This week, Mistie proved we needed to spend a bit of extra time working on Leading By the Hind Feet. Initially, she did a fair bit of kicking. Then, she didn't have a lot of try & would just allow a hind foot to be suspended behind her for several minutes before she would try to pull it away. It took quite a while that first day to get her to follow the pressure & take a step back. We've been building on that one step throughout the week.
Today, I was very pleased with her response! She quickly followed the feel of the rope on that leg to where I barely had to pick up on the rope to get a response.
I also did a bit of work with a flank rope (very soft cotton) today. She did throw in some pretty good kicks initially but flipped to thinking versus reacting & began backing off of the pressure. The wheels were sure turning & that's just the response that I was looking for. I wanted to teach her a better response/answer than tense up &/or buck. When I took the rope off of her hindquarters & dropped it on the ground around her hind feet & asked her to step forward out of it, she felt it on her hind legs & immediately took a nice step back!
As a trainer, I hope that I've prepared these horses well enough to respond correctly in moments where it really counts (i.e., caught up in wire) & it's tough to safely put horses in situations like that to "test" that response. However, the response she gave to the flank rope around her legs was a nice unintentional test that she passed with flying colors.
During her time standing tied, she's also been wearing the snaffle bit. The first day, she just stood tied with it. She worked her mouth a bit as to be expected since she's not yet worn it since being here. Yesterday & today (Friday), she stood tied & she got to wear it during groundwork & then I introduced direct pressure with flexing (you've likely worked on this already as she did pretty well).
Next week, we'll be back to riding again. Mistie will go through the checking around process & will have her first ride in the snaffle...finally. We'll review our previous exercises before adding spurs & working on softening the ribcage with Bend at a Walk.
Next week's update will be posted Friday night/Saturday morning.