Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Milo – 06/25/10

Good old Milo.  His first session had absolutely nothing to do with training.  It was just merely entertaining.  For me, at least.

Renee tried longing him, but he knew he was bigger, stronger, and more patient than Renee.  She could chase him around all she wanted, he really had no interest in working.  She did get him to trot once or twice, but you could tell that he was scheming the whole time and trying to come up with a way to get out of work.  Typical pony!


It was really hot and humid that day, Renee had just been thrown into the fence by Mick, and I was running out of time and needed to leave soon.

I think Milo sensed that we weren’t really in the game and took the opportunity to yank Renee off balance, push the gate open with his chest… and leave.

That’s where the entertainment part came in. :)

Mick – 06/25/10

Last time Renee was out I decided it was time to get started with Mick and Milo.  I wanted to see how she did with complete greenies so that I can turn her loose on her own and not feel like I have to be standing there watching all the time.  That theory went down the drain when we saw how well Mick did.

He longed like he’d done it a hundred times before.  Not like he’d done it correctly, but like he’d been run in circles for hours on end by some idiot or another.  He didn’t understand WHOA or WALK, but he knew perfectly well what a circle was and was content to do a nice steady trot forever. 

Which made us wonder… hmmm.. he’s three, he’s been here for about 8 months… maybe he was broke as a two year old?  So Renee stopped him and put the saddle on him.  He didn’t care at all.  He acted like he’d been saddled all his life.  He stood perfectly still while she cinched him up, then stood still again while she stood on the mounting block and leaned over him.  He was just as good about taking the bridle and barely chewed on the bit at all. 

Combine that behavior with the small white spot on top of his withers, indicating an old sore from ill-fitting tack, and we thought for sure he’d been broke already.  Renee mounted up, eased into the saddle, and Mick stood there while she adjusted her seat and got her feet in the stirrups.  We were all smiles and congratulating ourselves on having yet another broke horse when Mick decided to take a couple of steps.

Once he started moving and felt this weight on his back moving with him, he exploded into a bucking whirlwind and sent Renee into the fence seconds later.  Then he tore around the ring like his tail was on fire, almost ran me over, tried crashing through the fence in several spots, and terrified poor Milo who was tied to the outside of the round pen patiently awaiting his turn.

We let him run himself out, then caught him and waited for him to calm down.  We walked him around the ring a few times, then back over to the mounting block.  We had to end on a good note, and his bucking frenzy was definitely NOT a good note!  Renee just stood on the block while I held him, patted the saddle, and leaned on him just a bit.  He did fine and was relaxed again, so we untacked him and let him go.

Next time, back to square one!  But at least now we know for sure what we’re dealing with. :)

Jasmine – 06/30/10

It’s been awhile since I’ve done anything with Jas thanks to everything going on around here this past month.  It was a beautiful day today and I found myself with some spare time, so figured why not?

I’ve longed her a few times since my last post, just to work more on forward motion instead of the lazy western jog she seems to like so much.  Today I introduced her to the saddle.

She quickly realized it was just another way for her to behave and get rewarded.  As I was putting on the saddle, she took a few nervous steps forward, but then stopped and craned her head around to me for comfort.  I scratched her head and let her know it was ok, then she stood still for me to adjust the saddle and tighten the girth.  I never cinch up a girth all the way on the first try, especially with greenies.  I put it up snug enough so it wouldn’t slide off, then walked her around the pen once.  Tighten another couple of holes, walk around the pen.  She took all of this in stride and the stirrups hitting her sides never phased her. 

Once the girth was tight, I sent her out on the line to walk and trot.  She’s still very lazy, but at least she’s trotting now instead of shuffling!  I smacked the saddle, shifted it from side to side, and put a little weight in the stirrup – she just looked around to see what I was doing. 

Next time I’ll introduce the bridle and do some long lining.  Hopefully, I’ll have her ready by the time the next person comes out to visit.  I don’t want to try getting on her with no one around to direct in the paramedics. :)

Friday, June 25, 2010

Jewel – 06/25/10

It’s always a guessing game when these rescues show up with no history:  broke or not?  With Cinnamon and Jewel, we assumed they weren’t broke because of how skittish and shy they were.  We couldn’t have been further from the truth with Cinnamon, who turned out to be a well-broke mare once she learned to trust us.  It turned out that she was skittish and nervous because she was broke to ride and had had very bad experiences.  After that learning experience, I began re-thinking the Jewel situation. 

