tag:horsehaven.posthaven.com,2013:/posts Horse Haven 2017-10-11T12:27:28Z Noëlle Harris tag:horsehaven.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1197461 2017-10-11T02:05:29Z 2017-10-11T12:27:28Z Lake Cal Pic

Harris Family
tag:horsehaven.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1192668 2017-09-20T21:19:03Z 2017-09-21T15:49:47Z Norma

Harris Family
tag:horsehaven.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1150366 2017-08-11T22:38:30Z 2017-08-14T05:46:09Z Shelbi drawing

Harris Family
tag:horsehaven.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1147667 2017-04-19T22:42:36Z 2017-04-27T20:48:14Z I have a new horse to train!

Last week I was asked to train a quarter horse using the Clinton Anderson Method.  I've taken care of feeding Rose and her paddock mate, Cody, when their owner Gary left on vacation. Now, Gary would like me to use some of the methods to help his horse Rose.

Cody (a Bay horse) has gone through the Fundamentals training method with Sarah (the trainer in Reno). Rose has not had any method training. Rose needs to learn respect and Gary and his wife would like to have a better trail riding experience with the horses.

My plan is to work Rose a few days a week. I will report on Rose's progress.

Harris Family
tag:horsehaven.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1144548 2017-04-19T03:17:57Z 2017-04-19T03:17:57Z In the works of Ruby

Yesterday (Wednesday, April 6th) I worked Ruby and planned on working on her buddy sour issues.  I got her out and for fun and to test her, I took her lead off. I am able to get her to follow me around in the arenas and paddock without any lead. On the way I stopped, had her back up, and then if she started to walk away I would just look at her hindquarters and she'd yield and face me. I could back her up pretty well by adding some pressure when I'm facing her.  Or if we're side by side I could lean back and walk backwards. I could usually get her to trot by leaning forward but she's a little sketchy so I sometimes need to help her. 

When we got to the arena I decided not to work on her buddy sour with Sugar but just worked her in the arena, especially backing, lunging for respect stage 2 and the sending exercises. It was a little windy/cold and at the end it started to rain lightly so Ruby was energetic. 

CA method groundwork: 

Backing (all methods)


Circle driving

Lunging for respect stage 1 and 2

Yielding forequarters and hindquarters (1 and 2)


Flexing from side to side

CA method in the saddle:

Yield to a stop

Rate my seat

One rein stops


Follow the fence 

Tight circles

Gate sour


Flexing from side to side

While I was working on follow the fence a little bird on the ground started chirping at us from the ground. Ruby spooked a little bit but the next time we came around I could see that the bird was on her eggs and this time she came flying at Ruby. Ruby spooked a lot this time but thanks to the method, instead of falling off or Ruby running/bucking off wildly I had her yield her hindquarters while making our way away from the bird. I kept her busy moving her feet while turning in circles until she calmed down. If I hadn't brought her head there's a good chance I wouldn't be in the saddle and she'd be running off. So I loved how well it worked when she spooks! 

Harris Family
tag:horsehaven.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1142955 2017-04-19T03:09:58Z 2017-09-21T11:47:23Z Arab drawing

Harris Family
tag:horsehaven.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1139040 2017-04-19T03:09:45Z 2017-04-19T03:09:45Z Last days with Shelbi

There's been a lot happening with the horses lately. But I'm going to talk about the last few days I had with Shelbi before she left for her home in Wyoming. 

For the first part, we started in the paddock. I met up with Gail and we talked about the lessons while we groomed and desensitized the horses before Shelbi arrived. My little sister stayed a little bit for the grooming and was excited to brush "the white horsey's tail" (Sugar). When Shelbi arrived, she had Gail start on the lunging for respect stage 1 and 2. I had completed that and a couple others and all I needed was practice on the sending exercise. After a bit I took Ruby to the arena and left Shelbi and Gail in the paddock while I saddled Ruby up. Ruby is very impatient when it comes to being tied up, so it will be my goal to fix that. 

I rode Ruby in the arena for bit and worked on one rein stops. I also worked her by the gate where she wanted to stay, and I rested her at the farthest end of the arena, until that wasn't much of a problem. By that time Shelbi and Gail were there and saddled Sugar (Gail got a beautiful new saddle!!) and they did some more lunging in the arena. I circled Ruby around them for awhile and rested her at the farthest end of the arena like I did with the gate. I do this because I could feel that Ruby wants to go where she thinks the ride is over (for instance: the gate or to Sugar because she's buddy sour). So if I work her there she doesn't want to go there as much and won't argue with me. 

I actually rode most of the time outside the arena. I took Ruby out of the arena, leaving Shelbi and Gail to their lessons and rode Ruby around the arena for a change. Then I rode out in a field nearby and practiced the one rein stops. Gail and Shelbi moved to the round pen where Gail was to be more comfortable to learn the one rein stops without worrying about steering. I worked Ruby near the round pen and rested her out in the field (repeatedly doing this). 

