Last week's update on Dance Away!
She has graduated to lunging in the big arena, and was introduced to poles. She took a couple of tries to not fly over them but it quickly became clear that she's a natural at this picking up your feet business.
Not much bothers this girl at all, as Stellan was pleased to discover. She seemed to enjoy conquering all the novel stimuli.
In between building confidence and strength, Stellan has been doing work in hand with Dance Away. He reintroduced the bridle and began some work in hand to establish ridden cues. At first Dance Away associated the bit with going fast and pulling, and her steering wasn't too great. She eventually caught on to the softer cues and was turning, stopping, and bending like a pro within a few sessions.
This week, Stellan prepared to jump on. He had verbal cues, basic ridden aids, and a strong, supple, and confident horse - all ingredients for success. A few treats helped him convince her that standing still at the mounting block was a good idea, and he jumped up and down, flapped the stirrups, wobbled the saddle, and was generally a nuisance. Dance Away couldn't have cared less - mounting was a breeze, the person who had broken her in for racing had already covered that.
Soon Stellan was astride the big grey mare. She assumed that as soon as her passenger's butt hit the saddle that she was supposed to head off - not so. This was corrected over only two sessions, as soon as the mare figured out that she could pretty much doze off until further consultation she was more than happy to oblige.
This week's task was establishing walk, trot, and canter on a loose rein. The same task she was asked to do in her lunging but this time with a rider on board, which took a little for her to adjust to.