Friday, August 31, 2012

day 60

Well, Praise the Lord, I made it through today. I will explain later. I went into this day wanting to get some good forward movement from these horses. That was my plan. I will tell you up front I got what I wanted. Robbie is who I started with. He came willingly enough. I groomed him. He even stood nice for the fly spray. I did some ground work exercises and I could tell he was full of himself today. But I worked him changing directions til he calmed down. Then put the saddle on him and all was ok. I moved him around YH YF, ect. Then he was throwing his head around, just real resistant. He even offered a slight buck, but I kept asking for his head in and changing directions, flexing him at a standstill and he would throw his nose in the air, etc. So I put him on the long line and had him really move out in a canter and he was head high and strung out and hollow backed. I kept bumping his nose back to me finally he started to carry his head a little lower and not so much with his nose out. I turned him around and did the same thing in the othe direction. I was even considering not riding him just cause I had an intuition that it might get hairy. But he calmed down so I got my helmet switched to the lead line. This time I didn't use a bit, just the halter, like a Bosal and flexed him moved him out while I walked beside him. He was tossing his nose in the air all feisty like. The same thing he did with the bit, so now I know it is not the bit that bothered him so much. He does need some teeth work, but if he still did it with the halter, it is clearly not the bit. So what is it? Resistance. Resistance in a horse is not good. They can be dangerous when you are riding a resistant horse. So I just kept flexing and moving him from the ground on a loose rein until the resistance was gone the changed sides and directions and did the same thing. Then I got on him. Flexed him at a standstill, YH several times in both directions then asked to move off. I was in the center of the arena and because he likes to be by the door we always come in at he walked right there. So I turned his head and moved across the arena down the wall. Then turned him into the wall and did a sort of roll back then went back. We did this a couple times. Well there is a hydrant on the wall I was using and on the way back going to the right with the wall on the left and this long arena on the right, we were too close and my foot caught the hyrdrant and that set Robbie to bucking. Now I don't mean the kind of loping buck, not even a little crow hop. I mean all out bucking like I had seen him do from the ground, only this time I was experiencing this from his back. Fortunately, I had a death grip on the horn with my left hand, and my right was fishing for rein so I could bend him. He must have caught me in between switching hands and reins because I didn't have the night latch.I had to snake my hand down the rein so I could get him to bend to the right and slow down. He bucked real good rodeo style for what seemed like a really long time, but I got him settled down. Then off we went, I didn't let him stop for upwards of ten to 15 minutes. We did zig zags, circles, but we walked and walked and I bent him and turned him. It was worth the buck to get him to this point where we were really doing some moving out. I rode him til I got my breath back then let him rest. He finally kept wanting to go to the middle where He could rest. So we stopped and I flexed him. He was stiff, but I kept flexing til he was soft again. Then got off. His flanks were still heaving and I got the plaque moved through in my heart, but it was good. As I always do before I get on, I prayed and asked the Lord to keep us safe. I guess I should have been more specific and asked that he not buck. However, I got the forward movement I was looking for. This set me up for a good ride on Darkstar. I figured since I made it through Robbie, I can do it with Star too. So I was like normal with him. He was all relaxed for grooming and saddling. I moved him around some too in order to make sure he was yielding and soft. Then I used the halter instead of bit with him too. I got on and flexed him and YH with him and moved him off. He kept playing his one step two step game. I had enough of that and really got after him as though on the ground and he moved. He was a little jumpy, but we moved all around the arena YH and turning, etc. We even got into a trot a couple times. I rode him about 20 minutes like that, stopping every so often, but we had a good ride. Finally, with lots of forward. Now we will be ready to move on to getting softness with the forward and moving to trot and canter. It was a good day of training.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