I've mentioned in the past posts that there's a girl (14) who has her horse there. She has a horse named Athena and her mom has a horse named Duncan, both of which I take care of when they go on vacation. Amber (the girl) took Athena out and we both ended up riding and talking together while Shelbi did the last lesson with Gail. 

Gail said that in the past Ruby doesn't take to other horses and can be unfriendly towards them so I kept that in mind while I rode with Amber. But Ruby did mind Athena and they both got fine together. In fact they were "too fine", Ruby especially got attached and didn't want to separate from Athena. So while Amber walked Athena I trotted or cantered Ruby around them and rested her a little ways off. But I only did this when Ruby tried going back to Athena on her own. We had had fun cantering both the horses in the open fields and took turns going over this little hill (more like a big mound). Amber pointed out that Ruby had very fast gaits compared to Athena. She made me laugh when she said that when Ruby walked, Athena had to trot just to keep up! 

I love how Amber can just take Athena out and ride her very easily. I can do that with Ruby, but for Ruby and Sugar's buddy sour, they don't like to be separated and they whine about it. Athena and Duncan aren't buddy sour which is so lucky for them! ;P

Amber commented on how she wished Athena could tight turns and back up as well as Ruby could. Tight turns I think are easier once she can flex from side to side. Backing up was challenging with Ruby. She's a very testy and pushy horse and she hates backing a lot. Her early stages were not that pretty. Sugar is a lot easier to back up. I'm sure Athena will be a lot better than Ruby for sure and maybe better than Sugar if she had the same training. 

Harris Family
tag:horsehaven.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1132865 2017-04-19T02:47:19Z 2017-04-19T02:47:19Z Fundamental Riding lesson: One rein stops

My last lesson with Shelbi was on Thursday the 16th. It was also the last day before the weather got worse (except for one partly sunny day in between). We did riding this time! We did ground work for the first half and then we rode. Shelbi had me practice the one rein stops at all three gates. We actually ended up doing almost only one rein stops because Ruby and I still had a lot to learn. Ruby was rusty and I wasn't very balanced when I did one rein stops at a canter. In fact, I don't canter as much as I should, so I needed to loosen up and go with the flow. 

We did the riding in the round pen with Shelbi in the middle. At the starting lesson of the canter she wanted me to get used to it so she lunged Ruby.  There was no one riding her and I had to rub all over her while she cantered around. I don't sit up straight enough in the saddle (especially at a canter) and I don't keep my heels down in the stirrups all the time...

If Ruby doesn't respond to me relaxing at a walk (cue to stop) then there's no way she's going to respond when cantering. We got a few good stops at a walk and a few slow downs trotting but other than that we didn't get anything better (which is normal). 

In the past when I rode her I was actually able to get really good stops just by relaxing in the saddle. Ruby even took a few steps back on a few of them. She did some at a trot as well but since I didn't canter as much, I didn't get anything out of that. The more I ride, the better the both of us will get! 

Harris Family
tag:horsehaven.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1132487 2017-04-19T02:36:17Z 2017-09-21T11:47:44Z Lunging for respect training Ruby pics

Harris Family
tag:horsehaven.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1131407 2017-04-19T02:36:06Z 2017-04-21T21:22:10Z Lunging for Respect stage 1

I talked over with Shelbi on when to meet her down at the stables so I could watch her train Sugar and maybe work with Ruby as well.  I met up with her and watched her back Sugar up into the round pen. Sugar is actually better at backing than Ruby is. I watched her round pen Sugar while she talked to me on what she's doing or answering any questions I had. I noticed Sugar had a lot more energy with everything, too much in fact. She was more on the overweighted side and got winded faster than Ruby would have, especially since she kept speeding at every little pressure Shelbi put on her. Ruby needs a lot more pressure more often than not. We basically need a horse in between so we're working on evening them out. 

Shelbi then saddled Sugar (after a few other exercises like desensitizing and yielding) and took her to the big arena. I went to go get Ruby so we could both work them in the same arena and Shelbi could help me. When I went out to get Ruby from her paddock, she was much better to catch than the day before. 

Yesterday I worked with her and had some really bad moments and some really good ones. That day I worked with a couple of the exercises and so far I was satisfied until I got to the "lunging for respect." I pointed for her to turn and move in a circle around me but that's when the trouble started. First she just stood there so I added pressure to her front end to move off. She still stood so I added more until she started backing, and then she decided to rear up and suddenly she came forward at me a few steps to test/challenge me. 

That's when I made my greatest mistake. What I should have done was come back at her more fiercely and make her go the way she was supposed to go, but what I did was I lost the fight by moving back. I moved back because she frightened me when she get's nasty. That was the wrong move on my part so now the next time I ask her, she'll try it again most likely worse than before because she's succeeded on been able to back me up. I was unsure about trying again because I knew I was doing something wrong at the time so I did some more of the other exercises I knew how to do and ended at a good stopping point. 

