Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Jumpy bum

Maraschino had been a bit jumpy over the last couple of days. Not sure why, but he tried jumping out of his yard after dinner last night so I let him out and he ran off down the track bucking and then grazed till well after dark, then happily came in.

So today when I brought him in he was the same I decided to do some Parelli with him. I think we spent about an hour, in the rain on and off, in the washbay, doing all sorts of games. Started with friendly with the rope as he was jumpy with me stroking him with it.

Then friendly with the carrot stick, then with the savvy string moving around. I tried skipping up to him with low energy and smiling but he freaked out and ran backwards so retreated and skipped away from him and in front of him (not a huge wash bay) when he stopped following me (threshold at one point of the washbay).

Then tried the plastic bag/pulling back exercise form the last savvy times but he didn't move. Hmmmm.

He is very introverted - and could easily fool someone... he cocks his leg, stares and stands very still and clenches his jaw and lips. But if you look closely he is shaking and his little heart pounding.

We then did lots of head down, with me doing a Pat and crouching down on the ground and combing the rope. This worked really well. I finally started to get some lip licking and then a bit later a baby yawn.

He was jumping initially at all sorts of things like George coming round the corner in his new raincoat and at the farmer riding his motorbike next door (which he does every day) but I did lots of yo yo when he was distracted to get his attention back on me and that seemed to pay off in the end.

He started to look quite sleepy so decided I had given him enough to process, and that he would not likely get too excited about being in his yard, and I was right - even though we had really stormy conditions again (again!!) he settled well.

Saturday, July 12, 2008


It rained again today. So Garbo and I played in the wash bay (it's about 8m x 8m) while the other two watched from their yards. I got the umbrella out (since it was raining in the uncovered half of the washbay)!! and I walked with the umbrella up (facing Garbo and not facing him) with Garbo on the 12ft line. I allowed drift but he was pretty good.

He's just like Cilla's Lizzie - not too fond of new and unusual things... very skeptical and un LBI like.

Then I put him into his yard and gave them all dinner.

Tomorrow I head to London so won't see my boys for 8 days!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Green ball

I had a cunning plan today - it was really sunny so I bought all three into the yards at 2pm and let them chill out instead of pacing the gateway when I bring Garbo in. Then I brought Garbo into the washbay and groomed him - he was really enjoying the sunshine and the groom.

Then we did some head down by combing the rope - trying to 1. lighten the response and 2. get him to keep his head down for longer.

Then I practised driving the HQ and FQ by just using my fingers and energy (like saying tut tut with your index finger - but with both hands). It worked - got a full circle of FQ and a full circle HQ.

Then we reviewed lateral flexion by combing the rope only.... and then I got the green ball out - it's not as big as Pat's - it's actually a Swiss (exercise) ball.

Garbo was ok if it was on the ground but as soon as I lifted it up off the ground it wasn't the same green ball as before. Tried bouncing it towards him, and letting him follow it. It doesn't bounce that well though. Then I touched his shoulder with the ball and he jumped away, so kept on with that until he didn't jump -he wasn't happy about it but finally he stopped staring ahead and turned his head towards it, and I let it down. So we didn't get it up on his back or anything....

Then I put Garbo back in his yard without his cover so he could stand in the sun for a while, and eat hay - and I got Maraschino out. Started off giving him a groom - he is so good now...lets me brush and curry comb him everywhere and keeps trying to eat my zip on my jacket.

Then I got the ball out and he was very confident with it (he has a blue ball tied to the side of his yard and I put molasses on it), on the ground -he was licking it and moving it round. I didn't try lifting it up today.... but we bounced it.

In between his unsure moments he would bite my zip again- kind of like a security thing. In the video you can see his leg is cocked but he can seem fine but he is quite introverted. I have not decided if he is LB or RB though. Need to find my charts - wonder what box they are in!

He is really good at leading - he leads with suggestion only and keeps touching me as we walk - he never passes me.... funny how they are all different.

Then we did some yo yo - check out how clever he is on Phase 2...just need to get it to Phase 1 now.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Winning the Yo-Yo Game

Objective - to have your horse Yo-Yo snappily backwards and happily forwards with no more than four ounces of pressure.

1. Play the Yo-Yo Game. If your horse goes backwards slowly and leans on the rope when coming into you, he does not have Positive Reflexes!

The main cause of a sluggish back up in the Yo-Yo Game is wiggling the rope at Phase 1! The problem is that this is actually Phase 2, and if your horse can feel the halter move this is in fact Phase 3!

