Sunday, December 21, 2008
I figure that she is retaining some water from the pregnancy, she is not walking, she may have a mild case of scratches.
So again today I doctored her legs, hand-walked and lunged her some, attempted to dry her pasterns thoroughly. She is pleasant about the whole thing, allowing me to massage her swollen legs, clean her pasterns and apply more goop to them. I am hoping the weather improves so that everyone moves away from the shed and starts walking some more. Let's hope for better weather.
Friday, December 12, 2008
I took her right to the wash stall to hose off her muddy legs, feet and blanket. Luckily I remembered to bring along a clean and dry blanket for her last week. She was a good girl and stood to be hosed off. She almost seemed to be happy to be getting cleaned up. I worry about all the mud making her feet soft and her getting another stone bruise.
I gave her a really good grooming to removed the wet spots. I only groomed her above the knees, because she was wet from her mini-bath. She was good for tacking up and is starting to lower her head for bridling.
I rode with two other horses in the ring today. It was super windy and it felt like the roof would be blown off the indoor. Drifter was forward, light and happy. It was a great ride. She was back to her November attitude without reluctance to go forward. This could be because:
- the foal was sleeping and not kicking ehr
- it wasn't feeding time
- she wasn't wearing a quarter sheet (maybe the static shocks her)
- it was windy, maybe this is her "up" mood
We worked on lateral work (leg yield) at walk and trot and walk/trot transitions. She was very willing and listening to my leg aids. I kept noticing how she was trying to cut into the left and bending a bit to the right. Then I noticed that my right leg was internally rotated and my knee was pinching into her. When I consciously changed my leg position to be even, she went straight. I was accidentally bending her and moving her off my right leg. She is so finely tuned into me that I notice these little things. When I rode my gelding, Fritz, after riding her I kept my right leg externally rotated and he also went much better. He maintained his roundness and didn't lose his balance at the canter. This mare teaches me so much.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
After our short ride, I stopped a moment before throwing her blanket back on her and noticed the activity going on inside. I placed my hands on her- one on her flank and one on her midline. I sweat that foal was tap dancing on her insides- no wonder she doesn't want to trot around!
Saturday, December 6, 2008
First, I addressed Drifter standing at the mounting block, which she has not been fond of lately. We did a lot of walk and some trot for our session today. I focused on correct bending and ended with some leg-yielding and an attempt to introduce shoulder-fore. I needed to remind her to remain rhythmical and not speed up facing the barn. We practiced circles that were round with good bend in both directions. She was mostly compliant, but seemed a little foot sore. We just had our first good freeze here and the pastures are pitted with muddy frozen horse hoof holes now. Overall, she was very good in a new work environment.
Drifter is approximately 204 days in foal. She is due April 10-24, since we don't know her true breeding date. The foal is the size of a beagle and growing into a goat sized fetus with fuzzy whiskers. The pregnancy is taking more out of her and she appears hungry all the time. We have stopped all cantering and are focusing on quality trot and walk work. Drifter is very friendly right now and has even been coming up to the fence for me when I call her.
Thursday, December 4, 2008
It could have been any number of factors:
1. she was tired and cranky
2. she was uncomfortable
3. the bit was not adjusted properly
4. my pants smelled like smoke and she was "getting away" from them
5. unknown, unrelated factors
6. it was feeding time and she is/was starving
Her appetite has increased a lot lately. Otherwise she was good and maybe she would have been better if I did some trotting and asked her to move out and then went back to halting- who knows. She appears to enjoy lateral work. I hope tomorrow is a better day, better ride.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Classical dressage training indicated that transitions and lateral work improve the canter.
The last two weeks I have been focusing on teaching the leg yield and doing lots of walk/trot transitions. The transitions were used to lighten her up to the seat and the leg again. She is moving along nice from the seat and can do all her downward transitions (walk and whoa) from the seat and voice. Ditto for up to trot, no real leg aid needed. She is moving more forward and active now. For the lateral work I have just been teaching the seat and leg aid the means move sideways. She is picking up on this quickly and seems to enjoy the lateral work.
Today I went back to ask for canter. I warmed up with walk/trot transitions and then asked for the canter from the walk. She gave me only a few steps of trot before picking up the canter. I did notice that I am throwing my body around more then I should and made a good attempt at sitting back and giving her the clear aids. She showed a great improvement from our last attempts at canter transitions. We also maintained the canter for a longer period of time. There is still hope to teach the canter to the pregnant mare!
Drifter is now heading into her 7th month. Horses are pregnant for 11 months. I think the foal has moved because she seems more comfortable, but I can still feel the foal flutter. I hope that this means I will be able to continue her training for a few more months. Her progress is so great I don't want to quit now!