Today Shelbi gave me the answer to my problem. I told her what happened yesterday so she had me do it again. But first she had me back her up with the different methods. I noticed when backing Ruby to the arena that she tried to move to the side and pass me. She unfortunately succeeded in that once but I did NOT want her to win me over again! The only good things that comes out of Ruby winning is that she's making me that much more determined not to let her win the next time. I backed her more in the arena and not once did I lose to her. After that and some yielding, we did the lunging for respect! Shelbi had me point in the air and swing my stick to set her off. She had a similar attitude the day before and reared and challenged me but just as I expected, she did it a little more. Shelbi had me 'get in there!' and I whacked her on the neck until she turned and obeyed with a swish of her tail. 

Mistakes and problems I made during Lunging for Respect stage 1: 

  • Point in the Air: The first mistake I'll mention is pointing in the air. When I ask Ruby to turn and move, I'm supposed to point high in the air the direction I want her to go. I don't point high enough and I don't keep my hand pointing. I need it dramatically high so she doesn't get confused on what I want her to do. I also need to keep it there until she gets away from me the distance I need. I keep putting my hand down way too soon, partly because I'm clumsy with the rope and keep forgetting to keep it there, and partly because I have a nasty rope burn and just get's worse so when that rope is supposed to be pulling through my hand it burns and opens my skin again so I drop my hand. I just need gloves and I'll be set.
  •  Adding pressure: Not a big problem but I don't put enough pressure or get after her. Although I do let Ruby get away with little problems, that can lead to bigger ones. It's not that I'm babying her, it's more that I don't know I'm letting her sneak away with the wrong behavior. Or I don't 'get after her' when she does something wrong. 
  • Body Language: This one is probably my worst problem. I think while working horses I'm more on the timid side. When I yield Ruby to a stop she would walk into my space. Shelbi noticed I would back out and even that is letting her win. So she had me work on my body language to be confident. My body language was hesitant and Ruby could read that so she took advantage of me. Shelbi wanted me to be confident and not frightened when Ruby got nasty. So I changed from a timid deer to 'you better not!' leader. After just working that day I got much better and stood my ground when I was supposed to instead of backing up and made Ruby back instead. That way we both stay safe~

At the end I felt much better and felt like I got a lot accomplished, both with myself and with Ruby. It turned into a lesson from Shelbi even though Shelbi was working Sugar at the same time. I took longer, so she watched us with Sugar resting. She worked Sugar on lunging as well. She kept Sugar turning and working hard next to us and then she lunged further away from us (and the gate) and slowed the work and let her rest over there. It helps resolve something called "buddy sour." Buddy sour means that the horses constantly want to be together because they feel safer and rested. But we don't want that, we want them to be parted easily when we take them out. We want the horses to want to be with us and feel safe around us like we're their herd. So Shelbi is teaching Sugar that being near Ruby means work. The same exercise can be used for "barn sour" which is the same thing but the horse feels and wants to be near home so the rider has a hard time bringing the horse away from home. You work them where they want to go and rest them where they don't want to go. Basically they need to be balanced out so that they only want to go where we want them to go. 

Harris Family
tag:horsehaven.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1129486 2017-04-19T02:23:21Z 2017-04-19T02:23:21Z Progress

The other day I had another lesson with Shelbi. It's been overcast, windy and rainy for awhile and I haven't gotten lessons or had enough time working Ruby on my own. That day was windy but thankfully didn't rain during the whole lesson. I can tell she had energy and usually if I was on my own I'll admit I probably wouldn't risk taking her out or at least not to work on. She gets really frisky and I don't have enough knowledge on what to do when she does that, especially when we start the training.  She starts getting in my space. 

Harris Family
tag:horsehaven.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1125830 2017-04-19T02:02:15Z 2017-04-19T02:02:15Z Notes from my fist lesson with Shelbi

Lesson learned 

Halter: Halter knots on the nose goes on the beginning soft part on her nose. Higher up when the horse is tied. Too low it can stop her nostril breathing and panic her. 

Yielding the hindquarters: Her anchor foot needs to stay still and planted. Drilling in while the other three feet move around. Nearest front foot.

Backing: Ruby knows how to back so I can take it a step further. She needs pay attention and give me two eyes. Yank on the rope when she's getting distracted. And hurry her feet because she needs to get out of her lazy steps back and respect me. 

Too firm?: If someone thinks I'm too firm with the horse, think of it this way; I may work with her about 2 or 3 hours a day (most likely not every day) and the rest of the 24 hours the horse does whatever she wants.

Rhythm: I need good rhythm in almost every exercise. Not too slow to where the horse is thinking she got away with disobeying, and not too fast where I'm freaking the horse out and basically whipping her. It needs to be quick like I'm going to get it done but not too fast. I also need to work on my aiming and awkwardness of being a beginner.

