Persistence pays off, with a surprise ending!

one arena session. . ..
one arena session. . ..

After a few sessions at the arena with Handsome Guy, we had opportunity to ride out today with friend.  We rode from her place, fun and interesting!  Handsome was right there this morning, ready to catch me up, and loaded up.

Normally, I would go to a place I know for his first ride out for the season, and you know I missed last year, and have been getting everyone tuned up with ground work, arena time, and riding out.  It’s been a year or so since I’ve ridden Handsome!

two arena session. . . .
two arena session. . . .

Rode at the arena a couple of days ago, Handsome was making it clear that he was quite bored with my lack of “stepping up”, giving me some wrinkled lip and rolling his eyeballs, so to speak!  He is very subtle about it, and I promised him I would be stepping up my game for his sake!

So, we hauled out to a friend’s house.  We did a little warm up in the arena.  Handsome wanted to be resistant to bitting up, backing up with my efforts, but I outpersisted him, all of this  in the most polite way, let me emphasize!  I asked him to stand still for mounting up from the block, after a few circles he was cooperative, and stood still after mounting.  Always a good thing to emphasize!

take your bow. . . .
take your bow. . . .

We did a little warm-up through the pasture looking for discarded fly masks.  We found both, crossing a little pasture creek along with way.  Handsome has no issues with riding out on the trails, but it was our first time out, and in a while!  He was enthusiastic!  So down the road to our trail ride, two-tracks through a canopy of trees making for a nice, cool ride on an early hot summer day!

We crossed two bridges twice, (the ride was an out and back), offered to have him wade in the creek, but he declined today, he does cross water, but we didn’t have to do everything today. . . . .there was some pretty good up and down hill work, some good pulls, and on the way back, my friend’s horses following us on the fence line.

post-ride bliss!
post-ride bliss!

He was resistant to loading, backing out after loading three times,but I out-persisted him,  staying put on the fourth, allowing the divider to be placed.  I took the time for water and sandwich before heading back.

So. . . .I figured that if he had energy to be resistant, that he could unload himself, backing himself out.  That he could have an assigned task for the end of the ride.  So. . . . .I got the mounting block and put it in the extra stall so I could see over the divider, and with my Parelli Carrot Stick, created a visual barrier to turning around when I needed it, and applying steady pressure on the chest and saying “baaaaack”.

He had to think about it a bit, with Whiskey in the pasture outside telling him to get his rear in gear!, two steps back, thinking about it, then head down and backed all the way out!  Wow!! Lots of complements to Handsome, with a little encouragement from Whiskey!  Congratulatory carrots offered all around, with Handsome wanting to refuse!  Ha, ha, so Whiskey took them, and then Handsome did.  What a hoot!  Don’t you love reverse psychology?  Gotcha, Handsome Guy!

’til the next trail ride. . . . .

Terri!

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An amazing session!

a little tail action
a little tail action and Chica taking an interest!

Whiskey and I continued on our progression of groundwork.  Today he caught me up, and we started with a repeat of the Parelli Friendly Game.  A little tail swishing, a little wait for the lick and chew.  Whiskey led over some ground poles to give some variety to our session.

the extension of my arm
the extension of my arm

We then progressed to the Parelli Porcupine Game.  Asking to move his feet, giving his front end, was only a little challenging because of his height!  I defaulted to using the Parelli Carrot Stick to help me out!

Interestingly, (or maybe not), moving his hind end was very light, he actually resisted until I lightened up!  And his disengagement was perfect!

OK, I get it. . . .
OK, I get it. . . .

I asked one time each side, waiting for the lick and chew afterwards.  It came after a few minutes, pretty standard for an introvert.  As Whiskey released with the lick and chew, his mouth and lips became more relaxed, even almost a tremble, like, such a release!  He looked like he was going to sleep, which is another sign of an introvert, as they process and start coming out of their shell.

The backing up was where it became even more interesting!  I asked him one time with the stick giving pressure on his brisket.  He gave a couple steps, and came forward one.  I asked again to reinforce, and he gave me, again, a couple more steps back.  I appropriately stroked with the stick before and after, and he is doing well with that desensitization.

I waited for the lick and chew, and waited. . . . . and waited. . . . . .and waited.  How interesting!  His mouth was relaxed, his eyelids became droopy, but still I waited. Like, ten minutes!  I finally gave him some Tellington Touch starting on his poll and down his neck, lightly, both sides, and also some Ttouch Raccoon touches on the face around his eyes.  Whiskey was accepting of all that.  Then finally it came. . . . . .and came. .. . . . .and came!  The licking and chewing, instead of just one or two, went on for 30 seconds, maybe a minute!  I’ve never encountered that!  I don’t know what it means, but I’m sure it’s a good thing!

