Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Bareback Pad On.

The boys were in all day and had their polar fleeces on....

Garbo's is a bit small!

Guess what - I put the bareback pad on Maraschino today and did the cinch up for our ground riding session. He was so calm and his one rein stops are so cool... check it out...oh Coco likes to walk in circles with us too! His little helper.

The boys had been in the yards all day as the paddocks are so wet, so I was impressed with how calm he was. Poor Garbo didn't get a session...his turn tomorrow.

The bareback pad kept sliding backwards as you can see...

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Riding Maraschino on the ground

Hee hee - thought that would make you take a 2nd look....

Maraschino was busy getting anxious in the paddock this afternoon - looking at scary cows he could hear over the hill but couldn't see. He wasn't getting calmer so I stepped in - in fact he was winding himself up like a spring. I've been doing heaps with him and giving him extra magnesium so I really don't know what more I can do apart from send him off to a 400 acre farm for a month!

I wouldn't worry normally - if the ground was dry - he could just get over it eventually - but we have 2 acres and 2.5 horses (sorry Coco) so I need to preserve what little grass we have left after the 6 month summer drought, from getting turned instantly into mud!

So - I managed to get him into his yard with apples, then halter him. I got a wee bit frustrated I must admit when he would not focus on me and bumped him and backed him up several times. Then I calmed down as I realised it wasn't making much difference so I took him into the wash bay.

He gets so beside himself he can't think.

So I did heaps of what Michelle suggested, standing really close into Zone 3 so my side is pressing where my leg will go, and holding the 'rein' on his withers with my right hand (when standing on the near side) and then clucking to go with a tap with the rope near his withers, and off we go, leading with the nearside rein to turn a square/oval/circle in the washbay. Everytime he looked up I would cluck him on again, and eventually he was walking with his head lowered and listening to me alot. We did this many many times, both directions, each change of direction rubbing the rope up his face and over his ears to change sides, and everytime we stopped we did a one rein stop. 20-30 minutes later we rested and I left him tied up high while I made up a small feed for him. He was very calm after that so I put him in his yard for the rest of the day. I'll get a video of it tomorrow.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Michelle's visit

My friend who starts horses the natural way came over to see how Maraschino was coming along this afternoon. Before she arrived I got the boys in - it's quite soggy in the paddocks as you can see from Garbo's feet!

I put Garbo in his yard and waiting in the washbay with Maraschino after giving him a brush. I just sat down on the chair and spend some UDT. He was online but able to wander off if he wanted. He just spend most of the time with his head in my lap. Trying to eat my fingers, the rope, the popper, my camera....

Cute photo huh...

Michelle arrived soon after and she was amazed how big he had grown. She said she'd play with Maraschino and I could take Garbo up the road which was great - Garbo got to go for a big walk - he really loves going up there.

He saw Wilma the neighbour's horse (he likes her) and the cows, got to have some grass, and chat to the other neighbours and talk through their big massive puddle.

Then we headed back and we stayed int he washbay working with the plastic bag while Michelle took Maraschino up the road. She said he was a bit jumpy by the flaxes (it was windy and cold today) but he soon relaxed. She did Fig 8's and lots of changes of direction - she said patterns are the key for him to get calm.

When she got back she said I had done a really good job and he was definitely ready to start. Cool!! Uh Oh. I haven't passed Level 3 yet! I am hoping to build a round pen in spring, and then we'll be ready.... there is lots we can do in the meantime. She showed me how to sidle up next to him where my leg would go, holding the rope on his withers, and to lead him off as if I was riding, and then to do a one rein stop from Zone 3 too. So that's something she said I can't do too much of - plus lots of flapping and noises etc...he's already getting better with the plastic bag.

Garbo was much better with the flag today too - really pleased - no snorting today.