Good habit: Backing Ruby all the way to the arena is a good habit to get into. And if she can lead without getting sticky feet after she's done really well with backing, then give her that as a reward. 


Yielding the forequarters: First time doing this exercise. Hold the stick straight in front of the horse's neck, stand in the middle of the horse's neck, hands on either side of the stick. Handle end at the neck with the other end at the horse's face so I can rub the horse between the eye and ears at a stop. Since I'm new and not very good, Ruby will test me a lot. She'll try to get out of it and make out like I'm doing it wrong (even if I'm doing it right). Don't have the horse step in front. If a little tap/whack her on the nose, if a lot make her back up. Going too back, follow and force her to turn. If really bad make her back up and keep doing so, so she no longer wants to back.

Round penning/lunging: This time we tried Ruby more on making tighter turns. She didn't turn so well or gave me two eyes quick enough. What to do: If Ruby doesn't give me two eyes when I'm asked her to face me, keep walking until she does. If she doesn't and I hit the fence, I have two options; go along the fence to her and try to force her to turn. Or drive her forward and hard and then ask again. (option 2) If she does it again do the same thing and ask again till she faces me. 

Backing methods:

  • Tap The Air
  • Wiggle, Wave, Walk and Whack
  • Marching
  • Steady Pressure
Harris Family
tag:horsehaven.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1127956 2017-04-19T02:00:00Z 2017-04-21T21:11:45Z Ambassador Shelbi

Last year in September I went to Nevada where Ruby was going through a 6 week fundamental training with one of Clinton Anderson's ambassadors, Sarah. I got a lesson with Sarah where she showed me what she did with Ruby those 6 weeks and mostly to help me with the training myself. It was only for one day and although it was amazing I needed more help. Mrs. Davis felt the same. 

Sarah was going to come around April and teach a group of us at our EQ center. That was sadly put off because most of the other equestrian people in the group that we recruited were going to be too busy. And then I got surprised when I heard Shelbi was coming! Shelbi is another ambassador, I got to meet her January 22 and we all (Shelbi, Mrs. Davis, my mom and I) planned out private lessons. I'll get a private lesson which I think is better for me since she'll be only be focusing on me and I'll learn more that way than just watching. I get more than one or two lessons and I think Shelbi is really good at teaching. I need to save my money for each lesson and I want to get as many lessons as I can before she leaves because I don't know when I'll get professional help like that again. 

Shelbi talks a lot and I like how she explains things to make it as easy as possible to understand. When I have a question I seem to make a simple question turn into a really confusing one so I like how especially Shelbi can answer my questions before I ask them out loud.

I've already had my first and second lesson on the 24th and 25th of January. One of my first notes I took in my head was about the training halter. I knew a little why the two knots on the noseband were there on Clinton's halter but never thought they had to be put in any place in particular. I always tied the halter on more tightly than loosely so the two knots on the noseband were higher on her face. This was okay if I was tying her to a post but Shelbi showed me that I have to have it lower down when i'm training her. She had me feel down her face on her bone and just were it got soft on her nose was where the two knots were supposed to be. They're pressure points, which means I can add more pressure on that so she doesn't want to pull against it. But I don't want the knots too low to where they're clogging her breathing and she freaks out, especially if she's winded. 

During my second lesson I did yielding the hindquarters. Shelbi had me do it to show her how I'd usually do it alone with Ruby. When I did it in front of her I was so focused on getting her feet to cross that I forgot to have her 'anchor foot' stay still. Her 'anchor foot' is the forefoot nearest to me. 'Yielding the hindquarters' is getting her hindquarters to move away from me while we're turning in a circle. Her hind feet are supposed to cross while they go around and her forefeet turn as well but the one nearest to me. So basically all her feet move in a circle while her anchor foot stays in one spot and 'drills' around. Anyway, I kind of forgot to keep that anchor foot still so Shelbi showed me a trick to keep it that way. Every time she started to move that foot I'm to jerk on the rope to make it a tighter turn. 

I also learned a new exercise. I did yielding the forequarters for the first time. Even though it's in the Fundamentals videos, I haven't actually tried it. I don't think I've watched it yet either. It's different from the hindquarters. I stand in front right in the middle of her neck and hold the stick horizontally parallel in front of her neck. When yielding the hindquarters I add pressure by tapping the air. For the forequarters I do it similarly but since I'm holding it with two hands horizontally I move it back and forth like tapping the air. Ruby moves her forefeet around and I think I'm not doing too badly for a first try. Shelbi said she will test me a lot. It's a higher chance Ruby will pretend not to know how to do it than it is me thinking I'm doing something wrong (what she wants me to think so I give up). 

Harris Family
tag:horsehaven.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1122438 2017-04-19T01:59:00Z 2017-04-21T21:08:26Z Emergency Care

I've learned that If you own horses long enough, sooner or later you'll have a medical emergency. There are several things horses are known in their behavior that will end with a problem on the owner's hands. One is their instinctive flight-or-fight response. This makes it important to have the horse on his 'thinking side' of the brain. And I'm still learning to train Ruby and Sugar with this. 

