Monday, April 24, 2017
Saturday, April 22, 2017
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...
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..
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
Say hello to Fred's backside once again lol
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
Tuesday, April 18, 2017
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.
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.
Monday, April 17, 2017
Spring I do believe has arrived, flies are just beginning to put in an appearance. Picked up fly masks last weekend & not knowing if they'd ever been masked before, felt I'd better check as I might need to desensitize them.
I'd gotten foal size they fit but, they don't fit. The cheeks don't go back quite far enough, yearling would be way to big & mini in the brand I use are hard to find.
Pippin was doubtful at first, where he came from he'd most likely never worn one. He's pretty game & was willing to try though. Plus he does trust me & cookies never hurt.
Once on however, Merlin took one look at this strange "new horse", got all stalliony & charged. Sorry no pix! Once he realized it wasn't a "new horse" in his pasture.
Next up Merlin, where he came from I'd fully anticipated masks were standard gear. Easy peasy, not thrilled but, no biggy.
UNTIL, Pippin decided he then had to chase the "new horse!"
Oh, after they of course helped one another out of their masks.
Sunday, April 16, 2017
from our very spechul bunnies...
A few behind the scenes shots of Easter ear mayhem...
Saturday, April 15, 2017
While it's still mud season, it's also becoming bug season. Figured the boys would appreciate their handy dandy flyswatters. Soooo,
Difficult to make out Merlins tail due to the black on black...
I've been working Pippin almost daily this past week. He'd thought having the winter off meant he was done working & feral was an option lol. He's already deciding working again isn't all that bad as it comes along with a good grooming of itchy spots. The birds are very appreciative, one day after his
deshedding I saw group of robins descend upon his white fur to take for their nests!
Haven't yet began ground driving him, while he drives, I discovered he really doesn't know any basic groundwork. So we've begun with longing. Have to say, I have a lot to relearn as cueing a shorty is vastly different, plus you get dizzy very quickly lol. We're both getting better, he's learning he can't pull the rope from my hands (gloves) at his attempts to bolt. He's also figured out, there is really no need to rush, so he's falling back to a walk after a sometimes initial burst of speed. He's also picked up on making a change of direction. Yesterday, I'd gone out to the pasture with our gear, he saw me and came at a trot. He really does like all the attention being on him which is a plus. However as soon we're finished he heads out to taunt Merlin & pounce on him.
While Merlin has excellent manners, I also plan to brush up on his groundwork. First Pippin has to learn to stand quietly tied, he's gotten loads better about it but, still needs practice in patience. Ecspecially as it'll be Merlin getting all the attention! Meaning Pippin would be diving on him the entire time we work. What Merlin really needs most is being desensitized. While Pippin is fearless, Merlin can shy at new things quite easily. Opposites in so many ways, we have young thug vs the gracious gentleman, fearless vs ooooh noooo we're gonna die!
Edit: venting rant: problem SIL just called wanting to know about going to FIL house to pick up some things in what he called the music room. I'm "sure, when did you want too?" SIL: "in an hour." Me: "it's the day before Easter!" SIL: " I know that's why we want to do it today, so we can go to church tomorrow!" Me: "you do realize others have lives right?" SIL "?" Me: besides hubs working, me having the boys, the animals, we have a life that doesn't revolve around you! You've got Wed. or Fri. next week, pick one with a time". This isn't new for her, she once called for help to move. When we were, sure no problem, when? Standard answer was "in an hour!" No, we didn't help! Is there an emoji for pounding your head against the wall!
Wednesday, April 12, 2017
Pippin is definitely Mr. Personality...
Boing, boing, boing, perhaps he's been watching Dancing With the Stars?I'm learning to make sure my cell phone is ready to catch his impromptu dance moves!
Sunday, April 9, 2017
Hubs & I went to equine Affaire today. Hubs first time, his feet were killing him a few hours in however. I had mercy on him and didnt force him to walk every building as I would've with the girls. He'd volunteered and I very much appreciated that.
