Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The beasts

May 05 -06

I think this may be the last of my attempts to blog daily before I take it to a weekly basis...y'know, so I actually have something to do on my only day off, Sunday (*roll eyes* as if...I have no idea where the time goes...). 23:55 sounds very much like sleep time to my ears...rather than blog time. So! The last two days of sessions with the furry beasts. That's right, I called your horse a beast... but lovingly ;)

I had to chase her around a bit in the arena (ie. my adapted version of "round-penning") again our last session because I was finding our circling game had too much drive and not enough draw, but she was pretty quick to come back to me this time. Today was our first time over the past few sessions where her 7 games were fabulous - no running necessary. She has been saddling well - little jumpy at moments but remaining ground tied. On the subject of ground-tied, when I say that these horses are doing something while ground-tied, it's not that I have actually yet taught them to be fully responsible and stay somewhere when I ask them to - that comes after. For now though I can drop the lead and they are comfortable and relaxed enough with the situation and the environment to stand quiet and still without fleeing. Eventually official ground-tying (where they can stand still until I tell them otherwise despite my walking off, etc) is developed later, as part of the whole process. Yesterday I just did a lot of sitting on BAM so that she was comfortable with me up there - lots of lip-licking and chewing on her part was served up as order-of-the-day. I also asked her to do a little neck bending (her right side was still pretty stiff). Today's session under-saddle was better - her bend was complete on both sides (after some work) and we also worked on direct/indirect rein and back-up prior to progressing to a couple of small circles at the walk. On the ground she's also doing the Figure-8 pattern brilliantly (at the walk on the 12' line). We also clipped (okay well cut - scissors) her bridle path back down to acceptable levels. What's great - and neat, I find - is that a few days ago (after "square-penning" her) she lowered her head into my arms. When she first arrived there was no way I was touching her poll, yet there's something interesting I've been finding: when a horse crosses that threshold and really starts to invest full trust in you, they'll lower their head and just rest it against your chest. Personally I see it as a prey animal placing full trust in your leadership, hiding its eyes against you and lowering its head. Sounds silly to many but it's just something I have found time and time again.

Ah - rain and thunder yesterday! Actually I enjoyed being sprinkled (no sarcasm intended for once) and God knows I love thunder. He was a little difficult to catch yesterday (I had to corner him, but even then he did eventually allow me in!) however today was much better - little flitting around before he turned and took a few steps towards me. Our friendly game yesterday consisted of grooming (which he loves) - his head came down and he even allowed me to cut him a bridle path! These last two sessions I did not use my stick but used my rope instead; yesterday we did all 5 games fabulously, today we did all 7! He is an amazing little horse, he catches on quick and he is so incredibly attentive!! I can be so quiet and he still notices everything and responds appropriately. Today I also bounced next to him and got a little fireworks and a "how-could-you-do-that?!" look as a result, so we had to work backwards and break it down so that he was comfortable with me just moving next to him (I was bouncing without my feet actually leaving the ground)...tomorrow we'll progress because I'd like to start getting him used to eventual saddle work and mounting (of course). Oh yea, and I dubbed him today Mustachio...he's got the hairiest lips I have ever seen on a horse ;)

Vienna aka Little Roan Filly...she moves well and she's got a very good mind on her - intelligent and willing.

Ugh not the best photo of her but she's a gorgeous mare and moves so amazingly well too. Only thing that puzzles me is that she doesn't cross her legs easily (such as when she disengages her hind end, sidepasses, etc) - I'm still trying to figure out if it's a mind thing or a physical thing.

Probably my favourite mare to work with yet!

Vienna and Havanna
The two siamese twins (or so they believe, don't tell them they're really not attached at the hip, it'd only be akin to telling some 6yo Santa doesn't exist...and that's just evil) are getting on amazingly well. I've started both on the figure-8 pattern at the walk on the 12' and they both seem to be picking it up. LQB's a little quicker picking things up than LRF however they're both pretty smart. Havanna still has a little attitude every once in awhile but for the most part she actually really does want to please and she wants to respond lightly as she is quite sensitive. Yesterday we played 5 of our 7 games, but today we got in all 7! I'm not quite convinced yet that they understand the sideways game...but it's a start. They are also trotting consistently at the circling game. I've actually groomed them twice now as well... the first few sessions they were much too excited to be groomed but they've been standing quiet (esp the Little Queen Bee) for some good spring cleaning sessions now. Yesterday I tacked each up and started some saddle desensitization (bouncing next to them, mounting up, dismounting, shifting in the saddle, etc)...Vienna was pretty quiet throughout, whereas Havanna had some initial spook but actually finished a little ahead of Vienna (she's a thinker). Today we worked on some indirect/direct rein, back-up, and forward. I only asked Vienna for a few steps from her but I wasn't as clear with her as I was with Havanna later - to be truthful I had not really anticipated them being ready for under-saddle work so quickly but it just sort of happened...they felt ready for each thing I asked of them as it happened so we just took off from there. Havanna and I actually took a tour of half the arena in each direction at the walk. This one is definitely a smart little cookie! I really like her, she's got a great mind and is good looking to boot, haha. Both mares seem very comfortable and are settling in nicely. They've been easy to catch and both are focused during their sessions - no calling out to one another and (*ahem* Vienna) threatening me with deafness.

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