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Went out and rode Drifter tonight. I wasn't really enthusiastic because it was really cold out. She seemed game to go and was cooperative and forward. She is really getting the lateral work thing, which is a blessing and a trick, because she tried it as an evasion a few time tonight. She really engages herself when asked to do lateral work (leg-yield and turn on haunches) at this point. We did some walk/trot transitions on a loose rein and asked for a few trot lengthenings. She is really progressing in her trot work and hopefully we will get some more canter work in again soon.
Tonight, I really felt the baby flutter after we did our work. I was rubbing her belly and could really feel the foal moving. It was so cool. I think it is the size of a beagle right now- moving quickly towards the size of a goat. Drifter seems to have accommodated to the riding and foal now or the baby has moved, because she doesn't need to stop and pee so much and she looks like she is carrying it differently. I was almost worried until I felt the activity in there tonight. We are just past the half way point in her pregnancy.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Last night, we had a great ride! We didn't do any more cantering. We spent 20 minutes at the walk. I introduced some lateral work- asking her to do a simple leg yield. She had nice engagement and impulsion. By the time we got to the trot, she was working nicely and ready to go. Her trot was very nice and forward for the first time in awhile. He leg yield at the trot was a bit rushed and unbalanced, but I could really feel her engage her engine a few time. When she got "sloggy" around the time she generally has to pee I switched to walk/trot transitions. This went really well and her transitions were often forward and light. She is a real joy to ride.
Friday, November 14, 2008
This was a really nice evening to go ride as the weather was mild and the farm was virtually deserted. Drifter needed only a quick clean up (from the knees up anyway) and we were tacked up and ready to go. She did a really cool thing today and opened her mouth and lipped the bit into her mouth all by herself today. She still raises her head when it is time to put on her halter or bridle, but we are still working on this. I was really impressed that she willingly took the bit though.
Our ride was nice and she was a bit more forward then our previous two rides. We worked on posting trot, took a break for a pee, then worked on canter when no one was in the ring. Still trying to get that canter depart. She tried really hard and only shut down once on me. Her trot work was pretty nice too and I started to ask for some variation in her trot stride length.
After her ride, when we slowed down to a walk, steam started to roll off her. She was really hot. So, I walked her out a bit, threw a cooler on her and left her in Fritz' stall while I rode him. When he was all done she was mostly dried out and ready to get her sheet on and go back outside.
She is a wonderful mare with a lot of "try" in her.
Friday, November 7, 2008
Instead, we did a little lungeing with side reins. She is doing well, but it was hard for her to balance outside with a little slope to the ring and the footing being very soupy. She tried hard to please. She also trotted a few caveletti by accident in our lungeing. It was nice to see her make a correction after hitting them the first time. I think she will be a fine jumper.
After lungeing, I did some ground work with her getting her to understand turn on the forehand and turn on the haunches from a hand or whip aid. She seemed very interested in learning what I was asking.
To end the day I thought I would give her a bit of a massage. As soon as I started rubbing my hands over her barrel, she stretched down her head and stretched out her lips. I began to itch her back and whithers and she reached around and began to rub my back with her nose. I think I will reward this behavior. I discouraged her from using her teeth with a verbal "uh-uh" and she went back to rubbing me with her nose while I scratched her back. She seemed to really enjoy the massage and scratching. I also found that she really enjoyed me massaging right behind her scapula and shoulder along a thick muscle there. I ended with a few belly lifts to ease the weight on her topline. This was a good way to brighten my day.
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
All started well, she was quiet and happy to walk around- but a little slow. We did some nice trotting, but she really wasn't putting much energy into work. I gave her a quick kick a few times when she stopped suddenly and she hopped back into the trot, but she was clearly not thrilled. We worked for a while longer trying to work around the same issue- going forward. She was really shutting down- perhaps the number of horses in the ring or the sheet or the time we spent working. It wasn't a high note to leave for conference on.
Yesterday, after returning from the conference I went out to ride again. I was hoping to take a step back and re-establish forward. I didn't want her to learn to suck back and slow down or stop. I just started at the walk and tried to stay quiet with my body and legs. I used a bumping leg aid when she stopped. Sometimes, it's hard to tell if she needs to "use the bathroom" or is just stopping to stop. Her work at the walk and trot was much nicer and more forward. We even got to squeeze a canter in when the other horses left the ring. Her canter remains a work in progress. I am happy that she showed improvement and maintained her skills while I was gone. She is doing well with her blanket wearing and she looked like polished milk when I took the sheet off this week. She is still getting a bigger belly and I hope to be able to see some movement soon. Her belly felt more like jelly under my legs this week then last week. Hopefully, I can help her maintain this level of fitness under saddle for another few months.
