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Archive for the ‘Week 3’ Category

Day 21

The past few days have been all over the place so I lacked any sort of organization to write about. I’ve mainly just been turning him out and playing with him a little bit every day.

Today I finished my cleaning before it got really hot so I got to play with all of my horses. Renaissance is getting so friendly he doesn’t shy away or anything when I come to halter him up in the morning. However, he is still a bit unsure around other people. I need to get as many people as possible to be friendly to him so he doesn’t get so attached to just me. So, if any of you want to come see him in person, just come on over anytime!

I played with him a bit in the stall this morning before I haltered him. We did things like sending over obstacles without a halter and such and he did great. He is very sensitive in the sense that I don’t have to ask much for him to try. Here is him and Topaz on the bridge.

Soon they will become a tandum team!

 I do love how the two of them are so willing to work together without fussing.

Later I brought them both out and turned them out with my other horse, Bones. They were very entertaining to watch as Bones tried to “steal back his mare” and Renaissance just wanted his companion.

Teamwork!

 Renaissance was being so playful he just pranced along with his head and tail high like an Arab. Also, the manner in which he pranced was more of a float as his feet hardly touched the ground in comparison to how long he was in the air. 🙂

Silly Ren, you're a Mustang not an Arab.

When he got tired of running around with the other two horses he came running to me to play. So I played with him a bit without the halter and then with the halter. His isolation of his hindquarters is very good but his front end needs more practice. He reacts very well to close, steady pressure at his neck but the rhythmic pressure makes him a little nervous. He got alot better by the end of the game, but it is still something to keep up on.

When Topaz and Bones came over, I took Topaz and started doing some tandum things with the two Mustangs. I would move them together sideways, forwards, backwards, circling, etc. It gave them both something fun to do and kept me on my toes as well. Towards the end of this I hopped on Topaz and layed across both of them with my legs hanging over Ren’s back and my top weight being supported by Topaz. At first he had a sort of “What in the world are you doing?” look on his face, but he relaxed right away and sat there until I got off.

I then brought them inside to brush them and let them stand tied for a while and this is how Ren entertained himself.

"This jacket doesn't fit."

Renaissance is just so much fun to play with, it keeps me going every day.

Also, he is starting to eat his grain much better now. Thanks Jessi for your advice!

Daily Tip:

Change the Attitude!

Alot of times, people get stuck in the mindset that spending time with the horses is a chore. They have to go “work” with the horses. Then they get stuck going out to their horses with the same enthusiasm that they go to work Monday morning with.

  • So try changing little things about your attitude towards your horses.
  • Try saying you are going to play with your horses instead of work them.
  • Try to make everything into a game!

Instead of thinking “I have to get my horse into that trailer!” think “Lets see if I can get my horse to put one foot in the trailer. Then lets see if he’ll put his nose on this spot inside the trailer.”

By changing things into little games, it keeps things interesting for both your horses and you! It gets your horses thinking “Oh Boy, What are we going to play today?” instead of “Well, here she comes to run me around in 15 circles, both ways, then saddle, then ride for a half hour.”  When you change things up, it gets your horse to think about what’s going on rather than anticipating a heavily ingrained pattern.

One of the coolest parts about this is that it cooresponds to kids too! Children typically don’t like to do chores. So make them into games! Instead of telling your kids to pick up the house, make it into a game. How about, “Lets see who can pick up the most things in three minutes. Then, I bet you can’t beat your last record!”

Turn chores into games and improve horsemanship and parenting skills by simply changing your attitude to one that they want to be around!

Good luck, have fun, be safe!

Spread the word!

~Stephanie

 P.S. Tomorrow begins Week 4! Time is flying!

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Day 17 & 18

Hello all!   

I was out at the barn all day yesterday as well as today but didn’t get a chance to blog last night. Yesterday I went out bright and early and got my magnificent duo out of the pasture(Topaz) and stall(Renaissance). I first tied Topaz up while I played with Ren and practiced our isolated yielding. He is getting much better at yielding his front end and his back-end never was a sticky spot so now I’m trying to see how little, how much, and how precise can I get and still receive the correct response. He is very light with both ends so he sometimes catches me using more pressure than necessary and complains a bit. I try to listen the best I can but Hey, I’m only human. I make more mistakes than he does but this experience is just as much a learning process for myself as it is for him, if not more so.   

Anyways, after he got very responsive with both isolated ends as well as sidepassing from a very small amount of pressure, I took both Topaz and Ren out to the small arena and turned them out to run.   

Running Free...ish.

   

I must admit, at first I was a bit worried as to how well I’d be able to catch Ren when it came time to bring them back in but all the while I was out taking pictures of them and I actually had to keep shooing him away because he would come back to me constantly.   

