Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Herd bound, getting him to relax

Rode Joe yesterday, I put him in the bittless bridle and we went out alone. A very different horse, the problem has been that Joel and I have been riding together leaving Quincy in the barn or round pen and that’s been causing a huge problem. Quincy and Joe are herd bound..... need I say more. So poor Joel cant get him to relax and he is not having as much fun as he could be . Having said that I think Joel likes it when Joe is a little “up beat” Lol, he likes the challenge.

So anyway I went into the arena and he was relaxed within minutes, worked on walk, trot, transitions hoping to get him to be calmer and listen better. He was doing so good that I asked for a canter, he did ok.. When I brought him down to a trot he started to rush so maybe I asked for the canter to soon, ( I know I did but I couldn’t help myself, bad me!). Worked a little longer until he calmed then took him out for a trail ride.

He did great !! we just walked because I knew if I had even asked for a trot he would be off. Instead of walking in the paths and fields I had him going back and forth, up and down and around the cedars. He had to think about what he was doing instead of who was yelling for him in the barn.

Joel and I talked about it and we think the next time we ride together he will start ahead of me, he can warm up Joe before I bring Dylan out of the barn we will see if that helps. I think I also need to take Quincy for some walks away from the others, he is just to stressed when he is alone. Of course getting another horse would always help, Lol

Friday, June 11, 2010

Horse relationship breakthrough

Well I had a major relationship breakthrough with Quincy the other day, such a nice feeling!.

I used to think when something big, really big, happened between myself and my horses that it was just the greatest, well it is, but, I have realized lately that the little tiny things are just as great, just as important because those little things always lead to the bigger things. Need to pay more attention to them.....

Awhile back I went to a horse event and watched this trainer rub his horses neck, not a pat, not one stroke, but many strokes, long and with feeling. He talked about how the horses mother would have done that when he was a foal and how it helps with trust. Now I think I had heard this before, I am sure of it, but I guess it just had not clicked....till now . So, why not try it.

I waited until Quincy did something I had asked of him and I stroked his neck over and over again, long strokes with a definite touch and to my surprise while I was doing this he licked, chewed and yawned, wow, I was amazed . I have been doing this ever since, every chance I get and I have noticed he listens so much better, its just an amazing thing. Remember not a simple pat, but long strokes over and over again

So the other morning I had put the horses out but had forgotten to use fly spray so I needed to go back out. I keep a bottle of spray by the gate and usually I leave my carrot stick there as well, so from the house I went right out to the field. Now getting through the gate with three horses stomping and pushing to get away from flies is not an easy feat, and it had just poured so the ground was slick. I looked around and no carrot stick, I had left it in the barn , I should have gone back for it because Quincy was right there, but, I went right on in anyway. First, he moved back with just the movement from my hand, nice!!, remember they were not happy because of the flies but he moved with little effort on my part just a simple will you please! So I sprayed him told him he was a good boy and moved over to spray another horse, Quincy moved with me, not pushy like Quincy is, just with me, quiet and softly. Recognizing that this was something great I played with it a bit, moving from horse to horse away from him and he just stayed with me. He was not trying to get away from flies or another horse, he was not pushing into me, he just wanted to be with me. And when he dropped his head lower and lower letting me pet him I realized that he had been doing that more and more as well, he had been doing that and I had not realized it. This is huge for us !! this is like the old Quincy before it all fell apart, there is hope for us I just know it !

I have learned patience in my older years but I am telling you I cant wait for the arena to be done and the round pen put up I just cant stand it !!!! LOL. I need so badly to do more with this horse and I am getting more and more excited about it.

Isn’t natural horsemanship great!!! Thank you parelli and thank you Emma!!!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Should I have let him run?

Well I had just the best ride on Joe... I have to say a great big thank you to Audrey, if not for her three rides on him I would still be waiting until I could do some more ground work, you are awesome!!!!

I have never had a really bad ride on this horse, he has never done anything to make me so scared or feel so unsafe that I had to get off, but he can and does object from time to time and thankfully I have learned enough to gently persuade him to see things my way. He is the type of horse that will go into himself and that can be dangerous, but, he gives a lot of warning, you have to really not be paying attention to not notice it happening.

I had no real agenda in mind I just wanted to ride and have fun, I was only going to walk and if he was doing ok I would work on walk trot transition, if not so be it, we would just walk, no pressure. So about 20 minutes into the ride I got some soft blowing and he gently pulled the reins from my hands as he stretched down, it was really nice. We started with the transitions. What a good boy.

