Perhaps we can blame Dr. White, the vet, for Brandy's bad mood today. After all, who wants to start the morning out by getting THREE shots before you've even finished breakfast? Or maybe it was just Brandy being herself? At any rate, she was VERY bratty about her training this morning. When she's sort of a pest, I call her a "snort"--a term of affection. Today there was no other word besides "brat"! She reminds me of Angel when she was 2 1/2, and there were days that if someone had wandered by and offered to buy her, I would have given her to them on the spot!
I decided not to use the round pen because it's so rocky. The only other choice besides the temptation of the "wide open range" was inside the garden fence. Herb has it all done, and it gives a semblance of solidity with 2x4's around the bottom and top holding the chicken wire on--even nice little chain link gates. Thankfully, Brandy didn't test the solidity of it because it was definitely made to keep pecking chickens out--not wild horses IN! I'm sure that if she had crashed into one of those 10' long 2x4's, she'd have busted right out. Fortunately, she wasn't that bratty! While she's gorgeous running free, that was not the goal of today's exercise. Shaun, my hoof doctor-training mentor, uses a combination of Parelli's and Clinton Anderson's methods. You are never supposed to get mad at the horse. He never gets mad at Brandy. I, I am ashamed to say, do! I actually think that Carmen must have left part of his spirit behind in Brandy. She seemed to be channeling him today: "I will act big and scary so you'll know I'm the boss around here!" But perhaps acting scary isn't in her best interests, because it gets my adrenaline going; I am NOT going to let her get away with it!
So I put on my "mean" face (easy to do when I'm mad!), which tells her "I'm the boss of you" or in horse-speak, "I'm the alpha mare." And then I just make her do it over and over till she does it right. She always does . . . eventually, because I fake her out better than she does me! Then she gets rubbed and told what a good girl she is, while she licks and chews, which is her way of telling me, "Okay, alpha mare, I get it."
When I was done with Brandy, it was Angel's turn for attention. She got the same "Pretty Pony" makeover Brandy had gotten: pedicure, body scrub to remove her previous mud mask, and a good salon job on her mane and tail to make them shiny and flowing. When she was all gorgeous, we went for a ride around the property.We rode around Kara's house, down the hill and along the road to the back pasture (right). We rode all around the perimeter of it and over to check on the pond, which is pretty full. Then back down the road into the lower pasture, which is flatter. It's a great place for Angel to gait, which she did happily all around the fence. All of this was done to the accompaniment of Brandy's squeals from the barn. She sounded like a 6-month old weanling hollering for its mama! Angel didn't answer her, but she did step up to a nice running walk; I guess she thought, the sooner I get this over with, the sooner I get back to Brandy.
It was a perfect fall day: almost-brisk air, bright skies with a few clouds, and a bit of a breeze. As we rode quietly under the trees to cool Angel off, I had the exact same feeling I used to have as a little girl reading "Billy and Blaze." It was a sense of déja-vu, if you can have that for something you've only read about. I was Billy, and Angel was Blaze. It was a long-ago dream come true.