We stepped back and stuck with some simple things all week. I took Shyloh to the round pen (because it was shady and an enclosed area where she could be loose but not get far), and we worked on clicker training.
|How I have found Shy, muzzle-less and halter half off. She is becoming quite good at this now.|
It was so worth it! We did a bunch of stuff Shy already knew, just as a refresher and for her to gain confidence on doing the right thing. We worked on backing (always a challenge) and sidepassing. Shy was a sidepassing rock star!
I was loving how Shy was choosing to be stay focused on me instead of all the grass around her. We took lots of breaks and kept everything very simple and stress free. One time, I was sitting in the grass and Shy came up to me, which is rare for her. I asked her for a couple things, clicked and treated. Then I took a phone call. Shy hung around for a little longer, then wandered off to graze. When I hung up, she came back to me!
|Done talking now? Is it my turn?|
Another day, I used a flag with Shy. At first, she trotted away from it, but not in a terrified way, more in a fun way. Then I clicked and treated her for touching it, holding the flag in her mouth, and eventually wearing the flag!
I also encouraged Shy's natural curiosity. She messed around in my grooming bag looking for goodies. When I took them all out and put them on the other side of the round pen, Shy upended the bag, spilling everything out.
|Searching.. . .|
Finally the day came when I decided to put on some big girl panties. . .
I took Shy to the round pen, grabbed her bridle and a bucket, and got on Shy. Well, it wasn't quite that simple. At first, Shy kept knocking the bucket over with her nose. Over and over. Then, when I stood on the bucket, she would swing her rear end away. So, I tried to put Shy between the round pen panel and the bucket, but Shy just sidepassed over the bucket. And, because I am supposed to be the smarter one, I grabbed the clicker and treats. I clicked and treated until I got Shy to stand where I wanted her to stand. Then I swung a leg over. I sat on my pony!
I was pleased. Shy felt calm, relaxed, and very comfy. When she is tense and nervous, I can always tell, the tension just radiates off of her. But today, super calm. Even so, I climbed off. Then I did it again. We stood there, just the two of us, relaxing. I asked her to move over, she did. I asked her to turn on her front legs, she did. We walked a little. I praised a lot. I got off and praised her some more. All in all, I spent about five minutes up there, but it was a great five minutes.
Did I mention this was bareback? I had not ridden bareback since I fell off, so long ago. And I had not ridden Shy since May, which was one reason I only spent a few minutes on her (the other was that I was alone).
This week has been good for both of us. There was a driving show this weekend, I went to watch and help out, but I did not take Shy. It was fun, check out some photos on Shy's page!