Monday, July 20, 2009

Cheyenne –- 07/20/09

I worked mostly with tacking and untacking Cheyenne tonight.  She’s not afraid of the saddle, but she was nervous about the whole situation and wasn’t very tickled about the idea of having something on her back.  She danced around a bit the first time, even though I barely had the girth tight enough for her to feel it.  Once she was standing quietly with the saddle on, I’d take it off and walk her around a bit.  Back to the saddle, put it on again and if she stood quietly I’d tighten it up a little more than the last time.  Walk her around, take the saddle off.  We kept doing this until the girth was as tight as it needed to be and she was still accepting it graciously and without tap dancing on my toes.  I just walked her around the pasture with the saddle on the last time, then back to our starting place to untack and end the session.  I didn’t want her to associate the saddle with work just yet, since she had such a hard time accepting it in the first place.  We’ll see how she is next time!

Apache –- 07/20/09

Since I saddled Apache last time without problem, I went ahead and longed him with the saddle tonight.  I only longed him for a few minutes, just to make sure he still remembered WHOA.  Then I put a bridle with a full cheek snaffle bit on him, got a second longe line, ran both longe lines thru the D-rings on the front of the synthetic western saddle and did some ground driving with him.  He chewed on the bit for a few minutes, then settled down into his job.  He quickly learned that a light tug on the bit along with a spoken WHOA meant for him to come to a stop.  He didn’t move off again until I asked with a “Walk on!” and a cluck. 

It took him a few tries to understand what I wanted when I asked him to turn, but picked that up pretty quickly.  I like using a full cheek snaffle on youngsters because when you pull on one side, the full cheek part of the bit presses against their face on the other side, helping them to move their head away from the pressure, which usually means their feet follow their head and you have a successful turn.  We did circles and figure eights at the walk, with lots of stopping and standing patiently until asked to move on again.  He was quite the student!

I think one more ground driving session and he’ll be ready to be ridden.  I’d like to find someone smaller than me that knows how to ride to get on him first, but it’s not looking like that’s going to be an option any time soon.  I have smaller people lined up to ride him once he’s got a few rides under him, so at least he’ll only have to put up with me for a little while. :)

Ellie –- 07/20/09

What a smart pony!  I hate to admit it, but I’m afraid this mare is smarter than me.  It was obvious from the start that she had never been longed before.  I have a feeling her previous “training” was being dressed in a harness, hooked to something heavy, and whipped till she pulled it.  She was terrified of the longe whip in the beginning, so I spent some time just rubbing her all over with it and talking quietly to her.  Within a few minutes she was standing quietly with lids drooping while I was rubbing the whip all over her back, rump, and legs.  Gee, that was easy.

She didn’t understand at first what I wanted when I asked her to walk off without me, but picked it up very quickly!  I made sure to keep my body in line with her hip and the whip behind her when I wanted forward motion and she had the idea in no time.  Once I had her out on the circle and walking calmly, I moved my body to put it in line with her shoulder, moved the whip to my other hand and put it in front of her line of sight, but not in front of her body.  I accompanied that with a WHOA and the little mare stopped.  In her tracks.   And stood there.  Quietly.   I praised her up and down, then changed directions and did the same thing.  She performed flawlessly. 

I stopped there since she did so well.  Next time we’ll work on trotting on the longe and doing walk/trot transitions.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Ellie – 07/18/09

Ellie was used as a “pulling pony” before she came here, but I’d like to turn her into a kid’s pony for at least trail riding, maybe more.  I can just picture her popping over little jumps with her wild mane braided with red ribbons. :)

Ellie had a heart murmur when she got here, but it was unclear at the time if it was just because she was emaciated or if it were a more permanent problem.  I completely forgot to have Doc check for it the last time he was out, but will have him check the next time.  For now, I’m just going to keep things slow with her and stick to longing, voice commands, ground driving, and sacking out so that she’s ready for whatever a little kid will throw at her.  I hope to get started with her training this coming week so check back soon!


