Lunging for Learning

Good day, Friends!

The day for Elvis’ date with the vet nears for his gelding appointment!

In preparation for after care, which involves lunging twice a day, we had a session to refine skills for both myself and Elvis.

First we were given a visual with Erika Lafors explaining what we are doing:  addressing nose in, ribs out, shoulder over, maintain gait, maintain direction.

Check it out!

Then it was my turn to be coached.  Elvis learns quickly!

Then we did a little refining on the change of direction!

How do you prepare your partner?  I’d love to hear!

Terri

 

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Catching up With Elvis

Good morning, Friends! 

Elvis continues his progress!  During the last three months of  temperatures in the nineties, I’ve been meeting up with Elvis in the mornings while still cool, to have fun with all things feet!

We have had obstacle work in the indoor arena, some Ttouch work, learning how to give a bow down, preparation for ground tying, practice on proper in-hand leading skills, pedestal fun, some liberty, work on quiet feet, trailer loading and backing out, the game of “around the world” progressing to “sit stay”, and had a first outing to an obstacle course for a day!

Awesome fun!  Let me catch you up!

Here is his trailer loading, first time went in willingly, and then here we are refining, coached by Erika Lefors, part of the ALT Horsemanship team!

Here Elvis is getting good at the bow down.

Getting some Ttouch, built into grooming time. . . . .

Tuned into his handler. . . . . .

some in-hand practice. . . . . .

coached on the pedestal. . . . . .

Practicing technique. . . . .

Playing “around the world”, we achieved twice around this day!

and finally some “sit stay” as I back away, I got two good steps in!

Be sure and follow our progress on our Facebook page DD This Dudes Rad!  Here is the link:

https://www.facebook.com/DD-This-Dudes-Rad-324724784544503/

Stay Tuned!

Terri

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The new Little Missy

Folks!  The summer has been busy, and we are on the cusp of a change of season again!  School has even started in some of the neighborhoods!  The heat in Spokane has again been in the upper 80’s, 90’s and even triple digits.  By my definition and choice, this is too hot to ride out, and we have had smoke, some of the worst air quality in the nation at times, from Canadian fires to the North, Central Washington fires, and wildfires in Montana.  So I sit tight, but still need to satisfy my cravings for horse progress.  Having Elvis at the barn for training keeps the ball rolling forward.  I visit the barn in the mornings while it can still be called cooler, for sessions with Elvis.

Then along came Flicka!

Flicka is a three year old, that came into the barn early Summer for skill building and sale, or re-homing.  I took her on, and I’ve been having fun ever since!

I love my projects, Whiskey is hanging at home until the weather is cooler, and the juggle works.  Of course, I have great support from the training barn, with Angela Tanner, and her daughters Erika Lefors and Z, or else I would not be doing this!  Support is everything!

Flicka is having her first rides, and she is a nice in-between from the youngster Elvis, and older and more accomplished fourteen-year old Whiskey!

She came without any formal training, but had some reactionary responses instilled, which the Angela Tanner team had already made improvements on by the time she arrived on my radar.

She has progressed enough that I am starting to have some sessions with her, so enjoyable!

Groundwork has been started with bridlework techniques.  Here is a demonstration by Angela Tanner, Brandi Lyons Certified Trainer, of which this technique is a key element.

Hugs all around!

 

Terri

Follow our progress on Facebook page My Friend Flicka!

https://www.facebook.com/My-Friend-Flicka-1943833242529698/

 

 

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Day 2 of Clinic

Good morning, Friends!

Day 2 of the Brandi Lyons No Limits clinic came overcast and cold, with temperatures at freezing!  A great motivator to get moving!  Warming up with bridlework and mounting up!  The day before Whiskey gave me a great hip over at the mounting block, such a great focusing exercise and one to build precision with!

After warm up, Brandi requested a ride on Whiskey!  He was quite excited and gave it his high stepping best!  He wanted to shy at the noise of the speakers set up by the auditing benches.  Brandi worked him at the “long and low” as a warm-up exercise at the trot.  We revisited this on the last day.

Our focus for the day was groundwork with a lot of shoulder over, starting on the far arena wall and working towards the speakers and audit area, since this gave plenty of opportunity for spooking.

We also went to a separate area and worked on sacking him out to noisy plastic bags, and such, to help Whiskey settle and keep his focus.

The rest of the afternoon was focused in the saddle, starting again at the far arena wall and working towards the speakers and audit benches.  We used two cones and did figure eights with the shoulder over, increasing our precision with the feet.  Brandi calls this the barrel pattern.

