Saturday, July 12, 2008

Making it look easy!

I had to laugh tonight. I got totally and completely shown up by a 14 year old.

I've talked before about how both of my boys - the yearling and the three year old - are royal PITA's about picking up their feet. The yearling was great when he was a weanling. Over the winter, he developed an attitude about it. I have a really bad back and the last thing I can do is hang on to the hoof of something that is (a) rearing (b) flying backward or (c) falling down. Therefore, they got away with it and I determined I was going to have to pay someone else to teach them to pick up their feet. And really, it wasn't just me. Josie tried it too and he was a brat for her. He was a brat for my farrier, who is built like a brick shithouse. He was just a naughty, rearing brat, no matter who tried to pick up his feet.

I was standing out watering today when the yearling came up. I thought, I should see if I can pick up his feet just for a second. I reached down and he picked up each of them nicely. Wow. I patted him and told him he was excellent. I thought I'd accomplished a major breakthrough until I found out that Kira, my friend's 14 year old, had been working with him. And now, well, he picks up his feet pretty much fine. Oh, he hopped a bit with her but she didn't let go and he decided to give up and eat cookies. Easy peasy. She seemed somewhat baffled at how the 40 year old semi-professional trainer in front of her and the big burly farrier had been so incapable of performing this task.

I told her that we are going to do videos of her picking up feet on difficult horses and market them a la Pat Parelli. She can be the child prodigy of the natural horsemanship set. I will sit back and collect my cut, and she can continue to pick the feet on my yellow colt - he seems to like her.

In other news, I have to say that if Miss Honey gets any quieter, she is going to be ready for the 10 and under walk-trot class. She is just doing so well. She is starting to develop a neck rein. She is backing up nicely with her head down. She walks and trots on a loose rein and nothing bothers her. My only concern is that I'm picking up a little ouchiness on her left back ankle, which has a big knot on it from the track. I think I just need to get out of the round pen, but in the heat it's hard to get motivated to ride in the dusty, hot indoor arena. Maybe I'll start taking an afternoon nap when I get home from work and riding in the late evening!

So the bay mare and filly from the last post are here now. Their new owners are the nicest people on earth, and both horses are loving their new life. This mare has only ever been a broodmare, and seems ecstatic about having a kid of her own to feed her cookies. She cannot believe her good fortune. Baby, meanwhile, is equally appreciative of the attention and has become so fond of the butt scratching that when her mother's feet were being trimmed this morning, she was "backing up the bus" and trying to scratch her booty on our farrier's booty! Too funny. Bessie's going to get her first ground work sesssion tomorrow evening. I'm sure Baby will watch with great amusement (and try to interfere to get scratches!).

I must ride that very large colt tomorrow, too...


polocrosse21 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
polocrosse21 said...

Hee hee!! The yearling was having a good day I guess. I can't wait to work with him again. -Kyra

Jackie said...

HaHaHa! Love those kids!!!! My good neighbor ...the one who has a 20-something pony I take care of when they vacation...her daughter went to the local fair with the pony (she shows english, h/j)and was entered in the pony class (forgive me if I get classes wrong, I do not show)...there were not enough in that so they moved her into the horse classes, which were large...and she got 3 firsts and a 5th...she's 10 years old and right now floating on the ground while she walks! She works really hard (I see her all the time) and deserves it. BTW, this is an $800 pony, not some fancy-schmancy show pony.

Mary said...

I had a 16 hand appy that would turn his butt to EVERYONE. People thought he was going to kick. He just wanted his butt scratched...all the freaking time.

So I haven't touched base in a long time, BUT the SSP is coming along BEAUTIFULLY. My only "issue" is she gets bored, and fast. When that sets in, all she wants to do is stand there and sleep. So we've added in trotting a barrel pattern, trotting pole weaving, trotting over ground poles and so on. She's softening wonderfully and getting very light in the saddle.

On other news, I have been reconditioning my 24 year old OTTB (aka The Bully or Tango) and we are going to be riding in a parade today!!! I have ridden this horse in this parade since I was 17. I'm inching up on 32 now. He has been off the last 3 years because of arthritis but since that is now very well controled AND he's conditioned, we're going to go for one last time. I'm so excited!!!! I've been awake since 4 am waiting for this.

Char said...

Yay for happy feet! LOL

I wish I could find someplace near me with more horses than they have proper time for and would just turn me loose on the lot of them. :) Especially the youngsters, I'd love to get a shot at working with the mostly untrained.