We lucked out, arriving just in time for a driving clinic. How awesome is that! A mini, a pony & a Haflinger took part. Sorry no pix, it was a low light covered arena and nothing turned out.
Touring the horse barn next up, Sunday I knew isn't the best day to attend as many of the horses have gone or are preparing to head out.
We'd been to busy the other days with FIL's house.
I had a short list of things I wished to pick up, sadly Mini gear isn't something most vendors carry, so just a few items gotten. I did find something the Grandboys will absolutely love, I'll video them when Easter Bunny delivers it! Also some Chocolate horse head suckers, who'd have thought my Easter basket items would be so equine themed lol
One item I was very dissapointed not to find was a belt for this...
I mean come on, wouldn't you think some vendor, just one at such an enormous Equine event would have leather belts for buckles? As we sorted thru FIL's house Hubs discovered this treasure. Solid silver with blue enamel center. I absolutely love it! Anyone have any ideas where I might find an appropriate belt for it?
Another item Hubs set aside for me...
I noticed as I put it in a special place, a paper tucked in its neck. Imagine my surprise that this had apparently been a wedding gift in 1948!!! It's only blemish is a chip at the top of the neck. What a treasure!
Will always give me fond memories of Ivan.
Thursday, April 6, 2017
Well, made the decision regarding Cha-chi, the horse that wasn't available but, now is. Of course Mr. Logical Hubs had input. I knew my decision prior to asking however.
I'm going to pass, being the timing hadn't been right twice for the seller & now for me as well, three times of bad timing says it's not the right horse.
Being I still of course have the boys at least 40 hours a week, along with the Mini's & I'm committed to learning to drive properly. Where would I fit riding in? Something would loose out & that'd be me! Also it makes sense that when/if I look for another riding horse after the boys begin school full time, it should be trained to ride & drive!!!
Someone had mentioned that littlest Grandson needed a cowboy hat when commenting on a recent post...
A trip to TSC where he enjoyed trying some on. None even close to his size however.
Lil guy has few words, "that" means he wants whatever he's pointing too.
Lincolns preschool had a field trip today. One right up my alley at a local greenhouse. I walked in and ooooh the smell of plants and soil. I do miss the greenhouse but, love watching the Grandboys.
Lincoln remembered visits to my work...
Once done planting his seriousness disappeared completely...
They took off from under cover like a litter of pups to play in the rain & stomp puddles. The area was fenced so no escapes were made.
Lincoln much to his delight had to be wrangled back to cover by teacher. Always the first to go, last to return!
You may notice his red/pink jacket with what appears to be a cape? I'd gotten one to give his cousin Kennedy for when I went to visit. Lincoln had seen it & wanted one too. Sooooo, of course he got one in his size. The cape is actually wings, there are holes to insert thumbs, the hood has eyes and wee wing like ears of an owl. It's become his fave & he tells everyone it's his special coat.
Wednesday, April 5, 2017
Lesson 5 brought three changes, Instructor daughter is back at home base from wintering at the FL facility, so she was today's instructor. I work well with both & as she's also a Special Ed teacher, she's especially awesome working with my ADHD!
Change two was...
Change two was...
Meet Fred! Not a pony lol. He's a 15.3 hh Morgan, he's their "Cadillac!"
Change #3 was not using the simple ez entry cart, instead a carT that I must say I drooled all over...
I was a bit stunned to move from the ponies at first. She described Fred as being their Cadillac, very well trained and honest. Basically, if I didn't ask right, he'd tell on me LOL! I must've been doing well as the only "telling on me" moments were my half halts, which we just began working on today.
We started with her leading alongside, note lead rope draped over his neck. The cart has rear facing seats in the back, after she'd gauged how I was doing, she hopped in instructing from behind. I even graduated to trotting! Wow, such an adrenalin rush and so much fun. At least with a well trained horse it's fun.