Another is a horse's dominance hierarchy, the need to establish the pecking order within a herd. This has already proven a problem between Ruby and Sugar. Between the two, Sugar is in command of the pecking order. And she seems to love bossing Ruby around. Ruby's recent injury when she was trapped in the shelter and Sugar kicked her because Ruby wouldn't come out. Sugar was the one blocking the entrance and making it impossible for Ruby to get out. But another problem with the pecking order horses have, is that they fight over the order.

Recognizing if there's something wrong like a cut or bleeding is an obvious problem to see. But if it's something in the inside like colic and other illness that may be harder to find. 

Normal health for a horse is good to know and check up on. Here are some ways to check that I have been learning recently. 

  • Pulse rate: 30-42 beats per minute.
  • Respiratory rate: 12-20 breathes per minute.
  • Rectal temperature: 99.5-101.5F.
  • Capillary refill: two seconds or less. (time it takes for the color in the gum to return after pressing and releasing the finger)

There are so many types of emergencies a horse can have. From heat stroke, snake bites, foaling difficulties to injured outwardly like cuts or even sharp objects stuck in a hoof, as well as colic and other illnesses. 

Catching the horse and trying to keep him/her as calm as possible (as well as yourself) is the best action to take. The horse needs to be in a safe place to where he/she doesn't injury himself/herself more. It's also important to have another person hold the horse while the other checks or does anything to the injury. When I watched the vet give Ruby a shot in the rump, he had his assistant hold Ruby (staying one side) while he also was standing on the same side. He gave the shot on the other side of her rump so if she happened to strike out the person holding the horse could steer her and she would kick the other way and not hit him. Horses will kick out towards the hurting place, that's why he gave the shot on the opposite side so she would kick away from him. 

Harris Family
tag:horsehaven.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1120877 2017-04-19T01:57:37Z 2017-04-21T20:58:59Z West Nile Virus (WNV)

West Nile Virus, WNV, is a disease mosquitoes transmit in horses. The virus is transmitted when a mosquito makes a meal of blood taken from infected bird and then feeds on a horse. Mosquito infects the bird with the virus, then the mosquito feeds on the infected bird, and then feeds on and infects the horse. If horses recover, they do so in about a week. Horses show signs of disease 3-15 days after being infected.

Horses are not the only ones who can get it; birds, llamas, goats, sheep, dogs, bears, various reptiles and humans as well as more species. The strains of WNV are capable of causing disease in certain domestic and exotic species of birds. Crows and blue jays especially, in which the infection was usually fatal. 

WNV infection in mammals does not come in big amounts of the virus in the bloodstream, as it does in birds. There is a very small amount of virus in the blood of a infected horse. Mosquitoes are unable to transmit the virus from horse to horse or from horse to human. There are some clinical signs that a horse may show; stumbling, toe dragging, twitching muscles in the neck/shoulder area and more. Aged horses tend to get the disease worse. It's more common for horses (and humans) to get WNV in warmer weather. 

Harris Family
tag:horsehaven.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1119141 2017-04-19T01:55:13Z 2017-04-21T20:56:33Z Laminitis (Founder)

This time I'll be writing about Laminitis. I remember in the past a horse named Peppy got Laminitis. I learned a little of what it was from Peppy's owner but I didn't quite remember all she said about it. That was years ago but now I know more about it.

Laminitis happens in the feet. Although it's in the feet, what causes it is more often elsewhere in a horse's body. Overfeeding is a common cause to Laminitis, but thankfully is easier to control. 

Laminitis is a injury to what's called the sensitive and insensitive laminae (lamina, you can find it in the picture below) causing inflammation and could harm the important bond between these support structures of the foot. These Laminae parts secure the coffin bone (picture below) to the hoof wall. 

Inflammation can permanently weaken the laminae, and if severe can separate the bone and hoof wall, and penetrate the sole. 

I'll name a few of the causes (not all of them);
  • Overload of food (such as excess grain, fruit or snacks) or changes of diet. 
  • What's called "grass founder", is a type of Laminitis which a horse can get if sudden access to excessive amount of lush forage before the horse's system has time to adapt.  
  • High fever or illness
  • Severe Colic 
  • Bedding that contains black walnut shavings
  • Various foot deceases

Some of the signs horses may show as well:

  • Lameness, especially when a horse is turning in circles
  • Heat in the feet
  • Reluctant or hesitant gait (what's called 'walking on eggshells')

Harris Family
tag:horsehaven.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1134745 2017-02-28T03:48:00Z 2017-04-19T03:22:54Z Shoeing

Today (Feb 27) the horses got new shoes. This time on all their feet instead of just the forefeet. 