I am also coming up with a list of things to do when she is too big and unhappy to ride. So far, I have clicker training, learning to paint, in hand work, more long lining and adding lateral work, TTEAM obstacle courses and of course massage and feldenkrais work. I would love other ideas for non-mounted work.
Monday, October 27, 2008
I wasn't able to get out over the weekend, due to having a workshop to assist at work.
On Sunday I stopped by after work and brought Drifter in from the far corner of the field. Apparently when the herd of horses travels out to the far field they often don't come in for days. I cleaned her up and dealt with some tick bites she had. I didn't feel it fair to ask her to carry me after having several days off, so I worked her on the lunge in side reins. She did some really nice work at WTC. I would like to see her taking a more consistent contact with the side reins on, but really that was probably the first time I have used them with her in a bridle. I used them once or twice previously with the cavesson, but the alignment wasn't good, so I stopped using it. She carries herself pretty nicely and moves out well. I worked on some transitions into canter to help her make them smoother and less rushed. She still squirts off into a running trot then breaks or falls into the canter. At least she is trying though.
Today, I rode Drifter in the outdoor ring. I focused on maintaining the trot and some canter work in a bigger space. It went well overall. She gets sweaty pretty quickly, letting me know that she is working very hard with some light riding. She is 5 months along now with a pretty big belly and I think the canter work with me on her is pretty challenging. She does give it a good try though when asked.
Monday, October 20, 2008
First I reviewed the cantering concept with Drifter on the lunge line. Then we repeated the same under saddle.
The good news: we have breaks! We cantered in both directions and on both leads
The other news: we don't have power steering yet. She was very fast, but it felt safe. She just didn't have great steering. Cantering alone in the ring only for now. I think it's hard balancing for three!
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Today was our #14 ride. She is coming along nicely and her trot is becoming more rhythmic. Here is a short video clip of our trot today.
I would like to see her a little more steady in contact and more forward, but I think she is doing really well for this stage. Hopefully, my posture is not as bad as it looks with this tee-shirt on. After her ride in the ring, I took her out and rode her up to the dressage arena- this was her first time walking around the dressage arena and it doesn't have a fence. Of course, this is when the feed delivery truck comes bumping and clattering down the driveway. It was also brisk and windy. Drifter stopped to look at the truck for a long hard moment then walked on as it bobbled by. She was tense, but kept it all together for one lap around. I hope to continue to expand her riding opportunities around the farm.
I also notified her previous owners of the pregnancy, but haven't heard back a response yet. She appears to be gaining weight, by the lack of holes in the girth these days. I am hoping to get/keep her fit enough to ride her throughout the winter. Our next goal is to introduce canter under saddle.
Friday, October 10, 2008
I wasn't able to make it out on Tuesday because I had to work late, so we missed a ride this week. Today was the first day I have seen her since Sunday. I think she has gained weight again. She is also getting a soft fuzz on her muzzle as she prepares for winter. She doesn't know that this winter she will be wearing a warm blanket and have plenty of hay.
Our ride on Sunday was good. We worked on maintaining the trot. I am still finding that sitting the trot it producing better results. And FINALLY- I can sit my horses trot! I have a Hanoverian gelding that I have such a hard time sitting his big, bouncy, jarring trot. Her trot is much smoother and smaller.
Tomorrow is spa day. I want to give her as much of a bath as a can and perhaps braid her tail.
Friday, October 3, 2008
No vest and no door closed in the indoor.
We did more trotting and working on maintaining gait and transitions. She is a very good girl and coming along nicely. She seems to have taken to ridden work as well as she took to lunging.
I want to come up with a stretch and TTouch routine before our rides that is nice and helpful for her. I just get into a groove and the "get it down" mentality and then I don't go beyond training.
I think today was her 8th ride!
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
We worked on steering and some speed/gait control. This time we got to TROT! Hooray. She went nicely into the trot with good speed control and balance. She stayed pretty round throughout the transition, only loosing forward momentum on the downward transition.
After trotting in both directions, I dismounted and took her outside. I remounted from a mouting block for the first time. Then I rode her from the indoor ring to the barn. We were outside without a fence or any boundaries and she did great. There were no differences between her affect inside or outside.
On Saturday, I rode with two other horses in the ring! She was very good with the first horse at the walk and trot, both coming towards her and up behind her. However, when the second horse entered the ring- she was puffed up, nickering and not paying attention. She was paying attention to her pasturemate in the ring with her! I worked to keep her walking and paying attention to me. I did have to dismount one time when she got her tongue over the bit. I remounted in the ring on the right side and she startled a little bit, but the two other horses were both moving around at the same time. I hope to have better experiences with riding her with other horses in the coming days. She did really well with one horse that she didn't know, but two horses (one her pasture mate) was a real challenge.
