Thursday, April 5, 2012

Good Boy, Cisco!

Back again! With a great report as well! I'll admit when I went out to my parents Tuesday I wasn't really looking forward to the mess I was going to have to deal with. I know how herd bound he is to his mama and I had all kinds of ugly scenarios going through my head.

So on tuesdays the child stays with her grandma so I didn't need to worry about her. Although my mom had to deal with her cousin, my younger brothers son, who stays with her on Tuesdays. He's only 2 months younger then Chloe. So that kind of made it hard for her to apply what I was doing and to even watch sometimes.

Ideally I would have liked to work him in a rope halter but I wasn't too worried because he is pretty responsive and kind of overreactive in his regular halter, especially when being reprimanded. I really didn't have a plan when I went out but after I got there and started working with him it all just came to me and fell into place. Thank goodness! I mean I'm no expert, I basically read and research a bit and figure it out as I go along.

So I haltered him up and just worked him in his pasture for a while. We worked on staying at my shoulder, halting promptly at my cue, same sort of stuff as Saturday. He remembered it all well. Then I thought I might go a little Clinton Anderson on him, lol. I really like the respect that he gets from his horses and how they look to him for all their direction. Both things Cisco needed! He needed to learn his mom doesn't call the shots when a human has him, plus that he is safe with the handler even if he's not with his buddy.

So I started with backing up with a wiggle of the lead rope. That took a little bit for him to figure out but after he got it he was GREAT at it the rest of the two or so hours I worked with him. Then I did some desensitization with him. CA says after you sensitize you need to desensitized and vice versa. So I would stand to one side and slap the ground with the lead rhythmically until he showed me a sign of relaxation. I.e. lowered head, licking and chewing, big breath, floppy ears, cocked hoof. Then on the same side I would lob the lead rope up and across his back and then off in a rhythm again until he relaxed. I thought he might have a problem with this to begin with but he was just fine with it. About halfway through he was relaxing within the first two slaps or lobs. It became like his 'safe' time when he could be still and just chill.

The last thing I taught him was disengaging his hindquarters. I said in my previous post I wished I knew how to teach it. Well things were going so well I decided to give it a try and see what he did. He did well! Although he tangled himself up for a bit to begin with lol.

There was one big problem with it though. For whatever reason the way I was doing it he tried to snap at me as I was bending down and staring at his hip for it to move. NOT COOL. Of course I laid into him with the lead rope and made him back up really fast. But he still did it another two times later on. Shrug. I don't know what I was doing wrong but apparently there was something! It also made him nervous nearly everytime I asked for it so I didn't do it much. Maybe he just needed more work at it? Like I said no idea, I've only read about it and seen it done on tv.

Anyway! We worked as far from his mama as possible in the pasture with no problem and decided it was time to graduate outside. He did great! No escalation, listened well, ect. So my mom was down at my grandparents chatting and I worked my way down there. All the while alternating between my 'tools' I had installed to keep his attention on me. My mom was still skeptical, saying yeah wait until he gets in the barn! She had very little faith in my method even seeing how well he was doing. Well! I was definitely motivated to prove her wrong!

So over the course of another hour or so I worked us towards the barn. Mostly going towards it but sometimes coming back towards his mama. She neighed for him off and on but he never called back! Only once did he neigh when we were way over by he barn.

All through this there were cars coming in and out, people yelling at each other, the baby running around with a wagon, ect. He did great. Oh and an annoying chihuahua barking and running at him too lol. He's used to her though ;). She thinks she is a horse herder.

Well we finally got to the barn and this is where he did get a little higher but nothing bad at all and he calmed down easily. I had mom grab a handful of hay and wait for us in the barn. I walked him in there and after he stood still he got some hay. Stood a few minutes and then we walked out! Good Boy!

I walked him back to a flat spot in the pasture and then had mom take over the lead. I don't think she really grasped exactly what I was doing but she did ok. I'm going to definitely go out again and help her soon. Maybe tomorrow? Probably not though because sweet baby is sick :(. I'll be over there for Easter Sunday but doubt I will have time. We'll see!

