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Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Took Carlos to the arena after a long break, and we worked a bit at liberty. First tried canter departs with cue "und hopp Galopp". He remebered it very well and offered some very soft ones at a very reduced speed and in nice upright posture. WWYLM around me at the trot was lovely as well, and he didn't even consider leaving to the far end of the arena, but stayed in a nice shoulder-in close around me.

Then I asked him on the pedestal, and he immediately went on with his front feet. So I tugged a bit more on the "invisible lead" and, bingo, he stepped on with his hind feet as well. Was his first try ever. We repeated a couple of times, and he stayed calm and happy.

When I introduced stepping sideways over a pole, he became a bit worried and took my jacket sleeve into his mouth, but just held onto it softly. So I reassured him and rubbed his neck and he sighed and relaxed. We tried first with halter and lead, and he got it very quickly, so I took the rope off. Carlos got a bit worried about, and stepped too much forward and over the pole with his hind feet, but settled down very quickly, and I could monitor his feet and direction by simple finger pointing. He walked nicely all the way sideways over the pole at liberty within minutes.

We went back to the pedestal, and he enjoyed being the "king" up there. We practised lining up at the mounting block, and he was really soft in his responses when I put one fingertip on his ribs or hip to ask him to move closer. We shared some nice moments and scratchies, just standing still close to each other. Then a group of riders came along our road and watched, all interested. Carlos and Samba (who stood nearby and watched us) had a nice gallop, squealing and bucking and kicking, and stirred up the pot for the poor riders ;-)

I let Carlos out of the arena, but he didn't want to leave me and followed me all the way to the gate, looking slightly disappointed. Poor boy, but there will be other times....


Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Borrowed Chris' treeless StarTrekk Espanola and started working Carlos a bit in the arena. He wasn't very impressed. First, wouldn't let me climb on board, so we worked for at least 10 minutes on lining up at the MB and standing still. When I was finally on his back, Chris and David and Fifi turned up to pick up some firewood, so dismounted and helped them to load it on the trailer. Back on Carlos' back, but he was very grumpy and unwillig. Din't want to walk steaight, but tried to meander to the pedestal all the time, shook his head etc. So we worked on very basic basics, i.e. walk on, do a few steps, and stop at light cue. With a few CTs, he became more cooperative, so we started working on getting gait on light cue, which has been difficult in the past - I always had to be much stronger than I like. Got some nice results, but also had to be too insistant at times. I am planning to do regular arena work now, so things should improve soon, I hope.


Sunday, 5 October 2008

Another sessison in the arena. Carlos was a bit better about walking and turning etc., but boy, was he upset when I asked him to go into gait! I got all stuck and obsessed about Carlos _having_ to work on his gait. I insisted and insisted and he got all furious and threw some really brain-rattling hard trots and paces at me in protest, and I really had to be way too hard for my liking with my cues. Of course, I immediately softened completely, as soon as he responded, but somehow things were by far not as easy as with Flamenca (who needs mere thinking *drool*). But in the end, my obstination won and he offered me a couple of beautiful, soft transitions into the gait. So I stopped, gave him a hug and unsaddled him.


Monday, 13 October 2008

Thought it might be time to work more on the basics. Samba came along and wanted to do something as well, but I just asked for one brief shoulder-in to the right and one to the left, then haltered Carlos. Once in the arena, I found that mounting is still quite an issue for him. We have been working on lining up at the MB and standing still, but today he was a lot more anxious than usual, so I kept practising "capture the saddle", then decided to mount from the ground which went fine, and he stood perfectly still as long as I wanted. Of course, he got some CTs for it.

We practised lots and lots of stop-walk-stop-walk transitions, added staying on the rail a bit better, changed directions. Did a lot of lightness work, in fact. He is becoming a lot better with it, responding to very discrete leg cues now. Started working on sideays leg effect, as he still thought leg on always means faster. Got some nice results on both hands. Stopping is still a bit delayed and needs a bit of rein contact, but he softens nicely into inward bends now. Started working on backing. The first ones were horrible: nose up in the air, but he got the idea after a while and started softening at the poll and lowering his head when backing. I asked for two little pacapacas which were, well maybe not perfect, but a lot better than last time. I was pleased that my cues could be so much lighter today.

Tried to ask him to walk sideways over the pole at the end, but he got confused, so we postponed that. Wendy, the neighbour, has bought half a dozen lambs which were watching us from across the road. Carlos stared at them, fascinated!


Monday, 20 October 2008

More work on the same. Softness is getting much better, Carlos has less and less grumpy moments and often softens willingly into my hand. He still has slight issues with rein contact (well the moderate one we have at present) and occasionally chomps on the bit or overflexes, but definitely a lot less than he used to do.

Bending around inside leg is feeling and looking good now, same for making circle bigger (doesn't work smoothly all the time yet). We tried to go sideways over the cone: nope, not yet! Neighbour's kids were racing around on their motorbikes, fortunately at quite a distance. Carlos hopped a bit when another kid came from behind on his bicycle, nothing serious. The lambs don't seem to be an issue anymore.

Tried a HQ and front end yield and got a beginning of response. The backing is becoming really soft and beautiful with arched and soft neck. Love it! And his response to a very light leg cue is really pretty by now. Introduced him to a bit of shoulder-in (not perfect) and renvers, which seemed really easy for him. Also some more attempts of relaxed pacapaca. I give a tiny half halt on the outside rein then make a kissing noise, and hop, there he goes. Really relaxed most of the time by now. And it feels so comfortable! :-D


Friday, 31 October 2008

Carlotta is here now with Bluey, while Nikita and Samba are at Narrawin. Greg helped me to direct Carlotta into the yard, where I could halter her. Took her to the arena and did some refreshment targeting etc. Tried to get her interested in carrot slices and dried bread, but she wasn't very keen and didn't make much progress. So I got some grain mix, and then things went a lot better. Started working on putting one foot into the tyre and then on the pedestal. She did both several times, so jackpot and end of session. I make sure to approach her in the paddock and ask her to target my fist each time I have the opportunity. Looking good, she doesn't run away anymore.


Sunday, 2 November 2008

Despite the threatening clouds, saddled Carlos in the afternoon. While I was swinging my leg over, it started to rain, but not too heavily, so we proceeded anyway. We spent a beautiful, harmonious half-hour together, practising the things he "knows" already and working on lightness and refinement. Was really fun, and I think he enjoyed it too.

Back into the paddock, I talked to Carlotta a bit, and she came and let me touch her and took her CT. Carlos came over and wanted to play some more, so I allowed him to trot around me in WWYLM and do canter departs. He is so much fun!


Tuesday, 4 November 2008 Images for 4 November 2008

Hardly had any time left after all the lawn mowing, but threw the saddle on Carlos for a "quickie". He started off a bit unwilling and animated, especially as Carlotta and Bluey galopped up to the arena several times, watched a bit and galopped away again. But he persuaded himself that he'd better listen to me, so we could carry on with our work. More lightness for the cues, walking, stopping, backing, circle bigger. Also let him step into the tyre, then we tried sideways over pole again, and this time he got it. Bit more shoulder-in and counter SI. Then we tried hinquarter and front eld yield, got some nice beginnings.


Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Chris saddled Nikita and rode her in the arena today for the first time. I asked her to put spurs on "some time" (to get her used to it, in case a prospective buyer wants to ride her with them), but Chris said let's do it right now. Nikita started off with a slight nervous mode, seeing all that new stuff, but settled down quickly. She gave herself a fright 2 or 3 times when the spurs gently touched her side and she breathed in just then and felt them a bit more, but all in all it was pretty good. Chris tried some backing, but she was as stuck as a truck. Well, nobody ever taught her, after all!

So Chris dismounted and asked from the ground, which worked after a few attempts. She got back on and asked from the saddle. Nicky thought about it, then softened up and yielded. After a few repetitions she even started lowering her nose already. Chris asked for stepping under with inside hind on the circle as well as bending, then counter-bend. All worked pretty well for a first try. She also gave her some very nice turns on forehand. Lovely! Chris then rode her back to the tying rail where Chango was already tied. She fussed a bit about this and that, but then walked over and stood quietly.

In the evening, I took Carlotta to the arena. I can now approach her in the paddock (she is still a bit hesistant though) and halter her, thanks to targeting my hand. We played with putting front foot into tyre, then walking on and over a plastic feed bag, then rubbing it on her shoulder, neck and back. Asked her to step on the pedestal again, she is keeping her foot on it for a little while now - I think we are only a step away from going up now. Also a bit of sideways over a cone which she remembered quite well. Thehn I let Carlos in with her and she showed her how to step on the pedestal and into the tyre with both front feet while the feedbag was tucked into the inside.


Thursday, 6 November 2008

More repetitions with Carlos. Still working on standing still at MB, but only a bit at a time (breaking it down into small sections), then I take him away and mount from the ground for the moment. He is fine with that and stands perfectly still for me. We always stand for a little while and I give him scratchies before we start or session. So nice to see him listen more and more to me and settle into his "riding horse" routine. He is still chomping nervously on the bit at times, but I hope it will go awwy gradually when his confidence increases.

We did a lot of laterals, and he is literally throwing himself into it, doing too much at times, overbending and twisting like an eel. But it is easy to correct him gently through the outside rein, needs only a very soft touch. The cues for backing are becoming really light by now, same as for almost everything, it feels great. I tried a travers today, but can't get it, my body must have an unsuitable twist ;-). Carlos goes into lateral mode very easily, you can see his Andy blood! Counter shoulder-in is something he really loves, but SI is getting nice as well. Sometimes he tries to barge a bit through it, but not much. We are working on correct bend, as he tends to do too much at times.

Pacapaca departs are becoming really soft and easy, same as downward transitiiosn. At the moment, I often only use "aaand walk" and tilt my pelvis. Turn on forehand is getting better. I found it works really well when his front feet are in the tyre! Turn on haunches still worries him, same for sideways over pole, we will break it down a bit more and only do very little at a time. I have set up a square of cones, we'll see whether this helps him take things more easily.

Took Carlotta next, and Carlos was hanging over the arena fence and wanted to help as well. We did sideways over cone, still step-by-step and very slowly, then back to the tyre, this time she put both front feet inside. I do it mainly via free shaping, with only the occasional finger pointing. Same for pedestal. Today she stepped on with both front feet and happily stood up there, looking around proudly.

Introduced head-lowering via picking up contact on rope and holding up. She is getting the idea and starting to respond already. Introduced the whip and stroked her body with it. She is a really nice filly, very settled in herself and listening to me calmly. A pleasure to work with.


Friday, 7 November 2008

Weather was really foul today, gale wind and rain threatening. The storm blew dust and sand clouds into our eyes and everywhere, but Chris rode Nikita anyway, the brave girl. Nicky was a bit stop-and-go at times, being still a bit insecure, but lots of improvement, compared to last time. Chris could start at the spot she had finished yesterday. They practised soft bend, stepping under with inner hind, going into corners of arena. Her stops are feather-light. Chris says she just has to start thinking about stopping, and bang, Nicky slams on the brakes. But nice and square, with HQs engaged. Turn on forehand is still fine, they started on turn on haunches, and Chris got a nice beginning (one or two steps). Backing is looking a lot better, some of it with giving at poll already. They did some trotting today. Nicky has a really lovely, floating trot. Overall impression: still a bit stuck at times, but not very often by now, and very responsive to very light cues. Lovely!

Compay was really good as well. Despite the "hurricane", we saddled him for the first time, then I longed him on both sides. He started off walking quietly, but in very proud, alert mode (he looks sooo beautiful!), then I asked for trot/gait, and he did this as well without every freaking out the slightest. We were very impressed! That stallion sure has a lot of brio!


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Sunday, 9 November 2008 Images for 9 November 2008

Chris did more work with Nikita. She is starting to soften and listen, but has some grumpy moments at times. They worked on going forward today (without constant stop-and-go), lots of trotting, backing softly. Nicky is horribly fat, we took her off the paddock and into a yard without grass.

Compay started off in a very stallion-ish way, running and bucking and squealing in the arena. He did target my hand immediately when I walked over, and happily took his CT. We put the stocksaddle on him (first time), and he took it really well. Then I longed him for a while which went heaps better. He listened well and walked off willingly, stopped nicely (most of the time) and softened to the rope. Then I got giddy and Chris took over. She worked on closer contact, with him walking near her and bending to inside. She had the whip and he did accept it in the end all over his body and while he was walking. He had a few "moments", but all in all it was very good.


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Afternoon session with Carlotta. Same as before. She briefly stepped on the pedestal with all four feet for the first time. She is much more comfortable with staying on with two feet by now. More head-lowering on lifting and holding of rope. Started the Pose, repeated "amore" (putting ear in my hand) which she has forgotten more or less. Then introduced walking close to me, with cue "walk on" and whip slightly tapping on her croup. Did it both sides and she, a bit hesistantly, performed nicely for her first few steps.

Carlos' turn. Took him to the pedestal for MB training,like each time, but he still isn't happy with standing there while I mount. So from the ground again, which isn't a problem at all for him. Deepened all our exercises. He has problems with shoulder-on to the left at the moment, tends to drift towards the inside a bit. Did some turn on forehand with his front feet inside the tyre again. Did some 3f3 and HSS, well beginning of the latter. The 3f3 was pretty good actually.


Friday, 14 November 2008 Images for 14 November 2008

Practising the same. He stood better at MB and started to "capture the saddle", i.e. came sideways toards me when I put my hands on the saddle. But still a bit worried when I tried to get on. From the ground he didn't stand still today, moved his feet for a while before he finally let me get on, but stood very still once I was doing it. Backing wasn't good today, all crooked. Pacapaca wasn't spectacular either, needed quite strong cues, and he started off at a trot a few times. Some really nice, soft turns on forehand and some beautiful first steps for turn on haunches. But only along rail, when I tried at the cone square, he switched into backing or turn on forehand. He spooked quite a bit today, and one "nice" sideways jump I couldn't sit and fell on my hip. Badly bruised my left ring finger. Stupid me, didn't put gloves on this time *sigh*. Carlos came over right away and stood nicely for me to get back on and we practised some more. He spooked repeatedly at th poles lying on south end of arena and was as twisted as a pretzel. We repeated going past until he finally was able to walk straight on a loose rein again. He must have had a bad day....

Had a bit of feed left, so asked nearby Carlotta to target my hand and she followed me into the arena. We did all her stuff at liberty, and it worked really well. When I asked for sideways over a cone and wanted to help her with moving her hips, she got cranky and flattened her ears at me. I growled at her and walked away in a timeout. She followed and made sure to keep her ears forward then ;-)


Saturday, 15 November 2008

Chris rode Nikita in the morning, and she was a real pain, very tense and resistant and unwilling. They struggled for a while, then Chris stopped after the first bit of softening she got. Was just not worth trying any longer.


Sunday, 16 November 2008

Compay's turn. We repeated the flapping of stirrups and saddle blades etc., then some jumping jacks and similar, and then Chris lay flat over the saddle. I asked him for a few steps, and he was very unsure about it, but finally managed to do a couple. He stayed fairly calm, just wobbly, which is normal at this stage. To end the session, Chris swung her leg over and gently sat down. I rewarded him with rapid-firing clicking which kept his attention. She dismounted and end of session.

I took Nicky into the arena and longed her, to get a bit of that fat off her belly ;-). Then unhooked the lead and did some liberty longeing. She was as stiff as a board and turned to the outside, especially at the trot. So I went back a step and asked for walking with inward bend. That worked fairly well, so asked for trot again and curled my fingers (like for walk), and she followed the feel and started to bend to the inside. Bingo! She had a tendency to immediately slow down when doing so, but I repeated my verbal cue (trot on) and then clicked after a few steps. Worked pretty well in the end.


Monday, 17 November 2008 Images for 17 November 2008

Another short session for Compay. We can now saddle him at the tying rail in front of the shed. He is very cool about most things. As Chris said: surprising for a son of Conan and Carinita who both can have their moments!! We practise polite leading (NO grumbling or nickering or looking around while walking past other horses), and he is getting a lot better about it already. A bit of longeing, practising changes of direction at the walk (becoming good!), then in-hand walking with inward bend. Then Chris got on, sat still a bit, then wiggled and touched him everywhere, and finally I asked for a step. This time, he followed me when I stepped backwards. He stayed very calm and focused.


Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Last training unit before Equitana.Nikita was becoming really good today, a lot softer and responsive: nice, swinging, comfortable trot, good stop-trot-stop transitions, good bending, softness for small circles with inner hind well engaged. Looking a lot better! :-D

Compay is gradually becoming better with his "stallionish" displays. I can now lead him past another horse without him starting to grunt or whinny (well, most of times). Chris got on and off him a few more times from both sides, moved around in the saddle, made lots of noises, touched him everywhere. Then asked for some flexing from the saddle. He thought a bit about it, then managed to do it. Nice and softly! I walked backwards and he followed me in a nice, relaxed manner. He is such a cool horse!


Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Equitana is over. Here is a photo of Chris and Max during the breed parade:


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So back to training. Only rode Flamenca and Nicky out briefly yesterday, but today we started two of Chris' youngsters: Ron (SB-PF cross) and Dacio (PP-Andy cross), both 3 y.o. While Chris familiarized Ron in the arena with basic sacking out and longeing etc., I had Dacio in the adjacent stall and started him on CT and targeting. He was completely zoned out and didn't want to take food to start with, but gradually I managed to get his gocus and he started to stretch his head actively to my hand to take the food. We did a few very basic basics then, like HQ yields to both sides and the first steps of "longeing". I had to be very quick with my clicking, not to loose him. But I think we can build on it. Meanwhile, Ron, completely cool bananas, was already accepting to be rubbed with a towel and the dressage whip and trotted around Chris on the longe line.


Friday, 28 November 2008 Images for 28 November 2008

We took Carlos and Darah over to Narrawin and got Molly and Eladia in exchange.

Second session for Dacio. He had forgotten about his initial "don't approach me" attitude, but decided to walk towards me right awyay and touched my hand. After the click, he thought about it quite a while, then stretched out his nose and took the treat! After this, I could halter him without problem. Took him over to a big yard, tied up Compay who played stallion games in the neighbouring yard, then repeated a few leading and towel things. Today, Dacio was a lot more settled, moved his HQs very calmly without rushing, let me touch his body all over from both sides. He got interested in my bug bag, but learned polite behaviour (turning his nose away very quickly). I also did a bit of feeding in position, i.e. asked him to rock back a step for food delivery.

Started on self-haltering, he soon put his nose into the loop several times. Then some more at liberty. Also let him sniff a towel, then rubbed it over his body. He was a bit worried in the beginning, but I just walked with him with my hand on the towel and as soon as he stopped, CT. Then I could rub it even over his croup and pull it down, and he stodd there, without any restriction. Soon, I could freely walk up to him, reach up and stroke his head or neck, then put the halter on. Real attitude change!

Then got Ron to introduce him to CT as well. He caught on really quickly on targeting my hand, then I introduced him to head-lowering via lefting and holding up my hand with the rope at his jaw. Got some nice little attempts.


Sunday, 30 November 2008

This time Chris and I worked the boys together, as it was time for pad and girth. Ron was very interested and laid-back about the procedure, so soon I could longe him both sides, walk and a bit of trotting. He stopped promptly for the clicks and waited for me to go over and hand him his treat. He might start becoming a little bit food-oriented, so will work on manners next time.

Dacio's turn. Same as for Ron, and we was a bit tenser, but stood still and was nicely focussed on me and my CT, while Chris went through the sacking out, putting pad and girth on, tightening girth. Then we started longeing him as well (increased level of difficulty as he had the gear on his back as well + the caveçon), but he was a champ, so nice and quiet and trusting. Chris started opening her mouth to say: if you feel he is ready, you can start asking for a tr..., and I had already asked him via just bringing my body momentum up a bit, and there he went, perfectly calm into a gentle, slow trot. I love that horse!


Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Ron and Dacio: Today, at only their fourth session, both were already carrying the saddle and longeing at walk and trot on both hands.

Ron is starting to nuzzle the feedbag, so I worked him a bit to improve his table manners. Just stood there immobile, but as soon as he offered the slightest shift of weight backwards, he got a click and a treat. Didn't take him long to figure it out :-D

Also gave Carlos a bit of groundwork, despite the upcoming rain. He was very animated, seeing all the other horses: Madonna and her newborn colt, and plenty of stallions all around. He tried to be a bit sh*tty with me to start with, but one good roar made my point clear and he cooperated henceforth *g*. The good thing: I could use all his excess energy for a lot of canter work, first on the short longe line, then at liberty. Towards the end, he even offered me some lovely liberty shoulder-ins at walk and trot and one short attempt at the canter. Jackpot and end of session!


Friday, 5 December 2008

When I arrived, Ron and Dacio were all saddled and tied at the rail. We took them over to the arena. I longed Dacio first, walk and trot, with the caveçon, and he is starting to bend. Then did a bit of flexing, which was really good and easy for him. Then a bit of work on the short longe with whip resting on his croup. Got some lovely bends already, he is better on the left than on the right. Chris started hopping up and down at his side and dragged the MB around his feet. Dacio couldn't care less. When he did get a bit startled at times by something very inexpected, he only did a small spook in place, but his feet never left. Chris: yep, one step forward would take him one step away from the treat bag! ;-)

She ended up leaning over the saddle and I asked him for one or two steps forward, which went very calmly.

Ron's turn. His bum is higher than his withers at the moment, so he has a funny, hoppy trot, looks really strange. But nice and forward. When we proceeded with the hopping up and down, stepping on MB and down again etc, he was pretty worried and moved off several times. But in the end he stood still and we could get him also to walk a few steps forward with Chris leaning over his back.


Saturday, 6 December 2008

Short ride out, all three of us. Greg on his Darah, Chris on Carlos and I on Nikita. We practised beginnings of gaiting a bit, which really made Nikita cranky. At half-ride, Chris and I changed horses and Carlos did some really lovely, relaxed pacapacs for me. Threw in one of his bouncy trochas once (don't like that one), but switched back to corto almost right away. Chris had "fun" in the meantime with Nikita trying to spook at things and showing her that spooky is uncomfortable for the horse ;-). While she was trotting along behind us, she said (seeing Carlos' corto): Boy, that looks so much more comfy! Darah was very good for Greg, lovely girl!


Sunday, 7 December 2008

Dacio was lame (stone bruise or twisted ankle maybe, as it got better towards the end), so we just saddled him and I introduced him to the bit. We put him into the stall close to the arena (Madonna spitting poison from the other side of the fence *g*) and let him stand there and get used to it. Ron was a bit uptight today and wiggled around quite a bit before settling down. He took some nice, calm steps with Chris hanging over the saddle, then she swung her leg over and sat down. No problem.

In order to have a bit of fun, we took Carlos and Flamenca out for a little ride. Chris hadn't ridden Carlos since he was a baby, so liked to ride him now that he is in his prime and has a lot more experience under saddle. I think she really enjoyed riding him, and it was nice for me to see him ridden by her, gives you quite new perspectives of your horse! Animated by Flamenca who gaited at his side, he showed delightful cortos, even stretching out at times. Chris mentioned that we whould take a video and send it to Jorge! He will be so proud to see such lovely offspring of Cali. Chris said that this was the ideal result she had been hoping for when doing this kind of breeding. I fully agree, he is close to perfect.


Monday, 8 December 2008

While Dacio was standing in his stall again, saddled and bit in mouth, Ron got a bit more mounting and dismounting training. This time we got to a few quiet steps forward with Chris sitting in the saddle. Then we switched horses, Ron into stall and bit into his mouth for the first time.

Dacio was a bit surprised by Chris' first movements, then settled down and stood still while she jumped up and down, clapped her heels together etc. He walked forward willingly with her playing sack of potatos over his saddle, then she mounted him as well from both sides. No big deal, he was so focussed on me and my treat bag that I decided to work a bit on manners once Chris has got down. Dacio was so mouthy by now, trying to nibble the bag, reaching for my hands that I had to block his head out of my space a couple of times. He got rewarded for each little attempt to turn his head straight and very soon "got it". He even started to shift his weight a bit back when I shifted mine forward! Chris: looking a lot better!


Tuesday, 9 December 2008 Images for 9 December 2008

Ron had his first walks around with Chris in the saddle. Nice and quiet. I am getting really good at walking backwards *g*

While I practised taking the bit with Dacio, Madonna got all wound-up in the neighbouring stall, because she wanted to play too. So I went in and asked for the Pose. She was so over-enthusiastic that it looked all twisted! Then she offered WWYLM by herself - had forgotten that I had taught her...


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Really amazing how keen and focussed she was, she even didn't take notice of her colt driking while she tried to get me to click and treat her!

Dacio worked really well, buttersoft the whole time, then Chris mounted for the first time. He got all insecure because I "left him" for a moment (stepped back to take the photo).


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Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Ron had got up with the wrong foot today and was kinda grumpy and tense all the time, so we decided to do mainly longeing and groundwork and Chris switched back to just leaning over him while I asked for a few steps. After a while he relaxed and got better, but we still felt he wasn't happy so kept it short. Instead, I took him into the stall (with the bridle on for him to get more used to it) and worked on "ears forward" and rewarded him for each try, and today I went a step further and taught him to target the palm of my hand with his forehead. Chris' dry comment: let me know when you have succeeded... in two or three days... I will bring out lunch and dinner for you! *g*

But she was too pessimistic: Ron took to the game pretty quickly, within 5 to 10 minutes that is, and delibertately placed his forehead into my hand. I could see how he was fighting his "more evil" self, but he was so eager to earn his treats that we got really nice results in no time at all.

Dacio did very well and cooperated nicely. More walking backwards for me while Dacio followed me with Chris in his saddle. Short session as well.


Thursday, 11 December 2008

Ron was a lot more cooperative and "with us" today. I did a bit more targeting my palm with his forehead, and he is making nice progress with it. Good response for the ridden part, he is just still so uncertain that he tends to creep into my pocket or is close to stepping on my heels ;-) But I could start to send him slightly on the circle line already. Funnily, he works better to the right than to the left!