day 59

Today was a good time with the horses. They were relaxed through most of the session. Robbie I was able to get to move a little more. He keeps throwing his head and like I said before I think that is because I might be on his mouth more than I think. So today, I was noticeably not on his mouth and that helped some. Every time I asked for him to move off, though, he still threw his head around and then would relax when we stopped. I was able to get him to move and able to get him to YH and YF more and to be vertically soft a little more. Darkstar made a noticeable improvement today. I moved him a bit and then saddled him and after a short stint at going through some of the exercises I got on him and flexed and at first he would only take a step then stop. But that kept increasing so that I was able to finally get him to walk a bit circle to the right and to the left. That is what we stopped on because that was huge for him. He was not nearly as skittish as in the past. I also was able to get him soft at a standstill vertically. He seemed to take to it real easy. Now it is just getting the forward movement from both of them and then able to trust them enough to move out on a loose rein and only use the rein when I want to get them into posture to make a movement like a YH or YF or to walk balanced. Right now neither of them move balanced with me on their back. Hopefully, tomorrow will be even better.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

day 57, 58

Well I thought that I better get this recorded. It has been really hectic the last two days. Yesterday I had to do a shortened day with these guys so I didn't even saddle them. I worked on improving where they are at on the ground. I wanted to make sure they were calm and I could tell they were calm through each exercise. Today, I got Robbie out and had a good time with him. I spent about 30 minutes doing ground work, saddling and checking for calmness with him. Then I got on him for the last 30 minutes. I flexed and had him do circles again. I couldn't get him to go forward real well today so I began to work on YH and YF. We would go down the wall a ways and I would turn him into the wall, YH and Yf and go the other direction. I noticed that he really started to shake his head alot and I figured out that it was because I was on his mouth ever so slightly, because he would stop when I let the reins drop. When I picked them up to have him move forward he would start to shake his head again. So I have to work on letting him have his head and at the same time have him moving forward but ready to pick up a rein if needed. Darkstar was real calm today, though he jumped a couple times but it was almost half hearted. I saddled him and went through some exercises then I got on him and flexed him and asked him to move off. He actually moves forward better than Robbie at this point. But I would Yh and Yf and move forward. We went from getting one or two steps to getting 4 or 5 or even more. At the end of the session I decided to see if I could get vertical softness. After a few tries to the right he started giving it to me once he figured out what I was after and then he started giving it to me as soon as I picked up the reins like that. Then I went to the other side and it was faster yet that he picked it up. I can't wait to see if we can pick up where we left off tomorrow with this and then really start to get some forward motion with softness. That would be fantastic.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Day 56

Today I had a good ride on both horses. I am really paying attention to whether or not they are relaxed in what we are doing. I went through the basic exercises and then saddled them. Then with Robbie I flexed him with the reins and YH and then moved him forward while I walked beside him as though I was in the saddle. Then I got on him. I didn't drive either one of them today. I just watched to see if they were really relaxed. I did the same thing with walking beside with Darkstar too.
Then I got on and asked Robbie to flex and he was giving me even vertical softness. I then asked him to move off. He still only moves in a circle, about 10' but that is ok, he started to get more resistant and I don't want him going forward if there is lateral resistance. Anyway I worked with him and started to get some YF from the saddle too. I rode about 20 minutes and we were done.
Star was about the same, only with him he is much more jumpy. While Robbie is real relaxed, Star seems to be always on edge. But I worked him from the ground doing some YO YO exercises too. He was real relaxed and under saddle he was mostly relaxed. I did a lot of flexing with him and he moved off and then YH. We did some 360s with him and he did fine. He doesn't like to take too many steps forward, but that is ok he is making progress with taking more steps. He got a little edgy a time or two, but I flexed him and calmed him down and then we went back at it. I also started working a little on YF after YH. I would say they both did well and I was mostly confident on their backs. Progress, progress, progress, baby steps. No giant leaps, but small steps of progress.

