Thursday, September 11, 2008

It was a TUFF day! :)

I'm such a dork. (see title)

Anyway, Mondays are my day off so I had a hankerin to go visit Tuff Tuff and work with him a bit. It was a pretty nice day, a little hot, so thats why I put on my short shorts and tank top. And of course paired them with my way cute socks and sneakers, haha. (I've already learned lunging in flip flops = bad idea!) So I took myself out there and called him. Then I went to the shed/barn and got the lunge line, whip, lead rope, brush, fly spray, PHEW, oh and a mane and tail comb, lol. (I think I need a tack box!)

I got out there and didn't see him, so I called again, and then I saw him making his slow way up the lane. I was kinda dissapointed because he didn't call back to me. And then I heard it! His cute little high pitched whinny, hehe.

Bowser came out too, as you can see in my top pic. The two of them touching noses. Tuff does really well with dogs. (as you will see in the video, he doesn't mind them running around him at all!) I think its because the pasture he was born in was right next to TWO houses that each had at least 4 dogs. All of which roamed the pasture at will. So he's been there done that, lol.

Anyway, he's only been lunged in the area right in front of his pasture, so I knew being in a new place could be interesting. But nah, not with mr Tuff Tuff! After I brushed him down real quick and combed his mane and tail a bit, we waltzed over to the larger area out by the driveway, to the side of the in laws house. (who were all miraculously not at home, strange) Along the way we stopped and sniffed various things, trailers, tires, stump grinders, etc. He did very well. I let him out on the lunge at a walk and he was lazy of course, and REALLY wanted to eat grass, but was a good boy. No spooks or freak outs.

We trotted quite a bit. But when I went out there I had in my mind that I wanted to try out his canter that day for the first time. I was a little apprehensive, see as it was his first time doing it. I wasn't real sure he would know what I was asking for. (I even researched about it on the internet! haha) I just wanted it to be a good experience for him.

Well he did fabo! As if there was any doubt! ;) I decided to use the kiss, which is universal, and what I'm used to. So I first got him in a good working trot and then in one of the 'corners' started flicking my whip pretty vehemently and kissing and PLOP there he went! Only one or two strides mind you, but thats all I was really wanting to begin with. I let him trot another half circle and asked for it again in the same place and he did even better, and actually went quite a ways before I brought him back to a trot and then walk. And of course went over and loved on him, he was like, ladee da. Whatever.

Now for the bad news. WRONG LEAD. Every time! UGHHH. Now, I dunno, I wasn't even worried about that part! I just figured him being on a circle and all he would have no reason NOT to be on the right lead. I've seen him get both just fine in the pasture. Well, to the left for sure he didn't get any of them. And if anything, he is left handed. (I did maybe 3 or 4 transitions) Now when I reversed him and went to the right, he MAY have stayed on the right lead and got that one, but by that time I was second guessing myself, and also my video had run out so I can't watch that either. Bummer. Next time I will have someone out to help video and watch.

So! A baby thing? Or will this be something I'm going to have to do some serious work on? I HOPE it was just a ahh, first time on the lunge, what do I do with my legs??? thing. Any ideas on what do to do help him get it? Bigger circle? Smaller circle? I know what your typically supposed to do is keep pulling them down from it until they get the correct, and then let them go on it. But with it being his first time I was very hesitant to reprimand him for something he didn't know he was doing. Ya know? So next time I might try a bit harder to get the right one, but still not sure what the best way of doing that IS.

Any help is greatly appreciated!

Overall I was very pleased with him. I was expecting maybe at least ONE acrobatic maneuver, maybe a spurt of speed, etc. NOTHIN! Fine by me! I'm sure I will see this at a later date of course, but I'm glad he was so ho hum about it. He came right back down to his old plodding walk afterwards like it was nothing. :) He really wasn't hot either! Not really blowing or sweaty at all. I WAS! lol. So he must be in pretty decent shape. Could be all that chasing his uncle and momma have been doing to him lately, lol.

Here's some of my favorite stills from the video.

