Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Happy Evenings

I was documenting my horse habit by photographing myself. I wanted to show a friend how bundled up I was to play out in these cold, cold temps! In the pasture, Blu was watching me intently/riveted. The camera kept taking blurry shots and I almost gave up because I was just getting colder and colder! :D

Blu was already focused on me. When I came out with his halter, he struggled on over to me (the ground is nightmarish) and waited for me to put it on. He followed me to the gate with some kind of threshold at one point. I don't know if it was because he was stuck (unlikely), he did not want to go to the gate, or he was having a threshold about the water trough. Later on I found out that he and the other horses must have been shocked by the water heater. At any rate, I waited and he followed me after just a moment. As I was walking, I was going very slow and carefully, as if focusing all my energy on maneuvering on the frozen mud lumps.

I did a sort of porcupine game on his halter by walking off around the pasture and expecting him to follow. Twice he put tension in the rope. When we made it to the back of the pasture. I stopped walking. I did not look at him or touch, I just waited. Soon, he began eating. His eating was very relaxed, which is good.

Next, we played with the tire pedestal in preparation for backing into my non-ramp trailer. The tire pedestal is probably over 12'' high and the trailer lip is only about 5''-6'' off the ground, so I figure that if Blu can attempt to pick his foot up on to the tire pedestal, he actually can do it with the trailer. Blu can back onto the tire pedestal if his hind end is on it, already.

My goal was to keep him straight. He was trying not to go introverted, I could see, and he was actually quite successful in keeping those eyes open. I waited when he needed it, but the waits were much shorter, today. By the time we were done, he was lifting his foot all the way up to where if it was any higher, it would be on.

On the way out of the pasture, I did several squeeze games in and out of the gate because they needed a bit more. . . clarity is the word, I think. At first, when I got particular, he got defensive. So, we did squeezes until he was relaxed, thinking about it, and had respect.

After letting him graze--and again he grazed nice and slow--I grabbed a tire and food tub with mash in it. He did not recognize that I was carrying food, which was the purpose of the tire--to conceal the food tub. I really wanted the food to be a surprise. Unfortunately, as I was setting up at the trailer, he noticed it. Oh, well, it still worked out just fine.

Now that Blu knew there was food, I saw NONE of the unsure horse from the "bad" night with the trailer. I sent him in forward, first. The rope was too loose and he stepped on the clip once, then the rope. But he was not to bediscouraged! He did not even back out. He just picked up feet until he was free and got in. When I brought him out and got him set up, he was thinking about what we were going to do to get the food. Really quick, he caught on to the back up to the trailer idea. His comebacks to me were much more confident, too.

He began to look back at his butt, like he was trying to solve the puzzle by looking back there--he would even look at his butt toward the side that did not have any food on it, so I am pretty sure he was looking at the puzzle and not the prize. We reapproaced so many times. I tied up his tail so that just when he had a breakthrough it was not ruined by a tail kerfluffle.

It is always so cool to watch the tries and attempts grow and get closer and closer to realization of the goal. But after so many times of lifting a leg a bit and putting it back down after just a moment, I got really excited when he began to lift it, then hold it and lift a bit higher, searching for the edge. We called it a day for the trailer when he picked up his hindfoot and rested inside the trailer. WOOHOO! Only three more hooves to go!

On to mounting . . . Blu did not sidle up to the picnic table automatically when I stood on it, but he came right over when I cued him to. He was relaxed as I got on. As I got on, I did a lot of approach and retreat, trying to find where it is that he starts to not like. I found out the other night that he was made uncomfortable by my boot touch his butt when I was crawling all over him with the same objective of ousting any yeah-but spots. No luck in finding anything that irritated him, today.

I should make a diagram for this:
So, the food is yellow, the blue is the gate, and the black circle is a tire. The whole purpose here is to get Blu's hindquarter yields lighter. The pattern is start at the food, walk the path indicated, 180 on haunches, walk forward a bit, 180 on the forehand (hq yield), and back the path indicated exactly so we end up at the food, again. Blu figured out that if he was more responsive, we got to the food faster. It seemed like he was getting duller hindquarter yields and we can't progress much if the hindquarter yields are getting dull. But I was just doing an infinity pattern that drove him crazy, and pretty soon, he would sull up whenever I went to yield the hindquarters.

When Blu performed the pattern with lightness and rhythm, I dismounted and let him finish the mash. I thinks some of it was frozen, hohohe.

I stood in Blu's stall and did TTouches for a good while, just to be with him.

So, today went much better for Blu and I hardly saw any of the negative stuff I'd been running into with him in the past few sessions. Good, good, good.

Natural Horsewoman Out.

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About Me

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I am a young horsewoman with a million things on my mind. I have been a student of the horse all my life. As a little girl, I had a desire to understand horses on deeper levels. I believed that there was no such thing as a bad horse, and I believed that all horses were beautiful. One might say that I was a naive child, but I guess I don't have an excuse anymore, because I still believe all of that, and Parelli Natural Horsemanship is helping expand on this perspective.

What We Are Currently Playing With

  • Moving Close Circles at Liberty
  • Soft, Balanced Canter on 45' Line
  • Zone 5 Driving