Goals progress:

The lame gelding was diagosed with Canker in his left-front hoof due in large to contracted heels from being mule-footed (inherited from his daddy).
The vet and blacksmith conspired together on how to treat, and the blacksmith brought out a second blacksmith for even more opinion.
I just have to say here, that I LOVE my blacksmith and vet. The whole shibang (this time) of the vet coming out, diagnosing, passing out perscription meds, re-checking a week later AND both blacksmiths coming out to put special shoes on the front end of my horse cost me a grand total of less than $300.00.
Talk about sticker-shock. I was expecting to have to get a loan to pay for all of this specialty treatment!
He is still not sound, but does seem much more comfortable, and the ferriers filled his Canker hoof with filler, as well as put "spooned" shoes on both front feet to get try to get the insides of both heels to spread and come out from under him. We'll see, but at this point it still looks like his riding career is pretty much over, even casual trail riding.

Mom's little gray mare:
Is doing great! I've got her listening to voice comands on the lunge line, and her steering, brakes and gas pedal are 3-times what they were under saddle.
Now, I just stick to continuing the lunging commands and giving mom riding lessons on her and they are doing PHENOMINAL. We've set up barrels in the pasture for something for them to ride through and around. They are both doing so well, I just wish that I could ride with them so that we could go have lots of fun together. Oh well, maybe Zeke will make a startling recovery and next year we'll all be hitting the trails and small local shows. One can dream...

P.S. Sorry for the long post... :)

OutRiding01 said...

My theory is that horses are so suprised when a little person walks up and demands they do something and then makes them do it, that they forget to be cranky and stubborn. When I was like 13 there was this lady at my barn who had these two HUGE (or so they seemed when I was 13) horses, Moose and Baldwin. The lady was really wealthy but very nice and they horses were both super nice and really sweet. Baldwin however, sometimes got a bit cranky about lead changes and one day bucked the lady off. Well she was a bit older and it bruised her hip pretty bad, so she couldn't get back on that day. So what do they do? Throw tiny little me up on the 17.1 hh bucking horse. Of course I wasn't scared, I was 13! And I proceeded to get 6 perfect lead changes in a row without so much as a head toss. Like I said, I think Baldwin was so suprised to have a tiny human up there telling him what to do, he forgot to argue.

oneidea said...

OutRiding01 said...
My theory is that horses are so suprised when a little person walks up and demands they do something and then makes them do it, that they forget to be cranky and stubborn.

LOL!! In this case, the colt was probably shocked into submission by having someone so BIG asking for his feet... the 14 yo in question TOWERS over Cat!!

*sorry Cat, we might be giants*

Redsmom said...

Cathy, glad to hear of your progress. The babies were certainly darling!

I wanted to report that I DID put a D-ring snaffle bridle on Dude and he was so unfazed tht I left it on him for hacking out this morning. We even encountered a neighbor's cow on the loose and helped him get it back in the pen. Dude looked quite the cowpony in his black English noseband and AP English saddle!

Karen V said...

Poor Honey! I've wondered if she'd stay sound on that ankle. She's never been lame on it, but then again, I didn't do much riding either.

Maybe she's like my other mare...fine unless worked in deep ground.

fuglyhorseoftheday said...

Yes, I am thinking I am going to get her out of the deep stuff and more on the straightaway and see how she feels before we overly panic about this.

But she certainly is behaving like a perfect angel! Fortunately there's a lot I can do with her, like working on neck reining, at the walk if she doesn't feel 100%.

Lisa said...

Oh to be 14 again... hehe. I remember the days of showing up all the "adults" in the barn.

I had a great ride on my filly tonight! I'm so excited about her. I need to suck up my pride and call the big fancy facility across the road to schedule a time to use their indoor. I think we're finally at the point where there's a chance we won't completely embarrass ourselves in public! ;-)

Redsmom said...

Hi Cathy, I'm wodering if a link to my topic on the Yuku blog would work? Its where I started my "blog" about Dude and have been updating it. Here's the link. Thanks.

moosefied said...

This is my first time posting, although I've been reading FHOTD and the VLC's training blog for quite a while.

But, I just wanted to comment that I, too, have seen how good kids can be with horses. I do think that a young kid's fearlessness and matter-of-factness is something the horse picks up on. I was thinking about this in the context of FHOTD's earlier posting about how, if you want a quiet horse, be a quiet rider and you'll convey that to the horse. Before lessons, I used to listen to jazz and it helped me concentrate closely on what I needed to do and yet still be relaxed.

Sometimes horse people, including kids, seem to be able to do this instinctively with horses.

amarygma said...

While you are not the barn owner, maybe you should give a go at watering the arena, if it works for your training. Takes forever, but then no dust and the evaporation keeps it cool.