Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Prince: A glimpse of true lightness...

March 28, 2011

Today Prince and I had an interesting session. We started off with bridling... with was definitely an "oh boy". Prince didn't want anything to do with the bit or bridle. I am not sure if it had do to with the fact that last session to started guiding him a little with my fingers in the rings of the bit, while Online, or it is had to do with the fact that Prince wasn't feeling to well. He had a cough and other signs of indigestion. I am hoping that it is the latter and that he just wasn't feeling well. We were basically back to square one again so first we played with getting Prince not to resist or try to avoid it and then once that was going well I held the bit and let Prince lick the honey off of it, which he wasn't interested in doing at all at first. 

After that we ended and went up to the riding ring to play. I didn't want to do a whole lot because I wasn't sure how Prince was feeling but he did okay at the walk and trot and only had a little bit pf breathing trouble at the canter. So we kept things short and fairly simple. 

We started off with a little obstacle course. We went sideways for about 15ft to a tire, then went sideways over the tire, changed direction and backed all the way to the end of the 22ft line, did Touch it over to the pedestal, asked for just his two back legs, then flowed into Figure eights at the trot. The two markers that we were using for Figure eights were really far a part but they were perfect because Prince liked a lot! We got some beautiful Figure eights at the trot and then stopped. 

Prince seemed a little disconnected though so I waited until he asked a question before we moved on. Then we did some circles. We started at the walk after two circles at the walk we did a upward transition to the trot, two circles at the trot, upward transition to the canter, where we had a bit of trouble. Prince had a hard time getting the correct lead and maintaining the canter so after he cantered about 1/4 of the lap on the correct lead I brought him in.

I knew exactly what I needed to fix... the send. All I had to do was have that intention and Prince cantered off on the circle from the send at a phase one and cantered one and a half laps to the right with rhythm, relaxation and connection. 

Going to the left was a little harder. Prince was able to pick up the correct lead but he wasn't able to maintain the canter. So we played with that and the really amazing part was that when I asked him to pick up the canter again it was the lightest transition into the canter that I have ever experienced!!! Prince maintained the canter along with the relaxation and connection for a whole lap and I brought him in for a rest. It was such an amazing feeling, one I didn't think I would experience for a long time!! 

We ended there and after a long rest we went down to the corral. I am not sure what I wrong with Prince but it could have been that the last couple bales of hay from our last load were a bit wet (it was a rainy day when they were delivered) and so I am hoping that is the reason and soon Prince shall be back to normal. Otherwise though he seems normal, he is still moving around a lot, playing with Ruffian and being his normal self. So hopefully it is a minor issue. 

Until he 100% again though I won't ride him but just play Online a bit. It will give me sometime to focus on Twosox's Freestyle!! Maybe a trail ride is in order :) 


Monday, March 28, 2011

Prince: Trimming and Yo-yo's

March 25, 2011

Today I trimmed Prince and also playing with getting our yo-yo's straighter. I made it a game where if Prince pulled his foot away I would ask him to back up until he got light and straight. This worked really well and he stopped pulling his foot away pretty quickly ;)

This really is one of our last areas that we have can still have bigger dominance issues so I think this shall help. Prince taught me how to not stop trimming ;)  Our yo-yo's are getting so much better and way straighter! We are going to nail it on the 12ft before we try it on the 22ft line though.


Sunday, March 27, 2011

Prince: Open spaces!!

March 24, 2011

Today Prince and I played with sideways at a trot, cantering on the 12ft line and getting rhythm, relaxation and connection, jumping with effort (Prince will jump and clear the barrels but not all the time with effort so we had fun making that a game and getting him to want to jump higher and completely clear the barrels). We also played with Stick to me and getting Prince more flexible on the right side. Then we played with some yo-yo's, porcupine games and driving games. This spring weather makes me want to get all these back up to where they should be and getting more lightness, speed and distance. I was really pleased with where we ended with them. Prince was putting a lot of effort into moving his hindquarters and forequarters. I was especially happy with our forequarter yields at they have always been a little bit harder but today we got lightness, SPEED and distance. Speed has been the hardest one of the three.

Then we played with ground tying as I had to go get my hackamore and bridle. I sent Prince over to the pedestal and he climbed up and stayed there the whole time. I bridled while sitting down and Prince did really well. He kept his head nice and low and was really soft!

Then we played with yielding to pressure from his mouth and doing lateral flexions, turns, stopping, backwards, and going forward with the bit. I had my fingers on the rings to guide him and that was going well but I felt that I wasn't being light enough so I attached my savvy string to the rings and that worked much better. Prince was super light and we got some really nice things going for us. It will still take some time but things are progressing really nicely!

Then we had a chance to really test our ground tying because I had to help Mom with something and so Prince had to stand on the pedestal while I played with Knightly, trying to help him understand cantering on the circle.

