Monday, February 27, 2017

Cracking me up...

Setting up this video, I'd dumped the muck bucket & needed to go back in the stall. Pippin had come in from a nap & began munching away at his haynet.  My hands were full so, I bumped him with the muck rake a few times getting no response. So me being me, I just had to see how far I could go...
As you can see, he's totally unconcerned, I did it again off video and he began backing into it. Apparently, it's a good itch scratcher. You can see Merlin had been standing outside watching, seeing Pippin come thru unscathed didn't mean he'd lower himself to such barbaric levels LOL. Merlins scratch post of choice is backing into a stick of a tree out in the pasture! M

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Driving lesson #2

Just in from driving lesson. Had to skip a few weeks due to commitments of myself & instructor. Today I had the Mother of the Mother/Daughtet instructor team. I work well with either, their ways of teaching are similar & mesh well.
Today I got to drive the cart, promise I'll try for at least one pic next week!  Between learning all the tack, the order in which it goes on/comes off, hitching/unhitching, driving, the thought of pictures doesn't cross my mind. When harnessing for instance, when buckling you don't slide anything into the keepers, that way you remember to go back and double check. Their really big on safety which is exactly why I'm doing lessons.
I did pretty well, trainer rarely had to offer correction, she walks alongside with a lead rope right now. I couldn't help but to laugh when she said "I'm not letting you loose just yet!"  I'm learning the silent signals she gives to me so I can give them to the pony. This way, it's me actually cueing what we're to do next. I also have to unlearn my "Arrrgh" sound that's habitual for me correcting dogs & grand babies), she said it's not good horsemenship and ponies don't like it. I was going "Arrrgh" anytime Suzy tried to walk off without a cue from me. I got pretty good at remembering, "whoa & stand" instead. Another tidbit, is once pony has stopped was to lower the reins, not totally release.  Halfway thru I had Suzy (the pony) collected and on the bit at a walk consistently. I was able to change directions thru cones and such, sounds easy except being the pony is basically blind on each side due to blinders, you really need to be aware that you're their eyes on either side!
A lot is very similar to riding, though at the same time vastly different. It's all a lot to learn but, I'm finding its all very enjoyable kind of learning. I can't wait till next week!

I'll sign off with a pic of sweet Merlin...

Sunday, February 19, 2017

More sun, more pix...

Yet another beautiful day, feels more like April than February here in Ohio!  Not complaining, though there was a fly in the house this morning. Slow moving, so he's no longer among the living. I began spreading diatomaceous earth on my winter manure pile, I do notice a difference in bugs when I do this. Spending much more time outside and loving it. Hubs and I did a quick hike at a nearby trail this morning, I cleaned several weeks worth of canine land mines from the yard, tidied two of the raised veggie beds. Three I haven't touched yet are in need of desperate help, cleaned the stall and area the boyz like to back their bums off of the patio to leave deposits lol. 
Next I decided to play with the boyz, haven't done any click training with them till today. Started with Pippin just "loading" the clicker. That's click/treat, rinse/repeat multiple times till they realize the click means treat. So far no light bulb moment with Pippin there, but he sure enjoyed it. 
Next up Merlin, he's less enthralled with novel ideas, I'd hoped watching Pippin he'd realize something good would happen. He didn't, as his lips took the treat, I clicked, Merlin had a heart attack!  He took off to several feet away, I simply went back to Pippin. After several click/treats with Pippin munching happily & Merlin watching suspiciously, I went to try again. No way was Merlin letting me near him!  He normally loves attention, so I knew I'd need to undo his freak out!

I just wondered about watching, kicking poop piles & taking cell pix...
I so love watching them run in sync, guaranteed whenever I'm out with them. Merlin was keeping Pippin between us!

Also guaranteed are spats, look closely and you'll see Pippin fur in Merlins mouth!  Pippin is shedding, so this doesn't mean a chunk of hide is missing. He's still suspicious. 

Pippin: "Help, He's picking on me!"

Pippin: "Aren't you gonna do something?  Never mind, got cookies?"

Still Merlin was wanting nothing to do with me. I finally got him to take a few treats by standing outside the paddock & offering them thru the fence. Once he realized the killer click sound was no longer a threat, he allowed me to rub his forehead. Then I left well enough alone. Going to have him haltered & have some high value peppermints for him next time. Hopefully this will help him adapt to the sound?  

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Warm up...

So, last post with pics from Thurs., show the boys out in the freezing 20 degrees. Yesterday (Fri) we had highs in the 50's, yup that's Ohio people...

Another race to see who gets to me first...
Can you see Merlins ears?  Pinned back taking a bite from Pippins bum. Whoever is winning the race to me must be bitten SIGH

Not to worry, Pippin gets his payback. Love how his mane channels his inner Rod Stewart!

Still in payback mode...

Nope, not a beached whale...

Not nap time...

Gotta scratch that itch. This is why Pippin is such a filthy beast lol

Another Rod Stewart appearance!  His mane is just wild, so many different lengths it's kind of his signature style.