I was told that she had been a bucking bronco when the trainer tried to ride her at the previous rescue.  After that, they couldn’t even get a halter on her.  She had a serious injury to her chest that went all the way past her girth area, and looked like she had almost lost her front right leg.  It was healed when I got her, but I could still feel scar tissue in places, and you can still see where she’s missing flesh in her chest. 

There were a couple of things that I could guess from all of that: 

1) she could still have pain in that area when girthed up, or she was ridden before completely healed and is expecting pain when ridden.

2) she has serious trust issues, probably from being ridden/worked through the pain, or from the tending of the wound itself. 

3) she could have initially sustained the injury while under saddle

Renee came out Tuesday and just worked with getting a saddle on Jewel.  She was able to get it on her back, but not girth it.  Every time she’d move around to the off side, Jewel would panic.  So she just walked her around the round pen a few times while holding on to the saddle.  Jewel relaxed and we stopped, removed the saddle, and turned her loose. 

Today, getting the saddle on was much easier, and Renee was able to get her girthed up as well.  The girth didn’t seem to bother her, even when cinched up as tight as we could get it.  She was also ok with Renee being on her off side.  Getting the bridle on was a bit iffy, because Jewel has always been head shy since coming here.  It’s obvious she’s been either beaten about the face or ear-twitched.  It took some time and patience, but Renee got the bridle on.  Then she walked Jewel around the pen a few times and she was relaxed and not bothered by anything, including Renee putting weight in one of the stirrups with her hands. 

But as soon as Renee put a foot in the stirrup (no weight, just foot), Jewel exploded into a bucking frenzy!  That mare knew what was coming and wasn’t going to have any of it!  At first we thought maybe the girth was pulling on her old injury, but we could hang off the side of the saddle and she was fine.  It was just when Renee put a foot in the stirrup as if to mount, that Jewel exploded. 

I walked her over to the fence and told Renee to climb the fence from the outside and see if she could slide over instead…

Jewel stood still.  Perfectly still.

Renee didn’t touch the reins and kept her legs off while I lead Jewel around the pen.  Halfway around the first time, Jewel dropped her head, licked her lips, and gave a big sigh.  You could feel the tension drain out of her as she figured out that this wasn’t painful!

After just a few spins around the pen, I lead her over to the fence so Renee could dismount the same way she got on.  Jewel stood still.  Again.  We took the saddle and bridle off, gave her some praise, and turned her loose.  Instead of taking off for the barn, like I thought she would, she just moseyed down the hill at a leisurely walk… like she was content with her place in the world at last. :)

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Maverick – 6/22/10

Today was all about getting Maverick out of the round pen.  This is only his third ride so we didn’t ask too much of him.  After a few minutes in the round pen, and Renee announcing that he had the steering thing down pat, I opened the gate and she took him out into the pasture.  The other horses were still locked in their standing stalls eating breakfast, so he was out there all by his lonesome. 

No, of course he didn’t care.  Need you ask?



He did manage to pull one of his brand new shoes, though.  I’ll be sure not to let Brannon live that one down any time soon.  

Next time, I’ll hop on a horse and we’ll take the happy little guy out on a real trail ride!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Maverick – 06/04/10

Are you tired of reading how amazing this pony is?  If so, you may want to go to another website now. 

Today was Maverick’s second ride, and his first ride with a bit and saddle.  The bit was a rubber-coated full-cheek snaffle and the saddle was a leather 15” seat western.  The girl, Renee, who rode him had brought her own saddle and breast collar, and even though the breast collar was too large, we put it on him anyway.  Might as well get him used to something like that… not that he even noticed it.

Mav took a few minutes to chew on the bit and wonder what it was in his mouth, then he got over it.  He learned to steer within minutes and WHOA was not a problem.

Renee said he moved away from her leg like he should, but sometimes getting him going took some mild kicking or some encouragement from me.  He acted like he’d been ridden 20 times before.  At one point, Renee looked over at me and said “I wonder if he backs”.  She was joking, but she tried it anyway…

It wasn’t just a fluke.  He backed for her three or four times.  Just a couple of steps, but still better than half the horses on this place that came to me already “trained”!

When we were done, Renee decided to get a little funky and see if anything could get Mav riled up.  He’s going to be a kid’s pony, and kids do some silly stuff sometimes, so it’s best that he’s prepared for that.

Is it just me, or does he look bored?  She did a 360 on the saddle and he never moved a muscle.  She slid off the right side, then remounted on the right side.  She leaned forward and rubbed her legs all over his sides and stomach.  He never moved. 

We ended with that, after only about 15 minutes of saddle time.  Renee is coming out again, and I think this time we’ll go for a short “trail ride” just over into the neighbor’s pasture.  I can’t wait!!!