Sunday, February 7, 2010

pictorial proof!

Mocha thought it was way too cold to be just out standing around but still not take kindly to my loan of my ear warmer - something about this horse and his tongue! LOL But I do love him.

In the background are Don and Eban (Stacy's husband). They are discussing principles of horse training. And thus with no further ado:

It seems my weeknight interactions are short but meaningful as every little bit of interactions causes progression either forward or backwards! I choose to believe we (Mocha and me, Elsa and me) are progressing forwards. They no longer have to be called in but saunter on over when they see/hear me pulling into the barnyard. Elsa is getting less sensitive on her neck-a problem I was having a hard time determining the cause of until this weekend when I finally had time and opportunity to witness Stacy interacting with the horse. Taking what I observed and modifying Stacy's behavior using small baby steps, detail detail detail, positive consistency, and slow-easy mannerisms we were able to begin correcting some challenges - including neck sensitivity in just a matter of minutes!!! So gratifying to see the progression in the person and thus in the horse.

Mocha is his staunch solid self and his attitude towards me is becoming more and more cheerful as he gets more attention and treats and less work. As the Canadian Mounties (I think it was them) said, "if you work your horse for an hour then you must pet-groom-pamper it for 2 hours". Mocha is a horse with a very British sense of humor - very dry and subdued. If I ever get lost. I always say I hope I have a pocketful of horse treats as Mocha's nose will then sniff me out. While always a gentleman, Mocha is quite persistent nudging, sniffing and nuzzling my pockets and hands looking for the cookie!

So, despite a frigid breeze and threatening clouds - I honestly thought of all you who blog about your exploits in weather that sends me to the fireside and told myself to quit being such a big baby! - yesterday, Saturday, with a cold front and snow predicted for the afternoon through Tuesday, I decided to mount up and progress. The first picture is my 7th or 8th failure at hopping off a bucket onto Mocha's back. A friend was with us at the barn and nabbed up my camera to take a series of pictures. the pictures have done me a world of good in proving to me what I already know - my foundation training with my horse is top of the line and solid as a rock. I can jump, hang, wiggle, scootch and do whatever I want and he will stand still until I get situated and ask him to move off. The problem in myself and my own mind. And, as it dawned on me looking at the pictures and thinking about the events, my distrust is NOT in Mocha but in ME and my lack of balance. And then looking at these pictures I see myself stiff and obviously nervous and gee .... I wonder why my balance is atrocious. but also saw myself relaxing as the time and pictures progress. So, I am hopeful that tincture of time will improve ME!

Then I finally get over the hump! And then wiggle myself to the balance point.

And then Mocha sticks his tongue out as if to say "hey, mom, you know that diet you keep talking about? Well I think it is time to start!"
And then we both just chill and relax!

A hug for my beautiful sweet boy!

And he wants to see what am I doing! Maybe there is a treat on my toe!

"Hey! What is that?"

And then I finally get brave and sit up.

Then I scootch forward to a better balance point.

And then I ask him to walk and off we go! My reins are way too tight my body is stiff as board but Mocha is doing GREAT!

And once we turn around I start to relax and see improvement!
And my poor boy gets to have a dental appointment as he is usually the fattest horse in the pasture not the skinniest!

Over all, frozen fingers or no, a positive day!!! And just a note, we - as I am betting you mostly know - we sell Curlies (and Morgans). Our challenge is always people want a trained horse. Our philosophy is that a person can buy a completely polished horse and bring it down the person's level of expertise in a matter of weeks! So, we endeavor to train the new horse owner as we progress the horse. Of course, we have many blocks as the world sees this as crazy and there are always a plethora of of people to say "don't do it! a green horse and a green person just should not be done!" However, we have many, many successes and the people involved all feel proud and better for the knowledge they gain! Again, this does our heart good and I hope this explains the interaction with Stacy as talked about in this Blog!
Thanks for all your support!!!!!


  1. Marvelous!!! And I enjoyed the pics of him sticking out his tongue. :)

  2. Hello Ellen,
    Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. You did more for my heart today than you will ever know. You gave me hope and courage. Happy Trails to you and Mocha. Thank you.
    Penny Johnson

  3. Ellen, I loved the Mounting Pictorial! You need the big rock in my paddock; that li'l bucket of yours is waaay too short for mature women such as you and I. ;) A hill and a bale of hay works, too.
    Mocha REALLY likes you, it's obvious.

  4. Hello Ellen...You are doing GREAT! Simply recognizing that the issue was with your confidence was a HUGE confidence builder. Isn't life grand?!?!

    WOW on your foundation work with Mocha; it is solid as a rock...I have a long way to go with my kids 'cause surely by the 4th attempt they would have looked back at me and stuck out their tongue as if to say "figure this out and get back to the mean time, I'm outta here!"

    By the way, I love his tongue obsession, very endearing!

  5. To all!!! Thank you for your kind responses! I do need a bigger rock - when the corrals are open I use the panels to climb on - I resorted to the bucket as I felt a reminder to me about how good my baby boy is (with me jumping and jumping and jumping and then wiggling etc)would help me relax. It did! And yeah this boy has tongue thing!

  6. Ellen!!! Look at you! You look awesome on have it in you girl. Just keep going! =] Isn't it amazing what photos can do? I thought the same thing when looking at my video - so much we can learn by seeing ourselves! Some good for me, some that I didn't realize I need to work on too. But its' ALl great! I agree with Lesly aka Annie, =] that is one solid horse you got there to stand the whole time so patiently! What a GOOD boy! Thanks for sharing this with us Ellen!!!! You ARE an inspiration!

  7. WOW!!!! I am soooo impressed, I can't wait till fall... : )


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