Saturday, January 15, 2011

Head Shyness

Maraschino is a wee bit sensitive with ropes and his face, ears, head - so today we did a bit more work on that. You can run your hands up his face and over his ears back and forth - no problem but add a rope to the equation and his head goes up.

So - I got my stool!

Tied the Savvy String round his neck and started moving it up and down again on his neck. Initially he didn't like it so I kept going and lowered his head at the same time, until he relaxed, then I stopped. We did that a few times - quite a few - and eventually got closer to his ears. I was only moving the rope from one end of his neck to the other fairly slowly - approaching his ears - sometimes just going over one at a time.

He would be fine for one go then not fine the next, so we were making progress. Sometimes he would move away from me (and my stool) but I was quick enough (this time) to ask him forward, then I would stop.

In between all this I would talk to Coco (not focus on Maraschino), brush Coco's tail while the savvy string rested on his ear..., do some more, brush Garbo....

At one stage - just after I took this photo - he got a fright at the cat walking by so I thought ok - he's not 100% focussed on me - that means he's not scared.

And so I thought - oh well - in for a penny - and I moved the savvy string back and forth on his neck and mane really fast, so fast it flapped him on the neck - he reacted by lifting his head and moving back - but I asked him forward again and for his head down - and then stopped.

He did a big sigh and chewed. I did this again a few more times - from my stool.!

Then I did it same speed over his ears and back again many times - he kept his head up - I asked for head down...then stopped. Another big sigh.

This is the result - I am pretty pleased... I'll do it again tomorrow....

Then I haltered Coco and tok him for a big walk. For him to stop thinking I was going to 'do' something to him while he was on the end of a lead rope, and relax and eat grass, I had to sit down on the grass and face away, shut my eyes and just feel.... about 3 minutes later he started eating grass.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Third ride and I rode him!

Michelle came up again today and she noticed Maraschino took less to get focussed on the ground (only a few minutes) and also he had more rhythm. So after a small play in the round pen she hopped on, then off then on again - and I got on Garbo bareback too!

This way we 'led' Maraschino - first round the round pen, then round the middle paddock.

It was so much fun. We had little stops for grass and a couple of times (while Garbo was eating)
Michelle rode Maraschino away and then trotted back to us. I even have one on video!

Then I got on!

How cool is that - third ride for him.

I hopped on and Michelle led him - not with the reins just by walking at liberty. Then we had a little go going off by ourself, and then I had a little trot! I just smiled with all four cheeks, Michelle trotted on the ground and off we went. OH MY GOODNESS I can sit bareback to his trot - it's so much less bouncy than Garbo's. Yay!

He is so soft - he follows a focus, and sticks to it! I am so pleased. What a dude is all I can say.

I had goosebumps after the trot (and it was 29 degrees and 70% humidity!).

*Big Smile*

A friend recently said when she heard I was going to start him soon - "Oh you have to ride them out - don't hold them back" - but Michelle and I discussed this at length and basically - why? Why can't it be calm like this and just take one step at a time and do exactly how you would do on the ground online. One step at a time till they have confidence, then the next step.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

2nd ride - Maraschino

So today Michele played with Maraschino while I got more obstacles into the round pen - added the small green ball (then we'll add the big one!), jump stands and yellow pole.

She had a little play and then bounced the green ball around him, then bounced it on him, he was a little jumpy at first, but got better real quick - then she rolled it along his back, up his neck... all good.

So she got on after a few bounces, and then off again, then back on - all the while Maraschino just stood there looking totally relaxed.

Once on again I led him round and over trot poles, fast walking, slow walking like stick to me while Michelle rode Red Indian style (no reins just the mane)... then we tied the other end of the lead rope up and she had a go at directing him from a-high. I stayed where I would be if I was leading him and we added in the smooch everytime we walked off, and I would tell Michelle when I was slowing or stopping and she'd relax in her body. He was so good - didn't put a foot wrong.

Next she said ok go a bit faster at walk and we'll do a wee trot - and we did - and he was great!!

Cool huh!!!

Monday, January 3, 2011

2nd ride prep - Maraschino

My friend Michelle came over for a playdate with us today and I played a bit with Maraschino in the round pen. I have trot poles (pink ones) in there now, barrells, jump pole and stand....

We did a bit of circle but with a transition and stop at every quarter so that he had something to focus on every little bit, instead of just running. This got him quite focussed and very calm.

We set up trot poles for him and he conquered those (3) no trouble at all.

I also did a bit of 'unwinding' - you know when you put the rope over their head and over their back and round the back end and you stand at their head with the other end of the rope, and gently flex their head by pulling the rope, then unwind them basically.

He panicked a little feeling the rope behind his legs so we did half unwinds till he got confident again.

Then we left it at that - he had a lot to think about!

What a clever boy!