The New Girl in School- or- Start as You Mean to Go On!

This is Jamaica! Well that's not her registered name but that's what everyone at the barn calls her and it was stuck to her when we arrived in NY in 2009.

Jamaica is the oldest baby out of E Ses, one of the super stars of Mike's lesson program. E Ses has four babies...Jamaica, Fiona, Zenith and Solomon. Solomon, the youngest has been a lesson horse since the age of 4, Zenith became Monica Acee's side kick in 2012, and Fiona joined up with Martha this past weekend. So guess what? It's Jamaica's turn. I thought it would be interesting to follow her progress because up til now, she's only been haltered and handled for vet and farrier days and she's (holy S@#!) 9 years old! No wonder she's wondering what's going on. While she's been on a trailer at some point, she didn't need to get on one today to "start school". She's got a nice big pen with a huge run in shed, free choice grass hay and a group of pals...Verdi (he came in today too), Rufio, Kat and Harmony.

Today's goal was bring her in to see if a) she knew how to tie and b) she how she behaved for basic grooming. But like most horses, she quickly let us know where we actually needed to start her education.

It began with the lead into the barn. A distance of 40 yards which took 15 minutes to do properly. The pictures that follow are a good example of taking the time to do something the right way, which is not always the most convenient way. Jamaica was understanably concerned about leaving her herd and about all this weird stuff she had to go by (including the horse trailer). And we understood her concerns. But rather than roll with the plan of "she'll learn to lead by this stuff as she gets used to it", Mike used it as Lessons One and Two. One being "cluck means go" (she was really pretty good at that) and Two being "stay in your own space"...that was really what he worked on today.

After one attempt at evasion, she was really pretty great about having the halter put on.

Hmmm, a bit excited to be leaving her group, but basically nicely mannered.