Monday, September 26, 2011

The terrible terribles...

Things have been busy recently, but I did find some time to try to work with Sage the other day. Since I know she has serious issues with Velcro-products around her feet, I decided to try polo wraps. Once again, we had quite the run around. She just gets incredibly, irrationally nervous. Tried bell boots again and it was the same deal. I'm not sure we were really successful at all. In fact, I think we made it worse. However, we did have a great round-penning/free lunging session shortly after where I feel she's been the most responsive ever. So I guess it wasn't all for naught. Chinook, on the other hand, has been moody and crabby. He kicked my mom the other day, and just tonight he kicked out "at me" (well, he kicked the wall) when I went to scratch his barrel while he was eating. I did some work with him on the halter and picked up his feet, backed him up, etc. He did fine. I think it's just the hormones speaking. Kids!!!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Training always continues

Since the last time I updated, I've done a bit more with Sage and Chinook. First, I have walked Sage at least three times since the last post. For most walks she was really good: loose on the rope, responsive, no rearing. Except up on top of the hill on one walk, she saw two cows and decided they MUST be horses, and just started whinnying and carrying on. Although she would listen when I asked her to back up and stop, she really wasn't listening to me well. And of course, walking back to the house is always a big struggle with lots of stopping and going. It's not like she's overtly bad, but I can just tell that if I was riding she probably wouldn't be listening--more like running away.

But I did ride her at the house, for the first time in a month or so. She was really pretty good. She's been lunging much better (has more perk in her step now, and doesn't require the plastic bag), but still no trotting under saddle. I'm pretty sure that she knows I am afraid she'll buck and she can feel that though I'm asking her to trot, I really don't want her to. This is where I fear we're going to need someone professional. I mean, otherwise we probably won't ever get anywhere. This is not to say that she's done anything bad while I ride. She listens, she steers, she's just young.

Chinook also went on his first walk up the road all by himself. He was super good! He was very relaxed walking up the road but we did have some arguments about his speed going back to the barn. This is inevitable, and I'd like to try and nip it in the bud while he's still young.

Well, we'll see what happens. Next month I will be traveling to Bend and to Calgary for externships and equine hospitals. It will be pretty busy, and the ponies will likely get a few months off this fall and winter!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Clinics suck away your life!

I am pretty sure it's been eons since I've posted, and really not much has happened in this time because I've been on both Small Animal Medicine and now Small Animal Surgery. These are busy rotations and my time with my horses now mostly consists of getting the essentials done: mucking, feeding, watering, and trimming.

Chinook and Brandy have been living together for several weeks now, and he has basically no attachment to Sage at all. Sage is pretty much dried up, and eventually I will put them all back together--probably when it starts to really get rainy here.

Sage has been feeling extra frisky, and I suppose you can imagine what happens if you take a three-year-old wild horse out on a walk on the first chilly evening after summer (and right before her expected dinner time). We made it up the road without too much fuss and I was having a good time controlling her with lots of stopping, backing up, and turning. But Sage can be quite the spitfire, so I was expecting a rearing/bucking explosion. Which didn't happen...until I got her back into our pasture and was walking her back up to the barn. She squealed, she bucked, she reared, she trotted in circles. But I didn't let go, and she didn't win. Or at least I don't think she thinks she did...It's hard to tell with her. We did some arena ground-work after that and of course she was well behaved. But I knew she was still feeling frisky because I could lunge her (with some effort) without a plastic bag on the end of the line. This may be a continuing saga that involves getting a professional trainer to put some time on her...

Then I took Chinook up to the house for his first walk all by himself, and he was a star. Since he was weaned, he has been pushy: walking through you, pushing you away when you try to feed, and just generally thinking you're a pathway to something. Now that he is on his own, I have been able to teach him some manners, and he is much better. He has always lead very well on the halter, but now he's even easier to handle. I also teach all my horses to back up before I hand them their grain pans, which was something that with my hard-headed colt took a lot of yelling and slapping my hands on his face to keep him from running me over. This morning, I walked up to him with his grain and he backed up before I even asked. What a star!