Archive for March, 2007
Sue – How Do You Spell Crowded!
We had a What Do You Want to Do clinic yesterday. A bunch of horses and riders showed up. We had 10 horses in the arena. It’s a smaller arena than Pine Dell and 10 horses was just about the amount that the arena could comfortably hold.
Of course it was a little too cramped for Sue, the horse that is scared of many other horses.
A couple of times, we started to bolt forward when Sue got scared. Several times I caught her instantly relaxing and then going back into right brain when I startled and my body starting going into the clamping fetal position. But I was almost instantly able to get myself under control.From a distance, one wouldn’t have noticed the mini bolt.
Our job for most of the clinic was to ride around the barrel…about 10-12 feet away from the barrel. Our task was to go at a walk and then later at a trot. My desire for Sue was for her to pay attention to where my body was telling her to go. First I told her to follow the direction of my belly button. If she missed that signal, then my outside heel directed her where to go and the very last signal was the rein which was attached to her inside foot. If she didn’t make the circle, I picked up the rein in time to guide her inside front foot through the circle.
This would have been fine except for all the other horses. At the barrel next to our barrel was a horse that was being guided with a carrot stick. Thank goodness most of the time the horse listened to his rider’s body and she didn’t raise up the carrot stick to the side of the horse’s head. Plus he kept gettin very near our own circle.
Our barrel was right next to the wall where another horse and rider were practicing trotting from one end to the other and staying on the rail. Wouldn’t you know it that this horse had a problem with impulsion causing her rider to swing her arm every now and then to spank her horse forward.
You know it’s the picking up the arm, especially with a stick in it that causes us some trouble.
We weren’t too scared by the rider who flopped. That was a noisy rider, but the horse is nice and Sue isn’t scared of that horse.
We were standing quiet one time trying to be out of every one’s way and the sorrel horse came at us. Sue was scared of the sorrel horse and I don’t know why. Anyway, the sorrel horse came directly at us from the front. Sue scittered away. She was prevented from turning around and running, so she made sweeping sideways avoidance to get away.
I didn’t make a sound. In the past, I have been so scared that I would have yelled at the rider. Later I got so that I just screamed in a nice quiet voice. Today, I kept calm and stayed with Sue.
Whew. Both of us are making vast improvements!
Hello Emotional Fitness!
That’s when she gets pretty relaxed. There’s a “short” horse inside her. Today, she tried to stop as we were doing a clover leaf pattern. I picked up the hand that is normally kept on the horn and slapped my thigh. She ignored that, so I lifted my hand up higher to slap my thigh and she took off. It occured to me as my upper body snapped back to her tail that perhaps I should keep hanging on with that hand and slap my thigh with the other hand.
Sadly, I pulled back on the reins to get my balance back to the center of the horse…and she stopped.
One day when I walked out to the pasture, I noticed that Sue was more outgoing. Her eyes were darker and more intent. Much to my amazement, she had moved up one horse in the pecking order. wow
Sue got to attend a clipping and braiding clinic a couple of weeks ago.
When I took her to the clinic, I noticed that she hadn’t regressed. In the past, if I didn’t play with her on a consistent basis, she went back to being very nervous at the start of our play time.
Well, of course someone had probably ripped on her ears trying to get her head down to force a bit in her mouth and she has not been thrilled about me playing the friendly game with her ears. I usually
get so that I can touch the outside of her ears after we play the games for a while.
So, clipping of the ears was not something that she was thrilled about. However, we did manage to get a little tiny bit of the outside of her ears clipped by the time the clinic was over. She’s not a “bit” afraid of the clippers. The clippers touched her head
and feet…no problem. By the end of the 3 hour clinic, we had a french braided mane and tail and looked really cool.
About two more weeks have passed and I’ve not done anything with Sue. Today, I took her to the stable to see if I could ride her.
Well, amazing things happened. She seemed very relaxed. We did a few extreme friendly game things that would have made her flinch and she didn’t flinch at all. My eyebrows went up.
On the ground, we circled at a trot and she didn’t panic. We did use the barrels as a calming safe place. In the past, I found that stopping her at a
barrel and having a treat be there for her, calmed her down quite a bit. But we were able to make multiple circles today without panicking. We even did “S” turns and she didn’t really panic. I
thought that she was ready to ride just about 5 minutes in to our games. Now that was amazing.
I got on her and rode. She was the most relaxed I’ve ever seen her that early in our ride. We played the bull’s eye game so we could stop at barrels and be safe…and dwell. We walked and then we trotted. I thought, “why mess this up” and got off.
I took Sue out of the arena and some of my best friends…twin teenage girls that work at both Pine Dell and For the Horse Ranch,
were petting Sue. One girl said, “Sue looks better”. I thought that she meant that Sue looked a little slimmer.
The girl said, “Sue’s eyes are sparkling. Before, her eyes were dull.”
I swear that Sue’s eyes have changed to a very dark shiny color. They didn’t look like this before. It’s amazing.
Another statement: April 07 will be a year since I got Sue. Tony told me last May that he thought it would be a year before Sue went into a real recovery mode.