flakes of hay at night in her stall, and dinner, she is looking GOOD. Lauren commented that she could barely buckle up the girth last night. Now that is satisfying.