Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Back to Basics

My dear problem child is being just that.  He is back to Luxifer.  Back to basics we go.  He is making a visit to my cowboy friend M this week.  In the mean time I'm back to ground work.  Luxifer is arrogant and has minimal respect for others.  Although he has come a long way he still has a long way to go.

While we wait to go visit M I decided to do an exercise to build trust with him.  When we started him we worked him in the round pen and doing what is called joining up.  It works best in the round pen but since I don't have one I used the lunge line.  I layed the ground work by grooming him (this always relaxes him) then going to the small paddock and asking him to stand quietly, back up, walk forward, etc.  He briefly pays attention then focuses elsewhere.  It is constant "yo you, pay attention!"  He also loves to tear off at a gallop when we get to the lunge spot. I made him walk to the center and wait until I told him to go.

Now I am by no means an expert at joining up so I simply practiced what M had taught me last year. I let him lunge and kept him forward until he showed signs of wanting to stop.  It took him quite awhile to wear down.  As usual he was distracted and only occasionally turned an ear to me.  When he starts to relax he will put his nose to the ground.  When he did this I turned my back to him.  I made no eye contact and looked down.    Eventually he stopped and walked over to me.  I walked away and he followed.  He was still distracted but this was progress.  A pat on the forehead and we headed to the barn.

We will do this again today.  This horse has to learn respect and trust with me.  I feel completely unattached to him and I am sure this is mutual.  When he misbehaves the bond and trust grow further apart. This perpetuating the bad behavior.

I will try to update our work with M later this week.  This horse remains a challenge but we aren't giving up yet.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Stepping Back

This blog post on the Chronicle could not have come out at a more opportune time.  If you haven't read it please do.  She's right.  There is life outside the bubble.  As my life feels like it is spinning out of control I am questioning everything.  I have started to wonder if it's possible to be too obsessed?  Maybe in my quest to get better and move up and bring my horses to their top level I forgot about the outside world???  In the bubble I didn't really care about the outside world until it all started to careen out of control.  So here I sit questioning everything and taking a step back.  It's the only logical thing to do when work life, personal life, and hobby life are all in the pits.  

Poppy is at least doing well.  Luxxx is another story.  As you know he is a tough one.  Always challenging me.  He has started some bad behaviors and I am not in an emotionally healthy place to deal with them.  I have someone coming out to help me with him this week.  I will see how that goes and I will either continue with that or send him to a friend's for training.  Correct training is so important with these young horses (and also nipping bad behaviors) so I will step back and let someone with a clear head on their shoulders step in.  

So that's where I'm at right now.  Still here and trying to get a good view of all this chaos and chip away slowly.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Liverpool Saga

I'm having a good day so I feel like I can write a post and not be a downer.  I greatly appreciate all the supportive comments.  As my mom says...this too shall pass.

Horses.  Horses are good.  After the last show where Ms. Poppy decided she no longer does liverpools that has become my focus with her.  I went out and bought a bunch of blue tarps and now several of my jumps have pseudo liver pools.  I also bought an extra to keep in the horse trailer to bring to shows.  I made the tarps scary and wide.  One is hidden behind a gate.  Another is under a wide airy oxer.  The third she has seen under a tall vertical.  The first time I kept the jumps small, 3 footish.  My goal is to build her confidence and make these scary things become no big deal.  So the idea is keep the jumps small at first and go up each ride as she gets more confident with the liverpools again.  

The first time jumping the wide airy oxer with the tarp beneath she ran out left.  I went right back to it, held the right rein and used the crop for encouragement.  She went over but was reluctant.  We kept jumping it until she no longer felt backed off.  She gave me no issue with the other oxer with the liverpool.  The next ride although she didn't run out she again felt backed off.  I was sure to ride up to it strong and jump it several times until she felt more confident.  On Saturday I put the liverpool jumps up a hole each and now she is riding up nicely to them.  I will continue to gradually go up and eventually move those tarps to different jumps to keep us both on our toes.

My trainer had a couple people back out of the show this weekend so we aren't going.  Maybe she can rally the troops for the next one in 2 weeks.