She was fantastic even though we had a lot of crazy stuff going on. The neighbor (who lives in a rental trailer behind the two back pastures) decided to start shooting practice just when Kasane and I were starting ground work. We ended up doing a series of sessions: ground work first so she got used to the guy sporadically doing target practice. We also did some desensitization work with the big auto-pop-open umbrella and a crinkly sounded fabric on the end of a whip. She was great with both of those. She had a few hours’ break (when I got lunch and then rode Isis).
The test I’m supposed to ride is Introductory Test A. I had been practicing the Intro Test B, slightly different but not very hard. I learned the test while riding Isis because Isis knows how to do all of it. Easier to learn on a horse that doesn’t have to be taught how to trot in a straight line.
Isis was so willing to ride the test. She trotted out well, rounded for me, and did things as I thought them. She wasn’t having a good coordination day though. She lost her footing with her back right several times. Made me glad that I’m not taking her tomorrow. Poor girl.
After riding Isis, I pulled Kasane back out and tacked her up. Lunged her down in the area of the ring where she had some skittishness at the fenceline. She was fine. On went the bit and bridle and away we went. She was used to the big ring, so not a problem. This was her first time riding in the big ring with the bit in. Third time ever being ridden in the bit. She was a delight (although I was careful not to push her too much).
And we had a lot of crazy stuff to deal with. The Diva and Katie (Kasane’s herdmates) were in the paddock next to the ring. The Diva decided she wanted to get out and be with her old herd mates, so she broke through the fence. I was riding Kasane and started yelling that the Diva was out. Katie went nuts and ran aorund the paddock screaming for her buddy. I dismounted and walked Kasane over to the fence, hoping Katie would come and stand there (which she did eventually). So all of this craziness — people running around trying to get the Diva (who luckily had broken into another fenced pasture), Katie running around and then being lead into the barn… and Kasane stood there with me. Not upset. Not worried. She happy to hang out.
I got back on Kasaane and we continued riding the test. After a while, Jon walked back down the road with the Diva. Kasane watched the Diva pass, whinnied once, and kept on working. (So proud of her!) Next, Jon and Chris turned the Diva and Katie otu into the their big field on the opposite side of the ring. they both took off and galloped around for a while. Kasane whinnied once and then stayed with me.
While it might not seem like much, these were major things that most horses would have been going bonkers or at least have been upset. Kasane wasn’t phased. When I asked her to stick with the work and keep moving she calmed right down and we kept on going. She figured out what a half halt was. She figured out down-ward transitions using the bit and seat cues. Very light response.
I was amazed. Really amazed.
She did all of the stuff for the test and, while not perfect, she was very good. I’m happy if we ride a straight line and something that at least resembles a circle (is a diamond close enough?). We’re not looking to win tomorrow just to have a good time. (Isis won her division when we rode last time.)
Such a HUGE confidence boost in our ability after the ride today. Wow. I’m really looking forward to tomorrow instead of being worried.