Thursday, October 9, 2014

Two Months

Well, not quite.  It dawned on me last night that yesterday was the two monthiversary of Copper choosing Jay.  He didn't come home until the 15th, but he chose Jay on the 8th of August.  I don't know if I will ever have the words to adequately describe how amazing it is to see someone chosen by a horse.

You. You are my human.
I told Jay this morning that it's like we've always had them, but it's really only been a few of months (two for Jay, five for me).

Here's a run-down (with pics) of what Copper has learned in less than two months:

~ That his human isn't so bad.

Oh, that scratch thing feels good.
~ And he met his new sister.


~ How to knock down his 6' rail on his gentling pen (the day after he came home!)

~ How to supervise his human while he works.

Doin' good work, Dad.
~ How to be caught and haltered.

I do not think I like this.
~ Being dragged around by the face isn't any fun.

~ But spa day is kind of nice.

~ Getting caught and haltered is okay, even if it's crazy Grandpa doing it.

I am a good boy.
~ But getting dragged by the face is still no fun.

I'll come with you because I am a good boy, but it is under protest.
~ That if he tried really hard and didn't put up a fuss, he'd get to "graduate" to the big pen.

Hi Dad.  I like it out here.
~ The new grooming bucket isn't scary.

I helped, Dad.  Now you can find everything.

 ~ Grandma's braids are nice and keep his hair from tangling.

No more dreadlocks
~ The blue saddle pad might feel funny, but it smells like his sister and didn't eat him.

I make this look gooooood.

~ That even though being dragged around by the face is no fun, if he actively participates, he gets to go on a walkabout in the real world.

This is the people barn?
~ That taking a family walk outside of the big pen is a lot of fun, even if he has to remember his manners.

This is nice, Dad.
~ And if he's really good on his walk, he and his sister get a surprise picnic.

Food grows out of the ground?!
~ And after he learned all of that, the hard work began.  In one day, he met the trailer, learned to tie, and wore the bareback pad.

I do not think so Grandpa Beel

That wasn't so bad
I'll just take a nap.
I almost forgot about clicker training.  Grandma and Copper started with targeting and he thinks clicker training is a pretty cool game.

So.  I touch that thing, hear a click and get a treat? Cool.

It might not seem like a lot when compared to events like the Mustang Makeover, where the trainers only have 100 days to train up a horse, but for part-time "training" they've both come a long way and are already great horses. We've got years and years with these two, there's no need to rush them, though it's hard not to feel rushed when we look and see how fast other mustang owners are able to move.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Getting Caught Up

I say that like it's actually going to happen.


But I do have video from a couple of weeks ago that I meant to get uploaded to share.  Copper got introduced to the saddle pad.  He's getting closer and closer to meeting the saddle and I think it won't be a problem whatsoever.

And for a horse who saw absolutely zero reason to allow himself to be dragged around by the face, he certainly figured out his lead line manners once we got out of the pen.  Outside the pen, he leads like he's been doing it forever.

Princess Skeeter, on the other hand, still gets a little "chargy" and gets her face in front of mine, which I don't like.

For being such great horses, they got a bit of a picnic.  No complaints from them at all over the spontaneous treat.


Tomorrow Mom and Bill are coming down and I plan on hard tying Skeets to the truck (since she's pulled up the panel fence and broke the tie on the trailer) to groom and saddle her.  That will be one of the places she'll "get dressed" up at the lodge, so she might as well learn it, right?  Copper might get to wear the bareback pad for a bit and get soft tied to the truck.  We haven't introduced him to tying at all, since we don't have a safe place to do so.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Tarp Training with Copper

Skeeter's been through the tarp training before and was a rock star, but Copper hadn't been.  Last week, when I was inventing new and interesting ways to torture train them, I decided to spread out the tarp and feed them on it.  I secured the tarp to the fence and spread it out.  I knew it wasn't going to be a problem when Copper came over to help me.  He picked it up with his lips and backed right up.  He didn't care one iota about the rustling.

Since it looked like dumping the hay on the tarp wasn't going to be a problem, I decided to drag over the tub we've been using as a mounting block and put their food in a "bowl".