Guess what - I am thinking of doing a 2 week course - Level 3 breakthrough at Pagosa in August next year!! eeeeekkkk

Friday, June 25, 2010

Day 2 stepping it up

It absolutely hosed down from 4am to noon (35mm) so the whole place was very wet and soggy and when I got the boys in to feed them it was threatening to start peeing down again so I thought - errrrr - I'll just not do anything today with Mr Maraschino (not having an arena or anything).... but he wasn't eating his dinner very peacefully - kept looking out over in the far distance - head high. So once I had done all the chores I haltered him and we had a wee play.

I backed him into things... the wheelbarrow, over a pole (backwards no less!), into the yard rails, the hayshed door, then we did some more sideways - all this while the neighbours were fluffing around outside and making sudden noises.... and their dog crying....

We did some more - step over the pole and stop.... it's amazing how small my forward please ask has to be to get him to not go all the way over....and to counter act too much forwards I lift the rope and he backs up over it again.... sheeesh... very very small asks for everything for this boy.

We had a big wait and he started grazing. After a bit he 'snighed' - that's my new word... it's a sigh snort....big breath in (like he's been holding it) and a snort sigh out. He does it alot. Usually after the scary thing - not in reaction to it. So after he snighed we did some more sideways, some more backing into things, some more turn and face slooooowly, and then I thought he'd had enough for one day. So we backed through the gateway (gate only a horse width space open) and backed into his yard. He's calm now and snoozing in the sun.

Garbo's so snoozy he's leaning on the yard rail.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Mixed day

Early morning this morning...

My friend who starts horses (the Parelli way) told me today that Maraschino was most likley trying to get my attention by running around so much (RBE extreme) - and that perhaps he was ready to step up his work load (he's 4 in October). So she wisely suggested I start seperation training for Garbo - Garbo hates it if I leave him alone (and no - Coco does not count as a horse to him). He doesn't run around he just bucks and bunny hops pretty much on the spot and gets all emotional. About 5 years ago we were doing some seperation training with him and we left him in a paddock - walked away about 6m and by then Garbo had jumped the gate from a standstill and was standing next to me.

So - I haltered Maraschino and fed Garbo in his stall. I took Maraschino out to the orchard paddock (it's very small), and played a little bit with him there. At first Garbo was too busy eating - so we headed up to the pedestal - he got on and I gave him a carrot. Then we headed for the top gate and out of sight from Garbo (even if he ran up to the gate)... I heard Garbo call out about 2 minutes later so we headed back. He wasn't too bad so we played again for a little bit right in sight then headed off again - this time when we came back Garbo was all flustered so we stayed for longer - then walked round the long way (around the barn) and in through he other gate. Stopping at the pedestal for a carrot each time we passed it of course.

I could hear Garbo calling out and having a wee buck, and wee run, but he stops as soon as he hears me.

And we ended it there (it was actually about 30 minutes).

My friend told me to start slow with Maraschino and I reviewed my RBE poster.... we did all 7 games including the plastic bag on the carrot stick with driving game as well as friendly. He is super super sensitive. Sideways is his worst at the moment. We went over a pole, turn face and wait a few times. A few circles out of Garbo's sight, with COD, and some squeeze between the fence and me... and a bit more sideways - real slow - over the pole. You know what he did successfully - pole between two front feet! Couldn't quite get the back feet. His HQ are harder to move in little increments (usually an over reaction so the move is six steps instead of half a step)... even with just touching the hair.

Did lots of rope swinging while walking - for a right brain he is very very considerate of my space. He's been calmer tonight so far - and I found he's been chewing the yard rail too - so have upped his copper and magnesium as well (since his muscles have been quite tight too). Hoping that will help.

Check these sweet faces out!! Butter wouldn't melt hey!! I added some toys to his yard too as yo can see.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Plastic Bag Day 3

Well - finally we didn't have a really windy day to add to the drama of the plastic bag. But - we did however get a big reaction!
Garbo started off just standing still with em rubbing the bag on the end of the stick all over his body - then it got to his head and he moved so quick nearly jumping on top of me and doing a 180 in readiness to leave! Snorting as he went...