Prince only got off twice. The first time he backed off so I just send him back up lightly, reminding him where he was supposed to be. But the next time when I sent him back up he trotted off. So I kept the pressure on and he went around the end of the riding ring and trotted right up to the pedestal and climbed back up on it. He knew exactly where he was supposed to be ;) It looked like he was going to trot right past it but he turned and went straight to it... what a smart horse ;) It was really kind of funny to see Prince make a V line for the pedestal ;)

After I finished playing with Knightly and when Mom was ready we headed down to the corral, out the gate and mounted up for our trail ride!!

What can I say? This trail riding thing is really growing on me!! Yes, I still LOVE arena riding... RBI much? But I do not like being confined... claustrophobic maybe? ;) So since the only place Prince and I can ride where we actually have space to do anything at the canter is on the trail! So I have learned to LOVE trail riding pretty fast :) Today Mom and I rode the horses through town (we normally walk them Online) we met with a couple vehicles but the horses did well. We had to walk between two buildings, Prince has never liked going between them so I wasn't sure if he would go between them while riding. It was such an amazing feeling though when I asked him to go through and even though he wasn't 100% confident he walked on through the squeeze. He trusted me enough to go through it even though he didn't like it :) I made sure that I didn't force him, I asked and he decided to go because I asked.

We had to stop and play the friendly game with a man hole in the ground. Prince and Knightly both spooked at it, I think Knightly spooked first and then Prince but I am not sure it happened quickly, but I couldn't just leave it ;) So we did circles around it until Prince was able to walk up to it and sniff it. He definitely thought it was a horse eating man hole!!

Then we cantered up the hill (super amazing feeling!!!) then rode down the road all the way to the water treatment plant. We did some cantering on the way down and got some nice lead changes. They weren't as nice as the last time, our transitions down to the trot were a little rough, but Prince got the correct leads each time no problem.

We trotted for a long time and set up for success by continuing to trot until I felt that Prince was slowing down a bit then when I asked for the transition to the walk Prince responded with lightness and it was all at phase one, my energy. I applied this strategy to when we transitioned out of the canter also and so when we came down to the trot from the canter I didn't ask Prince to stop right away but we trotted for a little bit and then stopped. I realized that I have to let Prince have more time to get his mind around what I am asking, so in this case instead of requiring a quick, light, snappy transition (which we will get to soon I know) we will trot for a bit after we come out of the canter that way Prince has time to think about it and I am not overloading him.

We stopped and then the horses eat for a bit on the side of the road and then carried on. We got a series of incredible lead changes on the way back. They were beyond amazing. Prince was even lighter, more in tune with me... it was just amazing. Then had a long rest then walked for a while before trotting the rest of the way home. I wanted to make sure that Prince didn't think that every time we went into the trot on the way home we were going to canter. We trotted a LONG way. Prince started blowing out and lowering his head also. I love that sound!!

 Then stopped and dismounted shortly after because there was a person and dog walking up a head. We decided just to get off because we weren't sure how the horses would do. A few times ago we were walking home through town and a dog lounged at the horses, fortunately it was tied but it was pretty close. So we weren't sure if the horses would be bothered by this dog.

We let the horses stand and look at the person and dog for a little while before and then when they relaxed we walked on. They didn't have any issues after that which was nice :)

There were no ruffled hairs when I took the saddle off, very encouraging :) I think both Prince and I had a blast. Each time it just gets better and better!!! It was so much fun!!

I just wanted to say that if anyone would like to get an email (with the post) in their inbox whenever I publish a new post I can have up to ten people on my list. So let me know and I will be happy to add your email address to the list :)


Saturday, March 26, 2011

Prince: Yielding to pressure.

March 23, 2011

Prince and I played with just the 45ft line looped around his neck. The last time we did this it went really well and Prince responded to the pressure very well. Today though he had more trouble doing that so we slowed it down and played with some changes of directions to help Prince learn to come off that pressure, he was leaning on it while circling. This worked a little but I still felt that Prince wasn’t really getting it yet as he was still leaning quite a bit.

So I decided to do the Backward "S" pattern. I moved the rope a little farther back towards his withers also and then we started. At first, like before, Prince was leaning and didn’t know what to do with the pressure and who to respond. He tried several different things until he figured it out. I kept it slow and simple and I knew Prince got it when we got the nicest, lightest, backward "S" pattern, I had my hand open the whole time and Prince was coming off of the slightest pressure.

Prince did really well with bridling today also. He took the bit nicely again and he didn’t try to get it out or even chew at it nearly as much. After he got the honey off of it he kept his mouth quiet and didn’t seemed at all bothered by it!! Which was really great progress!

Then I climbed up bareback and rode around a little. I can’t say it was bridleless because I had the bridle on… but there were no reins attached ;) I had my savvy string around his neck and a carrot stick and off we went! First we played with refining out indirect and direct rein, backing up, and sideways and then we played with backing up between the tire (which is planted standing up) and the fence and then touching, without knocking down, a pole that was set up from the fence to the tire. Prince did well but first we had to play with backing up with straightness, something that Prince and I have always had a hard time doing.