A bit of longeing Dacio, first time without caveçon, but just rope halter instead. He was buttersoft in my open hand, melting away in the most lovely inside bend on both hands. Chris' comment: OMG, your longe line is loose, and you don't even use side reins or tie downs or anything! Little cheek! ;-)

He was lovely (yet still a bit insecure) about walking with rider, got to the same stage as Ron, so we called it a day. Both geldings are earning a lot more body awareness. Dacio performed, very nonchalantly, a turn on the hauchnes when I wanted to move him away from the tying rail! And was able to move his shoulder over to the outside very fluently when I asked for it!


Wednesday, 17 December 2008 Images for 17 December 2008

We tried the Maestro bit on Carlos today for the first time. He was a bit chewy to start with, but settled down very quickly and then responded nicely to Chris' request for flexing. Chris suggested to ride him with a noseband or sidepull at the same time, the first times (i.e. four reins). Will try that out next time.

Chris had to leave early, so we just threw in a quick session with Dacio and Ron. Remarkable, BTW, how especially Dacio has changed: he has lost all his stand-offishness, but comes to us eagerly, and it is a piece of cake to halter him now! While Ron was tied to a tree with the bridle on, we had Dacio in the arena. Bit of longeing, he was so perect and tuned-in that we proceeeded to mounting right away. Walked on both hands with Chris in the saddle, and I started moving slightly away from him by now and putting him on the circle. Chris introduced a bit of "leg on" for bringing him a bit out and away from me, as he is still so insecure that he wants to crawl into my lap. Good prgress!

Ron was quite skittish today, and we both could feel his tenseness, so chose to go a step back. Chris was leaning over his back and I asked for just a few steps. He settled down enough in the end, so she could swing her leg over and sit down in the saddle. We left it there for the day. He can think it over during the night and undoubtedly will be better tomorrow.

Back at home, I took Carlotta into the arena and repeated a bit all the old stuff she knows already (tyre, pedestal, cone, mat etc.). In the meantime, Eladia, Bluey and Molly kept galopping and bucking and farting at the outside, but it didn't bother her too much. Then I let her sniff the bridle and started putting it on her for the first time. Very soon, she started to move her lips, then open her mouth, so it was on very quickly. She did the usual chomping and chewing, but settled after a while and started grazing. She stayed relaxed when I took it off and opened her mouth willingly for it.

To end the session, we did a bit of in-hand work on a short lead, with the whip resting on her croup. She is becoming a lot less grumpy when my hand or the whip touches her flanks or croup now. Goody! After a few minutes, she started to bend a bit around me, then offered the first beautiful lateral movement (bringing shoulder to outside with inward bend). Lovely! I took everything off and set her free in the big paddoc, but instead of going to see her mates, she chose to stay with me and so we played with a bit of walking at my side at liberty. She repeated all the nice movements, so earned herself a big jackpot.


Thursday, 18 December 2008 Images for 18 December 2008

Same with Dacio and Ron. Dacio was a bit tense today in the beginning, but settled down well. He was still a bit sticky and close to me, but tried to do the right thing. Got a bit of softening and moving away. Ron wasn't very confident either and tried to keep me in his right eye all the time, but finally allowed himself to walk a small circle to the left as well with me at his side.

Did a bit more practising of Ron's forehead into my palm, and then asked Dacio to put his cheek into my hand.

Chris put Carlos into noseband and Maestro and rode him around calmly. Carlos had a bit of trouble to figure things out, but started softening at the end.


Friday, 19 December 2008

Dacio did very well today. I had practised sending him out and away from me on the longe line and he was able to transfer it to ridden work. Chris noted how responsive he was. Got some really nice bends and he started to lower his head at the trot. Chris added a bit of leg and rein cue to bring him to the outside and he responded well. While Ron got saddled, Dacio and I practised some more "cheek into my hand". Looking pretty good by now.

And Ron is offering some really good "forehead into my hands" by now, even with increased criteria, i.e. with his ears forward! I could hold out my hand fairly low now (my chest height), and he deliberately brought his head forward and into my hand. Chris joked that soon he would try to put his head on me whenever he could! ;-)

Ron was still quite insecure about being ridden and tried to stay glued on me, but we got some promising beginnings. He is still pretty stiff to the left, but he tried very hard to bend to this side as well. I clicked him for each little effort in this direction. Introduced changes of direction at the walk for both of them. Dacio seems just a natural, he did it immediately and very softly, while Ron needed a bit more support.

We measured Dacio: 143 cm or 14.05 hh. His end size should be about ideal for me, around 147 cm, I expect. Just a nice little riding horse for me!


Saturday, 20 December 2008

Got Carlotta, and could walk up to her straight and halter her, he stood there and waited for her CTs. Started with pre-WWYLM around the cone circle with her. She first dragged behind and didn't stop immediately (going in front of me and swinging her HQs over). I used little whip taps on her croup to activate her walk. Pretty soon, she walked off as soon as I did and stopped right next to me. Tried to invite her to bend to inside by curling my fingers, but not too successful yet. So put the bridle on her again and let her carry it for a little while. Then asked for the starter Philippe Karl exercise to get off the bit, but boy, was she reluctant, lots of pushing and head-shaking etc. So I took the lead rope and one rein in one hand and very softly directed them towards the tip of her shoulder, thinking "back", and bingo, suddenly she could back softly a step. Then asked for flexing to left and right with the reins (PK again), which worked pretty well. Took the bridle off, which went smoothly and relaxed.

Introduced her to the pad and longeing girth which was very easy. Took just a minute, and then the girth was all buckled up and we started WWYLM again. Her ears were a bit in alert-and-grumpy mode almost all the time, but she cooperated well and she started to tip her nose a bit to the inside at the walk. Jackpot and I took the halter off. Repeated at liberty and that went rather well. She needs to chew a bit on that overnight, will see how she goes tomorrow. She still wanted to stay with me after we had finished and performed on my way out at liberty again, even though Eladia and Molly came over and distracted her.


Sunday, 21 December 2008 Images for 21 December 2008

Dacio was slightly lame again, we checked his feet, the walls are very short from the last trimming and his soles are very flat. Doesn't help either that his hooves are so tiny. Might have to put boots or shoes on him when we start riding him more next year. So we did very little, just a few rounds on the longe line. He is so nice and soft by now, dropping his head and quite relaxed. Chris rode him only a few minutes, he was so responsive that this was enough: listening to leg and rein, asking him to move his shoulder to the outside and able to walk in a small circle around me without crowding me anymore.


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Ron was still a bit more sticky, but things are starting to fall into place with him as well. He, too, was finished after just a few minutes of doing well. During longeing, he is finally starting to drop his head a bit.


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We had the camera, so took some photos of "forehead into my palm". Like so many Cali children, his ears automatically go back when you touch his head, so I had worked a bit on ears forward and letting him make it his own decision about putting his forehead into my open hand _and_ keeping his ears forward at the same time. He is making great progress with it:


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Chris started to work Dacio in the bit for the first time. There was a lot of pushing in the beginning, but he became nice and soft, once he understood what it was all about.


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Monday, 22 December 2008 Images for 22 December 2008

Despite the gale winds, we saddled Flamenca and Carlos for a little ride in the forest. Flamenca got a western curb bit on for the first time, and coped remarkably well. A well trained horse can go in anything.... ;-)


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What really surprised me was that she was carrying herself like a western pleasure QH, with her head very low and relaxed. Must admit that I prefer the head carriage in the Maestro!

This was Carlos' second session in the Maestro and things were already more relaxed than last time. But shortly after we left, he had an ego outburst on the trail and pretended that he didn't know anymore what leg meant. Chris and him had a little discussion about it, and suddenly he was able to do a turn on the forehand again in the most beautiful manner!

We went through the nearby sand quarry, and Chris and Carlos had fun zooming all over the place, up and down the hills, around the corners. Looked like great fun. Pity I didn't have my camera with me, we definitely must do this again!

Very hot and sticky in the afternoon, but Carlotta needed a bit more work, so we had another little session in the arena. She got a little fright when the pad flapped a bit violently in the wind while I was swinging it on her back, but settled down quickly. No problem for the girth again. We did a bit of pre-WWYLM, but she was visibly so bored with it (like Carlos used to be!) that I modified the approach and asked her to longe on a circle around the cones (me on inside). Lot better that way. We practised a bit of rating speed at the walk and the first departs to trot. The first time she tucked her bum under and shot forward a few steps, but from then on she changed gear very quietly. BTW, that gear was a corto!!! :-D

Left hand is fine, right still a bit stiff and hesitant. Then put a bridle on. I thought the broken shanked bit wasn't such a good choice, so took my sweet iron 3 link instead. She wss a lot happier with this one. We practised a bit taking it (needs more work before it becomes self-bridling), then I proceeeded to PK's getting off the bit. That came immediately. What a fast learner, she perfectly remembered the last session! Then flexing: super-easy all the way round with close-to-zero pressure. And the head stayed there without contact. Carlos T. would have spat his false teeth in disbelief, hahaha.

Backing with reins was fine almost right from the start. Very soft. So I started asking for PK's in-hand walking exercises with inward bend. Worked very well, too. Both sides. Jackpot and I let her go. But she wanted to stay with me and do a bit of WWYLM at liberty, so we did that until my treat bag was empty. Looked lovely!


Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Brief session with Carlotta today, due to the Xmas preparations. Worked a bit on taking the bit by herself, she is well on her way, as she started to open her mouth and put her teeth around it. More PK exercises (walking at my side with reins and inward bend). Backing is butter-soft, she rocks back on a very light cue.

She still flattens her ears a lot and makes sour faces. We worked on this today during WWYLM at liberty, and I tried to capture each attempt to pur her ears forward. This happens very seldomly at the moment and she flicks them so very briefly and quickly that I have a hard tim catching it, but I captured a nice on at the end of the session and jackpotted her for it.

She is very easy to catch and halter in the big paddock now and follows me calmly to the arena, even when all the others take off at a gallop. And after our training sessions, she wants to stay with me! :-D


Thursday, 25 December 2008

It was the boys' turn again. While grooming them, I touched Dacio's "boy parts", and he didn't really like it, but agreed to stand still for me when I slightly growled at him. He is a real pleasure, showing such nice carriage. Taught him forehead into my hand today as well. Then we walked a few circles on the short lead, lovely bend. I asked for a few walk-trot-walk transitions: buttersoft and very calm and relaxed! Chris got on and we did the same under saddle. No problem at all. While Chris saddled Ron, I got s small board and asked Dacio to step on it. Then got my "invisible lead" untangled and asked him with that. And, bingo. he manoeuvered both front feet up and on it and stood there quietly. :-D

Ron was fairly stiff today and had trouble bending to the inside again. But he managed to give us some good tries in the end. Chris could feel a bit of tension in him while she was riding him. He still wanted to stay in my pocket all the time, but finally managed to move a bit away from me and out on a small circle. As he wasn't completely at ease, we decided not to try to trot him with rider yet, needs a bit more preparatory work.


Friday, 26 December 2008

Carlotta: more work on taking the bit on herself. She actually started reaching a bit for it when I presented it in front of her. Takes it very quietly, but still chomps a lot while wearing it. Introduced her to the saddle (an old Wintec from Chris). Her reaction: so what?! So I worked her à la PK with saddle and bridle on. She tried to evade a couple of times, but all in all stayed with me very softly, lovely inside bendand already started moving her shoulder softly out of the way when I walked a bit into her space. Her ears stayed forward almost the whole time. Then did a bit of trotting (again, she offered a lot of corto and trocha).

Then took everything off. The old rusty buckle of the girth locked up and I couldn't free it, so it was a horrible fumble to pull the strap through the tight gap. Took me a good 5 minutes, but Carlotta stood rock-solid. Wow!

Then we played a bit at liberty, and promptly her ears flew back and she made a sour face, but she stayed close to me and was in a good inside bend. I experimented with breathing out myself to help her bring her ears forward, as well as gently placing my hand on her withers, bringing my energy down, and got some flicks forward. We stopped in a corner and I clicked her each ear forward. Soon she had both pointing at me! :-D It was more difficult for her to do it at the walk, but I got a few good stop-walk transitions with ears going forward, so called it a day.


Sunday, 28 December 2008 Images for 28 December 2008

Bit more longeing with Dacio, I am always amazed how softly he bends. Lovely! Chris did quite some trotting on him in both directions which went fine. After the ride, we started with the Pose (my hand behind his chin) and he started to get the idea. Also cheek and forehead into my palm.

Ron's turn, he was a bit uptight to start with, but settled well enough that Chris spontaneously asked for a few steps of trot. He coped really well and went into it softly and calmly.

And here is my incredible Christmas surprise: Chris gave me Dacio as a "Christmas pressie"! Just couldn't believe it.


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Monday, 29 December 2008 Images for 29 December 2008

Ron was on first and, as usual, he had big trouble with softening to the inside. So Chris gave him a lesson from the ground. He started all antsy and stiff, but quickly gave his jaw and bent his body around her, after she had broken things down into small steps for him, i.e.: - can you give with your jaw? - can youmove your hip? - can you walk off with your jaw bent and giving of your hip?


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Then she got back into the saddle and things were a lot better. At one stage Ron had a mini panic attack and did a few jumps forward. He hesistated whether to panic more or settle down, then chose to stop. My click rewarded him immediately.

Practised taking the bit with Dacio. Last time he was pretty reluctant about it and kept his teet clamped and tried to turn his head away. So I was very pleased when today he started to lower his mouth towards the bit and opened it. After a few tries, he picked it up between his teeth. Jackpot!

Dacio was a little tense, too, today, undoubtedly due to the cold and the wind. At one stage, I tripped over a root on the ground and stumbled towards him. He got a fright, but settled down right away. From then onward, Chris jokingly draw my attention to each root on the ground *g*. Dacio was a bit grumpy at times and tensed up, but always came back to us and softened nicely into inward bend. He is really incredible, soo soft and responsive.

We practised going close to the arena rails, which was still a bit of a problem, but improved a lot through the session, and Chris carried the whip for the first time. He was a bit suspicious about changeing it when changeing sides, but settled into it.

After work, I did a bit more getting him used to the Pose and he picked it up really well. He must have thought about it overnight! Chris was teasing me because of all the attention and extra-treats Dacio got, "now he is mine"... ;-)


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And teaching him "cheek in hand" and "forehead in hand" was a piece of cake as well.


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Started Scarlett's and Nattfari's son Allsvin (aka Hagar the Terrible) with targeting, then worked on self-haltering. That little smart cookie got it within one session, walked straight up to me and shoved his nose into the halter!!

Had just saddled Carlotta to give her a lesson when Chris called that the Rieblings had arrived with their mare for breeding. So did only 10 minutes of WWYLM. She still pulled very ugly faces, but offered quite a lot of forward ear flicks which I could CT. Once unsaddles, she, as usual wanted to stay with me, so I asked for WWYLM at liberty. Carlotta was a bit puzzled, as my arms and hands were full with saddle and gear, so my cues very not the usual ones, but she figures it out! :-D


Wednesday, 31 December 2008 Images for 31 December 2008

Dacio wasn't very happy to start with and pulled some faces, but soon decided to cooperate and gave us some nice bends and trots and transitions. Responded well to rein and leg. I did a bit more Pose with him, becoming pretty subtle by now.

While she was saddling Ron, I asked for a few "forhead in hand" and withheld the click because he had his ears a bit back. He got so grumpy about it that he gave my arm a shove with his head to which I had a reflex response (slap on his jaw with my flat hand). His eyes almost popped out but after that, he was a lot more patient and polite.

Ron was back to "stiff" mode, so got so more of the groundwork and finally become more supple. While they were working, I sat on top of the arena rail, a bit mistrustingly watched by Ron from the corner of his eye. At the end, they came over and he approached me and got CT'd. He even managed to put his forehead into my downreaching hand, despite the strange angle!

Chris got on and he tried to react to every little thing by jumping. Chris finally got enough and decided to simply ignore it, and this, of course, made him change attitude and he became a lot calmer. She started to put on leg and rein which he accepted well. Started to move out some and was less sticky.

Then gave Allsvin his first floating lesson, which was very fast and completely uneventful. After that, deepended the self-haltering, and of course he started the inevitable "treat bag checking", so good opportunity to work on this as well. He was extremely fast to get the idea of turning his head away when I stayed passive. Then we did a bit of feeding in the right place (Tai Chi to make him step back), and he caught to that like a duck to water as well.


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Friday, 2 January 2009

It still was unusually cold and the horses were visibly very uncomfortable, with their hair standing up. Accordingly the work session was a bit disturbed! Dacio tried to do a lot of "shoulder-in", i.e. doing outward bend and trying to glue his shoulder on me! He did follow Chris' instructions to move out and bend correctly again, but she had to ask during the whole session. He tried to rush and wasn't very well focussed. Chris practised some walk-stop transitions, but it was pretty difficult and he often needed 5 or 6 steps, before he came to a stop, and the head was often up in the rafters. So we waited for one single good one (3 steps), and quit.

But his Pose was really nice. Still a bit of twisting his lips towards my hand from time to time, but nice wither lift and we started working on using me tucking my chin in as a cue.

Ron was even worse, all stiff. Took me quite a while to get him to give to the inside on the longe line, but we managed in the end. He looked so tense that Chris decided to just sit on him briefly - he was like back to Kindy. So we refrained to a couple of rounds at the walk in both directions and then ended the session. Was just no use.

In the afternoon, Melanie (Chris' sister) visited with her family, and of course we went out for a ride. Boy, that was fun. I had Flamenca (who else?!), Chris rode Darah and Melanie Carlos. Darah, after a couple of Arab moments, settled nicely and Chris showed off with the stuff I taught Darah, like turns on haunches, sidepasses etc. She even got her to gait a bit! Melanie is new to gaited horses, she had only ridden one years ago. But she took to it like a duck to water, just a few explanations and she and Carlos gaited along in the most wonderful, relaxed way. I think she is getting addicted! *g*. I was so pleased to see this (lovely to see a good rider), and he was visibly very happy with his rider. Of course, I was very proud to get her compliments about my wonderful horse and how well I had trained him *broad smile*


Saturday, 3 January 2009 Images for 3 January 2009

Reasonably warm and sunny this morning, so we hoped for some happier cooperation. And we got it! I started by playing with Dacio on the ground and asked for PK-like walking with me with inward bend, he was brilliant, also followed my hand with rein against his neck and moved over to the outside. I could make my cue smaller and smaller and he still followed softly. Wow!


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Then I fed out the longe line and he continued in the same soft bend and even at the trot! It felt like heaven. So we did it at liberty, and same result. He just stayd on the "invisible lead" all the time and was perfectly focussed. What a wonderful horse!

Chris got on and he was just so good, immediately overcame his light anxiety and followed her instructions to make the circle biggern, then we walked along the sides of the arena, first with me close-by, then further away. Walk and trot, all nice and forward, and really good stops, this time it took him only a step and a half and he engaged his hind end perfectly.

Ron was also willing. Chris gave him a refreshment on bending, and bingo, now he can do it at the trot as well. Under saddle, there was still a bit of underlying tension when trotting, and Chris had to make sure to stay as immobile as she could (he has a pretty bouncy trot, she says), and gradually Ron got the idea that this is nothing to worry about.

To finish, we got Dominguero out. He hasn't been ridden for a long time, a year, I think, but we wanted to make photos for the for sale page. Chris started with longeing, then got on while I held the longe line. He was a bit "stuck" at first, but worked through it and went forward nicely. We unclipped him and Chris rode him a bit while I took pictures. All well, he doesn't have a mean bone in his body! Chris suggested I give him a few treats during the process, and so I did, combined with a click, of course. He got the idea like a flash of lightning. Chris said that he should be clicker-started by the time she had finished unsaddling him, and yes, she was right! In less than a dozen clicks, Dominguero had made the connection about targeting and even polite table manners! What a clever boy!


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Sunday, 4 January 2009 Images for 4 January 2009

Dacios's first time off the longe line. He coped like a pro.


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Ron also did well. He still a bit tight, but by next time he might be ready to be unhooked too.

Flamenca and Carlos got a little outing. We walked along the road, so Carlos could become familiar with lots of "monsters". He wasn't bothered by an enormous silo, transported on the road, but a chalk mark on the ground was very suspicious to him!


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His corto is becoming really lovely, he can hold it very easily by now.


Monday, 5 January 2009

Dave had announced that he would bring the first lot of hay today, so couldn't leave the property. But finally, in the afternoon (all hot and sweaty from unloading) I played a bit with Carlotta. We repeated our repertoire, after I had saddled her and worked on refinement. She is reading my body language pretty well by now, I can for example "walk through" her with a little turn of my hip and she mirrors me by moving her shoulders away from me. Today we even introduced this in bend and with her front legs crossing.

Then I took all the gear off and we did a bit of liberty. She is becoming a lot better with her sour faces and ears back. It still happens, but she is offering a lot of ears forward by now. And less black wrinkles around mouth and eyes! :-D

We did a bit of trotting as well. She still offers trocha most of the time.

She was a bit grumpy about having to lower her head, flex her jaw and back, but nothing too strong and she pretty quickly agreed to give it a try.

I experimented with how "passive" I can become. She has a tendency to creep forward a bit after being clicked and treated, i.e. anticipates to walk off. So I stay very immobile and just wait. She immediately stops and turns her head, to see what I want. I still wait... and bingo, she steps back a step to be back at my side! :-D


Tuesday, 6 January 2009

More riding on the longe line for Ron. He was still a bit tense, but settling well after a while. But not ready for going off the line yet.

Dacio was nice and responsive. Chris asked for quite some trotting, changes of direction etc. Then we brought Flamenca in. Dacio was all suspicious about it, but followed Chris' suggestion to go closeer and stand nearby. Then we walked around for a few rounds, all fine.

Marisol in for hoof trimming. She was quite reluctant about having her right hind foot done, but finally we sorted things out. Then got her used to the breeding hobbles (before she leaves for Len's and Sue's place). Took a little while, but she was fairly sensible about the whole thing. I had started her with CT while we did the feet and she took to it very easily. Got it all covered, including manners, and it did help a lot for the trimming and then the hobbling.


Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Ron visibly had a pain issue today. He was fine while longed and even gave up his favoured upside-down position for the first time on longer stretches and kept his head and neck nicely in position. But as soon as Chris got on, he stiffened and became very wiggly and tense. Chris waited for one softer moment, then dismounted and checked his body. She found a sore spot behind the scapula on the right side. So he will get a week or two off and then we will have him checked by the vet, should it not be gone by then.

Dacio was great again. A bit of longeing, then we brought Flamenca in, and Chris rode Dacio all around the arena, behind her, in front, overtaking, going in opposite direction etc. He did everything very well, so ready for taking them outside now.

Short session with Marisol. Chris put the hobbles on and very quickly she could lead her around quietly again. CT helped, of course. Marisol has a little issue with her right hind leg, but getting better. I will try to work on it a bit before she leaves.


Friday, 9 January 2009 Images for 9 January 2009

Samba has foaled in the early morning - not really what we ordered, because it has got outdoor plumbing *sigh*. Apart from that, really lovely colt, perfect Compay clone, with lovely shoulder, great topline and incredible bone!


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More riding around in the arena with Dacio and Flamenca. I had watched the "catch the saddle" DVD and have quickly tried out the coming to the MB. Could only do a few repetitions. Will follow-up when he is home with me. Then we rode out of the open gate and a bit around the property, on the sections he knows already. He was completely cool bananas and all relaxed.

Then brought Reina and Armando in and Chris gave him a lesson on haltering and leading. We were surprised that he didn't do any explosion, but worked things out very quietly!

Finally I worked a bit more with Marisol. Took her into the arena and practised coming to the hand target and giving feet on light touch of her leg. She started off all upset about me wanting her right hind hoof, but settled down and was eager to perform for CT. It went so well that I unhooked her from the line and did it at liberty. She got to a stage where she very willingly picked up every foot for me. No kicking, pulling or jerking anymore. And it was very easy to get her to come to me from quite a distance. She followed my all around.


Saturday, 10 January 2009

Brought all youngsters into the arena and got them all started, taking one by one into the smaller part.

Bluey: she is pretty shy and doesn't want to be caught and haltered happily, so I just stood there and waited for her to turn her head a bit into my direction. She twisted her head desperately to the other side, pretending not to see me, but suddenly I got a tiny shift towards me, and this evolved into consistently looking at me, then targeting my hand, then coming and doing the targeting at liberty. I then stood at her side, touched her, gave her rubs and CT's for each try to be "with me". Called it a day when I could normally walk up to her and she started lowering her nose into the halter.

Eladia: she was quite happy to let me come close and halter her, so we did some HQ yields, leading, backing, rubbing all over. Also getting her used to the dressage whip and starting to longe on a small circle at the walk. She got so caught to the game that I could hardly get rid of her *g*

Carlotta: saddled and bridled her and repeated our usual exericses. She was quite chompy on the bit today and a bit wound up and pushy and tail-swishy at times. So I ended the session with some liberty work. Walking and trotting and standing at my side calmly. Then introduced her shifting her weight back and eventually step back a step when I did the same at her side. Got some lovely beginnings. She is becoming pretty good about her facial expressions and ears now.

Molly: didn't feel like doing much more, but poor Molly wanted to do something as well, so introduced her to targeting for 10 minutes or so. She got it quickly, but there was a lot of nuzlling and trying to push me, so we worked on stepping back for the treat, and then standing with her head straight and being polite when taking food. She experimented a bit with HL, stepping back etc. Was quite nice towards the end, but will need a bit of polishing.

Once the gear was put away, I walked down the paddock to see what Bluey thought of being approached and touched(impossible in the big open before!). She started wandering off a bit (Lady and the youngsters coming from behind, which didn't help really), but then stopped and looked at me. She got a CT, then I asked her to target my hand, she had to step forward two steps for this - and she did. Then the "thread broke" and she wandered off. No worries, so I went home...