I managed to regain myself enough to manage to leave the bag near where it was, until he calmed down then retreated. We carried on a bit more, him freezing/standing still staring until it got near his ears/eyes, and he would back up and try and get outta there. We continued like this for quite a while till he lowered his head and I stopped there.

Then I tried Maraschino. First time with the flag and he was fine. Interestingly he didn't like it near his head/ears if I was standing in front of him, but he was ok if I approached it from Zone 3.

I also did some work on ropes around his head and ears too as he has major over-reactions to ropes, especially fast moving ones... haven't got the tossing of the rope over his head yet - good task challenge for winter I say!

I also asked Maraschino to move over towards me (like mount from a fence)...

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Plastic Bag Day 2

Coco giving Maraschino a groom - I got to see his teeth!

Maraschino giving Coco a bite!
Coco the fluff monster.

Yes, I know - I missed a day yesterday. But this is still Day 2.

Garbo was just as suspicious of the bag on the stick today, but we managed to get a wee bit of relaxation with me rubbing it in his wither. I was leaning on the pole to try and really relax my energy. I rubbed him all over and still the main big reaction is near his ears, and eyes, and also if the bag blows over the top of his mane to his offside eye. At one point I thought he was going to say "I'm outta here" but he snorted instead and you know what he kept doing - touching my face with his nose as if he was asking me to stop. At one stage I walked him round the wash bay while rubbing him with it. Again not 100% but not trying to leave.... here's hoping we start seeing some improvement soon.

I kept on until he was putting his head down again and not making it higher. I always have to choose windy days of course where the bag gets a mind of it's own.

When we were done I put the stick and bag on the chair and let him investigate. Got a wee bit on video too.

Got this Dublin Fleece top for $34 at the local saddlery shop!! Bargain! The boys were alot calmer today - thank goodness as they'd been in the yards so much and ruined half the grass.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Imaginary scary things

Maraschino really has been having a dose of OMG everything is going to eat me alive! I let them out of the yards this morning - although I noticed Maraschino had not touched his hay (mind on other things perhaps)... and they all headed straight towards the side of the track that has the "thing" somewhere in the far distance that's really scary. George and I can't see anything of course, or hear anything - although the wind is coming from that direction at he moment.

Didn't take long for Maraschino to start running around - at first I thought - well he's going to have to figure it out for himself - but after an hour of him doing point to point, turn and face, wait briefly, then trot or canter back the other way again - I decided I would need to intervene. I watched him for a bit to see if he was working towards solution - he was shaking his head alot and cantering with his tongue swishing out about 4 inches!! He was on the brink of trying to think but just couldn't do it.

I recalled the article in the last savvy times about this lady who took her horse to Pagosa and he became RBE in the round pen and started galloping around. The instructor casually asked her if she was best serving her horse by allowing it to continue. She didn't mention what she did next - she was L1. So I tried to halter him but he reared up when he felt the pressure on his poll from the halter, I lost him, but he kept coming back towards me like he was looking for leadership - so I enlisted my hubby to help (he doesn't ride but he has a great relationship with Maraschino) and we got him in a yard. Then I could halter him. He calmed down alot instantly.

I took his cover off - he was soaking in sweat and really tucked up, I don't think he'd eaten much last night - and certainly nothing yesterday or this morning. I spent some time moving him in the small wash bay area, using porcupine and driving - he was really really responsive and sensitive - everytime he looked in the direction of the "horse eating invisible monster" and froze his stare, I used what ever it took to get his head facing another way. This sometimes meant a bonk on the nose with the CS.

He responded well to head down commands and soon was licking and chewing and then sticking his head under my arm (very ostrich like). We did more porcupine and driving, moving FQ and HQ, backing up, squeeze.... then he was calm enough to hose off (warm water as it's freezing today).... then I stuck a polar fleece on him and put him in his yard. He would just stand at one end and stare towards the direction of the 'thing".