She is really coming along under saddle at this point though. She is moving off my leg aids, moving away from my leg aids and her sterring is improving.
Friday, September 26, 2008
Today I rode her WITHOUT LUNGING first. I just walked her around the ring a time or two, adjusted the girth and mounted from the ground. I continued at the walk, but also asking her to extend the walk. I was hoping that she would offer the trot, but she did not. She was a very good girl even though it was a windy and brisk day.
The best thing is that I will now be able to work her in the indoor when other people are riding. This will decrease the limits placed on me and with the colder and wet weather of fall that is a good thing. SHe has been a very good girl under saddle so far. I am sure we will have our challenges in the future, but it's so great knowing how far she has come in the last four months.
Sunday, September 21, 2008
Friday, September 19, 2008
I lunged her with the bridle, walk, trot, canter, in both directions. Then I worked more on bellying-up on her. I did a ground mount from the left and right and bellied-up and she stood real nice. So, I just swung my leg over and slowly sat up. I looked down at her neck and ears and saw that I was actually sitting on TOP of her. I took a deep breath and slowly swung down. I was really excited, so I did not do it a second time because I knew she would pick up on me being excited. I just quit while ahead.
She was very good.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
I find that I am fairly regimented with her work at this point. I have been "very busy" and always have an agenda when I am there- I may modify it to suit her temperament and the ring availability that day, but it's mostly been about work. I feel like I have to keep working to meet some of our goals and therefore have neglected some of the more spiritual and connective work- this is fairly typical, considering that my paying job is "working" with horses and that mindset it the easiest for me to access. Having been very busy and very broke has not encouraged me to make "frivolous" trips to the barn or just given me the grace to spend 20 minutes "playing" with her. I usually have about two hours to "get it done", which means to work her and ride Fritz and put away all my stuff and to get in the car and drive home or to work. Maybe I should take Saturday and spend more time playing with her again.
On this Tuesday, a whole week from the last bridling, I went to get Drifter and she wasn't wearing a halter or sun/fly mask. I had to trek around the whole field (wasting time) to find the now broken halter. She must have snagged it on something good because she broke the leather crown piece. Poor girl. I was expecting that maybe she would be lame or sore or something, because pulling back hard enough to break a halter should have pulled some muscle or something, but she seemed okay. I groomed her quickly and put on her surcingle. I bridled her in the indoor ring and she was really horrible for this. She quickly threw up her head and bulldozed right through me. It took a couple of tries before I got it over one ear- the other ear got squished under the crown piece. I think I should drop it a few holes loose before putting it on again. I have the bit up high and tight because she got her tongue over the bit that first night. Occasionally, she is throwing up her head and turning away from the direct rein pressure. This time my focus was to long line her off the bit. I want to be very light with my hands on her newly minted mouth, but I also want her to learn to accept contact and to yield to contact. She did the same initial rubber neck, ewe neck, resistance, but learned that softening was a better solution. When I asked her to do more then she felt capable of she would just stop. Stop and stand and refuse to go! No amount of clucking, shaking the lines or saying "walk" was helping. I need to carry a whip to reinforce go. Although having a horse stop is sometimes not a bad thing when they are confused. She isn't threatening to go up stopping, she is just calmly stopping and waiting. This happened twice when I used an outside supporting rein contact with an inside bending rein. I think there was just too much pressure for her to figure out the correct response or I was too slow in responding to the correct response. She was also reluctant to trot and this was probably because we were uncoordinated together. She is wobbly and not straight steering from the bit and I have some delays in asking for the right thing, so I would over ask or not ask soon enough and she would feel unsure and come back to the walk. I am hoping this safety conscious part carries over into our mounted work the first time I get on her.
I am hoping to get on her soon. I am looking for someone at my barn who will hold her for me for the first time. I have the "question" out to someone, so hopefully they are willing and we can schedule a time that works for us. I plan on doing more bridle work on Friday and hopefully I can pull back on the work schedule for Saturday and enjoy spending time and fussing with her.
I also think that I saw the baby move during work time this week.
Friday, September 5, 2008
Today she had her first dental appointment. She took two doses of sedative (apparently typical for some QH's). She had a variety of minor issues and the dentists commended me on waiting for her dental appointment before bitting her. He made some good recommendations regarding bit fit for her mouth conformation.
I plan on bridling her this coming week, after we get drowned in rain tomorrow.