Friday, August 24, 2012

day 55

today I got Robbie out and saddled and moved around to check on his attitude and see if he would be resistant or yielding. He proved yielding. I went to put the driving reins on him and was just standing on his left side getting the line ready to connect to the bit and he bit me. I immediately got after him. In hindsight I think it was one of two things: he doesn't like the drive lines and or he wanted to see if he could push me away. Well it didn't work. But trying to think like a horse and ask myself why he did it, I think it was the same he would have done with another horse he wanted to move out of his space. And just like another horse that is more dominant, he or she would have tore into him for a second and made him move, which is exactly what I did. Then I acted like nothing happened and went back to putting the line on the bit and driving him. He tried to take off, but I stopped. He tried several more times while I was untangling the lines, but each time I stopped him. Then when I was ready I moved him off. I just wanted toget a walk trot canter out of him that was relaxed in each direction. I noticed that he was really tossing his head and mouthing the bit more than ever. So something was up with that. A couple times his tongue was over the mouth piece and we got that corrected. I think it was that he was trying to get away from it. The lines kept hanging up on parts of the tack so he was not getting immediate relief. When I took the lines off and just used the rein, he still did it but not as much. I got on and flexed him both sides and had him step off and we just went in small circles and flexed to a stop and then changed directions. It all went rather well, no bucking, getting scared or anything like that. I rode him about 10--15 minutes. We didn't go in big circles, but there was no confusion at all. We stopped with flexion that was real soft.
Darkstar came out no problem. He was his usual standoffish, would rather leave it than take it kind of attitude, but once he realized he was doing this he did fine. He stood good for saddling, and putting the bridle on. I was checking to see how flexible he would be and how yielding he would be. I put the lines on him and drove him a few times around, asking for walk trot. I then got on him and we didn't take alot of straight line steps but we did. I YH and then asked him to step off and he would take a couple steps and then bend him again with softness. Then did lots of flexing side to side, even using my foot by the girth to help him flex. I could sense he was starting to get a little jumpy the longer I was on his back, but I continued as long as I thought he was going to just have a melt down. So we took steps and YH and more steps YH and stopped and flexed and rested and did it all over. We did this probably about 15 minutes and then time ran out and he was getting more jumpy so I thought to myself, well I will pay attention to what he is telling me, "I have pushed him enough." and then just flexed about 20 times each side. Especially the left side, because he seemed to have hardened right up on that side. So I flexed until he was soft both ways and then quit.
Monday is another day.

Thursday, August 23, 2012


I guess I better catch up on what has been happening the last two days.
Both yesterday and today we did basically the same things, though today was much better for both.
They both stood really good for saddling and then I moved them around a few minutes. THen put the bridle on and flexed them and YH with softness. Then I ground drove them both. I wanted to make sure they were responding and making the transitions from walke trot canter and back to stop. Today the both made marked improvements in this. Then with Robbie, I got on and flexed him and then Karen led off several steps to YH and then walk off again. I wanted to transition from her asking for it to me asking and that went well. We did both directions and today we actually got alot more movement out of him. I was making most of the cues myself. I had her kinda step aside as though lungeing and I moved him around and asked for YH and go in the other directions. We did this a few times then we stopped. Star was not as jumpy today as he was yesterday. He even walked up to me while I had the halter in hand from the center of the arena. He stood better today for saddling than yesterday. I drove him some and flexed him. He did pretty good. Then I got and flexed him and Karen led us around. Basically a repeat of what we did with Robbie. Only I was moving in the saddle alot more. He got scared a couple times but a YH helped to calm him down. I was bouncing around in the saddle and that is what spooked him. I can do it no problem at a stand still, but while moving he doesn't like that. So I tried it a couple more times with the same result. So rather than get him all hyped up about it I stopped that and just kept moving him and practicing the YH. We need to work on YF too, but not at that point yet. Things seem to be progressing pretty good so far. Tomorrow is day 55 so we will see what happens.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

day 51

This was a new day. I came at it with the desire to have Karen, the horses owner begin to observe and even help me with the training of thes guys. And low and behold, she must have been thinking the same thing because when I arrived yesterday she and I talked and she had the same thinking in mind. So we started with Star. I went through my routine with him and then toward the end I had her lead Star around while I sat on top of him. This was her suggestion. My only concern was that if things got out of hand and she had to let go the rope then there is a lead rope dragging the ground too. But it all worked out well. She led me a few steps then stopped and then just increased so more steps. It worked pretty good.
Robbie was a similar track. I worked him while she observed and then at the end I got on him and had him disengage his hindquarters a few times in each direction. Then we quit.
Today we will do a similar thing with both horses.