Each harness is just a bit different, meaning each lesson I still have some fumbling going on, hitching this cart is also vastly different than what I'm used too. The driving itself remains the same, we did switch to notched lines as I've had some difficulty keeping my lines even. I do believe I'll be purchasing a set for the boyz, mad life quite simpler. My hands are getting softer each time, even driving a big boy like Fred, I don't feel I need a death grip any longer. I'm much more comfortable going deep into the corners prior to asking for a turn. I'm keeping my turns smoother, navigating thru cones when doing a change of direction...all in all, I've become more comfortable all way round. And I'm loving it, do believe I'm hooked! She complimented me on the fact that despite all of today's change ups, including a horse I'd never driven, I was moving forward rather than needing to continue working at the same level prior to progressing.
I'd had daughter my first lessons, she was very happy with how I've progressed with her mother. Mom had told her how I'd been doing and where we were in my training as well. Mom came in as I was currying Fred after the lesson and gave a high five when she'd heard we'd been trotting. We'll begin working on my hands and "feathering" the lines next time.
Sunday, April 2, 2017
Arrived home late afternoon yesterday, Pippin was enjoying a nap...
FIL is now resting beside his late wife. Coincidentally, he was buried on Hubs Mothers birthday! She'd passed some time ago.
I now understand why he moved back to WV after his retirement. Not just the beauty of the countryside, the hearts of the people. Wow, such amazing people. I've never been so surrounded by caring people.
Hubs is exhausted thru & thru, now we deal with emptying the house, and the sisters. One who, well let's just say I was thanked by several for quietly putting her in her place after several of her loud "it's all about me" moments. Sigh, always has to be one I guess.
Saturday, April 1, 2017
Wednesday, March 29, 2017
The sad is that my FIL passed Monday evening. He is/was a very dear man who will be sorely missed. He'd been born & raised in WV & moved back there just as I'd met my Hubs. His health took bad turns for a few years, heart surgery got him on the right path. Hubs was doing a lot of driving being there to be with & help him. It was decided with FIL in agreement after his wife passed, to get him closer to us and his three daughters. We decided to purchase another home for us, then move him into our then current home. It's a raised ranch with minimal stairs, two acres for him to mow to his hearts content, close enough to church, gas & stores to allow him his independence. He became part time minister again at church, as well as lead singer & thrived!
He'd broken a hip late 2016, bounced right back. A week ago he'd fallen, thankfully we'd gotten him a life alert. While there was only minimal injury from the fall, it was discovered he had blood in his urine along with other things that weren't quite right that he'd not shared with us. As Dr's attempted to figure things out, he crashed, 16 minutes of CPR brought him back "kind of." He was now unresponsive with his body shutting down. Poor Hubs despite his own pain made the decision to allow his Dad & God the final decision. FIL is now reunited with 10 of his 13 siblings & two late wives. His wish was to rest once again in WV, his past congregation have gladly taken the lead there assisting Hubs in making his wish come true. His three daughters, well let's just say we're blessed that one is sane and uncontrolling & that FIL knew who he could trust to abide by his wishes and be fair. Puts, so much on Hubs besides the pain of his loss but, he's getting it done.
The confusing part: today I got a call regarding a gelding I'd checked out as I was selling Camryn-pre Grace. The owner is in her 70's and has had him since he was a two year old. She'd decided at the last minute she just couldn't part with him, which I understood. Before Merlin, I'd called her to see where she stood regarding selling Cha-chi, she still couldn't part with him. She called me this morning and left the message that he'd be for sale shortly, her health wasn't allowing her to ride much any longer. He's been being kept ridden by some of the people at her barn when she can't. She plans to get him ridden more frequently, then offer him up for sale, I have first dibs. I left her a brief message regarding what we have going on and that I'd call her sometime next week to talk. What to do?
