Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Update on Coco

I haven't posted alot lately since it's been so wet we haven't done alot except UDT. I thought I would give you an update on Coco though... a Before (January 2009) and After - June 30.

  • Looking at him or facing him, or walking towards (or in fact in the general direction of him) he would walk away and face out to the edge of the paddock and often stand there then for an hour or two.
  • Offering him a treat he would try and come towards you but lose confidence and walk away as if treats and people were not relevant. Although he did seem interested in the treat initially.
  • If I waited long enough (looking away holding the treat out) he would grab it after about 5 minutes and jump away, especially if he touched my hand in error (error in his mind).
  • If I did things with the other horses he would just carry on grazing
  • He took alot of coaxing to get into his yard, and then I would have to put his bucket down and turn away and I stood up and retreat quite quickly. He would cower in one corner, and wait till I had gone before eating.
  • Looking at him doesn't bother him, I can walk up to him, around him, as long as I don't reach out (unless I have a treat) at the same time.
  • He never stands on the edge of the paddock looking out now
  • He will trot or canter up to me to get a treat and doesn't care if his muzzle touches my hand, in fact I leave it there while he eats the treat to get him comfortable with that.
  • He comes when I call him (in the hope of food!)
  • While I clean out his yard at night he comes over and tentatively sniffs my hair/face and pockets/hands.
  • I can duck under the yard rails to do his yard from the next one without him jumping away
  • I can clean up poos around him without him jumping away, he just stands there - a little nervous if I get really close
  • I can hold out my hand and pat his muzzle
  • Most days now I can reach out if he is standing relaxed and scratch his hiney for about 30 seconds (before he takes one step away).
  • He plays with Maraschino every day - they canter and trot around playing tag.
  • When I bring the boys in to the wash bay for a groom he comes running up too and stands in the washbay like a big horse as well.
All in all I think a very pleasing result so far. He is definitely innately Left Brain and definitely Introvert. I think deep down he is one very brave pony. When he is cantering around I can just see a little (gentle) child riding him having a ball.

None of my brothers and sisters have any young children and only one possible to have any now... hmmmm - oh well. Who cares.
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Saturday, June 27, 2009

Rain reprieve

It was supposed to rain most of today but it didn't so I decided to move the padastal to drier land. Maraschino was very keen to help. It's really heavy and keep sliding off the wheelbarrow everytime the wheel hit a hole but we made it. Maraschino followed along behind, with his shadow, Coco, following him.

Then I haltered Garbo - he was keen to be haltered and I didn't even bore him with a groom - off we went to play up by the driveway and the private road. I saw my friend this morning in the local cafe and we made a forest ride date for Friday so I have some work to do (preparation I should say), before then.

So off Garbo and I went for a graze and a play - I asked him on the pedastal - in it's new place - and he was more interested in the grass for a bit but then he figured it out.

Maraschino hadn't even looked up from grazing at this stage so off we went up towards the gate, and through the gate to the private road. We went from grass patch to grass patch, and then to see the sheep. He's seen sheep before but you wouldn't have known it.

Off down the road a bit more, driving from Zone 3, and trying to keep Garbo on the end of the 22ft. See his one ear on me.

On the way back again and Maraschino was waiting for us. You might be able to make him out by the float below. We had actually been back a couple if times before this to see how he was. Maraschino was a bit snorty at one point but I think it was just seeing the goats a bit closer up than normal.

George joined me for another walk back up the road at one stage and we had a chat to the neighbours.

By the time we finished coming and going Maraschino was happy grazing.

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Saturday, June 20, 2009

Grooming time

The sun finally came out and stayed out near the end of last week so I decided to take the boys covers off yesterday and let them get some Vitamin D. Trouble was that the paddocks were still quite wet and muddy so they took quite a bit of grooming last night!

First I let Garbo have a graze on the long grass next to the wash bay while maraschino willed himself over there. This is such a cute photo of him licking the barrel - he loves the barrel. Once we put a little bit of beer on it for him and ever since then he licks it when ever he is near it.

He also licks the solar fence panel! And the picnic table. He's a funny wee thing. I haltered him easily and brought him into the washbay for his groom as well (I take turns between the two of them).

As you can see Coco came in as well. He stodd about where he is in this photo but facing out at one stage so I could reach his hind end and still brush Maraschino so I decided to reach out to give Coco a scratch on the back while I was looking at Maraschino and brushing him. It worked Coco didn't budge. I kept scratching and then looked at him - he looked back at me without turning his head and I kept on scratching. Then - I got the brush and started brushing his hair gently. He coped for about 30 seconds (that's quite a long time) and then took a step away. Pretty cool huh!

This is the 'before' photo of Garbo - but then I forgot to take an 'after one!! Doh.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Teleseminar question

I had submitted a question about the best approach with Coco, to Pat and Linda for the last Tele-seminar - they didn't get to it but assurred us all un-answered questions would be answered by the faculty.

Got my reply today.

Sounds like you have done a great thing in rescuing your new friend Coco! What you are describing is an untame horse. He has lost trust in the human touching him, just like a child who will shy away from someone who has been abusive. Pat calls this "unpetable". So, the taming process (or retaming in his sense because it's about undoing the old negative patterns and reinstalling positive ones) is where you should start.

This isn't always easy, and requires a great deal of feel, timing and balance. If you feel ready you can take your time doing it, but I would actually recommend a Parelli Professional to help with it. If you are in New Zealand, both Russell Higgins and Jackie Chant are wonderful. The reason I recommend a professional is because it can be dangerous and you could instil more negative patterns if you were just a bubble off in your savvy.

