Nov 12, 2012

Little By Little

 So I wrote about how we taught B to stand, in the arena, first facing the barn but waiting; next facing somewhat away from the barn and waiting; and lastly facing totally away from the barn, and waiting. We would often would get off in the ring, stand there, do some in hand work, and then take a walk. Anything to break his response patterns. This was so hard for him. He would first shake his head, then stamp, then it would escalate in to a spin or two or a zipping backwards or what have you. We didn’t particularly punish, we just went back to Point A. And waited. He had to stay absolutely in place. He could not take one step out of where we put him. If he did, he was put back. It took a long time, but he got it. I liked the Myler combination bit for these months; it gave us some control if we needed it, but it was so mild when we didn’t. I think the loose ring aspect is good for horses who have been ridden badly, and the little bit of nose pressure if needed helps take away the defensiveness of a wrecked mouth. Bryan, like many OTTBs I have had, had a very low palate and sharp bars. I think the shape of the Myler, with its little protective roller thing in the middle, is much more comfortable for a mouth like that. Regular snaffles can really poke the soft palate; I never use them any more. 

Nov 11, 2012

Back to Work


Some moms, when they find out their kid is about to get married, call the florists and the caterers. Me being me, I called the bobcat and the excavator. What I was thinking when I volunteered to have the reception at our house, knowing that we had neither yard nor patio, no place to sit, and that we lived virtually in a dog toy graveyard, I have no idea. Be that as it may, the wedding came off splendidly. We *do* now have a yard, a patio, and the dog toy graveyard is no longer a main feature. The heavy equipment left three days before the Big Day, and I was still planting trees and hanging lights till literally 45 minutes before I was supposed to be at the church. It was a perfect SoCal evening, with an almost full moon and a gentle temperature. It was relaxed, sweet, lovely, and wonderful, and man, am I glad its over.

I miss writing two or three times a week. Heck, I miss riding, too, and the boys have been totally neglected while I ran around with concrete and bricks and potted plants. But things are settled now, and I am catching up on body clipping and feet trimming and will ride again today, hooray!

Let’s go back to how we addressed Brian’s cross tie issues. This approach, of small therapeutic doses endlelessly repeated, worked well with him. It works well with all horses, and is a big part of why my horses, no matter their pasts or backgrounds, are well behaved and trusting and obedient. And so with Bryan, this was the basis of all of the work that we did whether mounted, on the ground, or during free work.

The consistency of The Rules goes across the board. Every time we handled him it was the same; no slinging your head around (thereby cracking the human in the face) no stepping past the human; no dragging behind the human; no screaming when attached to the human; no jumping on top of the human…I think you get the drift. As usual, every horse we would take in would grasp The Rules quickly; horses aren’t dumb and they crave and honor leadership. Natch, B, not being the sharpest marble in the drawer, took a longer time than the others.