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.


Emma Kline said...

the flag has really helped lil a lot. to use it just as a tool of communication...has weirdly sensitized her and desensitized her at the same time! its been a really cool thing. when she's RBE it helps me get on her radar.

Cilla said...

I interesting post V. I have found with B that I need to see her reaction and then help her not go there. We do a lot of that! Lol. Partner, not prey animal x

Vicki said...

Hi Emma. I might try it with Maraschino later today as he's been bordering on RBE this morning. Xx

Cilla - Garbo was great this morning. Something still spooking M. Back in yards for now or I'll have no grass left at all. Even M running around for an hour didn't wind G up.