Saturday, April 24, 2010

Obstacle Course at Jool's

Jools was attending a Western Ribbon Day today where they had to go through gates, under things, turn inside squares etc. She said we should enter because she reckons Parelli horses do really well. I would love to do something like that so I might do next time!

So she suggested we use her practise arena today instead.

Well firstly there were chickens to chase, (we rounded up some cows and herded them into a new paddock the other day!), poles laid in a square, paper cups hanging from baling twine to go under, a rope gate to open and close, a dirt filled tire, sacks on the ground and all sorts of other interesting things around the place.

We tried everything online first... he kept going out of the square while disengaging the HQ.
Then he was not too sure about going under the cups.... REALLY? he says to me!
Lets try the other eye...
Oh ok then. Yay Garbo.
Sniff out the signs.... after chasing the chickens again!
And we had a play with Jool's 'flag'. He was so much better with it today.

So then I got on bareback, one rein, and rode it all!! Cool fun. He was better not going over the edges of the pole square with me on funnily enough.

Then we had a play at liberty in the round pen - but it confirmed to me he is lame on front left I think. I have booked him in to see Tommy Berhns Chiropractor but he's not up till May 27 so I hope it comes right by then.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Russell Lessons

Well I had 2 lessons with Russell today.

First at 8.30am with Maraschino at home. We started with seeing how he was upping the energy with the rope tossing over his neck and back...he was ok and then Russell stepped in, to show me how to not get the slap with the end of the rope each time and his energy must have been way more than mine because Maraschino took off backwards at quite a rate. Russell kept on tossing that rope until he calmed, licked and chewed of course then came over to me for a hug. lol.

I did some more and on the other side which was harder. He said I should increase this until you can do it so that the rope and popper make a cracking noise on the ground before the next throw. Also alternating - three on the back, three round the front legs and three round the back. That way they don't have time to get too worried about each thing....

Jane - Maraschino (while Russell and I were talking next to the tire) offered to stand on it - he put one foot up a couple of times and looked at us as if to say "Shall I?"

Then we did the same thing - rope tossing but with him going on a circle and not stopping - so that they get used to extreme friendly while moving (raincoats while riding etc). He did that pretty well.

Russell then asked how he was at walking forwards with his head down - perfect he was... Russell said "ok no need to go over that".... :-). The reason we are getting so vigorous with the rope over his back is that he said one day that will be me going over his back so I need to be sure he will be fine. And to do it with plastic bags on the end of the carrot stick etc as well.

Then we did walking forward moving the HQ, backing up, then moving the FQ (all in same direction, then starting over (meanwhile I walk in straight line even while backing). He said it gets them to put their weight back.

Then we did lateral flexion - and then lateral flexion to a stop while walking in Zone 3.. ok - me walking in Zone 3, Maraschino walking forwards, me approach his HQ and rub on his back and ask for lateral flexion at the same time, to a halt. This gets them used to stopping while being ridden etc. Very cool. Russell noted he didn't really have any opposition reflexes or braces with any of that...

So all looking good so far with Mr Maraschino.

Then I took Garbo to Jool's as we were sharing a lesson there with Leigh Munro. Man I am a bit sore in the legs today after being on Garbo for over 2 hours I think....!!

Well we did Counter turns today with one rein riding!

It's all about only having one rein and not swapping sides to turn the opposite way to the side the rope is on. The aids to turn therefore are, eyes, hips bellybutton, leg, REIN, then back up with carrot stick.

BOY - This really made me realise I am doing Rein first for the turn and not eyes, then body, then leg (outside), then rein. We practised at walk doing weave for what seems like an eternity - Garbo was just starting to get it then we changed to Figure 8 (because Russell said they get used to the pattern)... blah... all out the window again.

I am going to really really concentrate on this just at walk for some time till it is indelible in my mind. What you do for rein is lift till you feel the snap (up) and then lean it on the neck - but don't cross over the mane.

We tried a bit of figure 8 doing the same thing but at trot... Garbo is still a bit stiff.... then back on the rail for a bit more....

Then we finished up with sideways (how to improve and refine it (don't lean) that they can bend their ribcage the correct way...

What else....backing up then turning the FQ, we did that on the ground too.....

I think that was it!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Stag in the carpark

Check out this view....