He caught me!

   

 The two of them had lots of fun running around and bucking and playing. Renaissance was rearing up for a while but I couldn’t take the picture fast enough.   

This was right as he was landing his "levade".

   

 Pretty soon, they both got bored and weren’t doing anything more than trying to eat imaginary grass sticking out of the dirt arena. Silly horses. So I brought them in and tested how well Ren was at ground tying because if you know me, you know that approximately half of the time, my horses aren’t tied. I’m sort of lazy in that manner. He did really well with that. I had to place him back where he belonged a couple of times but he caught on really quickly. Here’s a comparison of Topaz and Renaissance.   

Long and thin vs. Short and wide

   

While Ren is quite a bit more long-legged that Topaz, she is stocky and pretty much a tank. Granted he is just a baby and will probably grow into his legs, her build is still my personal preference. 🙂   

Since they were standing there, I took the chalk and was goofing around and thought I should give Ren a star. Here is his artificial star. 😛   

They match!

   

 After this I played with Topaz and then Ren some more. He is getting much better with circling and driving. It took him a while to get the circling down because he had a strong desire to turn and face me but after a while we got a couple good circles and called it a success. A little bit of right beats a lot of wrong! He also can drive really well with a fence on his other side but when we get off the fence he gets a bit confused. We’ll play with this more though! 🙂   

When I put him up, fed him, and grained him, he decided to dump the grain all over the place and not eat it. If anyone has any tips on how to get him to like grain let me know! It’s usually not a top priority to feed my horses anything but hay but since he is going to be judged on conditioning, a supplementary diet will help me out.   

Day 17 end.   

This morning I didn’t get much time with the horses as I was cleaning stalls and later had to leave for a school event but in the afternoon I played with Topaz quite a bit and then took Ren on a ponying expedition. I took him out to the 32 road desert because it’s really close to the barn and it has all kinds of cool things to scare horses. If you are not familiar with the area, it often has giant piles of trash that people dump out there, old couches, burnt out cars/trucks, torn up tarps, etc and all sorts of hills for these things to hide behind. Not to mention the front end of it is a shooting range so there are almost always people out shooting. Oh, and did I mention the plethora of four-wheelers and dirt bikes? It is not the most attractive place to ride but after a summer of riding often out there, your horse gets pretty bomb-proof. So I took him out there, ponying him from my trusty steed. At first he was really stuffed up and was coughing a lot when we broke into a trot but after he got everything out, he was fine to trot and lope. He did have a tendency to pull on Topaz though and for the first half mile of the ride, Topaz was just dragging him along. (Another reason to love her.) Renaissance did eventually grasp the concept of “Comfort is when I follow Topaz and Stephanie at the same pace as them.” After that he was just a wonder horse for the entire ride. When there were “scary” things in the desert, he saw them as toys.   

An old burnt couch.."This is interesting."

   

I had to work harder to keep him from chewing on the stuffing than anything! Then we got to a piece of cardboard that was half folded over and flapping around. Even Topaz was hesitant with this. So while I was trying to get Topaz to step on the cardboard, Ren came from behind her, grabbed ahold of the cardboard, flapped it around in his mouth, and ripped a chunk off.   

That's cardboard in his mouth.

   

Then he walked all over it.   

"I'm pretty sure it's dead."

   

And as you can see, he looks just terrified. 😛 Here is another “scary” object that he so bravely defeated.   

Afraid? Not even close.

   

When the three of us got bored with the things, we went over to a big hill and started up it.   

This doesn't clearly show how steep it is.

   

This was a heck of a hill and was definitely work to get up but Renaissance made it up and back down twice! 🙂   

On our ride back home, we stopped in a spot where bushes and Russian Olives make sort of a “cave” dealy.   

This place is usually spooky.

   

 This is where I came to the realization that Ren is sort of like that big brother who you try to scare but he never gets frightened. Haunted houses, graveyards, ghost towns, and still is unmoved. This is just like Ren. Whatever I do to try to scare him, he is calm. This happens to be one of the reasons why he is such a pleasure to spend time with.   

After a short break, we were back on the trail home. He was just wonderful. Topaz was too, of course!   

A trail trooper.

   

This evening, he still didn’t eat much grain. Help!   

Thanks! 🙂   

Tip of the Day:   

Ponying horses is a great way to play with horses and has so many advantages.   

  • It is a great way to exercise two horses at once.
  • It’s very beneficial for young or inexperienced horses.
  • It can get them exposed to all sorts of things that they will eventually be up against alone.
  • It gets them used to having a person above them.
  • It helps the lead horse (the one you’re riding) look towards you for leadership even when another horse is around.
  • You can always get off and play ground games with your “pony” wherever you go.
  • It gives you something to think about and do on rides.

