You may recall that Gina isn’t a big fan of ground poles. Something about them really messes with her. I’ve never figured out what it is, so for the last couple of years, I’ve just ignored her tantrums about them. If I ask her to go over one (or several) and she acts like a freak, I stay calm, fix an expression of bland indifference on my face, and ask her to proceed like there’s nothing on the ground at all.
I guess all my eye rolls and exasperated sighs have paid off, because Gina has managed to walk, trot, and canter over some ground poles two whole rides in a row.
It rained on Saturday, so I was in the indoor on Sunday. Someone had set up trot poles, so I walked Gina over them before I mounted. She gave them a firm eyeballing, but followed me anyway. When I got on her, she walked over them with a minimum of blowing and snorting. After a few laps of quiet, relaxed trotting, I asked her to trot over them. She was fine right up until the first pole was under her nose, at which point she screeched to a halt, snorted prolifically, and gingerly walked over them. After that, trotting was no problem. What a freak.
This morning it was dry enough to take to the outdoor. I set up a line of 5 trot poles and a circle of death exercise with 4 poles. (Protip: Don’t try to eyeball the circle. It will inevitably be lopsided and the game will change from trying to have the same number of strides between each element to simply getting to each element.) After remembering that we have both been in the outdoor and seen miniature horses before, Gina went to work.
She was a little tense, but eventually relaxed and was able to walk and trot very quietly through the line and the circle. We attempted to canter through the circle, which was a huge fail because our circle was more like a trapezoid. We settled for cantering on a very large circle and working on lengthening and shortening within the trot and canter.
Fingers crossed that this is the end of Gina’s ground pole phobia!