Two Little Surprises

Did I mention a little surprise coming?? I am so looking forward to meeting these two! If our plans come to fruition they will be getting some training, trick and regular, and we will see how (if) they ride. With the loss of Princess Onna a place opened up to bring a new horse, or two!, into our lives. We never would have chosen for it to happen this way but when it did we knew we wanted to get another Forever Morgans horse. It is a cause I love and support wholeheartedly and coming so soon! We can’t wait.

PLEASE HELP!! We need donations to get these boys to thier foster home. They have waited a very long time for a foster…

Posted by Forever Morgans on Thursday, July 26, 2018

 


Trail Ride!

I’m so excited! We are getting a little something (s) special. I can’t wait. I’m also not saying what it is.
I got to ride my horse two days in a row!! Talk about a big week. My daughter rode Coyote. My son was off in a tractor with his father. It was wonderful. Coyote was wonderful. Rusty walked bravely, and speedily, forward leading the way through all dangers, a fawn, the pivot, with water coming out even, he did great and even ponied Coyote when needed. He’s becoming a grown up pony!

 


The Sitting Bridle

We are back on track! Kind of. Early this spring we did all the ways we could think of to get on. It was SO much fun and we found some really good ways. I thought. If you missed it, you can see it here https://www.facebook.com/309985332692651/videos/590997127924802/
I came up with a list of other things we could explore in-depth like we did mounting. First up was bridling. Then summer came. Life got busy. I waved good bye to Rusty as he stood ignored out in the pasture. Maybe not completely but I lacked the time or drive to get back to our challenge. I feel the drive again. We are back at it. Accomplishing two of our goals counts, it’s a start at least. Hopefully we can keep at it and manage the other was I want to try bridling. These are the easy ones.

 


Self Loading, And Self Bridling

A very long time ago I said I was going to start working on all the different ways I could think of to bridle a horse. Way back then, spring?, I thought this option sounded fun. We haven’t worked on it in any way shape or form since the mounting video and the pickup is parked in a different place. I thought we’d try out the loading chute this time, it is normally used to load cattle into semi trailers to haul them to pasture or sale. They call it a loading chute, I thought this was what they meant 😉
So we practiced standing on his mat a couple of times, then going around the pickup. Finally added me, with the new piece, the headstall. It’s still not as smooth as I’d like. We need to work on him stepping forward to his mat after taking the bit. I am asking him to target my hand to get him to step forward that last bit. We’ve never done that before, he did good for his first time.
And of course we have to wait for him to finish cleaning up the grain in the back of the pickup before we can start anything 🙂


Making Progress

Yesterday we started working on teaching Rusty to pull a handkerchief from my pocket and wipe my nose with it. In the first session he easily mastered pulling it out of my pocket, he already knew how to do that with his rubber chicken. That left us to figure out the nose wiping part.

The how of it is easy enough, we just needed to work on teaching him to kiss. I had to figure out how to go about that though. Rusty knows how to target my hand. I asked him to target my hand in front of my face. Not as easy as one might think. With a little bit of back chaining we targeted the front of my face, then pulled the handkerchief and targeted my face. It didn’t matter that he dropped the scarf, it’s getting to the face that mattered. In no time at all he was still holding onto the scarf while he targeted my face!

Now to put it on a cue. I hope to do an exaggerated sneeze as my cue. That should be fun 😉

 


Old Fashioned Horse Training

I had the pleasure of talking to a man at lunch today. He stopped by to say hi and talk horses. That is always my favorite thing to talk about, but even more so in this case. He talked about what a wonderful horseman his dad was. Usually when someone says that it means they could ride anything no matter how hard it bucked, could tie ’em down and force them to do whatever they wanted. Big bits, spurs. I expected stories along those lines to follow. When handkerchiefs came up I was confused for a moment.

He asked what sort of treats I used for Rusty and then, instead of telling me that people shouldn’t feed their horses treats, told me how his dad used to use cake. Cattle cake, not people food 😉 He would put a piece of cake in his handkerchief then put it in his pocket. The horse would lip it and pull at it, and using food, he taught his horse to pull it out of his pocket. Then he taught the horse to wipe his nose for him. All using food.

