Luzia Minera is a 9 year old, 16.2 HH, retired race horse with names like Aljabr and Secretariat on her pedigree. Luzia moved to Abundance Farms on November 1st, 2012. She’s a gorgeous mare. With an attitude. A big attitude.
Luzia doesn’t know how to walk. She knows how to run. When we picked up Luzia Minera, she was underweight and had hooves all sorts of cracks making their way up. It was obvious that she needed a little more love than she was getting.
Riding Luzia was a horror story most of the time, especially with someone like me who is still learning and figuring everything out. Luzia’s walk was a trot that more-often-than-not escalated to a canter. It came to the point that I was afraid to ride Luzia. There was part of me that was done. I wanted a good beginner safe horse, not a horse that I could only take on walks with the leadline (at this point, “walk” = me being pulled around). The other side of me simply adored Luzia. She was stunning and watching her run in her pasture was absolutely breathtaking. This led me to my decision to seek training.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t have $800+ to get my horse trained. I was barely able to afford my current horse riding instructor. I finally had to change instructors to one more local in order to conserve petrol. This was a great decision that opened a plethora of doors for me.
My new instructor, Hope (Urban Acres, Waco, TX), is a woman of many hats. She came to Abundance Farms and trimmed Luzia’s hooves for me. Luzia’s hooves don’t even look the same anymore! I didn’t realize how bad Luzia’s feet were until I saw how much better they looked after the trim. Hope predicts it will take around 8 months with regular trims for Luzia’s feet to be rid of cracks.
After the trimming, Hope began a training session with Luzia and I. Rather than simply working with Luzia, Hope worked with Luzia AND I. Hope equipped me with the knowledge to work with Luzia myself for the next few weeks.
Luzia’s training session today was the best time I’ve had with her since she came to the farm. Currently, Luzia is learning to walk and listen. It’s all lunging. The first part is simple – take Luzia out of her pen. Normally, Luzia drags me out of the pen. If Luzia tries to get ahead of me, I tug up and down on her line firmly, which gets her to back away from me (she does look thoroughly offended when I do this). Next, comes the lunging.
Lunging Luzia left me sore in the past. She would pull against the line, go from a walk to a run without any notice, and would throw her head like a mad woman. Yesterday, Luzia exhibited some of this behavior with Hope. Through pressure-and-release as both punishment and reward, Luzia began to do normal circles.
Today, Luzia was a different horse to me. Normally, Luzia does these crazy shapes around me that were something like circles. This time was much different. Rather than getting out there and dragging me while I tried to stay in the center of the “circle”, Luzia calmly walked. In a circle. One of Luzia’s donkey friends came over and attempted to distract Luzia. While the donkey did start to succeed (Luzia pulling against the line slightly, trying to stop and hang out with the donkey), I was able to quickly correct her behavior with a firm tug and release. After 20 minutes or so, the donkey wasn’t an issue anymore.
Luzia did have one spazz attack. Luzia must have started to feel a little lazy because she kept trying to stop and eat grass. I gave her a firm tug and her head went up, threw back, and she began her run. Normally, this could last a while. I’d try to stay my ground and instead, end up with sore arms. This time, it lasted 10 seconds at most. We changed directions a few times and continued our lesson.
At the end of the lesson, it came time to go back to the pen. At first, we just walked around the pasture a little. I was confident and FINALLY not being dragged. After this, we made our way to the pen. It wasn’t til we got to the gate did Luzia decide to speed up. Firm tug til she backed away and then release. Luzia and I walked to her water buckets before I took off the line. Luzia walked away and I went into the house, feeling more confident about Luzia than ever before.
Tomorrow, Luzia and I will be lunging again. The first half will be lunging without tack on and the second half will be with tack. At the end of this week, I’m hoping to have a new helmet ordered and then will begin the next part of Luzia’s journey.