Yesterday after volunteering, we went to the horses and took another little walk up and down the lane with a friend on her cob for company. Skye was a superstar, once again, despite it being windy and despite having a bridle on again. It’s amazing how quickly horses will forgive unhappy associations if asked gently. First time with the bridle, she stiffened as soon as the bit was in her mouth. Started dropping food and refusing treats. This time, she was quietly reluctant about having it put on, but then settled to wearing it very quickly. I don’t know enough about her history, but we think perhaps she’s had a fright or something in the past as she settles well enough but just seems to have some worries about the “ordinary” things one does with a horse, bridles, etc.
Our walk out was nice. She does better either two abreast or at the front. If she falls behind she seems to find it demoralising, ha. Out front she gets a curious expression on her face and her ears prick and swivel as she takes it all in. Halt and walk cues were great, as ever. (She’s near-perfect for that now, so my next step is to translate that focus and understanding to the lunge.) As it’s such a quiet lane, I’ll sometimes drape the lead rope over her neck so that she’s essentially free at my shoulder, and we’ll still get the prompt and consistent halts which is excellent. I do need to start getting that halt without the head pinging up, so perhaps the targeting would help with that. General fitness will too, of course. Think we’ll do raised poles and targeting next time I see her, all being well.
My friend, from the higher vantage point of her cob, said that Skye’s walk looked good from behind. Swinging and relaxed with abdominal muscles visibly engaging. I do like her walk, it has a purpose and suggests scope. Next time we’ll have to venture further afield and see how Skye feels about that. I imagine she’ll be fine, she has such a lot more confidence with another horse there.