Monday, September 1, 2008
Today the barn was very busy. I began with focusing on standing by the mounting block while I leaned on her. She was good with this and overall we stood by three mounting blocks. I also began to "pretend" mount from the ground by putting weighting in the stirrup and pulling up. This made her a little nervous, but overall she was okay with it. She did the mounting block and stirrups from both left and right sides. I lunged her in the outdoor with good manners and attention and added asking her to lunge in the dressage ring today. She was good with this until a HUGE bomber landed on her- then she was a little more quick and distracted. We finished again in the wash stall and she was much better.
I had to go back to the fly sheet as she is getting some dry skin and scratchy parts. She is really getting a belly now. The dentist is coming on Friday. Then next week she will begin work in the bridle and hopefully I will be getting on her in two weeks. There isn't much more work I can do from the ground- improving her lunge and long lining work is always room for improvement, but I think she is really ready for mounted work.
I would like to incorporate some "extra curricular" work with her. I would like to add more interesting techniques and incorporate TTouch again. I guess time is always a factor.
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
She has been doing well on pasture board and it was also very cool in temperature this morning. I just think she's a bit under worked and feeling fresh. She is also starting to sport a bigger belly since she is out on nice lush grass.
I plan to work her again, first in long lines, then lunge and maybe end with some pseudo-mounting or save that part for Saturday or Sunday. Time to get back to work Drifter.
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
We had the indoor to ourselves and worked on trot transitions and canter transitions. I asked her for a few trot/whoa/trot transitions and you could see that she wanted to do the right thing and got slightly tense with the increased demands. She has lost some flexibility in the weeks she has had off. We also went back to canter work. She knows that the kiss sound means canter, but she is not able to strike off immediately, which causes her to rush into the canter at times. She is trying hard though.
Her lameness issue is near resolved, but she is still resistant to pick up the right hind and put all her weight on her left hind. She isn't showing any lameness on soft surfaces though- she may have had a stone bruise.
Tomorrow I am picking up the trailer to take it to PA for a "once over" and hopefully a paint job. I am thinking of asking Drifter to load and unload, but I am not sure how much of a project that might be. There will be another update on trailer loading soon.
Friday, August 15, 2008
We worked on the lunge with the saddle and stirrups attached and hanging at her sides, which she really didn't seem to mind. I had her walk and trot over some ground poles and although she has no idea where her feet are, she was open to the idea. There was also another horse walking around and she maintained her attention. The thing that bothered her most was the flies biting her, since she is wearing a fly sheet most of the time.
I also lead her over the liverpool in the ring today and she was a little hesitant, but followed. Hopefully we are back on track now.
Monday, August 11, 2008
Drifter has been on pasture board now since the third of the month. She is starting to make a friend and travels with the herd. This has brought up some challenges in her training and handling because she values the herd and is also afraid of the dominant members of the herd. So, leading her through or away from the group is always a high alert activity. She has done well leaving the group and still loves to come out and hang out in the barn. She just needs a little coaxing to leave the group. Yesterday, I had to remind her that she wasn't able to run over me even if the boss horse was moving around in the field. These are good challenges.
She has been good on the cross ties- just standing quietly, while I soak her foot, groom her and doctor her wounds. I am able to run to the tack room for a minute and she stands still. I accepted a big challenge of making her stand in the aisle (not on the cross ties) during feed time. She was very intent and tried to run over me at one point, but I reinforced "stand" and by the end of feeding she was standing very alert, but with no tension on the lead rope. I figure it's good that she learns to stand when something exciting is happening. She did very well.
Friday, August 1, 2008
Secondly, she is pregnant. She is 60-90 days along and should foal out between end of March and beginning on May. I don't know what this does to my training plans.
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
She gets her teeth done on August 1st. I hope to be backing her by mid-August.
She still does not like to get a bath- we are STILL working on standing in the wash stall while being hosed. She is doing well with her feet and got her second hoof trim. She had nice hoof growth. She has gained 150 pounds and is REALLY starting to look like a Quarter Horse.
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
I also figured out that Drifter (called Mama Bird most of the time) has Sweet Itch. That means that she is allergic to gnats and mosquitoes and she breaks out in a itchy rash. The best way to control this is to avoid having her bitten. I am trying a fly sheet with hood, but I am not sure the barn staff will keep putting it on and I am not sure how "ok" she will be with them putting it on. Although, she was fine with me!
She also has a dentist APPOINTMENT now, August 1st.
Friday, July 11, 2008
She has been goon on the cross ties and with picking her feet.
On Tuesday I lunged her outside with side reins. I really don't have the right configuration for them, so I think I may delay using them much more. Plus, one got caught on the gate as we were leaving and she bent the snap trying to get away. She also bit my thumb when I was giving her a bath and trying to hold onto the treat to delay the reward. It really hurt and now it hurts to shake someone hand who squeezes hard! It was really my fault though! I think I have gotten comfortable in expecting that things will be "fine" with her and have overestimated her understanding and maturity in less then two months.
