Sunday it was back to the ring with Lilly. Nothing like the hair o' the dog that bit ya! We brought down the tarp and the rope and got started. Right away it was clear that the rope was just as scary as the tarp.
Brandon came along as the pictographer. This is how we got started: With baby steps. I am leading Lilly while Bill has the rope which is simply laying on the saddle. She can see the loose end out of the corner of her eye. You know how you know a horse is looking at something with fretful concentration? Well, that is exactly how Lilly was looking at the rope.
Slowly we walked around the ring. Again and again. Bill moved the rope so it was across the saddle and dangling down on the other side.
This picture reveals that even baby steps require a lot of patience. This happened on a turn where Lilly could feel the rope on her legs. And then she saw the rope as if for the first time all over again. Easy does it, brumby. This rope will not hurt you. Whoooooooah. Whoooooooah.
Later Bill was able to move behind her. I could see her looking to make sure where Bill was. She sure wanted to keep an eye on him and that rope.
Every time Bill pulled on the rope (kind of like a skijorer might), Lilly would start walking a wee bit faster. She didn't like it, but she was very brave and most of the time kept walking. I even saw some licking and chewing. My brumby was bravely pressing her heart forward.
Sometimes when she was worried, she'd push into me.
Or try to flip around. Sometimes I'd point her (literally) in the right direction and she'd reluctantly go there. Other times we'd have to turn a tight 360 to get her going in the right direction again. Baby steps. Patience really is a virtue.
But she was doing just fine! She was trying hard to get it right, and to trust us. Keep pressing with that heart, Brumby!
We did this with Lilly for about an hour. Bill thought it was essential to end on a good note. So then I got on her. She was very good with me on her, a relief since you never know how much of the freakiness will carry over to another activity. She was stellar. Maybe she was glad to trade the ropes for me. Good ole brumby.