Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Day 1 of "ride week"

TC left for Denver yesterday morning with 2 of his shop hands. They are on an auction mission. Today they will bid in Denver on equipment for the company, and then as soon as they get done there it is off to Fort Worth TX to pick up 2 semi's that have already been won on an online bid.  This is part of the plan to update the trucking fleet, as some of the trucks are pretty old and are pushing 2 million miles or more on them.

So anyway, this leaves me to my own demise for the week, which means not only do I have nice weather but I actually have more spare time to ride.  Its not that I can't ride when he is home. I can and he assures me that he doesn't mind. But I am more inclined to stay home and fix some sort of supper for him and sit and watch TV with him. I guess I just like being with him. Go figure!

So I am calling this "Ride Week" and yesterday was day one.

Although I did not ride.   (Perhaps I should just call it horse week.)

What I did do was bring out my newly purchased fancy schmansy 3 dollar shedding blade- curry thingy.  (left the old one on the fender of the trailer and it is now taking up residence on the side of the road somewhere)

I learned many things yesterday, starting with- If you are going to shed out your pony, make them move outside of their stall. This allows the wind to clean up your mess and saves you much time when you are done.

I started with Danny, and got a huge pile of winter hairs.  He is such a good boy, standing quietly while brushed and brushed. I think he actually enjoys it.

This is just from Danny

Then was Trax's turn, he does not care to be groomed. he prefers to do it himself by rolling in the dirt.  But after a bit he stood still (no halter) and let me strip some of the hair off of him.  I am learning that he has 3 different coats.  He has his extra long and thick winter.  (which I have been stripping out for a month now) Then he has a shorter, but still thick under coat for spring.  This part is not falling out yet, and I really did not get near as much hair out of him as I thought I thought I would.  In another month or so when it actually gets warm, he will start shedding again and get slick and shiny. I did not do the red horses, they will get a turn today I think.

Afterwards I grabbed my tools of desensitization and Trax and I headed to the round pen.  I have noticed that he has begun to drop his nose for the halter. The last few times he did it, I thought I was imagining things, but he did it yesterday too.  It is intentional. This is a good thing.

He started by trotting which I was not going to ask for but since he did it, I went ahead and asked him to tip his nose to me.  We did both directions, and he did just fine. I was happy with his progress.

Then we worked on rope fears.  I waved it around, smacked the ground with it, tossed it at his feet, rubbed him with it, tossed it over his neck, tossed it over his butt, tossed it on his back feet, laid it across his shoulders and made him drag it around so that he could see it, and then drag it so that it touched him.  He did wonderfully. I was going to tie it to my jolly ball and have him drag that around, but I could not find it at first.  I now know that my jolly ball is 3 pastures (not mine either) over and I would have to go through a hot wire to get to it. So we abandoned that idea.  I'm hoping the next time the winds blows it comes from the opposite direction and brings it back home.

What I learned from this exercise is that either he is really building trust in me, or he is not as afraid as he sometimes pretends to be. I know that some horses use feigned fear as a tactic to get out of doing some things. Killian is one of those horses. Perhaps Trax is too.

Trax; I am not afraid of a silly old rope
Trax: Hmm, even if it touches my legs it does not hurt.
Who knew?

Then I did jumping jacks next to him. What I learned from this exercise is that old women like me should not do jumping jacks without going pee first. So we abandoned that exercise as quickly as we began it.

Pfffft!  Silly Old Lady! 

Then we worked on the bag/flag.
Since MK said I really need to make sure my body is turned off when doing this I chose to walk like we were in a parade.  I waved my flag back and forth and up and down and smacked it on the ground while he followed behind me.  This required him to walk towards it but I was always in between it and him.  Then I would stop and we would back up together.  Once he was doing that relaxed and with his head down. I was able to stand next to him and wave it around.  At first he was a bit bothered by me touching him with it but pretty soon he was cool with it. I shook it under his belly and rubbed him with it there too.  Then I put it in front of his face and held it to see what he would do.

Um, shouldn't there be treats in there?

He sniffed at it, and nosed it around a little.  I waved it around some and he was like, "Ya ya, its a bag, I get it now."  I waved it around behind his butt, which took a few to get him to just stand.  I really thing this movement was more about him thinking I wanted him to disengage the hind, than it was about moving from the bag.  It really didn't take him long to get over the bag.

What I learned there, is that body language is everything.

Next we worked on our circles crossing over with the leg I was driving for.  He really picks up on this one well. I really shouldn't be surprised by this, because if you think about it the one thing he does best is move his feet.  So it only stands to reason that the tasks he will excel at will involve moving his feet.  Standing still will never be his strong point- halter classes will probably be a no go for him.

Ha, I can see it now. I'll get him squared up and the judge will walk up and Trax will jump into the grandstands trying to get away!

Afterwards I turned him loose and he followed me around. Then I sat in the middle of the round pen to see what he would do.

Trax:  Um Lady, can you come open this gate?
Trax: Hey Sassy, can you open the gate for me?
Sassy: No Trax,-not while she is watching- she must never know of my skills. 
Trax: Lady, what are you doing on the ground?
Please come open the gate. 
Me: Can't you see I am resting?
Trax:  Sassy, help me find another way out of here please?
Sassy:  The fence is the same on both sides ya know. 
I finally let him out and went up to clean the pens and get everyone their dinner.

I cannot imagine why he is so fat. 
I was wondering where Killian was....I should have known.  Now I want you to look at the area he is standing in.  He either has to turn around to get out of there or back his butt up the stairs.  What I learned here is that even this big goofy horse can turn on a dime. That is exactly what he did and barely even touched the sides.  I shooed him out and started scooping food.  But I guess not fast enough....

He came back in to supervise.

Sassy not to be left out, made her way in as well.

I had to draw the line there because one horse is enough in this tiny space.  You can see the have just about knocked down my dirt stairs. Gonna have to get some rr ties to put there.  Meanwhile Trax waited outside like a gentleman.

What I learned here was to always shut the door behind me.

Trax: Hey old guy, what is it with Red horses anyway?
Talk about pushy! 

I really think that Sassy is learning bad stuff from Killian. She has become very bossy and almost mean.  I watched them tag team Trax last night. She herded him over between the wire fence and the skid steer, and then Killian came around from the other side with his ears pinned. They had him trapped and I was pretty nervous about how that was going to turn out . Trax just backed up into her and gave her a double barreled kick to the chest as he split.  As far as I'm concerned she had it coming.  I wish he would get Killian like that a few times. He needs to come down a notch off his bully pedestal. 

Tonight I meet Kim at the free arena. Going to take some obstacles to work with.  Should be fun. 


  1. Oh I like the idea of having a horse week. Wonder if my husband wants to leave for a while ;) but not right now, we are too busy calving and I wouldnt get any riding in anyways. Have fun riding all week.

  2. Way to go Trax! What a good boy. You guys are making progress by leaps and bounds. :) Horse week sounds like it's going to be lots of fun!