For the last exercise of the day, we practiced the “lay down”.  This starts with the head down cue from the saddle, using a “milking the reins” techniques, a contact and release when the head lowers.

Angela Tanner had started Whiskey on this at the barn, so he picked up the finishing touches quickly!  After this is achieved, we are done, and Whiskey is put up for the evening relaxation and dinner!

It was a great day!

Terri

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Elvis Joins the Big World

Good Morning, Friends!

Our Winter was long and cold and the pasture took it’s time thawing!  Footing was poor, progress was delayed!  Of course, I believe everything happens in its proper order and time.  I’ve been involved with horses long enough, and seen the seasonal changes enough, that I have become philosophical!  I always seem to catch up and it is all good!

These are times that can be maximized in their own way.  I took the time to hang out, groom, give TTouch sessions, and just enjoy.  Whiskey was a great help being Big Brother! while taking charge.  When the shoer came, Whiskey was Mr. Solid while Elvis was curious about everything!  Gratefully, my shoer is very tolerant, Elvis got the elbow just once!

There were a few of us that got weanlings at the same time, a project with a built in support system of friends!  Laura Sanchez, one of the peeps, came to visit and we had fun playing!  I had familiarized him with the halter, so we were able to slip it on and get it adjusted.

We cooled him down a bit on this hot day, did some leading, and called it good.  He was scheduled to go into the training barn the next week, at Angela Tanner’s, to start building his skill base, get gelded, and after gelding care.

This is a fun project and  a great learning experience for me, however, I made sure I had the support of Angela and her team to make it a success!

Stay tuned!

Terri

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Finally Summer!

Good morning, Friends!

Wow, a long Winter’s nap we had!  While I was glad to have gotten an early start to the season tune-up in February, the long, overcast days had me setting aside my motivation for blogging, so here I am, catching up my progress!

With preparation started, Whiskey and I attended the Brandi Lyons Horsemanship clinic, a four day “vacation” to reconnect and push progress further.  I had not been on Whiskey for a year, and, while I live with him at home, our progress got sidelined with Smokey and her progress!

Settling in for clinicDuring tune-up preparation at Angela Tanner’s, a certified Brandi Lyons instructor, Whiskey was taught the hip over for mounting up.  I love this for focus!  He was also started on the lay down.  Horsemanship has evolved over the years to encompass these skills for a well rounded horse and partnership.  These skills are a combination of cues that are taught and then combined.  For example, the lay down starts with the head down cue given in the saddle.  This has taught both Smokey and Whiskey to ride with a loose rein.  Power steering comes from taking up one side or the other rein, using the outside leg with the inside rein for your directional aid.

Another “new” skill is the shoulder over.  Whiskey and I need to work on this for better trot-to-canter transitions on a circle.  He needs this for his Cowboy Dressage, but more importantly, for control of his front end and feet.

Shoulder over starts on the ground after basic bridle work is started, and progresses to the saddle.  Whiskey and I did a lot of this in clinic.

As mentioned, while Whiskey is a seasoned show horse, it seemed to be a trigger to be at a “new” arena!  He was quite ramped up at the start of the clinic!  And to be fair, I had not taken him anywhere for a year, except for Angela Tanner’s facility, where he had a chance to relax in the new environment!  My goal is to have him be relaxed no matter where we may find ourselves!

Because of his excitement, I remained on the ground doing bridlework for warm-up on Day One of the clinic.  Everyone else was mounted up, even though their horses were also displaying signs of being somewhere new!  However, I saw no need to be in the saddle until things calmed down and we could be better focused!

After observing everyone, Brandi had a few words for each of us.  She very graciously complemented me in staying on the ground under the “pressure” of everyone else being mounted.  I’m willing to do what my horse needs and seems appropriate at any given moment.  We all have to deal with the horse that presents right here, right now!  By the end of the day, I was in the saddle and we were on our way!

Terri

 

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Reconnect With Whiskey

“No heaven can heaven be, if a horse isn’t there to welcome me.”

~Author Unknown

Snow and ice and frigid temperatures!  But. . . .it is February, the time we want to be at the arena tuning up!  We’ll be ready as soon as it melts off!

I’m reconnecting with Whiskey after a season off.  Work and life distractions, let’s sweep what we can under the carpet and get back at it!

Whiskey has been in the barn at Angela Tanner’s for a couple of weeks before I started integrating with him.  I’ve started with lesson time, and also participated in a Saturday four hour workshop.