Prince was SUPER light though and once we got he straightness we got everything else quickly. The first two tries we knocked the pole down but then the next try we got it and Prince got so in tune with me that when I relaxed and stopped asking for he back up he stopped immediately, before he would back up one more step which caused us to knock the pole down. It was pretty fun!!

Unbridling Prince was a breeze. Prince lowered his head, kept it nice and low while I took it off and then I just slid the bit out of his mouth and Prince didn’t even raise his head! It was the best one yet!! After a little UDT we went down to the corral.


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Prince: Online, Liberty and Bridling.

March 17, 2011

We started with bridling, which went really well. Prince took the bit beautifully, kept his head nice and low while I adjusted everything and once we started playing he didn't even seem to notice it! I kept the bridle on for the whole session as I want to build the amount of time that Prince is okay with wearing it and as I wasn't planning on playing long I figured that it would be a great session to start.

 It was to wet/icy (snow on top of water which was on top on ice) in the riding ring to do any cantering, which was a little disappointing because I had planned on playing with our circles but I was able to adjust to fit the situation and Prince and I played with circles on the 12ft line with two barrels. We started with doing trot to halt transitions right in front of the barrel that was lying down and then once that was going really smoothly we changed it up a bit and I asked Prince to squeeze between the barrels while maintaining gait, all things that we had done before so it was nothing new but it is always good to check things out again.

Prince knocked the barrel a couple times (I wonder where his mind really was? Obviously it wasn't totally on me :) So we then switched to Figure eights. Of course Prince was even less motivated to do these so I had to make it a fun game. After a couple figure eights Prince started getting more and more interested and he stopped hitting the barrels and started asking questions and everything for lighter and it felt way more smooth!

After those were going well and we found rhythm, relaxation and connection on the Figure eight we played at Liberty. 

In our Liberty session we did Touch it, sideways, close range circles at the walk and trot, and stick to me (with my hand on Prince's). Stick to me went really well and Prince is starting to get a great bend in his body on the right side. Which is great to see. We played a kind of Tit for Tat game because I can't force him to bend or to stay connected with me so what we did was started on a straight line and trotted forwards then did really big circles, which will eventually build to small circles like we have on the other side. Then we would gradually get the circles smaller but when I felt that Prince wanted to go more straight again I would flow with him and then bring him back to the circle again. Once we got a 1/2 a circle with Prince bending really nicely and I really felt that he was connected we stopped. It really worked well and this way we didn't loose the connection. I just went with Prince for a couple feet and then brought him back to where I wanted to go. We both won in the end.

We ended with standing on the pedestal where I unbridled Prince and we hung out for a while. Then I brought Ruffian and Twosox in for my two little brothers to play with. While they played I thought it would be a great opportunity to teach Prince to stay on his "spot" or ground tie, at Liberty. So since he was on the pedestal I figured I would make that his "spot". I had to send him back about 4 times when he got off. The last time I sent him back at the trot (because I knew that he knew where he was supposed to be) and he trotted right over to the pedestal climbed back up.

When he was on the pedestal I left him alone. Left brain introverts like to show how smart they are and this gave Prince a chance to do that because once he figured it out, and after he tested to see if I was going to hold my end of it, he stood there for about 20 minutes and didn't move off of the pedestal again.

Prince started licking and chewing, yawning and blowing out so I figured that it was a great time to let him go so I walked over to him and we walked over to the gate together and I let him out. It was really cool to see him finally get it and uphold each of his responsibilities so well!!


Sunday, March 20, 2011

Prince: Bridling with savvy!

March 16, 2011

Today it was rainy but I still played with Prince a little bit. We mainly did bridling. Prince was superb and he is getting a lot softer about me taking the bridle off and taking the bit out of his mouth. He used to toss his head and try to get it out when I went to un-bridle but today I played with getting Prince to lower his head, keep it low and then I would take the bridle off. Hopefully I will be able to let Prince wear it for longer periods of time and then progress slow to riding with it. A great summer project!

After that we hung out for a while at Liberty while I watched Myles play with Ruffian.


Ruffian: Changes.

My younger brother, (known as M1 here on my blog) has taken "active ownership" over Ruffian now and is playing with him almost everyday. In the last week Ruffian has gotten more attention, love and play time from my brother than I have been able to give him in over a month!! I am really happy about this and am looking forward to helping M1 and Ruffian in their journey.

 Yes, Ruffian will not be played with at first to the level that we were playing at but I think this will be better because Ruffian can regain his confidence where he had lost a lot of it before I started playing with him and in the end I think it will be better for him. M1 and Ruffian have been doing so well and M1 has been learning very quickly. Each session has ended with Ruffian 100% confident and M1 happy with how it all went. M1 has also set a goal to pass his Level 1 by the fall! He is positive, progressive and natural! 

