Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Scooter update

Scooter had a vet appointment last Thursday. He had some vaccinations, his teeth done - they removed four caps, gum tissue attached and were generous enough to leave them for me in a plastic baggy - can you say yuck? And he had his sheath cleaned. That was a lot for the poor guy. I am sure that it is a day he would prefer to forget. I let him have a couple days off. Actually, I didn't want him associating me with any part of what they did to him on Thursday. I just write the checks. And I am sure it will be a whopper. Saturday I went out saddled him, took he and Lil to the indoor arena. Tied him outside while I worked Lil. He kicked, pawed and generally carried on like a complete ass the entire time. He kicks at the air. He bucks in place. He paws the ground like a fiend. I finished with Lil, tied her up and got him. He went right to work on the lunge line. Stayed with me the whole time. He is learning "whoa" on the lunge line very well. He doesn't pull on me. He keeps an ear on me and really pays attention. I worked him for about 30 minutes then took both of them back to the barn. He has had a bath before but never in a wash rack. He walked in and stood there like a gentleman. He wasn't too sure about the foamer. The warm water convinced him that this wasn't all that bad. It is funny how they melt into the warm water and just stand patiently. After his bath, I tied him to the fence to dry. Here we go again. Kicking the panels, digging a hole to China. I can't leave him because the barn owner gets annoyed when his stuff gets destroyed - rightfully so. I moved him into the barn and he continued his obnoxious behavior. Then I moved him to a tie out way over by the indoor. Nothing for him to kick, he can dig a hole or whatever. I left him there while I took care of Lil. I took my time, gave her a good bath, washed and conditioned her mane and tail, let her graze while she dried. All the while he was tied to the thinking post carrying on like a fool.

I was really frustrated when I left on Saturday. I was hoping to see some decrease in his behavior but I think it is escalating. I can't spend hours out at the barn while he works it out. I am worried that giving him an hour or two at a time is just ingraining this behavior. I skipped Sunday. Monday night I went out and got he and Lil and tied him to the thinking post while I rode. No big surprise. He carried on and on and on. When I was done with Lil, I lunged him and he went right to work. He is telling me that he wants a job and that he willing. My next step is to speak to the asst trainer and see if I can pay him to tie Scooter out and just leave him (but keep an eye on him). If he would tie him up at lunch I could be there by 5pm to untie him and put him away. Tonight I am going to put a snaffle bit on him over his halter and let him think on that while he is tied up.

Recap: he has been saddle 6 times and now stands tied while being saddled. Lunges without pulling and pays attention. Stops nicely when you say "whoa". Will yield his hind quarters, shoulders with very little pressure. He will flex both directions with little pressure. He could care less about the rope being around his legs, hind quarters etc. Showing a lot of try and willingness to please. Tying sucks. He gets a big fat F in tying.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