Friday, August 17, 2012

day 50

You would think that I would be riding these horses by now. I have put 5 rides on Star, but the last one told me that he really wasn't ready for it. Today, I didn't even saddle Star. I took him out and played with him at the pond. I got him to rest on the beach which was really good. To do it though I had to work him and then let him rest on the beach. Then we found a puddle, that he jumped at and that became a challenge obstacle to get him to cross. That was in the driveway. So we spent some time working on this toget him to go across and at least get his feet wet. His aversion to water reminds me of the cats that inhabit the barn where he stays. Then we went to the road where there is a ditch and worked on him crossing that. It took some patient persuasion but he went back and forth across it. Then we came back to the barn and he was done.
Robbie got to play at liberty with me, my choice, not his. I wanted to see just how much of a connection I have with him. I had him trotting and walking around me without me moving. I even got him to stop and face me when he stopped. Then I put the saddle on him and the bridle and drove him around. I wanted to work the transitions up to a canter and back down and stop. He did pretty good in both directions. I was looking for him to stay  on his track too. He does pretty good going to the right, but the left needs some work. I want him to stay bent/shaped toward the inside and not drift in or out so I really have to work the reins a little bit to steer him. I would like him bent with slack in the rein. He is getting better, even getting vertically soft. He is a real nice mover. I got in the stirrup with him a couple times and really moved around on him to see what he would do. I also flexed him with the bit.
I sure would like to be riding both of these guys but we gotta get over that hump of controlling their feet from the saddle before we actually start going forward too much. So maybe next week we will be able to start riding. We both have to be ready for this.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

day 49

well the storms went through. Thankful for an indoor arena.
I worked with Star first. I saddled him and went outside to the pond. The storm was just rolling in so didn't have alot of time on the shore, but did get him to come near the water rather quickly. We went back in when the rain hit. I then pulled out the tarp and worked on his spookiness by putting the tarp on him and over the lead rope. He did really well with that. It seems that it is the things that he can't see that scare him the most. Then I got the long lines out and flexed him and then ground drove him some. He still needs work on being soft with the bit. He is soft with the lead, but not the bit. I need to work on that much more.
Robbie did well today also. I had no trouble putting the saddle on him or putting the bridle on. I had him go over the tarp and sacked him out with that too. Then I put the reins on him and ground drove him the rest of our time. He seeks out softness with the bit. I practiced having him flex vertically and he is catching it. I also went through the transitions of walk and trot and stop. He is getting much better with driving him. I am even seeking a little collection when he is moving forward. So we finished up with driving him in a relaxed walk doing some serpentines and then we quit.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

