Early this morning I decided to work the mare. The sun wasn't on the arena yet and the forecast calls for nearly 100 degrees today, so I figured it was now or never. Or not til about 8:30 pm anyway. Little miss prissy pants, aka Sheza, decided she was a wild filly who had never been haltered before and wasn't going to be caught. Mom Desire stuck her nose right in the halter and was patient as ever, but miss filly was not to be tamed. I decided to test mom and filly's will and took the mare out alone, leaving miss touch me not. The filly was racing in circles whinnying immediately, but the mare followed me away without a backward glance. Desire didn't even whinny back while in the cross ties, though she was doing her little shuffle step as usual. She isn't quiet in the cross ties quite yet. Need to just leave her in there for 20 minutes or so to figure it out, probably. Anyhow I saddled her (still with my western saddle until she loses some weight) and took her down to the arena. I longed her for bit and worked on getting her attention on halts and direction changes. She stood quietly to be mounted and went right into her freight-train-not-paying-attention walk around the perimeter. I am still not quite speaking her language because I am so accustomed to Blaze and my communication style with him, which is pretty relaxed and subtle. I think this mares needs a little "louder" cues and a firmer hand. She is willing and clearly just wants to go down the trail, and she will come into hand after a few corrections but her first reaction certainly isn't to please, which Blaze's is. I'm confident she will get softer and more attentive with more work, I'm sure I'm not quite speaking her "language" yet either. I absolutely love her forward walk and her trot is to-die-for smooth! I've never understood seeing people trot down the trail on their horses and barely come out of the saddle, but now I realize they just had smooth horses. Blaze and his predecessor, Angel, both have god awful rough trots and you are thrown so far out of the saddle that sitting it is near impossible. On Desire its almost more effort to post than to sit. We worked at the walk and trot only, working on softening and doing lots of large looping circles to keep her attention on me. She didn't whinny but she did have half her brain on the filly out of sight in her pasture. The circles seemed to help her remember where she was and what her feet were doing. I don't want to work into the canter until we are on the same page at the walk and trot. The filly quieted down and the husband reports she was hanging out at the fence with uncle Blaze. The mini, Napoleon, of all the creatures, was whinnying once in a while. Go figure. We rode out of the arena and down around the loop trail to the bottom of the big pasture and up again, and out to the wash rack. The filly started going wild again when she saw momma. We had been gone out of sight for a total of 25 minutes. Filly, at just over two months, quieted down and hung out with Blaze. I'm thinking that's a good start to the eventual weaning process. I am going to go with the gradual method because I won't be able to separate them completely out of sight and hearing, as the abrupt weaning method requires. Mare and filly are going to have to live together for their life times so I am thinking gradual separation and building of self confidence is a good way to go in our situation. Maybe I'm completely wrong! We'll find out. I am open to hearing any and all advice on the matter.
I noticed when I was hosing Desire off that the girth had rubbed a little pink spot just behind her elbow. I only rode for 25 minutes so that's no good, I need to get a different kind of girth. Going to ask her previous owners if they noticed skin sensitivity with her and what kind of girths they use. I think I remember they have mohair string girths, but we'll find out. It was a little frustrating to have the filly be such a brat, we've been going along so well and now she decides she is going to act like a little wild mustang. I'm sure its just a phase and we'll just keep at it until we make progress again.