The Greening of May

The wind and the rain forces me to stay inside.  It gives me the oppurtunity to update my website, send pictures through e-mail, and write about my horses.  I just looked out the window and the girls are running around.  Pearl, Charity, Elli and Hazel are in the brush where they are protected from the worst that nature dishes out.  I see them darting in and out and disappearing behind the blossoming bird berry bushes.  Alice picks on Pearl mercilessly and Annie attacks everyone except her Dam, Charity, but, she gets along with Alice.  So, Annie and Alice are in the bottom pasture with only a small cluster of brush to protect them.  Hopefully, this summer I can get a solid shelter for this pasture.  Alice and Annie are young and hardy.  They run around and keep warm.
Rusty I can see from my office window and he is tucked in, the bird berry shrubbery fully protecting him.  I can’t see Rebel.  He has a place he goes to to get out of the weather.  The shrubbery is so thick. It is ideal natural shelter for this climate.  Rebel will come out after a rainstorm barely wet.
I had my springtime battle with Charity.  Round and round we went just to get out of the driveway.  We systematicaly went through first ride preparations.  Ground circles both ways and at all gaits.  Crossovers, Forequarter turns, rearquarter turns, beginning sidepass, backing, saddling quietly, mounting and dismounting.  She started her old adamant fight to not leave the driveway. 
We returned to Ground 1 only at a faster more intense pace. I took off the sidepull and put on the mechanical hackamore (sorry all you mechanical hackamore haters but it works with Charity.  You just need to know how to use it)  Mounted, I headed her out the driveway.  We got a short distance and the balking, rearing, backing, spinning around towards home intensified.  I used Tommy Garland’s method he uses to get an Arab’s attention on the ground.  When she started to spin to the right I took the left rein and held it straight up and repeatedly pulled with a snap and release to prevent her from spinning.  Tap Tap Tap Tap – Her body was facing right but her nose was tilted left and slightly up.  I just continued to pull my left rein up with snappy tap, tap, tap.  The Hackamore would tap against her right side of her jaw. 
She finally shot out forward and walked calmly down the road away from the driveway.  When I got to the end of the road I took her through the ditch and onto a grassy area.  We just stood there and rested.  She was glad to rest because she worked pretty hard in the driveway and worked pretty hard to get her way to go back home.  I petted her and stroked her.  Then we turned around to go home.  She walked quietly home just like where we left off last fall. (All last summer we overcame her obsession with charging home)  I worked her in the driveway again.  We practiced perfect circles until she dropped her head both directions.
I feel I have improved in my skills from watching all the clinics at the Midwest Horsefair this spring and from all the reading I do over the winter.
Alice learns very quickly.  With only a couple lessons on each maneuver she does crossovers, forequarter spins, rearquarter spins, backs a few steps.  She circles both ways at the walk and trot on the longe line and is better at respecting space.  Alice is going to be a nice all around riding horse.
Hazel is overcoming trust issues with her ears.  Some horses are very sensitive with their ears.  She’s a very sensitive horse in all areas which usually go hand in hand with ear sensitivity.  If a sensitive horse was ever ear twitched they never get over it. She is accepting me hanging out with her and is getting easier to catch.  Catching goes in spurts.  I spend time with her in the pasture or while she’s eating rubbing her, petting her, talking softly to her.  She now lets me brush her without halter and leadrope in hand.  She’s filling out nicely.  She has a unique way and look about her I really like.
I found a reaction button on Elli.  Before I take her halter off to turn her loose her head goes sky high.  So, before taking her halter off to turn her loose, with the lead rope in my left and and the knot of the halter in my right hand, I pulled lightly on the lead rope knot to cue her to put her head down.  She went straight up.  I snapped the lead rope to bring her down and discipline her.  We repeated this until she finally put her head down.  We repeatedly pulled lightly and released a few times until she consitantly put her head down in a giving fashion.  Then I turned her loose.  She still takes off at a dead run.  This will be the next lesson.  Walk quietly away several yards – then you can do what you want.  I have already started leading her to where the other horses are in the pasture then turning her loose.
Annie needs to be started.  I’m waiting for some consistant warm weather, right ground conditions and my own positive attitude (no major stress in my life).
I took Rebel on a trail ride with Lyn and Tam on May 2nd.  The weather was perfect and we had a great time at Black Hawk.  His feet didn’t get too sore.  They seem to be doing better.  Farrier’s Formula and Ora the Farrier.
Pearl is still Pearl.  I little sore in her feet.  This warmer weather helps tremendously.  I’d like to get a building for her to keep her in at night.  Soon I hope.
Rusty is frisky this time of year and has a lot of energy. I try to keep him busy with pasture turn out and ground work.  I finally got a saddle that fits him.  We spent a day getting that set up to saddle him up easily.
I had a great Mother’s Day with my daughter’s family.  My grandson, Leo, is adorable.  Hope your Mother’s Day was the best as well.
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