Thats not all we did though! I've been wanting to give him a 'real' bath now for some time. Well the opportunity presented itself and I took it! He did that very well also! (Yall can't tell I wuv him can you, lol)

It was a bit awkward trying to give him a bath and keep him from eating grass, etc, but I got it done. There was just no where to tie him up where the hose would reach. I tried to get him pretty wet while the water wasn't COLD yet, but not burning up either (you know how hot water in a hose is on a summer day!) and he didn't move, just wanted to drink from it lol. You could tell he wasn't thrilled when you got around his hind end, but he is MUCH better then he was. Last time I got him wet he would pick up each hind leg and hold it, lol. This time he stood but for a few times.

He felt and looked SO GOOD afterwards, all silvery and silky, love it. After I was done I let him graze in the grass in front of the pasture, he LOVED THAT! I just left him there while I put things up, gave them water, etc. He was very happy.

So! Another 'first' thing to cross off my list! Next is his first trailer ride. The BIL and FIL are thinking of buying a 2 horse soon maybe, so that would be good. I'd like him to preferably not be full grown for his first time, lol. After that riding! Fun fun! I don't forsee that being a problem at all. We need a round pen first though! Even I don't trust him that much, haha.

Oh, I just remembered. I also tried my bitless bridle on him, but sadly its still too big.

Here's a few more pics, of course!

This was before his bath, after lunging. I sat down on the bench to adjust the bitless bridle and he thought my knees were very interesting.
The colors are kinda ick in this one, but you can still see how perty he is ;) And wet!

Grazing happily.
Other side! Still grazing happily, lol.

On to the videos!! Here is our lunging one:

Lunging Tuff from Britnieann on Vimeo.

And a bit of his bath, just the first bit. Yeah, he does look ribby, don't worry, we are working on that!

Bath Time! from Britnieann on Vimeo.

Some other good news, the little BIL had a great idea. He decided to divide the big pasture up, so that the colts could eat in peace on one side, and the older horses wouldn't be able to bother them. So I was able to walk Tuff out there and introduce him to it the other day. They were both very happy! Skip even TROTTED by himself down the hill to the grass! Haha, I was also pleased that Tuff (who I had on a lead line) stayed calm and behaved while his buddy went flying past him, he didn't mind at all. I walked him up the fence line a bit and then let him go. He went straight to eating of course. Here's a pic of him from then:

So thats all for now! Its taken me all week to get this thing published, lol. Have a great weekend everyone!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Yearling Training

So I'm at work, its Saturday, boo, and quiet here, so I have time to blog! Yeah!

I got both babies out yesterday and did some work with them. Not much, but it was fun. Lee and I had went out to the big pasture that afternoon to scope out the bird action. Dove season opens today and he has been feeding them cracked corn out there to get them to come in. Well we rode the BILs 4wheeler out there to see how many dove were out there and then came back to the in laws house.
Skip came rambling up to the pasture near the house, but there was no sign of Tuff. Odd. I called for him and I hear his real high pitched NEIGH coming from the gate to the big pasture. That cracks me up that he will answer me almost every time I do his special 'call'.

So the little BIL gets on his 4wheeler and goes out to find him. Well a few seconds later we hear the 4wheeler revving up and slowing down and revving up and slowing down, and we're like, what is he doing?? And then here they come, he is HERDING Tuff with the 4wheeler! LOL, it was so funny. He was trotting ahead of it for a bit and then when he met up with Skip, they both plodded along in front of it like plow horses at about 2 mph. It was so funny. I'm glad they aren't scared of it!

So I went to the gate and Tuff plodded up to greet me, and then I grabbed a lead rope, brush, and the weight tape. Dragged him out of the pasture and parked him up near the trees where the swing and bench is, and also my husband, his brother, and then later the FIL came out. He didn't want to 'park' to begin with, but after a few times of, if you move you get to back really fast down the hill, he decided it was easier to be still, lol. He's no dummy! I think he was just excited to be out of his pen and out and about.

So I brushed him a bit, picked up his hooves and held them, weighed him (he is around 554 :) ) and then practiced some lateral flexing. He remembers it quite well. He should be pretty light in the face by the time I'm ready to ride him. Which with the way he is growing now, wont be for another 2 years! I was wanting to start him next summer/fall, just walked and steering stuff. But we will just have to see.

