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Discipline: LD/Endurance, CMO, Trail Rider, Cartoonist, Writer, Co-Director/ Green Bean Endurance

February 22, 2007

Ground Manners

After almost two weeks of very bad weather conditions, a three day power outage, no heat, and no phone, with ice coating every surface, we are now starting to thaw. The past two days Phebes has been working on a refresher course of her basic ground manners. Whew! She had got really snot nosed mean over the winter. Her behavior was getting worse daily as I put her in her stall. She was starting to challenge me as I closed her stall door by wanting to rear, and then kicking the stall. To say the least it was presenting an unsafe scenerio for me and I'm sure that kicking a stall is not good for the joints, hooves, tendons. As time allows I'm trying to get her stalled first in the afternoon so that I can put a web halter on her and attach her to a bungie. Just letting her stand there while I get the others and retrieve the feed and water buckets seems to get her past the behavior. The past two days the temperatures have been tolerable. We still have snow on the ground and patchy ice, so the work I've done with Phebe's has been slow and careful. After just a few days of refresher course she has shown a remarkable improvement. I was working her around some 50 gallon plastic barrels. The object was to side pass and she seemed to think I wanted her to go over them. I did not want her trying that in poor footing, but have to give her credit for "try" as she stepped over the barrel with one foot and didn't get upset about it sort of moving around between her legs. Actually she was less concerned over it than I was. Hoping tomorrow will give us another good day to continue working on backing when I step back, moving forward when I move forward, yielding the hind quarters and the front without a physical cue. Right now I have to touch her part of the time, want to get it to none of the time. Can't wait for dry weather, want to really push forward as soon as the mud in the round pen returns to soil. I can till it up then and get the footing safe to work her. It is good to feel hopeful and to see progress. Good girl Phebes!

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