Marisol in the afternoon: another session of haltering and giving feet. Did it at liberty, then tied, all fine, she picks up the required foot now when I just stroke along the leg. Worked on duration and bringing the hind feet backwards. Also a few TTouch leg circles. At one stage, she started walking away in a small circle when I touched her croup, so I just stayed with her and kept my hand on her until she stopped. Problem solved!


Sunday, 11 January 2009

Dacio and Flamenca got saddled at the tying rail and Chris got up right there. No problems! We rode around in the parts of the property that he knows already. Worked very well. He stayed all nice and relaxed.


Monday, 12 January 2009

Today we went around the whole property and Chris added a bit of pacapaca. Finally headed down the driveway and Dacio had a look and sniff at the tarmac road outside the gate, then quietly set his foot on it. We rode the small distance to Browns Road, then turned around and home. All well! :-D


Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Very hot already early in the morning - summer is definitely here now! Windy at the same time, so we expected some interesting moments. Was Dacio's first outing into the big, wide world, i.e. the short ride for beginners (about 20 minutes). He had an interested look at a broken branch with rattling leaves in the middle of the road, but walked by, then another one came sliding towards him in the wind, no big deal either.

Flamenca, for God-knows-what-reason, was all grumpy, chomping on the bit, not wanting to go forward etc. So, halfway, at the cattle yards, Chris got down, replaced the saddle which had slipped forward, and checked her mouth, but couldn't detect anything. I suggested she gets on and rides her to see whether she can find some cause and she laughed and said: all you want is get on your Dacio and ride him, right?! Right!!! ;-)

He was a bit puzlled by the new rider feeling a bit different on his back, but coped perfectly and was nice and calm and responsive. I got down again after 10 minutes and let Chris finish the ride on him. So lovely to have been able to try him, even briefly.


Wednesday, 14 January 2009 Images for 14 January 2009

Because of the heat, we saddled Flamenca and Dacio early, to ride him over to our place. He was as relaxed and gentle as usual, coped perfectly with all the new trails. Arrived at home, we tied Flamenca to a tree and unsaddled Dacio.


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I had tucked the horses away in the arena, apart from Molly who was free in the west paddock. She greeted Dacio, then he said hello to all the others girls. A few hourse later, I turned them all loose in the big north-west paddock. Bluey, Eladia and Carlotta were a bit shitty and chased him away, so he stayed with Pebbles, who accepted his company quite happily. I could see he felt a bit lost and forlorn, but settled in quickly. So sweet that he comes to see me each time I show up in the paddock, and likes to stay at my side and get some scritchies. A very sweet-natures young gentleman.

Greg took me over to Narrawin by car, and Chris rode Flamenca back, accompanied by Vito who had sneaked behind and followed us. It was beautiful to see them arrive along the driveway in a flying show paso llano, Flamenca all nostrils and steam and Chris sitting there nonchalantly ;-)


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As Chris said: she is a real show-off horse!


Saturday, 17 January 2009

Dacio has settled in quite nicely. Molly is his special friend at the moment, and they spend time grooming each other. Fairly cool today, so I thought it was a good day to see whether the StarTrekk Espanola fits him - it does! :-D Also put a bridle with double-broken snaffle on him and took him to the arena to do a bit of refreshment groundwork.

We practised "capture the saddle", with the prep work, i.e. walking from cone to cone, then stop, hindquarter yield and backing from each side. He got this very quickly, so I took him to the mounting block (my big pedestal) and repeated. He was a little bit puzzled, but managed really quickly. After about 10 minutes of practising, no need anymore to swing his hips around, as soon as I touched the rein, he came forward then stood still. He even started to move a bit towards my outheld hands with the saddle. Bingo!


Sunday, 18 January 2009

Walked up to Dacio in the paddock and haltered him. So nice how he can approached anytime now. We went into the yard and I saddled him, while Greg was fumbling around with the watering can and garden tools nearby. Then we practised self-haltering. Some nice progress, he reaches for the bit himself now, opens his mouth and takes it.

In the arena, we did a few laps on in-hand work (PK), he is butter-soft, just lovely. Then I tried to walk him in a straight line along the rail, but that became too much for him after a few steps, so will have to break this one down. I introduced him to standing on the samll wooden board, which he got very quickly. Then front feet in tyre, which worked after a few tries as well, even both feet! Then a beginning of sideways over a cone. We stopped at one good step, will pick that up later again.

Did some more capture the saddle, I can now walk him almost all the way without holding the reins, he follows me and lines up very well. We had to do only one or two HQ yields in the process. This is starting to look really nice. When I hold out my hands, I can see him think, then move his body a bit towards me!

Then I turned him loose. The neighbour's kids had started roaring around on their motorbikes and Dacio was a bit alert. While I was walking towards the fence to drop off the bridle, he got startled by something and took off at a galop, stirrups flapping madly at his sides, then a flying paso llano around the whole arena. After one round, he looked at me, I snipped my fingers and he came to a stop in front of me. Good boy! BTW, he looked gorgeous in motion!

We did the new exercises again at liberty, and he was great with them. Back to the yard, I unsaddled him then got a bucket of water and a sponge and started to wash his face and neck and bum, then put some Malaseb shampoo on the little rubbed spots. He was really good about it, just a little bit of wiggling, that was all. I think I can introduce him to the hose next time.


Monday, 19 January 2009

We brought Dominguero in today and worked on attention (on the trainer, instead of focussing on the other stallions and mares), then a bit of longeing. When I got giddy, Chris took over and worked on inside bend on a small circle on both hands. Looked lovely towards the end. Then she got up and we kept him on the longe line for a few laps, but then unhooked him and Chris rode him around, establishing some more inward bend work, making circles bigger in bend, backing up softly etc. Worked nicely, once he had decided to pay attention and cooperate.


Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Terribly hot again today, so I only played a bit with Dacio. More front feet in tyre and on the mini mat and a bit of sideways over a cone. This time, he had understood what it was about and delibertately stepped sideways over it. After a while, he even did it at liberty. Also more capture the saddle. I have hardly to touch the rein anymore to ask him to walk with me towards the MB, then I get up there with energy and he follows me and lines up immediately. Today I needed only ore HQ yield correction during the whole session (about a dozen line-ups all in all). He has now worked out what holding out my hands means and deliberately moves the saddle towards them! Bingo!

We went for a little walk to the forest, in company of Tony. Played a few of the games, like walking at my side in correct position, backing up a step when he didn't stop in time with me, staying well focussed on me. We saw some "monsters", like neighbours barking and jumping dogs, the dismantled water tank, letter boxes, road signs etc, but it left him all unflappable. He was a little bit faster on the way home, so we worked more on stopping and rating speed. Very nice for a first time.


Tuesday, 20 January 2009

A little less heat today, so lots of youngsters got worked.

Dacio first. I saddled and bridled him at liberty, he stood really still and waited for his CTs. Bit more capture the saddle, he is becoming really good with this! Sideways over cone and feet into tyre at liberty as well, then I showed him the pedestal. He thought about it a bit, then lifted a hoof and touched the top. Very short time after he went up with both feet! What a smartie!

Molly: still very mouthy, but it was only her second session, after all! We worked on "grown up", i.e. I asked her to stand patiently at the end of the lead rope then at my side. _Very_ hard for her as she wants to be in my pocket all the time. Paid very close attention to food delivery, and we finally got some consistent turning away of her head or stepping back a step. So we started a bit of longeing (after introducing her to the whip) which was pretty confusing to her in the beginning, but soon she had figured out that a step forward upon a verbal cue (walk on) and a tap on her croup would earn her a CT. Very soon she walked around with me at her shoulder, so I asked for a couple of stops as well, then let her go.

Bluey: I had herded her into the small yard, together with Carlotta. Was very easy to have her target my hand by now, she apparently had thought about it in the meantime. Haltering went nicely, no reserves from her side. She even started lowering her nose into the loop of the halter! Asked her tp target my palm with her cheek which she got pretty quickly, then same for her forehead into my hand.

Eladia: she was very interested what would be on today's menu, so I showed her the longeing girth. Did a bit of flapping all over her back and legs with the pad, then put the girth on. A few steps forward which went fine, so I closed the buckle and longed her a bit with it. No problems at all. Walk on and whoa worked fine.

Carlotta was the last one of the day. I saddled her at liberty as well, then put the bridle on. She was a bit suspicious as it was a different one, i.e. double-broken snaffle with rubber rings on the sides, but she got used to it quickly. Bit of Pose, then longeing at liberty. Her ears are in neutral position or forward almost all the time by now, she looks a lot more friendly! :-D

A few PK exercises, which went well, then I turned her loose again. Suddenly she wandered off to the far end of the arena and when I called her, she came back at the canter. Then suddenly realised that she had the saddle on her back and started a little rodeo, but finally came back to me and stopped at my side. I shoed her the tyre, but she wasn't too interested. So we did a bit more walking together in WWYLM and we practised synchronized stops and backing when I stepped backwards. Nice!

At the end, I went to see everybody in the paddock to test the waters. They all came and wanted attention and CTs. Poor Dacio got chased away repeatedly by Bluey who had decided that I was _her_ human now and she was the only one allowed to come close and get her scritchies and goody! What a change after only two sessions! But I managed to go from one to the next and give them all some attention.


Friday, 23 January 2009

Dacio: some more Pose, WWYLM at liberty (he has a tendency to drift away when working on the right hand), saddling and bridling at liberty, standing on pedestal and in typre, as well as sideways over the cone. Chris, a neighbour, drove past and stopped and I invited her to watch the session which she really liked. Dacio did really well for the capture the saddle, he is positioning himself so very nicely now, corrects himself when not exactly right. Just so lovely!

Eladia: she sneaked into the arena and wanted to play as well, so I showed Chris how we start a young horse. More whip work, then put pad and girth on and asked for walk and a bit of trotting on the circle. Then wanted to show Chris how to start a new task, so asked Eladia to put her front feet into the tyre. She got it within minutes and while we were chatting and ignoring her for a moment, she very deliberately slammed her front feet into the tyre and looked at us!! We burst into laughter and gave her her CT.


Saturday, 24 January 2009

Carlotta: I saddled her, then asked for a few of the known stuff. She had her ears back quite a lot today, but gave me some lovely WWYLM at liberty in the end. Introduced her to capture the saddle: leading her from cone to cone, with HQ yield, backing on both sides and walking off to the next cone, then went to the MB a couple of times. Nice beginnings!

Bluey: this time I could walk up to her and halter her in the paddock. Did a big of beginning of longeing (small circle), then introduced her to the pad which was uneventul, then to the longeing girth. No problems either. A bit of longeing with it and end of session.

Molly: she is still pretty mouthy and can't keep her lips away from me consistently. We are working on it... Showed and sacked her out with the pad as well. She was more worried about it and kept backing for a while before settling in to a standstill. Finally she was OK, so on came the girth as well. Longed her a few laps, then finished.

Eladia insisted on doing something too, so allowed her in, did a bit of leongeing, then showed her the saddle and saddled her. A few laps of longeing at walk, then a bit of trotting. Fine!


Sunday, 25 January 2009

Hot again, so we just had the energy for Dominguero. Bit of longeing, then Chris on board and another few laps on the longe line. Then hooked him off and she practised soft inward bend, lots of stop-trot-stop transitions, which he was a bit sticky with today, but went fine in the end. She also rode a lot of serpentines and figure 8s and small circles. Very nice and responsive. To finish with, she rode him a bit around the property and to the tying rail. He acted up a few times and whinnied, but stayed responsive to her all the time. When Chris led him back to his paddoc, he got stuck and had lost "forward". After some energetic convincing, it suddenly worked again...

Afternoon: more work with "my" lot. Dacio: saddle and bridle on (at liberty again), bit of longeing and free-longeing, Pose, front feet on pedestal and other liberty stuff, capture the saddle which is becoming really good by now. Then asked him to walk at my side while staying straight (which worried him a little bit, especially to the right), then stopped and backed a step and, after a bit of thinking he backed up as well!

Molly: she insisted that she wanted to work too, so brought her in, refreshed longeing (walk and trot, right side is still a bit in need of improvement), stopping, backing, polite food taking (which becomes a lot better), then put pad and girth on, longed a few steps. Finally showed her the saddle and put it on, longed a bit again. Then asked her sidewyays over a cone and got a nice beginning. And a good try for front foot into tyre.

Bluey: good to catch and halter again. Same work as Molly, so all of them wear the saddle now and can do at least some rudimentary longeing. When I showed her the sideways over a cone and the typre, she was a tad stuck, but got some idea about it already.

Eladia: couldn't get rid of her either, so did a bit of work again. She longes nicely already. Front foot into tyre as well, which stayed at a very early stage, then the cone, but she was completely blocked, so maybe next time. She is nice and soft to work with and very friendly, like all the others. Looks like I just can't get them off my back pocket anymore, they are soo eager to play!


Monday, 26 January 2009 Images for 26 January 2009

Another session for Dominguero. This time we brought Flamenca in as well to get him used to having another ridden horse around. Big new experience for him, and extra challenges via the stallions who were in the yards nearby. But he coped really well and was responsive to Chris at any time. We started by her riding him inside the arena and me and Flamenca outside, gradually coming closer and closer. Then we switched, and I was inside and Chris took the outside track. Finally, I tied Flamenca up and walked along while Chris rode Dominguero back to the tying rail.

We then picked up Flamenca and I said: how about riding your mare back, you somehow never have a chance to ride her. And Chris said that she had exactly the same idea. So on she hopped and it turned into a fun display of showing off canter pirouettes, zigzag leg yields, terre à terres, piaffes etc. What a show-off horse! And when, after all that stomping and jumping, nostrils wide and mane flying, Chris gave the stop signal, Flamenca immediately dropped her energy down to zero and walked back to the rail, chin in the sand and eyes sleepy. Too funny!


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Did kick myself and went out and worked a bit with Dacio. The usual saddling and bridling at liberty, then a bit of playing around with tyre, pedestal, cone, free-longeing and capture the saddle. He is so eager on this one now that he tries to offer lining up to me even on the ground. And he also tries this while longeing, so we worked a bit on sending him out a bit more at a distance and moving his bum away from me. Practised walking quietly along my side. Each time he lost it and shot forward too much, I stopped dead and went into neutral. He stopped, looked at me and tried to figure out how to get back to my side. Quite funny really. I also introduced the Pose while I am in neutral position and he is getting the idea now. When I turned him loose in the paddock, he didn't want to go and even stood his ground against the pushy girls! Finally had to shoo him away, because I wanted to get Carlotta. On my way to her, I stopped with Bluey, asked her to target my hand and then pretended I wanted to halter her. She stood very still for me.

Saddled Carlotta, but no bridle today, and we played a bit at liberty, with all the toys and then longeing at liberty. She did her grumpy ear stuff again, so each time she didn't bring them forward after a short while, I stopped and gave her a mental mini time-out. Made her really think! She is becoming really good at stopping at my side and then backing a step when I do (Dacio still has a tendency to move a bit into me when backing, so my ankles are a bit at risk). On the contrary, she also has a tendency to creep on me while longeing, so I put the rope on and asked her to swing her bum out. Grumpy tail swishing, but she did it! Bit more capture the saddle. Today she was happy with the cone to cone then swinging her bum and backing a step from each side, becoming really nice and fluid, so we continued with the MB. After three HQ yields close to it, she suddenly offered to step forward and line herself up and I could catch the saddle. Jackpot and end of session.


Tuesday, 27 January 2009 Images for 27 January 2009

Another little ride for Dominguero. Chris got on directly at the rail this time and he started off a bit wiggly. His "second brain" was on most of the time, as he had spent the night with a mare (Melody) in a close-by paddock where she stayed, waiting to be picked up, and this had apparently made all his stallion hormones rebellious. He acted up several times, whinnied, tried to hop or escape, but of course didn't stand a chance against Chris and had to give in and obey in the end. I made sure to keep out of the way with Flamenca and once he had settled down, he was allowed to go back into his paddock.


Saturday, 31 January 2009

Terrible heat wave over the last few days, so no horsie playing. Today, bit of a "cool change", only 35°C, so couldn't resist and went out. Saddled Dacio and held out the bridle. I couldn't stop laughing (inside of course), as he turned his head away and stared into the other direction, pretending not to see it. Clicked for each turn of his head into my direction, and he finally touched the bit with his lips. I got a bit impatient and held his head, so he opened his mouth and took it. Did a bit of liberty fun, tyre, pedestal, cone, walking at my side and stopping and backing. He still tries to come a bit sideways towards me when back together with me, so we worked on straight backwards today. He is still pretty anxious when working on the right hand, so we just did it a bit from time to time, then switched back to left hand. Then some PK, soulder-in in hand, then walking in a straight line along the fence. Got a bit of progress here. I can straighten him out pretty well via the "hotwalker", but he still isn't very comfy with it and tends to rush forward. More work in perspective...

CTS is really good, he lines up so beautifully. Walking and trotting at liberty: we worked on him staying away from me and not creeping onto me, quite some improvement here.

It was becoming rather hot by then, but Eladia had been waiting so patiently by the gate, so I let her in. Very elegant change: she came in while Dacio walked out (reluctantly, he stayed there all the time and hoped I would let him in again!). Saddled her at liberty for the first time, she was very slightly worried, but stood rock-solid. When I unsaddled her, the girth slipped from my hand and banged against her front leg, but she stood there and didn't move! First session in bridling.

She was worried about walking with me at liberty, so I put her back on the lead rope. She definitely is a Cali daughter, those ears tell! I laughed at her when she flattened them during longeing and said that her face was the spitting image of her half-sister Calotta! So we practised a bit of clicking for ears forward. Unfortunately I missed one very distinctive "one ear forward" (just chased a fly and didn't look in time), which set us back a bit. So we practised putting her forehead into my hand. This was new, but we are well on our way already.


Sunday, 1 February 2009

Cooler today, so started with Bluey: she was perfect to catch and halter again. In the arena, saddler her at liberty and started working on longeing. She was very insecure about walking forward, but we got some nice steps in the end. Played a few fun games, like introducing her to front foot into tyre, which she got very quickly, one foot on pedestal which happens fast as well and standing on mat. She wasn't sure about that one and missed the board all the time, so we manoeuvered back and forth, first on the lead rope then only with my body, and she finally hit the board. Bingo! Then did the beginnings of capture the saddle, i.e. the prep work from cone to cone with HQ yield and backing. Worked quite well in the end.

Eladia insisted on coming in, so I finally gave in and we played a bit. She was all grumpy ears again, so we worked on this. Forehead into my hand which she gradually got the idea of, then walking and trying to bring one ear a bit forward. Will take lots more work. Longeing was good (apart from the ear thing). Bit of beginning of Pose as well . When she was outside, Dacio wanted to come in, but Eladia didn't move an inch. So I asked her forehead into hand and Pose over the fence.

Saddled Dacio and we played a bit at liberty, after one or two CTS's. We still has a tendency to glue himself against me when insecure, so we worked on finesse when doing WWYLM. First with halter and rope and it was lovely to see how my intentions flew into his body and he responded. He tried very hard to stay calm and focussed and parts of it were just great. Then the same at liberty, worked well too. Bit more playing with standing in tyre, sideways over cone and stepping on pedestal. He is a bit confused about it and always heads for CTS and then can't sort it out when I am not standing where I am supposed to (i.e. on the pedestal instead of the ground!) and does figures 8s with his body, trying to sort things out. Hard not to laugh!

Bit more Pose work with growns ups hand position as cue. Love it! He is happy with me touching and rubbing him all over now. When I took the gear back to the exit, I had two blackies following me closely and not wanting to let me go...


Monday, 2 February 2009

Molly: I had neglected her for a little while, so she was more than happy to come with me and do something. Saddled her at liberty as well. She started moving backwards a bit when I put the girth up, like she had a tendency to do before, but I just held onto the strap until she stopped, then CT and let go. Soon she stood very still. Taking treats is good now, with a little try to nuzzle from time to time. Also asked her to rock back for taking it. Then longed her a bit in both directions which was heaps better than last time. Walk and trot and stop. She moves freely and stops promptly. Perfect.

Bluey: The March flies of bot flies or whatever it is are horrible at the moment, always of several of them buzzing around us. Bluey seems pretty unflappable about it, just an occasional little annoyed cowkick when they get too sticky. Saddled her at liberty. She started moving off once or twice (the flies, I guess), so put her back on the leadrope and CT's for standing still which she did nicely. Bit of longeing. She is still very sluggish but starts to move around me more easily. I tried to activate her into a trot a couple of times and she showed pacapaca immediately. Then a bit of playing with tyre: she just tips one foot on it occasionally, but was more zoned out. Neighbour's kids very racing around on their motorbikes, which might have been the cause. Then tried the pedestal: same as for tyre, so I picked one front foot up and set it up there and clicked her. She'll need to chew a bit of that one. Mat: manoeuvering backward and forward and then she set one foot on it. Needs improvement. Forehead into my hand: did I try this with her? She did it, but fairly slowly and hesistantly. Tried one sideways over cone and was surprised that it worked, well sortof, think it was more an accident ;-)

Dacio: my Dazi had been waiting for his turn, so I allowed him in (originally wanted to give him a break). Saddling then more work on self-bridling, which makes ... slow ... progress. But it is good to hold the bridle up and wait for him to decide to touch and take it. Revisited all the toys and CTS, then free-longeing. There are some tiny occasional tendencies to come into me, but he is working on himself. Bit of Pose while I do grownups, which was a bit less good today. We walked along the fence, his big worry thing, and I stayed a bit ahead and we did only 3 or 4 steps at a time and I clicked him for staying relaxed. This needs a lot more work. Backing simultaneously with me at his side: he always starts with swinging sideways towards me and back before he settled into back straight, another thing to work on.

Eladia: I called her and she eagerly ran into the arena. Saddled her, then played with the tyre and the pedestal. Too funny: she tries to kneel on it! But after a few tries she stepped up with both front feet. More forehead into my hands. Ears are still back a lot, but she tries to bring them forward. Then longed her and her ears were flat back, as usual, and big black wrinkles! So I watched for slight ears forward and clicked. What is funny: each time she comes to a step, her ears fly forward. Expecting the treat maybe? Did some trots (pacapacas) as well. She stays away from me now, so don't have to worry about that bum anymore...

Carlotta was eager too, but by that time I was too hot and sweaty, weather became very muggy by mid-morning.


Thursday, 5 February 2009 Images for 5 February 2009

until Sunday, 15 February: Carola from Austria here for a visit and she, being a keen clicker and trick trainer, worked a lot with the various horses at our place. She played with Dacio, Carlotta, Bluey, Eladia, Molly and Melein and worked on targeting, self-bridling, hoola hoop, capture the saddle, WWYLM, washing and lying down, among many other things. Was lovely to watch a slightly different approach and get new ideas.


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Dacio: washing and lying down:


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Same for Carlotta, Bluey and Eladia:


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And, of course, we enjoyed some fun rides together:

 
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Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Carola has left, and after a bit of a break, I have refreshed the youngsters on being washed and lying down. Dacio was standing close to the gate on his own, so I took the opportunity to start with him. Hosed him down (he didn't flinch), then turned him loose in the paddock, but he didn't want to leave me, even an inch, so had to go outside, then he decided to lie down. I clicked and ran inside and gave him lots of treats. Clicked again for staying down, and he was happy to just lie there and eat his treats.

Took him out and wetted him again, and same game. Again, he was glued to me, so had to repeat. The third and fourth time I could stay inside and he, very quickly, dropped to the ground, very close to where I stood. I started showing a hand signal, just in case...

We then worked a bit on leading at liberty (straight line, then switching to WWYLM), me stopping and backing, and Dacio mirroring me. When I first did this on his left side, he got a fright and kicked out a bit, but settled into it quickly. He is becoming straighter now, but still a bit into me.

Also a bit of Pose. Lovely now when I stay in neutral position:


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Carlotta got a wash as well, then got too distracted by the others and did only lie down when I was too far away to reward her for it *sigh*

Bluey needed two or three quick sprayings before being really comfy with it again. Could capture her lying down several times. Eladia was good for the washing, apart from a bit of wiggling, but didn't lie down either in my presence.


Thursday, 19 February 2009

More washing for Carlotta and Dacio. Carlotta still didn't lie down when I was close enough to CT her, so I justed shouted "good girl". Not enough, I'm afraid... ;-)

Had the smart idea of CTing when Dacio started scratching the ground in preparation for lying down. I also gave a hand signal (lowering my hand with palm facing downwards), and, yes, within 3 clicks, I had established that he started scratching the ground on my hand signal. Duh! >:-/

Undid it in the following by just standing there with my back turned to him and waiting for him to lie down. Was very hesistant, needs more work.


Monday, 23 February 2009

Short session with Luna Dorada to remind her about haltering and being approaching by a human without loosing her hair in distress ;-)

Took Dacio out for a little forest walk (in hand). We practised WWYLM in a straight line from right and left side. This is starting to look really nice, he is graduall overcoming his worries and is now able to stay straight for longer and longer. I deliberately left the rope completely loose and my hand passive, so he could work it out on his own. Very pleasant!


Tuesday, 24 February 2009 Images for 24 February 2009

Luna remembered immediately today, so worked on targeting my hand from a distance, standing still when I touched her all over and wandered around her with my hand on her body. More self-haltering. I also moved with more energy around her and touched her a lot less carefully. All fine. Started with puttinbg her cheek and forehead into my hand.

