Run, Baby, Run

First of all, I'd like to say that allergies suck. C's been dealing with them this week (though she's finally better), and now its my turn. Waaaaaaah. Yes, that was me whining.

If you don't have allergies, you are blessed. Truly. I feel like I've been punched in the face, and like fire has been poured down my throat. And my nose is running like a faucet. And my eyes feel like they're swollen and I can barely hold them open. I just want to collapse into my bed and stay there all day. Unfortunately, I have to work. Maybe the ton of antihistamines and ibuprofen I've been taking with kick in soon...

Okay, enough of that. I wanted to do a quick update on Sunshine. (Sorry, no pictures; it was almost dark by the time we made it outside last night.)

While I was cooking supper (tacos) last night, C told me she wanted to ride. So, we hurried through feeding the animals and eating supper, and it was going on 8 before we got out there. I don't know if it was because it was so much later than usual when we went out there, or this cool weather is just making the horses feel fresh, but Sunshine did not want me to catch her.

I think its safe to say that her ligaments are fully functioning again. That mare can run!

As soon as she realized what I was doing out there, she walked away from me. Okay, she does that sometimes, and then I just stop and give her a minute and she's fine. Not last night. After a couple of tries like that, she took off like I'd struck her with a whip. Of course, I was just standing there, almost in shock. When I bought Sunshine back in 2005, she went through a terrible phase of not wanting to be caught. I would spend hours trying to catch her. Once I worked through that problem, though, she's never ran away from me since. So I'm not sure what got into her last night. Maybe she realized that her legs worked and she could canter, and she took advantage?

Of course, her excitement got the boys (Wiley and Rambler, the Mustangs) all crazy, and they joined in on the running. I closed off the front pasture, so they only had the dry lot to run in (less room = less chasing after them for me). I just stood there for a few minutes, watching the crazy horses. The boys were doing some impressive bucking and twists in the air. Sunshine was alternating between a canter/gallop and a beautiful extended trot (why can't she do that with me on her back?!). I wish I had my camera with me. The sun was setting, and for a few minutes, the horses were bathed in this ethereal, orange light. It was beautiful.

And then I decided that enough was enough. Luckily, I remembered what I had to do the last time Sunshine went through this (and what worked for Wiley when he did the same thing when he was a yearling). If a horse in the pasture doesn't want to be caught and runs away from you, make them keep running. That way, its your idea, not theirs. It sounds strange, and I'm sure 10 different people will give you 10 different methods of solving this problem, but this way works for me. Its sort of a take on the Monty Roberts way of training (Join Up - which I did with Wiley and absolutely loved).

So, I swung my lead rope and kept those wild ponies moving. For maybe 5 minutes. I wasn't terrorizing them, just making sure they didn't get a chance to really stop. (They didn't have to keep actually running, just moving. Though most of the time they were moving pretty fast.) Horses that are actually in shape might take longer to decide to yield to you, but since mine are all fat fatties, it didn't take long for them to decide I was the boss. Really, the boys probably had no idea what was going on, but I couldn't easily separate them from Sunshine, so they had to participate. Both of them kept running past me, then turning around and nosing me like what the heck are we doing?! But I made sure my eyes were always on Sunshine. She got the message.

It probably wasn't even 5 minutes before I let them all stop. Sunshine stopped and turned to me and just looked at me. And I walked right up to her and put the rope around her neck. Silly pony. She was good as gold after that.

My parents came to see C ride, and she hopped up there and showed them her stuff. She's so proud of herself. Mama got a bunch of videos, which I am gonna have to get my hands on.

When C was done, I hopped on Sunshine to see if I could get her to canter. I mean, clearly, she can canter now. I actually got a decent canter out of her in both directions, just not for very long. That's okay. I know now that she can do it, I just need to get her back into shape.

So what started out as a very frustrating night ended on a good note. Let's just hope Sunshine doesn't make me repeat that performance the next time we want to ride her!

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