M1 has also been helping me feed the horses so he can have even more interaction with them and even though things got a little messy for a couple days (the horses weren't sure what to do because of the extra person feeding) and they broke through our "line" a couple times things are getting better and the horses are learning what to do :)

I will still be playing with Ruffian a little and of course helping M1 with their journey but most of the play will be done by M1. This has really freed me up to focus on Prince (and Twosox with he gets better). It is so wonderful and I am really happy that Ruffian has someone who will give him a lot of one on one attention!!


Ruffian: Saddling.

March 14, 2011

Yeah I know, this is out of order but I forgot to type about the play time Ruffian and I had! It as amazing! I saddled Ruffian and played in the corral for a bit. We didn't do anything major, just some porcupine games, yo-yo's, and driving games. Ruffian exceeded my expectations with how well he did with the saddle. He was calm and confident the whole time! We ended with played with tying where I looped the rope to the rail a couple times and let Ruffian stand there tied. I was right there the whole time but he did really well with all the other things that were happening and stood there calmly :) 


Twosox: Ponying Twosox off of Prince.

March 15, 2011
I decided to give this a try just to see how it things had gotten better from the last time we tried this... a long time ago. I was really happy with how it all went, how well Prince responded to my body and how well Twosox did listening to what I asked! It was far from perfect but it was definitely much better than before.

Prince, Twosox and I started out with just doing basic walk-halt transitions and trying to get Twosox to lead off the feel of the halter with more lightness. Twosox was leading on it quite a bit. After that was going better we moved up into the trot. I wrapped the lead rope around the saddle horn so that it would be a more solid feel for Twosox and more quicker release when he came off the the pressure. That seemed to work really well and Twosox started walking and trotting beside Prince and I instead of lagging behind.

Just as this was going really well I noticed that Prince was starting to pin his ears at Twosox, which he wasn’t doing before at first I just thought that it could have been because he didn’t like Twosox being so close but then I just happened to look at Twosox as we were trotting a long the rail and he was biting at Prince! So I had to promptly attend to that and as soon as Twosox stopped trying to bite Prince, Prince stopped pinning his ears.

We did some more Follow the rail with walk, trot, halt, back up transitions and then we ended. To take the halter off I asked Twosox to put his head on Prince’s neck and then even after I took the halter off Twosox just left his head there for me to rub it. So we spent some time just hanging out together, all three of us, before Prince and I walked off, but to mu surprise Twosox followed us!! It was really cool!! We walked around the end of the riding ring and then stopped.

It really as a whole lot of fun and I want to continue advancing it more this spring and summer. Plus the better Twosox's and my Liberty gets, the better our Liberty while I ride Prince with get :) But never despise small beginnings! 


Prince: Another amazing trail ride!

 March 15 2011

Mom and I decided to go for another trail ride today. First though Prince and I played in the riding ring on the 12ft line. We played with walk, trot, and canter stick to me with my hand on his neck, this went really well and Prince was very connected. The canter was a little rough to start but by the end Prince was light and the transition to the canter from the trot was very smooth! We also played with circles at the at the walk, trot and canter while I sat on a barrel. Prince took all the slack out of the rope at the canter but then was able to find the connection again and adjust his body to canter a smaller circle. Once we got a couple strides of connected canter I brought him in.

Then we did some jumping, sideways and then leading by the tail. Then just for fun I decided to see if Prince would back up with me in zone 5 if I just lightly pulled his a couple pieces of the hair on his legs, he did!! And it wasn't just a slow, not-much-effort back up but he put lightness and speed into it!! It was really cool!! I then decided to play with Twosox while I rode Prince so I went over and haltered Twosox, who was standing just outside the riding ring then I mounted up!

Prince, Twosox and I started out with just doing basic walk-halt transitions and trying to get Twosox to lead off the feel of the halter with more lightness. Twosox was leading on it quite a bit. After that was going better we moved up into the trot. I wrapped the lead rope around the saddle horn so that it would be a more solid feel for Twosox and more quicker release when he came off the the pressure. That seemed to work really well and Twosox started walking and trotting beside Prince and I instead of lagging behind.

Just as this was going really well I noticed that Prince was starting to pin his ears at Twosox, which he wasn't doing before at first I just thought that it could have been because he didn't like Twosox being so close but then I just happened to look at Twosox as we were trotting a long the rail and he was biting at Prince! So I had to promptly attend to that and as soon as Twosox stopped trying to bite Prince, Prince stopped pinning his ears.

We did some more Follow the rail with walk, trot, halt, back up transitions and then we ended. To take the halter off I asked Twosox to put his head on Prince's neck and then even after I took the halter off Twosox just left his head there for me to rub it. So we spent some time just hanging out together, all three of us, before Prince and I walked off, but to mu surprise Twosox followed us!! It was really cool!! We walked around the end of the riding ring and then stopped.

