I did it! I worked with Rowan for ten minutes. Thirteen, actually. Of course it took more than thirty when you add in all the pre- and post-stuff I have to do. The hardest part was getting her back in the dry lot without letting the other horses out!

I started by just letting Rowan out in the front area, sans halter. She has had a halter on, oh, half a dozen time maybe, so putting it on was to be my first exercise. I got asked her to target my hand, then the halter, then I put my arm over her neck, and then I spilled it on. No fuss.

Next we worked on leading. Really, we just worked on following my target hand and walking beside me. We did just a step or two at a time because when I did this with her a couple of times last summer, she was cranky and bitey. Today she wasn’t cranky at all, so no problem. Still, we did this just for a minute, and then I decided to introduce her to a brush.

I honestly can’t remember if I’d introduced her to a brush before. I tossed a rope around her a bit to see if she was going to be spooky with me working around her body, and she had no problem with it, so I began brushing her.

By this time I had gotten rid of the lead rope because I didn’t want to hold it, so she took a step away a couple of times. She was particularly prone to do it if I moved back to stand near her middle or back end — she prefers me to stand in front of her. But even when she moved away, all she did was turn around and position me in front of her again.

Very successful first session! She remembers a lot.

I’m in no real hurry with her. Although she hasn’t had her hooves trimmed, they look fantastic. (Really. Very even and beautifully shaped.) Even if everything goes 100% perfectly, I wouldn’t back her until she’s three — summer of 2008, and I wouldn’t have someone begin lightly riding her (walk/trot) until a year after that. So we’ve got nothing but time.

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