After that I decided to see how well he remembered his lunge lessons, its been a good 3 months since I lunged him last. And he did just as good as I knew he would. A little 'sticky' but thats no suprise. After I whacked him with the lead rope (brought out my special long one, I love it, its soft and long enough to lunge a smallish circle and still have enough to whack with! haha) if he didn't respond to my light cue, he decided it was easier to not get whacked. He trotted out good on it too, and even did good on his 'bad' side! (the right) I was very pleased!

So, I let him sniff the 4wheeler a bit, threw the white weight tape around his body a bit, around his head, swung it in circles, etc, then put him up.

While I was lunging Tuff the little BIL had said, "how did you get him to do that? Skip won't do it for nothin." I replied, "I bet I could get him to do it". Sigh, famous last words!

So after I put Tuff up I got Skip out. I've not done anything but hold him for the SIL (sis in law) a bit, so I don't know much about him. The last time I really did anything with him he was VERY skittish about people. He's not like that anymore, thankfully.

So the first thing I notice is he has a big, heavy head. Tuff is very light and watches my body when I go, stop, etc. Skip hasn't been worked with as much and you can tell. He is a sweet boy though.

So I decided to teach him about lateral flexing, which took about 30 mins, yikes. The thing with him was he couldn't understand that I wanted him to turn his head to the side, but NOT MOVE. We backed and sidepassed all over that area, lol. But I did get him half way consistent with it both sides before I quit. Then I decided to try what I had origionally brought him out for, lunging. I put him in a real short circle and waved the lead rope at his butt, until he moved a foot, then quit. Very quickly he was doing well on a small circle at the walk. Stopping well, etc. Then I tried to get a trot out of him. TRIED being the key word. Yall, there are no words to describe how DEAD SKINNED, DEAD SIDED, DEAD HEADED, whatever way you want to say it, he is! I was litterally BEATING him with the lead rope at one point and he would NOT break into a trot. It was about to drive me crazy. I got it a few times, but a step or two at MOST. I was working FOUR times as hard as the colt, lol, never a good sign! (the lead rope kept getting wound around and was not very effective, part of my problem)

So the little BIL brings out the lunge whip. I kept the lash in and just tapped him with the pole, that worked marginally better, but not very well. I was chasing him all over that area with it, basically. And then he started turning to face me. So then I finally had a light bulb moment and pulled him in on the circle close enough that he couldnt do that, and I could stay behind him to drive him. And AGAIN, literally beating his butt with the whip and getting MARGINAL response. I have never in my life heard, seen, such a thing. I know I could have done something better, but I'm no expert! I did my best, although I have to admit I did lose my temper with him.

He wasn't misbehaving, per say, I just don't think he really KNEW what I was wanting. If it had been my colt, I probably wouldn't have asked him to trot that quickly. Even though he had been lunged a few times prior to this, I had not been there, it wasn't me. My bad.

So anyway, finally I got him to the point where he would walk faster when I told him, and then we got a few trots without me beating him, lol. So I quit on that. I made sure I rubbed him with the whip a lot so he didn't think it was evil, but he didn't seem to mind it. He is a very quiet horse. DEAD quiet almost, yikes. He didn't seem upset or resentful at all. I don't know if I should get a stick with a rustley bag on it, or what. I heard that somewhere for a horse that wont get any energy up. (not sure it would work for him anyway) But I think once he realizes the cues for speed up better, he will be okay. Just lots of work to get him to respect and understand them.

So that was my adventure yesterday! I'd like to get Tuff out and work on some long lining. I did one session a while ago, and he was a bit confused. He didnt get that swinging lines against your butt means go! I think I will bring the lunge whip with me this time, so I don't have to pull on his head at all. And also inlist a person to lead him a bit until he gets the hang of it.

Thats all! Wow, can yall believe I have just posted a entry with NO PICTURES!! Unheard of!! ;)

The Reunion

Hey guys, not much horsey stuff been going on lately, thus no posts! Although something did happen on the day of my last post that I haven't gotten around to posting.

Tuff rejoined his mommy! We put them all back together in a big, oh, at least 10 acre pasture. And while I was NOT expecting it to go real well, it went even WORSE then I thought!

