Sunday, July 26, 2009

Cilla's Savvy Challenge

12 hours previous Cilla had done this in the UK on Lizzie, and she wanted me to do it today too. So here we are, Garbo thought this was the best ride ever- he didn't have to move lol. As you can see he was completely non-plussed like Lizzie. It was easier than I thought actually - and the standing in one stirrup was easier from the far side bizarrely. Check out my spring like attire complete with gumboots.

This is where I keep the brush when I am not using it lol.

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Maraschino starting prep

Today we had a wee play and stuck Garbo's saddle blanket on Maraschino- and then the saddle.... he was at liberty and didn't seem to care. I didn't want to do the girth up yet before we do some rope round the tummy work.

Then I did some leaning on him like in the fear DVD... I had my whole weight on him in the 2nd half. See him jump when I porcupine him? I think he was a little introverted. Hmmm but he had his ears on me... we need some work on porcupine hey!

I was a bit direct line with the rope at the beginning - knew the video was on and he had walked towards me lol

My lonely 45ft line

Hee hee my 45ft line has only had two plays since I got it in March at the Sydney conference. I left it out in the sun today to try and loosen it up a bit - can't really bring myself to 'get it dirty' like everyone says I should but I know I need to!

We have only used it for grazing twice with Garbo and then for him to get used to it on him as well. It is winter and I can't play in the paddocks - roll on Spring is what I say (my 45ft does too!). We are nearly at the Equinox which means bigger jumps to more daylight minutes each day (so drier paddocks).. yay.
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Monday, July 20, 2009

My boys

The sun stayed out for the afternoon long enough for me to groom the boys and let their legs dry out before yarding them for the night. They are looking so good at the moment - very shiny.

Look at my baby boy - he's growing up. He's three years old in October!

I took ages to groom them all and plaited the big boys tails just for fun...

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Good groom progress

Coco came into the wash bay again today while the others were being groomed and stood with his bum towards me like an invitation so I started to comb his tail, then I moved up a bit more, and a bit more, and eventually (with Maraschino's help) got to the start of his mane which is a first. I got it on video too - this is video #2 so I had already been doing it for at least as long as this video when I started filming.

PLEASE excuse my singing!!!

As you can see ears forward today. I went after this. to get a brush but the spell was broken (as Cilla likes to say). I tried again and he was a bit more tense but he stood reasonably still until I brushed down the side of his tummy. So it's a game of approach and retreat at the moment to see where he is happy to have me touch him, where it's ok for me to stand etc. But great progress!

And a tail shot for Cilla...

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Coco's tail

Coco let me comb his tail today - not just for a second but to get all the knots out AND spray tail conditioner on it too!!

I was grooming the two big boys and as usual Coco came in and faced out with his back end towards me. In between combing tails of the other two (and Coco had been watching), I leaned over and touched the comb (first I let him smell the comb) on his back end near his tail. He tensed a little but didn't move away, so I combed around his hind end on top, and then thought I would see what happened if I combed his tail. I started at the top where there are short bits so easy to comb and he didn't move, so I continued. I started counting (the seconds) out loud, but he really didn't seem too bothered so I started talking to him instead, then to the others. He had his ears on me, and you could see his breathing was quite fast but he wasn't restrained so he could have moved away at any stage. I was combing quite rigourously (there were lots of knots) and he still stayed there so after a few minutes I walked away to get the mane and tail conditioner spray. Yes - I walked away first!

When I came back I put the conditioner bottle on the ground and let him sniff it (he had turned around), and combed Maraschinos tail, Coco turned around again so I combed his taile again and even stood out to the side to get the knots out.... and then picked up the spray and sprayed all his tail, he didn't move! I couldn't quite believe it.

I combed a bit more and then went to get a different brush - but by then he had had enough so I gave him a treat and left it at that - a lovely knot free tail!!!

It seems all the interaction we have each night when I clean out his yard (and then give him a treat) - plus the home made treats, is doing good. At night when I am in his yeard he sniffs my hair or my face and then licks his lips. I then move away as a reward.

I am very happy with our progress, it's taken 6 and a half months to get to this point but I know now that when he finally lets go he will be a trusting pony with a real character.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Head in the Sand

I was just re-watching the June Savvy Club DVD on the Left Brain Introvert, actually it was Linda's segment on the Right Brain Introvert, where pat was trying to get the horse to lower his head. Linda said that when a Introvert comes in to you and lowers it's head to your feet, it's going introverted, head in the sand type thing.

I was really pleased to hear that, because about a year ago Garbo and I were going through a fairly steep learning curve and often (usually after circling game, often after asking for canter), he would come in to me, and lower his head for ages. A friend said it was submission, and that it was a good thing, but I had my doubts and read it as 'hiding' and unconfidence.