two days

Ok I have to catch up on yesterday and today's blog.
Yesterday, I was able to work Robbie with driving. He is making huge improvements in his comfort level with the reins around his hocks and fetlocks. I just wanted him to be comfortable with this so I moved him around some in each direction. Today was even better. He is standing better to be saddled. I like to move him around before and after to see where his mind is and if there is alot of licking and chewing and using his thinking side I am good to move on to other things. I sidepassed him down the wall a few times and then put the lines on him. When he felt the rein on his rump he took off a step or two but immediately responded to my hands on the reins. I walked him in a circle several times and then turned him and did the same. Then let him rest. Started again and moved up to a trot then back to walk and back to trot . . . . He did this really well both ways. He was responding to my feel to make a transition and even to stop. I noticed that he is naturally collecting vertically which is nice and it is pretty to look at.
Darkstar I could sense was really jumpy yesterday. I knew I had to work through his ADD before we really could get anywhere. So I got in the 'give him a heart attack' mode and then would let him rest next to me. It is almost as if he is searching me out when he is scared. It seems like he thinks everyone and everything is out to kill him. I just remained calm and basically dared him to be scared then would be calm. By the end of the session he was much calmer. It is a day I wouldn't  have ridden him if we were at that stage. Today, he was not as jumpy. I immediately saddled and bridled him, but I tricked him because I didn't really work him much. I just led him around. We went to the outdoor arena. He got a little excited but I just moved his feet and let him rest. We played YO YO some. I had him jump the barrels once and just really ambled around the arena. Then we left the arena and I sent him through the gate back and forth til he would do it nice and relaxed at the walk. Then we walked around the yard, over this big pond where a flock of geese were lounging. Because of the drought it has a nice 3-4 foot beach around it with a ledge and so I asked him to come to the water with me. After a little patient coaxing he finally walked around the little beach with me. When the flock of geese took off he didn't try to run off. We had a nice walk. I forgot to mention that in the arena I got on and off a few times, even had him step his butt over  in each direction and again dared him to spook by acting the crazy man. When we got back inside I did the same thing and let him have lots of rests after somewhat intense pressure. All in all I think the change up of things worked in our favor today.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Day 46

today went well.
I started with Star. When I got the halter out he walked away from me, but when I walked towards him he turned and faced me and walked towards me. I worked him just a little bit with lots of rub time.  Then I put the saddle on him, which he did not want, but he tolerated it. So I take this all into consideration and make sure it is a good experience and that he is getting lots of rests. I will push him and then rest him, push him and rest him. With the saddle on I wanted to drive him a bit, but I want to make sure he is laterally soft with it. Then I just drove him with one rein. I did both sides walk trot walk stop a few times. I also got on his back and had him YH once each side.
Robbie had no problem with anything. I could sense a little tightness when I saddled him but other than that he did good. I drove him with one rein on both sides -walk, trot walk stop. Then I put both reins on him and he didn't hardly act up. He cantered around for a minute or so but soon slowed to a trot then a walk. When I had him going through those transitions pretty good I drove him straight and turned him in the other direction and did the same thing. One thing for sure, he searchs for getting off the bit which is good. He did real good with driving today. Alot better than last time. He also got real calm for me and did alot of walking. The reins on his legs didn't seem to bother him. In fact, when I finished the rein was draped around his fetlock and all he did was step his foot forward, but didn't move his body and waited for me to take it off.
So both horses made some improvements today. Robbie made huge advances in driving.

Friday, August 10, 2012


Progress, progress, progress that is the key. As a trainer I always want to make some progress by the end of each session. It might be only a little or it might be just refining some move but it is still progress. Well we got if from both of the horses today.
Robbie, was all in for our session today. He was saddled and moved around like before with a short stint at laying hte whip on his hocks and fetlocks. Then it was time to drive him. So the reins were put on him and he got in a tangle but I got him untangled and after a few tangled starts we finally got going. He cantered alot out of fear, I think, but I kept him moving until he calmed down. Then we switched directions. Finally, we just kept switching directions and until he was carrying his head down and was nice and relaxed. Then he had a long rest and we started again only we walked back to the starting point and I took everything off of him. He made good progress with this. I think, come Monday, he will do much better.
Darkstar again moved away when I stood in his stall, but he soon came back to me and I rubbed on him. Then he came out of his stall. He was real spooky today, because the rain, so I knew I wanted to just spend time with him letting him rest with me and see that he could be relaxed as long as he was with me. I am real happy with how things went. We flexed and walked around with him following at liberty then with a halter. I put him through YH YF and backup several times then rest. He was real jumpy but I kept after him to get him to jump and he started to calm. I didn't even saddle him today. I then decided to spend time moving him around and then letting him rest. Soon he was really on me. I sat down and played the YO YO with him and had his head in my lap and sometimes all the way with his nose to the ground and holding it there next to me. With all that was going on around him with the noises and such yet he was relaxed and trusting right next to me. It was picture perfect. Then I sidepassed him to the next bag to sit on and rested him. Again the same thing, head in lap and totally relaxed. We ended with sidepassing the other direction and resting in the place where he is always spooky, but he was resting with head in lap. It was great. I think much has been accomplished with him today though he didn't sweat hardly at all.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