Sunday, July 6, 2008
I would love to hear some comments.
Saturday, July 5, 2008
We groomed and tacked on the cross ties in preparation for pasture board next month. She was fine and was very good with her feet. I am now able to lift and pick out all four feet.
I "mico-teked" her mane to help deal with the itching.
She was lunged in side reins for the first time yesterday. We lunged outside and she was better then previously with maintaining a large circle. She was fine with the side reins and it helped to regulate her rhythm some as well. However, my surcingle rings are too high for her and putting the side reins on the billets ended up with her head nearly on the ground!
I also introduced her to the mounting block. I walked her by and stopped her and climbed up on the block. She looked tense for a moment, then I started to scratch her itchy mane! This really helped her relax so I could scratch her and pat her back from up high.
We ended the day with introducing to come when called- again in prep for pasture board. This involved standing in her stall with treats and whistling and calling to her; when she comes to me she gets the treat. She was slow to be motived for this game, but after watching me play it with Fritz (my gelding who she can see across the aisle) she was more motivated and seemed to understand the concept better.
It's nice to see continued progress and I am hoping to get her to take a full bath in the coming weeks.
Friday, June 27, 2008
Thursday, June 26, 2008
The third long lining session has been the best- but she has a short attention span. She is mentally like a two year old in training. She we long line for 15-20 minutes and lunge for the same. I had an excellent lunging session on Tuesday. She was able to stay out on a 20m circle at the walk in both directions and showed an improvement at the trot with less inversion. I have been asking her to transition to walk when she becomes unbalanced and letting her do more of a slow trot this week. Although she understands the concept of lunging, I learned that her body is not able to comply with the fitness and flexibility needed to progress quickly. So, this week was a taking it slow week.
She is doing well with "normal" horse activities like group turnout, taking halter/cavesson on and off, cross tying and fly spray. I can also pick up and hold her hind feet now. She has also gained some weight- just her neck looks puny and skinny now. I can't wait until she is muscled up. I have been doing the belly lifts with her and some stretches for treats to help her flexibility and topline. I am still searching for some more non-traditional activities to do with her. I was reading about equine intelligence testing this week and think it would be a fun activity to try with her. I feel that she is pretty bright and picks up things quickly. I heard several stories about "untamed" or "unhandled" horses this week and am ever thankful that Drifter is as sensible as she is. Again, I look forward to riding her.
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
I took her to the center of the ring and attempted to send her out on the circle, like lungeing. She was walking right on top of me and was a bit tense. I finally got her straightened out and going in a circle. I could see her thinking about being "steered" from two sides. Apparently it freaked her out a little. She picked up the trot and trotted a few circles and then picked up a faster trot. In this case, she then decided that going back to the gate at high speed was a good idea. She straightened her head to the outside and took off. I lost control of the reins and she gave a little buck as she ran to the arena gate. She stopped by the gate and walked into the small barn attached to the arena. She stopped in the stall and was willingly lead out and put back to work.
I thought it best to work at the walk after that incident. I worked more on steering around the arena wall and practicing some halting. She was clearly tense when being steered from the long lines, but held herself together pretty well. After steering around the ring in both directions at the walk I decided that she should work. So I hung up the long lines on the surcingle and attached the lunge line. I had her lunge in both directions at a forward trot. I asked her to work harder at the trot because of her earlier outburst. She was difficult again to the right today with no improvement throughout the session.
After lunging, it was time to walk nicely around the farm. She was good.
Tonight was a big night for Drifter. It was her first night out all night with another horse. She is turned out with another mare, who seemed less like she wanted to be friends and more like she wanted to chase her. Drifter is herd smart and got away from the fence, away from the corner of the pasture and away from her turnout buddy. However, within a few minutes they were both grazing on opposite sides of the field. I think all will be okay.
Sunday, June 15, 2008
She stood totally still for fly spray today.
She got several doses of applesauce from the wormer syringe today. She wasn't so thrilled with me sticking the syringe in her mouth, but all four feet stayed on the ground. By the end of our time together she tolerated it pretty well.
She lifted all four feet nicely today.
I need to get more pictures of her. She is also going out on grass now. It is amazing that with as little as four hours of turnout daily she is as quiet as she is. She really is a mellow horse. I will start long lining her this week and also spending more time on the cross ties, because once she goes on pasture board, she will need to be reliable on the cross ties for grooming/tacking/etc.
