Learning Mistakes

Yesterday I watched more of the Fundamental DVDs on ground work. I needed to watch the one of the C pattern because I have had trouble with Ruby on that. The problem was, she kept trying to walk into me instead of what I wanted her to do, which is walk or trot in front of me to one side and yield her hindquarters. 

I watched the videos and found where one of my problems was answered. I'm supposed to tap her shoulder and keep added pressure until she does what I want her to do. I did do that only I quit way too soon. Every time she walk towards me I would quit the tapping and try to lead her back to where she was supposed to be. That was not at all what I was supposed to do! This time when she came to me I added the pressure to whacking and that made her move away from me. She started backing up and I remembered in the DVD Clinton said to follow when the horse does this and not take the pressure away until she goes forward. I only had to follow her a little way and kept my hand up to ask her and my stick whacking her until she went forward and dropped my pressure. Then I yield her hind quarters and asked her to go again. I'm still very clumsy with the stick and rope but I'm getting used to it. 

Today I did the same exercise with about the same results but maybe a little better but for one thing: she wasn't yielding her hind quarters well enough. So I'll go back and watch the DVD again. 

Yesterday and today I did the same exercise work. I started with desensitizing and that was very short because we had no problem there, she almost fell asleep. I then worked with some neck flexing which also gave me no issues. I did backing up, that she always does too slowly. She really doesn't like backing up but I still make her do it and will hurry her if she starts stopping. Then I worked with the C pattern and after that I did yielding the hind quarters. Something else I did was trying to get on her back bareback. Since she's so tall I use a mounting block or anything else to get on her. Of course with the saddle on it's very easy for me to use the stirrups and swing on but bareback is a different matter. I don't like using mounting blocks because I feel so little doing it even though people older than me always do. I practiced jumping on her and I'm able to get on her now. I might miss the first jump or two but I'm able to at least. I loved how she just stood there and dozed while I looked like a idiot trying to get on her back. 

At the end before mucking the paddock I took her out and let her graze. Then I put her back, mucked the paddock and jumped on her again without the halter or any tack. I just sat on her back while she grazed and walked around. 

I took this picture while I sat on her back:

Halter Means Work

Yesterday I went down to see Ruby and Sugar. It was mostly to catch up on cleaning, but also to work a little with Ruby as well. The cleaning was a lot but I got that all over with and then I got the halter out. I've noticed something that I never really thought of even though I've been told it. Some horses, Ruby especially, will run away from you when you have the halter out because they know what that means. I learned from Clinton that I need to change it up all the time so they don't think it's work for them as soon as they see the halter. Also another thing In learned is that I want the horse to wish he was with me instead of not with me. What I mean by that is I made it uncomfortable for Ruby to be away from me and made it relaxing to be with me. 

I had the handy stick (stick and string/whip) with me and as soon as Ruby saw me with the halter she started turning away. She does this all the time but recently I found a solution! Before I tell you what answer is I'll tell you what I've tried coming up with previously. 

A few times in the past, I used a treat to make her follow me to the halter so I could put it on. That, I can see now, was a very stupid idea but very common. This doesn't work as I found out very quickly. For one it takes forever to get her to follow me like that. It's nothing like getting a dog following you, they'll do it ten times faster and they don't seem to mind getting caught very much in the end. Ruby takes her time and sometimes doesn't follow me at all. Or I'll give her a treat and she'll just eat it and decide she might follow me for a few steps for another one. Anyway, some horses might follow all the way and others like Ruby won't bother, but they always end up knowing exactly what they're getting into and will outsmart us. 

The first time it might work, the second and third might too but it doesn't take long before they get that we're tricking them. And of course I've read from one of Clinton's magazine and videos saying that horses quickly recognize our habit. This is another reason I didn't work Ruby this time. I'm learning that I have to keep changing it up so the horse doesn't know what we're going to be doing when I take the halter out. And another thing is that it's not good to keep doing the same exact lesson over and over again. If they've already learned it, you don't need to keep doing it over and over every day because they'll get bored of it and might start fighting back. It's important to keep it up, but also start something new to learn as well.  Don't work so much on what they've already completed, or they're not going anywhere but backwards. It's important as well not to work them on too many different exercises at once; they will get confused and frustrated. 

