Canvas Painting

I haven't painted with these paints for awhile. I started with sketching the horse and rider (and all the tack). Then I started painting the horse which is my favorite part. I don't just paint it all in, I like to make muscles stand out and shadows darker. I paint in circular shapes around the spots of muscles/lighter places. I paint in dark spots and then paint over with almost no paint but mostly water over the patches I left. This makes the color lighter than the rest. I do the same thing with the mane and tail. I leave white strokes on the mane and tail for a glimmer look. Although sometimes I don't paint over lightly on that, I might leave it white because black will cover it darker than I want. 

I did not sketch anything else but the horse and rider out so I painted the grass and trees without any guidelines. For the saddle, I painted the horse, making it lighter in the middle and darker on the edges.  I could have done a better job with the man since I didn't have a reference nor have I practiced much with people. 

I found a white maker that used paint. This I did for the stars and white glow lines on the horse, trees and grass. And of course I had to have a little fun making horses in the stars! ;P

Unfortunately this picture I took doesn't look as good as if you saw the real canvas painting. I did not like how it makes the lighter spots on the horse stand out too much.  

Jess and Bow

These two horses I drew live at the EQ center. The paint is Jess and the Dun is Bow. Bow is a much older horse (in his 40s) but very healthy for his age. I drew this for their owner who has been very kind to me. She needs help for a few days with her horses and two others because of her sickness she's not able to carry any loads. So I'll be helping her and surprise her with this picture of her horses :D

Mistakes and Problems

Yesterday I worked with Sugar on yielding the hindquarters. While I was walking her to the arena, another equestrian (Mrs. Fennwick) was passing by me with her horse Peppy. She had a bunch of empty plastic milk containers tied together with most likely rocks inside. You can imagine the sound it would make. She was using that to desensitize Peppy.                                                                                                    

Sugar freaked out at the sight and sound of it. She pulled back all of a sudden and reared, giving me a terrible rope burn. I didn't want to let go but I didn't want to pull back either. If I let go of the rope she might run off. I'm not afraid of her running off but scared she might step on her rope and trip, especially since it was her lunge line (much longer rope for lunging). If I pulled back she'll feel trapped and probably freak out even more, which can lead to kicking and just going crazy until she felt safer. 

The best option is to let the rope loose so she can pull out some distance, which is what I did. I expect I held the rope a little too tight that it gave me a pretty bad sting of a rope burn (that hurt!). Of course she had to make a show of it so everyone around got to watch. I got her to calm down and finally got her to the arena where I felt safer with her. 

For the first part of it I had half her attention, the other half was toward the milk containers. I'm thinking of making the same kind of containers to desensitize her with. 

I started with backing her up. She did very well with that!

The next thing I practiced with her was desensitizing to a plastic bag:

She's so used to this I could put the bag over her head or anywhere on her and walk her around. 

I also did neck bending. Sugar does this so well! When I tried this on Ruby she was very stiff. I've even done with on Sugar's back and got the same good results. 

And last of all 'Yielding the Hindquarters' which I explained in my last post. This is my first time ever trying this on her but she's done this before by a professional. I've watched the DVD on that and understand much more than I did before. So she did very well on this. 

I did try to lunge her with the lunge line but that's where the trouble started. It took so much to get her from a trot to a run.  I ended up taking her to the round pen because it's easier there. She started proving that wrong! At first she flared up at the sight of a bunch of deer and ran around the pen back and forth. That was probably the only time she ran willingly... 

When I started lunging she acted as if she's never done it before. Thankfully it wasn't the hottest day but not very cool either. She was in a bad mood the whole time and would shake her head or buck every time I asked for a run. Boy did she kick up a lot of dust! I couldn't get one good turn from her and I couldn't understand why, I've never had such a hard time lunging before. I'll rewatch the round penning DVD to find out what the problem is and try again. I really hated to end badly but at least she followed me in a circle to the middle where we spent awhile together quietly. I did not know how much my mood can change when something as bad was that happens. I think it got worse towards the end of the lunging because I couldn't keep from getting mad at her. Well we both got each other upset that I had to stop. I didn't even feel like rubbing her when we stood still in the middle of the round pen. But I did after awhile and that made us both feel better. 

I'm actually looking forward to trying it again with a smile this time, and hopefully a smiling horse as well. 

Ground Work DVDs

Toward the middle of September I'll be going to Reno, Nevada, to help pick up Ruby and learn from horse trainer Clinton Anderson's method. Can't wait!

I've been watching Clinton's ground work videos. There are 5 DVDs;

1: Philosophy and Psychology 

2: Roundpenning 

3: Desensitizing to the lead rope, Desensitizing to the stick and string, Student Lesson-Desensitizing

4:Yield the hindquarters

5: Backing up methods 2, 3, and 4, Yield the forequarters, Student lesson-backing up

I have watched all five. I like to watch the videos more than once in order to get the techniques down. I have 1, 2, and 3 down pretty well and can understand it so I can try them with Ruby and Sugar. Number 4 had a lot of content in it and I have to watch it a few more times to get it in my head. I have some of the backing up method training from 5 that I do with Sugar. But when it doesn't go as I want it I have to go back to the videos again until I know what I'm doing wrong. When I get stuck with Sugar with not knowing what to do to solve the problem, I usually do something else with her until I have another chance to watch that video again. 

I love Desensitizing work and Round Penning, mostly because I have those the most down. Desensitizing is really fun because I like to have the feeling of the horse changing from fear to relaxing. I like getting closer and closer with the object until I can do anything I want with it and they'll stand still looking bored. In fact I like it so much that after they're so Desensitized to it I almost wish they can go back to being scared again so I could do it all over.  But of course my goal is the opposite! 

Round Penning (lunging) is fun too. One of my favorite parts is changing the horse's direction and I LOVE it when the horse reacts quickly and perfectly without stumbling. Another favorite is asking the horse in, and walking around with the horse following me closely. It makes me feel like I have horse powers and I can make the horse do anything I want! ;P

Of course there are a lot of times when things don't work out. I always have to be careful to not show my mood on those occasions...