Today's Happenings

This morning I went down early to work with Ruby so I could do it before she ate her breakfast. I don't usually work her before her breakfast but it's easier for me now because recently it got hot again. 

At first she was fine when I led her to the big arena. She had a little bit of sticky feet but I expected that. I started to work with her by moving her feet backwards, forwards, left and right. I did yielding her hind quarters, lunging for respect, backing up and some desensitizing. I did the lunging on the lunge line at the end in the big arena. I could tell she was getting worked up and started acting like a grumpy 3 year old. 

My parents were taking a walk and stopped by. So I let Ruby come and say hello, especially since my baby sister was there too. There's something about Sophie that Ruby loves to sniff. I don't know but it's very cute! 

After standing there with Ruby for a few minuets she started to move around more. She was getting worked up about something and after my parents left I took her out of the arena and started for the round pen where I felt it would be easier to control her freely without the a rope on her. I also haven't done that with her for awhile so it's nice to change it up.

As soon as I got her out of arena she behaved terribly! She was jumpy, pushy and got into my space. It got so bad I was afraid I wouldn't be able to get her to the round pen. I was also holding the whip, lunge line and her lead rope in one hand with the other holding on to the rest of her lead to control her. Mrs. Fenwick was walking by so I asked her for help. She has been doing the Clinton Anderson method for years.
I'm still learning, slowly, so I wasn't able to control the way I would have wanted. Soon after, Mrs. Davis came down to feed. Mrs. Fenwick left to go on a trail ride so Mrs. Davis helped me get her horse to the round pen. I could have gotten her there if I had one of them watching. She did calm down a little before she came and she was hard to get into the round pen. There I took over and was advised to keep her changing directions to get her mind off acting reactive. She was probably acting this way because she didn't have her food yet and knew Mrs. Davis was coming soon to feed. She was in a hurry to get back to the paddock with Sugar to eat and got upset because that's not what I planned on. I got her changing directions and calmed her down pretty fast. 

Mrs. Davis left just before I started lunging her and left a flake of hay for her where the obstacle course is so she can eat a bit there instead of her paddock. She wasn't in a big hurry to go back. 

I worked with her until she got tired and wanted to slow down as much as possible instead of running and bucking like she did in the beginning. When I finished with her, she came very willingly up to me and followed me around like a dog. She did not want to go back to work! When she was in Nevada with Sarah, Sarah took Ruby out when ever she wanted. It didn't matter if she had her food or not. When she got back she thought she could kick back and get away with things. She probably got away with some things because we were not as experienced but she was grumpy about her food and thought she could fight her way to it. 

I did more desensitizing with her in the middle of the round pen and let her rest for awhile. I stayed there for awhile with her because I wanted her to think about it. Then I took her out with no trouble at all and led her to the hay. She ate some of it but surprisingly she didn't want it as much as I expected she did. So I took her through some of the obstacles, gave her some carrots and then headed back to her paddock.

Like I mentioned before, Sugar was always a problem when I put Ruby back. Sugar did run a little in the paddock and followed us from the inside to the gate. I was afraid that Sugar was going to be bossy and try to chase Ruby again so I let Ruby graze outside for a little bit. Sugar had food and I didn't know if she would pin her ears at Ruby or go back to eating. I would have back Sugar up but having two horses at the same time was very hard. Then I chanced it and let Ruby graze which took Sugar's interest down. I happily didn't have any problems with them. I did not want Ruby getting into her habit of always walking away as soon as I take off her halter, so I took it off and still held her with the halter around her neck for a little bit and then let her go. 

Future Ideas and Today's Problems

Next summer or sooner I want to start new things with Ruby and Sugar. One idea that has been in my mind a lot is getting them in the water. I have lakes, rivers, ponds and creeks where I live so finding a place to swim in will be easy. I've been learning the Fundamentals and also found a video on getting the horses in the water as well. And it's by Clinton too! Score!  

In this video, he's training a rescued horse named Cider. There are more videos on Cider's training that I've watched as well. Maybe I could get the horses in the water this year if it stays warm but if it's not possible, l I'm looking forward to try it in the summer time. Another goal is to get them trail riding. I have been riding Ruby a couple of times since she was back but's it been hard now with both horses. 

A big problem I have with them both back now is Sugar feels like she's the boss and gets jealous of Ruby very often. Every time I bring Ruby back into the paddock from training, Sugar would come running up. As soon as I open that gate, Sugar would pin her ears back at Ruby and often chase her out of my hands. When that happens, I have to be careful of where I'm standing because Ruby or Sugar could run over me. So it gets pretty wild...

The last time I went to get Ruby, Sugar came up while I was putting her halter on and chased her away. I decided to do some chasing myself. I kept at a slow but threatening pace toward Sugar and made her run around the paddock while keeping her away from Ruby. It's amazing how I can use my body language on her! When I quit trying to chase her, I just relaxed, looked as if nothing mattered and walk up to her without her running away. If I wanted her to move I've learned to 'ask politely' and if she doesn't respond, I take it a notch higher. Horses talk the same language.

And of course another problem with both of them at the same time is extra work. But that's not much to complain about and I'm so happy to have them both back. Although I do admit I take to Ruby more. 