Thursday, July 16, 2009

Apache -– 07/16/09

Apache has turned out to be a very friendly little mustang!  It’s obvious that his previous owner cared for him and spent a lot of time with him.  He’s great about picking up his feet, stands tied, and longes fairly well.  He did so well today that I put a saddle on him and cinched him up.  I stood on my mounting log so I’d be above him, put weight in the stirrup, laid across his back and patted him all over, and shifted the saddle around and made a bunch of noise over him.  He really couldn’t have cared less about any of it. 

Next time I’ll put a bridle and snaffle bit on him and line drive to make sure he understands the bit.  After that, it’s just a matter of hopping on and getting his under saddle training going.  He’s going to make some little kid a heck of a good horse!

Cheyenne –- 07/16/09

When Cheyenne and Apache first got here they were skittish and jumpy and didn’t let me come very close.  Now that they’ve had a chance to settle in and make some friends, their personalities are starting to show and they’re both sweet little pocket ponies!

I was told by their previous owner that they had both had ground work done already.  Cheyenne is very good about picking up her feet, leading, and standing tied.  However, I put her on the longe line and she acted like she’d never walked a circle before.  So I spent most my 20 minutes with her just teaching her to WALK and WHOA on command, and to not stop on the gate side of the circle.  She was doing pretty well by the end of the session so hopefully we can do some trotting and transitions next time.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Genesis – 07/06/09

Since the last post, Genesis has been a fairly busy girl.  It was a big surprise to her to get the idea that she was being asked to work.  WORK???  What is that?  She thinks her job is to be adored and petted.

She learned the rudiments of lunging.  I think she was very interested in it once we got her to quit eating long enough to lunge. 

She got towel training with the help of Morgan, my riding student.  If you are interested in a description of this, you can look back at Hunter's posts for it.  By the time we were done, she had the towel flying through the air landing on her head and she never spooked.  Granted, she was curious and thought we were nuts, but not spooked.  We tightened the towel around her to simulate girths and she was not sure if we were asking her to go forward or what, but she got the swing of this too.

Last year, I bought a tiny saddle for tiny cowboys and cowgirls. It is very light.  Genesis got to examine this and had it all over her.  She easily adapted to the saddle being swung around and being saddled.  That little saddle is well worth the money.

Bit training got worked in. The nice rescue lady had a rubber one for me to use.  I used the trick of smearing apricot jam on the bit.  After Genesis sucked the jam off, she mouthed the bit, which I had tied to her halter.  She got used to that right away, too and stopped mouthing.  I hope the young lady that has adopted her has a bridle that fits her that she can be trained in.  Genesis has such a tiny head, I have nothing that fits her.

I decided that as cute as she is, Genesis has a few flaws (as do we all)  that could be camouflaged with a clever haircut and she has some nice features that can be emphasized as well. She may end up being shown by the adopter, so why not teach her to clip? Scissors were used as I don't have electric clippers at this time. Bridle path was a decision.  Western, English or what?  I finally decide to cut back to show the delicacy of her throat, but not the thinness of her neck.  We hope her neck will fill out as she muscles up.  The bridle path now displays a darling white marking that crosses the mane.  I pulled out her 'eye whiskers' to minimize some extra folds around the lids.  That cutened her up a lot.  Ears got a show pony cut.  She has really pretty ears.  She did object a little to the ears, but did fine for what I am sure was her first cut.  I will have to try the legs another time. 

Then the big news.  She got ridden by my great nephews.  Ok, she was sat on by the little cowboys, not ridden.  But they were up.  She was great.  I had  bbq in the horse pasture for the 4th and she stayed tied down by the party for a long time when not being ridden or fawned over.  A couple of balks while she was being led, but I think that was because a niece of mine was turning to face Genesis and inadvertently cued her to stop.  Genesis was quite the party girl!  There are pics and they will be coming soon.

-- Anastasia