Tuesday, September 14, 2010

How to be a lady

Today was Earth to Lucy day.

The thing is she already knew what was expected of her, but I've just been lax and she hasn't had a refresher in a long time.

I brought her in last, and by the time I went to get her, she was running around madly in her paddock. I turned around and went back to the barn and left her there.

Ten minutes later, I went back out. Still running. Once again I went back to the barn.

Another ten minutes went by and she was standing quietly at the gate, like "what the hell is going on here?!". As I walked toward her she nickered at me but did not run around. I opened the gate and she stood as I put the chain over her nose. I also came prepared with a short jumping bat, in case she got rowdy.

She promptly tried to run me over and found her life hanging in the balance as she was being forced backward about ten steps. As soon as she dropped her head I let her stop. She looked at me like, HOLY MOLY! I said, well, try behaving and we'll see if things are any different.

We started walking again and she once again got ahead of me, though this time not nearly as bad as before. Once again she got a swift and mighty disciplining, complete with some chain action and backing up.

The next time around we walked about ten steps before she got ahead of me again, and once more she got the same punishment. By this time we were only 1/5 of the way to the barn.

It took about five minutes to walk to the barn, which normally takes a minute or so. I made it very clear what she could and could not do. By the time we got to the barn, she was stopping beside me when I stopped, backing when I backed up, and moving away from me, all on a loose leadline.

Then we walked right past her stall. She tried to duck in her stall as we went by, and found herself being shoved sideways since she had to walk right into me to try and duck in. Walking into people = unacceptable.

We moved on past the stall, around the barn, and out the other side (the barn is in a U shape). We then walked back to her paddock, where she was turned out once again and left for about ten minutes. She stood and waited quietly while I made myself busy, and let me catch her easily once a few minutes had gone by.

I opened her paddock gate and clipped her lead line over her nose, but did not step forward. Normally she'd try to get out of her paddock even if I didn't start walking, but she patiently waited.

A minute later we began walking, and we walked to the barn and right past her stall again, around the aisle and out the other side, and into the outdoor, where she found herself being put through her showmanship paces. She also found herself stepping sideways away from pressure when I felt like moving over.

After I was satisfied, she was marched into the barn where she stood quietly outside of her stall without trying to barge through me to go in her stall for three or four minutes. Then she was allowed to go in the stall, but she was not allowed to walk all over me to get to her feed bucket as fast as possible to check out the contents. Instead, she was made to relax while I fiddled with her halter for a minute or two. Then she was allowed to check out the feed bucket.

And wouldn't you know, there was no grain in it! Oh the horror, Lucy.

So then she waited for about ten minutes while her alfalfa cubes soaked and I got tomorrow's grain set up and fed the other horses.

And only then did she get fed.

We'll see how much of this she retained tomorrow!


  1. yayyy! good work! I think by doing this you are establishing or reestablishing who is boss! Keep us updated with the progress!

  2. Well done! Sounds like she's a pretty fast learner.


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