Sunday, August 30, 2009

Into The Dark and Scary Woods

Miss Abbey has been chasing the cows out of their corn and as a result she is getting FAT. She's going to be moved to a different, cattle-free pasture but in the meantime we thought we'd go for a little walk today, in hand.

My normally Right Brain Introvert mare decided that evil things were lurking in the woods (hey, she lived in the wild for a year) and was suddenly quite eager to go, go, go. Someone had a campfire so I'm not sure if that was what was spooking her so much, but she was very Extroverted, pushing me, trying to decide where we were going to go... we had to do a few reminder moves along the way (hey, I'm the lead mare and I will protect you from the monsters).

Since I intend to ride her on trails I find this verrrrry interesting.

(By the way, are you not just so excited about the new Where The Wild Things Are movie coming out? I LOVED that book!)

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Kids and Horses

Pony rides at WCMS Renaissance Faire

If you rode as a kid, do you remember how magical horses were? How amazing it was when they responded to you? Have you forgotten how that was, and have horses become work for you?

This week I got the opportunity to work with two things I love - kids and horses . For the first time in 20-some years :) I'm teaching three kids how to ride: Jade, 8; Kyle, 6; and Daryl, 13. They're great kids! They ride Buckwheat, Rocket and Apache, respectively.

Learning Parelli, it was really neat to have a new perspective on the way the kids' personalities meshed with their horsenalities. Jade's a natural born rider and Buckwheat was all try for her. I put him on the lunge for a while so Jade could focus on her seat at the trot. Kyle and Rocket have matching attention spans! We spent most of the time learning and keeping "go" for them. Rocket has a lot of anxiety when Buckwheat's not with him and spent part of the time whinnying piteously. Apache (the only horse of the three, the other 2 are ponies) was a little jumpy at first but I had Daryl do some circles on him and he started to settle down and listen to his rider (once the hands came down).

I'm really excited about this opportunity to work with these kids and their ponies/horse. The greatest thing about it is remembering the process and how it was for myself as akid.. the magic of just being around them at the beginning (I'd not wash my hands all the rest of the day so I could go to bed and still smell horse on my hands!), the frustration when what I envisioned didn't quite happen with the horse I was riding, and the sense of accomplishment when I figured out how to ask correctly, and the horse gave.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Carrot, Stick, or Carrot Stick?

Miss Abbey likes to back up when she doesn't like something (RBI behavior or LBI). For a while I tied her while grooming, then I thought, I don't want to have to tie her, so I just held the lead rope while grooming, which she mostly enjoys. Sometimes I hit a sensitive spot. She backs. Today, I thought, the heck with that, I'm not moving around you for grooming, you're going to move around ME. So we practiced "back" "step up" and a send-away turn so I could get her exactly where I needed her to reach the spot I needed (I gave her some leeway for the back-end zone). This worked pretty well since she likes grooming and I'm learning her itchy spots, so I reward her with good curry on those when she moves where I want her.

Afterwards, since grooming seemed like the lesson today, I just took her and did some mirroring. I got a big sigh that seemed to say, "Oh, I like you so much better when you're not making me do stuff. By the way, got any horsey treats?"

Just got to know what motivates a horsey partner, as the above video demonstrates!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Cow Horse & Family Stuff

Here's Abbey the day she moved in to her new home. That was two weeks ago. Yesterday I got a call from Mike saying she's gonna have to be moved to another field... she's chasing the cows out of their feed trough. If they even get close to her she turns toward them and flattens her ears and they GET OUT OF HER WAY. RAWR!!

We're starting Parelli natural horsemanship soon, but the work I've done with her so far seems to be progressing well... I can "pretend" to get on and she stands now (she used to back up). Next step: pretend w/ saddle. Besides the mounting issue and the occasional balk in hand, I can't find much I don't love about her.

We went to visit my family the first part of this month. My grandfather isn't doing well (he fell and broke his hip 6 weeks ago) and my mom is really having a hard time with it. I really, really wish I could be there to help her with the rough stuff and help her take care of the stuff she shouldn't have to worry about, like dinner and housework.