Since Kaya is making great progress, it is time to write an update. Sometimes it feels like the progress is so steady, there is not much news... But there is! So here is a great summary of the last 4 months together, time flies when you're having fun :-)
In the first 3 months of this year we did a lot of walking together. She was stabled and in winter we were limited in the things we could do. But we have spent a lot of time side by side. Leading a horse seems like just a way to bring your horse from A to B. But if you spend much more time side by side and go on longer walks together, your relationship will improve!
Kaya and I have discovered all surroundings together. We even made walks through the small forest nearby. We spent time together every morning and every evening and enjoyed each other's company.
Once we could walk together in a very synchronized way with the halter, Kaya has learned to carry a bridle.
I don't want the first experience with a bit to be at the same time as introducing a rider. I also don't want the bit to have a big impact from the very beginning.
As you can see in this picture, I am using the flash from the nose band in a very traditional way. The flash goes through the bit ring. The complete nose band is not tight in any way.
Then with the lead attached to the flash and the bit ring, Kaya has learned the translation. Pressure on the nose is corresponding with the known feeling of the halter. The feeling on the bit is never strong because it is attached to the nose band, but it is matching in timing and starts to make sense to the horse. Later in riding this will be a benefit!
Although we have also made progress with groundwork, lunging and cavaletti work, I could not wait for spring to arrive! Kaya made it very clear that she is a strong young horse that needs to move. My plan was to introduce her to the herd of horses that live outside 24/7. My other horse has been part of this herd for 2 years now and in April it was finally time for Kaya to join.
As you know, introducing a new horse into a herd can be quite the challenge. But there is a separate stable in the covered shelter where Kaya spent the first weeks. During the day she was introduced to the herd in the pasture but back in the stable at night. After another few weeks the temperatures went up and she was accepted so now she is free to move 24/7 and also spending the nights outside.
Kaya is a very happy horse. She is still growing, looking healthy, feeling good in her body. The training that we do now is physically easy for her and mentally she is very balanced. She is willing and always looking for the right answer. She loves the attention and praise during our work. When I start with my other horse Kai and then bring him back to the herd, Kaya can't wait to come with me next! There is no better feeling in the world than when your horse always wants to spend time together.
Because she had a few weeks to adapt to the herd life, we trained less. I didn't want to disturb the conversations between all horses too often. But now the greatest time has arrived!
Over the last 2 weeks I have started riding!
In December we practiced mounting and I could sit on her as a passenger. At that time my boyfriend helped and he did the groundwork with Kaya. I just followed along in the saddle and that was a good experience all together.
Now that she is stronger and so relaxed and happy, I have been riding 3 times per week. The first time I only wanted to practice mounting, to see how it goes. But she was so sweet and unimpressed, that I let her take me on a tour through the arena! Since that day it is clear we can keep progressing. So now we can mount and ride walk and trot, by ourselves, indoor and outdoor, with just the halter. I love to start bitless because the aids are not refined yet.
My vision and goals for this horse are my biggest motivation. Even after long days working in the office I am determined to go out and play. Now that she is making such progress and offering her sweet kind partnership, I am filled with joy and can't wait for our next adventures...
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