Monday, September 23, 2013
As previously mentioned, separation has been a problem for me since Allie came to live with us. The 2 horses bonded like crazy glue, I think Allie's former home left her really needing a pal and she clung to Linus.
I have been slowly working on increasing my distance from her when I ride Linus but have so far kept my riding on the farm because going up the driveway has always been our toughest route to separation. Well, today I decided we have to tackle it!! I wanted to do it on the weekend when Bernie could meet us so Linus would at least have a buddy but it rained ALL weekend!!! So today we tackled it sans buddy!!
I rode him around the barnyard a bit and almost canned the whole idea because it's very chilly (our high today is 10C!) and windy; prime fresh horse spooking conditions!!! Also, an excuse and we gotta get going at this if I'm going to even think about trailering out for rides!!
I pointed him up the driveway and he started stalling. So, rather than fight him and wind him up I just sat in the saddle. The only direction I would allow him to go was forward. For the most part he did great. About 3/4 of the way down the driveway he tried to go back when Allie called but I made him do some circles and back up. Then I made him stand facing the road. When he was trying to go back I told him to give it up, I will win! He took a big sigh and with a brisk pace (surprised me!) finished the driveway and even went a short distance on the road before stopping. Good thing it's a quiet road because we pretty much took up the centre all the way to the trail head near the end of the road. I say all the way but really I think it's close to .5km. I briefly thought about doing the trail but decided to end on a good note and go back. Nobody was at the farm so I didn't want to leave Allie too long. I don't think she'd try to get out but separated horses don't think!!
I let him trot up the road, but at a controlled pace. I could feel him wanting more but I was really trying hard to be the leader! I made him walk up the driveway. Then I hopped off and showered him with praise!! I kept telling him he was a good boy every time he went forward.
I know to many of you who ride out alone every day this isn't big but for me it is HUGE!!! It's opening doors to riding out more frequently. We still have a lot of work left to do. Linus was trembling from being away so I hope this will build his confidence to being alone too. For his first 2 years with me I walked him all over the roads and trails around here. He was very confident then (when he was the only horse) so I know he has it in him!!
Tomorrow is supposed to be warmer and sunny so I am going to try again!! I'm very proud of Linus!!
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