But.... everyime he saw the barn he wanted to head that way and he did his stepping backward thing, but again nothing to bad, nothing I could not handle. It gave me a chance to ask nicely for what I wanted and for him to answer nicely, there were no real battles.

Now I have to admit I did something I should not have done but I could not help it! I always bring him back when he brakes his gate, this horse loves to run and I love it when he does but it has to be safe I have to have control. This was our first ride alone in well since last fall and I did not think letting him out was a wise thing to do, especially since he wanted to get back to the barn, he is fast, very, very fast!!!. But I do let my horses have some say in things if they ask nice and if its safe so when he broke into a canter the split second it happened I started to bring him back but he was soft.......I just let him be and we had such a nice, slow, controlled canter, he just wanted to run a little, not away from me, not to the barn, just run for the sake of running. Should I have let him, probably not, but I tell you it was so much fun....

Monday, April 19, 2010

A Successful Session

He was bucking and rearing but there was no anger in it! Ok so I think most people would think that was awful but really I was just so happy with what I got.

There has been so much going on here that playing with the horses almost never happens and forget about riding, cant do that until I can get them back in shape, talking mentally not physically. But I have been making myself do at least something with them everyday other than feeding, cleaning the stalls and saying hello on my way out the barn. Most days I just brush them maybe do a little ground work and just hang out with them.

For me, for my sanity, I need to be riding so now I need to make the time. Yesterday I decided I was going to work some with Dylan and if all went well I was going to hop on him. I just got my new bitless bridle and cant wait to try it out. Well it turned out instead I did some work on line with all three, here is how it went.

I worked first with Joe, learning parelli has been a life saver for me, honestly it has but I have decided that with Joe I am not going to change how I ask him to circle or back from me. That old saying if its not broke....and honestly he dose what I ask when I ask and its never been an issue . Plus when I try and change things with this horse he goes to that bad place I am just not going to do that to him. I will however inject as much of parelli training as I can as much as he is comfortable with. So in doing the circling game I got three times around without having to ask, without nagging and I got it in both directions. I got some snorting but he never really relaxed and normally I would work with him until he did but his back is sore and he is off on his front left so instead of asking a whole lot more I worked on his back when he had enough I gave him treats and put him away.

Next came Dylan, I really do have to work with his manners some getting him to back off of me. Its a security thing with him, a respect thing. When we take them for a hand walk he and Joe together he is so worried that Joe is two steps in front of him instead of one that he does not know I am even there. Not acceptable !! so we worked on that and did some lunging, I just want him to listen to me instead of what is going on around him. Really was a good day for it as the alpacas across the way were having a party and the minis playing in the other direction were grabbing his attention. By the end of the session he was listening to me doing what I asked so we stopped. At this point I almost got on him but no one was around so decided I had better not.

Well it might have been safer to ride Dylan than to work with Quincy, but it turned out ok. In fact as bad as it got it was great, let me explain. I did a few things on line he is getting better and better but he is still Quincy, LOL . I asked him to circle and I am still struggling with how I ask him. I keep “blocking” him with my actions and sometimes its not till its done that I realize what I am doing. So when I asked him I needed to encourage him to turn and go and this time I asked him to “walk on” saying it out loud because he knows the words and I asked him to turn at the same time by pointing the stick at his nose!!! Now for me that’s a biggy, I always forget to just ask the nose, I don’t need to ask at the neck or shoulder, turn the nose the rest will follow. It was awesome and I think because of that the next part went so well. He broke into a canter and at first I was going to stop him because I know where this could lead but for some reason I just let him go. He stayed at the canter never rushed, never bucked, never got angry, never tried to come in, he did three circles and I stopped him. Was so awesome. Well now the other direction......I guess at this point he was done.....he went off on me, reared up when I asked him to back, took off at a canter, a really ugly rushed one, came in and when I asked him to get out he bucked and got tangled in the rope did that all four feet off the ground thing but I just let the rope flow out of my hands I just let him go on because he did not have that “look” he gets his eyes were still soft. Amazing! Got him stopped and asked again, it was a repeat performance but again there was no real anger him. I know I had to keep going until I got what I was asking. Finally I got almost a complete circle, a nice steady quiet circle, I could tell he was going to that bad place so I just stopped it he turned liked his lips and we were done.

How weird it must be for someone to listen to this story and wonder how I can be so happy with that performance but really truly he never got so angry that he wanted to kill, he simply did not want to work and figured he would let me know, its what he does. I need to get a round pen up I need to find a parelli instructor or at least someone who knows more than me and I need to work this horse more. I have no dilutions that I will ever ride him again but I will have a trained horse on the ground and I will have my old horse back again!!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Treasures under the house or surprise # 42

Well lets see, lots happening around here, the latest is we are getting ready for the foundation work to begin. They will be patching the foundation there are holes everywhere and its crumpling. Support beams will be replaced and we are hoping that once they get into it we wont have any more surprises, keep your fingers crossed.