Another walk in the forest with Dacio. It was all a feeling of "old hat" today, he still had a little spook once and looked around, especially when the dogs came barking and the horses down the road came towards the fence, but he stayed very focussed on me and was really good with WWYLM on long stretches. I deliberately allowed him to make it his choice when we wanted to "connect", and he did it almost all the time. We stopped somewhere in the middle and practised a bit of Pose and introduced HL. Boy, is he a fast learner: I iadvertantly clicked him once while he started to lower his head and (a bit anxiously) at the same time opened his lips and went towards my hand. And, of course, next time I gave the signal, he obediently grabbed at my hand ;-)

We undid it very quickly be using a different signal for head down, then, when it was gone again, switched back to hand on his poll. His nose almost touched the ground already. Home with more WWYLM. He mirrored my speed very carefully and was very good from both sides already.


Sunday, 8 March 2009

Retraining Indy (Intrepido, young PP stallion) to remind him that people are acutally fun and not scary. Bit of self-haltering, allowing me to approach, keeping his focus on me, etc. He immediately remembered, as well as his table manners.


Monday, 9 March 2009 Images for 9 March 2009

More Indy work, added towel rubbing and touching everywhere.


Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Indy is now self-haltering nicely. I touched his legs and feet (all at liberty), and after a bit of confusion, he picked up all 4 feet for me and stood quietly.

Took Dacio for a walk along Kleins Road. His WWYLM from both sides is really beautiful now. We did some HL on hand signal (above his poll, in the air). Started a bit with duration. Did some rating speed at the walk with shoulder-in at the same time, then while doing pacapaca. Lovely!

Back home, he didn't want to let me go, so I gave him a quick hosing, because I wanted to work on lying down on cue. Took him into the small yard and gave him my hand signal. Of course, he still thought that I wanted him to scratch the ground, so he did that. I just ignored it and waited.... and bingo, after some more fruitless scatchy tries, he folded his legs under himself and went down. Of course, I made a big fuss and gave him plenty of treats. Repeated my hand signal a few minutes later. More scratching... ignored it... and he folded his legs again. We repeated several times and he gave up scratching faster each time and lay down. One time, I clicked him while he was halfway down and he immediately froze in that position. Yeah, the click ends the behaviour! :-D

He looked like a hermit crab and I really had to hold myself back not to laugh out loud! I have the impression that he is on his way to understand what I want and that it doesn't not many repeats to get there.

In the afternoon, Chris and I gave Bluey and Eladia their first "ridden" lesson. Put the stocksaddles on them and took them to the arena. Bluey was her usual self of a foot-mover, but learned to control herself more and more during our pre-mounting routine. In the end she stood nicely for Chris while she got half-way up and leaned over the saddle. She has a very sensitive, little pussycat soul. Eladia is much braver, she kept her feet still almost all the time and the process was faster. Ended the session at the same stage.


Thursday, 12 March 2009

More work with Indy: haltering, accepting being touched all over, giving feet at liberty. He is getting really good and relaxed now.

Bluey and Eladia had both a grumpy day. Lots of feet moving for Bluey in the beginning, before she finally settled down. Chris leaned over and I asked for a few steps, which she did well and calmly. Eldadia had her ears flattened a lot, so started clicking for ears forward on the longe line. She did it, but always back to sour faces. When I asked for the first step forward with Chris leaning over her back she lost her balance, got a fright and jumped forward a few steps. For the next try, I asked her to rock her weight back and take a step backwards then asked forward again, making my cues _very_ low-key. She managed to take a step, then two and three and stay calm while doing so.


Friday, 13 March 2009

Final touch on Indy. He follows me all arund now, self-halters and gives all four feet very happily. So, this one should be OK now. This afternoon he will be moved into one of the big stallion paddocks. Will see over the next few days how he goes with being haltered and touched in there. We don't expect any problems.

Bluey and Eladia very good today. Bluey stood all the time, lovely self-controle. Chris ended up swinging her leg over and sitting down in the saddle (from both sides, of course). Eladia was friendlier today and cooperated well. She was still a bit worried about stepping forward with weight on her back, but did her best. She only got stuck once briefly, but got out of it via one step back, then forward again.


Monday, 16 March 2009

Rain threatening, so Chris didn't want to work with the fillies. I got Dacio out instead, and we played a bit in the arena. Refreshed everything (HL, CTS, WWYLM, backing) and fumbled with the hoola as well. He touched it several times and started to put his lips around, but due to the wet sand, conditions weren't ideal, as it got dirty. He also stepped inside and offerd to swing it around his front leg which I clicked. Walked along the long side of the arena at liberty in shoulder-in which isn't a problem any more, he can hold his straight line and looks comfortable and happy while doing so. Gave hand signal for lying down, but this isn't established yet, so he started scratching and I said "good" but didn't click. He picked up the bits of pellets on the ground, so I walked away. While I was working with Carlotta, hesuddenly lay down, so I shouted "good boy", clicked and ran there to feed him. He stayed happily down and ate his treats. Another try to give the hand signal only resulted in another try to scratch the ground. Will get back to it later....

Carlotta had been waiting all the time at the fence, watching us closely, so I let her in. She did her grumpy ear thing, so we worked on free-longeing with ears forward. Got a few. She was trying to barge into me a lot with her shoulder (apparently didn't remember well how to do it bent) and once lifted her hind end a bit in my direction, so she got a quick reminder that this isn't appropriate, and I put her on the lead to refresh flexing and inward bend. Things got a lot better, but she is visibly still a bit tense and confused. She showed a lot of trocha and corto again during the longeing.

Still very windy and a few showers, so the horses were rather uncomfortable, but Carlotta still wanted to play, so I did a quick reminder of pre-CTS then asked her along the pedestal with me on and asked for lining up of her saddle area to my hands. From time to time, we needed to go back to the HQ yields, but there was lovely progress and in the end, she offered several times to line up and position herself correctly. She still wasn't quite sure and had difficulties standing still, but we got a really good beginning there, and I could see that she has understood the concept and is working on it! :-D


Wednesday, 18 March 2009 Images for 18 March 2009

Sunny day, so a perfect opportunity to play again with Dacio. He was very creative with the hoola hop and managed to throw it around and bent it to one side to make it touch his ribs and started swinging it. He didn't quite manage to get it over his head, so I brought it over a couple of times and put it around his neck.


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Then we tried lying down on cue again. I had brought a bucket and sponge and wetted his back a bit, then gave the hand signal. A bit of scratching the ground, and down he went. He is getting the idea:


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CJ and Sue, who were building our horse shed, had a look from over there and were pretty impressed! :-D


Sunday, 5 April 2009

Over the last 4 or 5 days, we worked on longeing Bluey and Eladia with a rider. They are making nice progress, so today we took Eladia off the line at the end of the ride. Both can now walk and trot and stop and change directions and are light to the cues and have soft necks. Lovely!


Monday, 6 April 2009

Just very briefly, I took Dacio to the arena to refresh lying down on cue, as I had the impression that it wasn't very solid yet. Put a little bit of water on his back, than gave the cue. He scratched a bit, then folded his legs and lay down. Jackpot. Then I stepped back and lifted both hands when he got up. We repeated 5 times all in all, and he became very quick with his response. I was very pleased.

He still can't throw the hula hoop over his head, despite my attempts to help him, but it doesn't matter really, as long as he has fun :-D


Friday, 10 April 2009

Very short session with Dacio, as neighbour's gelding escaped again and stirred up the pot around my horses. Conclusion: you can't get lie-down with troublemakers around... ;-)

Anyway, we did have time to practise hula hoop a bit and for the first time, Dacio managed to throw it over his head, well sortof, as it landed between his ears. Of course, he got a big jackpot and praise. He managed to do it again a bit later.


Saturday, 11 April 2009

Another short session with hula. Dacio couldn't get it over his head today. Then we tried stepping on a lid with one front foot on the invisible lead. This puzzled him some, but he started figuriing it out. Then lying down again. don't need to wet his back anymore, the hand signal is enough for him to lie down. Worked really well again today.


Sunday, 12 April 2009 Images for 12 April 2009

Chris has saddled Ramirez and rode him around in the arena a bit. Amazing how well-mannered this stallion is, he hadn't been ridden in ages and was broken in very little really, but he just cooperated and walked and trotted nicely for her.


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Bluey off the longe line for the second time today. Then we brought Flaemenca in and rode them around a bit together. Worked perfectly well.


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Eladia, after being really good and cooperative yesterday, had got up with the wrong foot today and waa quite grumpy and jumpy, so Chris dismounted and sent her forward on the longe line. She still wasn't really happy after this, but a bit more relaxed and managed to do some walking with rider. We caled it a day.


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Finally Caruso's turn. As Chris pointed out he "needs some warming up before going well". Yep, je was a bit uptight and braced at times, but started to settle in. He reminds me quite a lot of Carlos in his early days under saddle ;-)


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Quick session with Dacio, working on putting his front hoof on the lid. This is still difficult for him, he bangs it, scratches, tries to pick it up etc. Not easy to find a clickable moment ;-) Lying down is becoming really easy for him now, so I let Carlotta in (she had been hanging over the fence eagerly for a while) and clicked both together. Carlotta practised picking up the hula and tried to throw it over her head, while Dacio, inflappable, lay down, waited, and stood up again.


Monday, 13 April 2009

Bluey and Eladia outside the arena for the first time, they accompanied Flamenca on a little tour to the tying rail and back. Went well, bot nice and fairly relaxed.

Chris and I gave Dominguero a little session of accepting the spraying bottle, as this is a big worry of Natalie, due to the lots of mosquitos they have around her place, so he needs to be really good with being sprayed. We started off a bit antsy, but we could convince him rather quickly that this was inappropriate. We came back in the afternoon for a second session, and in the end he stood quietly at the end of the loose rope while I was spraying all over his body.

Another reminder for Dacio, as he stood at the fence and looked at me, so off to the arena with hula hoop and lid. He still has problems putting his front hoof on the lid (he tries to kick it around or pick it up with his mouth instead), but he is gradually getting the idea. More lying-down. He is becoming so keen on it, that he offers it on his own now! Today he didn't manage to throw the hula over his head, but I ran out of treats and time, so had to stop.


Friday, 17 April 2009

Repetitions with Dacio. Lying down is great, even with me sitting on his back while he is on the ground. He is very calm and happy about it. Greg turned up while we were in the arena, so I took the opportunity to ask for it in the presence of another person. No problem. While Greg was standing there, Dacio managed to throw the hula hoop completely over his head and neck for the first time.

Also refreshed WWYLM, me walking all over the arena. Then rated speed during WWYLM. He was happy to do a slow pacapaca at my side and matched my steps very carefully. Change of directions good also. We worked more on stepping on a (mini) mat. He still scratches the lid a lot, but managed to keep his foot on it today shortly for the first time. It is easier with the small wooden board. Also a bit of sideways over the cone at liberty. Works sometimes, and somtimes not (he scratched it and tries to pick it up).

Carlotta watched over the fence, so at the end, I threw the hula to her and she worked on picking it up and showed a few upward movements. She was very good with the lid (must remember our last year's work) and stepped on it quite quickly.


Sunday, 19 April 2009

Eladia and Bluey: they both had a ride out, down the road and a few hundred meters into the forest. Another two rides and they are "done" for now.


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Carisma: we brought back a young PP mare from Len and Sue for starting under saddle and teaching manners, as she had developped a habit of being very pushy and even flattening people. Chris gave her the first session on the longe line and got some hefty pushiness which she corrected on the spot by sending her out of her space and back. Carisma, being the smartie she is, got the idea very quickly and, in no time, gently and politely longed with nice inward bend!

Dacio: more of the same, while Sue was watching. Greg and CJ joined in later and Dacio did his tricks for them again very willingly. He has lost the hula and is still scratching and banging things on the ground a lot, especially the board and the lid, but this time he finally managed to keep his foot still on it for a little moment. I introduced sideways over a pole which he got very quickly.

Carlotta wanted to do something too, so let her in and she was pretty good about putting a foot on the lid. Then we practised going up on the pedestal. She got three feet on today. Then sideways over the pole as well. We trained it at liberty, and it worked surprisingly well. She stayed calm and happy while figuring it out!


Thursday, 23 April 2009

Repeated things with Dacio then added sideways over a pole, first on the lead then at liberty. This seems a lot easier for him than sideways over a cone, as he is not tempted to pick up the pole! After several times of just scratching the hula, I decided to stop ignoring it and helped him instead, by clicking each little try to bring his mouth close to it. And, bingo, after a few minutes, he was able to throw it over his head again. He even figured out how to get rid of it, by lowering his head and putting his ears forward ;-)

Carlotta was watching again, like several times in the the past, so I thought I might try a little "mimicry" experiment with her. Brought her in after Dacio was finished and gave the hand signal for lying down which she had watched repeatedly and seen Dacio lie down in consequence. She stared at me, flattened her ears and was visibly very confused, then suddenly she started scratching the ground a bit. I clicked her and gave her a jackpot. Will see how this evolves.


Monday, 11 May 2009

Carisma is coming along nicely for her getting started under saddle. We decided to add a few little tricks, just to make Sue happy, like head-lowering (good for her emotional control, as she is so extra-eager and wiggly), stepping on a board, putting ear into my hand. Got her started with stepping on a very long, thin board today (like 3 m long and 36 cm wide). This was, of course, very difficult, as it is so easy to miss. She got a bit excited about it and tried in all directions, but finally managed to put both front feet on it from the side and standing still for a little while. Then I tried to line her up lengthwise, but this was even more difficult and she bounced around like a ping pong ball. Finally got her to put one foot on for a brief moment. More next time.

 
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She got the idea of head-lowering pretty quickly. What made it more difficult was that I wanted to train it from the right side, as Sue has to do it from that side, because of her arm. And Carisma hates to have me on that side for longer stretches. So she tried to figure out all sorts of things to bring me back to her left side, which of course I ignored and repositioned her. When I tried the first time, she was all grumpy about having to do it and shook her head when lowering it. And, who would have thought this!, she carried on shaking it when lowering. But we got a few nice, straight ones and a little bit of duration. She is clearly a horse who gets bored very quickly and needs a lot of different tasks to stay happy and not wanting to offer and try out all sorts of new behaviours constantly.


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Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Carisma is making nice progress for the under-saddle work, she is now starting to respond to rider leg and hand cues and learning to keep out of my space. We have practised some useful little things, like head-lowering, Pose, sideways over cone, stepping on a "pedestal" which in this case is a long and narrow plank, not easy for a horse really. Also insisted on good leading with polite distance, as Chris tought she was getting way too close to me to be safe to handle for her owners. So today we practised to stay away from me at all times and immediately stop when I lifted one hand. Worked nicely. We also showed her a big plastic tarp. We first spread it flat on the ground and asked her to check it out. She was very fast with it and quickly walked over it, stood on it. Then we made the criteria more difficult by crinkling it, folding it, making waves and bumps into it. Carisma did a great job with it and very soon didn't seem worried at all about it, but just stepped over it quite happily. But there was some underlying tension as, suddenly, and a bit away from the tarp, she got a fright about something we couldn't even see and jumped straight up in the air in a school book Capriole. Settled down immediately and carried on walking over the tarp. On the way back to the tying rail, Chris was dragging the tarp along Carisma's side and she coped really well.


Saturday, 6 June 2009

Took Dacio out for a little walk in the forest, after a long break. We practised head-lowering in scary situations which, after a bit of hesitation, he did each time. He is starting to straighten his head out and we are getting a little bit of duration already. We checked various "monsters", like neighbour's mare coming galopping in her padock, a broken plastic container. His eyes almost popped out when I first started banging on it with my foot, but very soon he sniffed it and then started stomping on it himself!

Also did some CTS from various small heights on the trail. Dacio was very confused when I asked for the first time, but gave it a little hesitating try and shifted his weight a bit towards me. Bingo! From then on, he lined up happily wherever I asked him. The puddle was less successful: he couldn't see the necessity to walk through it and did a lot of snorting and blowing bubbles. I didn't have waterproof boots, so was reluctant to step into it as well *g*. In the end, he managed to place his front feet a bit into the water, just at the edge.

On the way home, we did a bit of WWYLM on mere thinking. Nice and fluent :-D


Sunday, 7 June 2009

First real ride out for Carisma. We had taken a couple of hundred meters of road a week ago then got stopped by rain and bad weather. Chris got on her immediately and joked: "just let's pretend that it's OK", and Carisma showed true Paso brio. She was obviously quite worried by all the new stuff and snorted and huffed and puffed a lot, but she obediently went forward. We went to the cattle yards and back, and all went well. She started to relax during the second half of the ride. A mare with a big heart!


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Saturday, 13 June 2009

Few more rides out with Carisma. In the beginning, she usually has a couple of temper tantrums, but then settles in nicely. She is suspicious of tree stumps and got confirmed in it when suddenly, on Browns Road, a herd of roos started hopping away. But she was pretty OK with it, apart from the staring and freezing. Things are becoming quite nice by now, and she offers some nice paso llanos when she feels tense ;-)

Had Dacio out for another short walk in the forest. He becomes more relaxed overall with it and is willing to put his feet into puddles now and crosses them, when asked. He stays "with me" really nicely most of the time now. :-D


Thursday, 18 June 2009

New arrival: Sörli, Nele's 5 y.o. Icelandic gelding, another Galdur son. He needs retraining to get over his paciness. His starting under saddle looks pretty rudimentary, as he wasn't familiar with quite some of the basics, so we started him with a bit of groundwork, establishing yielding, bending, stepping under with inner hind etc. Then showed him pad and saddle and saddled him. He doesn't like taking the bit either and didn't know about giving to it, so worked on that as well. I had him started with CT, and he was _very_ grabby and pushy, so took a bit to teach him some patience and softness when taking the treat. I was slobbered all over at the end of the session, but Sörli started to turn his head away and be less croc-like with his eager mouth.

Chris got on him and I lead him around a few circles. That went well, so called it a day.


Friday, 19 June 2009

Sörli was a lot more settled in today and much calmer. We brought Flamenca over and saddled both (while David was running various machines and tools in the shed), then Chris got on Sörli and I on Flamenca and off we went. Sörli was a bit wiggly to start with and pretty forward, but listened nicely to light cues and Chris could ride him on a loose rein. We walked quietly and Sörli became calm and relaxed.

Got Chango (4 y.o. PP stallion) out after over a year of break, to finish him for being ridden. When I longed him, he started off at fast canters around me, throwing his legs in all directions. He is breathtakingly beautiful, offering the most spectacular self-carriage and rounding I have ever seen. Arches his neck like a hihg-performance Andy!

After some more jumping and bouncing, he finally started to settle down and listen to me. We worked on up- and downward transitions, stops, changeing directions through the circle etc. He cooperated really nicely. Chris took over and did a bit of in-hand work, which he was pretty uncomfy with in the beginning, but settled in and accepted it. Magnificent horse!

 
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Saturday, 20 June 2009

Gave Samba an introduction to CTS. Started with Pre-CTS around the cones. She didn't see the necessity and did her stomping and headshaking stunts, but eventually gave in and cooperated, so I could take her to the pedestal. At the first try of touching her back after lining up, she moved away, so we went back a step and kept practising and in the end, she stood quietly for my when I captures her back.

Dacio watched and wanted to do something as well, so I let him in and he showed Samba how CTS works! ;-) Asked him to lie down, which he did, and suddenly Carlotta dropped to the ground at the outside of the arena! I rushed to her and gave her plenty of treats, and plop, Samba went down as well. Lots of praise and treats here as well.


Sunday, 21 June 2009

Finally a bit of sunshine, so went over to Chris, but she was out. So gave Sörli a little session in politeness and taking the bit. He was mugging a lot in the beginning, and I had to keep reminding him to be gentle for taking the treats, but during the session, he gradually faded out the mugging, pushing, headshaking, shoving of the bridle, and finally actively took the bit I held out to him. Bingo!

Took Samba into arena and saddled her and put the bit in her mouth for the first time. She was very chompy and not happy at all, so just did a few little exercises, then ended session.

Then Dacio. He was nice and calm for saddling and bridling. We did a few laps in WWYLM, then I asked for CTS. He stood there so nicely, that I swing my leg over and sat on his back for a few moments, then dismounted again. He was a little bit puzzled, but stood rock-still. Repeated a few times, then gave him lots of praise and finished on that note. Can't wait to ride him - time doesn't fly like an arrow in his case... ;-)

Carlotta wanted to join in, so I saddled her as well. She was very calm and happy, despite all the time that had passed since we last worked together. Unfortunately I ran out of time, so only did one or two CTS close to MB. Her injury seems a lot better, she walks almost normally now.


Monday, 22 June 2009 Images for 22 June 2009

Chango: bit on longeing first to get the wiggle out of his feet, then Chris did pre-mounting exercises, finally got up on him. Started leading him around gently and we was OK with it. Flamenca was tied to the arena rail on the outside, so he could get used to her presence already.


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Flamenca and Sörli (or whatever his name is, could be Eldur?) out and along Rokewood Junction Road. Chris worked on getting him lighter on the bit, then did rapid changes between stop and snappy departs and managed to lighten him up considerably and got some quite nice-looking tölts on a loose rein. Sounds like he will be fine with four-beats after a bit of training.


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Thursday, 25 June 2009

Chango hardly takes any notice of Flamenca now, he is very concentrated on his taks. When we make them stand close together, he behaves very well too. As he is still very reactive and wiggly, lots more return to basics to try to settle him down and make ehim acceptant. After a bit of this, Chris got on again and I walked backwards, so he could follow. Still a lot of hunching up back occasionally, and you can see that he is far from being relaxed.

More road work with Icey. This time it took him only a few minutes to come off the bit and lighten up. Tölt is looking a lot squarer already. Funny little bulldozer he is! ;-)


Sunday, 28 June 2009 Images for 28 June 2009

Laurel has bought Benito, so I thought I would give him some basic education to make things easier for her. He was in a yard with Indy, so walked in there and asked for hand target which both of them did after a bit of thinking. So stepped to Benito's side and haltered him and took him out. We was quite worried about walking through the gates, but settled down quickly. We did a bit of leading in the arena, then I took the lead rope off and worked on him allowing me to touch him all over. Forehead, ears, rump, legs, picking up all four feet. Went really well and Benito visibly trusted me more and more and cooperated quite eagerly. We did a few sideways over the cone then I turned on the camera, but it was very hard for him to follow my now different signals, but he managed quite well. In the end, he followed me around the whole arena at liberty.


Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Wanted to get Benito to improve the confidence stuff with him but he acted as if he had never had a humand come close before. But Indy immediately came to my hand target (looks like this is solid by now), so Benito decided he could too. Haltered Indy and took him to the arena, then guided Benito into a yard and haltered him there. From then on, he was fin again. Taught him to put his cheek into my open hand and he understood very quickly and made a deliberate effort to do it, even if that meant that he had to step forward.

Keyana (Max/Charm) in for training. Beautiful mare, but with quite some attitude! Apparently she has been allowed to do whatever pleased her for all her life. So, we first worked on diminishing her pushiness, then Chris started her on the longe line. Lots of jumping and rearing etc... Next day, it was introducing the towel, then pad and girth. After some "discussions", Keyana became softer and more accepting. Not stupid, that young mare!


Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Benito, again, was standoffish at first (he seems to "forget" overnight what we did the day before at this stage), but quickly came to the hand target. I did a bit of CTing for standing happy and relaxed with me at his side and turning his head towards me. Then with my hand on his neck, then shoulder, then draped over his back, with my hand hanging down the opposite side. All fine, from both sides. He is flexing all the way round now! :-D

He always follows me when I walk away for giving him a little break.

Then we did a bit of sideways over the cone, first on the loose rope, with only my hip turned. Then I unhooked him and we did the same at liberty. Brilliant little fella, he did it!

Putting his cheek into my open right hand is well on its way as well.

Today I introduced putting his forehead into my left hand. He is alreday getting the hang of it! Sometimes he turned his head away a bit to stare into the distance, but as he was free to go (no rope), it was more like he was giving himself a mini break for a sec or two. Then he turned his head around and brought his forehead very close to my hand. The "docking on" is not complete-complete sometimes, but by next time, it should be.


Monday, 13 July 2009

Samba had another session of putting the bridle on. This time she held her head still, so I held the bit against her mouth and CT'd for wiggling of lips. In the end, she opened her mouth and took the bit. So I left it on and turned her loose in the other part of the arena, so she could get used to it. This happened finally, and she grazed happily with the bit in her mouth.

In the meantime, I let Carlotta in, but as she immediately lowered her head and started to graze, instead of paying attention to me, I chucked her out again and let Dacio in. We did a bit of liberty longeing, head-lowering, Pose. I could feel some tension build up in him and he had his ears half-back and suddenly kicked out with one leg - he was obviously upset by something. I also noticed that he tries to creep into me and still swings his head towards my leg occasionally when HL-ing.

Threw the hula out for Calotta on the other side of the fence and she practised picking it up, so I worked 2 horses simultaneously.


Tuesday, 14 July 2009

As Dacio had been so reluctant yesterday, I "backed off" a bit with my requests and let him decide what he wanted to do and how fast. He first walked to the tyre and put his feet in, then banged on the mat, but set down his hoof on it after a while. I just CT'd his efforts when it looked appropriate. Presented him the bridle and he opened his mouth and took the bit. We worked at liberty all the time again, so he could walk away if he wanted to. Of course, he didn't, but stayed glued to my side all the time. When I tried to give him a break and walk away, he immediately followed and put his nose into my hand again.

So asked for a Pose or two and some head-lowerings, making very sure that my body energy was close to zero all the time. It is becoming a lot better and straighter and the swinging head into my direction is almost faded out by now.

We proceeded with some "ears forward", at a halt first. Then he put his forehead into my hand. We tried to walk off with ears forward, veeeeery slowly and step by step. One ear stayed forward almost all the time, the second one flicked forward occasionally. Then I stepped back a bit and asked for WWYLM at walk and trot. His ears went from back to one forward quite quickly, and I CT'd each good try.