Back to the dumb tricks I tried using with Ruby to let me put her halter on. The biggest problem I had was that I was basically begging her to let me put her halter on. A recent trick I did was that I used her fly mask and would put that on her and lead her to the halter. That worked better but that wasn't the answer to the problem. In the end she outsmarted me again. She would let me put the fly mask on thankfully, but she wouldn't literally budge after that.

The real answer was much better. I made it difficult for her when she chose not to come to me. When she came to me I released the pressure and rubbed her. I had the handy stick, halter and lunge line. When she saw me she started turning away. I didn't beg her to stay but told her "fine, if you want to run away from me then I'll help you with that". So I pointed in the hair as if I was going to lunge her and if she didn't move to a trot I whipped the ground with the handy stick. I have been doing this for awhile so now every time I come out it takes her less time to come to me. When I put pressure on her she starts off in the paddock and then finds she doesn't like working and turns and walks to me. Sometimes she turns and comes to me too fast, and a little threateningly, so I make her back up with increasing pressure and then drop it as soon as she obeys. I like it better when she walks with licking lips and head low to me. For the rest of the time I did desensitizing with the handy stick and lunge line, then we just both relaxed and I hugged/rubbed all over her. She was peaceful and dozing while I just loved on her. At the end I wanted her not to run off as soon as I took the halter off. I didn't think she would this time but I took the halter off and held her around her neck. Then I led her around the paddock for awhile, stood still and let her loose with Sugar. She did walk away but only for a few steps so it looks like she's improving. 

I lay down next to her and under her as well. This picture I took of her I went a little in front of her and lay partly down for the picture:

A Softer Horse

It's been raining a lot recently so I haven't been able to do riding or much ground work. I really wished I had an indoor arena to use! I won't have much chance to work with Ruby unless the weather changes for a few sunny days once in awhile. I don't like to work on windy days almost more than rainy ones, depending on how thick it rains. When it's windy it's harder for me to keep the horse's attention with everything blowing around, especially a certain big loud willow tree (Sugar especially is scared of that tree when it's windy). They also seem to have more energy too. 

For this post I decided to watch one of his videos so I could write about it. I did it through YouTube instead of the DVDs so you could see it too:

This is a really interesting video for me. I don't think I've watched all the Fundamental DVDs and haven't seen all these bending, flexing and turning exercises before. Actually I know most of these aren't in the Fundamentals but Sarah was able to teach me a new one including others I learned already. 

Flexing different body parts:

  1. Head and Neck
  2. Poll
  3. Shoulders
  4. Rib Cage
  5. Hindquarters 

  1. Head and Neck - Lateral Flexion

Get your horse soft laterally both left and right

  1. Poll - Vertical Flexion 

Get your horse soft vertically

  1. Shoulder Control

Always follow head and neck - able to move independently

  1. Rib Cage

Get your horse to move their rib cage with leg pressure

  1. Hindquarters

Move your horse’s hindquarters in a 350 degree angle


I drew one of Mrs. Davis' dogs, Buttons. 

Finished picture below:


As you can see I didn't get it just like the photo, but I had to change it a little to make it look right.  

Little Drawings

Some little drawings I did on trips or just at home. 

This one I painted at home before bed.

The cats I used pens and the grasshopper I painted. I drew them for a friend, I was visiting her family at the time I drew them. The cats are hers and the grasshopper is from a picture she took of one while back that looked really cool. 

This one I drew a week ago in church. 

This Arab I drew with pens at home. 

Gold Legend

This one took me awhile to finish. It's very hard for me to know how long it takes me to draw my art. I'm guessing around two and a half hours but I really don't know because this one I would stop for most of the day and continue at night or the next day so I didn't do it all in one sitting of course.