Gail and I came early to work the horses before they got their feet done. We backed them all the way to the arena and did desensitizing, lunging for respect stage 1 and 2, yielding the hindquarters and forequarters. 

Ruby was very testy that morning! She tried arguing with me right away, and I knew I would have to be more stern. 

Here's what happens: I ask Ruby to back up. She stands there so I ask her again. Ruby took a few steps back (but very lazy ones). So I keep increasing the pressure until she speeds up. When she gets to the bend in the path, I start turning her. This is where she always gets fussy. She's already doing lazy steps and only speeds up when I increase the pressure. 

Harris Family
tag:horsehaven.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1118959 2016-12-30T15:02:42Z 2017-01-02T19:24:12Z Colic

In my last post about Ruby's injury I mentioned the vet had given me a couple of brochures on different illnesses and cares. I decided to write about one of them. The first one I picked was Colic.

Colic is a pain a horse has in his/her abdomen (belly). Colic is the number one killer of horses, although most cases are mild and can be treated medically simple. 

I was most interested in recognizing when a horse has Colic. There's a long list of different behaviors but I'll just write a few instead of all of them. 

  • Pawing
  • Kicking or biting at the belly
  • Turning towards the flank
  • Leaving food or being completely disinterested in food
  • Repeatedly rolling with grunting sounds
  • Rapid breathing and/or flared nostrils

These are just a few from the list, there are actually a lot of behaviors a horse can go though to show his/her discomfort. 

There are a few easy ways to check on the horse as well. In my last post about Ruby, I talked about checking the gum in the horse's mouth. By pressing a finger down on the gum (releasing) and then seeing how long until it turns back to it's normal color again (normal: 1-2 seconds). Another thing to check is if the gum is moist, tacky, or dry. And just checking the color of the gum (white, pale pink, dark pink, red, or bluish-purple).

Check the respiratory rate (breaths per minute), measured by watching the rise and fall of the flank with each breath. Checking the pulse and heart rate (beats per minute), measured over the heart (just behind or above the left elbow) or over an artery (at the sides of the fetlock or on the underside of the lower jaw). 

Harris Family
tag:horsehaven.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1117400 2016-12-22T03:21:06Z 2016-12-22T03:57:38Z Spot Light

Harris Family
tag:horsehaven.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1116827 2016-12-20T05:52:27Z 2016-12-20T20:29:43Z Ruby's Injury
Yesterday Sugar and Ruby had a disagreement and it ended up with Ruby seeing the vet. Since Mrs. Davis couldn't make it to the paddock to meet the vet, I went down. 

Here's how the fight started: Sugar was in the little shelter where both horses were eating from. Ruby was half in just eating along with Sugar until Sugar wanted to get out. Ruby was blocking her so she tried getting Ruby to move out of her way. Ruby didn't want to move because she still wanted to eat so she stayed. Sugar then took it a step further and got upset, felt trapped and started kicking. She smashed holes in the wall, turned and kicked Ruby several times around her left abdomen and flank. 

Ruby didn't have a lot of open wounds but she was a bit sore and she limped too. The vet showed me one way to tell how bad Ruby's injury was is by walking her around and then trotting her. If she didn't limp and show sign of soreness when she walked it wasn't too bad of an injury. They had her trot and I could see she was sore and uncomfortable. She didn't show much soreness walking as she did when trotting. If it was really bad when she walked, then it would be much worse than if she trotted. 

He also checked her teeth as well. He pressed down on her gum with his finger, turning it white, and then he let go and counted in seconds until it turned pink again (blood flow). I think it was about two seconds until it turned it's normal pink color again. If Ruby had lost a lot of blood or hadn't had water then it would take longer until it turned pink again.

He looked for sore spots by pressing down at different parts of her body to see how she reacted. Then he checked her heart beat. He shaved away hair around two spots where she had open wounds and cleaned them. Then he put some creamy stuff which I don't remember the name of. He injected in two places (don't remember the name of the stuff sadly), one in a vein on her neck and another in a muscle on the rump. He showed me the first shot he did on her neck. He showed me the blood that he sucked a bit of in the tube to make sure he got the vein. The second shot he wanted to make sure he didn't get any blood because he wanted to get in the muscle and not a vein. He showed me that he was standing on one side of Ruby and injected the needle on the other side so if Ruby kicked out she would kick out at the needle on that side and not hit him. She was calm and good and didn't move when he did it. Some horses would though it it was better to be on the safe side (literally). 

After that he showed me some medication to leave for Mrs. Davis to give Ruby. He also gave me brochures of different anatomy, medical and care of horses so I have that to read now! 

