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DAY 11: Another great session in the arena! Filigree is becoming understanding about what I am asking of her and what our relationship entails now. She definitely has more opinions on-line in the arena than she does in the round-pen. She does not do anything extreme. However, she will teeter between shooting out on the circle and doing mini bucks while simultaneously shaking her head in the air as if to say “your not the boss of me”! She does it in such a manageable way to me that it honestly brings me entertainment. I feel like I can have a conversation with her and as long as I am persistently asking nicely she has always come through seeing that it really isn’t that bad after all. When I am dealing with these “opinions” I remember Linda’s idea of “zero brace” for Left Brain horses. If Filigree goes out on the circle with some extra oomph, I encourage her. If she shakes her head when I ask her to go forwards then I say, “that’s ok”, we can go slower or even backwards if you want. The number one things is that my intention remains friendly and that I don’t get frustrated or macho with her. After playing our games on the 45’ line and introducing squeezing between the barrels we had a wonderful ride!

DAY 12: Filigree and I both had some time off over Christmas and today was our first day back together. I am consistently saddling Filigree in my cross tie area now. She is “ground tied” as I saddle her and it is her responsibility to act like a partner and remain still.

We started in the arena and reviewed our games on the ground. I was more particular about her shoulder yield with the driving game and she audibly squealed at me as I upped the anti. Oh my goodness, this girl makes me laugh! Of course, we came to an understanding where she was yielding without the drama. She is being a super partner as I now consistently mount from the stationary mounting block outside the arena. She stands politely and does not even think about taking a step until I ask her to. This may have to do with the fact that I generally give her a cookie once I am mounted and she is committed to the halt. Left brain horses LOVE their cookies and scratches!

We had a fabulous ride and I was able to maintain gait at the walk and trot both directions following the rail. This arena is approximate 100X200 feet. The only thing was that I noticed she consistently got a nasty expression and agitated as we went along the short side. By the third time I realized it was nothing that I was doing. She was merely frustrated that the horse in the mirror was getting so close to her.

DAY 13: Nothing new added today. Just went straight for the indoor arena and warmed up on the 45’ line. Filigree just makes me smile. She has just enough sass to keep up a good conversation but is never too overbearing with her opinion.

Today the ride was super! She continues to get agitated as we pass the mirror but I am sure she will figure out the deal soon enough. I have allowed her to stop and sniff the mirror, done ridiculous amounts of arm waving from the saddle so she can see the reflection is us. Alas, she continues to get frustrated when we trot by. Not so much at the walk…

Today we cantered for the first time in the arena both directions. This was a complete non event and that’s the way I like it!

DAY 14: Today I added my snaffle bridle (no nose-band) to the wardrobe. When introducing the bit I want to cause it to become to horse’s idea to take the bit into their mouth. You can view a video on this process below.

Filigree continues to become better with picking up her feet as well as accepting the clippers. I know the more leadership points I gain with her the better these topics will become. You can often distinguish LB and RB brain horses by how they react to things. RB horses say “I can’t” because they are afraid, where LB horses say “I won’t” because they don’t respect you enough as their leader.

Our follow the rail pattern is going really well at the walk, trot and now the canter. I need to be SO progressive with Filigree to continue keeping her mentally connected. With this in mind I have been placing things along the rail to test her ” four responsibilities”.

1)    Act like a partner

2)    Maintain gait

3)    Maintain direction

4)    look where you are going

So far I have put out a trot pole and a tarp along the rail in varying places. She continues to be so brave and didn’t skips a beat as she approached theses items.

DAY 15: Bridled for the second time. Filigree is already into the game of taking the bit. She has had a couple days off so we started on-line with the 45’ line in case she needed to expend any excess energy.

The barn was buzzing with clients there to look at sale horses. So, I decided to shake hands with opportunity and take Filigree for her first trail ride. I was thankful for the support of a fellow trainer and their babysitter horse to take us out. As expected, she was completely UN-phased and walked around a 30 minute trail with varying terrain, water and cows to expose her.

Have I mentioned that I LOVE this mare?

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