Have I mentioned recently how much I love my horse? All of them, really, but Brego especially. I'm sure I have but it bears repeating. lol.
The rain stopped today shortly after dawn. It was dry all day yesterday but the whole paddock was just pure slop. It's still sloppy today but I'm going stir crazy and i figured if we kept it slow and easy they shouldn't slip and slide too much.
I worked Mary first. She was crabby but behaved. We worked a lot on stop and stand. She tossed her head in frustration a lot so we worked on it until she stopped fussing and stood quietly.
I worked Sparrow second. No bucking spree this time, haha! He was actually very good. Lazy but good. For being the most active of all my horses he sure is lazy under harness, lol. So with him we worked on moving out quickly and freely and without wringing his tail and glaring at me, hehe.
Now all I planned on doing with Brego today was long lining him in his halter/side pull. I rarely change up my training sessions spur of the moment but today i did just that. he was doing great on the lines, and we even did some ground driving (ok, quick explanation: when I say long lining I mean like longeing with reins, so mostly big circles, turns and stop/go/speed up/slow down while I stand in one spot in the middle. By ground driving I mean I walk behind the horse and steer him as he goes around. It's mentally a different situation for the horse and some horses do fine long lining but act stupid being ground driven). Normally Brego is a bit resistant to ground driving, because he wants to be able to see me. Today he did great.
So he was being relaxed and willing and mellow, very responsive and just generally a super star. So I decided that since it was warm and he was being so good today would be a good day to put a real bridle on him with a bit and everything. Now when I bought the bit I let him sniff it and lip at it, but he acted like i was trying to poison him so i was not sure how this was going to go and if it would turn into a big pain in the butt fight.
It's a baby blue mullen mouthed "Happy Mouth" bit, peppermint flavored, lol. The temps matter because i did NOT want his first bit experience to be with a cold bit.
So I let him wander around while I dashed to the barn and got my cobbled together training bridle. I adjusted it so it looked just a little long and then slowly brought it up to his face. We took three or four steps backward with his nose in the air. I just kept the bit against his lips until he relaxed and dropped his head back down then slipped it between his lips. 4 more steps backward while I just kept it there. We stood there for a while while he thought about it and I stuck my finger into his mouth so he would open his teeth and the bit was in!
I didn't put the bridle on yet, just held it in front of his face and moved with him as he fidgeted with the bit then once he relaxed a little I put it on him. It was a bit more snug than I like for a first bitting so i let it out a few holes. he was really working at it but was standing nicely and not head tossing or anything while I adjusted everything where i wanted it. Then I just stood there and told him he was a good boy and let him play with it. It looked like he was chewing gum, lol.
So I turned him loose, and just let him play with it. he followed me around jingling while he tongued it, tried to chew it, tried to push it out, shook his head. Then i sent him off to trot some circles (still loose just "free schooling" so he would think more about his feet and less about his mouth). He was still working at it but going a few strides between really fussing with it s I let him stop and I just hung out with him for another 10 minutes or so until he picked the bit up and just held it without fussing or worrying at it. It took him a good half hour total to accept the bit and stop trying to get rid of it but then once he stopped messing with it he didn't start back up. So I put a little pressure on each side and got him to give a little bit (just pulling on it with my hands gently) and he gave me his head each direction without starting to mess with the bit again.
I gave him an Altoid and he did his best to eat it with the bit in his mouth but once it was gone he immediately held the bit where it was most comfortable and held it quietly. So I took off the bridle. he still had the bit in his mouth and seemed in no hurry to drop it so I just held the bridle in my hand and scratched his face until he pushed the bit out himself (probably took a whole 5 minutes!).
I'm glad i broke from my plan for a change because it turned out fantastic. So now every day we work he will get a little bit of time with the bit, and once he is very used to carrying it I will start to switch him from the side pull to the bit.
I'm so delighted with how well he did. It was a big day for him and he was a super star!
So, Once I gave them their lunch and put all the tack away I came in and got a nice cup of coffee and decided to feed the salamanders. I normally feed them at 4:30am, when they are already awake and moving around. But today being monday I was not UP that early. So I dropped in an earth worm and a few meal worms. Normally if I feed during the day they don't eat right away, but today the two biggest ones both jumped immediately for the earth worm. lol. The big blue spotted one got one end, the big yellow spotted one got the other end. It was like "Pony's Wild Kingdom".
It took them a while to meet in the middle and I half expected the blue spotted one to just keep going and eat the other salamander but instead they started to head butt each other and shake their head back and forth like a dog with a rag doll. It took a good ten minutes before they finally managed to break that worm in two. I have so much fun watching these silly things.