It was such a great day for a trail ride. The sun was shining, the temperature was perfect and both horses and riders were happy! It was muckier than yesterday because things were melting but we still had fun. Prince and I played with walk trot transitions and we played with getting a slower trot. I still had to use my reins a lot so we are going to have to play with that one until Prince responds to my body more and my reins less.

We tried some cantering but the footing was really bad. On the way home though Prince and I rode up on the packed snow where the snowmobiles go and it was much better. Prince and I got some amazing cantering transitions on both leads. Prince totally blew my mind away with how he actually picked up the leads that I was asking for and when I asked! Up until now when we have been on the trail I have just been happy with which ever lead Prince cantered on (normally the right lead) so for Prince to be that in tune with me was totally incredible! I just couldn't believe it!

Then we got the coolest simple lead changes ever!! They went like this, right lead canter - two strides trot - left lead canter -two strides trot - right lead canter - two strides trot - left lead canter - transition to stop. I got off right away, loosened the saddle and walked the rest of the way home. We have never gotten lead changes like that before and to top it all off it was all at a phase one!!! The lead changes that Prince and I have done before were just on Follow the rail where we drop to trot turn and pick up the canter again so for Prince to get those, that quickly, first try, on a straight line.... well it was 100% incredible!! 

When we got home and I took my saddle off there were no rub marks, ruffled hair, nothing! All Prince's hair was smooth!! It was encouraging to see that :) 

What a great ride!! I think it is safe to say that it was a fun for Prince as it was for me :) 


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Prince: Trail riding!

March 14 2011

Online: Preparing for a trail ride. We played with jumping a single barrel from a stand still, sideways at a trot, circles at the trot (with changes of directions) while I sat on a barrel, zone 5 driving with one rein, and then we ended with circles at the canter maintaining rhythm, relaxation and connection with a phase one canter send!! 

Prince really got the sent at the canter today. He leaped into the canter on the correct lead and cantered a complete lap before I brought him in. I am still playing with the send so that is why I didn't leave him out there longer. It was such an amazing send and Prince put so much effort into it that I wanted to reward that. It was really cool! Our bring back still needs some help but at least Prince is disengaging now instead of spiraling in to me. It will get there. One thing at a time :)

Freestyle: Trail ride was great. We didn’t do any cantering because it was very mucky. But we played with lots of trotting. Prince offered me the most amazing, soft, slow and relaxed trot…. it was more of a slow jog actually. Very comfortable! Both Prince and Knightly were wearing Parelli saddles and pad (this makes me very happy) and they both had their heads on the ground at the beginning! It was so amazing to see!! They were so comfortable!

On the way home we played with standing up in the stirrups while walking and trotting. Of course I tried the trot first, found out it was harder than Mr. Parelli makes it look :) Then realized that I should have tried the walk first ;) It was so much fun though! The walk was definitely easier so we didn't stay there long. Towards the end Prince and I play a game "don't make me sit back down in the saddle" because he would go off the track every now and then by just a little bit so if I had to sit back down he knew I would correct him. It was fun! I love a good challenge and this was just that. After a couple tries though I had it and was able to stand up at the walk and trot and not have to hold onto anything.

Knightly was crowding Prince so I took the end of my rope and started swinging it around, this led to me trying other things like extreme friendly game at the walk, tossing the rope over Prince’s head, standing up in my stirrups and doing other things also, and many other things all the while not holding the reins. Prince kept on a straight line and maintained rhythm perfectly! It was a really cool test and Prince definitely past!

When I took the saddle off there were no rub marks or anything. All of Prince's hair was smooth and flat :) That makes me really happy!!


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Prince: Saddling, shimming, and snow!

March 13 2011

Today I just had to play with Prince! I normally do not play on Sunday's, other than feeding and maybe some undemanding time. But usually I take the day off to rest and get some other stuff done inside (normally things like catching up on emails and blog posts) but today I didn't have any of those to do and the sun was shining, it was warm out, I just had to go out and play with Prince! 

It took me a little while to actually get out but I finally got out at about 4:30pm. I really, really wanted to see how Prince would do up in the riding ring with the saddle on and being able to move him around more than what I was able to do on Friday. I saddled in the riding ring and then we were off! We did some porcupine games, things like hindquarter yields and forequarter yields then I noticed that Prince was avoiding my hand when I went to touch him on his face I soon found out that there definitely was a broken Friendly game there so for the next little while we played with that, I would bring my hand with energy towards Prince's face but then just rub him. We kept doing this until Prince was able to keep his head still and not feel the need to move away. 