He also did it during one of our early mammoth float loading sessions....
Here's the link to a video of it - gosh it was interesting watching that again today almost 2 years on.

So I was very pleased to be right (a whole year ago knowledge wise), but I guess you read your own horse the best hopefully hey.

July Teleseminar

Garbo and I in August 2007 - our first one rein, no bit ride.

I didn't send in any questions for the teleseminar this month. I didn't have any really pressing ones... but I shall think on for next time.

The clarity this month was so much better than last month - Pat sounded like he was talking on a tin can and string telephone last time.

There was lot about the new instructor courses and how a Level Three student can do a two week course and then (if they pass) become a one star instructor for just online (say). This is to help boost the instructor numbers and also to enable people who don't wish to travel the world to teach, or to teach full time, to teach the basics and safety to the local community.

I could see myself doing a bit of that one day. I know Jacqui and Russell disagree but there needs to be more instructors in NZ.

It was interesting to hear that Linda wants to ride Grand Prix Dressage but she does not want to compete anymore. I was hoping she was going to go out there and kick butt and show everyone what can be achieved in dressage naturally. But I think the message will still get through to the ones that want to hear. I can't wait for the Savvy Club DVDs on the stuff she has been learning.

Linda said it's her goal now to learn everything she can so she can then be our teacher. Yay.

There were only a few notes I made that really stuck out for me...

  1. How can you become more interesting than that grass?
  2. Dominance in the human = Leadership with a plan
  3. If the horse is unconfident - back off
  4. If the horse is dominant - back them off
  5. And on my favourtite subject of circling game with the LBI - every time he breaks re-send him or do a change of direction (which incudes a send) and play tag but only tag with a spot on the ground where the horse was - then it makes it a game of how to get away from that spot.
Interestly enough Linda said doing 20+ laps ona circle for a LBi is L3+. They don't expect it in L2 if you have an LBI.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Our morning out

I explained to Garbo and Maraschino last night and this morning when I let them into the paddock, that Garbo and I were going out for the morning and that Maraschino was 'in charge' and he should be a brave boy. This was after Maraschino going a bit right brain yesterday during our seperation training, so we had to do alot of approach and retreat to calm him down. I also did some ground work with Maraschino too last night to keep his mind busy (Pat's word's "Idle hooves are the devils workshop" echoing in my mind).

So I had a timeline plan for today;
  • 7am - get up and let the horses into the paddock, and do the yards, hay,water etc
  • 8.30am - back inside for porridge and coffee and a shower
  • 9.30am - hook the car up (I loaded the float yesterday) and stick on the new registration sticker
  • 9.40am - get Maraschino in for a play session - more rope tossing - he was so much better today!! We also did some porcupine 360s on the FQ and HQ, actually 365degrees, as Pat says it makes a difference if you go past the spot your started on.
  • 10.10am - groom Garbo - he had come in when I got Maraschino and had been waiting very patiently tied up next to us playing (rope flinging and all).
  • 10.15am - load Garbo - he went on straight away with me outside the float - I still have to pinch myself!!
  • 10.18am - give Maraschino a big bucket of lucerne forage, beet and chaff and apples and carrots!!
All good so far - no anxiety on the little guys face and eating happily (he watched me load Garbo pretty calmly).
  • 10.25am - we're off - it's a 20 minute ride, but a nice drive and quite easy.

I had to visualise Maraschino being calm and safe during the drive to Waimarie so that I was calm so I could enjoy the ride. Once I was there I didn't worry at all.

Garbo got off the float (he's never been there before) and he was very keen to look around and also to eat the long grass nearby. He didn't call out or look agitated though, as he would have 2 years ago at a new place with no horses in sight.

Soon after that, while we were saddling up, Bronwyn and Critey arrived and we left them to it while they saddled up and headed on down to the arena for some online work - omg it was so good to be in an arena again - no mud and lots of space - fabulous. Garbo was pretty excited at all the new sights - as you can see - there is a lot to look at for a horse in this arena.

We started with travelling circles at trot and then played touch it on the edges of the arena and the corners just on case there was anything spooky over the edges - better to see it now rather than spook later when I am on board! He was quite energetic and pleased to be moving I think. He looked like he was having a ball. We then did some changes of direction and sideways - all on the end of the 22ft and he didn't put a foot wrong! I was so pleased.

I decided to put my helmet on, and his hackamore on and I hopped on board. He stood still while I got on and we started with follow the rail at walk. By this stage Bronwyn and Critey had joined us and it was great to still have loads of space- such a big arena there.

It's been quite a while since I rode in an arena (and two months since we rode) and this one has a really good surface (the one at Royal Oak was quite hard) and I had forgotten how nice Garbo is to ride on a flat surface as opposed to a paddock with lumps and bumps. He prefers it too (even though arenas have not always been his favourite place). We also played corners and then I asked for trot. He lifts up into trot now and it's so nice to ride like that. On the short side (which is about 60ft long at least) he stuck his head down and bucked - I know it's coming now so was ready with a one rein stop and I asked for trot again but this time we did more transitions. We also did some direct rein turns in walk after each downwards transition.