After we put him in the pasture I told my mom that he did well and he didn't even have a fit about finally being back with his dear mommy! He just walked in there and got him a drink and totally ignored her! My mom agreed that he had done well and I had made her a believer. :)

So I don't have any pictures from then but here are some from Saturday! 


Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Buddy Sour Horse: Solutions?

Hello everyone! Hope you all are enjoying the lovely spring weather, I sure am!

I've got a question for you guys that I hope I can get some good advice from.

Last Saturday my mom had me come out and help her with Cisco (you can read more about him here Cisco). She is all fired up about the horses after our adventure at the horse fair last weekend and is wanting to get her horses going. We are tentatively planning on going to the trail ride they are having starting at the arena May 12th. I know Daisy will be great but I'm a little worried about Cisco.

Anyway, Cisco is basically a HUGE baby. He may be 12 years old but he is basically a 2 year old in training/mind. He was initially saddle broke by my teenage self 10 years ago and then a few years after that my mom sent him to a local trainer for a month. But other then that and a handful of rides around the property with his mama, he hasn't been messed with. And add into the factor his HUGENESS he can be kind of intimidating to my mom. (and me!) So on Saturday I started to give her some tools to help her work with him and get him being more respectful and a responsible member of the riding horse community! Now, don't get me wrong, he is a big sweet heart, he just doesn't have a whole lot of respect for personal space and if he wants to do something bad enough, he just does it. He really doesn't know much better. My mom is also a bit of a push over ;). Here is a picture so you can kind of get an idea how tall he is, my mom is around 5'7 and he dwarfs her! (this pic is from a few years ago)

So I brought my bitless bridle over and put the basics of lateral flexion on him for her, then let her try it. After that we saddled him up and I rode him first to get the basics down again but mounted. Which was a lot more difficult then it had been on the ground. Daisy far excelled him in learning this. (who knows though she may have done it all before in the 16 years before I had her!) So he plowed around the round pen with me for a while just bracing against the rein until finally he settled down and started listening. At one point he started spinning in a circle pretty fast trying to get away from the pressure. That wasn't too fun! Spoiled baby!

So after that I got off and my mom jumped up and did the same thing with him. We also worked on his woah. His go button is firmly installed (as it is in most gaited horses in my experience!) so we didn't need work on that. After we were done riding she told me she also has trouble with him going wherever he wants on the lead rope. So I did some work with him in the round pen with his halter on after we untacked him. It didn't take much to have him following meekly at my shoulder. I also got him backing up from me with a wiggle of the lead rope fairly easily. I'd love to do some more things like disengaging his hindquarters and such but I have no experience with this. I wish I knew someone who could come give me the basics of it without having to muddle through myself. I think the respect aspect of it would help him a lot.

Well by then I had to go check on Chloe who was sleeping in the house. After we came back out mom had him brushed down and wanted me to help her walk the horses up to the top pasture. I made a little paint map, its pretty high quality ;)

Lol, what can I say? Anyway mom started off with Dixie and I had Cisco. He was doing fine, walking a little fast but a slight tug and he'd slow down. Mom started having trouble with Dixie so said maybe you should walk her! So I took her and she definitely was power walking and I had to snap her lead quite a bit to get a response. Mom seemed to be doing ok and when we got over there I asked her if he had done better then usual and she said, maybe, lol. Hm, anyway we got them put in there and Cisco had a gay old time running his big lug of a self all over the pasture. Its funny to see a huge horse like that run around!

Fast forward to Monday. My mom said she was going to ride him Sunday after church. So I called yesterday to find out how it went. Well horrendous was probably the word. She had to take him from his mama at the top pasture back to the barn to ride and he did not like that. She said all he did was holler for her and be a total pain and basically do whatever he wanted to. Sigh. Spoiled brat! She said he kind of scared her, which was NOT what I wanted to hear, I wish I had been there to help her! I told her I would come over that afternoon to help her with him if she wanted but she had other things she had to do so we planned on this afternoon. I'll let you know how it goes!

Anybody have any tips on 'curing' the buddy sour horse? Thanks!