He sounds like a wonderful and amazing horseman. I wish I could have met him. What a great trick to teach a horse! I assure you we will be working on it. How far ahead of his times he was! Or was he? Clicker training is a fairly new concept but training with food is something good horsemen have been doing forever. My mom fed treats her whole life and our horses were always well behaved. There was no trouble with horses biting, or having bad manners. It seems to only be the people who can’t manage to feed there horses without teaching bad habits that have trouble with giving horses treats. It almost seems like it’s a people problem not a feeding horses treats problem. Hmmm.

This is our first go at learning how. We got the taking it out of my pocket down, now for the nose wiping. We have carefully avoided teaching kiss. He is pretty mouthy and I’d like to keep mine. Now I guess we;ll have to work on it.

 

 


A Quick Ride

I have officially ridden Rusty twice this week!! That’s pretty amazing considering the way this summer has been so far. Life has been so crazy busy with non horse stuff, or kids horse stuff that I have hardly gotten to touch him since we did the talent show way back when.
They’ve been quick rides. Out through the yard and up, or down, a swath that got mowed around a wheat field. Maybe a mile. Lots of lateral work, transitions, and haunches in. Mostly just getting out and putting miles, make that singular 😉 on while it was nice and cool. Today it is supposed to be up to ninety, probably wont get any riding in.
Something was spooking him when I led him over to unsaddle at the tack room. Why carry it when you could just drop the saddle at the door? And he was looking so pretty. all arched neck and pricked ears. It’s hard to believe this is the same nondescript, kind of ugly baby that came to us a few short years ago.

Many Thank Yous

Horse people are some of the nicest people out there. It never ceases to amaze me how kind they are and how willing to help. I want to thank all of the people who have offered condolences and help. I mentioned in passing that we were looking for another horse and many people mentioned one they had seen on a Morgan page that might work. And a neighbor called and offered the use of her good old gelding.
I think we are going to take her up on it. Her granddaughter wants to rodeo too and she invited us to come along. It will allow my daughter to do what she wants without me having to deal with so many of the difficulties(my horses). That doesn’t mean we aren’t looking for a horse for her still.
What we are going to be doing though is fostering for Forever Morgans again. That is how I ended up with Rusty in the first place, for anyone who doesn’t know our story. We are proud to be a failed foster in his case.
After loosing Onna I poured over their pages looking for that one horse who was out there waiting for a home who already fit our criteria. An old horse, former Amish, broke to death, and quiet for a small child. There wasn’t one who immediately fit the bill. Especially not one that wasn’t on the far edges of the country. It’s hard being in the middle. I talked to the people in charge. Asked if they had anything. Asked if we had to go through the approval process again. We didn’t. Not that it’s that hard, it’s just nice not to have to.
I looked at rescues from another group. Never did hear back from them. Looked back through Forever Morgans horses needing homes again. Looked at horses for sale online. But I kept coming back to one horse. Harvey’s description has broken my heart from the beginning. “He does ride. He is hard to catch but is good once haltered. He is afraid of people and shakes when they come near – this poor boy needs someone with patience and love who can teach him how to trust again and that not all humans will do to him what clearly was done in the past.” I wanted to try to help him, to fix him, but we had the amount of horses we could have.
Now we don’t. We have room for one more. I wouldn’t have chosen to make room this way, but we have it. No sense in wasting it. So I asked if we could foster Harvey. He is not a kids horse. It is always possible that he will be someday, but as of now he is not what we need. Coyote is doing an alright job of filling that need, along with the neighbors wonderful offer, and we will do alright without for awhile. Who knows, Harvey may be exactly what we need in the end. Onna had never been a kids horse either. It may be months before he gets here. Rusty took many months to find a ride. Hopefully it will take less time since he doesn’t have to come over the mountains in winter. And hopefully he will turn out to be the perfect horse for us, or for someone, and he can have his happy ending that the poor by deserves!

Take Me To The Rodeo!