Bronwyn wanted to do some canter work so at this point I realised I didn't have a plan so changed that right away and decided we would do figure eight pattern. Garbo was great - I was really just using my body to turn and there was no opposition reflex - just goes to show what he can do when he is motivated and enjoying himself.

Critey and Bronwyn

Then we did some sideways and Bronwyn wanted to know how we did it (our way) so I showed her and she tried to and got it. Then I showed her the position of putting your palm on your horses rump while you ride so we both did that for a while giggling away as we twisted. Then I introduced peddling as well and once I did Garbo put his head down and relaxed into the walk really nicely.

Now for the funniest part - an hour was up so I got off but misjudged the ground distance and fell on my bum as I landed on the ground. Garbo turned his head and neck and looked down at me as if to say "what on earth are you doing down there?" - then he started licking my knee and hand (I think he was looking for treats). Sweet.

He loaded a little reluctantly but when I say that I mean he waited 30 seconds, taking one last look around, and on he went. On the drive home I started to wonder how Maraschino was doing. I started my affirmation again on the way home.

I drove towards the gate and saw him way off in the distance head down eating. He looked up but didn't come running over.

I unloaded Garbo and took him back in - Maraschino just kept eating!! I was so pleased.

I saw about one or two lines of pogs where he's probably had a little run, but no race tracks round the outside or anything. I plan to go again next week.
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Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Last couple of days

hmmmm - quite a lot has happened and I have not had a chance to blog....

Monday Garbo and Maraschino had their feet trimmed by Jools and Coco came and stood in the wash bay and afterwards sniffed Jool's tools. She told him that one day soon she would be doing his feet too. He loves the homemade treats I make and he follows me everywhere very closely in the hopes of getting one.

Well - I have a ride booked at Waimarie Estate on Friday at 11am so I have been working on taking Garbo away from Maraschino everyday.

Yesterday - I let Maraschino into the hay shed paddock which has my float in it and a view of the driveway and the end of the private road that leads to our place. Well - next to this paddock (it's only a small taped of area) are the neighbours goats across the fence. Maraschino stares at them at the best of times. But yesterday they were really up close and more personal that ever.

The goats were actually quite funny and would come up to the fence and stand up on their back legs to look at Maraschino (leaning the front legs on the wire fence). Well first he started doing laps of my float bucking, I brought Garbo back in case it was that we were a distance away. He stopped briefly but looking back I think it was just distraction initially. Then he actually approached the goats and got about 6ft away in between bucking laps of my float which includes a pile of topsoil! He just stared at them and then off he went again - bucking and doing laps.

I brought Garbo back and he didn't stop so I took Garbo back into the yard, and then got Maraschino's halter. He stood still long enough for me to halter him amazingly and seemed almost relieved!

Then I took him back to the wash bay for some serious Parelli sessions. We worked on tossing the rope over his head from the front and from the side. Boy did he lick and chew alot after that. Then we did some disengaging the HQ when you take the lead rope over the far side and around their hind end and back to their head and then apply pressure to see if they can figure out they need to turn away from you to turn towards the pressure and not pull away.

After about 10 minutes he was very yawny and blinky and sleepy looking so I put him in his yard (interestingly enough Coco just stood in the wash bay with all the rope tossing)... and I took Garbo out again. I kept leaving Garbo grazing and coming back around the corner to see how Maraschino was and he just stood there looking.

I took Garbo right up the road in the end and met my sister and her three boys coming down the road in the car. Garbo promptly put his head in the back seat window and took Matthew's (8) biscuit. We jogged back while they followed us down and after a brief demo of Parelli (Garbo was showing off and posing for photos) he took two of the boys for a quick bareback ride round the washbay.

Today - I backed the float up and decided to not put Maraschino in the hay shed/goat paddock and leave him where he was. I thought it best to practise our loading since Garbo had bonked his head on Janes float last time we loaded as he 'self-unloaded in a hurry'. He was fine - went in first pop and found his treats up the front with me on the side of the ramp - yay. We even did it again.

Then - we squeezed through a really narrow gap between the float and the fence to get some grazing in and some visual seperation from Maraschino. He was fine again so I think with one more go tomorrow and some food when I leave I can stop worrying now.

Yay - really looking forward to getting out to an arena on Friday and doing some patterns and online stuff as well as riding, and also there are some nice hacks there too. I'll take my camera.

Are you satisfied with your horse?

I was reading Lisa and Ducks blog a week or so ago and she said she attended a Carol Coppinger Clinic - lucky her!

Carol asked everyone if they were satisfied with their horse and everyone in turn piped up with all the things they would like to improve with their horse.

