One of my favorite yoga DVDs is led by a woman named Rainbeau Mars. Yes, that is her name, Rainbeau Mars. I know what you are thinking: Oh brother. But I really like Rainbeau. She's calm and patient and gets you thinking that each effort you make (even when you are about as flexible as a 2X4) is worth something. This is what I must do with Lilly and her tarp training. All I require is an effort. All she has to do is try. And today she was really making an effort. It wasn't astounding or anything, but she was willing to push through a few of her fears. Here is Bill with her on the tarp earlier today. This is not the super scary tarp that she thought was trying to maul her last week, but she doesn't know that and frankly she does not care. It is still a tarp that she thinks might kill her. She snorted at it several times when I first laid it down. Bill helped lure her onto it. This was an important step for her.
We headed down to the ring. The weather was terrible. A sleety, icy rain started shellacking us with ice. Even getting into the ring presented an obstacle. This picture is of Lilly thinking about walking through that pile of snow at the gate. She is probably thinking she'd rather not. You may think that it isn't so smart to stand directly in front of a horse like that because she might freak out half-way through and run me down. I was 99.9% sure she was going to step through that drift, not charge through it. I was right. After a few ponderous moments and some murmurs of encouragement, she slowly moved forward.
Jackie was already down in the ring with Pokey. It always helps to have another body and another horse in the ring when I am there with my brumby. The ring hadn't been plowed recently so we cut a narrow path through it. Then the horses fairly easily walked in the tiny path. They were not too interested in making a new trail themselves.
I rode Lilly a little bit at first, but then I wanted to get back to her rehabilitation training for the rope and tarp. Here is the scary rope! She was OK with it as I flung it over her, but did not like it when it became slightly wedged between her saddle and saddle pad. She stood still but got twitchy.
This will not hurt you , Lilly! Look, it is just a red rope with no life of its own. Later Bill helped me get Lilly walking over the tarp, both with me on the ground and me on her back. This is complicated by the snow which makes me feel like I am moving through molasses. Everything gets done in slow motion. First Lilly would walk across the width of the tarp, but not the length of the tarp. And then when Bill gave me the red rope to hold in a coil in the saddle, cowboy-style, she HATED that and wanted to run away. More rope training followed. Nothing major, nothing dramatic, more baby steps. Brandon thinks this kind of work is tedious and boring. But I don't. I think it is eye-opening and fascinating.
Jackie put Pokey back and brought Bella down to the ring. Bella, my second favorite horse!!! So adorable! So fuzzy and so solid! Bella was like a snowplow in the ring, not caring if there was a path cleared or not.
She was also undaunted by the tarp. I think she would have nibbled it to pieces if we had let her!
I'll be back for more tarp training tomorrow. The sun is supposed to shine.