What an amazing session!

head in my lap. . .
head in my lap. . .

We are taking this slow, and keeping it short, since it is becoming obvious I have an introvert in Whiskey.  Must be my favorite kind of personality!

What are some of your “how interesting” moments?

I’d love to hear!

Terri

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Observe for natural horsemanship

Diary entry:

Every so often, I enjoy auditing a lesson.  When was the last time you observed for natural horsemanship?  If you have the opportunity to chat with the trainer afterwards, so much the better!  Here are a few I’ve observed lately.

DSCN0361Aug 5th

Attended clinic day at Sue’s arena to watch Duncan’s lesson with Katie, Sudi’s horse.  Duncan is having some trouble with the canter, likely has some physical issues that may limit his ability.  Sudi says he is ready for his summer vacation!  He has been working hard all season in lesson work with his young rider Katie, under the tutelage of Deb Dougherty from Yakima.

DSCN0410Aug 10th

Audited a morning of western dressage lessons at Kathy’s given by Jillian Santi from Whidby Island.  Every horse and rider in a different spot!  Jillian knows how to sort it out!  Jillian emphasizes soft contact and when to release.  Teresa had lunch stuff for us, so a nice exchange of ideas and experiences with this wonderful group!

DSCN0462August 24th

Met up with Liz for some barn time.  We went earlier to the barn before Steele was turned out.  We groomed and saddled up with the dressage saddle and rope halter in preparation for some in-hand work.

DSCN0463The western trainer, Mark, who works with clients out of Lakeside Equestrian, was holding a group lesson with his show clients.  Most were retired, however, there was one young man of about eight years old enjoying a lesson on his beautiful show horse with many wins under his cinch!  We had opportunity to chat with Mark about the western pleasure lope that was being practiced during lesson.  Sounds like his clients have fun traveling to the different shows and being supportive of each other!

Approach your natural horsemanship skills from an observation point and see how interesting it can be!

Terri

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Ground poles for natural horsemanship

DSCF8049Diary entry:

July 21st

HOT today, we are in the midst of a heat wave, daily temperatures hitting near 100 degrees!  I visited Steele at the barn, it was a full 25 degrees cooler on the west side!  It felt so nice!  I met Steele at his pasture gate with an apple.  We shared it like the compadres we are!

Our goal is to improve Steele’s topline.  We will start with ground poles today.  We worked in the indoor arena.  We started with one ground pole.  Steele helped me roll it, in front of us, over to position.

First, I asked him to touch it.  He obligingly waffled it, and then wanted to bite it.  Then I asked him for the Parelli Squeeze Game, back and forth a few times.  I repeated on the other side of the ground pole.  Then I sent him in a circle where the pole was an obstacle within the circle and he stepped over it.  I asked for four rotations each side.  Then Steele helped me put the ground pole back to its proper place, rolling it in front of us, away from us.  That got his curiosity and motivation going!

Remembering to clean up after ourselves, I got the muck rake, and had Steele help me with that chore, following along behind, giving me encouragement, lol!  He thought the muck bucket was quite interesting!

July 28th

Was a little later arriving at the barn this afternoon.  Steele had finished with his turnout, and was preparing for dinner.  Don’t get in the way of that!  Before, though, we shared an apple, gave some scratches, and face rubs.  Although we are “conditioned” that we should do more, never underestimate doing less, down time with your horse without agenda goes a long way with him!

How is your progress coming along?

Terri

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Results and feedback with natural horsemanship

DSCF8046Diary entry:

July 15th

Feedback from Anna, shoer, regarding her trim experience with Steele:

“Steele is done, was of excellent behavior and mind, and his feet looked impeccable!  I could tell you have been ‘playing’ with him!  He was so good and no spook!  A lot of long and low riding would benefit his marginal top line.  What a different horse all around!!  Nice work, lady!!”

Sometimes we see results later down the road, the Ttouch and tail rotations, the confidence the groundwork gives, releasing of discomfort with Ttouch.

Stay tuned!