slow and easy

That is kinda the motto for the day.
I got Star out first and he came but reluctantly. So I know that I really gotta take it slow and easy with him. It is easy to lose his trust if I push to much too fast and keep it going too long. However, push his envelope I must. Nevertheless, I am taking it slower with him. I had him just follow me like before then when I saddled him I could tell he didn't like it at all, but he did stick with me. Then I went through his exercises with lots of long stops. I got in the stirrup both sides and despooked him. He stood ok. I also moved his feet with no problem. I flexed him with the rein and even had him moving while using the rein to direct his feet but I was walking beside him using the stirrup as if my foot was in it. He still needs lots of work on softness with the rein. But I didn't want to push him too much that he just associates me with work. So there were lots of rest stops and reinforcing things.
Robbie got his exercise today. I saddled him and went thorugh our course of exercises. All the while I was using the whip to lay it across his heels and rump. Then I put one rein on him and repeated it on both sides. Then I added the other rein. He got himself into some tangles and I just let him figure it out and when he got free I picked up the outside rein and kept him moving until he relaxed, then switched sides with him. It looked like a wreck waiting to happen at times. I stayed out of the tangles and eventually he calmed. I worked him both sides and let him rest. At the end the rein was laying against hind foot and I had hold of the end and when he kicked back real hard I knew it jerked his mouth because my grip didn't give and guess what. He was ok with that rein across his pastern from then on. The mouth thing probably didn't feel real good to him and he will not soon remember that. I am anxious to see if he kicks out tomorrow or not. This was a good day for him. He ground drove just fine when he could forget about that rein being across his hocks or pasterns.
Progress is being made with these horses even though it is slow and easy.
On another note, I had the opportunity to ride Joey again today. Katherine had been having trouble getting him to canter so I went over and had a try at it. After some ground work and getting him saddled I walked him around YH and YF and backup. Then when I took him out in the field I asked him to canter and he went into it right off. So I asked for the right lead and he offered buck, but I wouldn't let him. From then on I asked for the left lead a couple more times and also for the right lead. He went into them, but on the right lead he gets discombobulated and throws me off balance so we slow to a trot. He needs work on the right lead for sure. But it was a great ride. I should have had her ride him and show me what he does so I could see it and then help her correct it. Katherine if you are reading this, I don't know why I didn't think of that. I guess I'm a focused, get the job done kind of guy and only in hindsight do I think of these things. So if it doesn't work for you like it did for me that is our next step.  She then showed me some liberty work she is doing with Joey and Callie and she is doing an outstanding job. Kudos to you Katherine. Thanks to Judy for hosting it all.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

43rd training day

It was more of the same with the boys today.
I got Robbie out and worked on his hind legs a bunch. Then I saddled him and ground drove him with one rein again. I want to make sure he is being soft with the bit and following his nose. All the while I was slinging the whip around his hind feet, butt and hocks to mimic the long reins. He didn't kick out at it but when I stopped and did it he would kick out. I would keep it up until he relaxed. However, he still would kick out when I started again. I think tomorrow I will drive him, then stop and wrap the whip or lead around his leg and if he kicks out I will make him move and see if that works any better.
Darkstar was better about coming out, even coming out of his stall without being asked. Then I did as yesterday for about 30 minutes, lots of rubbing and standing interrupted by asking him to follow me. He did this pretty good, again he was at liberty and all it took was a kiss from me and he would come. Then I put the bridle on him and flexed him with the rein and did some YH YF and forward on a circle at the walk. We did that a bunch from both sides interrupted by long pauses and lots of rubbing. I found another spot in front of his withers where he has muscle tension. It is probably from carrying his head high all his life and not moving balanced. It will make it difficult for him to give me vertical flexion because he would be so weak from under use of the muscles along the topline. But at the end I flexed him and then with shape right or left I asked for vertical. I worked both sides, didn't get alot, but a few times he got soft. This also explains why he is not soft vertically when I am driving him. On the other hand, Robbie is really soft while driving with one rein, even offering vertical flexion.
We will start again tomorrow.

