It might have snowed a few days ago, but that hasn't stopped the shedding so spring is coming even if it's a cold one.
I haven't been able to ride much and it had been almost two weeks since I visited the pony. I remembered the animal communicator's advice that my pony wanted more attention from me, so I made sure to go straight to Tessa's stall. She turned to look at me when I called her name and she resembled a giant, white cotton ball. There was fuzz everywhere.
She buried her face in my hands and when I took my hands away, they came away with handfuls of hair in them. Well, she wanted more attention didn't she? So we had a pony spa day. It was too cold to wash, so I curried and combed and brushed and curried and combed and brushed. I clipped her face a bit, trimmed her legs up and then curried and brushed some more.
I took my time. I talked to Tessa. I scratched her in her favorite places. I did notice she was less pissy. Probably because I remained relaxed and focused on her. My energy wasn't worrying about our ride or how much time I had (which is unusual because usually I really do have to be focused on the clock.). I was simply being there, stripping as much hair off as I could, spitting it out of my mouth occasionally and trying not to rub my eyes.
There was a lot going on in the arena with five horses and people practicing tests with half passes and leg yields and extensions, so our ride wasn't super long or super hard. I had two goals. One was to remain sensitive and light, while still asking Tessa to lift and use her back. The other was to get her working at the one end of the arena where someone outside was power washing their motor home. She only had one whirl and spook but was very distracted and tense.
It was sunny out, so we ended our ride by going outside. I hopped on for another ten minutes and we sort of wandered back and forth and then just sat in the sunshine. Tessa was ready to be done and despite my nerves telling me to not get on, I rode outside and felt good about that.
I really would like to work on her spooking issue though. I know her personality is such that she may always be a 'looky' horse, but she freezes up entirely AND tunes me out. So far, the only thing I've been able to do is to kind of haul her around and put her back to work. It will work as long as we aren't near the spooky thing. So, for example, if we're headed straight for the scary object and I feel her body tense I can turn her sort of sideways and push her off my leg. But it requires a lot of 'muscling around' and then we lose all sense of togetherness and lightness. I've been playing around with wrapping my leg around her and that does seem to help, but when she's worried she just wants to freeze up and stare at the scary thing. Then she wants to whirl and bolt (though usually I catch her before this). I have tried small circles, disengaging hindquarters, shoulder in. They all work to some extent but it means we have to change course. If I'm riding in a dressage test or on a narrow trail, I can't change my course.
My mission for this summer is to get her out and expose her, but I want to have a game plan for how to handle her spooks both for my confidence and for hers. Since she told the animal communicator that she wants to go out on trail rides, I told her that if she wants to do that she has to get a handle on her spooking. That's all I need to do right? Just tell her that it's her problem and if she wants to stop doing dressage, she better knuckle down and power through it. Haha. Yeah....we'll see how that goes.....