Terri

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A full session with natural horsemanship

Diary entry:

June 30th:

The Parelli Porcupine game
The Parelli Porcupine game

Liz and I got together and worked Steele in hand at the barn.  Went through all Parelli 7 Games.  Therefore, Steele received two sessions.  I also went over leading, fast and slow, and backing up, the horse should mirror you.  Steele is more comfortable following an object instead of an object coming towards him, one he doesn’t know.  We rolled a barrel towards him, and Steele shyed a bit, with a What???  Then we played the Parelli Touch It Game, on it’s side and on end, then holding the lead rope with Steele following, we took turns rolling the barrel in front of us.  Big difference on Steele’s response.

comfortable in his own space
comfortable in his own space

We saw how the Seven Games help “my space, your space” and how the horse develops confidence being in his own space, he doesn’t have to be on top of you, his handler.  These all boil down to safety issues, and focusing the horse on you.  These are focusing exercises for whenever and wherever you may need them.

the Parelli Circle game
the Parelli Circle game

The Circle game starts with a send, then we ask for 2-4 rotations maintaining gait and direction.  This teaches them responsibility.  We will do this in the saddle with rail exercises later.  Then we ask them to “hide the hiney”, disengaging the hindquarters, and stopping with their nose to you.  This is a bit different from the usual lunging.  However, it works into 40 rotations each way using all gaits, changing gaits, etc.  It starts with teaching the horse to maintain gait and direction without being micromanaged.  While Steele does his circles, I pass the lead rope behind me without turning to face him.  Steele stopped behind me a couple of times, because that is where the pressure is off.  I send him again, neutrally, thanking him for checking in!  When you want to bring him in, wait until their head passes your shoulder, then you bring their nose in, squatting a little while you look at their hind end.  They need to come in, disengaging their hindquarters.  Ask until they give you the disengagement.

the Parelli Driving game
the Parelli Driving game

Steele was not very straight in the back up.  We asked him to back up with the Parelli Driving game, the Porcupine game, and the Yo-yo game.  I had to shorten the lead on these, right brain horses tend to need a shorter lead on some of these things, remember, it’s a confidence issue being in their own space.

What's next, Mom?
What’s next, Mom?

Things we will build on is backing up between two barrels, backing up through a gate, as in, when you lead them out, stop, and back them up.  This is a good one because you are asking them to back up into their safe area, their pasture.

July 7th:

Worked Steele in hand today, one session of the Parelli Seven Games.  He was straighter in the backup, overall I was able to use soft and quiet cues.  I asked for three circles both ways, and he was very good on disengaging the hindquarters.

Stop and smell the roses with non-demanding time
Stop and smell the roses with non-demanding time

I then spent some non-demanding time with him.  Parelli teaches that you need to do at least three sessions of the Seven Games, that enables you and your horse to have a conversation.  The language is being established!

Stay tuned for my next Diary entry for natural horsemanship!  How is your diary coming?

Terri

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Progress your ground work with natural horsemanship

DSCN0130Continuing an entry to my Diary:

June 22nd:  Started the Parelli Figure 8 Game around the barrels with Shyguy.  This is a drive and draw game.  Groundwork should have equal parts of drive and draw.  First I lead him around, playing the Parelli Touch It Game by having a piece of apple on top of the barrels.

DSCN0131General, curious to see what was going on, came over and got the treats, and pushed the one barrel over!

DSCN0134Shyguy had to be micromanaged at first, but then started getting it, going around on a loose lead.  Soon he will do this on his own at the walk, then we will progress to the trot.

OK, come on. . . . .
OK, come on. . . . .

To start, send your horse around the barrel, as he comes around, back up, drawing him to you.  In the middle, stop, give him a rub or a treat.

I'm listening. . . .
I’m listening. . . .

Then send him around the next barrel, again, as he comes around, backing up as you draw him to you.  Stop in the middle. This allows you to send with the other hand.  Takes a little coordination!

There's the lick. . .
There’s the lick. . .

I watched the Parelli dvd on the Figure 8 pattern for level one/two that was put out a year ago.  I had been teaching this to my horses for the last 5 years, and they have a nice direction to it.  I had also been given tips at a Parelli clinic in Spring 2010, to go slower and be in closer to get started, especially with the Introvert horses (reference Parelli Horsenality).

Playing with your horse with patterns engages them on all three fronts, according to Linda Parelli, mentally, emotionally, and physically.  You can access Linda Parelli’s Figure 8 Lesson on www.parelliconnect.com.  According to the Parelli material, On Line Parelli Patterns, it is recommended to review or learn a new pattern when you have an hour or more to work with your horse.  Pattern work allows your horse to anticipate what is expected, hence helping him tune in to you, helping to focus and calm him.

Take a look at www.parelliconnect.com.

and start having fun with Parelli Patterns with your horse!  Give him something new and interesting to learn!  Horses love it!

