Coco was out of the pen this morning when I got up. Albus was sobbing because his roommate had left without saying goodbye. (Boy, I get the whole Eeyore thing now!) I went into the feed/tack room to get his halter and he ran in there to see what there was to eat. Well, at least that made him easy to catch. I put him back in and hoped it was a fluke. Couldn't see where he'd got out.
After chores I played with Iona, The first task I tried was the toothpick on the neck. There is a whole saga attached to this ... Sara gave Bruce and Iona a number of vaccinations for me over the past few months. The first one didn't go too well with Iona, and I could see that we were on our way to Iona having a MAJOR ISSUE about needles as a result. Since it was Sara who had to give the shots, I asked her to work with Iona on this. It was a big ask. As anyone who has seen Iona when she is scared of stuff like this will know, the combination of her dominance and spookiness can get real interesting real fast.
I was so busy that I really just left it to Sara, and she is pretty busy, too. However, she got the job done without too much upset, and no sneaking. I admit, I was tempted to sneak! Anyway, I wondered how the task would go after all that. Non event. I poked her, she turned her head to me, and we were done. WELL DONE SARA!! Maybe I should just get her to do all my trainng....
We worked a little on lead by the mane, and that went well, too. Then some yo-yo stuff on the 45' line. My draw is a bit broken. Especially at any gait faster than a reluctant plod. I think that might be just because we haven't played much lately, and that would be Iona's default response. Also tried a little zone 5 driving with just 1 rein, and that went pretty well. Although she will still try to just turn around and intentionally tangle herself up as a way to say "I'm done!". Good reminder to me to keep the session short and fun for her and stop on a good note!
Jumped on bareback and did some figure 8s at a walk. These were really nice - she is bending her ribs nicely. I had clipped finesse reins to her halter rather than bother to put her hackamore on, and I realised that we did all our freestyle riding without anything to spank with, and it just wasn't an issue. I think I used my hand on her rump once. That is really quite an improvement when I think about it.
Then we headed out to the pasture to do some circles on the 45'. That started off with just wanting to stop and eat. I played it cool and just kept asking politely. She got herself going after a bit, but then started with the nasty faces. I clipped her in zone 1 a few times with the snap, as Linda P taught in a session awhile back. Twice this produced a rear. It was nice to see that amount of spirit. Iona used to do this all the time when she was younger and we were just learning the circle game. The attitude improved, though, and she really got into it and became very zippy. I never got her all the way out to 45' but we had a great time with transitions and a few changes of direction. I feel like the flying changes might be there when I need them soon! And I bet that once Iona starts doing them she will think they are cool.
With all the circling I knew our liberty would be good, so I took the halter off and played a little. Still no draw. (I hate the truth!) I then did quite a bit of driving sideways and hide the hiney, then drive the front end over. Draw was a bit better after that. We walked back to the track at liberty where I turned her out.
After lunch, guess who I found grazing behind the house? Mr Coco. I still couldn't see where he is getting out, but I went around and measured the height of the bottom strand of tape, and it was pretty variable. I just eyeballed it when I lowered it the day he arrived. So I spent a little time setting it all at about 22 inches. I hope that's the magic height.
When I went out at dusk to let the horses into the grazing cell, they all came running. (New cell, yummy grass.) Bruce then drove Linda's horses deep into the cell and came tearing over to me with Iona. They were being bothered by some kind of bugs, and I swear Bruce was asking for fly spray. I went to get it, only to see them running the other way up the track. However, when they saw me they turned and headed back again. I went in and started spraying them. They were really glad to get it, Bruce was trying to shove Iona out of the way to get me to do him twice. He was really bargy! After I came in I heard them thundering up and down the track, trying to outrun the flies, I guess....and Coco whinnying....wonder where he'll be in the morning.