While I am such a strong supporter of ponying, it can be dangerous if precautions aren’t taken. Here are some do’s and dont’s of ponying.   

  • Make sure your “pony” is either in front or behind your lead horse! If the pony were to either side of you and got irritated and started pulling back, it could roll your saddle whereas if the horse is in front or behind and freaks out, the saddle and lead horse can hold the pony.
  • Make sure you don’t tie the pony to the saddle horn. While it is easy to just tie the pony and not have to worry about the ropes, it is dangerous as the pony could freak out and you may need to get that rope loose. Also, if the pony’s rope needs to be tightened or loosened, it is much easier to adjust when the rope is not tied.
  • ALWAYS wrap the rope around the horn with your thumb towards the sky. Wrap the rope as if you were stirring a big pot: with your pinky down. This is because if you wrap it with your thumb down, it is very easy for the thumb to get caught in between horn and rope and it doesn’t take much for you to lose a thumb. This is also true for dallying a cow and such.
  • BEFORE you pony a horse, make sure that your lead horse is comfortable with ropes touching, swinging, wrapping all over and around their butt. You don’t want to wait until you have a pony behind you for your lead horse to get freaked out from a rope under their tail.
  • Also make sure the lead horse is okay with another horse close to their butt. When the pony gets behind them, you don’t want your lead horse to be pinning thier ears and popping their butt up for the whole ride.
  • Your lead horse should also be able to yield their hindquarters while you’re on him because if your pony gets to either side of you, often the easiest way to put him back behind you is to yield your lead horses hindquarters to the pony.
  • Most importantly, Use Common Sense. If your lead horse is uncomfortable, don’t pony another horse which may be more inexperienced. Don’t push things. Seek help when it’s needed.

When you are properly prepared for a ponying ride, it can be very fun for horse and human so give it a try when you’re ready!   

Again, a million thanks to ALAMAR STABLES LLC for providing such a supportive and healthy learning environment!   

Until next time!

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Day 16

After getting back from the Lake last night, the first thing I did was go up to the barn to feed and see the horses. Renaissance came up to me after a little while and visited Cierra and me. He was hungry so I didn’t keep him long and fed him and wished him a good night. I didn’t figure this was enough to dedicate a whole blog post to so I grouped it with today. 🙂 Plus I was reeeaaallly tired last night!

Today I got up to the barn around noon still tired and groggy from a long weekend on the lake. I went and got Ren and tied him up in the barn and undid his braids. They were starting to look frumpy and his mane was much more well-behaved now. 😛 Since, as I said, I was tired, I lacked a lot of motivation to do much moving around so he stood tied for quite sometime. I later took him inside to visit and be exposed to all the commotion. There were other boarders trimming manes, Kylie playing with her sheep, and folks talking. This was really more activity than he has been exposed to since there isn’t usually a lot of people around the barn all at once. He was a little uncomfortable, but not terribly so. After he calmed down a bit, I thought I’d get him used to crazy toys going around him, towards him, and through his legs. What better than remote control cars? Kylie brought down two rather large trucks and we buzzed them around him and towards him until he got really comfortable with them. (Yes, we were teaming up on him!)

"What the heck are these crazy things?!"

Pretty soon he didn’t mind them much and was pulled off the antenna twice. Later I started taking the truck in between his legs and under his belly and he didn’t mind a bit.

The car is moving, really.

I buzzed around with these until the batteries died. It was fun for me too because I could torment my horse from the comfort of my chair! 🙂 Next while Kylie’s sheep were out, we reintroduced them and this time Ren didn’t try to kill them! Success! In fact, he was rather interested in them this time.

"They're not so bad after all."

After that, I tied him up and while the sheep were getting shaved, I braided his mane up in a running braid and french braided his tail just for fun. He was fine with me doing all of this, but all the commotion was a bit nerve-racking. He calmed down after a while though.

I then took a long, lazy sit and ate a popsicle while he was tied next to me. I gave him a taste of the popsicle and this was his reaction…

"Yum!"

It tasted good, but it was too cold to want much more. 😛

When I finished my popsicle, I was sitting there playing with his mouth and getting him to relax while I grabbed his tongue and pretty soon, he get really really relaxed!

😛

He is definitely a goof ball. I love his personality and how willing he is to try new things and how playful he is when I’m playing crazy and doing things like pulling his tongue out of his mouth. 😛

Even though today was a lazy day with not much action, he got a nice exposure to a bunch of different things and had a nice relaxing afternoon. Tomorrow I’ll try to get more done if I’m not still exhausted from the trip! 🙂

Have a nice day!

Also, a big thanks to ALAMAR STABLES for the care, support, and healthy learning environment through our journey!

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