I got out to the barn to groom the pony and get her tacked up for Laura. One of Tessa's favorite activities is sleeping. Often, when I come out to the barn, my pony is lying down napping. She might crack an eye open when I open her stall door, but it takes a bit of encouragement to get her up on her feet. She's a champion napper.
Not only was she not napping yesterday, she was spinning, rearing and calling out frantically every time she saw me. She was in a different stall so we think she just might be really insecure every time we move stalls. Which means she's going to be on the grand rotation schedule from now on where we will try to put her in different stalls every day. It also means I'm going to start thinking about who I can hitch rides with this summer so we can just get her OUT places.
I told Laura that there was no way in hell I was going to try and take off her blanket while she's rearing in her stall, so Laura went in and removed the blanket and turned Tess out in the arena to blow off some steam. Five minutes of bucking, snorting and galloping later and she was still vibrating but she was much more sensible. Remember my assignment from Thursday? To act like I disliked my pony? Yeah, I started that. Which meant when she pushed her shoulder into me, I pushed her back (you have got to love horses that are small enough that you can actually *physically*push them over). When she tried to push me with her head, I caught her one on the bridge of her nose. When she tried to back up in cross ties, I pushed her back forward. When she pinned her ears, swished her tail and twitched a hind leg I growled at her. Sure enough, she stopped. And was good for the rest of our tacking up.
Laura put on a helmet and prepared for battle. Today was the pony's Come to Jesus discussion. Today, the princess would learn that forward was the *only* answer that was acceptable when leg was put on. Laura got on, adjusted the stirrups and hunkered down for the big fit. She asked Tess to go forward. Tess wrinkled her face up, threw her head back, swished her tail and went slower. She asked again, tapping with the whip. Tess threw a hind leg out and flung her head in hair. Wrong answer, pony. Laura snapped the whip smartly on her hind end and the pony put in a half hearted buck and shot forward into a.....canter. But it was a forward canter. Laura praised her and settled into riding. She rode serpentines and transitions. She rode in two point, deep seat. She tried to emulate my riding (I told her to grip like hell with her whole body and ask her to go forward while holding the reins too tight...that should do the trick.), she flopped like potatoes, she was rigid. The pony maintained forward. Laura was soft and fair and only had to tap her one more time to remind her that kicking, bucking and pinning ears were not the answer to a forward reminder.
Our plan is for Laura to get on her before I ride for the next few times and to see if we can get past this with Tess and I. It's very obviously an issue that is caused mostly by me. So I'm going to focus on grabbing mane instead of rein (how's that for a rhyming mantra this week) and hunkering down for some serious forward.