Well we went for a short ride - the horses were a bit on edge - and we think there must have been deer all over the place as there was a stag in the horse park when we got back!

Bronwyn said she heard a boar the other day on her ride!

Garbo has not been himself for about three weeks now - I am going to get him some B12 tonic tomorrow and some mycotoxin binder... and I have put him back in the track - I think the middle grass has more 'alternative' grasses perhaps more susceptible to fungus - although we have not had a problem before -but - then again this is a major drought.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Road ride

Garbo has been a bit jumpy lately when I bring him in - looking over towards the orchard like there are boogie men in there. I think it may be a reaction to either the grass after the rain, or from the hay cubes. I actually stopped the hay cubes and he came right - then gave him one the day before yesterday, and voila yesterday he was spooky again. They smell funny - and Coco is a bit more on alert and less relaxed - however Maraschino has not had any reaction what so ever.

So for now I'll keep on with eliminating the hay cubes and see how we go.

The human in my gets so annoyed at him when he's all spooky at nothing - because it really is nothing - however I do know that fungal/endophyte reactions can cause horses to hallucinate and it effects their vision alot too - so I need to work on my emotional fitness on that one.

I took him for a walk in hand past the spooky area (even though Linda's last blog post said not to do that) - athough I waited as long as he needed at each threshold - funnily enough the first one was about 20 feet from the washbay and yards. Once we got to the long grass however I noticed the thresholds decreased, and he was happily eating grass by the time we got back to the same area after a walk up the road. I decided a distraction and some transitions and turns online would help us both so that's what we did. On the way back he spooked at the fence (that he has walked past a thousand times) but after that he was happy just eating (next to the orchard).

I took him back into the wash bay and he was 100% relaxed so I saddled him up and jumped on and off we went up the road again. George came too for the company but Garbo led the way - and I think he would have gone further than Stanley's place (the dogs all started barking at us), but we decided the road was a bit too iffy down there (too many more crazy drivers past that point).

I rode him back (and yes Maraschino was very good both times), and he happily then went into his yard for dinner. Once he's in the yards at night he's fine (when he's jumpy) so I don't know what he thinks is waiting in the bushes, that suddenly disappears when food appears!

I might ride up the road again today - I was going to go to Jool's but I have a headache (think I pulled some back muscles yesterday weeding the last of the dock) so it's a quiet day for us here today - lovely sunny weather and gorgeous cool air. Well it's still 21 degrees.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Play day

Jane came over this morning for a hors play day. Garbo was again not really wanting to leave the paddock - so we started very slowly and Jane haltered Maraschino and I caught Garbo. The ground is still really hard and also I think Garbo has had a reaction to the new hay cubes or the chaff. He has been really panicking being in the yards. We decided it could be a mixture of that and the fact the ground is so hard and we had been doing a bit of canter lately and decided we would not do much more than walk today.

We didn't even go to the wash bay for a brush - just direct to the obstacles I had laid out we had barrels, a tarp, and a car windscreen sun shield, and the green ball. Plus I also had carrots.

So Garbo and I just had a nice relaxed touch it session and Jane had Maraschino touching and exploring everything too. Very calmly and very politely - it was a pleasure to watch - and so much fun being able to have two horses being played with at the same time. Coco, of course, was tagging along right behind Maraschino's tail.

At the end of the session Jane managed to ask Maraschino to put his front feet on the tire and he did it - clever boy - first time ever too! I missed the photo and we agreed that was enough for him for the day. He did so ell - over the tarp, the windscreen shield (which made funny noises he found out) and the barrels and ball.

Then Garbo had to have a go too of course and show Maraschino (and us) how it's really done!

Then I jumped on Garbo and we went for a nice walk, and a figure 8 or two and then Jane got on. I think Garbo had decided that anyone else getting on means trouble, so he didn't have a very happy look on his face initially which Jane read very well so she just sat there and patted him, eventually he yawned loads and blew a bit and then she asked him for a walk. She had a lovely walk around and a wee trot back to the spools (and me) and that was the morning gone!

It went so quickly. We have decided we are going to try and organise a play session each 6 weeks - somewhere.... while it's too far to take our own horses, we learn so much with others - and we all trust each other to play with our horses. and lunch is always good too!

Got confirmation from Parelli they received my audition today. They say it will take 3-4 weeks.