I went out to get some breakfast and some supplies. I got some valerian and some DeToxify - I have seen some mushrooms growing so I think the grass may be a bit toxic again giving him these heightened senses and reactions. This is the guy who doesn't car about the green ball or tarps etc.

So it's now nearly 2pm and he's had 20mls of valerian and some detoxify. He's not 'looking' so much and I have seen him eating in between so he's starting to calm I think.... in between these looks! As you can see - Garbo cares less.

How interesting though - very RBE this morning!

My track!!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Boy racers

I read an article just recently about managing a small acreage with horses, and it said that horses are innately boy racers and that there is nothing better than a quick drag up the paddock, of course even better with a sliding stop at the end. Which is sooooo true!!

Today my boys were completely crazy about something - they kept looking down over the paper road toward the highway - about 10 metres away from the fence the land drops away quite steeply - George said he could see some cows down the bottom - but maybe one was having a calf or something!! Anyway - something was upsetting them, Garbo would drag in straight lines with big sliding stops - so much so as he turned a corner he slid over! Maraschino was happy doing circles round the tree with a bit of chase Coco in between and buck as well...

Garbo mostly stood looking in the direction of the hidden cows but every now and again he'd toss his head and jump in the air and then chase the others down the other end. Mud and grass flying!

So you can imagine after about 20 minutes of this how much grass I had left in the track - and just after Garbo slipped over I decided to put them in the yards for the rest of the day. Except Coco.

They were filthy by this stage so I decided to give them both a warm shower to get all the mud off and let them dry in the sun all afternoon. I locked Maraschino in Coco's yard (since he ran in there).. and haltered Garbo and washed him first - he wouldn't stand still while I tried to get the mud off (initially with the brush) so I bumped him a few times quite assertively - I had had enough! He wasn't seeing me as a leader and I decided to change that. I felt like my emotions were rising but I guess noticing that is the first step, then you can rectify it.

I hosed him down and was using the water scraper near his back legs when he lifted his left at me, so I instantly hit him with the towel on the leg, didn't hurt him of course, and I realised I did it in anger, but he improved his attitude somewhat after that.

I don't think they settled much even though they were fine (and yawning away) when I left - I went out for 4 hours and when I got back there were only two runny poos and no hay had been eaten - so I decided the time had come for some more Parelli (I did a wee bit putting them in the yards after the shower)...

Garbo had a turn first and we did the three mastery tasks so far on the DVD;
  • Back up from Zone 3 and move FQ away at the same time to teach horse not to move HQ away while backing and to back straight.
  • Sideways - walk like a monster then disengage the HQ, walk around the horse awy from rail so you end up on opp side and sideways back the other way
  • Squeeze game - use flick fingers towards nose as you send past to keep them going out for further and away from you longer before turn and face.
All three went well - well the sideways was a bit hard in the wash bay - but I think Garbo figured out my monster walk! He licked and chewed anyway.

Then I got out the plastic bag - which I have been avoiding because Garbo hates it (unless it has food in it). One thing I have learnt with Russell's lessons is that sometimes you have to see the 'reaction' and deal with it, get through it without giving up. I am usually doing everything in my power to calm my horses and not rile them up - so I took a different approach. I started with the plastic bag in my hand and rubbed him all over, retreating back to his wither if he looked worried. But really - I have done this before and he'll stand there all day looking 'a little worried' and we simply don't progress. So I moved the bag up his neck and to his ears and between his ears - his head would go up and I kept going until his head came down - we did this about 4-6 times before he quickly learnt that putting his head down meant I would retreat back to the neck or wither.

After a few times I got the bag on his head between his ears (and moving) without a severe reaction. Then I did it all over from the other side.

Then I put the bag on the carrot stick (in for a penny, in for a pound).... and he freaked out a bit more - but I made a point of going beyond just a little uncomfortable and rubbed him in places like his sheath, between his legs (front and back) - retreating to his wither. He was licking and chewing alot. Then I moved the bag up his neck and his head went up, he froze and snorted and looked like he may either strike out or try to run so I slowed down and waited (still moving the bag) until he lowered his head - then I stopped. We did this a few more times, then surprisingly (well actually not so much) - he was better with it all over his body.

