Saturday, August 30, 2014

Sheza Junior Steed!

Since Sheza came home at the end of June from 60 days training at Moore Horses, I've worked her all of 3 times at home, 30-40 minutes at a time, just in the round pen ending in a walking ride around the lower pasture. She and Rory are living quite peaceably together and have the entire west side of the property to themselves. Still, Sheza is always standing at her gate whinnying to me if she sees a halter (or anything) in my hand and when opportunity arose to set up having a friend meet me at the lake and ride Blaze as escort for Sheza's first hometown trails adventure today, well, you know what I did! 

Sheza rocks Lake Oroville trails! 
The morning began auspiciously..ish, with uneventful grooming of both, loading of Blaze, and then Sheza trodding firmly on my left foot, the resulting throb of my toes effectively silencing the niggling worry about my somewhat irritated metal right ankle. No big deal, I calmly went to my trailer loading efforts (not revisited since she came home in June) and she was half loading herself in a minute or less, only then she decided she'd been a bit cooperative for a fresh green Arabian filly, and she tried the head up and rapid retreat trick. I didn't relish a rope burn and hadn't thought to wear gloves so the there went the lead rope and off trotted the filly in grand style until she trod on the lead rope,  startled herself, and stood sulkily with her head down until I retrieved her. We had a rather firm circle and discussion about not being pushy or rushy in hand, then back to the trailer we went and just the pressure of my husband standing "behind" her when she was waffling about behaving sent her stepping neatly in. I backed her out once more and had her load again for good measure, and fortunately she might be more serious about food than even her mother or Scrappy are; once her nose was in the manger it pretty well overwhelmed her desire to be jittery in the trailer.

On the short list of rude behaviors of the day, she tried to barge backwards out of the trailer at the trail head which of course didn't fly; N was there to stand at her head and make her stand while I opened the back door and tail clip, then when she was standing she was allowed to back on out and take in this new place. She played tourist a little but once she and Blaze were tied and the hay bag came out that's all she cared about. After our mini loading tantrum and considering I hadn't done my usual round pen work with her, I figured we'd head for horse camp (on foot if necessary) which has a round pen, and I'd work the piss and vinegar out of her there if she seemed to need it. 

The genius of April's work is that Sheza finds saddling relaxing, and going riding exciting, but with boundary tools present and usable. She stood like a rock for the fussing process of me tacking up two horses, sidled over to the picnic table bench so I could mount, and true to what I'd seen when first riding her up north with April, when worried her go-to move is to drop her head and eat. Sure, she startles but already she is figuring out that teleporting or even semi teleporting is *not* the way we deal with scary things. Instead, employ the 4 Acceptable Arabian S's:


I'll take that reaction out of any of my Arabians all day long, after riding my dear Sheza's momma Desire, who honed her teleportation skills til the day she retired last summer. You all know my great love and appreciation for my girl D, and having bought her when she was 15 years old she certainly already was who she was,  but I have always been keen on her one and only foal being a) not suspicious of humans and b) not a teleporter. The 4 S's it is, then!
Sheza's only other transgression of the day was maybe 5 minutes into the ride when,  after stopping at a scary log to graze on it, we ended up hanging out grazing with a couple of my friends who were just heading out as well. That was all very peaceful and they were very congratulatory on my good looking clever filly, then clucked to their horses and turned to ride away. Sheza's immediate reply to this was to go from grazing to OHMEGOTOO!!, illustrated with an attempted trot off, which when stymied turned into a brief front feet off the ground filly hissy, quickly stymied by turning her head right round into my knee.

OH. Fine then. She seemed to say, and went back to grazing. 

Aside from that, the rest is sunshine, rainbows, and proud parental gushing. She ate, she drank, she pooped, and by gawd, standing off trail, uphill, after cramming ourselves out of the way so other riders could pass, she stretched out and took a long lovely pee! She's a flirty squirty like her mother and she did act a bit in heat this morning (she goes weak in the knees and slides her butt at me when she's really in, *eyerooollll*) but that seemed a proper horse-who-needed to pee moment, too. I was kind of impressed at the balance of a 3 year old standing uphill and stretched to pee, as well. My goodness, the beast.

after investigation, deemed fit for consumption
 faucets are not to be trusted, what they dispense is mostly acceptable 

Sheza took some turns leading for a minute or two, then would lose confidence and wait for Blaze to amble by. She was hilariously torn between being a bit too nervous to stick to leading and finding Blaze's walk too mind numbingly slow to stay behind. I hear ya, kid! 
 My seat and lady bits were reminding me quite convincingly that I hadn't ridden 5 miles in a treed saddle in a while, let alone an ungodly uncomfortable one like the cheapie Thorowgood I bought for a steal that seems to fit Sheza great. If my saddle fitting experiences have taught me anything it's that she'll probably outgrow the saddle soon--and this may be the first saddle that I cheerlead my horse to outgrow! Oh. My arse.

Not even tossing gravel could get Sheza's head out of her feed bag after the ride. She is all business, especially if the business is Eating. Blaze merely wonders where his is, because clearly, he is starved. ;-)
Loading Sheza to go home was nowhere near as dramatic as that morning's attempt. She put her front feet in and out about 4 times and then she went all the way in and that was that! Showers and mash all around at home and I retrieved Rory from where I'd stashed her in Desire's paddock successfully  for the day. Before long everyone was happy back in their places with an afternoon snack, including the human, who really couldn't ask for more.

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