Home Riding

This morning I went down to the EQ center to work with Ruby. The other day I went to clean the paddock and say hi to Ruby and Sugar. This morning I took Ruby out. I first groomed Ruby in her paddock then took her near the arena where I saddled her. 

I didn't get on her right away but left her bridle off so I could work with her on the ground first.  I started with desensitizing with the lunge line and whip (stick and string). She did very well! 

I also did Yielding the hindquarters and a few other exercises. Then I put her bridle over her training halter (to help me control her more) and checked her cinch before getting on. Her bridle wasn't a Clinton Anderson one and since she's been using that kind for her six month training it was harder on her for this bridle, especially the bit. It was harder for me to flex her head around with the bit, I felt like it was hurting her more. The more she obeyed me the less it would hurt for her on that bit. I mostly did one rein stops at a walk and some at a trot. She is getting used to me and most of the time she will stop as soon as I sit deep in the saddle. I also did yielding the hindquarters and backing up. She did great on the backing up, the bit didn't hurt her then. Most of Clinton's bridle and bits are softer on turning and flexing.  The bit I used this morning was better for backing and going forward. I personally prefer Clinton's! 

I forgot I haven't mentioned this but I got a huge surprise yesterday! I got a text from Mrs. Davis that I had a present from her and Sarah in the barn! I found a gift bag with my name on it and a whip (stick and string) right next to it. What I got inside was a No Worries Clinton Anderson hat (I'm never gonna take it off!), lunge line, Clinton Anderson halter, and another halter but not Clinton's although it also came with the lead (those two pieces are turquoise too, my favorite color). I'm so excited that I'm getting to start my own tack collection! So far they seem to come in black and turquoise, even my gloves have those colors. 

I'm so thankful I got those presents!! :D I'm actually working on an art project of Ruby and Sarah using one of the photos I took of them when I was in Nevada. Hopefully they'll like that!

Learning The Method

Yesterday I was in Reno, Nevada to see Ruby and get taught some of the Fundamentals by Sarah (Clinton Anderson Ambassador). I took a lot of pictures too!

Sarah took the day to show me what Ruby learned while she was with Sarah the past six weeks. She showed me and Mrs. Davis (Ruby and Sugar's owner) backing up methods, flexing, yielding the hing quarters, lunging for respect 1, desensitizing, and more. Then she got on Ruby and showed one rein stops walking, trotting and cantering. She also showed flexing, yielding the hindquarters and backing up. 

What I was amazed about most was how well Ruby did her one rein stops. Sarah just had to relax and sit deep in the saddle and Ruby would stop. I got to learn how to do this as well. Since I was a different rider and rode differently, Ruby didn't catch on very well at first. But I got her to stop immediately at a walk and started getting better at a trot. I didn't practice very much on a canter because we didn't have time so we had to move on to the next exercise. But now I can practice the stops at home when Ruby comes home on Sunday!

I took this picture of Sarah cantering Ruby and showing us the one rein stops:

I thought it was cool to take a picture like this with the hills in the background. Sarah was taking the bull whip when I took this picture. It sounds like a loud cap gun when she whipped it. She used the bull whip as a desensitizing tool for Ruby. 
After showing everything Ruby can do she then had me practice them all. Most of the ground work I watched the Fundamentals on and tried myself so I didn't mess up very much on those. Since I had one day to learn with her she wanted me to get them down enough so I could practice them at home with Ruby. Of course I'd have the DVDs to watch if I got stuck but it's easier having an experienced person like Sarah showing me and catching mistakes I would miss. 

Here Sarah is showing me how to do one of the backing up methods. I've done this on my own with Sugar so this one didn't take long to understand:
Is this picture Sarah is showing me who to stop and back up:


My trip to Reno Nevada is tomorrow!

I'm taking a break from my other school work and am watching a lot of Clinton's fundamental DVDs. I'm also thinking and remembering some questions I could ask Sarah (Clinton Anderson Ambassador) who will be teaching me. 

I like to be prepared if a horse does something and I have to react quickly. Here is one of my questions I wanted to ask her:

Is there some way I can position myself so that I'm safe if the horse spooks, (on the horse or off) and get the horse to calm down without making it worse? If I was on the ground, I don't want to make the horse feel trapped if I pull back and scare the horse where she might run over me. Or if I let go of the rope I don't want the horse to run off where she might trip on the rope. 

This has happened to me a few times on the ground. I would turn the horse so he could see the thing that I know would scare him. That way it's less frightening because he would expect it. Most of the time though I don't have enough time to turn the horse. 

Surprising enough Sugar is actually the one who gets spooked the most. Sugar is the lazier one of the two so it takes more to get her moving. But it doesn't take much to scare her even though I did a lot of desensitizing and she's gone through her work in Nevada. 

Ruby used to get spooked a lot too. As soon as I started learning "desensitizing" I worked on Ruby. Before she left to Nevada I think she was better than Sugar is now. 

Anyway back to getting spooked, I also wanted a solution for getting spooked when riding. I did find an answer for this one! This is actually the answer I was looking for! Here is a video where Clinton shows what to do:

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.