After that he yawned and yawned and shook his head for ages. Then I put him back in his yard and got Maraschino out!

The backing straight was pretty easy because I had the carrot stick by Zone 1 to back up - so he avoids touching that! He also backed with the rope under his neck from Zone 3 and his sideways (monster walk) was pretty cool - think I need to tone the monster down a bit though lol. We didn't do the plastic bag or squeeze game as it was nearly dark and I still had poos to pick up.

They all seem calm now - Coco came trotting up from the other side of the track when I whistled to say his dinner was ready.

Going to try and do the Plastic Bag every day for a bit with Garbo if weather prevails.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Little bits here and there

It's been really wet so far this winter but I did do a little bit with both the big boys the other day - some things that Russell showed me last time he was here were things I can do in the wash bay and avoid the mud.

I had the lead rope under their necks with my arms on either side of their neck like I was riding them - then had the end of the lead rope in the far hand and about half way down in the other, forming a loop under the neck. Then I stand in Zone 3 and left the rope up so that some pressure exerts under their neck (in preparation for savvy string riding) - as soon as they move back a step (and then 2,3,4....) I release. They both did it really well.

Tomorrow I am going to try a couple of things off the beginning of the May Mastery Lesson - backing them up from Zone 3 (facing their nose) and then moving the FQ away a step at the same time to teach them to back up and not turn their HQ away.

Secondly - Sideways - walk like a monster - really going to try that out... (with your arms out like Frankenstein). Then after a bit of sideways along the rail, disengage the HQ, and walk around the horse to end up on the other side of them to prepare to sideways back the other direction.

Squeeze Game - if your horse doesn't go through enough (far enough away) add a little flick of the fingers at the nose with the same hand you ask for the squeeze with - to make them go a bit further with Zone 1 before turning and facing - sounds like an excellent one for Garbo.

I am not going to watch any more until I have tried all those.

One week till the shortest day people!!

Oh - I forgot to say - Maraschino was a bit better with bringing his feet forward at the trimming session last week....

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Ok - I got 'em

I actually got my scorecard in a format I could view from a lovely lady in the office called Renee - she is so lovely.

As I have mentioned - or was it just in my head.... when I submitted this video audition I felt when watching it afterwards that it wasn't a good snapshot of where we actually were. I think because the filming had been arranged, plus props (not on our property) there was this invisible imaginary pressure to get it done. Silly me.

So - score wise - interestingly rapport is my highest score, and respect is lower... sideways was the worst (crumbs) - no excuses - it wasn't a good sideways, yo- yo or circle day. And my driving mark was down too - I think that's the key - too much draw and not enough drive... it's been that way all along our journey - he wants to sit in my lap 150% of the time.

Good marks (could be better though) for technical, obedience, draw expression, relationship... (on a positive note)....

But you know - now that I realise his hip was out all along - he tried so hard for me. And only the following week I had a nice soft less than phase 1.
Might work on getting him 100% confident with the plastic bag on the end of the carrot stick over winter and try Emma's idea after her lesson with Linda.... he's a big scaredy cat when it comes to plastic bags on sticks - or green balls above ones head...but if said plastic bag is in my hand with perhaps carrots inside well - different story!

Wintery squally weather today - hoping for some sunshine next week - also waiting to hear is grass arena is ok to use...

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Dentist again for Maraschino

6 months up already and his next dentist appointment was due. Turns out he's doing a great job of shedding his baby teeth all by himself - including both his wolf teeth! She just had a few sharp areas to rasp. Funny boy keeps biting the rasp so she can't move it!

It was the most gorgeous day and Maraschino waited patiently while I went and got my camera.

We used the gag again with molasses and Coco was licking the bottom of it as it was dripping off - too cute.

All in all he's lost all but 4 caps which are not due to be lost till 4.5 years old.