After our challenging Galway school, I didn't ride Spirit for over a week. She got turned out 5 times instead. And I think that was a factor in her being a more willing mount for our following rides. Spirit simply likes having her own time to just chill out and be a horse. Maybe I wasn't giving her enough of that before, but for sure I'm going to make sure she gets plenty going forward.
Yesterday evening I arrived at the barn to see a huge full moon, light enough to let us graze the luscious grass next to the road for a few minutes.
Then Spirit got to play in the upper arena for a bit. She would trot around a bit, roll, munch on some nearby trees, walk about, then run around again and buck a little, then sniff over here and over there, munch again...
She likes to munch on the pepper trees. And she gets pepper breath. Eww. Let me tell you, pepper breath can NOT get overpowered by carrots. I gave her like 5 huge handfuls and still she had pepper breath. And yes, I have heard that pepper trees are toxic to horses - but hopefully not in the quantities she can munch in her limited turnout time. If only I owned the horse facilities...there'd be NO toxic plants on the premises at all. Sigh.
Inspired by Karen's Whip Work and also some articles on stretching on the USEA website, I've been working on some ground games with Spirit. I stand next to her hip and have her bend her head and neck to me to get a treat, then walk around to her other hip and do that as well. We work on backing up, crossing rear legs in a pivot, and do longe whip desensitization too. Spirit thinks its great because she gets carrots. =) Win win.