Bit of picking up the hula, and he managed to throw it over his head three times during the session (and many times didn't manage, but there is progress). I don't really care whether he throws it over his head or not, but he seems really determined to work it out! ;-)

Carlotta's turn - she had been waiting eagerly outside all the time. She first turned her head away when I presented her the bridle, but very quickly she wanted to take the bit. Bit of liberty work as well, same as for Dacio. The hula is a lot less advanced with her, but she loves the game, very apparently.

Lots of ears forward with her as well, as she (Cali daughter) has a lot of inherited baggage with flattening ears. It worked quite nicely, especially at standstill. Needs a lot more when walking. But it is quite cute how both horses always stay in WWYLM, as soon as I ask them to walk at my side.

When I checked on them after distributing the hay, Dacio left Molly and his hay pile while I was with Carlotta, and came straight over and put his nostril on my hand. That boy really is special when it comes to connecting! :-D


Sunday, 19 July 2009

Asked Samba to play a bit with HL and going through labyrinth, then bridled her and turned her loose in the far side of the arena. When I left the hula close to the fence, Carlotta pulled it towards herself and started playing with it, so of course got some CT's in the process. Was too funny when, out in the paddock again, Samba grabbed the hula from under Carlotta's nose and touched it, peeking eagerly in my direction!

More confidence work with Dacio. Ears forward at standstill, then with a few steps forward which he still finds difficult, but he is working towards it, mainly flicking one ear forward by now. I also noticed that he shifts his weight a lot into me again as well, and tries to swing his shoulder or croup towards me, so he seems to have some inesurity issues again, so we worked on that. I stood quietly at his side, ignored all huddling up attempts and rewarded each shifting a bit away from me. He got it very well.

Also improved HL, he is doing a much better job now, to calmly lower his head and keep it straight. We are not at duration yet. Pose is getting a lot nicer. I still can't get him to consistently respond to me tucking my chin in, but have to help him by holding my hand behind his jaw, but we can position his head higher (wither lift) and he just started to shift his weight back while posing. Looks lovely!


Sunday, 26 July 2009

We were too lazy today to work with our clients' horses and the weather was still so unpleasant, so decided to go for a little ride on "uncomplicated horses". Saddled Max and Carlos and took off into the forest. We had a few little interesting moments, once when Carlos ignored my sideways leg cue and almost bumped into Max, who started grunting and hopping, but we got them apart quickly, so things were fine. Then Carlos got a fright and jumped forward a few leaps, when Vito suddenly ran up from behind, but no big deal and my seat could follow to forward movement *g*

The rest was really fun. Chris has done a marvellous job with training Carlos. And now he has matured and found his balance, gaiting seems very easy for him. He can hold the corto or rack for a long time very effortlessly and needs very little help with minimal cues. It's a bliss to ride him!

On the way home we did another long stretch along Rokewood Junction Road, and I drooled over watching Max doing his gait. Chris admired Carlos in return! It was just wonderful to fly along, side by side, on our beautiful, elegant horses.


Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Got over my inner pig dog and saddled Dacio, took him to the arena and asked him to line up at my small MB (CJ still has the pedestal to put a new rubber topping on). He did it immediately, just a bit too close, so I almost got brushed off. We fumbled a bit on position and finally I swung my leg over. Just sat there and CT'd for relaxation and standing still. Then I raised my energy a bit and said "walk on". Häh? Dazi was puzzled and didn't know what to do. Finally he took a step back and later one to the side. I clicked each movement and in the end, he took a couple of steps forward. Jackpot and end of session. I will take it as slowly as it takes, to always keep him in his comfort zone. No hurry really, we've got plenty of time.

We walked outside together to CJ's stationary MB and he lined up beautifully. It is a bit close to the fence really, and a bit narrow, but it will work. So, we have proof, as it looks :-D


Sunday, 2 August 2009

While Carlotta and Samba were sulking, because they wanted to play too, I brought Dacio in and saddled him, then off the the arena, still eagerly followed by all the girls. Two laps of in-hand work, then lining up at MB and on I went. Stood quietly and then asked for forward. He was still confused and tried mostly sideways and back. After one good step we quit.

Bit of HL via T'ai Chi Wall which he did very well. Have we tried this before? Can't remember.

Back in the yard, I introduced Dazi to giving feet upon light touch of chestnut/hock. He started to get the idea pretty well. Touching boy parts still works perfectly too.

I have started doing a bit of CAT-ish training with Carlotta for her ears back habit. While she eats her hay, I walk close to her and stand there quietly, in neutral position. As soon as she turns towards me and offers a beginning of friendly behaviour (one ear forward), I say "good" and walk away. Repeat half a dozen times at each session. We had three up to now and it seems to me that there is already an improvement in her general behaviour.


Saturday, 8 August 2009 Images for 8 August 2009

Lovely sunny weather today, so got a few horses out for fumbling around. Haltered Samba and brought her into the yard. We practised a bit of "taking the bit", then I tied her up and left her there, still carrying the bit, while I got Dacio. She definitely needs a bit of patience training, but she did pretty well all the time, apart from a few brief Samba moments, with stomping and scratching.

Groomed Dacio and checked his sheath. Yukk, it's dirty! Will have to give it a wash and rub soon, the smelly stuff didn't want to come off when I tried. Ah well, another time...

After saddling, we practised picking up feet a bit, i.e. refining the cues. He is getting the idea of shifting his weight and starting to lift the foot when I touch his chestnut or hock, but it still needs some improvement. I have switched bits around, trying to find one that really fits Dazi. I think the 3 part snaffle is about OK, will get Chris' opinion about it, to be on the safe side.

Dazi and I walked over to the arena (Samba still tied in the yard), and he lined up immediately at the (smallish) MB. I really want my pedestal back, it is pretty hard to elegantly get on board of my growing PP from that low little device I am using right now! I could feel that Dacio was still a bit nervous about me up there, moving and touching him all over. He also seemed a bit concerned about the MB and was somehow glued to it, always wanted to stay lined up. Funny... We practised the first 3's of the 3flip3 at standstill and he was a bit confused, but a got a couple of nice softenings of jaw. Strange how it seems a completely different exercise for the horse once his human is on his back. Then I asked for backing, that worked quite well, with relaxed poll. Then "walk on", but he is still pretty stuck. Finally he took a couple of steps forward, so I called it a day and got off. On the way back to the yard, he offered some lovely WWYLM with ears forward, so I CT'd those.

Once unsaddled, we worked a bit more on giving feet, then I asked for Pose. He still has difficulties doing it when I am in neutral position. When he sees my hands folded, he offers HL (which is becoming quite nice, BTW). We alternated HL (via T'ai Chi Wall) and Pose, then I let him outside.

Samba was keen to finally do something too, so we practised coming off the bit. Oh boy, what a little bully! She didn't and didn't wanna do it! So I asked for flexing to the side which worked a bit better.

While I tidied the gear away, Carlotta turned up, all ears forward and friendly faces, and wanted to have her share. Sure, my dear! Asked for a bit of HL, then introduced her to the Pose and got some nice little beginnings. She seemed a different horse (after these few CAT sessions), a lot friendlier and I often noctice that she comes and joins me when I clean up the paddock or distribute the hay.


Thursday, 13 August 2009

More work with Samba and Dacio. Some taking the bit with Samba, which is gradually improving, but not perfect yet. Then I let her stand tied at the tree, with the bit on while I worked Dacio.

First a bit of giving feet - he becomes a lot lighter and starts to lift them when I touch. Getting on his back is becoming more "old hat" now. But I do miss my pedestal, the "MB" is so low that my old bones are struggling. Then I just sat and clicked for give of jaw. Then asked to walk on, but he was still confused about it and offered HQ yields and backwards and walked sideways over the MB ;-)

I pointed forward with my arm, together with my voice cue and suddenly he started to walk forward several straight, energetic steps. Bingo! Lots of praise and end of session. On the way back, he curled around me again in WWYLM, lifting his withers in the process. To finish, we did a bit of Pose upon my hands in neutral position. He is getting the idea :-D

Bit of PK work (getting off bit) with Samba, but she is still pretty resistant. Got a couple of gives though in the end. Flexing to the side works now.

Carlotta joined me and Dazi while we are having our connection thinggy in the paddock. But when I did a little CAT in the evening, she was a bit back to "grumpy" when I approached. Maybe she finds it tyring to have her ears forward all the time ;-)


Wednesday, 19 August 2009

We brought Samba back over to Chris to give her some more training. Saddled her and she had a couple of serious sense of humour failures, with head tossing, stomping etc. On the longe line, she offered a few levades in slow motion, just to make clear what she thought of being worked! ;-)

But then, finally, the steam was out and she started to cooperate. Chris could run through the pre-mounting and mounting routine pretty quickly, and Samba was fine to walk and trocha with a rider. Looks promising... :-D

Saddled Dacio and sat on him. Walked forward a few steps (still sticky). Few gives of jaws, bit of Pose and HL. Put some KY jelly inside his sheath; he stood very still.

Saddled Carlotta and lead her a few laps around. Let her take the bit which she remember well too.


Saturday, 22 August 2009

Watched Alex' CTS and SRR riding DVDs and that helped me forward with Dazi being so stuck. We practised softening of the jaw and HQ yield and that got him unstuck quite nicely. Of course he is still very wiggly, but he is going forward now. We could only do about 5 minutes, due to his young age, but I am very happy with the progress.

Bridled Carlotta and brought her in the arena briefly. Did a bit of PK leading and giving to bit, then some lining up at MB. Went all pretty well.


Tuesday, 1 September 2009 Images for 1 September 2009

Played HSS around cones with Dacio, he was pretty good with it very soon. He is currently going through a very "sticky" phase, wants to be glued to me all the time, but looking somehow uncomfy and sometimes trying to crowd into me. I tried CAT, but I just can't get away from him the slightest bit *g*. So each time he started to crowd, I stopped dead in my tracks and waited and when he relaxed a bit away from me and put one ear forward, I tried to step away a bit. Most of the time, I had to give a verbal reward instead...

Then did HL through picking up contact on rein, he went through some swiping and confusion, but made progress in the end. When I asked for Pose with me in neutral position, he had forgot about it again and tried out everything, including lying down! And as close to me as possible! So I took the opportunity to try to click him for a tiny delay in getting up (towards sitting), but wasn't very successful.

While I wanted to bring Carlotta in, he still didn't have enough and wanted to come all the time, so I really had to chase him away in the end. Asked Carlotto to self-bridle which worked, well sortof. Then we did the same HSS around cones. She got the picture very quickly and started backing up without reins after only a couple of tries! Then CTS which worked really well. Finally walked her through the labyrinth with reins on (had done it with Dacio at liberty a bit earlier), she did it beautifully, just a little bit hectic. One brief standing on mat, then I ended the session.


Thursday, 3 September 2009

More HSS with Dacio and Carlotta. Also self-bridling and WWYLM. Dacio is still antsy about me tanding close to him and tries to grab at me at times. Tried a bit of CAT, and eventually could walk away from him a couple of times, as he was interesting in the fresh spring grass. But I somehow have the feeling that this isn't too productive. He also tries to push into me, because of his insecurity, with his shoulder at times.

More CTS with Carlotta. She still swings a bit away occasionally, but is starting to reposition herself now. I started tapping all over her back and pick up the inside rein and hold it a bit, and she was standing still.


Saturday, 5 September 2009

Was planning to ride Dacio a bit today, but he was as wiggly as a wound-up toy mouse, so decided to work on basics instead. He was wearing his saddle and bridle while we were doing our groundwork. He still seems fidgety some with the bit, will have to reassess this one later. We worked with the mat, on a high reinforcement rate for standing on it, then walked quietly away in a small circle and back to the mat. I have used my red plastic kitchen board and he learned to keep his foot on it fairly quickly this time. While walking away, I gently held his inside rein and let go when approaching the mat again. Towards the end, he had calmed down a lot, listened and could keep out of my space and be more settled in himself.

Carlotta wanted to have a go as well, so put the lead rope on her and did a few of the same, as well as a bit of CTS. She was a bit more in grumpy ears mod today, so I clicked for ears forward. More CAT needed for her, as it looks.


Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Saddled and bridled Dacio and did a few WWYLMs, then he lined up at MB and I got on board. He tried to walk to the mat all the time in the beginning, and as there were two mats close to each other, it was step-forward, standstill, step back to the other one, standstill etc. ;-)

But he did walk forward finally on my request and we did a few going from cone to cone. Then I hopped off, allowed him to put his front feet into the tyre, climb on the pedestal, go back to the mat, walk sideways over the poles of the labyrinth, everything he wanted to do. Wanted to keep things as relaxed and happy as possible. Then took him outside on the road, he lined up at CJ's MB at the front gate and I asked him to walk on, which he did. He felt pretty insecure, but tried very hard. After about 50 m, I stopped him, got off and gave him lots of praise.

On the way back to the yard for unsaddling, I just clicked him for walking straight at my side and having his ears forward. That went quite well. Once unsaddled, we played at bit with Pose upon me in neutral position.

Carlotta was jealous when I got out the hula, chased Dacio and wanted to play her self. So I let her a bit, alternately clicking her for picking up the hula and Dacio for doing Pose at my side :-D


Monday, 14 September 2009

Finally better weather, so of course, out and play with the horses. Brief WWYLM and CTS in the arena and a few steps of riding around, then out on the road. He is so good with lining up at whatever MB I ask him. Still wiggling our way forward on the road, we went a few steps further today, then did a HQ yield and headed back to the gate, then I dismounted and gave hin cuddles and goodies. He walked at my side at liberty again.

Carlotta stood already at the entrance of the yard, so she was allowed to have a go as well. I took lots of dead hair out of their coats. Saddling and bridling was fine, so off the the arena. I tried the PK off the bit work, but she didn't understand very well. WWYLM with a bit of rein contact was fine though. CTS, then I started to lean over her back, moving around, putting foot in stirrup, picking up rein. Once or twice, she moved a little bit, but repositioned herself very willingly each time.


Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Between two shower, took Dacio out on the road, just with halter and lead rope. Want to toughen up his feet for future riding, as he is very ouchy on hard surfaces. We walked along Klein's Road towards Rokewood Junction Road and noticed all the stuff on the sides, like barking dogs (Tony ran home when neighbour's whippet came out and ran after him), snorting and running horses, cars etc. Dacio coped very well. I asked him to walk at my side on a loose rope, stopped from time to time (he mirrored me well), asked for a few HL's, also in exciting situations, changed sides. Then we crossed a few of the puddles yesterday's rain had put there. No problem.

We walked up to Tantaus Road, had a few cars rushing by. Dacio tensed up a little bit, but stayed with me. He whinnied at some of the horses, but still followed me nicely. Back home, asked him to line up at the MB outside the gate, then turned him loose in the paddock. He stayed close to me and walked at my side. Asked him for a lie-down, which he did after looking for a good spot.

We finished with a bit of Magic Hands. He looked at my outheld hand, thought a bit, then brought his shoulder to my hand. We walked off and he only lost connection twice, but immediately came back to my hand. His neck was quite proudly arched, so there was a bit of tension inside, but looks like he liked the exercise.


Saturday, 26 September 2009

Scratching my head again. After reading Dolores' post about the Porter Update, I felt very encouraged and went out this morning (rain threatening, strong wind) to play a bit of Pre-WWYLM with Dacio. It started OK and he got the idea very nicely. I unclipped the rope and tried at liberty, was fine for a few laps. Then he got all anxious and pushy again, trying to push his body against me, moving his head towards me, so I was a bit in danger of getting knocked by it. I just couldn't keep him at distance unless I actively sent him away.

I really tried to avoid this, as I didn't want to cause him distress, but he didn't look really happy anyway, ears were half-back almost all the time, and he persisted in trying to shove his big black presence upon me. The mat made him all wound-up when I didn't click immediately and he was very wiggly about all the rest, like Pose, walking at my side, magic hands, anything really... *sigh*

Let him put his front feet into the tyre, to create a bit of relaxation, and playing with hula, but he seemed to have thrown all his focus on me and in a pretty tense way, so i I tried anyother approach: stepped on the pedestal and asked him for CTS, which he loves. When we stood there, I did a bit of gronw-ups from up there, then rested my hand on his withers or back or neck and waited for him to relax and put his ears forward which he did. He was a lot happier with this, maybe because of my different position?

I must say, I am pretty discouraged about doing that kind of groundwork with Dacio, it just seems to go wrong all the time. Why is he so keen and almost like obsessed about being so extra-close to me, if it makes him uncomfortable?

Each time I try to do something really simple and easy with him, it somehow doesn't work out and tenseness escalates. Pretty discourageing really. I will be interested to get your opinion when you can see it "live".

When we do something like just walking straight along the road, he is a lot more relaxed, doesn't pin his ears and hardly ever tries to crowd me, so I wonder whether I shouldn't stick to our walkies and riding training, this is just so endlessly frustrating for both of us.

When I did the same stuff with Carlotta, I got something pretty similar behaviour-wise! Aaaaargh! I tried to really ignore all her attempts to move closer to me and only click when she was in the right position, but it was very difficult. And her ears were back to half-grumpy again.

I tried a bit of CAT, but she wouldn't let me, but immediately followed me. So we did the same as with Dacio: bit of work on the pedestal with CTS.

I wonder whether the changed herd dynamics are for something in this. Dacio is still pretty obsessed with chasing Darah and herding her away from the others, so maybe he just isn't peaceful in himself at the moment? I have the feeling somehow that he (and Carlotta) is quite jealous at the moment and wants me for himself, maybe this is why he is so "imposing" at the moment?

I really wonder what I am doing wrong. Maybe I should go back to what I did with Carlos (who wasn't as extreme, I must say), and just stand at some distance until he is calm and comfortable with it. But Carlos, like Carlotta, was always very calm for taking treats, not as hectic as Dacio is at times. *sigh again*

Why am I doing this to myself? ;-) I feel like a clumsy beginner, these two, and especially Dacio, are really challengeing me and making me question myself.

Maybe for some horses things like WWYLM etc. are simply not the way to go? He is so happy and easy-going when we go for walks and try some riding stuff, should I just stick to that and not try to push him into directions I choose because I think it has to be that way?, dunno...


Thursday, 1 October 2009

I had a nice outing with Dacio yesterday. Saddled him and took him for a walk to the forest, accompanied by Tony. Got on him at the gate and asked for a few steps; was the usual wobbling, as expected. Neighbour's dog was in the garden and barked his head off, so I dismounted and we walked past. Then another neighbour's horse and sheep came galopping towards the fence and Dacio was all head up and ears perked, so I waited a bit longer to get back on him. Always asked for some steps, then dismounted and lead a bit again, about half a dozen times all in all. Did a hindquarter yield and headed back home.

Very pleasant to see that he improved quickly and started to walk more in a straight line and with much more forward energy towards the end. Dacio was a bit "rushy" at times, when the challenges occurred, but not too bad and always willing to come back to me. And his feet seemed to have toughened a bit already. And, yes, he was lying down for me again, when I asked! So, here I am, happy and beaming from ear to ear! ;-)


Saturday, 3 October 2009

Took Carlotta out for her first walk away from her buddies today, and it went so well. I was half-expecting dancing, prancing and indignated stomping, but nothing at all. She just walked calmly at my side, watching everything with much interest, but never took the slack out of the rope, immediately stopped when I did and stayed in lovely grownup when we I stopped and had a chat with the neighbour doing chainsaw jobs on the fallen trees from last storm.

It was a glorious feeling to have her so tuned-in and soft and calm, despite noises, dogs coming up, my own whippet Tony running with us and shooting past in all directions. We went to an enormous puddle and introduced water crossing. Well sortof (didn't have waterproof boots on), I only asked her (in my mind, no real visible cue) to come towards the water and put her feet in.

We stayed in a lot of CAT modes together when there were challenges or obstacles on our path (like the roaring motorbikers in the distance, or Dacio's dreaded wild pony and sheep) and each time Carlotta offered me a relaxed poll and turned her head towards me, we quietly walked away or she got a click and a treat.

And the whole time, there was not the slightest "grumpy ears back" wich was our everyday's bread before! Amazing! :-D


Monday, 5 October 2009

Walked Dacio along the road again, saw some cars. For the first couple, we turned around and looked at them, for the following ones, we just kept walking, even for those coming from behind. He slightly twitched, when they passed, nothing more. He tried to push into me from time to time, so I just very calmly raised my hands to his eye level and "blocked him off" without any strong vibes, that seemed OK with him.


Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Carlotta's second walk in the forest today. First we went and visited the cow up the road, which intrigued her quite a bit. After a bit of CAt, she could stand there quietly.

We had a few very wet showers coming down on us, but the trees were a bit of shelter, so we got only moderately wet. She was as calm as last time, so I introduced a few new things, like leading from the right side, asking for "walk on" with me still standing, asking for a few trot on's (she corto'd very nicely at my side), lining up (CTS) along dirt piles. All very well. She is so unflappable about most things and has very few, only minor reactions - pretty atypical Paso really ;-) I am very pleased with her, and threatened that she might end up being my favourite riding horse :-D


Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Dacio out briefly for toughening feet again. He had started to overtake me quite often, so back to staying behind or maximum my shoulder level. He found this quite stressful, so we alternated with grownups and HL. I only clicked for straightening head and he manged pretty well in the end, but I could see that he was a bit frustrated to have to do what I wanted all the time.

So I (with lots of inner reserves, I admit) picked up Imke Spilker's suggestion to play with my horse. He did look inviting, so I started to hop and jubilee and run around (making sure to have plenty of space between us), and he was delighted and cantered and hopped around me in circles. In between we stopped and I rewarded him for quiet standing with me.

The other horses watched us with lots of interest and suddenly all came thundering towards us and wanted to play too. But I thought that was a bit too much, so rather waited for a calm moment and then left.


Friday, 9 October 2009 Images for 9 October 2009

Short outing with Dacio. As usual, got on at the gate, he wobbled his way down the road, then froze after our house. So lead him a bit and got on around the corner. This time a good little stretch of walking straight. On the way home he was worried, so mostly leading.


Saturday, 17 October 2009

Laurel mentioned in a post to the Zenhorsemanship list:

maybe we need to slow down and leave some space for thinking and processing rather than speeding up, pushing on and attempting to overwhelm their emotions.

Definitely! Dacio gave me plenty of oppertunity to do just this today when we went out for another of those little "rides". Neighbour is burning lots and lots of small piles of branches and bark along the roadside, so great opportunity to walk over with Dacio and check them out, go into CAT mode and just waited. From snorting and neck-high he went very quickly into very interested and walking forward toward the strange things! So I took him to his mounting block, which is less than 10 metres away and got on. He walked off eagerly and fairly straight and stayed like this for about 100 m, then got scared of his own courage and froze. I just sat there, reins on his neck, and let him stare and as soon as he relaxed, asked him to walk forward again. As I could see that he was pretty worried, I dismounted after another good try and lead him along the road again.

We had a few more challenges, like the cow and horse from another neighbour coming thundering towards the fence, and Dacio had a few twitches and jumps, but just standing there in CAT mode brought him back very quickly. Same for the rest of the spooky happenings. We also practised puddle crossing via letting him decide and figure out himself, that went really nicely.

He is still pretty forward and sometimes rushy when I lead him, but I try to interfere as little as possible, only using my intent when the situation is safe. Wohoo, Imke!

Boy, I smell like a smoked bacon now, having stood so long close to those fires with the wind in my direction ;-)


Thursday, 22 October 2009

Took Dacio out again briefly, while Hanna was walking by his side:


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He was a lot happier with a security blanket at his side.


Sunday, 8 November 2009

Saddled Samba and played CTS with her which she got very quickly. Got on while she was lined up at the pedestal. When I clicked her and wanted to treat from the saddle, she got all confused and a bit anxious, so decided to wait for a helper for more tries.

Played CTS, lie down and tooting bike horn with Dacio. He got the idea very quickly and got out a few strong toots, which made him twitch a bit in the beginning, but he was very keen and brave.

Carlotta wanted a go as well, so let her in and she got to the stage where you can hear some quiet little toots. Lots of praise for her too. Bit of CTS as well.

Started Flamenca on lying down.


Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Finally played a bit with Dacio again. Saddled him and took him to the arena. Short fre-flight check and then he lined up at the pedestal. I got on board and we walked around a few laps, then he, in a very determimed manner, walked back to the pedestal and lined himself up with the very clear message: please dismount. I laughed and did what he wanted.

Then unsaddled him and we started preparing the sitting down exercise (like shown in Karen Parker's DVD). I had placed a hay bale against the stable wall and asked Dacio to turn around, then step back towards it, which he did quite well. Then I asked him to bring his front feet a bit back, but soon he felt too uncomfortable with it and grabbed the lead rope to let me know. We stopped there and instead, I allowed him to lie down. For the first time, when getting up again, he briefly paused halfway (sitting), so I jackpotted this.


Wednesday, 9 December 2009

We changed horses around again, as I want to give Dacio a few rides in company and Samba has to be bred. Loaded Carlos and Bluey to come to my place in exchange and brought them over. They settled in right away, as they know the place and the company very well, after all.

Dacio and Samba went with Eladia in the drivewy paddock on the left and they had a lovely time, pracing around and throwing their legs all over the place in excitement. Dacio displayed some _very_ impressive Andalusian trots and collected canters, he looked sooo stunning. Has nothing to envy to Chango anymore now :-D

Samba was in season, so we bred her to Chango right away. Was Chango's first time, but he stayed very calm and polite all the time and did his job perfectly well.


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Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Saddled Dacio and took him to the arena for a bit of walking around. He was meandering all over the place again, but I had taken the whip with me. First did a quick pre-flight check and asked him whether the whip was OK. Yes, it was. So I got on board and rode around a bit. Dacio walked all over the place, all wobbly, but at least he reacted to the light whip-tapping. Soon, I could say "walk on" and put on a tiny bit of leg pressure, and he started walking. HE still stops after a few steps and is visibly very insecure, but there is some slight progress.


Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Same today, despite the horrible heat. As there was quite some wind as well, this didn't help, but the reaction to the voice and leg cue was still there (most of the time), so I needed very little tapping. I started introducing a bit of SRR to bring him on the track. But it's still a lot of work...


Friday, 18 December 2009

After we were finished with Eladia, it was Dacio's turn. For the first time, he had to stand patiently tied at the rail, while we were away; he coped very well, just got bored a bit and undid one of the knots in the lead rope. Chris felt game, so put the stocksaddle on him and got on, while I took Flamenca again. Dacio wiggled around in all directions, but Chris' focus is so good that she got him to walk forward pretty well very quickly. He tried to slam in his feet at times, turn away and do all the youngster thinggies, but we eventually reached the end of the driveway and headed towards the forest.

Dacio needed some convincing that "no" wasn't the appropriate answer and that he should walk and respond to voice and leg cues, and he finally gave in and became a lot more cooperative. Stopped all his head-shaking and trying to snatch the rein and meandering from side to side etc. Nothing nasty, just "I don't wanna". Ah well, playtimes are over, and it's more like work now. ;-)

We did a few faster stretches and he showed mainly trocha and trot (his Andy blood), but also some nice little paso llanos in the transsitions. It will come out when the time is ready. By the end of the ride, he was starting to respond to Chris' cues for leg yielding and half halts and such, very nice!

And, boy, he is such a _hunk_ already! Really hit me when I rode at their side. He must be at least 14.3 hh by now, or more likely 15 hh. Why do I always end up with the biggies?! He was such a tiny, flimsy baby, just one year ago....

Anyway, maybe he didn't overly like it in the beginning, but I agree with Chris: he was ready to start now and needed some gentle, but firm guidelines to grow into his new tasks. He definitely wasn't scared at all (all our gentle fumbling and playing together during the whole year has paid off, for sure), was just a bit of an attitude to overcome. Well, he looks well on his way already, things looked so much better towards the end of the ride already.


Saturday, 19 December 2009

Did a "quickie" with Dacio this afternoon (was still exhausted from morning mulching), took him to the arena for just 10 or 15 minutes. He didn't line up very well to the MB, i.e. he lined up but then swung away a bit. So we repeated a few CTS and then it was OK. To keep thing very positive for him today, I just asked for walking forward on a mini cue. He was classes better than before, Chris' yesterday's work has done heaps for it!

We practised soft stopping, shifting weight back then walking forward, backing a few steps, standing still and introduced turns and voltes. I used feather-light rein contact and soft leg contact and all was very well. OK, there is still the typical youngster go-stop-go-stop stuff, but I think he will grow of of it pretty soon. To end the session, I asked for a few "trot on's" and he did this quietly, was paso llano most of the time.


Sunday, 20 December 2009 Images for 20 December 2009

Chris rode Dacio on his second ride out today. Was in the forest again. He started off a lot straighter and with a lot less head-shaking and similar protest actions. Was also a lot more forward already. He did a few spooks in the beginning, but overcame it quickly and walked along quite happily. He offered mostly trotting, but Chris started working a bit on the flatwalk on the way back. Looks all very lovely! :-D


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Eladia is about finished now and can go to her new home.


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Monday, 21 December 2009

Another ride, this time along Browns Road. Chris practiced walking away from Flamenca with Dacio, being touched with whip on the croup while he was trotting, some beginnings of rein contact to prepare gait training (flatwalk at this stage). When back at the end of Browns Road on our way home, approached an Oversize group, with a big harvester and a silo. We stopped at about 10 m and let the horses watch. Dacio was more quiet than Flamenca. We will give him and Eladia a few days off now and work with Samba and Ron instead.


Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Got Samba saddled and asked her to longe a bit, then Chris briefly went through the pre-mounting routine. Samba seemed happy enough with it, so Chris got on, leaned over, asked for 3 steps, then swung her leg over. I lead her a few laps, then took her off the longe. Samba did really well. The stop was a tad sticky, but improved during the ride. Looks like we can take her out next time.


Friday, 25 December 2009 Images for 25 December 2009

Chris took Samba out on the road for the first time. We went to the corner of Cahills Road, and then back. Went all really well.


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For details, check out Chris' blog: http://thinking-horses.blogspot.com/

Dacio's turn and it was a longer ride (about an hour), all the way to the airstrip. He is coming along really nicely by now, looking like a riding horse. Can't wait to ride him myself. So lovely to have Chris to iron out the little stuff for me! :-D


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Monday, 28 December 2009

Big day today: Eladia, Dacio and Samba to be ridden, at it was warming up already. So, for a shortcut, we decided to take Eladia and Dacio out together. That gave Flamenca a bit of a rest, as she had had an outing with Chris yesterday, where she had some good leg stretching and got introduced to the stockwhip. Chris reports that she can crack it around her already, even though it needs a bit of refinement still.

Dacio looked a bit surprised, but, I think, pleased, when I prepared and saddled him (with the Startrekk). Chris got on Eladia, who stood rockstill and waited while I climbed on Dacio, who stood very still for me at the MB. He was nice and pretty straight right from the beginning, and it was a pleasure to ride him.

Yes, I could feel that he is a still very green horse, but he is beautifully forward and responding well to light cues. No problems with being touched all over from above, and neither whip nor leg are of any worry to him. He gave me some nice little flatwalk and, funnily enough, stopped after a few steps because he thought he had earned a click! After I had only once rewarded him for it! Smart cookie!

Eladia put in a few spooks in place and jumps, so Dacio copied her at times, but really moderately, so no big deal. Back on RW Junction Road, two cars came up from behind, one with a trailer, so we dismounted, just to be on the safe side. Both horses just looked and stood quietly, Dacio twitched a bit, but never moved his feet. Missed my MB when it came to getting back on him... We did about half an hour and then called it a day. He feels really nice and safe to me - I'm very happy! :-D

Took Samba along Browns Road. She had a few minor sense of humour failures, but nothing bad. She coped well with all the requests. Lovely little mare!


Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Not much time today. Dacio's right hind fetlock was slightly swollen, so we just hosed it down and put some ointment on and decided not to ride him today. Took out Flamenca and Samba instead, while Dacio and Eladia stayed tied at the rail and waited for us to return. We went to the sand pit and had a lot of nice, long trots/pacapacas. Flamenca was in a crazy mood, yet again, and trampled around like mad - bouncy little brat! Samba behaved like a well-educated riding horse. There were only a few little spooks, mainly about small branches or roots across the trail. Very funny: she comes to a sudden sliding stop, so all four feet come together underneath her! She goes forward in a very nice, consistent way and listens pretty well to Chris' cues.


Saturday, 2 January 2010

New Year, new fun.... After a few days of first stinking hot, then cold and rainy and windy, we could think about going out again today, even though Chris was a bit unwilling, because of the wind and the threatening black clouds, but we did go in the end.

Which brown critters to choose? We decided upon Dacio and Samba - a bunch of bright green youngsters, yeah... They were not overly keen about going out in that wind and chill, but as usual, we didn't ask for their opinion, threw the saddles on and off we went. Dacio tried to make his point that he didn't want me to get on, did some funny quicksteps around the MB, then stepped on the edges and broke pieces off, tried to climb on, shove me off etc. But decided to stand still in the end, so I could get on. Samba stood well for Chris, but soon afterwards, started some Sambas in all directions, shaking her head and stomping her feet. We wiggled our way along the driveway, boy, it was all sooo exciting, but we eventually got to the road. While Samba was looking around for some nice opportunities to spook, Dacio was at the paso llano all the time. Isn't it nice how well horses can gait when they are a bit wound up?!

Once in the forest, we had some more serves of "don't wanna", spookies, sideways drifts etc. and couldn't stop laughing and joking about our mounts, and poor Dacio was a bit overwhelmed by the fact that he had to be the sensible leading horse and walk in front all the time, while Samba was having hoppy moments and sense of humour failures behind. But all in all, they did very well and walked forward better and better. Once we had turned around and were on our way home, they were immediately calm and settled down and stayed at a quiet walk for all the rest of the way.

At the end of Cahills Road, we saw a car with a trailer approaching quickly, so stopped ou horses and let them watch. They were perfectly calm and happy and then walked home without moving an ear. I am very pleased by my two lovely horsies. I feel really good on Dacio, very nice and safe, and I love his proud Andy posture and noble carriage.


Sunday, 3 January 2010

All youngsters are coming along very well. Eladia has been exposed to all sorts of challenges over the last few rides and is now ready for her new owner. He will come and visit next week, I think, and try her out. Yesterday, we took her along a particularly scary road, some traffic, all sorts of strange critters, farm machines and a dad, taking his little son for a bike ride. He slowed down when they passed, so all was well.

We also had a lovely fast gallop up a long slope. Chris had cantered Eladia a couple of times before, so that was fine. Of course, I kept turning my head and checking for Chris and Eladia, while Flamenca flew up the path like a rocket, but they managed just fine.

On the way home, we changed horses, as Chris thought it was a good idea to put another rider on Eladia, so she could get used to the idea. Her ears propellered in all directions, but she was nice and relaxed. Reacts to ultra-light cues, such a pleasure. And her gaits are silk-soft, absolutely delightful. But it felt soo funny, after that "hunk" of Flamenca, to get on such a small, narrow horse, and on top with that stocksaddle (I hate them), but the main thing was that the horse was nice and comfy, of course.


Monday, 4 January 2010 Images for 4 January 2010

Took out Dacio and Samba today, each in company of Flamenca. As I saddled Dacio, Chris had a go on her silly Peruvian Stockhorse who displayed all sorts of crazy behaviours again, like schools above the ground *g*, she _is_ animated at the moment...

Dacio is such a delight to ride; I already feel completely at home on him. He feels and looks more like a big horse, such a big frame and very animated, ground-covering gaits.


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Chris took Samba over a few ditches. Samba first responded very well, but then decided that she didn't feel like it anymore, but of course, Chris insisted until suddenly it was all OK again. Next time, I will ride her and see how it feels.


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Thursday, 7 January 2010 Images for 7 January 2010

Wanted to halter Chappy and start testing him, but he didn't even let us come close, so we put him into jail in a small yard, to let him think about his place in life ;-)

Carlotta got her first lesson: pre-flight check, then getting on for the first time. Chris ran through the preps in no time at all, and was in the saddle very quickly. Carlotta stayed nice and calm and we walked around a few laps. Perfect!

Raffles had the pad and roller on and a bit of longeing done (first time as well). He coped perfectly and offered the most buttersoft canter at one stage. Nice horse!


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Friday, 8 January 2010

Chappy got his first lesson today. There were a few little basic discussions about hierarchy, then he was very willing to listen to Chris. Pre-flight check showed a few training holes, when it came to noises and movements, especially on his right side. Looks like nobody ever worked with him from the right, so Chris addresses all this. He is visibly very intelligent and a fast learner, once he has set aside his ego thing.

Ron is making progress, today Chris rode him at the walk, on gradually feeding-out longe line and he just started to show a few inward bends and nice stops, so we left it there for today.

Carlotta got a quick repetition from yesterday's tasks, then she, too, walked on the longe in both directions. She is nice and soft and relaxed. Really quite cool bananas!


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Saturday, 9 January 2010 Images for 9 January 2010

Raffles had saddle on for the first time and was longed with it. As cool as can be! Then Chris did a bit of flapping and hopping, all good.

Chappy seems like a different horse already! I walked into his paddock, and he came right to me. Within 2 hand target clicks, I could step to his shoulder and halter him. He was polite for leading, stopping immediaely when I did. The "I boss you Friday" lesson has sunk in very well apparently ;-)

Bit of longeing, then Chris worked on his right side issue again, which was a lot better already. There are some really big holes in his training (wonder what Carlos T. has done!), so we are treating him like qn unbroken horse, to be on the safe side. To finish, Chris leaned over him and, after some being stuck, he took a tentative step forward and got immediatelly clicked. From then on, he relaxed and walked happily a few steps with me.


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Despite the "lovely" 40°C, we got Carlotta in for another lesson. She was as good as always. Lil' bit of ears back and grumpy faces when Chris first put a bit of leg on, but she did reallly well. When I stepped back a bit to take a phot, she got very insecure. Too early for that, security blanket needs still to be wrapped around her ;-)


Tuesday, 12 January 2010 Images for 12 January 2010

John came along to try out his Eladia. Was quite funny, first thing he said "I haven't ridden in 20 years". Chris and I looked at each other and Chris's grip at Eladia's halter got quite firm while John swung his leg over and bumped her croup while doing so. Thankgod we had practised touching her touchy hind end over and over in the past!!

Then he sat there with a puzzled look in his face. Chris ran through an express explanation of how to ride her with light cues and things worked out pretty well in the end and they got along nicely after only a few minutes.

John said: I wanted a comfortable, forward horse responding to light cues for my old age, now I have it and I was up there, not knowing what to do! He was quite facinated by HOW light the cues had to be to make her respond willingly and just loved it.

I suggested he flies over for a weekend to take a couple of lessons in order to become completely familiar with this way of riding. He had ridden Stockhorses all his life, so shouldn't be a problem, whew....


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Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Raffles is doing very well. Chris sat on him today and he walked a few laps with her in the saddle. All nice and calm.

Chappy still has issues, especially from the right. He got very tense at one stage while Chris sat on him, so our gut feel told us she better get off. He did a bit more groundwork with him. I sat on the top rail, and that was pretty scary for him too (Raffles and Carlotta were dead-cool with it), but he finally came close enough to get click and treat from up there. Will be quite some more work, that brown gentleman...


Thursday, 14 January 2010

Yesterday, I decided it was time to take my young Dacio out on the trails on hiw own for the first time. He had had half a dozen rides in company over at Narrawin Stud and is now back home with me. It's always a bit fumbly to get my friend Chris over from her place on a horse to accompany us, so we jumped right into the deep water to sort things out of our own ;-)

The ride started a bit animated right away, as our neighbour's two big dogs came running along their driveway and one was pretty aggressive and tried to bite Dacio. It took a lot of shouting from the top of my lungs and waving my whip in his direction before he finally left. Dacio was frightened, but trusted me enough to stand still and let me handle the situation.

He was a bit scared at times by all the things we met, but a bit of mini-CAT and then asking him forward did the trick. We travelled in flatwalk, bit of paso llano and some trot, and at times did a bit of quiet walking on a loose rein (the latter not very often though).

He headed off into the forest quite willingly, but soon got insecure and started meandering from side to side, wanted to stop, turn around etc. With a bit of light whip tapping, he carried on each time, and after about half an hour, we reached the edge of the forest. Dacio saw the road which leads to Chris' place and all the horses in the paddocks and started to whinny as loud as the trumpets of Jericho! My ears almost fell off, especially when all his mates answered back.

Chris heard the concerto and came out of the house to see what was going on. My dear Dacio had grown at least 10 or 20 inches and displayed the most impressive show paso llano with very high knee action. I think I have never seen him that lively... ;-)

Tied him to the rail and grabbed a drink from the fridge. Chris offered to accompany us on the way home, an offer that I accepted happily. She got Flamenca and saddled her and off we went.

Dacio didn't want to leave, as he had spotted his beloved Carlotta in one of the paddocks, but finally decided to listen to me and follow Flamenca, who, BTW, displayed quite showy gaits too! She is so beautiful! :-D

Chris had taken the stockwhip to teach that cheeky dog a lesson, but he wasn't there when we arrived at my place, so another time maybe. In the meantime, Flamenca got a refresher of the stockwhip being swung and cracked all around her, but was cool bananas about it. I kept Dacio a little bit back, and he watched with lots of interest and didn't seem bothered by it, so I told him that Chris will teach him too! And Carlos is another candidate. After all, Flamenca is in foal, and you never know; it can be handy to have a stockhorse handy at times!


Friday, 15 January 2010 Images for 15 January 2010

Today more work with Chappy, Raffles and Carlotta.

Chappy has some issues, but today we noticed a clear breakthrough. His eyes were a lot softer, he was willing to listen instead of his prior standoffishness, and was seeking close contact to humans. Chris got on him, and I lead him around at the walk, gradually feeding out a bit of longe line. So far, so good. If he wasn't so fat, he would be a truly beautiful horse, lots of presence, well built, very flashy, even gaits. We should have kept him as a stallion, there is not a big gene pool in Australia.

Raffles is coming along really nicely, he is willing and pretty relaxed and a very fast learner. Chris was already on board today and I was starting to longe him a bit in both directions.

Was still early, so Carlotta's turn. She offered corto while I longed her - a true natural! :-D Nice and soft and sweet. Chris got on her and we did some leading as well. All very uneventful and calm, I am so pleased with my little dark girl.


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Saturday, 16 January 2010

Carlotta can show some pretty impressive grumpy wrinkles around her eyes and nose! But despite all little displays of FOAD she cooperates nicely. She is often in "economy" mode, doing just what is necessary. Today she had her first trots and pacapacas under the rider at the longe line. As Chris stated: won't be long before this one will be out on the trails! :-D


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Thursday, 21 January 2010 Images for 21 January 2010

My first ride out on Samba! Chris said she would come over on Flamenca to accompany us, so I saddled Samba and got on at the MB outside the gate. She stood still, then willingly walked off. She got a bit antsy, but the time we were half-way along Kleins Road, so I dismounted and lead her along RWJ Road. After a couple of hundred metres, Chris and Flamenca came tölting along, so I got back into the saddle and we headed off towards Narrawin, then continued to Cahills Road and into the forest. Samba behaved well, but wasn't very responsive to the noseband, so maybe I should ride her in a sidepull next time.

She coped very well for the whole ride, very little spooking and nice, comfy gait (slow corto and trocha). Lovey. But I do prefer Dacio's proud Andy carriage, I must admit! ;-)


Friday, 22 January 2010

Indy and Eladia will be picked up today or tomorrow to travel to their new home, so we gave Eladia one last little ride, to keep her in the mood. On the way back, we stopped at the letter boxes, and I asked Flamenca to line up, then opened the top. She coped well, but then the postman arrived in his car and I asked her forward instead of backing her up, as I should have done. The space between the letter boxes and the trees is very narrow; we just made it without my foot scraping the boxes *g*

Carlotta got another lesson, this time introducing flexing and backing under saddle. She is such a fast learner: after Chris showed it to her only once, she kept anticipating and offering it on her own! Bit of walking at the longe line, Chris started applying light leg contact as well as asked for some stops. Needs improvement, but Carlotta is getting the idea already.


Saturday, 23 January 2010 Images for 23 January 2010

Took Dacio out on his own for the second time. We went the small loop to the sand pits. He was hesitant to let me get on board at the MB outside the gate, but finally stood still. Walked off with just a bit of meandering which was more likely due to slightly sore feet, after last trim. He was looky, but overly nice and calm and walked forward very well. Didn't need any whip tapping, he just responded to light leg cue.

We practised a bit of flatwalking and he offerd a couple of paso llanos, so I clicked him for those. Of course, he immediately slammed on the breaks each time ;-)

We came across some scary things in the forest and he handled them pretty well. One or two small spooks in place, but he followed my feel willingly all the time.

Then he suddenly got a big fright when a bird flew up right under his front feet. He jumped around in a spin, then leaped forward, and off I flew in a high arch and landed on my back. Ouuuuw! No real damage, as it looks, but painful. Ah well, it will go away eventually...

He galopped off full speed, apparently back on his tracks and was rescued by a neighbour, while Greg came by car to look for me. Nice to know that the Emergency team is vigilent! ;-)

Must have been a funny sight, me sludgeing along the trail, with whip and bra dangling from my hand. I had taken it off, because it was pressing so hard on my bruised ribs. So good that our Aussie forests are so deserted - imagine joggers or such coming by while I was standing there in the middle of a forest trail, without my T-shirt!


Sunday, 24 January 2010

Felt still pretty sore this morning, but went over to Chris to do a bit of training this morning, and she gave me a wonderful horse gel (Deep Eaze) to soothe the pain.

We took the gentle ones. Chappy, the wiggly waggly one, will have to wait another day before he can startle and pull my arm out of its socket again *g*

Carlotta was as good as gold. Chris trotted her on the longe line both directions and thinks we can unhook her next time. Raffles was very cute too. He unpacked his mugging behaviour, but I said, Nope, you know better now, and waited for him to back off or turn his head away for his treats. Too funny how his little nose came eagerly forward, then, with a disgusted look at me, he suddenly threw his head away from my bag and hand.


Monday, 25 January 2010 Images for 25 January 2010

After checking Molly for heat, we lead her away, while Carlotta was tied at the rail. She got very upset about it, stomped the ground, reared, hopped and whinnied, but eventually settled down.


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We introduced working her with a dressage whip today, and she immediately put on a lot of wrinkles around eyes and muzzle, but finally did as asked. There were a few close-to-kicking-outs when the whip touched her croup, I am sure there will be some coming up *g*


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But, as Ruth from Clickerreiter mentioned: W. Seunig says that horses who kick out when touched with the whip, are good at learning capriole! ;-)


Tuesday, 26 January 2010 Images for 26 January 2010

Chappy is starting to trust us now. the look in his eyes has changed a lot! Chris got on and he walked at the longe line in both directions. He is pretty stiff to the right, but in the end, we got a bit of tentative bending.

Carlotta had some issues today when Chris wanted to get on (head up abruptly, wiggly, tense), so we decided to not mount her today, but did a bit of bending and flexing instead, then brought her back to her paddock.


Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Chris got straight to the point with Chappy, getting on fairly quickly. I fed out the longe line and he walked around quite happily, but tensish again to the right. We introduced trotting (gaiting) under saddle, and yes, it worked fine. Too funny how he was so eager to change directions back to his comfort side - I hardly started looking to the left, and promptly he turned! Nice progress.

Carlotta lifted her head again when Chris put the foot into the stirrup, but she just ignored it and got on, and things were fine. We did some walking and trotting and making circle bigger and smaller. She can be really buttersoft in her bending. There was a killer ant or something sitting at one end of the arena, as Carlotta did some weaving away and sent suspicious looks and once did a little sideways hop, but it apparently walked away and it was OK from then on.

Chris practised soft halts and introduced backing a step, then changeing direction. All well.


Sunday, 31 January 2010 Images for 31 January 2010

Bit of refresher, then we took the longe line off and Carlotta walked around on her own. She was a bit insecure about it, but tried very hard to do everything right. We also introduced the whip, as she can be a bit stuck at times and Chris doesn't want to use too much leg. Carlotta showed a few grumpy tail swishes, but still worked as asked.


Monday, 1 February 2010 Images for 1 February 2010

Carlotta not in the mood today, so we decided not to bother. Turned her out again after a bit of groundwork.

Chappy off the longe line for the first time. After a few laps, we brought Flamenca into the arena, so he could get used to the idea of having another horse around. He snorted a bit, but then settled down. He is starting to look much more like a riding horse.


Tuesday, 2 February 2010 Images for 2 February 2010

Stinking hot again, so just a bit of work with Carlotta. Second ride off longe line, this time without whip. She is going forward a lot better now. Chris introduced a few turns and pacapacas. A real natural, that little mare.


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Wednesday, 3 February 2010 Images for 3 February 2010

Another day in the mid thirties! We started early. Undusted Raffles. I showed him shoulder-ins and moving shoulder to outside from the ground. He got it within seconds and did well on both hands. Chris got on his back and we walked him on a longe line. He was a bit sticky to the right and twisted his head, before he finally managed to do a soft bend. Very nice horse, a real pleasure to work with.

Chappy: the pre-flight checks are getting shorter, as he is becoming really a lot more solid and trusting. Chris got on and did a few rounds on the longe line, then worked him on his own. He can be a bit lazy and needs some urgeing forward, but looking good, all in all.

To end the session, Chris took him outside and around the arena (tölt track). He was a bit scared and snorty in the beginning, but I walked with them and he was fine. Chris did a few rounds in both directions and each time stopped him where I was sitting on the mounting block. After the first time, he quickly got used to it and was more and more eager to come close and get his CT, even when Vito sat at my side.


Friday, 5 February 2010

Lots of rain last night and cool and windy (and March flies) this morning, so the horses weren't in the best of moods. Carlotta pulled ugly faces, tensed her back and made "Cali ears". Chris asked for a few things on the longe line, then we decided to stop it there and not, as initially planned, bring Flamenca into the arena. Before I let her go in the paddock, we did a bit of Pose which she remembered well.

As Flamenca was already saddles, Chris got Max and we had a little ride along the road. Max was showed off as much as he could. Flamenca was lovely - beautiful paso llano and coped very well with a dog that suddenly jmped at us from behind a bush, she did just one little leap forward. Max settled down a bit, and we had a couple of beautiful pacapacas side by side.


Saturday, 6 February 2010

Went out to play a bit with Dacio, which I hadn't done in a while (always riding him), he was sooo delighted! We refreshed all the games he knew, like hula, tooting horn, labyrinth at liberty, point of contact, taking bit, Capture the Saddle, mat, pedestal etc.

He got a bit upset when I insisted to stand at his right shoulder. Tried to walk around me a couple of times and when I put him into place he made it clear that he was uncomfortable and briefly nipped in my direction. We broke it down a bit more until he was happy with it.

To end with, I asked for lying down twice and fed him all my goodies while he was lying there. When I walked back to the gate, he followed me all the way (his buddies were 200 m away, at the other end of the paddock!), curled around me in the most lovely shoulder-in!


Sunday, 7 February 2010 Images for 7 February 2010

Stinking hot again, and Chris was still handicapped from her intensive Melbourne BJJ experience, so we just saddled Carlos and Flamenca and went for a little ride... which turned out two hours. All four of us were a bit tired by the time we were back on the property.


Monday, 8 February 2010 Images for 8 February 2010

We got Chappy out (he walked straight up to me from the other end of the paddock!) and did some arena work, then brought in Flamenca. His eyes almost popped out of his head in surprise, but he got used pretty quickly and we took him out and around the property a bit. He was visibly a bit anxious, and it looks like he has never been ridden outside an arena, but he was very brav and did his best.