I profiled Scooter back in January. He is my little red horse. I moved Semper home for a much deserved break from stall life and moved Scooter to Semper's stall at SCR. Scooter is a thinker. And he thinks that this stall life is pretty special. At least so far. This is the first horse that I am doing my own ground work. I am going to try to make each lesson count and teach him something new every time we go out. If the ground work goes well I will continue to start him myself. I plan to keep journal of each lesson so I can look back and see where I screw up and what worked out well. I spent his second day there giving him a clip job because he looked so shaggy. About half way through I realized it was only the second time he had every been clipped and he had never had his legs done. But Mr. Thinker was standing quietly and just going with the flow. I took him to the arena to just move him around a little. He has never been lunged so I wasn't expecting much. He took to it like a duck to water. Like something he had been doing forever. A couple of times he took off towards the gate but with a quick correction he was back and working. One thing that I noticed... is with out that extra 125 lbs on my body, they can move me around a lot easier than they used to be able to. On Monday I put the saddle on him. This is the second time he has ever been saddled. The first time was just on a dare from my wonderful husband. Both times he has just accepted it without as much as a flinch. I walked he and Ms. Lily over to the arena and tied him to the wall. I started riding Lil and he decided to lay down. When he realized that wasn't going to work he got up and started kicking the wall and pawing the ground. I ignored him for awhile but it just got worse and worse. I decided that maybe I should have worked him first so I tied Lil up and got him. I spent 20 or 25 minutes lunging him and making him work. He has so much hair that he really gets sweaty easy and since I am only able to work with him at night I need to be careful just how overheated I get him. I don't want to be out there till midnight cooling him out. On the lunge line he didn't buck or fuss over the saddle, he had a couple moments of brattiness but came back around and did as he was asked. Recap of Monday night: Second saddling, second lunging - His overall grade for lesson #1 is a B. Tuesday night I saddled him and took him to the arena alone. He didn't fuss about being saddled or leaving Lil and his other stable mates. That is a plus. He went right to work on the lunge line. (I would love to work him in the round pen but we have had a lot of rain and it is dark outside by the time I get there and that makes the round pen off limits.) He went both directions, walk, trot, lope, no dragging me around, no bucking, a little head shaking but nothing a slight correction didn't fix. Next I worked on having him yield his hind quarters around. Then moving his front end around and flexing his head/neck with light pressure. I keep each lesson short and when he would get it right, we would stop and rest. He did a lot of licking and chewing and responded well to praise. We worked on "Whoa" on the lunge line. We also worked on just dealing with the rope being around his hind quarters and around his legs. He could have cared less. He stayed with me the entire time. Really focused on what I wanted and had a lot of try. Grade for lesson #2 is an A. One of the hurdles that I think that I am going to have is the standing tied with out fussing. He doesn't set back or pull, he paws and bucks in place and if there is a wall he will kick at it. He needs to stand tied for hours to learn patience and I can't be out there during the day to do that. I need to figure out a solution.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Christmas and other ramblings

Last year I started out the Christmas season with a very bah-humbug attitude. Then during the holidays I realized that I really enjoyed spending time with family and friends. Over all I had great holiday. I keep going back and reading what I wrote last year and trying to put myself into the Christmas spirit. It isn't working. Maybe I am trying to hard. Or not hard enough. Or maybe it isn't something you can make happen at all. Maybe it is something that just comes over you like.... (I am trying to think of something classy to say here but the only thing that is coming to mind is the urge to go pee) like... when you jump into a swimming pool on a hot day and the water is cool and you are instantly refreshed, energized - (I was going to say "relieved" but it was to close to the going pee comment - maybe I should just give up on the classy thing?).

Our Wednesday night lessons are cancelled for the month of December so I will be on my own for awhile. I have gone up to work cows a couple of times recently. Ms Lily seems to be getting better every time we go. She definitely has an attitude when it comes to working cattle. She is going to be the boss come hell or high water and the sooner the cows understand that the better. She is such a little horse - heck I am not even sure she is a horse in the true sense of the word. I will measure her and get back to you on that. How many hands does she need to be to be officially a horse? 14? I am rambling. Any way... little horse with a huge attitude. Like she has short mans syndrome. I have fun, she is coming along and that makes it all worth it. The gentleman that I have been taking lessons from is quite the character. He and my husband always talk about politics, guns, ammo and hunting. One of the things I love about my husband it that he is a gentlemen - a man's man, respectful of his peers. Wait, that is more than one thing - but those are some of the things that I admire about him. When he is around men that are older than he is (and he ain't no spring chicken) he is respectful. I like that. I also like that he stops at the local coffee shop and buys me a sugar free, non fat, mocha with carmel and then stops at the mini mart on the way to the lesson and buys me Lays Potato chips. And to top it all off on the way home he always lets me stop at my favorite farm supply store and check out the new selection of boots, clothes and tack. He comes into the store with me but usually doesn't set foot into the ladies or tack departments. He just stands in the main aisle and watches from afar. Sometimes I ask him "Honey do you like this?" as I am holding up some random blouse and he will say "yes that is nice". If I had to guess what he is really thinking it would be... "If I just agree with her this will all be over soon and we can go home". I wish they had a sporting goods department and sold guns at the farm supply store. Then he would be very content there, like when we go to Cabelas. He would hold up a gun and say "Wow honey look at this" and I would say "yes that is nice"....but what I would really be thinking is "If I just agree with him this will all be over soon and we can go home".