Took this picture of Ruby a day before:

Harris Family
tag:horsehaven.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1113240 2016-12-20T05:44:36Z 2016-12-20T19:40:07Z Unusual Sugar

This evening I went down to clean up the horses' paddock. After I finished, I decided to work with Sugar on C pattern back and forth along the fence. I noticed a few things that seemed unusual for her. First when I went out to catch her she ran away. Ruby is the one who runs away and it's rare for Sugar to even care when I walk up to her. I even went up to Ruby who did her usual start to run away but changes her mind and stands still to let me put her halter on. I didn't put the halter on but just wanted to know if she would change things up. She seemed normal to me but Sugar started acting up. When I walked to her she ran off and started bucking. I ended up standing still next to her hay and after awhile she walked to me. I reached out my hand to pat her and she was a little unsure at first. She did let me rub her all over which I did for a few minutes while she ate. She calmed down and seemed to be back to normal. When I put the halter on she started out with her usual ignore but at least she didn't argue. She really only ignores me if she's eating but only for a second or as long as she can sneak in before I make her listen. That's her lazy side. 

I only had a short while before the sun went down and I had to walk home so I led her to the fence to do a short session of the sending lesson (C pattern). She did alright as leading goes but heard her breathing was a little husky and her nose a little runny. I thought she was starting with little cold. She does the exercise much better than Ruby does (surprisingly) and did it fine until she tripped her hind legs a little while turning to yield her hind quarters. Usually something little like this doesn't bother her very much and we get back on track in a second. This time she overreacted and reared up. I had to calm her down again and could hear her breathing in a husky tone but louder. I only sent her about 5 times back and forth. 

I sent her again and this time she started taking over my personal space so I had to correct her and after 3 times we got going fine. I didn't want to worry her so I ended the lesson soon after. I didn't work with her on anything else or Ruby for that matter. Ruby was acting wonderfully and let me come up to her even when I had a halter in my hand. I was planning on jumping on her bareback for fun and to desensitize her but the sun was going down so I spent a little longer with both of the horses just on loving all over them. 

Harris Family
tag:horsehaven.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1108473 2016-12-20T05:41:18Z 2016-12-20T05:41:19Z Follow The Fence

In my last post I mentioned I did a exercise called 'Follow the Fence'. I'm teaching the horse to literally follow along the fence in a straight line at any gait. The first time I really experienced this was when I was getting riding lessons years ago on a horse named Trigger, a palomino who used to be a cattle horse. That was to help me ride more than it helped the horse. Trigger did it fine enough, it was me who was practicing riding the horse at a walk and trot. My teacher was getting me used to going from a walk to trot and back down again. I was learning how to post. 

I had tried following the fence with Raleigh and he did okay. He was an older horse and a bossy boy but not enough to get wild and actually hurt me. He was more on the lazy side so everything was more slow with him unless it involved standing around or eating.

Last Saturday I did Follow the Fence for the first time with Ruby. 

In the DVD, Clinton was showing how to teach the horse to stay along the fence line and not sway off. It was my first time teaching it to Ruby and at the end of the lesson (which wasn't very long) she did so well! I didn't do it at a walk but trotted her around the arena along the fence. She of course started turning her own way away from the fence. 

Clinton said to imagine or even draw a line in the sand about 15 feet away from the fence for starters. Than start at a trot (It could be done at a walk but it's not really necessary) and trot along the fence. Every time the horse starts to go away from the fence let him until he crosses the line of 15 feet. As soon as he does steer him right back to the fence and don't let go until he's along the fence again. The more this is practiced you can make the line closer and closer to the fence. Start farther away at the beginning, like 15 feet, 10 feet, 5 feet until you don't have to anymore because the horse no longer strays off. 

Here is something I drew to show you:

I did this with Ruby and at first she did stray a lot and wanted to follow Sugar as well. But soon I got her to stay along the fence and rarely did she want to go off again. This doesn't have to be done at a trot, it could be done at any other gait as well. Trotting is the best for me since walking is too slow and cantering I'm still getting used to, but I bet the next time I ride I can do cantering as well. Sadly it started raining again and there goes the problem of only outdoor arenas. 

Harris Family
tag:horsehaven.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1108214 2016-12-20T05:37:35Z 2016-12-20T05:37:57Z What Happens in the Arena

Last Saturday I rode with Ruby and Sugar's owner, Mrs. Davis. I rode Ruby and she rode Sugar. We first groomed them in the paddock, I braided Ruby's tail, then we walked them to the big arena. They both have sticky feet when we walk them alone to the arenas but since she walked both of them at the same time they didn't stop once. 

Surprisingly, Sugar was the more energetic one but then, I've been working with Ruby much more. Before saddling up we let them run around in the arena first while we got the tack out. They ran pretty well and were starting to sweat. They rolled in the sand, but Sugar chose a spot to roll right next to the fence. When she rolled over toward the fence her leg got caught between the rails. It wasn't really caught badly at all but every time she tried rolling the way she would put her legs out between the fence so she couldn't roll over. She only tried once or twice and than laid there and didn't move. Mrs. Davis and I waited to see if she could figure out how to get out herself but she's didn't budge. In fact she looked so relaxed she looked like she was going to sleep. We waited a little while longer and then Mrs. Davis went around the outside to her to encourage her to get up. Ruby didn't help very much by galloping around but it didn't get Sugar excited at all, nor did she seem to notice. So since nothing happened I walked to her from the inside. She moved her head a little to see me approaching toward her head. Mrs. Davis couldn't reach Sugar very well to do much but we moved her legs out and I was able to push her over onto her other side. After that she got up fine and started racing Ruby around again, so she wasn't hurt. Mrs. Davis was very worried about her but was relieved to see Sugar was fine. 