I am also considering a fly sheet for her. She seems to draw the flies :-(
Friday, June 13, 2008
I also CONQUERED the wormer! I took a used wormer syringe and put some apple flavored mushy water in there. I was able to go VERY slowly and touch her face with he syringe. I eventually slipped it into her mouth and dispensed! I repeated on the right side with a little more difficulty, but was able to do the same as well. During this process, I had my fingers in her mouth and noticed that on her left side her upper molars do not align with her lower molars. I was able to feel the chewing surface of her upper left molars and there is a large hook in the front and some sharp edges. Her gums are also very fleshy- they were not red or irritated looking, but there is a lot of flesh in there! I am interested to see in her mouth when she is HEAVILY sedated next month for her dental visit.
Friday the 13th- TODAY.
First, I had a root canal done at my new dentist and went to the barn after that - so I felt like crap. The farrier was just finishing with Fritz. So, I introduced Drifter and a little bit about her story. I was planning on having her front feet done as I have still been working on getting her reliable with lifting and holding her hind feet. Interestingly enough, she didn't want to come out of her stall. Once out, I walked her up and down the aisle so he could evaluate how she moves- she really didn't want to move out. He started with rubbing her body a little and then rubbing her legs. He did a short ask to lift and hold the front foot and then we rewarded her. He was able to get her front leg in between his and trim her foot. I distracted her and bribed her with some treats to help keep her head low and relaxed. Linda Tellington Jones talks about the connection between raising the head and the flight or fight reflex, this is also seen in many natural horsemanship techniques. Joe, the farrier, was willing to try to give the hind feet a try. The first attempt she picked up the foot willingly, but had difficulty with holding it up. She continued to shake/jerk her leg away. He went a got a long, soft rope, so that he was able to place it around her fetlock, ask her to weightshift and lift her leg. This time when she jerked her leg he was able to stay relaxed and out of harms way. As soon as she balanced herself and relaxed, her put down her foot and rewarded her. She relaxed and licked and chewed. He put her hind leg on the stand and quickly took it off. The second attempt her left her leg there and trimmed her hing hoof. We repeated on the other side with only minimal more difficulty. Wow- Drifter had her first hoof trimming without the stocks, without sedation and without stress. This mare is really smart and willing.
I also tried on a few horse blankets on her- for fall/winter. Unless I find a good fly sheet for her. THe 72 was too small. She is a 74-76 size. I found a great ice and baby blue blanket that makes her look like a yeti wearing it! The too small lilac blanket looked very pretty on her! She is getting very good with taking on/off her halter. I am hoping the staff can start doing that soon. She was quite interested in wearing blankets, sort of like "what is this" and was totally cool with me taking them off, buckling then and folding them back up in her stall. Hopefully tomorrow my mouth will be feeling better and we can do some more "work".
Saturday, June 7, 2008
Worked on spray bottle for fly spray. Minimal upset just when the spray first hits her, but okay afterwards.
THE BIG MILESTONE. Drifter wore a saddle and real lunging cavesson. She was more concerned about the lunging cavesson on her nose then about the saddle. This was the first time she had something other then HER halter on her face. She was nervous, but willing. The cavesson gives me more control and should help her get used to more touching on her face.
Today- continued to work on all four feet. More fly spray- the real stuff this time. Working on keeping her comfortable when she goes outside.
More Ttouch- did some back lifts, inchworm touch on her neck and pelvic pushes. She is so funny because she turns over to look at me when I am doing these "things" to her. I am continuing to work on/in her mouth and ears, where she is most sensitive. I think I could worm her now. She is a good girl, but I would like to see her relax more.
AND- I went to the dentist- so now it's her turn. I think I will have to sell my first born child to pay for her and my dental appointments!
Sunday, June 1, 2008
Our work today was to see if she ties- yep, she ties. I tied her in her stall with bailing twine and her leadrope. This was four feet away from her hay pile. She tested the tie, but stood quietly. good girl!
I am continuing to work on her feet. We are making good progress on the front- worked more on the left then the right, because she was standing along the wall on the right side. The hind legs also required more work! She continues to jerk her leg away when I hold onto it, but is better when I am just lifting and letting go! Her feet look pretty flat right now and it looks like her fronts could use some shaping, I don't think I will ask the farrier to touch the hinds for anther month.
We went for several walks around the farm on just the leadrope with no dressage whip for corrections. She is getting the whole- please don't walk on top of me! She is now walking on a loose lead and is stopping on voice command "whoa" for most transitions. She is also learning about the wonders of hand grazing. Yet, she remains polite when hand grazing and lifts her head when I cluck to walk on.
We also walked in the outdoor ring. She was very good and interested in what was in the ring. I figured that if I can step over a cross rail- so can she. So I walked her onlead over the first cross rail and she didn't lift her legs enough and crashed it. It crashed down behind her and towards her and she took a few fast steps away from it, but wasn't overly worried. We then walked over a red/black cross rail, then the yellow/black cross rail (which she needed to sniff, but followed right over). She was very good about this on lead hunter course, so I added the small panel gate and finished with the flower box. What a good pony! There's hope for her being a jumper someday.
