Sunday, July 7, 2013

Introduction to the Horse Course

Grooming and the Horse Course 

Enjoying some yummy grass.

Day 12:

It's hard to believe its July already.  The horses didn't seem too upset about Fireworks on the 4th of July.  The previous session, Opal had a not so good experience going home, so today since the other mares in her pasture were turned out we worked on walking in and out of her pasture.  One of the mares in the pasture next to her was still trying to throw her weight around, but one mare to shoo away is easier than 4.

Today I wanted to give Opal a good grooming with the brush, see how she took it being brushed with something besides my hands.  She loved it.  She gave me to trouble, until we took a few pictures together, she didn't want to smile for the camera I guess.

All clean!

Time for another test for Opal and me.  I can catch her in a pen or arena, but can I catch her while she is turned out grazing with other horses?

Mare's just wanna have fun!

The answer is yes, Opal can be haltered any where she might be.  She really enjoyed being out with other horses roaming and romping around the ranch.  A good day for everyone.

Day 13:   

We started the day with a grooming and grazing while I put my arm across her back to her other side.  I stroked her side and walked along with her, keeping close to let her feel something against her sides.  Occasionally I would ask her to move over by applying some pressure on her side.  First attempt she went to nip at me, but was greeted with my pointed finger poking her nose.  the following attempt went much better.

Today was a horse course for several of the horses in training today.  New obstacles set up, new challenges to work through, all while breaking up the sometimes boring work of the arena.  (Lets face it, it can be a drag all the time)  Plus, when you mix up your training, you sometimes discover something to work on that you wouldn't have a super-duper, highly frightening, extra scary SADDLE AND SADDLE PAD!!!!!!!!!

No horses were harmed in the filming of this horror sequence.

Braced against the lead rope and halter, Opal was NOT going anywhere near this....or so she thought.  Carrots anyone?  We took several steps closer to it, all while snorting and looking at me like I was crazy.  I hugged her, rubbed her face, told her it would really be ok.  Finally we got close, she reached for some grass and that bad old saddle pad jumped out at her and BIT HER ON HER HEAD!  She snorted and backed up.  

MOM!  Look out!  It might get you too!

It looks scary to me.
Finally I got her back up to eat the carrot off it.  Saddles and pads are scary...noted for the future.

Time to head to the Horse course, a permanent arena where we set up and have permanent obstacles to work with.  I wanted to see how much she would do, but didn't expect her to do them all at first.  Today we have a bridge, cavaletties, poles in the shape of a L, a hill with steps as well as a easy up and down path, a pit to walk into and out of, poles holding a rug down, poles in a zig-zag, tires, and a teetering platform.  Lots to work with.  She did each one with ease, can you guess which one she didn't like?  I'll give you a moment to look through the images and I'll tell you after....

Horse Course.

The bridge.


The "L" poles.

 Zig-Zag poles.

 The hill and the Pit.

 The Carpet / Tarp.

Piece of cake for each of those, but the teetering platform was a heck no, no way, no how.  At least that's what she said at first, and the second and the third.  It took me a while to get her back to the platform, she was wanting to rush past me to get away from it. We took a break and addressed another obstacle to build her trust and confidence.   I approached it slowly with her, giving her lots of love and praise.  She stepped up on it with her front two feet and struck and pawed at the wood with her hooves before putting her hind legs up.  She's a big girl, guess she wanted to make sure it was solid :)  

It moves, but it won't get me.

I couldn't have asked for a better first round through the horse course.  As long as I am with her when she is unsure and I'm confident in my skills, she will follow me.  Love this mare!  


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