Terri

 

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Body language for natural horsemanship

A good session!
A good session!

Today I introduced The General to the first three Parelli Seven Games; the Friendly Game, the Porcupine Game, and the Driving Game.  Since I have gone through these in some detail with Shyguy here on previous blogs, let’s take a closer look at the body language.

Introducing the carrot stick
Introducing the carrot stick

The General is a Left Brain Introvert (LBI) by charting his Parelli Horsenality.  Boss was my first LBI, and I am seeing some similarities in our conversation!  I’ll show you as we go along!

Looking away, "what's in it for me?"
Looking away, “what’s in it for me?”

After catching me, ears forward, and checking out the Parelli Carrot Stick, I started with the Friendly Game, stroking him all over.  Notice how he looks away, not buying into the conversation.  As I start flipping the savvy string all over him, he continues to show me his skepticism.

Notice the brace in the body, and looking away, but he has an ear tuned in!
Notice the brace in the body, and looking away, but he has an ear tuned in!

Here you can see the brace in his body, and notice his ears!

Shyguy tuned in!
Shyguy tuned in!

Interestingly, Boss and Shyguy are watching, very tuned in to General’s initiation!  At one point, Boss came over and touched noses with General, as if to give him encouragement!

What?  I thought I was Top Dog here!
What? I thought I was Top Dog here!

General became rather crabby with the Porcupine Game, where I ask him to move the forehand.  Left brain horses are dominant, and tend to push with their shoulder, so moving away from me was not what he wanted to do!

Crabby Crab Cakes! (Does anyone else watch Sponge Bob?)
Crabby Crab Cakes! (Does anyone else watch Sponge Bob?)

Notice this crabby look on his face!

Acceptance with the lick, notice his forward ears!
Acceptance with the lick, notice his forward ears!

It took him a little longer for the lick, the acceptance.  I asked for only a couple of crossover steps in each direction, he was rather uncoordinated with this maneuver.  I’ll go for a full circle in the future.

Tuned in, ears forward, turned towards me, soft expression.
Tuned in, ears forward, turned towards me, soft expression.

At this point, he decided to be more engaged, it was catching his interest!

Paying close attention to the Driving Game
Paying close attention to the Driving Game

Here we are with the Driving Game, he is moving much more willingly!  He also gave me a lot of releasing, opening his mouth in big stretches and yawns!

Joining up!
Joining up!

We ended the session with General being very engaged, and engaging!

Stay tuned! 

Terri

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When horse camping. . . .with natural horsemanship

When horse camping……

I’m never without my highline kit.

This is a very compact couple of items that will fit in your stash area under the back seat of your truck.
 
I put mine together from the local Big R store.  Check with your ranch or feed store. This will save you about half of a pre-made kit.  
 
You need two tree saver straps.  These look like seatbelts.  One hundred feet of rope that can withstand a ton or two of pressure.  They will likely have to cut it for you off a big spool.  However many knot eliminators to thread through.  I use one for my horse and one for the feedbag.  I also use a tie blocker.  I attach it to the knot eliminator.  Since I’m of average height, this makes it easier for me to tie my horse.  I tie a knot in the lead rope so it can’t be pulled through.  My mounting block comes in handy to get it placed high enough on the tree.
 
This is an interesting link that will show you how to tie it.
 
 
Happy Trails and Good Riding!
Terri
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Cow working with natural horsemanship

Today I attended the cow working event at Longhorn Cattle Company, home of the Akehurst family, icons of the Kittitas Valley ranch community.  This event was held as a fundraiser for the Washington Foundation Quarter Horse Club (WaFQHC).  It was a wonderful opportunity for inexperienced horse and riders to gain some insight into working cows.

The turnout was great, attracting members statewide.  Or maybe it was Greg Akehurst’s barbecue for lunch break that brought them from far and wide?

The event was combined with a trail obstacle course to give horses more experience with a creek crossing, a wooden bridge, ground poles, a log, a roping steer dummy, an animal hide, and a mailbox, to name a few.

You could come and watch, or volunteer to help, getting a variety of hands-on experience.  Something for everyone!

Don Akehurst started with introducing everyone to a tolerant cow in the round pen.  There were many attendees with no experience, young horses, new horses and new owners, all combinations!

From there, faster cows were used in the round pen.  After a wonderful barbeque and potluck lunch break, cows were worked in a pattern in the large arena.

This was a great opportunity right in our back yard!  I’m grateful I attended!

Take advantage of every opportunity you can for your natural horsemanship skills!

Terri

 

 

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