Phase 1 involves wiggling only your finger - the rope should not move.

Troubleshooting - Your horse is backing up but he's dragging his feet.
This is typical of a horse who does not have Positive Reflexes, even though he no longer has Opposition Reflexes. If you tolerate this, your horse will actually become slower and slower and his attitude will become more disrespectful.

First, notice if your horse is dragging backwards. Second, do something about it!. Accelerate through your phases to Phase 4 and when he snaps to attention and responds, quit and relax instantly! Allow him to rest for a long time (about 30 seconds) to add incentive.

Your horse leans on the rope when you bring him back.
Teach him not to lean on the rope by using your four phases more effectively.

Phase 1 - comb the rope towards you with open flat hands, have no tension or "drag" on the rope itself.
Phase 2 - keep the rhythm going and slightly coil your fingers so he can feel a little drag on the rope.
Phase 3 - Close your fingers a little more and add more drag so it feels insistent while your hands keep moving in long strokes...
Phase 4 - Lock your hands onto the rope, lean back and wait. The moment he moves his weight towards you (even before he takes a step) open your hands and return to Phase 1.

If at Phase 4 your horse is still leaning against the rope, here is another technique to add...

Walk backwards away from your horse, gradually increasing tension on the rope by increasing your pace. As soon as you feel him lugging against the feel, lift the carrot stick and string. Hold the tension in the rope, lean back, and rhythmically slap the ground towards Zone 3 until he jumps forwards towards you. Release, the start again. Pretty soon your horse will jump forward as soon as he feels any pressure from the halter and lead rope.

When your horse comes in to you play the Friendly Game and allow him to rest.

Note - make sure you are leaning back when you do this and not reaching forward trying to touch your horse. This will only drive him backwards! You need to touch the ground or your horse behind the Drive Line so he feels compelled to come forward. Work towards being able to keep your feet still again.

LOL Garbo has no problem coming to me unless of course I have been backing him into a narrow space and he arrives there finally -he doesn't want to come out again because he knows I will stop him half way and make him go backwards again so he thinks - I'll just stay here - save all that tooing and fro-ing.!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Winning The Driving Game

It's been to wet to do anything so here's more from the old Level 2 booklet (1). It helps me to write (type) it out...

Objective - to be able to use the slightest suggestion and have your horse respond when playing the Driving Game.

1. Gradually build the distance and quality of your Driving Game from Zone 1 (backwards up to 20ft), Zone 2 (move the front end up to two full circles) and Zone 3 (move the hindquarters up to two full circles).

2. Phase 1 should take no more than a "Schwiegermutter look" and the slightest point of your finger. From there the phases become bigger motions until Phase 4 is actual contact with the horse. Make sure your horse is able to see it coming (end of the rope, the carrot stick or your hand), and has the option to do something to avoid it before you make contact.

Success Tip - Rhythm is an important ingredient in the Driving Game. Make sure you develop excellent rhythm in your fingers and arms when teaching your horse to move away from suggested pressure.

Pitfalls - not starting at Phase 1 and not being prepared to go to Phase 4 if necessary.

Thursday, July 3, 2008


I am not one who really agrees with yarding horses. I like to keep them as close to being a natural horse as possible. Neither of my boys have shoes, and I try not to over-rug.

Our new property has quite a bit of mud being that it's winter so I have been yarding them. The yards are outdoor with half of the 8x4m yard having a roof, but they are open air. It saves my grass for half the day (night) and keeps them out of the mud for 12 hours too. I designed them so as far as yards go I am pretty happy with them. The boys seem to enjoy being in there at night. Every morning they have post peelings all through their tails. So - for winter - I like my yards!

So - to make myself feel better - we have had some fun giving them some stable toys... an empty milk bottle with holes in it, and some molasses inside.

Very entertaining!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Paper Road walk

Next to our property there is a 10m wide road which is what's called a paper road -meaning it's on paper but not formed (just grass). So Michelle and I took the three boys for a walk up the right of way and then on to the paper road. It was good for them to have a change of scenery...there were two lots of neighbours dogs running to the gate and barking (two alsations in one and a great dane and boxer in another). The grass on the paper road was about 4 ft high so they thought it was very cool. Garbo led the way and I didn't have any problems with him stopping - mind you Michelle had the boys right behind us.

We had some sun too!!

I found a large fence post that I'll be able to use for a log in my playground that I am putting together slowly. I have some tractor tyres down by my office - just have to figure out how to get them home. Then I'll fill them up with dirt.