Friday, May 30, 2008


Today we continued to work on lunging and voice commands. She is getting pretty good with walk, trot and whoa. She is showing some improvement to the right, perhaps some stretches would also help in this area. I also tried the rhythm collector with her today- it goes over the poll- through the halter and over the back. Since it's not going through the bit is has a lessened effect with her, but I did see that she dropped in response to poll pressure and didn't panic with the "closed in" feeling. She was quite compliant.

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

Update day four and five

Day four was a bit of a disappointment. She hadn't been turned out at all. We did try lunging in the indoor area and she was good. She didn't look twice at the mirrors or being in the indoor. She lunged better without the distractions from the barn. She was responsive at walk and trot. I then tried to give her a bath which I feel went poorly. The washstall at the barn is small and dark, but she followed me right in. She was less enthusiastic about STANDING in the wash stall. This was even worse when I was spraying water on her. She tried to stand and be good, but she was just really unhappy about the whole thing. Now, the other issue involved here is that I do not know if she ties or not and did not think that tying her in the wash stall (concrete floor) was the wisest place to learn. So, she got her shoulder washed, but the rest of her remains dirty.

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

Day three

Yesterday I went to visit a friend in Maryland, so Drifter didn't have any work. She was however moved from her stall to another for stall cleaning and did fine.

Today was a big day.

First, I ripped off the nasty scab on her RH and cleaned and bandaged the wound. There was a lot of pus under the scab, hopefully it can heal nicely now with no effect on the tendons. She was very good for this, despite that fact that it must have hurt like hell.

Then I put a surcingle on her. This was the first time that she has been girthed up that I know of. Her only reaction was to back up when I tightened it.
Here she is in her stall, standing calmly with it on.
So, then we tried lunging. We walked to the outdoor riding ring for the first time and hooked up the lunge line.
I hooked it through her halter to the surcingle, so that she couldn't turn to the outside and bolt. The downside to hooking the line this way is that if she does turn to the outside, you now have the lunge around her neck and can't pull on it because you are pulling her away from yourself.
Of course, this happened several times, but she quickly learned to stop and allow me to switch sides and not panic. She lunged well to the left for the first time. She was tending to pull towards the barn/horses side of the ring and cut into me on the other side. Luckily, she isn't the overreative type, so that I was able to shake the line at her to move her out. By the time we got to the right side, she was getting tired and a bit frazzled, so we didn't do as much or as well to the right. She also picked up on the "bllt" sound for a downwards transition, as I was using this before she hit the end of the lunge and she started responding by slowing and not pulling. Another kudos to her is that she didn't go up when she felt the pressure of the line bending her nose towards the surcingle. She had some nice moments of roundess and a lot of moments of invertedness. We still have a long way to go.
Drifter had her feet done in March. The vet commented that she had her feet done in the stocks. Today I was able to lift and hold both front feet, she didn't even fight- just seemed a little unbalanced.
Drifter ate all her wormer today- she is also eating hand fed alfalfa cubed from the barn staff.
Drifter was turned out in the paddock for the first time today. I was told she was hard to catch, but when I walked by the paddock and called her name, she followed me. She stood right by the gate and was ready to come in. I am still working on her leading manners.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Day two.

The focus today was to work on leading manners around the barn and to clean her up more. Her leading skills are fair, but she tends to run over the leader when she is nervous or ready to move on. I am working on instilling WHOA in her.

I cleaned her stall with her inside AOK.

She went from feral to my pretty pony in one day...

Thursday, May 22, 2008

The process from advertisment to horse in the stall...

The story starts with Fritz. He is my 18yo hannoverian. He is perfect. I enjoy riding him, but somehow when you always know that you are going to have a good ride, it leaves me wanting more.

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 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...

My plan:
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.