Ball Bloopers

I said that the last video was the last one, from that session. Not that I wasn’t going to stop putting up videos of my horse playing basketball.
This is a bit of a bloopers reel. He’s done this exactly three times. Nothing is perfected yet. The immediate goal is to have him stand on his mat and wait quietly. We spent lots of time standing between basket attempts. Then, on cue, walk forward and pick up his ball and dunk it. Then return to his mat.
It’s a lot of small individual actions stuck together. Right now he is getting clicked for each little part as he completes it with lots of guidance. Eventually I hope to stand off to the side and tell him to go then watch as he goes to get his ball dunks it and walks back to the mat. I can’t wait to see if it ever happens.


Playing Ball


The United Methodists Women’s Rummage sale is one of my favorite events of the year. And one of my husbands least favorite. I come home with all kinds of good stuff. This year I bought Rusty a piano and the kids various toys but I just could not bring myself to splurge on the five dollar basketball hoop. Unbelievably it was still there on half price day near the end of the sale and I rushed to bring it home at two fifty.  Rusty is making good use of it!

Harvey, 5th go

I played with Harvey today. I started off with Rusty but was unprepared and he wandered off while I searched for stuff. I could have gone and gotten him but Harvey was standing there wanting to work While Rusty was not. So I gave them each what they wanted.
The whole thing lasted for just over eleven minutes. I cut it down to just over a minute.
I put down our mat and the whole thing was one big long episode of mat training while we worked on everything else. We started with a little targeting, then on to patience and standing quietly. Some people who I greatly respect have talked about teaching a head down cue as a relaxation technique. So I decided to try it. He just braces against poll pressure so, on the fly, we tried a different angle. I said down, touched his poll, and offered the target. We’ll see how it goes.
Then I haltered him. No more backing away from it. Not as good as I like but we need to get the head down cue before it can be really good. We did some sacking out with the lead and I brought out the blanket and threw it over his back. having it up there made him all nervous again so we worked on head down. I was out of pellets before he was as calm as I would have liked but I let him go. He can think on it until our next chance to play.


A New Treat Bag!

I am so excited. I’ve been wanting a new treat pouch. The old one is very nice. It’s the right color and tries it’s hardest, but, it’s just not big enough. When we ride I cram it full of treats and then it can’t close anymore. We’re fine at a walk but if we trot or canter treats start flying everywhere. It’s a little awkward not to mention annoying.
I had been pondering whether or not they sold fanny packs at walmart when we stumbled upon a dog accessory stand at a local festival. All their packs were hand sown in their own personal sweat shop in their basement, according to them 😉 I really liked that they were locally (Rapid City) made by what was very literally a mom and pop company. They aren’t advertised as such but they are set up for clicker training with all the required compartments and a clip for the clicker. There were also packs for the dogs to carry and much larger and smaller fanny pack type options as well as every other type of carrier I could imagine and certainly can’t remember.
It is intended for riding but I couldn’t wait that long to try it out. After a quick customization it was ready to go and I wore it out to trim Harvey today. It goes plenty big enough to fit around me. The clips are sturdy but plastic and should break if I ever hang up on a saddle horn. The bag is big enough to fit plenty of treats and zips securely shut. It makes it a little less handy to get to treats but that’s the point. They wont escape as easily either. It worked nicely for ground work and I can’t wait for a chance to ride to try it out for real.
They have a facebook page and a website