So…
I said we were getting ready for the little rodeo. Well we went. I wont say it was a disaster. It actually went rather well all things considered. Only because of my husband and our good friend Tanna. My husband said I should ask her to come with. I said no, I wasn’t going to bother her. Why would it be any fun for her to come along and help watch kids for the evening? I didn’t ask. He ran into her at the store and asked if I had asked. Then he called and informed me that she wanted to go and why hadn’t I asked her? I asked. She came and brought her horse Jerry.
Jerry is a lovely little gaited Morgan mare that I started and showed years ago. She has found the perfect home with Tanna and they do so well together. That night she also did a lovely job of ponying Coyote with my small children on him. She has never been at all flustered by arenas and crowds. She was always the exact same horse at a show as she was at home. The same can not be said of Coyote. He was hot and nervous and calling for Rusty when ever they were apart. He was also very glad to see Jerry. They spent lots of time grooming each other and visiting.
Rusty was, as usual in strange, scary places, back to his old self. The way he was when he first came to live with us. He was high headed and nervous. Bouncing off the end of the rope, back and forth, smashing into me and stomping on my toes whenever he spooked. We started off with my son in front of Tanna on Jerry and me leading Rusty and Coyote with my daughter on him. It worked pretty well. The arena has a large parking area, lots of room to let the horses settle down.
I wanted to work Rusty though. My main goal in most things we do I handed Coyotes lead rope off to Tanna and got Rusty’s rubber chicken. We played fetch for a bit, then I was going to get on. But. We really needed to get the horses in the arena. I couldn’t just abandon my children to Tanna for her to take care of while I played. My son was having a very emotional night, he could not handle, well, just about anything.
I ended up leaving him tied in the trailer. It seemed like the safest place to let him have the fit he was throwing. I pulled my saddle for its safety and left him with a hay net.
Coyote did settle down and did very nicely for both kids. We couldn’t turn him loose like we did Onna and both kids had to be led the whole time. It would have been funner, maybe ?, if we could have but the kids enjoyed it anyway. I did not. Between children’s temper-tantrums and horses It was more than I could handle. By the end of the night I was feeling rather sick to my stomach and exhausted. And that was with Tanna doing all the work
Things like this make me realize all over again how much we lost when we lost Onna. Without her I’m not sure we are going to be doing as much of this sort of thing. We wont be going to the one next Friday. But horse people are wonderful people and I do have other things I would like to share. This post has gone long enough though…

 

 

 

 

 


Learning To Ride Coyote

Summer has started out ridiculously busy around here. I get so much more time to work with the horses when it’s zero degrees in January than I do in the so called riding season. I find the weather more pleasant too.
With the loss of Onna, who we knew we loved and depended on but didn’t realize just how much we depended on until she was gone, riding has been even harder. There is a little kids rodeo series coming up in our biggest nearby town. I found out about it last year and am all for things that encourage a love of riding and showing for the kids, even if they are not exactly my thing, so I promised we would go. At the time it was a simple fun thing to do. Now my daughter is excited about going, but doesn’t have a horse to ride. I have been driving myself crazy trying to figure out how to do it.
She can ride Coyote. Probably. They’ve been trying to get used to each other. She’s annoyingly, wonderful parent aren’t I, timid on him. She sits there and refuses to steer or even try. He has never made any attempt to hide his dislike of children and spends the whole time looking at me, begging me to save him. They are starting to work though. Lots, or at least as many as we can fit in, of long easy walks. I’m trying not to push them. It’s hard for me. I like to work on things. Drill hard! The more intricate and minuscule the thing we are working on the better. Not the way to teach children.
I don’t know what he’ll be like out and about though, however good he is at home. The last time I showed him he did not like it. I realized this morning that that was 15?! years ago. There abouts. 2004 maybe? Might have been ’05. He’s much older now and easier going than he was as a youth. He is still probably going to need to be led though. I only have Rusty.
Rusty has done wonderfully every time I’ve taken him anywhere. He wasn’t phased by the noise and crowds of the talent show. We hauled to a friends indoor arena a couple of times and he was great once he settled in. I decided to try leading them with Rusty. We’ll get there plenty early and do a nice long warm up. Get them both settled in and calmed down. We’ve been practicing ponying here at home. Got him used to the rope around his butt. Not under his tail, I would like to do that a couple of times first. We did it when first starting him undersaddle. Hopefully he remembers or we just don’t have that problem. If it becomes apparent that it’s not going to work I’ll just lead her on foot. It will work out. Some how.
Wish us luck.