Then after that we did some circles! These were fun because the snow was really deep. I sent Prince off on the circle to the left and after a couple laps at the trot he started blowing out and stretching!! He only stretched a very little bit but it was still a stretch!! It was so wonderful to hear him trotting around blowing and blowing and blowing!! Then to the right he did the same thing. 

After that we played with our changes of directions. These needed some help, serious help. We haven't played with them in a while (okay a long while, but winter is like that here in Canada) After three changes of directions Prince started to get snappier and more responsive. The last two where much better. All I had to do was turn and back up a step and Prince turned and changed direction. 

We also did some cantering on the circle. Prince had a bit of a hard time cantering in the deep snow but over all he did really well. He kept the rhythm, relaxation and connection for the majority of the time.

After that we ended because it was getting late. So we went down to the corral, out the gate and over to the garage to unsaddle. Monday and Tuesday are supposed to be really nice out so Mom and I are hoping and planning on trail riding both days, Lord willing. It should be a whole lot of fun!! 


Friday, March 11, 2011

Natural Performer!!

My Natural Performer arrived this morning. Here are some pictures. I will post about my playtime and ride with Prince later :) I wanted to get theses pics posted.

Any wonder I need a superwide? ;)
This one is one of my favourites!
My handsome pony!!

I will post more pictures with I get some more. These were my favourites from this afternoon though :)


Twosox: Not a mystery any more.

March 8 2011

This morning the vet came out to see what was up with Twosox's eye. It turns out that he has a tumor on his third eyelid and it is most likely cancerous. The vet believes that it is Squamous Cell Carcinoma. He suggests surgery but Mom and I were in contact with a lady out west and she believes that it can be healed naturally. So we are going that route first. The vet wanted to wait three weeks anyway so that it would be warmer.

Twosox did really well for the most part. He didn't like the vet looking in his nose so I have something to play with. Some people say that this particular vet can get rough with the horses so I was prepared to stand up for my horses, respectfully of course, but I didn't need too. He seemed pretty understanding. There was one time that he used his voice to correct Twosox when Twosox was backing up but other than that everything was fine.

At one point Twosox was tossing his head so the vet asked me to hold Twosox's head up a bit so he could see inside his nose and put something in Twosox's eye. I took Twosox's nose and just started to massage it (Twosox loves when I do that) and Twosox stood still for the rest of the time.

I will be sure to keep you all updated on how Twosox does. He doesn't seemed to be in much pain. He is still playing and running around with the other horses. He just has a hard time opening his eye and all. I am praying that we can find a way to heal it naturally. I don't want to have to do surgery.


Prince: The Circling Game - Isolate, separate and recombine.

March 7 2011

Prince and I had a really interesting session this afternoon. We got a big dump of snow again so the riding ring was safe to play in once again. It has been a while since we played up there!!

We started with some liberty in the corral. We played with stick to me with my hand on Prince's mane. We started at the walk and then moved on to the trot when the walk was going well. We did about 9ft circles at first then we got smaller and smaller. Prince did really well. Once the walk and trot were going well we tried the canter! We got 1/2 a lap at the canter!!!! It was so incredible!! Prince was connected and I could feel that he wasn't thinking about leaving or drifting away. He was with me!!
I went out planning to play with our Figure eights but pretty quickly I found out that we needed to play with our circles first. I knew that it wouldn't be setting up for success to try and fix everything at once so we started with the send. At the walk and trot it was okay, though not great, and since I wanted to play with Figure eights at the canter I knew that we would need to get our send on the circle at the canter better... much better. So off we went.

First was the back up. That part was definitely broken. Well maybe not broken because Prince would back up but it wasn't to the standard that we were playing at, Prince was putting just enough effort in to make it look like he was putting effort, which he really wasn't.

So after our yo-yo's was better we went onto the next part of the send. It only took a couple sends and re-sends before Prince cantered off at a phase one and maintained gait at the canter for a whole lap so I brought him in. We weren't playing with the allow but I knew that the allow would show how good the send was.

We then moved on to the left. This way was harder for Prince he would canter off okay but then he would break gait. So we played with this for a while trying different things. We played the game "Don't make me pick up the stick" and that got Prince more interested but he was still having a hard time maintaining the canter. Then I remembered something Mr. Pyne said at the lesson I had with him back in November. He said that I was putting to much pressure on Prince at the send.

Now as I thought about this I think the thing is this, I needed to put more pressure on Prince when he wasn't trying very hard so that he would try something but once he started getting more interested and engaged, though still not getting it quite yet, I needed to give him a longer chance to figure it out without having as much pressure on him. So the next time I sent Prince I didn't "tag" behind him when he went off on the circle. I still wanted the canter and asked for it through the energy in my body but I didn't have to use my carrot stick.

This time Prince went off at the canter and cantered a whole lap, then I brought him in. It was great!! The look on Prince's face was incredible! He was engaged!!

So in playing with our send our allow and bring back got better. We did play with our bring back a little because Prince wasn't actually disengaging. So we got that snappier and Prince was disengaging at the end.