hind legs

Robbie's training was slow today. I got him saddled, moving easily through the exercises. However, I am trying to teach him to relax with things around his hind legs. He doesn't like it at all. So today, for the second or third day I am trying to get him to quit kicking out at the rope around his pastern and hock. He finally relaxed on the right hind and let me pick up the foot and put it down using the rope. However, the left side he would barely let me get the rope around his foot. This is taking longer than expected but I still need to get him over this. His front feet don't seem to be a problem at all. So I worked on that then went back to his left hind. I will start with that one today. Anyway, I need to get him beyond this if I hope to have a successful ground driving experience. I think the reason this has been so tough is because some time ago he got caught in a fence and had a bad experience. He has the scars to prove it. I want him to stand with no kicking out when he is caught in a fence or when the rope is around his back legs. That is just a safety issue for him and for his rider.
Star - when I went to get Darkstar he turned away from me as if to say, 'oh no, here comes work.' So I relaxed and let him work at coming to me. Then when we got in the arena, as I was rubbing him I noticed lots of twitching at his withers and at a few spots down his back. That indicates soreness. So I just stood there and massaged his back until the twitching went away. Then when I took his halter off he walked away from me so I moved him around briefly. Then I decided to just take it easy with him and not put him to alot of work. So what I did was, with halter in hand, I walked up to him and just rubbed on him and let him stand. Then after a few minutes of associating rest with me, I walked away as if to lead him and just kissed to him and he followed me a few steps then we stopped. So I repeated this process of slowly walking away, and if he didn't follow, kissing to him, then he would follow me some steps, stop and rub on him. We just continued increasing the steps until he was following me, slowly but surely, all around the arena. That trust issue is a huge thing. This will help to set him up for riding and trusting me on his back. At any rate we spent the entire time just building on this. Every time he sees me, we work. I don't want him to associate me with work all the time, especially, since he is a cold blooded horse/right brain introvert. He needs lots of breaks to encourage him to do more. So hopefully, when I see him today he will be thinking it is good to be with me.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

day 1 x3

Yesterday Robbie and Star continued the training saga.
Robbie is making slow but sure progress. I went through all the normal things. Most of the time was working on getting him used to things around his hind feet, everything from spraying to the whip and the rope. I got him leading with rope around the pastern on both hind feet. He kicked out more on his right hind than his left. I had him lunging with the rope around his hocks and feet. I will review that today and hopefully get back to driving him today.
Star decided he would like to spend time away from me so I had to move him around at liberty. He circled just fine, but again would not follow. So at a time I thought appropriate I put the halter on him and went around the arena practicing the follow me on the rail. Then I saddled him and went through our slate of exercises. I got on and off him acting like a crazy man. I need to get him over his fear and get him to trust me. Then I don't thin riding him will be all that much of a trouble. But it is getting to that point that is at issue here. Before I knew it our time was done and we ended with some flexion.
We will see what happens today.

