May 27, 2018
May 25, 2018
I let Cora loose in the arena for some playtime. She did a little loping and then said, "I'm outta here," and climbed straight up the rock wall and took herself grazing and would not be caught. My two thoughts when she left the arena were, "Wow, I have to take her to the mountains," and, "Whoa, what have I gotten myself into?" I let her alone so she could go make all the horses jealous of her free roaming before I went to gather her up, and after she ran away from me a few times I was finally able to bribe her with carrots to get her back into her halter and then back to her paddock. (Aria, lol - just can't quite figure out what kind of equine she's lookin' at. And check out how Cora is keeping one ear on Aria and the other squarely on me. As she grazes nonchalantly la de da.)
May 24, 2018
Cora yanked me off balance a couple times on our trail walk today but we're both getting better at it. A horse fly got her on the nose and it was biting so hard I had to pluck it off. A couple minutes later the wound was still bleeding so I licked my thumb and rubbed it. She seemed so surprised - she was like, wow, that was nice. Earlier she really seemed to like having her mane brushed.
May 23, 2018
Kelly suggested turning Cora out for some free grazing and just hanging out with her, like equines do with each other. The ranch was super quiet today so after work I turned her out and left her alone for an hour or so. (I mean, I was nearby and nearly always in her line of sight, but not in her space.) She spazzed out a couple times and went galloping from one fence to another, but it didn't seem like she was upset or anything. She seemed determined to eat every blade of grass by the geldings' fence.
After a while I walked over and stood with her, and a half hour or so later took her quietly back to her paddock. She was reluctant to go back - she was having a good time! - but not impolitely so.
May 21, 2018
Yeah I'd totally keep an ear on that chicken too.
I am growing quite fond of this creature. She accidentally stepped on my foot today and immediately stepped back off. I was impressed. And grateful.
We did some really beautiful breathing and bonding work today.
May 20, 2018
Bren texted while I was at work and said there was a tornado warning for Leander - almost certainly the same cell in the top picture, which caught my eye while I was feeding the horses. As I was finishing mucking the lower paddocks the rain started in earnest, so I handed out a few carrots and headed out. About halfway home I saw the storm's swath - broken fences, trees split in half - and the fire chief was out checking up on folks. Nothing major as far as I could see, but yikes.
May 16, 2018
New round bale!
Donatello, in the neighboring paddock, was totally jealous. (He's next.)
I sat on the ground in a corner of Cora's paddock for an hour after work. She came by and got some carrots but I think I was weirding her out. Might be something you have to do a lot or not at all; I mean, we mostly ignore each other when I'm mucking her paddock, but that's a whole different thing than sitting quietly in one spot. Hmm. The sitting is meant to be the opposite of threatening, but maybe it seems to her like something a predator might do? I'll have to think about that. I should try sitting facing away from her, you know, just minding my own business, but still in her company. And also yeah maybe bring a chair.
May 15, 2018
We had a nice short session in the round pen and then a trail walk that was a little stressful because she pulls. We'll be working on that. I told Kelly I suspect Cora is actually a super-smart, finely tuned, highly trained circus-performer-level animal (imagine a half-ton Ondine) but that I'm not, and that the hard part will be figuring out what the heck I'm doing.
May 14, 2018
May 11, 2018
Cora Graymule and I had a long, quiet grooming session today, lots of back and forth, lots of deep breathing. She leaned into some feather light strokes of the super soft goat hair brush around her eyes and the base of her ears and forehead. She doesn't like me messing with her legs but she forbore it (only briefly on the right front). This is a sensitive creature - I'm thinking the key to communicating with her will be through the softest words and the smallest gestures. And oh my gosh she's beautiful.
In other news, I got to drag the arena - that's where you drag a giant heavy metal rake behind the tractor through the arena sand. It's like a dusty zamboni. The end result was horrible but shut up it's both fun and frightening to drive a tractor through sharp corners without smashing the arena fence and the horse obstacles and all the trees and shrubbery and stuff.
May 10, 2018
"On opening night, Barrie was ill with nerves, holding his breath at the critical moment when Peter asks the audience to clap their hands if they believe in fairies. What if no one clapped at all? But the audience responded with such wild applause that the actress playing Peter burst into tears." (Myth & Moor)
May 8, 2018
May 7, 2018
Gee willikers. It's like I asked for a mule but got a Lipizzaner. :)
Today we did a couple walking laps in the arena and then trotted a little. (I mean, I jogged, she trotted.) Trotting in arena sand when the temperature is approaching 90 degrees is good exercise. She has a good "whoa" when we're together like that so maybe she was just being rambunctious in the round pen the other day. She does not seem to like me being on the right, which says something about her prior training. We did some grazing afterwards. A nice short session, about an hour and a quarter all told. (That's Willow in the bottom picture. Cora stood her ground - it's possible that having a friend is already helping her confidence.)
May 5, 2018
Cora and I had a long grooming session and then went trail walking and grazing, followed by some time in the round pen. She lifted all four of her feet for the hoof pick, yay, nice. On the trails she's like Adventure Girl - "Let's go that way! Let's go over there!" (I have another shot right after our trail selfie above of her pulling us out of the frame.)
She seemed reluctant to go into the round pen but we managed to get there. She has a beautiful trot, but her canter seemed panicky, with a lot of stomping and bucking and head-tossing. It was hard to slow her down once she got moving and when she got worked up the slightest twitch would set her off. In the bottom picture she's saying she's done. I agreed. No worries. We'll be taking things nice and easy.