June was a rainy month but still very busy. I spent my days playing ‘Catch me if you if you can’ games with Hazel and Elli. I finally made progress with Elli. She’s longing, turning on her haunches, and forehand. Today she longed at a canter. When I ask her to ‘whoa’ I bring her in and stroke her head and neck. I spend a great deal of time stroking a head shy horse around the neck and head. With Elli, I also spend a great deal of time stroking her body with the rope. She’s also headshy of the fly mask so I rub her all over, especially around the ears, with the fly mask. She also likes to take off at a dead run when released from the halter. So, before I release her is when we longe and do our ground work exercises. She then turns to follow me when I release her from the halter. I reward her with strokes when she follows me after releasing her. I head to the gate and after a short pause I hear her gallop away. We are making progress.
Horses that are hard to catch usually have head shy issues. The best thing to do is overcome the head shy issues then the catching gets easier.
I saddled Annie a few days ago. I don’t have a round pen so I did this in the driveway. I did a lot of preparation over the years to get Annie ready for this. So, it was pretty easy. I blanketed her and put the saddle on her. Then I checked the cinch and replaced it with a shorter cinch. She’s pretty small but sturdy horse. I took her to a small turn out pen by the driveway. I cinched her up snug but not too tight and turned her loose. She trotted away, then she crow hopped some. Nothing too extravagant, just steady crowhopped like a steady drum beat. Then she stopped and went to eat. I took ahold of her and went for a walk down the road.
She is a snot when I tie her to the trailer. She bangs her hoof on the side of the trailer. She wants to eat the grass. This is a problem with Annie. The reason she got hurt. (Last year she banged the side of her face against the trailer because she wanted the late summer sweet grass) She at least isn’t throwing a temper tantrum. Each time she pawed the trailer I untied her and longed her in circles both ways. I made her move fast, turning on her haunches both ways. I would tie her again. I repeated this sequence until she stood quietly tied so I could unsaddle her. It worked. All I had to do is give her ‘the look’ when she would lift her hoof and she would stand quiet.
Rusty is finally letting me touch the top of his head. He’s accepting the bridling process much better. I figured out a way to wrap the lead rope over his poll and around his nose to keep him from nipping me while I rub his face and ears. Then I could pull his nose around and put my hand over his poll without having to push him away for nipping. This also stopped him from nipping at other times. It’s the same concept that people use with chains and flat halters. Only this works with a rope halter and it isn’t as harsh.
Charity is riding out better and is enjoying our time together in the saddle. She needs more miles. Trust is building but needs to develop more.
Rebel’s feet are improving under Ora’s farrier handy work. All the horses are moving better. My goal is to keep Rebel fresh to the end of the riding season. He’s is pretty good shape so I don’t ride him imbetween trail rides. The las two summers he burned out by September.
Hazel is getting less ear shy and is trusting me at a rapid rate. In the pasture with the sweet grass she can be hard to catch. So I have her in the small pen and I’m feeding her. She needs to bond with me more. I should be able to catch her anytime any where. So I will spend more time with her. We will do the same ground work I did with Elli.
Longeing both ways, three speeds (walk, trot, canter), rollbacks both ways, move off of pressure – turn on haunches, turn on forehand, back with me on both sides, side pass, and come to me- all on the ground.
Alice is leading better and isn’t trying to bite as much. She seems immature for her age. So we will take it slow with her. Need to work on picking up her feet and holding them up for the farrier.
Pearl is in good health and doing well.
I hope the summer is treating everyone well. Planning a trail ride this Saturday at Donald Park. Finally a week of dry weather to get the hay cut. Toodooloo