Monday, April 24, 2017

Coaching the newbie...

Lincoln has been busy coaching lil brother on feeding dandelions and long grasses to Pippin & Merlin. According to Lincoln he's the best horse feeder there is, so rest assured Jefferson has a great coach...

Carefully inserting dandelions thru the fence...

The apprentice is catching on very quickly...

And he's quite happy about it too! 

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Making up...

Merlin & I are closer to making up after whatever faux pai id committed. Could've been the clicker, could be he grew concerned watching me work Pippin first, could be he worries that after caught, Pippin will harass him. Never mind he does the same when it's Pippin caught. I'm leaning strongly towards the clicker with the other reasons blending in
He still didn't wish to be caught, I had a plan however. I caught Pippin & lead him out to Merlin. Pippin in one hand, handy stick in the other we gently herded Merlin into the paddock again. Once I closed the gate with Pippin on the other side, we began. A few false starts where I needed to ask him to move away with more energy than he'd intended, he headed into the barn. Then stood quietly to be haltered. We just walked about quietly, I asked him to back a few times & disengage his rear. Then I just sat on the mounting block...
Rubbing, sitting, talking, did he just need some one on one Mommy time?
He's most definitely taught me a few things...No clicker being a big one. Work him prior to Pippin, who requires more energy, perhaps watching me work Pippin & that I most likely come to Merlin with leftover energy from working Pippins way?  Two with such different personalities, adapting to each will take practice. 
And I must be sure to regularly give Merlin no agenda time..
That's an easy one ❤️

Thursday, April 20, 2017


I've been working quite a lot with Pippin, particularly on his manners. He had been on & off  difficult to catch. While leading he'd try the old  move her over with shoulder, neck, noggin. He might even attempt to turn his naughty bum into you. Very rude little boy & always thinking. 
Merlin has been an uncomplicated kind of guy. Leading like a gentleman with just your hand cupped under his chin. He'd catch himself, unless Pippn thought he should keep Merlin from being caught. Just an all around easy kind of guy to be around and work with. 
Problem with the squeaky wheel getting greased more often is the unsqueaky one gets rusty!  Pippin is now the one to come trotting, Walks along happily and particularly enjoys the clicker now. Quite the loveable turd. 
I mentioned Merlin being fearful of the clicker & that I was planning to put clicking Merlin on the back burner. To late!  As the clicker was in my hand, he's now quite fearful of my hand. SIGH!  Poor Merlin feels I can no longer be trusted. 
I went out to groom & play, Pippin came right up (he must be caught first still), tied him with knots well out of reach, he can untie even a series of knots.  Went to catch Merlin, he was "Oh, Hell No" taking off at a dead run. After a few tries, I took the pressure off him and groomed Pippin. Went back out to get Merlin, once again "Oh, Hell No" Sooooo, I decided to help him decide he'd like to be caught. Twenty minutes later, still "Oh, Hell No", it's gotten warm, it's muddy, I'm outta shape, we"re in the big pasture, I'm whooped. 
I take Pippin into the paddock, leaving Merlin alone while I get something to drink and rethink things. Pippin on lead line, we make our way back out and gently encourage Merlin into the paddock. I leave Pippin in the pasture, shut the gate and try again. Another "Oh, Hell No", I shut the barn door basically round penning in the paddock. After a bit, I reopen the barn door then allow him to think it's his escape route. It worked!  Shut the door, give him some time to decompress. Then, round pen him in the barn. One nice thing about Mini's is you don't need a large area, one bad thing is you don't want a large area sometimes lol. We made nice, groomed, rubbed, leading, my Merlin was back following me without the lead line again. Fingers, hooves crossed that if this isn't the last of it, we'll get things worked out soon. 

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Lesson #6...

