Ladies + Gents, We Have a Right Lead
Something that they don't tell you about new-horse-ownership is that you will realize how awesome your friends are. Since I brought Mia home, I've had more people come visit me at the barn (socially distant visits, of course!), so they could meet the new addition to my little family. And for those who haven't been able to make it out, they've sent texts or chatted with me in person about what she's like or offered congratulations. I didn't expect it but it's been an incredible outpouring of love and friendship from those I hold dear :) So, thanks for being amazing, friends and fam!
The last few weeks have been crammed full of learning for me and Mia. I've said it before and I'll say it again, but I love groundwork. I really wish I'd had the attention span and knowledge to do more of it with Bess when she was in her more formative years but I'll just have to live the with notion that my 3 year old's ground manners are going to surpass my 22 year old's in a matter of months. Whoops.
The "new to me" groundwork regime is a technique called the TRT Method (you're welcome for the YouTube spiral) and it's something that my friend Jessica turned me onto. We're officially both obsessed with the results we've seen in our baby horses. I've always been intrigued by some of the "natural horsemanship" groundwork methods but I've always been very turned off by any 'cowboying' and any methods that just make the horse numb out/tune out/ignore stimuli. In all of my years in therapy, I've learned that simply coping with stress doesn't end well so I've never wanted to engage in that work with my horses. So, with TRT, I'm able to give Mia the skills and confidence she needs to handle new situations. It's been incredible seeing the difference the work has made.
Before I started TRT, Mia would come into the ring a hot mess. She was constantly looking around, never really focused on me or whatever I was trying to teach her, and although she hasn't shown any indication of spookiness, she has demonstrated some veryyyy impressive bucking behavior when she's frustrated. We're talking, multiple in-a-row bucks with heels firmly over head. It's very athletic.
We're about two weeks into a solid TRT routine and she's now able to accept bend and pressure from the halter, balance herself for mounting practice (which is the current crux of the solo OTTB restart since I don't want to have a bolt-and-drag situation go down), and is generally more focused on me when we go through our routine. It's been incredible.
Also! Mia is officially able to canter an ENTIRE circle on the right lead. She still looks a bit like a llama while she does it since her head is straight up in the air but at least she can hold the lead now! You guys, I'm going to be able to ride her soon and that's extremely exciting :)