I went to New York City this week for three days. Unfortunately, sans any horses, so I guess I won't share anything besides a picture ;) :
Daisy wasn't ridden Monday-Wednesday, which for this horse, is a big deal. We went out in a drizzle on Thursday. We rode past this water pipe (below), which we have passed many times, but never with water flowing apparently, because Daisy was spooked a bit as we went past. I love that when she spooks, it's not dangerously dramatic. She stands still and freezes and raises her head and snorts. Sometimes she might spin to run, but she spins slowly and never without warning. We simply rode past in each direction a few times until she was over it.
Today I rode Daisy bareback and planned to jump a small crossrail. . . after going over it a couple times, I thought I'd grab this road work (nylon) sign to throw over the jump to fill it a bit. She spooked sideways a bit as I picked it up (while on her) so I dropped it and got off her. We spent about fifteen minutes desensitizing with it. I tried a new method that I found out about recently. . . I'm not sure if I read it in a horse magazine (of which I subscribe to three: Equus (Favorite!), Horse Illustrated, and Horse & Rider) or saw it on HRTV, but it worked well! The method was as follows: to apply "pressure" through the object you're desensitizing with, and then when the horse submits or stands still, you 'release' the pressure by removing the object from where it was.
With Daisy, I started out waving the flag on both sides of her. I would wave for a bit and she would circle around me or away from me; once she stood still and wouldn't move I'd stop waving and put the flag behind me and rub her for a bit. Then I'd start again, and then move to her other side, and then slowly touch it to her until she didn't move away, and finally moved to putting it on her. I gave her breaks (releasing pressure) throughout. It worked so well! It makes so much sense, but I've never really thought of it in that way.
For an added bonus, I had Daisy stand on it and walk over it as well, since she has trouble walking over tarps.
Tomorrow is Christmas Eve, when us Germans celebrate. I'm excited!
I'm getting a second lesson student in January. Funn!
I love my mare :)