Carol said that while we are focussing on the things we want to change in our horse they feel the pressure that they are not yet good enough, from us.

So - while it's great to have goals for our horse and ourselves, we should be happy with what we have today as well. This will take the pressure away from the horse (and perhaps ourselves).

Reminds me of a saying I like to use. Be grateful for what you have.

Look what I got for my birthday

This picture was taken with my new wireless camera from my laptop, inside the house - we are going to mount it up high in the barn looking down on the horses. I can stream it live on the net and hear them as well. Pretty cool hey. Birthday not till tomorrow but George had to go to Sydney today.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Maraschino knows where the food is

Maraschino decided he would figure out how to open the screen door so he could help himself to the buckets of food just behind it that I had just made up, or the treats I imagine.

He pushed gently against it with his nose and it moved a little, a jumped a little and then realised it was working so he pushed a bit more.
After a while I had to go inside and I left the screen door open - I turned around to see all of his head an neck inside (it's quite dark inside) and I backed him out again, as I did his head went up a little and his ears touched the top of the door frame but he didn't panic one little bit.

Garbo is addicted to these new treats I made. See my other blog for details. Anyway - he opens my hands if they are in a fist to see where the treats are, searches my pockets (all of them), sticks his nose between my arm and body to move my arm out a bit so the search can continue. He is very funny. But very insistent - I need to be this insistent with him.

I decided last night that every time he got a treat he would have to earn it by doing something - we tried head down but that was just not working as his nose just kept trying to follow my hand (up down up down)... so we did back up. So every time I give him a treat now I am going to ask him to back up two steps.

I grabbed four treats so I could reinforce it. He decided ears back would get the treats quicker so I had to pop him on the nose and back him up a few times before he stopped trying to dominate the food from me. Worked great in the end.

He had a very sweet look on his face when I was putting up his haynet of haylage next to him while he was having his dinner and he reached over with his nose and touched my arm. Oh I forgot to say - when I got his halter out tonight he nickered at me when he saw it. Sweet.

Winter is very boring with no online or freestyle but we are half way there nearly. I might go out on Friday to Waimarie which is a big farm with hacks on the races between the paddocks and also a big enclosed arena. If I can feel confident that Maraschino will be ok - but if I give him some food I think he will be fine. Also have to fix two flat tyres on the float. Yikes. Would love to ride on my birthday but it probably won't work out as George will be at work.

The three amigos

This is a normal afternoon - I start by bringing Garbo into the washbay and the other two are not far behind. I usually brush Garbo and Maraschino in turns but I had just made some treats in the weekend and they all think they are pretty yummy so all have there 'can I have a treat' face on.

At one point when Coco was facing out but standing in the wash bay I reached over with the curry comb and he didn't move so I just started brushing him with it. He still didn't move and I managed to brush all of the top of his rump and by his tail and his back. After about 2 minutes I reached the mane and with area and he took a step away - but what a fantastic step to have made. He had both ears on me (back) while I was doing it.
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Thursday, July 2, 2009

Fiona Cameron

I had some lessons with Fiona when I first got Garbo (hence the background you are not used to seeing - this was at my old yard). She put a tarp on Garbo (and had flags and umbrellas etc) and she commented on how calm he was. Of course a few seconds later this is what happened - it all got too much for him. Just before that happened she was saying he would be a good police horse.

He has his unconfident ears on in the photo above.

Little did I know at the time but alot of Fiona's ways were very Natural. But with the added Horsenality information it makes the same techniques so much more powerful and useful.

Yesterday I worked a little with Garbo after I gave him some grass. We worked on backwards by the tail and backwards from the hind leg. It was unusual - he would do it absolutely perfectly at less than phase one with the tail, then suddenly he turned into a chair for the next one. I don't think he could see the point - even though he got a carrot after each successful back across the wash bay. The leading backwards by the hind leg after this was hugely successful, he backed with only the rope around his leg (no pressure) and me walking backwards. I was pretty pleased with that - no line attached to his halter at the time either.

Then we worked on lead by the mane for a bit before dinner. They were all a bit 'alert' tonight - something was happening in the yonder paddock that I could not see or hear... but once in the yards for a bit they were fine.

Tonight I just did a little with Garbo while I groomed him trying to keep my feet in one place, and he ate grass. Then I haltered Maraschino and cleaned his feet out (trimmer coming on Monday). He was really good - I had done a little bit of what Pat did with the LBI in the June DVD - getting the horse to know what happens next when you lean down to pick up their feet.

After reading the Daily Parelli - which isn't called that anymore - and also listening to the Audio CD this month I have decided to restart my log books. I did it religiously in L1 as it had a cool little book - so I shall dig it out and continue with both garbo and Maraschino - or make one. It's good to focus on how many hours your horse practising being a horseman.
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