I've had the same problem with Ruby in the round pen. The first time it happened I was alone so I was worried. It was actually easier to get her to roll over the right way but I felt like panicking especially since she wasn't my horse and  I started thinking of everything bad that could be happening. What was amazing about it was they just lay very calmly (too calmly) and waited for someone to help them instead of panicking and kicking which would have ended up in a disaster! 

Sugar looked completely fine so we saddled both of them and got on. We thought about doing some ground work first but we did a little in the paddock before bringing them up and since I usually work so much on the ground work before riding, we thought it was better just to get on straight away. We did do some desensitizing and I trotted Ruby around before mounting. When we were both on, we worked on flexing and a bunch of other exercises we've been learning from the Clinton Anderson Method. For the first part we walked them around  and practiced flexing, stopping and backing up. We did a little cruising and they wanted to follow each other. We worked together on the different exercises, one of us would do a lesson while the other would correct them if they saw anything out of place. Then we kind of did our own thing and I noticed Ruby and Sugar weren't so crazy about being together anymore. 

I worked on what's called 'Follow the Fence'. I've been watching the DVDs on that and this was my first time working Ruby on it. I did this after I did cruising with Ruby at a trot. Follow the fence is where I was teaching Ruby to go at a walk, trot or canter along the fence to keep a straight line unless we were turning in the corners. At first she kept going off the fence but soon I got her to stay along the fence very fast. We were doing it at a trot and once in a while changing directions. That worked out SO well and Ruby understood very quickly. 

I practiced my cantering as well since I had a fear of doing it with not so good balance. My fear was that I wouldn't have any control over her. So I started overcoming my fear by cantering her in a circle so I could stop her with a one rein stop. Another problem was she also needed to get better with her cantering. When riding, she always goes at a fast canter which gets me a little scared. I had to practice her cantering so she would conserve her energy and go at a nice canter. It was hard for me as a beginner with a horse that would go too fast when I wasn't very ready yet. When I had riding lesson years ago, I was only taught how to ride at a walk and a little bit at a trot. I learned posting which was really hard at first but now it's simple. I never got to ride cantering even though my teacher said I should practice it whenever I go riding for awhile. I did canter Raleigh but had no control at all since it was more of a run than a canter and I did it at one end of the arena and let me run to the other with always a little fear in me but it was so much fun for some reason so I did it more. I wasn't too scared since I knew Raleigh was going to the gate...every time. And he was an old boy so I didn't think he was ever going to buck me off. He seem to have joy in rubbing my leg against and a few other terrible tricks that I didn't know how to get rid of at the time. 

Anyway, by going in a circle, I was able to control Ruby better and it was helping with my balance the more I did it. She also didn't start out so fast as much. I got her to canter in a circle and then I would stop her and let her rest before trying it again. I worked her a lot, more than I thought because Mrs. Davis could see how drenched in sweat she was so we stopped and went to unsaddle them. I wasn't paying too much attention to what Sugar and Mrs. Davis were doing when I was cantering Ruby but she didn't looked as worked out as Ruby did. We took both of the horses to graze for awhile and then back to the paddock for the night. I helped put the tack back and fed a couple of other horses I was caring for at the moment. 

Harris Family
tag:horsehaven.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1116564 2016-12-19T06:27:03Z 2016-12-19T16:36:00Z Dad's Birthday!
As a gift for my dad I drew him this picture:

I got it printed and framed for him:

Here is the photo my dad took awhile back of our house across a hill. The little girl is my little sister:
Harris Family
tag:horsehaven.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1106642 2016-12-10T00:44:18Z 2016-12-10T06:34:30Z 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:

Harris Family
tag:horsehaven.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1105629 2016-12-10T00:40:47Z 2016-12-10T06:48:52Z 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:

Harris Family
tag:horsehaven.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1113152 2016-12-05T22:08:40Z 2016-12-07T17:37:51Z Frozen Search

Harris Family
tag:horsehaven.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1102860 2016-12-01T05:07:33Z 2016-12-01T21:48:14Z 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

Harris Family
tag:horsehaven.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1111786 2016-11-29T21:26:34Z 2016-11-30T14:55:21Z Pen Art

Some of my recent art with my new pens!

Harris Family
tag:horsehaven.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1110956 2016-11-26T04:10:11Z 2016-11-27T21:23:15Z Baby Cheetah

Harris Family