Saturday, March 22, 2008

13th day

Poor Garbo has been a paddock ornament apart from about two play sessions in the last 13 days. Yes, almost two weeks since we have had a nice day together and a ride.

So decided today was a day to take a day off from painting fence posts and spraying weeds up at the farm and it was a horse day!

We headed off to Royal Oak and first of all I let him loose into the paddock which Scribble and Maraschino are in (his new paddock mates at our place)... to let them have a little run around and a play. Well it was all go as you can see...

Once introductions were out of the way "good to see you again old mate" and all that - Garbo could not decide if he should check out the paddock, or play, or both.

Garbo checked out the water trough, decided the water was crap (it is), and turned around to see he had two shadows. It was so funny. Maraschino and Scribble looked on as Garbo left his mark by rolling.... they kept looking at him like "ooooohhhh a big horse" ..

Garbo seemed more interested in the horse next door who was two years old rather than these babies which don't play!

The thing I have always loved about Garbo is that even though he is usually always the boss - he is very social. I have never seen him kick or bite another horse yet. He'll use phase one alot!

But at the end of the day they all really got on well I was really pleased.

So this is the most active they got...

After all that I took Garbo back to the stables and saddled up for a ride. My friend was riding her horse and then she stopped to help get some other people's horse loaded, which took a while. We did some walk and trot and a little canter in the arena and Garbo was cruisy as. Then we went down the back for a bit and moseyed. When I came back my friend was riding towards me and asked me if Garbo was really quiet today? I said he was.. and she said "because you don't have your helmet on!" Oh my goodness - I had completely forgotten to put it on! So we went back and I put it on. Just goes to show how relaxed I am now riding.

We went down the back and I had a trot around the bridle path and Garbo was really good. Then he headed straight for the water jump. I nearly rode him in - then I though - what if he jumps in, oh and my new Parelli girth will get wet - so I got off, took all his tack off, including his hackamore and he ran straight into the water. My friend did the same with her horse and we sat there watching them for ages.

The 2 year old was looking over from his paddock wishing he was there too - so we let him out and they all had a big run around, then ran back into the water...Garbo jumping in from the cross country end! Then they all ran out and Garbo ran up the bank and then cross country jumped off the end of it!

Talk about making up for lost time.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Ride today

I decided to ride today - even though it was back to bedlam at the farm. Tractors fertilising, kids riding bikes, wind, horses arriving (another new grazer), horses going out, two in the arena trying to ride their horses who seemed to be picking up on the extremely busy atmosphere...

Anyway - as crazy as it seemed I got on. Had carrots in my pocket.

Decided not to attempt the arena - much too much energy going on. We headed for the paddock down by the driveway (away from barn and other horses) and Garbo was doing the 'no - I want to go back that way' trick and just turning his head and bracing when I would try and lift his opposite rein and lead him back on the track....

So - I decided to take a leaf out of Cilla's book, and just keep at it. I kind of treated it like tit for tat crossed with follow the track/trail. After what seemed like ages we got to the paddock - the distance of about 30m took about 5 minutes - seemed like ages longer.

What happens, like Cilla, when he gets so determined to go back, and does a 180, he tenses up when I try to turn him the other way, or I do first perhaps, and then I get nervous he will bolt or buck. But I stayed focused and determined to be a leader. We got in the paddock and he would go up one side (the closest side to the barn) and back to the gate, but not any further away form the barn. We did a little bit of tit for tat to try and get further away but I didn't want it to turn into a fight so I reverted to PPL and let Garbo take me where he wanted to go.

Funnily enough he didn't go back to the barn/stable/tie up area, he went to the race at the back of the barn - which is of course the race which is lined with paddocks of 7 horses down one end and 5 down the other end. We walked down the race and I used follow the rail to keep him away from the electric fence. He tried to turn at one stage but I kept his head straight. We went into the paddock at the other end and there was a bucket in there - the horse was in the arena so I thought of a good game that someone on the forum does. Instead of handing Garbo the treats - each time we trotted or cantered to the bucket I threw a carrot piece into the bucket. So that was fun.

Heading back down the race after a bit, I felt a bit nervous getting too close to the tractor so I got off just before the barn.

So - fair way to go yet before we get to Cilla's page in the book with this. But I'll keep on doing what she has been doing as I think our horses are very similar.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Saturday - part one

Today - our last day before the dressage people of the yard arrived home, we had a digger and truck to contend with - of all things. Before I started Parelli there was a digger in the same place as it was today - and everytime I led Garbo towards it - at about 100ft away he would 180 degree spin, pull the rope out of my hands and high-tail it outta there - away from the digger.

Today I led him right past it - calm as - okay well he sped up a teeny bit (walking) and put me between the digger and him but we passed within 30ft of it - I was very impressed.

The truck kept backing past us while we were grooming too - Garbo was a bit worried but I just let him move his feet.

Check out the veins in his legs! Odd. It was pretty hot.

Liberty today

Well since it was the last day before the Dressage gang got back from HOY I decided to get some hay bales and put them in the paddock and play yo yo between them. Had two bales high on each side, and started about 5ft apart I guess - Garbo got it really quickly (and he didn't even try and eat the hay) - so I made them closer so they were touching his sides a little. After a few tries he got that ok too. The thing he had trouble with for a bit was once he was all the way through them (coming forwards to me - he had trouble yo yo-ing straight back from so far, so would go crooked. (The same problem we have in the stall door).

Anyway - he managed it in the end so I put two aside and laid the other two on the ground like a jump and asked him to send over the jump - he put his foot on it and tipped it over. I asked again - and again, after he would either go round the far end or my end!

Finally - he went through the middle of the two - seperating them - it was so funny - and the ultimate squeeze!