Not the time to discuss horse things with Hubs, we have to clear the house, do some needed repairs, and get it sold! Plus I have the Mini's & Grandsons to think about. Do I have time?
I've spoken with my friend who lives next door to my FIL's house. She has a boarding barn & a woman who Cha-chi's owner had keeping him ridden & trained now boards with her whome she trusts. Her thoughts were to ask owner if perhaps she'd consider a half lease, move him there, I'd be able to ride, get to know him, take lessons with her friend who's worked with him...she'd still of course be able to ride as she could & go from there? Logic says no, BUT!!!
Thursday, March 23, 2017
Oh my, Lincoln has such a way about him and I so love how his mind works. He's very into birds and has his own "Ohio birds" book which he grabs whenever he spots a different bird. Keep in mind at 3 1/2 he doesn't read but has become quite familiar with navigating the book. If he can't find it, he simply makes up what kind it is (black pidgyota aka red winged black bird)
This afternoon when his Mom came to pick him up he'd just spotted a Red-bellied Woodpecker and ran for his book. His Mom asked "is that bird indigenous to Ohio Lincoln?" Without hesitating or looking up from his book he answered, "no, it's indigenous to Gramma's road!" 😂😂😂😂
Normally Grampa arrives home just as the boys are leaving, Lincoln always sadly tells Grampa, "you missed all the fun." Grampa came home early today, so Lincoln hung out with him in the kitchen...
Hubs on his computer, Lincoln has a notebook pen in hand..."we're paying bills Gramma. You know, so we can go to the zoo an stuff!" Bed head as he'd just gotten up from his nap.
I so hope his imaginator never leaves him.
Wednesday, March 22, 2017
Today was best lesson so far, trainer agreed, lots of high fives after! Started out with me harnessing up on my own, a quick check, then off to the arena.
The first 15 minutes or so were our normal, trainer with lead rope walking alongside. I was feeling really good & in sync with my pony. Trainer only speakers when instruction is needed, lots of silence thruout today.
I'd just had the thought, "I wonder when she'll allow us to go on our own", when trainer turned and unclipped the lead! I was "really", she replied "your ready!" And off we went, I'm not sure why today felt so good, I was remembering how to check her speed, not allow her to set the pace, go deep into corners... I did run over one cone LOL. Turned into a backing lesson, oops!
Several times I thought, how odd to not be riding but, have that feeling of being connected!
We practiced a lot of stopping & standing, you all know how important a good whoa is. I even got a pic, her ears are back listening to me even!
Meet Suzy! We're practicing just chilling while another student is hitching up for their lesson. Lines relaxed a long her sides puts her in neutral. A big deal here as Suzy had to calmly stand, while her arch enemy Inca was lead beside and behind us. She thought several times of moving towards Inca but, with gentle reminders, she stayed put eventually cocking her hip just totally relaxed. These two mares hate one another.
As we moved off again, she was totally tuned in. We just drove around for quite a while after our hour, while Inca & he student worked. I'm only doing every other week as lessons are really quite $$.
Hubs did great taking care of the boys in my absence, lovely visit with daughter & her family. While the weather sucked during my visit, it really didn't matter. Perhaps even added to the visit as we all just spent time together.
I'd saved Jillians fave baby doll from her toddler days and took her along...
Friday, March 17, 2017
While I'm away, the boyz will play. Being its Saint Patrick's Day, just gives them an excuse to party. Hmmmm, quite similar to my sons in many ways!
just suits his party frame of mind!
O'Merlin I believe is watching for wee leprechauns in the mud.
Happy Saint Patrick's everybody!
Wednesday, March 15, 2017
I left this mess in Ohio...
Off to North Carolina...
To do lots of this...
Reading to my dear sweet Granddaughter Kennedy 💞
This visit is a much appreciated gift from my Hubs. While I'm here in chilly NC snuggling with Kennedy. He's back home taking care of the four leggers in single digit temps. Sorry hon, had no idea winter would start while I was away.