Tabby did extremely well again tonight! I don’t even know why I bother lunging her before getting on anymore. She stands perfectly still for me to mount and waits for me to cue her to walk on. Today we had a bit of a problem at first, as she thought backing up would be the way to go when I gave her a squeeze. After backing for 10’ or so, she finally figured out that forward was easier. Mind you, the reins were totally lose the whole time she was backing up.
She only whinnied for her buddies a few times tonight, which is a drastic reduction from the almost non-stop crying she did the first time. I took her on a mini trail ride around the top pasture, and the only signs she showed of being nervous was not wanting to walk a straight line. She started tossing her head when she really got worried about being so far from the herd, so I circled her a few times until she relaxed, then headed back towards the barn.
On the way back we did more circles, figure eights, and worked on our Whoa. Whenever I asked her to whoa, there would be head tossing, turning on the forehand, and maybe, just maybe, she’d eventually stop for a split second. Every time she’d stop moving I’d loosen the reins as a reward. If she moved off again before I asked for it, I’d bring her back to a whoa, wait till she stopped moving, then loosen the reins. It took about 10 stops for her to learn that stopping and standing was a good thing, worthy of much praise and adoration from me.
Once she had figured out the whoa, I headed back to the barn and on the way up the hill I asked for a trot. It took a little convincing, but she finally picked up a nicely paced trot and continued it all the way up the hill. At the top, I sat down and squeezed the reins, gave her a “WHOA”, and she came down to a walk with a bit of head tossing then stood quietly as I dismounted and loosened the cinch.
She’ll be ready for Mikayla in no time at this pace! What a good girl!