So this is kind of cool, for me not so much for Joel. There is a crawl space under what will someday be the library it needs to be cleaned out so the workers can get under there and so we can insulate, this house is over 100 years and no one along they thought to put insulation under the house or even in the attic, that’s another story but I am getting side tracked.

The former owner had to get under there and had a small hole cut in the floor, apparently our workers did not feel it was big enough so Joel had to make it bigger. This is right up his ally as he was able to use lots of tools, I don’t get it but whatever, Lol. Once this is all done he will rebuild the “door” in the floor complete with handle. He will do an awesome job as woodworking is his hobby.

Anyway as the story goes, as it was told to us.....the old farmer that once owned this property apparently liked to drink, a lot. The people we bought the house from said for years and years they picked up liqueur bottles all over the grounds. Now when they moved in they noticed a hole in the floor and even though it seemed odd they did not give it much more thought as the condition of the house when she bought it was really something. They showed up pictures you would not even recognize it as the same house we bought, ok again I am getting side tracked. So... when they went under they found hundreds of old bottles! Now it makes sense, the old guy must have sat in this room drinking and getting rid of the bottles by throwing them into the hole.

What we were left with was bucket after bucket of broken glass and other bits of trash. We had to haul it out one bucket at a time. When all was said and done we now have about 200 old bottles that we will try and sell. Some we will keep as they are part of the history of the house and some I will paint as still life objects. I am thinking a painting in the library as a reminder might be nice.....maybe not, LOL.

Here are some pictures so you get a better idea of what I am talking about...

Cutting the floor

My first peek under the floor, no I did not go down there just the camera, LOL

First bucket full

First load of many

Now I have done a little research on bottles and one thing I read was that people got rid of bottles by throwing them in there privy (outhouses) why not they had a hole in the ground and it would be filled in. Apparently if you are into old bottles that’s were you want to dig, to each there own, LOL So I am thinking that the hole in the floor was made for this purpose. We have so many poison bottles and other household bottles that I don’t think it was just a place to stash the empties. I do however like the other story much better, it also explains the cigaret burns in the floor!!

Monday, February 1, 2010


Sometimes its just the little things the unexpected things that can be huge. Yesterday I threw some hay in the barn for the horses, I placed it in the isle so I could clean the stalls. I walked by Quincy who was eating and you all know how food oriented he is, nothing comes between him and his feed, without thinking I reached out grabbed his tail ever so slightly and just pulled toward me, not even pulled just a slight tug and guess what, he backed up!!!! Granted he was chewing he has his month full but wow ! Now I know that might seem silly to a lot of folks but to get a horse to back by tugging on there tail takes some doing, to get them to do this with just a slight tug not much more than a thought is awesome, to get Quincy to do anything much less backing, well all I can say is wow.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Site for the new arena

Barn before the storm

Barn after the storm, it seemed to move daily

All gone!!

Well the old barn is not only down, its gone and although this was not what we wanted mother nature had different ideas and we were left with no choice but to tear it down. When we got the property we knew there was a possibility that it could not be saved but we were hopeful. Then the storm came and left us with no choice but to take it down. We hired someone to do this for us and even paid extra to have it taken down in parts in order to save the wood, but, some genius had tied cables around the barn ( in an attempt to keep it standing)and when Ron, he’s the one taking it down, when he cut a cable and just gave it a little shove the whole thing just collapsed. Yickes that was not good.

We were also having the ground from the one barn to the old one leveled so we could put up the round pen, as we watched all this happening Joel and I were talking and one thing led to another, why not put the arena here ! Ron has the equipment he has the time lets just go for it. The reason we were not going to put it here in the first place was one it’s a very windy spot and two we were going to build a shop there but since we were not able to save much of the wood and since we cant put an arena in our chosen spot for two more years, ( its under contract with crp) we thought lets just do it!

We have not figured everything out as this truly was not something planed but hopefully in a few months we will have our arena. We are hoping in the future to have a covered arena but that has to wait till we hit the lottery, in the mean time this will work just fine. We are close to the barn so easy to tack up and ride. Visitors will be able to just pull up and use it. It will be a great spot to warm up the horse and rider then go for a trail ride, I’m thinking this is going to be great!!!!!.

I will post pictures when the arena is done but in the mean time you can all see the latest changes  here at Barking Dog Ranch. .