Skeeter was interested in the "bowl"
Copper had to head over to check it out, too.
Yeah, the tarp's not a problem.
If food is involved, not much is a problem.
My plan was to feed them under the tarp the next morning, like I did with Skeeter.  There was a problem with that plan, though.

There wasn't much tarp left to hang, and what was left was full of mud.

I think we can say that they are both appropriately desensitized to the tarp.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Copper's First Walkabout

While Tuesday was a huge day for me and Skeeter, it was also a Big Day for Copper.

His training with the lead rope had come to a stand-still and I thought that maybe he just didn't see the freaking point of it.  He likes to learn new things, so I asked Jay if it would be okay to take him out of the pen when Mom and Bill were down.  It's such a milestone that I felt bad for asking, but I didn't know how Copper would behave and I thought it would be nice to have experienced back-up (or lead in this case).

Copper has learned to respect his halter/lead enough that he'll give to pressure, which came in handy a couple of times.

He marched right out the gate behind Bill and then got a look at the world beyond the pen.  His feet just had to move, so Bill circled him a couple of times, but Copper is just so level-headed and laid-back it didn't take much.  He might actually now see the point of learning to lead so we can go do cool new things.

Food pushy horses really irritate me, so they are not even allowed to look at the hay when we feed until we give them a verbal "eat" command.  Bill took Copper to a green patch and told him to "eat".  Poor Copper didn't realize that applied to anything other than hay, so Bill pulled some grass and hand-fed him, then pointed to the ground and said, "eat".   The light bulb went on and Copper enjoyed some hand grazing.

There were only a couple of times where he sort-of had a temper tantrum.  His are pretty pathetic compared to Princess Skeeter's (remember the dirt skiing?).

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

I Rode My Horse!!!

This was not an unintentional ride, I climbed aboard with every intention of riding.

We don't have a round pen and Skeets and I have never figured out the whole longing thing, so we're not doing this "right".  But, hell, every time I try to train "according to the rules", we don't make any progress.

We just started introducing neck reining from the ground a couple of weeks ago, and she mostly gets it.  With Bill's first ride last week, the transfer of information from the ground to her back started, plus she figured out she can go forward and carry weight.  Last week's first ride made my first ride go much more smoothly.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Skeeter Had Her First Ride

I haven't said much about it, because I wanted to have the video ready and just haven't had time to mess with it.  Finally, I was able to sit down long enough to put it together.

Last week, Mom and Bill were down again to work with the horses.  I was supposed to meet them at the house after a funeral, but the funeral/graveside service ran long and they had more time to play than I did.  While I was on my way home from the cemetery, Bill slung a leg over Skeets and she moved off.  His options were to fall or slide on over, so he slid on.  Since he hadn't planned on an actual ride, he just had the halter and lead rope on, but didn't have the lead rope tied around as reins.

Skeeter wasn't so sure what to do, so she tried backing out from under him.  She didn't panic, just tried backing up.  After a few minutes, Bill had Mom tie the lead rope around and they started working on getting her feet moving.

It was just a few minutes, but she moved with purpose, under direction, so that counts as a ride.  God willing, I'll get my first ride on her this week.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Play Day

Mom and Bill have been so good about helping us with the horses.  Our schedules pretty much suck right now and focused training time is limited, so when they had a free day, we took them up on it.  Eventually, they'll get a blog written up on the day.  Until then, here are a couple of videos that I put together of the videos they took.  (How's that for confusing?)

Today, Jay and I were able to work with our babies for a bit.  Copper worked on leading instead of dragging and Skeeter worked on wearing the saddle some more.  She was kind of scooting around when I first threw the saddle and it was all jacked up, so we had to strip the saddle and start all over again.  She stood much nicer the second time.  We don't have a hitch rack, so she has to ground tie while I'm saddling her and ground tying is not her strong suit.

She asked to go out of the pen, so we went for a walkabout, which caused Copper to lose his mind a bit.  She's better out of the pen for me, but not perfect.  I can't tell if she's crowding me because she's being a pushy bitch or because she's looking for reassurance.  Next time we're out of the pen, I'll have someone video tape it.