We never did get to play with Figure eights but I know that this was a major ingredient to having better Figure eights. One other thing we played with earlier in the session, and through out the whole session was that I waited until Prince asked me a question before I asked him to go out on the circle. This way I could tell (1) if he was interested (2) if he was still processing (3) if he was ready to take new instructions. At the end he was asking loads of questions because I waited in the beginning.

It was a really great session and I learned a lot. Hopefully once spring gets here and everything is less icy and wet we can really get progressing again.


Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Parelli Cake

Here is a picture of the cake that I made to celebrate our Parelli play group 2 year anniversary! Each of the horses represent our main horses and the one with the question mark is for the the people who have come every once in a while, plus it is for a new lady who just joined and I didn’t have a picture of her horse :)

Oh and the main cake is a carrot cake and the individual cakes are chocolate :) 


Sunday, March 6, 2011

Prince: When in doubt do porcupine games!

March 2 2011

Prince and I had a great Online session this morning. It was to icy in the corral yet to do much unless we stayed at the walk. So we started with backing up unto the pedestal, stopping when all four feet where up then backing down and onto the other one. That got Prince's mind really engaged! He was asking so many questions!! It was great fun! 
Then we did backing up by the hocks and tail. Prince is getting really like at backing by the hocks which is great. It took a while for him to be really confident backing up and not having to stop every couple steps. I had to keep reassuring him that he was doing the right thing :) But now he is way more confident and we can now play with more lightness! 

The last thing we played with was lateral flexions from zone 5! These were so much fun! Prince caught on really quickly. One thing I had to play with was how I was asking Prince because at first I would just comb the rope three times and ask Prince to bend, really softly of course so that Prince wouldn't think I wanted him to move his feet. But then I realized that when Prince and I are doing zone 5 driving when I want him to turn it looks quite similar and even more similar to how I ask him to stop. Because Prince would feel that pressure on the halter in basically the same spot. 

So what I did was after I when through my phases I would move my hand up and over a big. Like I would be moving it to my knee if I was riding. This also made a big difference in how far Prince brought his head around! It was really cool!! We did this on both sides and Prince did so well. He kept his feet still and brought his head right around and would hold it there softly. 

We ended there and just spent some undemanding time together before I left to go get warmed up! It was really cold out this morning, -19 C. Brrrr....


Ruffian: Covering a lot of ground.

March 1 2011

Ruffian and I had a good Online session today. We played with a lot. We started with yo-yo's and circles in the corral. I was really impressed with how well Ruffian did on the circles. He was very relaxed and connected. He was cutting in a little bit on the one side so I made sure to pay extra attention to that through out our session. I asked Ruffian to trot 4 laps each direction and we played with game "Don't make me pick up the stick" he really started getting snappier on his departures after a couple sends :) 
Then we headed up to the riding ring. It was still icy, even under all the snow we got yesterday, so we stayed at the walk and trot. We did traveling circles and then played with getting a real circle. This took a while but once Ruffian got it figured out he was able to catch on quickly on the other side also. 

Up next we did backing up by the nose. Ruffian was looking at something over in the bushes so he wasn't thinking at all about me and what I was asking. So it took a while to get him thinking "back up" but eventually he started paying more attention to what I was asking and that was when we got more lightness, speed and distance in our porcupine back up. 

We then went over to a barrel and I got on it and played some friendly game from up there. After that I got down we and did some lateral flexions on both sides getting Ruffian to be able to hold them longer. 

After that we ended and just hung out for a bit before we headed down to the corral. I definitely see how playing with Ruffian more often, even if in shorter sessions, will really help.


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Boy am I excited!

After saving all possible money for months and months (somewhere around a year or so I believe) I finally have enough money to purchases *drum roll please* a Natural Performer!! I am so excited. I am buying it used (only a year old) from a lady in the States and it should be here sometime early next week.

The great thing about it is that it is a superwide which is exactly what Prince and Twosox need plus my Mom doesn't have a good saddle for Knightly, until now. She will be able to use my Fusion saddle for Knightly and when ever she isn't using it and I want to ride Ruffian I will use my Fusion because I think the superwide would be to big.

So yeah... I am really looking forward to next week ;) I will have to buy another theraflex pad but that is doable and hopefully I will be able to get one shortly after I get the saddle. Most likely with in a month or two. I am also really excited because that means that Mom and I can go trail riding together without one of us being bareback.

Also it will be exciting to see how Twosox's conformation improves as I ride him in an even better saddle. Plus with the improved design on the NP verses the Fusion it will allow both Prince and I to go deeper into Freestyle but especially Finesse because there will be no restrictions and it will encourage Prince to use his body, something that my little Haflinger doesn't always have an easy time doing :)

Oh and I will definitely post pictures when it arrives :)


Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Prince: Liberty out in the open... literally.

