Friday, January 8, 2010

Snowflakes and curlies

I want to thank everyone for their posts, their thoughts, training progress etc. It is helping me to remember to make the most of every opportunity to better myself and my horses. We had a lovely snowfall yesterday and through the evening, with temps in the mid 20's and a drier than normal snow. I left everyone out to also enjoy the scenery. I used the night feeding to get back to basics and work everyone (everyone that wished to cooperate that is) with little steps and refreshers. Sorry that most the photos don't actually show us working, as that was a task I haven't mastered yet...I'll need to grow another arm or two!



I thought I would begin with my gal, Kwis, but as you can see from those pinned ears, she had some serious attitude. In hindsight I believe it was due to the flash, and consequently she wanted nothing to do with me as long as that thing was going to zap death-ray beams at her. So I talked to her and let her be happy with her hay.






Her late year 08 filly, Eivissa is a horse all her own. Extreme and proud of it...in her case meaning she's very opinionated, wants to be totally in your face and generally it is her way or the highway!:~) We experienced good progress while she munched on and threw her hay around practicing backing out of my space without her nose in the air and running off. At liberty this can be a challenge (next time I will remember to throw a few rope halters on the quad.) Fortunately the hay helped to keep her occupied, in one spot and less demanding of "her terms". She (as does her dam, Kwis) loves kisses...big almost snorty ones, breathing into your nose. So I know that we had made progress when she offered a few as I was ready to move on to another horse...almost caught it on camera!





OK, good results, try another easy one...Matte...Kwis's '07 filly. Generally a really fun and eager gal. Last night was a different story. I am guessing that she was unhappy for several reasons...one of the geldings has taken her spot as protector of Affie (the late '09 foal), and once again, the flash. She didn't even want a scratch, so I moved on to another who I hoped would be a good candidate, Dream Angel.




And she is my Dream horse! We practiced setting up and standing square...although not difficult for her, at liberty this could have been a challenge. She does tend to lean a bit to her right, so I have plans to get a chiropractor out to evaluate her...that and last summer she decided to start bucking off her riders...fortunately not me, but everyone else who tried to mount her.

Last night her initial response was to play and not on my terms. But, once again in hindsight, I think it was more of that flashing cougar from the camera that bothered her versus opposing our work. She cooperated nicely once I put that silly threat away. We worked on stepping forward and back, turning on the haunches and fore.









She loves the "step forward" command until she realizes that doesn't mean in your face for some scratches; she also knows those loves will come quickly with the correct answers. You can almost see the gears churning here. If you look hard enough you can see the smoke coming out of those big ears! Gotta love an extreme!









OK, enough of these easy gals, time to try someone a little more difficult. Affie, our smooth coated colt born late July. Aptly named "Aflac" due to the shape of the blaze on his face...I've attached a photo from his birth to show it best! My niece Cheri calls him Donald...but to me it screams from the TV commercial "AFLAC!" LOL!

His first 6 weeks were filled with a lot of handling, he had some medical issues (weird things IMO, like a twisted penis that was curled up in his sheath--didn't get any curls in his coat so I guess that was the compromise!:~) so he had a lot of handling from his start. But after my accident his training was neglected other than lots of scratches for his wanting of attention. So he is a bit of a challenge now. Sweet, but only wants love or grooming. I have learned that a little sugar gets excellent results with him.




I began with allowing him to eat from the hay wagon with his dam...who promptly threw most of the hay to the ground! He hasn't realized that the chaff in the wagon is the candy, so he moved to eating from the ground! I threw in some butt scratches and moved forward while he munched happily on hay. I asked for and lifted a front hoof....thanks for that reminder Heather-to work on lifting those feet! I was pleasantly surprised that he actually remember our lessons from last summer....at least for the front hooves. The rears were another story and no matter how much attention I gave to his butt with scratches, he was not having any part of my lifting his rears. Fortunately he didn't get stupid and let out a single or double barrel, just wasn't going to keep that hoof off the ground. Squirmy little dude. OK, better to try in a smaller area with someone to assist. We did the fronts again, gave to pressure to back, stepped forward when asked and called it a good session with scratches to his neck, ears and withers. BUT when he asked for the butt, I walked away!


While I was busy with him, Hatu (Warriors Tahlequah) used her hormonal snit and subsequent weight gain to push her way into the hay wagon....she has our only foal due in 2010--10 weeks, if my memory serves me correctly.
Eating from the wagon is something I generally only allow after I have put hay around the pasture for them and just the chaff is left. She must have figured that since I made exception for the Affie that the wagon was fair game. When I confronted her, she looked me close up and personal as if to say "come on mom, I think Whitney pushed all the hay out of the wagon, so it looked empty to me!" I repeated the basics with her and she obliged! I was thrilled with the response as her extreme attitude is to have to be caught to work....not that she is difficult to catch, but has her ritual and likes to make a game of it first. We made quick progress, so I ended just as quickly and let her go back to eating from the wagon.



I then moved on to "Bombay", Hatu's 09 filly, and full sister to Cody. She is a bomb proof little gal and a stitch at that. This photo doesn't do her justice! None of the other horses aggressive tendencies (aggressive as is pecking order) seem to phase this one. She will eventually leave their space when reprimanded by one of the older horses, but it isn't the turn and bolt that they are expecting. She casually turns and walks away very nonchalantly, then looks over her shoulder at them with a "whatever". Always willing to please, although slowly getting a bit pushy, so we work on that often. No offers of in my face tonight. She was happy to back, turn, step forward, pick up her feet..."whatever". I look forward to see how she matures!

Well, the new snow is awesome, but the temps are suppose to get to the single digits with nasty wind chills over the weekend so we may not have an adventure to write about...until next time I hope to be reading many of your stories!

6 comments:

  1. Hay, Lesly, loved hearing about how you pack in all kinds of little training sessions to your nightly feedings. Bombay sounds like a cool gal!

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  2. Hay back at ya Tilly! I am a night owl so love that "quiet" time with everyone. One of these nights I will take Kwis out for a moon lit ride, preferrably in a lite snow shower! Well, that's one of my simple dream rides. Bombay is one level headed little gal. Looking for your weekend ride and post....I know you will squeak one in!

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  3. Ha, you are right! I can see the "Aflac" now that you say it! :D

    I enjoyed getting to read about how you handle each individual horse. It makes me feel better about how I'm balancing my own time with the horses -- now that I'm in charge of feeding my own horses & such (no more boarding for me right now!), I find that feeding time is often when I can go out and do a quick ground-work check.

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  4. Thank you Amber. And isn't Aflac's blaze just a scream?!?!? His "swirl" is exactly where the eye would be. I crack up every time I look at him (poor guy, will probably have some sort of complex.) I love all the personalities...never a dull moment (of course is there ever with a curly?:~) that keeps me always thinking or they immediately let me know that I am on the wrong track! By the way I am a sap for a pinto and just love Dolly's markings.

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  5. Good to see you having fun with your horses again, and I guess, getting back to your daily routine. I love the photos and Affie's face cracks me up too. And it's very neat to hear about all their 'horsenalities.' I just have the one Curly (Sage) so I love hearing from people who have a whole bunch.

    Brie

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  6. Thank you Brie...it is nice to get back to enjoying all the horsenalities! Glad to see that you are back riding with Sage....you must be thrilled!

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