I really love this mare and hope to be able to work out an arrangement to keep her despite my changing home status. I also can't wait to get on her.
Friday, May 30, 2008
Her leading is going great- almost like a normal horse now. I even lead her down around the back and she was great. The staff has been turning her out and did not have any problems.
We worked on standing in the wash stall-sans water. She was initially nervous with a lot of moving around, but then relaxed and we did some mutual grooming to further relax her. Very nice.
Lastly- she now takes treats from my hand- I gave her an anise treat and an apple flavored treat and she makes a lot of faces, snorts and shakes her head, but she seems to like them.
Good girl Drifter.
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Day five was an improvement with minimal turnout time while I rode my other horse. She wasn't very happy being out alone, but nibbled some grass and pawed by the fence. We then did some lunging in the outdoor ring again -focusing on voice commands for walk, trot and whoa. She is learning these very quickly and her leading skills are greatly improving. She is stiffer to the right on the lunge, but looks pretty balanced to the left. We finished with working on picking up her feet. She hasn't been taught how to do this, so I am working on the command lift and having her lift and allow her hoof to be held. She is okay with the fronts, once you get them off the ground and she is overlifting the hinds- but not trying to kick. I did some TTouch moves around her mouth as was able to touch her lips and muzzle. She is very fond of people now and comes to the gate when I go to get her.
I am hoping that things will progress nicely, but for me things are changing, which may mean changes for her (again) too. My landlord is selling our house and I am not sure if I will be able to afford two horses now that we have to move....
Sunday, May 25, 2008
Friday, May 23, 2008
Thursday, May 22, 2008
I have been searching for a cremello mare for months. I was considering breeding for a cremello foal, but the cost was prohibitive AND I felt I would be ultimately responsible for his/her life. So, I continued to search the classifieds. At the bottom of equine.com there was a text ad for a perlino broodmare. The price was right and the sellers seem to be in a hurry to sell. We emailed and I learned that she has been out in a broodmare band for most her whole life. I learned that she had two foals. I chose to have her vetted. The vet reported her sound and not pregnant. The vet reported that she was "a broodmare" as if that explained all I would need to know about her. I chose to go ahead and purchase her, bring her from MN on a four day trailer ride to see what I would get. It has been a great adventure.
I bougt two PMU mares a few years ago- the definition of halterbroke for them meant that someone had gotten a halter on them before running them into the trailer. I was hoping better from this mare.
She traveled for four days, while I studied and reviewed Ttouch, Tteam, Bach's flower remedies, homeopathy and John Lyons methods. I formed ideas about basic skills horses' should have and the sequence they can/should be taught in. I used Double L transport, Louie Velasco, he's a great guy and did very good with her along the way. I didn't know what the first day would bring...
Drifter came to the barn after I had left for work. She was quiet getting off the trailer. She was NOT quiet when the barn staff tried to worm her- in fact she struck and jumped on one of them. She was on the road to being booted out of the barn before I even got to meet her. Everyone was told to say away from her and I was warned that she doesn't trust people.
She was standing quietly in the stall, she was facing people. I cracked the door open and stuck in my hand while I talked to some other boarders. She sniffed me and didn't turn away. I thought this was a great sign. She stepped back and I came into the stall. She stood still and I reached for her. She tensed her neck and raised her head, but she didn't move away. I immediately began doing Ttouch on her. I did the abolone TTouch- hard to believe I even know the name of it, but that's what I did. She relaxed.
I touched her mane, her back, her neck. I got my grooming kit, dressage whip, leadrope, camera. I snapped a few shots of her dreaded mane. She stood quiet. I began to comb her mane, unravel her dreaded hair. I talked to her. I told her she was pretty. She sniffed me and stood very still. I touched her front legs and stoked her hind legs with the dressage whip. She didn't kick out, so I touched her legs. She has two HUGE scrapes on her hind legs that are swollen and infected. She let me tie up her tail, she let me clean her wounds...
I was able to back her up, turn her in her stall and asked her to move away from me. I took her out of her stall and lead her up and down the aisle. She was nervous, she stopped frequently, but moved forward from cues from the dressage whip, she was a bit bargy, but she tried.
I am smitten and she is on probation...
lead her around the farm- this will be necessary for the staff to be able to turn her out
treat her wounds- soften those scabs, treat with homeopathic ointment (calendula)
wash her tail- it is gross and I think I can wash it in a bucket
teach her to pick up her feet
I will continue to use Ttouch to gain her trust and Tteam to teach her better leading skills.