February 25 2011

Well Prince and I had a lot of fun today. I decided to really test our liberty and go onto the front yard and play! We had a blast and Prince only left once when he got a bit confused when we were doing sideways and he was about 22ft away from me.
First though we did bridling and yet again Prince did splendidly well. The first time I got the bridle right on him and all done up!! Success!!! Prince took the bit no problem. He is already reaching for the bit even before I am ready!! Then since the first one went so well we just played with getting Prince a little more soft about taking the bit out. He will still toss his head a bit so we played with that and on the last one Prince lowered his head and I took the bit out nicely while Prince kept his head low. It was really nice!!

After that we headed out and played on the front yard. At first I didn't have my carrot stick so we walked across the front yard and over to the garage to get that. Then I let Prince graze for a couple minutes, the snow is melting a little on the paths that we have kept shoveled so there is some grass exposed.

Then after a couple minutes of grazing we did yo-yo's down the many paths my little brothers made, squeeze games between the snow banks and hockey nets, we played with the big green ball rolling it and bouncing it a little, then we spent some time playing with going sideways from one hockey net to the other which were about 25ft apart. My goal was to get it so that I could stand at one net and send Prince sideways to the other net.

Over all Prince did well but we had to break it down a little and I had to stand halfway between the nets and we started there. Prince did really well at this distance and started to get the pattern of going sideways to the net (but not through it!), stopping, sniffing it, having a rest and then going sideways to the other one.

The thing that I was most impressed about was how light Prince was when I asked him to go sideways. All I did was use my core energy and off he went. It wasn't just a slow, not-much-effort sideways. It was a fairly fast sideways. We ended when Prince was able to go sideways while I stood about 2ft from the net. So almost there!!!

After this we backed to the manger door and I climbed on Prince bareback and bridleless from the fence. Then we played with lateral flexions with the carrot stick, transitions, sideways, yo-yo's, indirect rein, direct rein/pivoting on the hindquarters, and some other things. Refining them and testing others that we haven't played with in a while because we haven't ridden in a while due to the ice.

I had to get off once because Prince was decided that he was going to go in the direction that he wanted, which I allowed him to do but then he started getting a bit pushy on the savvy string around his neck so I slid off did some porcupine games on the hindquarters, forequarters, chest and nose and then mounted back up.

A couple times Prince got a little bit confused about what I was asking so we played with those things and then we rode up and down our neighbour's drive way, which she doesn't mind us doing ;), and because it is small gravel and I want to get Prince used to and more comfortable walking on gravel so that when all the snow melts we can still go trail riding down the old railroad track (which is gravel).

We ended on a good note and then I got off and we walked back over to the corral. It was really fun and it was really cool to see how much our Liberty has improved over the last couple months :)


Twosox: Getting used to eagles.

Twosox has some sort of an eye infection and so I have to spray antibiotic in his eye. It seems to be working and just for the record, he doesn't appear to be in any pain what so ever. So for almost a week now, two times a day I have to spray this stuff into his eye. Now even humans don't like having stuff put in their eyes so I knew that I had to find a way to do this while not expecting Twosox to just stand there and take it.

I have been trying lots of different things and finally today, after praying about it a lot and trying to figure out the best way to help Twosox I found a way that I think will work. It was totally God because I was out of arrows :) The phrase "If you want then used to blackbirds, get them used to eagles" came to mind and that made a world of difference.

What I was doing was simulating the sound and such, like you would do with fly spray, and then when I actually did spray the stuff I would keep going with just the sound afterward until Twosox lowered his head and stopped moving. That was working but it wasn't working well enough I guess because Twosox was getting worse (behaviour wise).

Today what I discovered was that when I was making the noise it was quieter than the actual noise when it sprayed so Twosox knew the difference. So this morning I took about 25 minutes and got Twosox used to an even louder sound than what the actual sound would be.

This worked wonders and when I did actually spray Twosox gently in the eye his reaction wasn't nearly as extreme and I was actually able to keep the rhythm and he lowered his head a lot sooner. Afterward I did it a couple more times without actually spraying anything just until Twosox was able to stand still and be somewhat relaxed.

So the proof will be in when I do it again this afternoon. Needless to say I have been spending a lot of time with Twosox :) But unfortunately less time with the other horses.


Prince: Small things at Liberty

February 24 2011

I didn't have much time to do a whole lot with Prince today so we kept thing simple and played at Liberty. We did smelling the tail on both sides for 10 seconds. Prince did really well considering we haven't done this in a long time. He was so soft and flexible!
After that we played with him accepting my fingers in his mouth and touching his tongue. Since we have been bridling a lot and that is going well this task has been much easier. My goal is to be able to hold his tongue so I have to be able to touch his tongue and play with it a little with Prince being okay with that and not moving his mouth around to much :) Sound be fun!!

That was all I had time for but I was happy to be able to do anything!!