Tuesday, 9 February 2010 Images for 9 February 2010

Still horribly hot weather, so no outdoor activities recommended. We saddled Chappy and Flamenca nevertheless and took him out for his first walk in the forest. He coped very well, just got a sense of humour failure in the driveway, on the way home, and started running backwards. Chris managed to redirect him before he hit Max' paddock fence, and soon after that, Chappy settled down and listened again.


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Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Still sauna effect outside, so we did Carlotta early in the morning, with "only" 33°C... She was nice and cooperative and walked around the arena together with Flamenca, so Chris gave green light to go out for the first time and we wandered all over the property. Carlotta looked very relaxed and unflappable. If she carries on like that, I will be just delighted! :-D


Thursday, 11 February 2010

Only brief session with Chappy and Carlotta today, due to the strong wind, both in the arena. Chappy got some more introduction to some basic dressage lessons and then same for Carlotta. Chris rode her back to the tying rail, accompanied by Flamenca, who had me in her saddle for a whole minute today, wow! ;-)


Sunday, 14 February 2010 Images for 14 February 2010

After 3 weeks off, Dacio's turn again. Chris rode Flamenca over to my place, while I saddled Dacio with the stock saddle. I took over Flamenca. Dacio's eyes widened a bit when he realized that Chris would be the one to ride him, but he stood still when she mounted. But as soon as she put her leg lightly on to ask for forward, his back came up and he started to put in a little series of pigroots (moderate bucks) and we already thought "uh-oh", but Chris immediately brought his hindquarters around and he stopped. She gave him a wither scratch, then when Flamenca walked off calmly at his side, he followed. From then on, things were fine. He was very looky, but that is normal for such a young horse. We took the same trail I had taken with him and Chris took him all around the sand pits, up and down, while Flamenca was tied to a tree and I filmed. Was good to see that he "remembered" all his previous training and had switched back into working mode happily.

It was quite a challenge for Dacio, all the new stuff he was presented with, like the white sand, going up- and downhill. One was pretty steep, but by the second go, he was able to even stop several times on the hillside, when Chris asked him to. Nice balance; pretty unusual for such an inexperienced horse to be able to do so! :-D

Chris is so brave; she said: when they buck, they even more do so, when going downhill, so that was the test! But it looks like he is fine and has overcome his fear issues. Will see how it goes next time. I am itching to get on him... Good sign?

When I unsaddled him, he turned to me a lot and did the eye thing, but when, before letting him go, I asked him to lie down, he thought about it, then decided against it. I think he was telling me that I should have trusted him and ridden him myself... ;-)


Monday, 15 February 2010

Chappy out into the forest again today. He looked around and was very interested, but pretty calm and settled. Wellll, apart from the beginning, where he had quite a sense of humour failure and responded with some substantial "don't wanna's" when Chris touched him lightly with the whip. But he worked his way through it, stomping and snorting and settled down very nicely. What a stunner and what gaits!

It started to drizzle a bit, but we still saddled Carlotta and Chris rode her around a bit on the property. She was a bit tense, but willing enough. But then the rain started to come down, so we quit for the day.


Tuesday, 16 February 2010 Images for 16 February 2010

Chappy down Browns Road and through the bush and up and down the ditches.


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Rode Carlotta around property again and a few hundred metres along the road and into the forest.


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Thursday, 18 February 2010

Chappy along main road. We met a few cars and a truck, all well.


Friday, 19 February 2010 Images for 19 February 2010

Took Chappy along RW Junction Road then through the horror bit with the minis, sheep, dogs, paint stallion, B-Rabs etc. He coped really well. His gait is becoming faster and more consistent. Lovely horse, quite similar in temperament to Dominguero, now he has overcome his "scepticism" ;-)

Carlotta really out for the first time, through forest and towards the cattle yards. She did so well, worked hard on overcoming her worries and listened to Chris. Lovely natural gait in the slower range at this stage. Then trocha and trot. She looks as cool as a cucumber most of the time.


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Sunday, 21 February 2010 Images for 21 February 2010

New setup: We rode Flamenca and Chappy over to my place, and on the way there, did the horror loop again, this time from the other side, then unsaddled Chappy and left him in the arena, while Dacio got the saddle on and off we went into the forest, then along Swamp Road, towards the CFA. Lots of challenges on the way, but we coped well. He still is a bit emotional, but looking pretty good. There were two fire trucks outside the shed, then later some nasty letter boxes as well as a dangling, threatening fire hose in bright blue, but he took his courage in both hands and marched by. At the forest gate, I went a bit ahead and Chris asked him to stand. Uh-oh, big sense of humour failure! He thought this was just so unfair, so started wiggling and doing a little levade or two... which, of course, only meant he had to stand still even longer ;-) Finally he gave in, with a disgusted look on his face! Back home, saddle went back on Chappy and home we rode to Narrawin.


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Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Carlotta for her second short ride out. She had her mind somewhere and was leaning heavily on the reins, so the pre-flight check was a bit longer. During the first part of the ride, she was the same, but finally calmed down, softened up and responded well. She offers lovely, even gait at slow speed. :-D

After taking her back to the paddock, we practised a bit of polite behaviour, as she had pinched the farrier last time. So we worked on head straight, then, via microshaping, on turning the head away a bit more and stepping back a step. Bit more Pose as well, but that is still at embryonal stage. ;-)


Thursday, 25 February 2010

Carlotta along Browns Road, with all the killer tree stumps to check out. But she seems to have forgotten about her reserves towards tree stumps and logs. She was too busy working on the job she had been given (being a riding horse). Nice, forward walk, lovely slow mini tölts, light on the reins. What a beautiful little mare!


Friday, 26 February 2010 Images for 26 February 2010

Chappy along RWJ Road and then along the challenge road. He was all eyes and ears and got a bit hyped up when he saw some roos in the bush, but eventually settled down again and went superbly well. What a stunner!


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Carlotta also for her first longer ride, through the forest to our place, then Chris felt game to take RWJ Road for the way home. Bit early really, as this was only her third ride out, but Chris said she felt so good and confidence-inspiring that she felt she would be OK. And she was! Her ears stayed pointed forward for the first km or so, but then she relaxed and walked along happily. Nice and forward, but no rushing. My lovely girl! :-D


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Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Was planning to take Dacio to the arena and do a bit of riding today. The Universe and Dacio decided that this was not what we should be doing: when I saddled him in my little yard, he got a big fright when I placed the saddle on his back and produced a big sideways jump.

OK, change of plans. I took the saddle and pad off (after he had calmed down and stood still, of course, as well as halter and leadrope, and turned him loose. Approached him with the pad and watched for any sign of NQR (not quite right). Well, it wasn't right at all indeed, his head and neck came up and his eyes widened. So I switched into CAt and just stood there and waited. He let out a breath and slightly lowered his head and turned it towards me. Back I stepped. We repeated a few times and Dacio targeted the pad. CT!

We played a bit with this and as he got more interested and relaxed, I got closer and closer (had started about 2 m away), started lifting the pad, then finally placed it on his back. All in CAT mode, with switches to CT when he offered targeting.

He chose to stay with me all the time, even though in the beginning, he walked away a few steps and kept his head on me and swung his hindquarters away and around, as he didn't want me to walk up to his side with the scary pad! At that stage, I put the pad away and we practised me standing closer and closer to him, then touching his shoulder, then his withers, then draping my arm over his back, touching my hip to his ribcage etc.

What was very funny: he posed like mad, each time he felt OK, or he lowered his nose all the way to the ground. We have never worked much on this, and it has been ages I asked for it, but he got it out of the drawer and experimented with it. Fascinating to watch him. The Pose became better and better, he lifted his withers and his back, then shifted his weight back and coiled his loins a bit. I stood there with my mouth wide open and watched him, a big delighted grin creeping on my face ;-)

Then we wanted to show me how comfortable he was with the pad on his back, because he offered lying down with it still on! So we played around with that. I took the pad off after he had stood up quietly and he lay down again. We did a bit of quiet inner CAT with this, I stroked his whole body, sat down on his back, always throwing in a few clicks from time to time.

I wanted to let him out at this stage, but Dacio still wanted to play, so I got the saddle and stood close to his side. His poll softened, I lifted the saddle (like in Alex' CTS DVD). Head came up a bit, I waited, his head relaxed, I lowered the saddle and stepped back, Dacio followed closely and targeted the saddle; CT! After a bit of playing around, I could place the saddle on his back while his head stayed almost at ground level. Wow! When I took it off, Dacio moved closer and started licking and nibbling it. He did this several times, that reminded me of the horse who had bitten the trailer after overcoming his fear of it! :-D

We did a few shoulder-ins for changeing the sceanario a bit, but Dacio was _still_ keen, so I started putting the pad back on his back, then added the Grandeur pad, when he was happy with that, and finally my bright-red jacket. I slipped the jacket back, so it was hanging over his croup. Then waited, Dacio started scratching the ground (you know how he does this, Laurel!), then was about to lie down with all that stuff on his back, but Piccola chose that exact moment to shoot into the yard and throw herself and his feet, so he stopped and sniffed her instead.

I took the pads and jacket off and walked up to him with the saddle again, this time from the right side. He stood very still and let me put it on, with his head relaxed and soft eyes. Thought this was enough (we played for almost an hour!) and let him out. He still stood at the other side of the tape while I took the gear away.


Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Same scenario for Dacio. When I first showed him the pad, his head went up and he tensed a bit. I just waited and head came down. CAT and another try. Fine this time, so we did a few more, then I added the Grandeur pad, then the saddle. When his head came up occasionally, it was a lot less and when I "froze", he lowered it right away again. Added some touching him everywhere, then leaning over him and flapping the saddle sides, the stirrups, scratching his legs with my feet, doing everything simultaenously. No problem, he stood still and relaxed, just his ears playing a bit. Each time I tried to walk away with pad or saddle, he followed me closely. He tried several times to nibble the saddle again. Once, he reached for me and gave me a tiny nip with his teeth, which provoked a shooing-off reflex from me. He didn't mind, just looked at me. Wonder what he wanted to tell me there?

Brought Samba into the arena and showed her the pad. She walked away a bit, but came and targeted my hand. After the second click, she was fully in the game and I could place pad and saddle on her at liberty, while she stood perfectly still.


Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Busy week, so no horsing around. Gave Dacio a refresher on pads and saddle. He was fairly relaxed, and the few times his head came up a bit, he lowered it again very soon after. So put the saddle on and girthed, then presented the bridle for self-bridling. Off we went to the arena and played around with the circle, then going to the middle and stepping on the mat(s). He became very keen on this. Right side is a bit sticky, seems I have neglected this a bit in the past ;-)

Then we did a few CTS's and I got on, as he stood so beautifully still. Asked him to walk off, but he stopped after a few steps and looked a bit uncomfy. So I went back to SRR, just picked up one rein and held it until he made a tiny movement. CT! Repeated until I got a bit of walking. He wasn't entirely happy, so I ended the session after another try and relaxed stop. Got off and we played around a bit more with WWYLM, cones, mat and CTS. He stayed with me all the time and was quite happy, so we walked back to the yard, got the saddle and bridle off and I asked him to lie down. He stared into the distance, tried to creep into my pocket, but I just stood there and did nothing and suddenly he folded his legs underneath and went down. Big CT, lots of rubs, then asked him to get up and set him free. Not that we wanted to go, mind you... ;-)


Thursday, 11 March 2010

Quickie with Daci, not much time. Just let him follow me into the arena (shoving all the others away, as usual) and we played a few liberty games. He was very relaxed today, kept his head down most of the time and continued to quietly graze while I threw the pad on his back from a meter away! Looks like a big mindshift to me. He can still become a bit wound-up inside, for example when we walk around the cone circle to the right or go through the labyrinth, but I make sure to immediately become very "zen" and super-calm and he picks it up from me. Great to have such a subtle tool of communication.

Did a bit of playing with Bluey to bring her back into people-oriented mode, which worked very well after one click! She followed me around, let me play the pad game with her as well at liberty (in the middle of the big paddock) and offerd help for picking up manure. Cute little thing!


Saturday, 13 March 2010 Images for 13 March 2010

We moved horses around yesterday, so ours are all back home now. Really nice :-D

I thought it was time to refresh Carlotta a bit, so brought her into the small yard and showed her the pad at liberty. She had one sniff, then followed me around all the time, completely relaxed about the pad wherever it was positioned, so saddled her and decided to introduce her to the bit. We had done a bit of bridling and unbridling, somewhere back in the dark ages, so it wasn't completely unknown to her. And yes, she opened her mouth and took the bit right away. Then she started chomping on it, like all horses do when they first carry one.

We went to the arena together and started doing a bit of walking around the cone circle, then stepping on the mat in the middle. Then added a few pre-WWYLM, i.e. walking from cone to cone and doing hindquarter yield around them and backing a step from each side. Carlotta was a bit confused when I only picked up the rein at the side I wanted her to step back, but got the idea very quickly. After the third try, I just let go of the rein completely when approaching the cone, and she swung her hind end around, then stepped back a step. Of course, she earned herself a big jackpot.

We then walked up to the pedestal, and she also remembered that one and brought the saddle to my hands when I held them out. We did a bit of proper positioning, me picking up the rein, leaning over the saddle, flapping the sides, tapping on her bum, scratching her legs with mine etc. She was very slightly intrigued, but stood very still for me.

By that time, she was still chomping on the bit, so I said, let's go for a little walk. We stopped at my tree stump MB outside the gate, I stepped up and Carlotta lined up perfectly to it. We wandered a bit along the road, checking out the goblins, like the hut of the bus stop, ditches, other horses and ponies in the paddocks, a tyre that was lying there, a letterbox and other stuff. I let her stop and watch and think each time she wanted to and then she just carried on. She was nice and calm, even when a few cars passed by at normal speed.

That little mare seems so unflappable. We have botfly season right now and the §%$%$% things are buzzing around their legs. So I grabbed a flyspray bottle and sprayed the ones I could reach on her legs. Carlotta didn't even blink!!

When back home, I unsaddled her, then thought I might work a bit on handing me her front legs forward (which is useful for straightening out the hair under the girth after saddling). Did it in small steps, i.e. watched for micro-movements. Very quickly, I could go from tapping the leg with my fingertips to just pointing at it, and she willingly lifted the leg I was pointing to.

Dacio stood outside and watched very closely. The poor boy had been soo disappointed that I hadn't chosen him to play with, so I let Carlotta go and we spent a bit of time together. I pointed at his left front leg (we hadn't done this before) and he lifted it! Pointed to the right one, and he did it again! Yessss!


Sunday, 14 March 2010 Images for 14 March 2010

Chris came over on Flamenca, then got on Dacio. He was a bit stuck when she asked him to walk, but then did. We went into the forest, then along the airstrip and finally along the main road (BR-Colac Road) which has a small sidepath to walk on. Several cars, trailers, trucks and motorcycles passed, and Dacio coped well. Back home along Swamp Road. Chris headed home on Flamenca and I took Dacio to the arena and asked him to walk around the cone circled, then stop in the middle on the mats. He was unwillig to go, but finally listened to the "motivator". We did a few circles, then quit (I felt uncomfy in the stocksaddle, as the stirrups were too short).


Thursday, 25 March 2010 Images for 25 March 2010

Horse dentist Michael Carey was here today and did everybody's teeth. He has a very well thought-out electrical rasp. He had seen something similar with a french colleague (Michael travels internationally for his work) and has improved it and developed his own. He carries the machine in a back pack - very impressive and well done!

Dacio was first. Was his first time he has his teetch done and his eyes almost popped out of his head, but he coped really well. Michael and his son Nick have a wonderful way with horses, very calm and centered and staying with them, with perfect release. Love their approach!

Dacio had quite some sharp edges, and Michael took out his wolf teeth, which was a bit tricky, but he managed in the end.

Samba's turn. She was pretty good too, apart from a few little levades. She had calcium "caps" on her teeth, from our bore water, which Michael took off and said to keep an eye on it as they can become quite annoying to a horse.


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Then Lady. She put up quite a song and dance and Michael noticed that she has what he called a shear mouth, sounds like kind of a parrot mouth, with teeth not meeting due to the narrow angle. He made her comfortable, but said to have her sedated next time, as this is the only way to get the job done properly. He said she was not happy about the whole thing, as it was so uncomfortable to her. He usually doesn't sedate, but in her case it would be appropriate.

Darah was next. She was perfectly good, stood still and let him rasp off all her sharp edges. Apart from that, very good teeth, it seems.


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Last one was another newbie, Carlotta. She was as good as Dacio, only got impatient towards the end, but by then, Michael was finished anyway. He took out a wolf tooth and two baby teeth as well.


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Saturday, 27 March 2010

Still no fitting saddle for my girls and Dacio's back still hasn't healed completely, so groundwork it was this morning. I focused on calm and comfort. Set up a big cone circle with a mat in the middle and revisited the work, bringing in HSS and CTS elements at times.

Daci was first. Of course, he wound up immediately when we started walking around that cone circle, so I made sure to be low-key myself and keep the tasks very short and simple, i.e. a little loop of standing on mat, than walking around one circle and back to mat. And of course, again, he got impatient with it, so I brought in some other elements, like more cones to walk around, or HSS between two cones, or CTS at the MB. He was able to manage his level of impatience and anxiety reasonably well, but did try to swing his head towards me a couple of times. Reverted back to his Pose when this wasn't welcomed.

Carlotta watched very intensively at the gate, so she was allowed in next. I will always be amazed how different horses are. Carlotta was cool bananas with the loop, but her ears were back quite a lot. And instead of standing on the mat she felt she had to line up close to me (CTS on the ground). Finally she got the idea, but she is very much of an anticipator and wants to push through with her own ideas at times ;-)

I rewarded her with a few CTS's at the pedestal. She is brilliant with HSS on the ground, does it at liberty and backs up very easily and willingly, with soft poll. Can't wait to play this with her under saddle. Chris has agreed to take her over to Narrawin tomorrow, so we can try out saddles on her and hopefully find one that fits.

To finish the session, I held the bridle up for Carlotta to take it herself, but she wasn't overly keen (maybe still a bit sore in her mouth from the recent dentist treatment). While I stood at her side and presented the bridle, she shifted her weight back and went down a bit with her front end. I immediated CT'd it and gave her a jackpot, as I want to teach her plié (like Carola and Katja did with their horses), so thought this was a good start. Put the bridle away and made a "cordeo" from the lead rope. Put it around her neck and lifted it up a bit, then clicked for a small weight shift backwards. Put one finger on the bridge of her nose to encoure this even more and got a few nice shifts. Something to build on, I hope...

Samba was so eager to do something as well that I let her in. Same kind of work (she hasn't had much of it in the past). She was very quick to get the idea and was happy to stand on the mat within the loop. So we moved to HSS around a cone, and she, too, was ultra-quick to get it right and do it at liberty. Backing is one of her default behaviours (from when she gets her sweet feed), so she offered it quite willingly and fluently, with nice poll setting. Also did a little bit of CTS with pedestal, which was fine as well.

When I walked back, Dacio was still hanging around expectantly, so I shoo'd Samba away and gave him the hand signal to lie down. He made a slightly grumpy face and pushed into me a bit. I walked away and picked up my stuff in the arena, he followed. I asked again, he scratched the ground, then stared at something outside. I started walking away, he followed... I said: OK, one last chance, and gave the signal, and he went down promptly ;-) Gave him all the grain left in my bag, then clicked when he put one front leg forward to stand up. He froze, so I clicked him for keepeing still in this position, then he brought second leg forward, I clicked again and he kept still in this position for a moment. Maybe we will get towards sitting one day....


Sunday, 28 March 2010

Late start, but finally went over to Chris to pick up the stocksaddle for Carlotta, while Chris was saddling Flamenca and riding her to our place. Had Carlotta ready just before they arrived, so we switched horses and headed off into the forest. Over at Narrawin, tried the Goertz Champion on Carlota and it seems to fit her well, so no further fumbling necessary. I had a quick sit on her to see how the saddle feels and did one little round around the front tree. My premiere on her! ;-)

Chris also wanted to have a tiny test ride in it and found it suitable as well. So now I will use it (after giving it a good oiling) and Chris adjusting a sheepskin seat for my sensitive bum, and see how happy we are both with it. But Carlotta didn't complain. The Syd Hill went back on and we went back to Klein's Road, where I unsaddled Carlotta after waving Chris and Flamenca goodbye. In time before the rain started coming down...


Tuesday, 30 March 2010

More work on clean loops from the ground. Also some taking the bit by just holding it out in front of them as well as CTS. First Samba; she first turned her head away when presented with the bit, then got interested very quickly. I quit when she first wrapped her lips around it and opened her mouth a bit. She was very soft for the standing on the mat then doing a small circle around one cone and back on the mat. Next was going into shoulder-in around several cones (with small releases and "good" in between) and back to mat. And finally HSS and back to mat and a bit of CTS. All very good.

Carlotta still had her ears back a lot, but cooperated well. She was happy to take the bit this time, so we quickly switched to the circle and mat work. She is brilliant with CTS, so we did only one brief one, then worked on the clean loops as well. Proceeded very quickly to HSS from both sides - impeccable!

Dacio was last. He took the bit immediately, so I left it on his head, knowing her had always been a bit worried about it and I wanted to work on this as well. I made myself as "zen" as possible and we started with just standing on the mat, then around one cone, each from both sides until he was happy with it. When we first started, he rushed ahead of me very nervously when I wanted to lead him fron the right side, but settled into the loop very quickly and relaxed a lot. We also added the shoulder-ins into the loop, then the HSS. All went very well. Was the first time I felt him to be calm and settled and working with me. Almost no snatching at all and I could feel how calm he was about it. After I let him go in the paddock, I asked him to lie down which he did promptly, and got my last two handsfuls of grain for it.


Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Saddled Carlotta with the Goertz Champion; was a bit of fumbling to get everything well adjusted, but she was patient, just interested and watched very closely what I was doing. We did a bit of yesterday's stuff on the ground again, then a CTS at the MB and on I got. We stood quietly, while she got used to the idea, then I lifted the rein forward and sent my energy out. Nothing... but suddenly there was a slight weight shift forward. CT and release. After a surprisingly short time, we arrived at the mat in the middle of my cone circle and she stopped happily on it. A small initial thing: Carlotta didn't know how to take a treat from me in the saddle, but suddenly she noticed my hand at the side of her head, bent over and took it. From then on, she knew what to do... and more! She sure can bend and flex - would put any pretzel to shame! I managed to straighten her out a bit, and soon we could walk off the mat and around a cone and back to the mat. Took about 10 minutes all in all, and I called it a day when she offered me a couple of straight walk off to each side and back to the mat.

Bit more WWYLM, HSS and CTS with Dacio from the ground. He wore his bridle again and was slightly tense, but really not much, so we carried on. When everything looked fine, I took the bridle off and we continued at liberty. Lovely to see how he paid attention to my body language, when I stopped at a cone and shifted my weight back, he promptly did a hindquarter yield and backed upon me lifting and holding an imaginary rein. A young girl from the neighbourhood rode past on her horse and asked me how long it would take to get a horse to cooperate so beautifully! Of course, I couldn't resist to show off and asked him to lie down on my hand signal. Wasn't sure at all whether he would do it with a strange horse so close by, but he went down promptly. Thank you, Dacio! The girl was very impressed!! :-D


Saturday, 3 April 2010

We took Dacio out for a forest ride. Chris came over with Flamenca again. He started off with his back hunched up and wiggly and unwillig. Quite some grumpy stuff and headshaking going on for about 10 or 15 minutes, before he settled in and was soft and nice henceforth. Towards the end, he listened really well and Chris could keep very soft hands and he answered her request to a bit of leg yielding as well.


Sunday, 4 April 2010

Today Chris and David appeared on Flamenca and Smokey. I had Darah and Carlotta saddled already, so we were ready to take off. Must have been years and years that the four of us went out together! David hadn't had his bum on a horse for something like half a dozen years, so it was a bit adventurous that he rode Smokey (his first time on this stallion and the horse's first time with another rider than Chris!). Smokey hadn't been ridden for several months, and now we presented him with three juicy four-legged ladies to go for a walk with him. But he was really good, apart from the occasional little grunting.

Had to put the snaffle on Carlotta, as I didn't have the sidepull handy. We put the noseband underneath, in case she couldn't cope (was only her second time ridden in a bit!), but she was happy and fairly relaxed. A really weel-behaved little mare. I am so pleased with her.


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Dacio had been trying to convince me to take him, instead of Carlotta, so I thought it might be a good idea to give him a little playtime in the afternoon. We revisited putting the pad on his back. After one little hesitation, he relaxed and could keep his head down, despite all my flapping and throwing it around all over him. Then it was taking the bit at liberty. First he didn't want to know about it, but finally consented to take it. We did WWYLM with going to mat, first with the reins, then at liberty. He shook his head quite a lot, I wonder whether I inadvertantly clicked it initially. He is so fast picking things up *sigh*

Set him free and we practised walking around the cone circle, he on the outside, I on the inside. As he wanted to do some of his usual crowding, I started establishing a verbal cue ("out!") for him to move out of my way and to the other side of the row of cones. CT'd each good try. Had the dressage whip with me, so could point and hold him in position where necessary.

Bit of playing with the pedestal, in order to calm him down. He very quietly went up with all four feet, then came down with the front legs, keeping the hind feet on. So I started pointing to the side a bit, and he followed me with his front feet in a sort of beginning of little circle. He managed to do it three or four times, then stepped off.

Allowed him to lie down at the end of the session, which he did very promptly. Clicked him for putting one front leg forward and staying in this position, then for the second one as well. There were a very distinct moment of immobility. :-D


Monday, 5 April 2010

Carlotta: practised taking bit at liberty again. Then some HSS, walking around cones, walk-trot-walk transitions. Then she stepped on the pedestal and started licking her lips for the treats. Suddenly I got that crazy idea to teach her to pull her tongue on cue, so we started playing with it. I think she is getting the idea already, very funny.