Friday, August 3, 2012

day 21

Ok, I got Robbie off to a good start. He didn't want to come out and play but with a little coaxing he decided to join me. I knew he needed a little attitude adjustment, just a tiny one so when He wouldn't stand to be saddle got his feet moving and backing and sidepassing and YH YF and so on then when I offered to let him stand he was just fine with that. I go the saddle on him and moved him around a bit. I really wanted to play with his back feet and legs because of the ruckus the other day when I was driving him. So I circled him and just kept the whip laying up against his feet and around them and letting it get caught in his croup. I did this from both sides until he was nice and calm. Then I used my long lead to wrap around his hind foot and pulled. He didn't like it much but with a lot of patience and persistence I got it so I could lift his hind foot and set it forward. In fact  I was leading him by his hind foot. I did it on the other side too. Then I did the same thing with his front feet. He finally quit his kicking and relaxed and let me pick up any of his feet with the rope. That was enough for today.
I will review on Monday and try to drive him again.
Star was too playful today. He didn't want to stay with me so I YH YF at liberty then he decided to get away from me so I made him move and then asked him to stay with me. Then I played the yo yo game with him but with an intensity level of about a 10. If he wanted to backup I backed him up farther and faster and when I asked for coming forward I asked for faster, but then whenhe got to me he rested a good while. We did that quite a while until he was practically running to me when I asked. Then I got the saddle on him and acted like a crazy man on his back and he stood for me. There were a couple times he spooked but he didn't go far before he settled down. Then I ground drove him in both directions getting a walk, trot, canter. I did lots of flexing with him and letting him rest next to me. He did real good.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

day 19 & 20/r2

yesterday I had a good time with the horses. I got Star out and worked him like before only this time I did everything I could to give him a heart attack. He had gotten scared when I was on him on Monday and realized that I needed to really get him through this. So I worked good on backing him and changing directions and getting on and off him but I did it in such a way as to dare him to get scared and just stayed with him. I only had one foot in the stirrup, but that was enough to really get him going. He eventually settled down. I also upped the ante on softness when he is lunging. I want him soft laterally. That was another problem in that he was not as soft as he should be laterally on the lunge. I also really got his feet moving in YH and YF using the rein and the stirrup to get him to move. It wasn't as exciting as the the day before but it still worked. Today with him I put the saddle on and repeated what I did yesterday with getting on and off and really daring him to get scared. He did but he settled down much quicker today. So that I could bounce on him and shake everything and make noise and he stayed calm. Then I did the same thing in the outdoor arena, another area of possible problems. He spooked a little, but settled down. Then I ground drove him at the walk with the bit and got him to get alot softer and getting the hind end over so he stays balanced. It was much calmer for him today.
Robbie, got saddled yesterday and moved in all kinds of directions. I backed him around the arena and had him stepping his butt over with tapping of the whip. I lunged him and jumped him a few times. He did alot better then.
Today, I saddled him and worked on the bit in his mouth with his head down. He got lots better at that. Then I started driving him with one rein. He was real soft with that in both directions. I got a walk trot canter in both directions a couple times. So then I decided to see if we could do both reins. Well another hole in his training was exposed. I kinda thought that he would have a problem with the rein on his back legs (when I spray him there he keeps moving, also when I would do the turn and go he didn't like the rope around his hind end) and he did. The reins burned through my hands and off he went in a circle. I got the reins again and tried to keep him bent in a circle and it was fine, some. But again he would get discombobulated and the reins would burn through my hands. So finally, I took one rein off and just went back to one rein driving to get his confidence back. Then we quit.
So I learned where the holes are in their training. Star needs more scarey stuff, softness and following. Robbie needs work on his hind legs getting things tangled up in them so that he remains calm. Then I will go back to driving with two reins.
All in all, for 40 days of training these horses have come a long way from not being handled much at all to standing for saddling, picking up feet for farrier, leading with mostly no problem. I can move there feet where I want them. They look to me for leadership. In both horses when they were spooked they came to me to get them out of it. Even today with Robbie, I ust treated it as though he was lungeing at liberty, though the reins were dragging behind him and when I asked for a stop he did. So lots of positive things are happening though the speed of progress is much slower than I would have liked.