Then we went into the hill therapy paddock to do some liberty. I had some more videos but my camera ate them! I started with medium range stick to me and slowly got him out further. At longer range he bucked everytime I asked him to stay out but it actually helped his confidence I think in the end because I wasn't telling him off - just laughing.

When he was further out near the edge of the paddock I found moving back to Zone 5 and going closer to him would help him not change direction. He did less of the 'look out of the paddock and change direction' today.

Here's a little video - we got better later - but that one got deleted. Had the bucks and all it was so cool. I'll try again tomorrow.

The paddock we were in is next to the house where the yard owner lives, but her 'in laws' have been staying looking after the kids. About an hour later after I had put Garbo back and fed him the mother-in-law came rushing over to me and said "thank you for that wonderful display - it was so amazing". The Yard Owner was like 'what'? and the mother-in-law said 'her horse was dancing around her'!

Cool huh!

Friday, March 7, 2008


Today was a great day for me and Garbo. We really achieved a lot with our liberty - in a big paddock. I realised that he does not like to be too far from me at liberty if I am asking him to do something. Fine if he can just do his own thing and graze.

We started with circle online on the hill (we were in the hill paddock).

No - hang on - back up - I missed a bit. I did some more desensitising with the plastic bag, then with the umbrella like in the Savvy Club DVD - except I didn't have another person so I had to hold the rope (22ft) and the umbrella.

He smelled it first and would have been okay except it's one of those automatic opening ones and I had forgotten it was, and had released the button and just as Garbo was smelling it it opened. I had to laugh! He snorted and backed up very fast about 5 ft. So then I closed it and opened it again and he snorted again and jumped away sideways.

I started walking away opening and closing it - he was pretty good -looking all pretty and cresty as they do when something is a little scary/interesting.

But you know what the funniest thing was? There was two non-Parelli horses 5 paddocks away and they were freaking out!!! Running around- eyes on sticks....

I hid behind the hedge so they couldn't see us do the rest. Basically after a few minutes he was pretty crusiy but I didn't try walking towards him with it. I stuck it on the ground open and the first time he sniffed it, the line moved it at the same time and he snorted again.

Once he was grazing I closed it for the day and left it on the ground - at the end of our hill therapy and liberty he just walked right next to it no problem.

So - back to the hill therapy - we missed a few days. He finds it hard to walk down the hill, so trots. I tend to do some travelling circles during the hill therapy but I walk in a large circle so that Garbo can make some bigger circles (sounds like a need the 45ft line doesn't it)! Means he can go in some straight lines up and down hill as well.

Then I took the line off and the circle game was a bit of a disaster - he ran off to the gate and changed direction. I tried backing more to Zone 5 so I didn't block Zone 1 unconsciously. That seemed to work. Then I decided that was a bit hard for him (he was about 45 feet or more away from me mostly) so I changed it and did some stick to me - he loves that game! We did it all round the paddock and a couple of changes of direction too.

I then asked for some circles again and he went to the outside of the paddock again and did a few gallops and bucks, when I asked him in (interesting) and then cantered/galloped in to me - slid to a stop and stood there all puffed and kind of trembling. A sure sign of a little bit of unconfidence still. We stood for ages and I let him graze.

Right at the end I asked for a circle around me and I managed to get a lovely canter circle about 12 ft away from me - that was the best he has done at liberty so we ended it there.

Once back at the stables we tried backing into the stall again but he still is unconfident - think I need an in between challenge for him. We backed into the wash bay and had a bath back to front for a change. Might set up some hay bales tomorrow while everyone is still away and slowly make them closer together.

Then I went to see Maraschino and gave him some dinner and introduced him to the bot knife - poor thing was covered in bot eggs. I don't have that problem with Garbo because the poos are picked up. Then I brushed him and led him and Scribble to their new paddock (new grass so they will be happy).

Tuesday, March 4, 2008


It was a quiet day at the yard - and lovely weather - everyone else is at Horse of The Year so I made the most of the peace and quiet and headed up there early.

I let Garbo have a graze in the race while I made up his dinner and breakfast for the next day, and then brought him in. The farrier arrived to shoe Deva so we had a brush (untied) while they were trying to control Deva while sticking hot shoes in his feet, while tied.

Once the burning smell started I headed off to play with Garbo - we went and did some great hill therapy and then some sideways and changes of direction.

Once they had finished headed back to saddle up - Garbo was quite hot at this stage so I think he was in a can't be bothered mood. He stood still for mounting and we went straight towards the paddock with the hill, that we had just been in. This means going partially down the drive way and he did his 180 degree turn a few times. I took a page out of Cilla's book and decided to be persistant and kept asking, like tit for tat, until we got there - really only took about 2 minutes - so not that bad.

In the paddock riding we did tit for tat also because he didn't want to go down the bottom of the hill (that would mean getting back up it again - also bottom of the hill is further down the driveway). But after some (lots) of 90 degree turns down the hill each time he veered more than 45 degrees - we got there! And then trotted back up - how I love trotting up hill.

Did that a few more times and then let Garbo decide where would walk to after that. He headed out of the gate and up the race (where all the other horses are) - surprise surprise.

We trotted down the race a few times also.

He spooked at the float park (in between the two races) because I had a towel drying in the sun - hanging off my car side mirror - and just as we were walking past - it fell off! (The towel not the mirror)... anyway - teeny tiny "what was that" jump and that was that.... didn't get unseated.

I consciously decided to laugh with Garbo everytime something interesting happened. :-)
After we unsaddled and washed - I led him back to his paddock at liberty.... well nearly...

Heading back to paddock....

Checking out that scary damn towel.

On the way Garbo decided to look in my car for treats....
Heading back to the paddock - inside the paddock we have a bit of a routine...we run to the feed bowl and I take his halter off, then give him a carrot...