It starts with the bridlework.  Rein hand to your buckle, other hand with the dressage whip as a MOTIVATOR!  To TAP the side of the horse, like a TICKLE!  NOT a stick, NOT a whip.  If Angela sees you be too heavy handed, inadvertently of course, she will come over and remind you!  I cluck to Whiskey for the forward cue, and only lightly tap if needed.  It doesn’t take long for Whiskey to move forward with the verbal cue only.

From bridlework, we ask for a disengagement, and for Whiskey, wait until he relaxes his neck and head, then ask for a back, with a soft rein.  Say “whoa” and release.  Relax.

Relaxation is the key ingredient for Whiskey.  While he was bred to carry his head high, he is after all, an American Saddlebred, I am helping him be relaxed in his work and carry himself in a relaxed frame.  Each horse has his own translation of relaxed frame, as it applies to their conformation.  Find where this is for your horse! That is my goal for him.

Continuing the bridlework, we add the shoulder over.  Take five steps straight, then take five steps promoting the shoulder over.  I turn my body to an 11:00 position, and Whiskey needs to angle over using his shoulder to move away from me.  This will translate into the saddle.  I repeat both sides, using the 1:00 position alternately.  Often!

Angela comes to check in.  She reminds me to not lean on Whiskey, as this creates brace.  He needs to step out of my way and move his shoulder over.  Whiskey’s right side, or shoulder over to the left, is not as smooth, so we work on that side often, until it becomes as easy as the left side, or shoulder over to the right.

Whiskey and I also practice our relaxation at the mounting block.  There is a big wooden one in the arena.  We have been practicing our hip over, for easy line-up.  Whiskey is becoming nice and relaxed with this!  This is a new skill for him, and it’s lots of fun to learn new skills together!

How have you started your season tune-up?  I’d love to know!

Terri

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Snow Day With Elvis

We have been buried in Winter!  Frigid temperatures, icy snow, makes for poor footing and just time enough to throw hay and minimal horse keeping before losing feeling in my hands!

Elvis’ pasture mates got hauled off to the training barn for start-of-season tune-up, it is February, isn’t it?

He had a couple of days whinnying for his past company, and staying safe under the overhang of the barn.  When his absent owner returned the following day, he came out expecting me to have his buddies with me, he had made that association!

He remained friendly, greeting with his nose and welcoming swipes down his face, scratches under his chin, and along his body.

Next day, the routine was repeated, me hanging out while he licked his plate clean.  I had the Parelli carrot stick with me this time, as I sat, making lazy circles, which did not seem to bother him.  He reached over and wanted to check it out, the string, the stick, and then back to his dinner.

He joined me out in the pasture to further check out the stick and string, biting the end of it, then decided he would have some attitude and ran off!

Today, it was obvious that he is becoming more comfortable out in the wide open range of the pasture, lying down for a nap, and meeting me as I came through the gate with his treat plate.  While I threw hay, he finished and joined me at the feeder as I sat on the edge, hanging out without agenda.  He continued conversation with me with his nose and wiffles.

He wanted to be standoffish instead of close, but changed his mind as I was making my way to the gate, deciding to again check out the stick as I offered as an extension of my arm.  While holding the string against the stick, I touched his shoulder with it!  He flinched, but stood for another touch, and then decided he had enough!

Would this be the start of working with liberty?  I’m taking what’s offered and working with it!  I think it’s timely to introduce the stick and starting concepts of my space-your space!  I’d love to know what you think!

Terri

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Touching Noses With Elvis

img_2198Good morning, Friends!  First snow!

img_2116An update on Elvis!  Our interaction progresses.

img_2109I continue to give him Ttouches, and rubs all over, touching under the belly, down the butt, front and back of legs and reaching up towards the ears, which he is a little shy still.

img_2114I’ve taken his rope halter and rubbed it all over him.

img_2153 Very good with that.  I’ve introduced the grooming brush.  He’s good with that.

img_2142When I hang out with non-demanding time, building some of that in so I’m not asking anything of him every time, he says hello with his nose, once, maybe twice.

img_2204When I feed pans through the fence, he sticks his face through and blows on my neck.  I’m in love!

img_2165When I brought Smokey home from clinic, he stayed at the gate and hung there for a few minutes!  Smokey had ambled off.

img_2119It’s gratifying to see the small and steady improvements and his interaction growing!

img_2207I have a soft and short “get down” rope that I played with him yesterday, rubbing him with it, putting it around his neck, just played for a few minutes.  I ordered a size up on a halter and am waiting for delivery.  I use a lot of approach and retreat, and I love on Smokey and Whiskey for good examples.

img_2164I look forward to progressing, it is a fun and gratifying journey!  I hope you are enjoying it as much as I am!

Terri

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