Say hello to Fred's backside once again lol
Such a lovely bum ❤️
I'm slowly very, slowly getting better at harnessing on my own. Remembering the sequence, which buckles to slide home, which not to as some you want to double check once in the shafts, making adjustments if another horse had been used in this harness, tying the hold backs to the cart...I do tend to remember something I'd forgotten last lesson but, then reverse & forget something I'd previously remembered!!!
Once in the cart Fred & I warm up both directions at a walk, just like riding. This time there was a line of cones in the center & we were joined by another student with pony Inca. 
We were to drive the cones weaving in and out. I told myself "just like weave poles in dog agility. It of course isn't but, telling myself we've done this hundreds of times already was just the ticket!  I was totally relaxed as we'd travel down & back, do a lap, down & back another direction rinse & repeat.
 I'm figuring out how to ask Fred while remaining soft for turns, nothing like all the yanking, pulling & yee hawing you see in the movies. You'd think (I thought) the distance between you & the bit would mean some loss in communication, while the opposite is actually true. The slightest wiggle of a finger is all that's needed!  I do still attempt leg cues on occasion! Still doesn't work though lol
As we're doing this, cones are being set up along the walls, off to the side of cones we were weaving...Now we're weaving & driving thru cones AND giving one another plenty of room to work in the arena at the same time. After several repetitions, I mention "this is so much fun, I can't imagine doing this at speed!"
Instructors laughed saying "oh, you'll be doing more than imagining it!"  She disappeared, returned with a helmet, hopped on behind me saying "ask Fred to trot!"  OMG, WHAT FUN!  A few reminders to look the direction I want to go, look at the outside cone when taking a corner, she talked me thru the first set, then let me do the decision making on our course. We were weaving, going thru cones, making turns to give other driver & his pony room, changing direction!  I didn't even hit a single cone. I was so intent, I didn't realize Instructor had jumped off. She & her Mother were standing together watching & talking while Fred & I raced about. I should mention that Fred loved it, he was ready to have some fun. 
We slowed to a walk to cool down, I simply couldn't wipe the grin off my face. Both Daughter & Mom instructors then came over. They said how they're both amazed at the progress I've made in such a short time. I told them Fred made it easy. They said I can use Fred one more time if I'd like but,  both felt I'd graduated to driving another level horse!  I hadn't realized when I'd changed horses I was actually moving up. I'd just assumed the previous lessons horse was out in the field! LOL 
Fred really does make it all seem so easy.   

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Loose dogs...

Yesterday from inside the house, I noticed the Mini's noticing something out of my site line. Both were on high alert, seems more out of curiosity than fear. 
Suddenly two large dogs appeared, they skirted the fence a bit. Then, the largest risks the hot wire & is in with the Mini's!
I had the boys here so was at a panicked loss on what to do!  Just as I'm about to run out of the house yelling, both Mini's charge!!!  
I'm guessing dogs rapid departure was the combo of the hot wire shock, coupled with these two small creatures coming at him with intention. It risked the fence again to escape the Mini demons!  
I phoned animal control who arrived pretty quickly. We live on the county border however & the dogs where moving off out of our county. They appeared to be lost, both wearing collars & after the Mini charge they'd attempted to enter neighbors board fenced yard. 
Glad to know the Mini's don't hesitate to take care of themselves & hope the dogs found their way home. 
Pippin is doing really well with long lineing, I'm trying not to move faster than he's ready since he's probably not had experience with much groundwork. I do believe I have he's going to be lots of fun. Merlin was a bit more skittish than the day before. Didn't help that while I'd been attempting to introduce him to the clicker yesterday, I'd had to quit while he was still concerned about the click. Pippin had untied my 3 knot rope & decided it was his turn again. So, definitely didn't end the previous session on a good note SIGH. I'll reshelf clicking with him for a few weeks, then start over. 

Seems problem SIL is starting further drama!  She's telling the others they're all soon to be rich & while she knows the grandchildren aren't in the will, she's encouraging them to ask, "where's our cut!"  Hubs has explained numerous times that "their cut" is up to "their parents!" While FIL was better off than many seniors in that he kept his bills paid, had health insurance, a small life insurance policy &  he actually had savings to cover his burial with a little left over. Plus several collections of various items that amounted to more a hobby than anything worth the major cash she seems to anticipate. Shot we've not even received death certificates, there are no cuts & we've given the sisters the majority of household items!   Considering this SIL has happily lived off Govt handouts most of her life, paying ones own bills might mean your rich in her eyes?   Explains her feeling of entitlement perhaps. I'm just hoping she doesn't bring her drama along Friday when I have to meet her at the house.