After roll, he needs his forehead rubbed. He's really shedding, I'd just curried him hence the roll!
He just dropped a few feet away, guess he just prefers looking like a hooligan. 

Friday, February 17, 2017

Here she comes...

I'm glad the boyz come as soon as they see me now. So much easier, especially in winter. These were taken yesterday, gloomy, windy & in the 20's brrrrrr. Today is sunny and low 50's pix later. 
She's coming...
Pippin usually insists he gets to me first. Sometimes this isn't good however. I'll have pix in a later post from some I took today. 
Love the wee heart shaped ice packs they drop from their little feet. I'm hoping being horse people read this, you all know this is not horse s#%*. Seems on FB non horse people don't realize that!

Saturday, February 11, 2017

No appreciation...

Break in the weather again, from negatives to 50 degrees. Just crazy!  Perfect timing though as Merlins tail braid had come undone today & I didn't have to freeze my fingers off to redo it. 
Caught, haltered & tied them both, as you know the little darlings (cough, cough) so love when the other is getting attention (cough, cough.). They were both tied at their respective hay nets so Pippins patience wasn't to overworked. 
Merlin was a perfect gentleman, brushed out, mane combed and conditioned, tail combed, conditioned, and rebraided. It had grown so much it literally dragged on the ground. Sorry no pictures. 
Next up Pippin, not such a gentleman but, he's beginning to shed and once he realized I was scratching his itchy spots he relaxed. Did his mane as well, his tail braid is holding in there. I was going to undo and tidy it up but, his brat-O-meter kicked in. Being in a small space with Merlin tied nearby, I decided to let it go rather it turn into a three way brawl. 
As soon as they were untied, dear Pippin looked at me and rolled!!!  Brat! 

Friday, February 10, 2017

Recent view...

We've once again gone from record warmth to temps in the negative numbers. Add high winds and lots of snow, this is my current view...
Notice anything missing?  The boyz are venturing out to relieve themselves and that's it!  Their hay nets are being emptied within 12 hours rather than their usual 72 hours time frame. 
My youngest son flew down for a short visit from Akaska. He'd so wanted to see the boyz but, being he'd packed for the record warmth temps we'd just had, he had no boots to venture back to the barn to meet them. He did get to see Merlin napping on the patio & Pippin venturing out to poo lol.  
Yesterday Adam spent the day like this...
Being pummeled by his adoring nephews. Adam is a big ol teddy bear of a guy, perfect for jumping on & being held upside down by the feet to walk on Gramma's ceilings!!!  He's heading home this afternoon, rough having him so far away.  Though we do love it giving us the opportunity to visit one of our most beautiful states. Plans are in the making for another trip early summer 💃🏻. Guess id better get in shape for lots of exploring. 

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

1st driving lesson...

Last week I went to find/see trainers barn & horses, today was my first official lesson. I've never ground driven before, so that's what we started with. The instructors are Mother & daughter, they also have a facility in Florida they train out of as well. They rotate back & forth during winter, trainer daughter was my instructor today, Moms enjoying some sunshine. 
As we went out to pull today's pony from the field we talked about what I knew & wanted. Of course said pony was at furthest point in field, I got some excerise which is a good thing, the ground was pretty rutted from the horses, I only fell once lol. Lucky my knee hit snow rather than a water mud filled pocket!
Soooooo much to learn, she's a very experienced trainer and easy to work with. I mentioned my having ADHD, rather than the chuckle I normally hear when I feel it's a good thing to inform someone...her response was "that's perfect!"  Turns out she's a Special Education teacher so understands exactly how to work with ADHD!  Awesome!
We first went over each piece of the harness, what its called, what its job is...along with a few tricks. As I'll be driving Mini's who have itty bitty ears she also showed one  that comes in handy when driving trails or any open area...

She braided a bit of mane, tied a string in then tied it to the throat latch so should Mini manage to get the crown over their ear, it's still attached. My only picture sorry, I wanted to remember it. She also suggested I write about the lesson in a journal to help recall what I learned and possibly discover questions I may have. Soooo, that's what I'm doing right now lol
One thing that stuck with me is that one the bridle is on, I'm actually the horses eyes, basically a seeing eye dog. While I realized this to a degree, I'd never understood just how reliant & trusting they must be of their driver. 
Suzy, the pony was a bit over eager at first, they'd just had their first turnout after several days of bad weather so she was quite fresh. Somehow I kept sliding my hands down the rein/lines and ending up to far behind, so I learned how to slide back where I needed to be without twiddling the lines to much confusing Suzy my fumbling with my asking for something. Need practice on that. 
I really need to work on keeping my elbows softer, something that will be easier from a cart I imagine. My timing on when to ask then release is very good. about 15 minutes into the lesson, I could feel myself relaxing into it, of course Suzy appreciated this big time. After making multiple rounds in both directions in the arena, she decided to set up a line of cones for us to weave thru. I kind of fell apart there, I said "ADHD, kicking in!"  Trainer said, she'd thrown a lot at me for a first day as I'd been doing so well, so wasn't concerned about it. 
Bummed I'll not be doing another till end of the month. This could prove addictive!