Working Double

While Tanna was working with Amarillo, Armadillo in my head while I’m trying to write it differently 😉 , I was playing with Harvey. I didn’t remember him being quite this worried about it all. Maybe having Amarillo there at the same time upped his nervousness. We spent almost the whole time working on standing calmly.
Amarillo learned to kick the ball, got blanketed and saddled, and we stood quietly. I felt like nothing was being accomplished but really it’s a big thing. Running a horse until they stand still only gives them more energy for next time. Rewarding stillness and calm builds a happy place for them, teaches them that training is just alright, no need to be all up and worried.
I also worked a little on getting him to let me stand next to him, by his back. He was quicker to let me on his left side than his right. It never ceases to amaze me that people can be riding a horse but unable to stand on it’s right side. This whole left side tradition gets to the point of complete ridiculousness sometimes. I let him circle and circle then, in a combination of + and -R I stopped offered him a release and a treat. I am quite happy mixing my quadrants.
It was a good work session. It was fun to watch Tanna and Amarillo while they worked and to get them both used to working with another horse. My favorite part though was long after we finished working and they were out to pasture. I put Coyote away after his daily yard grazing and Harvey came running over to say hi. He and Coyote both got a treat and I walked back to the house. Coyote left to the other horses. Harvey came galloping down the fence after me calling. I stopped and clicked him just for wanting to visit. Then I taught him to target his forehead to my hand. I held it up and clicked when his forelock brushed my palm. Then as he began to place his head firmly against my hand. But then, alas, I was out of treats. I held my hands up and told him all done. He followed me down the fence awhile longer calling. I can’t wait to get to work with him again.


A Little Ride

Just for the fun of it, and because I have my GoPro now so why not, Here’s some video from a ride Rusty and I took out across the pasture the other day. I’m a little disappointed that you can’t tell how big the hills are. Everything just looks round. There was a storm building to the west and I turned the volume down to less than half but the wind noise is still deafening. It was a beautiful day for a ride and the strong breeze kept it cool. There’s nothing like a nice canter across big open pastures.


Musically Inclined

So, I’ve been teaching Rusty to play the piano. I had some lessons as a kid but I’m a little… Rusty at it!! Haha, it’s rude to laugh at your own jokes. So anyway. I got a cheap little key board at the local rummage sale and we wasted no time putting it to use. I was assured by a friend who’s horse is much more skilled at playing than I will ever be that the slobber that clicker training incurs wasn’t a problem for them. And she was right, it hasn’t been a problem for us either.
This is our second go at it and with time we will build in some length and try to cut out his attempts at biting the keyboard. I left in the ending to show him trying to mug me and looking for other ways to get treats. He figured it out though and went back to playing.


A Ride At Fort Rob

We just got back from a grand adventure. For the first time in forever we loaded up the horses and hauled them over to Fort Robinson for the weekend! My parents drove clear out and joined us, then we all joined a group of Morgan people, kind of, kind of joined, not kind of Morgan people, and rode all weekend.
I say kind of joined because we camped up at Soldier Creek while they all stayed is cabins down at the fort proper. Although there were as many people as I’ve ever seen up there, including local friends that we were surprised and delighted to see, we got our preferred camping spot, nicely secluded and nice big corrals for our horses.
We brought Coyote and Rusty, for Rusty’s first time camping out and riding in trees and hills, and we borrowed a friends wonderful little mare. Little is a terrible misnomer, she is huge. A wonderful big half draft mare who was perfect in every way.
We went on a nice ride Friday after we got there. We hadn’t gotten going until much later than we had hoped. There was a last minute call that a bull was out and in a neighbors corrals. Would we please come get him?? Then Saturday morning the Morgan people showed up at our doorstep, saving us from having to go looking for them. Coyote was off just a little though and Rusty was NOT ready for a large group of horses in big hills so we said hi but weren’t going to ride with them. Just visit and see the pretty horses.
My wonderful parents offered to stay behind and watch children so I could go ride on the one non Morgan we had along. She behaved beautifully in the big scary hills and kept up with all the zippy little horses to the end.
We got in lots of riding, by ourselves that was the only ride we joined the big group for, spent lots of time playing in the creek, and cooked plenty of marshmallows over the fire. It was fun to watch Rury’s confidence and abilities build and improve over the weekend. By the last day he was striding confidently out in the lead. It was a fun weekend and we were sad to see it come to an end. Hopefully we’ll get to do it again next year!