So, Daisy and Rusty were in that smaller pasture just down the gravel road from the other, so we just walked them over to the gate of the big one. Daisy was power walking it! Which it was down a slope, but thats unusual for her, lol. I think she was excited. Well we get to the gate and here is the site that greets us, lol. (my two BILs had rustled up the colts so they could all meet with the gate as a barrier first.)

So we walked Daisy and Rusty up, they all sniffed for awhile, yada yada, no squeals, pawing, etc.

Here's a pic of Daisy and Tuff, so cute! And the next is her and the colts, and then their 'uncle' Rusty and the 'babies'. Rusty looks VERY interested, lol.

So I bring Daisy in and the FIL brings Rusty in after and I let Daisy off the lead and then the colts got behind her and she double barrels them at them!! Then takes off trotting out into the open field. Colts right after her! The FIL was slow at getting Rusty undone, so he starts having a fit, you can watch most of it here. After he gets loose he BOOKS it after them all, lol, hes a fast scudder. The camera gets handed from the husband to me at one point so thats why it goes upside down, haha.

So then I run out after them, cause I'm missing all the action! Well I get out there and can't find them! I'm starting to freak because I start thinking, oh no, what if they all ran up toward the house (theirs a pretty narrow lane of hot wire up to the small area near the house) I didn't want them getting into kicking fights up there, thats for sure!

Well we finally find them, on opposite sides of the pasture!! You can barely see it in this pic, Daisy and Rusty are chompin down in the left corner, and the babies are checkin them out. So for the next 2 hours or so we try to get them closer together so they can do their 'getting to know you' stuff while we are there to supervise. The babies wanted nothing to do with them! And we soon found out why. Daisy apparently kicked Tuff in the gut at one point, and Rusty CHASES them everwhere. I've got a few vids of that, will try to get them uploaded. It takes soo long though. So anyway, here's a few more pics I got.

This was Lee dragging them out of one of their hiding places. Poor babies.
And then a neat picture of my hubby. There is a tripod deer stand in the pasture, he was the eye in the sky, hehe.
Tuff and Skip saying, can we go back to the other pasture, PLEASE!
They are such good buddies. I never see them bite at each other, or even lay ears back at each other. Lee thinks they would be a good 'team'. I said do you have any idea how expensive harness is! Not to mention a cart! But that would be neat! Lee used to work for a guy who had a farm with a bunch of Suffolk horses, and he used to harness and drive them a bit, the guy mostly used them for working the land, plowing and the like.

Here's another vid, this one is Rusty chasing the poor babies. This is after I chased them toward Rusty so they could get to know each other and quit that crap, but of course it didn't work and he chased them back. :( I say soemthing like SEE, look what happened! Which is because I said when I saw the colts coming toward me I didn't want to chase them back to them, I knew Rusty was going to do that.

So the conlusion is that apparently Rusty thinks of Daisy as his 'mare' and wants them no where near her. He didn't bother to chase them until they got close. These are after we brought them back to the little pasture, we kept them seperated if we weren't out there to watch them.

Tuff has medicine on his wounds, thats the white stuff. They got cut up from being in the woods fleeing!
Tuff eating a strand of hay off the hot wire, goofy boy.
This was when Daisy was getting her shoes pulled and feet rasped a bit. (the white thing is my over shirt, haha, she was holding it for me) She lost one running like crazy out there, so I brought her up to the house so the FIL could just pull the rest till I can get her trimmed. She was a good girl, I thought she might be a bit of a pain since she had to leave everyone behind, but she just neighed real low for him a bit. She has A REALLY deep neigh, its so funny.
RUSTY on the other hand was having a FIT over in the other pasture, screaming and running like an idiot forever.

Its been two weeks now and Tuff has all manner of scratches and such all over him. I guess they run into the woods to escape. I haven't seen any new ones in the past few days though, so maybe they are getting better. Most of the time the babies stay up near the house away from them. And lately Daisy has been being evil to them! She tries to paw their heads in if they get close to her and SHE will chase them too. Geesh, stinkin horses! I think she is in heat though.

So! That is the drama that went on after I rode Daisy bareback the other day. And it still isn't finished. I sure hope they get their dynamics figured out soon!

I will post next about what I did with the two colts yesterday. They got a big of a training refresher. :)