Yeah well - Jackie and Russell don't really do lessons and they live hours away - it's not like we have a Parelli Professional on demand in NZ really is it. Sure they squeeze in the odd lesson around the rare Auckland clinic, but wouldn't it be nice to say how bout Sunday?!

The thing is - I have to be able to catch him and halter him to do any of this.... and I guess what I wanted to know was do I do what ever it takes to do that, with the goal of spending a few hours on line after that 're-naturalising' him, or do I wait and use approach and retreat to gradually build his trust at liberty, and then halter him.

Phew... my brain hurts thinking about it.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Out of the blue play session

Yesterday Jane was kind enough to bring her new float around from an hour south of here, for me to look at. Jane used to have a KaraKar Float (and love it) like mine. Hana has one too. We met at a Parelli clinic - funny hey - three KaraKars. Anyway - my KaraKar is now too small really for Garbo and Maraschino together because Maraschino is so long and tall. And there is no way Garbo would travel back in coach class - not after having his business class seat for so long - with the window and the hay and the carrot side table!

Anyway - we had a good look over the float and saw all the good features that Jane had got transferred from the KaraKar, plus so other ideas of her own she wanted to add. It was great.

After looking through the Mastery Manual on Focus and a quick look at Jane's new book called "It's not about the ribbons", (oh and a soy latte) - we went back to the float and I got Garbo from the paddock. He came over straight away - he has been wondering where I have been I think - he sees me every day but I have been so busy with moving that we have had no grooming or play time. More importantly for Garbo - grass time!

Jane offered to hold Maraschino so he didn't get anxious and I accepted her offer. As you will know - after doing Parelli - there are not many people you trust with holding your horse - especially a right brain one, but knowing Jane through her blog and emails now, I did not hesitate - in fact it was wonderful.

It was great to see someone else practising love language and leadership, just the way I would, and especially with Maraschino who is still only a baby - you worry with others that they will disrespect him or knock his confidence.

Jane was very thoughtful and kept Maraschino in view while I played with Garbo on the ramp. I did everything completely direct line though - went out with the intention of seeing if Garbo would fit in the float. No preparation, no treats - what was I thinking!?

Sure enough he got up the ramp and stopped. And looked at me. I asked again and he took half a milli-step. After a while I walked on and he followed me right in - but he then tried to turn around and bumped his bum and rushed off backwards clipping his head on the fibreglass roof edge - it wouldn't have hurt but he lost his confidence and started hiding under my arm.

We did a few other things like up one step, back one step etc so he was confident again and then I left it and gave Garbo to Jane to babysit while I tried Maraschino. He was very cool and sniffed the ramp, walked up the ramp and smelled the inside. I left it at that because he was so brave.

We then took them both for a walk up the driveway. Maraschino was a little tense but he was really brave and tried hard to touch his nose on things, like the port-o-loo, the shrub next door, the solar light - meanwhile Garbo just ate grass and anything else he could reach (like the neighbours plants)!

Then Jane had to go and brave the traffic back home and we put the boys back into the muddy paddock. Maraschino hung around which is unusual - but a good sign!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Parelli day

Check out the ice on the yards this morning.

It was very much a Parelli day today.

I got home to find my Level 2 Graduate Parelli Certificate and Blue String - woohoo, and then I got the E-News Parelli email and saw my submission.

Took Garbo grazing again, then groomed him, then after Maraschino walking away twice from the halter he finally decided to stick his nose in the halter and I cleaned out his feet - always a challenge but getting better.

I left them out tonight with hay - it's been freezing, literally, this last week but tonight's going to be a balmy 5 degrees, and Maraschino looked as though he had done laps of the yard through all his poos last night so thought I would give him a night out.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Right brain vs Left brain

Early this morning after putting the boys out Maraschino saw something scary next door - I dodn't for the life of me know what it was.... perhaps it was the boy next door that lives in his white hoodie.... anyway - can you see the reaction of Garbo versus Maraschino...

Garbo - say what?! oh - what ever - more hay for me...
Maraschino - eeeeeeeek
Coco - I'm off to eat

Grazing time

I decided Garbo and I were just going to have some grazing time today. There is not much grass in the paddocks so I took him out next to the wash bay.

Maraschino came running up as if to say 'can I have some too?'

I tied Garbo's rope to the fence and got Maraschino's halter and went up to him - he turned and walked away twice so I drove him very very slightly - and he ran back into the paddock to eat grass instead. Funny!

Afterwards I did his feet and brushed him and put his cover on. I managed to comb Maraschino's mane while he was at the fence.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Grass time

Took both the boys, one at a time for some grazing and playing beside the driveway. Garbo had a little jump around when I opened the gate for George (he thought we were leaving) but after that he was fine (and out of our sight) and behaving well.

Maraschino was alot braver today but still a little tense. I don't have to do anything much to move him on to the next grass spot - basically take a deep breath and up my energy and he looks up and moves forward. Garbo on the other hand goes 'say what!?'. I used the 45 again today with Garbo - if anyone reading this has broken theirs in - did you use gloves the first time you 'played'?

Got some 24ft-30ft sideways (thanks for that Jane)... I didn't take the carrot stick so the other end of the 45 worked well to remind his hind end to move over. Next time I'll take the stick too.

Back to Maraschino - we did a little circle, driving, yo yo up hill, and touch it.

So - a short play - but better than nothing right.!