Tuesday, 6 April 2010

More of the same with Dacio, mostly at liberty. Also a bit of trotting around the cone circle. He was more relaxed today and more willing to stay out of my space.


Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Saddled Carlotta with the Goertz again, and added the rhythm beeds, to get her used ot the jingling. No problem. Once in the arena, we were joined by Dacio. The little $$&$&$& is going under all non-electrified tapes now, so quite some chasing him around to get him out again. But he waa back in within a minute, this time staying out of my way and grazing at the far end of the arena, so I thought, what the heck, and got on Carlotta anyway. Was our second session with the mat as focus point. She was more fluent and walked off more quickly and willingly when asked this time. She had some very twisted pretzel moments again and did try a couple of times to go to the tyre and wanted to put her front feet in and got a bit shirty when I didn't let her. Had her ears back quite a bit too, but it went quite well really. Got off and made my stirrups one hole longer, and got on again to try them. Yep, lot better.

Back to the yard and unsaddled her, then asked a few "tongue outs". Changed my cue from sticking my own tongue out (which is pretty silly) to making a circle with index and thumb from my right hand. I think she is getting the idea... :-D


Friday, 9 April 2010

Saddled Dacio (practiced self-bridling again as well) and while leading him to the arena, he got a fright from Samba sneaking up from behind and let out a few pigroots. He still is pretty tense about the whole matter... So we worked on some basics: Pre-WWYLM around the cone circle. We did this at liberty, and he mirrored me really well, stayed right at my side and stopped in synch with me. Very little head pushing in my direction and only once she briefly shook his head. When he "forgot" and became a bit pushy or looked for my hands or bumbag, I just froze and went into neutral position and he immediately turned his head back straight and went into a beautiful Pose. I clicked a couple of them when he started shifting his weight back. The only time I touched the rein was to ask for HQ yield to change direction. Very soon, all I had to do is extend my hand toward the rein and he did a HSS! Went to the MB twice and did a little CTS with increased criteria (I picked up the reins and put my foot into stirrup and weight on). He was perfectly fine with it, so ended session there.

Carlotta hadn't left and watched us the whole time, so she was allowed next. The short straps of the Goertz are a bl%$dy pain in the ..., will have to have them lengthened. Carlotta is comfy with saddling and bridling, though not taking the bit very prompty yet, but we will stay at it. We did a few Pre-WWYLMs as well; she stayed back or overshot a bit, but got the idea very quickly. Then CTS at the pedestal (she is still very good with this) and up I got. We did more cone and mat work, I leave it entirely her decision to go to the mat and stop on it, once I have asked for a turn around a cone. She is still pretty "pretzely" at times, which is really gut-twisting, but now I just straighten her out with the opposite rein (sliding along until point of contact and hold until she gives). We also make sure to feed from both sides (one little tap on her neck with one finger on the side I want to feed her). She has completely understood the game of turning around the first cone and does it almost on her own very often. Little anticipator...

Her ears are still a lot back, especially on the portion between the cone and the mat. I wonder why? Hm....

After unsaddling, we played a bit more "sticking tongue out". Each time she does it promptly and pulls it out a fair way, she gets her favourite treat (bread cubes).


Saturday, 10 April 2010 Images for 10 April 2010

Wanted to start with Dacio, but he walked away repeatedly when I approached him for haltering. Took Carlotta instead, saddled her and did a few Pre-WWYLMs. Then CTS, but she swung her bum away a bit and seemed slightly tense. So we worked on CTS again, until she was happy with it. Unsaddled her and took her back to arena to play a bit more with sticking tongue out.


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By that time Dacio had arrived, so I asked him to come with me into the arena. We worked "naked" and at liberty. He was a bit worried and pushy in the beginning, so started off with Pre-WWYLM, then moved to WWYLM and introduced him changeing direction, following my body cue. He got that really quickly. He was very glued to me and had his ears half-back all the time, so I lowered my body energy even more and waited for one ear flicking a bit forward. Clicked those, walking very calmly all the time, stopping frequently at random cones. He soon had figured out that ear forward was CT and offered it more and more often. I tried to take some photos which confused him a bit and suddenly, while I was looking in another direction, he went down! Clicked him for it and asked for a couple more. Then back to the cone circle, then called it a day on a "good ear note".


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Tuesday, 13 April 2010

When walking over to the horses at the far end of the paddock, Dacio let me know that he was happy again and came up close and stayed with me. I "faked" haltering him, and he was fine, so I let him go again (which he didn't like) and got Carlotta instead. We started by a couple of Pre-WWYLMs, then a CTS at the pedestal, which she lined up to perfectly, so I got into the saddle and off we walked. Bit of work around the cone circle and to the mat. Her ears were still a lot back and somehow grumpy, but I just ignored it. We tried a few backings, which met a bit of resistance, then she agreed. Lots of CTs for weight shift, then one step back. Neck is still too braced, but that was only the first try after all.

More walking around the cones, this time I added going around a few more. When she tried to cut towards the middle, I switched to both reins and asked for leg yield, which she responded to very well. She threatened Dacio, each time we passed by him closely, but shiftet her focus quickly, when asked. After unsaddling, we did a bit of "tongue out", closely watched by Dacio.

Then I let him into the small yard and asked him to lie down. Tried to work on "sit", but he still gets up immediately without hesitation when I ask for it. We do get more duration on having both front feet stretched out forward.

Did a bit of work with the pad. He was really good with it this time, kept his neck relaxed and head low. So we finished with a bit of walking around with ears forward (he is taking to this really well now :-D ) and Pose, which is beautiful as well.


Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Chris over with Flamenca, while I saddled Dacio. He has a few minor reserves about the pad and saddle again, but we worked through it quickly. He was very calm and pretty relaxed from the beginning and when I longed him outside the gate on the road, I asked for "out", he did it immediately and fluently! He had a moment of shere horror when Chris thundered along Kleins Road on Flamenca at a full gallop, and jumped backwards, but calmed down quickly when he saw it was his riding buddy!

Dacio was nice and calm right from the start (no humping up his back this time or similar little stunts!) and walked off quietly. Chris took him through quite some challenges, like going up and down the banks on the side of the road, through rustling leaves and branches, swinging her whip around, touching his bum and ears with it, rattling it along the trees etc. Bomb-proofing my horse... ;-)

We stopped at the main road and watched some cars and big trucks pass by - that wasn't a problem at all for him. Went down a bit further along Fedders Road, where some horse and pony galloped madly in their paddock. On the way back, we used to big, but shallow, puddle just in front of the CFA garage for practising his first crossing-puddle-under-rider. After only a few minutes, he crossed calmly wherever Chris asked him to. We showed them the bus stop hut as well, with its colourful paintings on it, which was hair-raising at first, but then they went and touched it with their noses.

A very nice ride, and I have the distinct impression that our frequent short and very quiet and "zen" groundwork sessions are paying off. Dacio seems to develop more self-confidence and a much better attitude. I am so pleased! :-D


Monday, 19 April 2010

Several days off, due to the monster hacker BBQ, but finally back to my favourite things!

Dacio's turn. Again, he had issues with being haltered and saddled, so we spent quite some time with this again, before the saddle finally went on. He was still a bit worried about it and threatened to explode once, but settled in again and followed me quietly to the arena. We did a bit of pre-WWYLM, with one or two CTS's at the pedestal. Then we walked around a cone or two and back to the mat in the middle. He stopped on it very well. I introduced picking up the rein in a forward motion to simulate "walk on" when riding, and he did it very well.

Then got on, he was relaxed and stood very still. And stood... and stood, when I asked him to walk on. As I didn't want to use stronger cues and he didn't respond to the microriding, I started fixing my hand on one side and he eventually gave and made slight moves, first backward, then to the side. Took us at least twenty minutes, but he figured it out in the end and started walking forward. Big praise and jackpot. He managed to walk to the mat and stopped on it. I asked for one more time off and around a cone and back to the mat, then jackpotted him and hopped off.


Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Got hay delivered this morning, then saddled Carlotta. She still watches me closely when I (gently) tighten the girth, hole by hole, and CT after each one. But it doesn't seem to bother her anymore, she is just checking that I am doing it right ;-)

Brief pre-flight check and a bit of Pre-WWYLM, then we immediately proceeeded to the MB. I was quick with my CT this time, after getting on, so she didn't twist. I asked for walk-on and she promptly did. We walked around our cone circle and stopped in the middle. The overall feeling is now that things become a lot smoother, she listens to me and responds calmly. Less ears back as well. Looks like she is starting to feel happier about the matter. Ended the session on a particularly good one.

After unsaddling, we did a few more tongue-pullings.


Friday, 23 April 2010

More rain threatening and windy, so decided to play it by ear with Dacio. He was quite good with the pad, then tensened up a bit for the saddle. When I lead him around after girthing, he started to go off into a series of bucks. After half a dozen of them, I told him to stop _now_, which he did (a bit wide-eyed). No matter how slow I go about it, it looks like there will be lots of water under the bridge before he really becomes OK with it *sigh*

Off to arena and a few at liberty Pre-WWLYMs and WWYLMs and to the mat in the middle, Also a bit of longeing with walk and trot. He offered lovely bends and was attentive.

There were the first drops falling and the wind rattling in the trees. Some branches nearby were cracking as if some would come off soon, so I decided to keep it very short. Got on after two very good CTS's and asked for forward. Nothing. So back to the picking up and fixing one rein. He thought about it a few second, then started walking off. After a few clicks and walks, we ended the session.


Sunday, 25 April 2010

Got Dacio introduced to the bead collar today. For Carlotta it was: show it to her, jingle it a bit then put it around her neck, and she didn't even blink. For Dacio: his eyes almost popped out, then it took about 10 minutes of approach and retreat, before he started to breathe again *g* and let me put it around his neck.

We did pad CAT in the small saddling yard, and I threw my red jacket over his back. He started with head shooting up in the rafters, then was able to keep it level and fairly low. But it still feels NQR! Wile we played with Pose and shifting his weight back, about a dozen of horse-drawn carriages passed along Kleins Road. He head flew up, he jumped, ducked under the tap and ran off full speed. I was glad that he wasn't on the lead or too close to me when it happened! ;-)

Walked up to him at the far north paddock and, after a bit of ho-hum, I could halter him again, so we walked back to the yard and played a bit more. He was still a bit tense and sweaty, but he tried to stay with me nevertheless. When I turned him loose, he didn't want to leave, so we played walking at my side in shoulder-in for all the way up to the other horses again. He is such a puzzling character...


Monday, 26 April 2010

Saddled Carlotta (gosh, these short girth straps are a pain!). Samba took off towards the herd in the middle of it, so Carlotta became agitated, but I firmly said: NO! and she stopped and let me finish the job. She was a bit looky, but it was pretty windy and all her mates were about 200 m away in the paddock, so not too surprising.

We did some Pre-WWYLM and she dragged behind, so I hooked the rope on briefly and things became good. Then up into the saddle (CTS is still fine) and she walked off almost immediately on my cue. We practised a bit going around the cone circle and back to the mat, then added another cone before turning. Pretty good most of the time. I felt her birdie go away a bit at times, but it came back very quickly.

Suddenly she, very purposefully, walked towards the labyrinth and set one front foot in. I laughed so hard I could hardly click her. Then we made it through the whole labyrinth with me in the saddle for the first time. She is so cute when she tells me to leave kindy and do something else, as she is ready for it.

We went around the cone circle a couple more times, then I hopped off and fed her the rest of the goodies.


Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Bit of playing at liberty with Dacio: waving pad around his and putting it on his back, then Pose and shifting weight back, then approaching him with the rhythm bead collar at liberty. He found this very suspicious, but finally agreed to put his nose through it halfway. Then I asked him to lie down and tried to approach him with the pad. Nooo, thank you, Ma'am! So varied the thing and put the pad on his back, then asked him to lie down. He thought about it quite a while, but finally did it. Lots of praise and jackpot, then I pulled the pad off and gently put in on while he was still lying down. Several times, he was fine with it. Back in the paddock, he joined me again and ut his nostril on my hand :-D

Oh, and poor Piccola was in deep shit today! ;-) She came running while I was picking up manure and jumped into the wheel barrow, like he has developed the habit of doing after I finished distributing hay. Oh boy, there she was, in smelly company!......


Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Horribly windy this morning, so I gave up the idea of riding Carlotta, as even she was jumpy. :-(( We played with taking the bit on her own more extensively. Ended when she first wrapped her teeth around it. More pulling tongue.

Then got Samba, who was delighted about the attention, and tried the Goertz Champion (fits reasonably) and the Startreek (too flat on withers and spine) on her. Then we played some pre-WWYLM around the cone circle, then walking to the middle and standing on the mat. Got nice little progress. One CTS, then off the the yard to introduce her to taking the bit as well. Stopped when she touched it with her teeth.


Thursday, 29 April 2010

Frequent showers this morning, but less windy, so when it "cleared" up a bit in the afternoon, worked a bit with Carlotta. The turns around the cones become very fluent; she often anticipates, but I don't interfere too much at this stage, as I want her relaxed and in a friendly mood. When I tried to "force" her into another direction, she once stopped, put her ears back and lifted one hind foot! ;-)

Stopping on two reins lifted is nice and soft and she is starting to add more steps.

Asked her for her first HQ yield under saddle. Then lifted one rein, like in HSS. She had a brief moment of confusion, then backed. Big jackpot. Then we added a couple of HSS beginnings at the walk, which went reasonably well too. She is starting to feel a bit more like a riding horse... :-D


Friday, 30 April 2010

Dacio agreed to be haltered today, after a bit of hesitation, as all the others were taking off to the far end of the paddock. ;-)

We started with a bit more pad acceptance, but he apparently stayed tense enough inside to suddenly jump and throw the saddle on the ground when I put it on. I admit that I lost my patience here and _asked_ him to stand, and _now_, with my hand on the halter. He did, a bit wide-eyed, but at least I could finally saddle him, and he even lowered his head a couple of times during the process. When leading him after girthing, I could see how the thought about going into crow-hopping, but decided against it and walked off calmly.

In the arena, more reps of around the cone circle and to the mat. He almost jumps on the mat with his two forelegs now and then stops dead. Too funny. He still was tense (mates so far away and always something to stare at at the neighbours), but as he stood well for CTS, I got on. He was glued to the pedestal, as usual, but on hand fixed on side of saddle, walked off. Didn't take long, really, just a few seconds.

We did some walking around the cones and to the mat, and I had the distinct feeling that this pattern gave him some kind of security, but he didn't ever leave his anxious state really. I frequently had to get his birdie back to me. I do not feel safe and relaxed on him at the moment. This fella really _is_ nervous... *sigh*

Back to the yard, I put the pad back on him and asked for lying down, but, despite a few half-hearted tries, he couldn't bring himself to do it. Off came the pad and we did it "naked". I am now working on him following my hand signal to stay with his forelegs stretched out, then getting up to a sit. This is very difficult for him. He watches very closely and manages to go up a few centimeters, but then it becomes too much and he stands up. Will see how this progresses over time.


Monday, 3 May 2010

Finally some sun and not overly windy. Today I proceeded to saddle Dacio right away and without fuss. Just let him sniff the pad briefly, then put it on. When he started to wiggle a bit, I said DON'T! and he stood still again. Then untied him and asked him forward via hand target and he proceeded quietly (even though I could see him think about jumping to start with), then presented the bit and after a bit of turning his head away, he took it.

Chris arrived with Flamenca (at a slightly more quiet pace this time) and she got on him. He was slightly tense, but then walked off nicely. we saw some challenges in the forst, but he coped pretty well. On the way back he stepped on a big branch which got tangled in his tail. Followed a bit of scared hopping forward but he settled down quickly. Then a small branche with rustling leaves got tangled in his tail again, and after a bit of agitation, he just dragged it along until it fell off. Chris worked a lot with swinging the whip all around him, touching him everywhere with it, playing "polocross" by hitting all the branches and tree barks in proximity. And very soon it became old hat.

This approach seems to work quite well, as Chris has suggested: just pretend everything is fine, and hopefully we will eventually learn that things _are_ fine and he can cope....


Tuesday, 4 May 2010 Images for 4 May 2010

Despite it was very windy, and just before the rain kicked in, we went out for another brief ride with Dacio and Flamenca. Dacio was quite on his tiptoes, because of all that wind, and we took a scare new route, but he eventually settled down and walked along nicely. He did a lot of pacapacas, undoubtedly due to his higher body tension. When he had calmed down, he still has his withers lifted beautifully, but his whole topline looked nice and relaxed. He is such a beauty!

I rode Flamenca back to Narrawin, and she was very happy about finally going home (she had spent the night in my paddock, to save her two trips). She was the wonderfully educated riding horse she can be at times. Beautiful, very even fourt-beat pacapaca, downward transitions of voice cue, lovely, relaxed walk on loose rein. I was delighted!


Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Windy and rainy yet again. Carlotta was a bit jumpy when things blew into her tail from behind, but pretty good overall. We did a bit of groundwork, then I got on, we did a few around the cones and to the mat, then a couple of HSS. Not the most fluent and willing in the world yet, but not too bad for a start.

Bit more "sticking tongue out", then I asked her for the Pose for the first time. She got this really quickly. When I released her, she didn't want to go and kept following me around, so we played a bit more. Dacio, seeing this, came straight over and wanted to join in.


Friday, 7 May 2010

Dacio was lame yesterday evening on his left hind, and this morning the leg was (fortunately not too much) swollen from hoof to hock. Chris examined it carefully, seems that nothing is broken, whew! He stood very still for putting some ointment on and a bit later he was able to put some weight on the foot already.

Another windy, drizzly day today, and when Chris turned up, she said: whom are we teasing today? My reply: how about Samba and Carlotta together!? Euh... only thing, they are both _very_ green! Samba had two or three rides out, the last one about 3 months ago, and nothing since. Carlotta had about 3 or 4 and a bit of arena work since. I have never ridden her out in the open, so what a nice, thrilling combination, especially with the wind blowing quite strongly.

So we saddled the girls, Chris put a sidepull under Samba's bridle (as I had only briefly introduced her to the bit and mouthed her up just from the ground once or twice, but she was fine with it, so Chris didn't need to switch over to the sidepull), leaded them outside the gate and while Chris was doing a bit of longeing Samba for pre-flight check, I asked Carlotta to line up at the mounting block, which she had never done to this particular one. It is a bit smallish (tree stump), and she had a tendency to bring her barrel straight over the middle of it, but she was very sweet and willing to manoeuver her body around until we found a position acceptable to both of us and I could get on.

Chris had climbed on Samba in the meantime, and we heard a car rushing towards us - Greg coming home from town. Both girls just watched the car passing by, then Greg came out while we tried to get them going (NO, they didn't wanna leave...) and he laughed and said: "quite stationary, your steeds, eh?" Men... *grumble*

But we finally managed to make them go forward, though with a lot of whinnying and stop-and-go from their side. Once we were out of sight of the other horses, things got better. Chris still had her hands a bit full with Samba stomping, snorting and prancing all over the place, but Carlotta was pretty cool and willing to listen when I insisted a bit. Chris commented: ahaaa, we are having a pattern here, I always get the brats! ;-)

On the way home, Carlotta got more animated and collected and offered some nice little cortos, felt really wonderful. I love that "little" mare. Once we approached our paddocks again, the other three were waiting already, calling, running along the fence, bucking and kicking. Great! >:-/

But we got back to the gate in one piece, Lottie and Samba were actually pretty well-behaved, under the circumstances. We unsaddled them and gave them a bit of sweet feed as a thank you. Will take them out again on Sunday and Monday, but first again with an experienced horse. Maybe Greg will want to saddle his Darah and come with us...


Sunday, 9 May 2010 Images for 9 May 2010

Another ride with Samba and Carlotta. Greg had computer problems and had to stay home to fix them. This time they were already a lot calmer and happier. Walked forward nicely and we did quite some pacapacas and trots. Carlotta offered some lovely little cortos, but switched to trot when things got a bit faster. Good opportunity to practise rising trot. She is so smooth that I had hardly to "rise" and she was perfectly happy with it.

Samba harldy displayed any of her "Samba moments" today and went very well for Chris. We went to the sandpit (not around in there yet), then back home. Dacio, Lady and Darah were bucking and running again when they saw us come back, but our trusty steeds stayed completely unimpressed :-D


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Monday, 10 May 2010 Images for 10 May 2010

A short ride out. It was sunny (and windy). Chris took Dacio, who has fully recovered, and I chose Darah, as Chris thought it would be better to have "something sensible" around, as Daci can be quite a handful. But in the end, it was Darah who got all tipity-toed when we encountered a big sheet of plastic hanging high up in a tree and waving in the wind. She felt like she would spin and run off any second, so I prefererred to dismount quickly ;-) Dacio took one look, then relaxed and lowered his poll...

I hadn't ridden Darah in years, but she remembered our little bit of dressagy stuff we had done together and pretty quickly started dropping her nose into position when I asked. She feels very nice and has great presence under saddle. I have put my treeless StarTrekk Espanola on her, as her Brazilian saddle doesn't fit her anymore (she's too fat, so it digs into her kidneys), and this felt really good - I think she liked it.

And, how could it be otherwise, my bum is so used to automatically give gaited cues that Darah started to flatwalk, then to foxtrot. Just a tad more encouragement, and she might have broken into a real toelt. Chris laughed and said she could hear it from behind, before even seeing her doing it! ;-)


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There was a big puddle from the last rain, and of course we had to go through back and forth. Just a pity that my camera was turned off when he first went through - he jumped about a meter high!! Looked like the Grand National ;-)


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Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Bit of playing at liberty with Dacio: working on Pose and shifting his weight back, throwing the hula hoop. He managed to throw it over his head and got lots of praise and jackpot for it. Then I held out my hand and wanted him to bring his shoulder in contact with it. He still is a bit iffy about being haltered, so we worked on this one as well, i.e. self-haltering. Will take a couple more sessions, but he is starting to lower his nose a bit towards it.

Carlotta watched us over the fence, so I threw her the hula outside and she started picking it up and giving it upwards shoves. I threw in a few clicks for her nice mimicry, which made Daci a bit grumpy. Jealous little brat!

Let Carlotta into the arena, did a bit more with he hula, then sticking out tongue again.


Saturday, 15 May 2010

Carlotta (with me on board) and Samba (with Chris). I had asked Chris which one she wanted to ride and she said "the dark brown one", so I obediently left Lotta for her and started saddling Samba. Then Chris noticed and said: Oops, you can have your favourite horse, of course, I meant Samba for me! :-D

We went through the forest and to the CFA headquarters. Chris and Samba had fun jumping the ditches (partly water-filled) back and forth, while Carlotta and I were happy to just watch and giggle. Lotta is such a pleasure, pretty sensible, with good, strong nerves (most of the time, see Sunday!) and a true natural when it comes to gaiting. All I have to do is make a kissing sound, bring up a teeny weeny bit of energy (like in microriding) and slightly tilt my pelvis. And she stays in gait almost all the time. And if she happens to fall out briefly, she goes back right away. OF course, it is still fairly slow, but that will change with muscling up. I am delighted to have her.


Sunday, 16 May 2010

We had another brave (or is it stupid?) moment and decided to take Dacio (Chris) and Carlotta (me) along one of our challenge routes. And challenges we had, boy-oh-boy! We got to the end of our dirt road smoothly, but then the fun began: they saw the silly A-rabs prancing around across the road and didn't want to walk forward anymore. Thanks to our motivators, they eventually did, but 50 m further down the road, a lady was taking the rugs off her horses in her paddock, and that was another scaaary thing which required planting feet, snorting, arching neck, tucking bum under etc. To make our bliss complete, neighbour's paint stallion came thundering along, snorting and whinnying. And then the big Rottweiler came running to

the gate, snarling and barking. Delightful...

We eventually got past and things were fine for another 500 m, then came the paddock with the Martians: half a dozen of minies who came galloping towards the fence. Well, that was way too much - our poor steeds started dancing and hopping and put in some quite impressive pirouettes on the haunches. We decided to get off and lead them past, stopping at the fence, so everybody could make nose contact.

More challenges were: geese, a guy with his ride-on mower, two ladies who came walking towards us, some sheep, a couple of cars (with very polite drivers) and can't remember what else - everything was a welcome opportunity to show off, but it still was fun, and in the end, our ribs were so ouchy from all the jokes and laughter.

We turned around and rode home, and even though they were more animated (way home!), they listened well to half-halts and were butter-soft and light on the rein contact. Pasos are just too lovely! On the way back, things were less dramatic. The last horror experience was a female bum, sticking out of a car window. Which means a lady had stuck her head through the window and talked to the driver ;-)

Apart from all this, the ride was just fine, hehehe...


Monday, 17 May 2010 Images for 17 May 2010

I woke up with the feeling that it was time to ride Dacio again (I only had done a few short arena rides on him since the fall), and Chris was surprised when she arrived and saw him with my saddle on his back. BTW, he behaved impeccably for the saddling. So off we went, into the forest again, and towards the sandpits. I felt a little bit edgy, and so did Dacio, but things went well and I was delighted to ride him again.

In the middle of a big meadow (wide open space) he got a fright and started hopping. I ended up with a Tower-of-Pisa syndrome, but (coached by Chris), got back into control and stopped him with a HQ yield, so could pull myself back into the saddle. Chris was so sweet and said she knows but too well from own experience how those ugly memories can come back to the surface in such situations and want to make your body panic. But we mananaged to get through it all, and that has given me a nice confidence boost, so when Daci presented his next jump, I could stop him right away and just laughed about it. Chris felt that this was good progress, and so did I ;-)

We went to the sandpit, and I took some pix of Chris and Samba whizzing around, then Chris took a couple of me and Dacio:


This should be Ride-4.jpeg.  Is it missing?
Image title: Ride 4          Dimensions:          3648 x 2736, 1600 kB