Saturday, May 29, 2010

We've Got Sunshine!

We only had to wait six months until Memorial Day weekend, but we've finally got some real, down home country sunshine here in Northern Nevada. I did a lot of yard clean-up and as soon as I walked into the paddock to halter a horse, out came my neighbor, up went his garage door, out came the huge planks of wood and the saw. In came a car, out came a child and scooter, and that was the end of my silence.

What are you doing? Are those your horses? Do you know their names? Can I pet them? Do you know this dog's name? How do you know this dog's name? Did you know I found a prairie dog hole...

Actually, I didn't mind all the chatter from my neighbors' visitor. I expected the neighborhood to be active over a three-day weekend, so I set my sights low for quiet time. It's been a long time since I've talked with a young child. My own kids are teenagers now. I used to be the Pied Piper of children. I'd walk down the street and before I knew it I had a half a dozen kids following me, all asking me questions as if I'm the most interesting person on earth. Sometimes I miss being an elementary school teacher, and then other times I say NAH.

I just did some ground work with each of the horses in the round pen, and I have to pat myself on the back because Gabbrielle is the most well behaved, well trained horse of the bunch. She's the only one I alone have trained. Lostine came to me fully trained and I sent Bombay off for training with a couple of professional trainers. I forget that just because I've been riding Bombay and Lostine for years, it doesn't mean I can skip past doing some ground training with them every once in a while.

I did some Clinton Anderson exercises and Gabbrielle remembered everything. Bombay went into a panic because he thought I was punishing him by waving a stick in the air around him. I had to take his training in baby steps to calm him down. Lostine was completely oblivious to what I was trying to get her to do. You know that exercise where you try to get the horse to back up by waving the stick, then tapping the stick on the lead rope, and finally beating the stick on the lead rope until the horse backs up to get away from the pressure? I was beating that lead rope so hard and Lostine just stood there staring at me like I was nuts. I ended up going back to my old way of asking her to back up, which involves pulling backwards on the lead rope just under the chin while walking toward her and saying BACK. She had no problem understanding that.

I'm not going to give up on the Downunder method with her, though, because she's been crowding the gate lately and I need her to back up without the help of a halter and lead rope. Right now I can smack her in the chest with a stick and she still won't back up. Maybe I should just always carry a halter when I enter the gate, so that she'll run away. Ha Ha!


fernvalley01 said...

Lostine is a cagey old darlin though I am bettin the minute she figures why you are carring a halter ,she will stuff her face it just to say "gotcha!"

allhorsestuff said...

HAHA! That halter comment was funny!
I have been known to actually squeal-like a horse- and stamp once first then... kick out..and if my foot hits a horse body..oops..they did not listen!

That childs questions...were cute and you were so good!
Nice work..keep it up, and never give up!

Leah Fry said...

That reminds me of the time I tried to play a Parelli game with Poco. I swear, he looked at me like I had gone completely mental.

To get Jaz to back up, all I have to do is carry the hose :-)

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

On the recommendation of many of my readers I bought a crop to use while riding to encourage Apache to move forward when she gets lazy and just wants to stand still.

I brought it out and offered it to her to let her sniff it...and she blew up! She backed away, snorting and eyeballing that crop like it was a rattler!

Then I tried to gently rub her nose and shoulder with it, very softly, and she reared! A small rear, but still...a rear!

Makes me wonder if that is why she kept rearing for her previous owner, not only for the Tom Thumb bit hitting her way overgrown teeth, but also because the lady was smacking the crap out of Apache to move.
The lady told me to never ride without the whole head tie-down and to always use a crop if I wanted Apache to move forward.

Well, hello jello! No freakin' way am I going to mount Apache while carrying a crop if I know she will probably rear when she sees or feels it!

Oh and yeh, I'm sure a carrot stick or dressage whip would be a fun tool to use for ground work, too. Oh yeh..loads of fun there!


Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Lisa - Yeah, Apache's reaction sounds as if she has had bad experiences with whips, as opposed to her just being frightened by something new. That's too bad. I'm glad you tested her reaction from the ground first.