Its been a month of my concerted effort to ride Lakota. Unfortunately, we seem to have slid backwards a bit, so this effort will need to continue. Last week, I was working with her on going outside of the roundpen. The roundpen is her comfort zone, and she doesn't like going out there in the big scary world much. Not that it matters that we walk right through the "out there" to get the roundpen, or to the grass for some grazing. No, that doesn't matter because nobody is on her back at that time. Suddenly, with a human on her back, she can't quite manage to hold it together.
So I had been working on walking out the gate, doing a few circles outside, then going back in as a reward. We've done it a few times, and she was doing well, but still sticky and needing some encouragement to get out the gate. She always seems to get stickier going out the second or third time. Hmmmm, not sure why that is.
Last week, we had gone out once, with only a bit of a balk, she did well so I rewarded her by going back inside again. We did a few circles inside, and headed for the gate again. She really balked, and I insisted she stay facing straight ahead. So she used her classic evasion technique of going backwards. Except she backed herself into the open gate, and spooked herself. She teleported to the left about 10 feet, then continued to leap sideways a few feet at a time, most likely because I was clinging to her side like velcro. I had only put the bareback pad on, so nothing to hang onto. I finally grabbed her neck and hauled myself back up. We both stood there and settled down, I waited until the shakes stopped, she dropped her head and blew and sighed a number of times. Then I asked her to move off again. And she spooked again. And again, and again. Each time I asked her to move forward, she got tense and spooked.
I finally got her to do one circle without spooking, so I decided to hedge my bets and get off her then and put her away. I didn't give her any grass rewards, or hay her after (as I usually do). Then I took her out again last Sunday. And she was still very tense, nervous and spooky. Again, I managed a couple of soft circles after awhile, and put her away. And again yesterday, the same thing. Her spooks are becoming less violent, and less often, so we're making progress. But gosh we slid back a LOT of steps! Either that or we are going through a training hump, I'm not sure which yet. I have not tried going out the gate again, she is just not settled enough even inside. I am considering avoiding the gate the next time I'm ready to go outside of the roundpen, and just mount up on her outside and see if it is the gate that is the issue, or outside that is the issue. She has become very resistant, to moving forward, to stopping, to everything. How disappointing.
Lakota has also had a runny nose for about 3 weeks. I haven't figured out what it is yet. It is intermittent, usually clear or slightly greenish tint. Not opaque green, but a clear green, like the green is just from grass or hay. She will occasionally have a bit of whitish discharge, or very slightly yellowish ,but its just a glob, then gone. She has on enlarged lymph node on the same side as the discharge (the other nostril is clear), its about the size of a pea, and not tender to the touch, I can rub it, and prod it, and she doesn't care. She has no fever, is not off her feed, and not acting off at all. I had her on an immune-boosting herbal blend for 3 weeks with not much change. I have since switched to a head congestion blend, we'll see if that helps. Oh, an she hasn't been off the property since October.
The barn plans continue to move along. We were able to manage to get our permit after some argument and pointing out how the regulations are written, not how they are "interpreted" by any town employee. The roof is going up as I write. It should be up by now, but the help bagged out on us, something about a dead neighbor. So now I get to climb up there and help plywood the roof. Have I mentioned that I don't do well with heights? Fifteen or twenty feet is OK, but the far end of the barn is up on piers, and the ground slopes down away from it sharply, so it really feels like you are out on the ledge of a 20 story building out there.
My vegetable garden is growing beautifully!!! I'm really pleased with how well it is going for only the first year. We have been eating the most delectable, tender lettuce for weeks. I only wish that lettuce and tomato's matured at the same time!!! My tomato plants are loaded with blooms and little green fruits, we are going to be having a LOT of sauce this winter! I love cooking sauce in my crockpot in the winter, and coming home from work to a finished meal and the smell of it cooking. My kids love coming home from school and smelling dinner cooking, too.
Speaking of kids, my daughter will be going into 6th grade this year. Heaven help me, she is becoming a pre-teen. My tomboy is now looking at clothes as something other than what mommy makes you put on before you leave the house. When she gets spending money, she buys herself clothes instead of toys. She is talking about boyfriends. And how annoying boys can be. And how all the other girls have boyfriends. Oh, and she wants an iPod for Christmas. I don't even have an iPod, not to mention the fact that its only July! She just got a cell phone a few months ago, against my better judgment. But, OTOH, I would like her to be able to keep in touch with us in case of emergency. So there are only select telephone numbers programmed into her phone that she can call, or that she can receive calls from. With 6th grade comes a new school too. With lockers. And changes of class. And a whole new host of problems. There have been drugs found on students in this school. And there was a bomb scare last year. So it seems that high school stuff is beginning to happen to the kids younger and younger now.
I'm not sure I'm ready yet. Why can't you keep them 4 years old forever? I loved 4. Out of diapers, out of the "mine, mine, mine" stage, helpful and snuggly, the world still revolves around Mom & Dad and they still know everything, able to entertain themselves or play with parents, and not yet tainted by the outside world.