Monday, July 18, 2011

Getting Better...

Feel somewhat successful this morning. I went out determined to back straight and actually accomplished a bit more.

I always try to go through the steps.. desensitize with the stick and string, then move on to backing up, etc. This morning I jumped right to flexing thinking that would be a quick successful place to start. Wrong... Vaskur started to act like he wanted to bite the rope, then even seemed to act like he wanted to bite me.. I could be wrong, but since he had never done anything like that before I knew I needed to nip it in the bud. I knew I needed to move his feet, so I started to lunge him to the left, which he went off pretty nicely. His yielding was sloppy, and when trying to lunge to the right, he kept leaving to the right. About that time, I guess I got irritated enough to stop being a nagging mother and went back to YHQ stage one. He did that better than he has and moved quickly on to YHQ II. I really got after his butt on that one and got his two eyes much better. Then we went back to lunging until I got him going in both directions.

Finally I got back to what I wanted to start with which, was backing up. I had planned to back him down the driveway in case he kept going crooked, but lo and behold, he backed straight. We even did all 4 methods. Now... he is not leaving with enthusiasm, but he is backing... Yeah!

Then to see if all that effort changed his attitude about flexing... and yes... he did that without offering to bite the rope.... or me!

Tomorrow I think I will try to do all of the above things better and then add YFQ. I know that won't be much fun. Maybe Vaskur will surprise me.

Friday, July 15, 2011

I did work with Vaskur two days in a row. We'll see how many I can get in before the family reunion next weekend.

I still didn't get up as early as I intended, but I got going a little earlier. As you can see by the picture I tried to solve the "two eyes" problem by getting his bangs out of the way. He did seem to do better...

I mostly did the same exercises as yesterday.. he did a little bit better in all areas. I forgot to retry yield the FQs. but I will get to that tomorrow. One of these days I may just work on backing up and nothing else.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Vaskur, my new project...

Well, it has been awhile. I have not added anything since the last of the clinic in 2009. That is starting to be awhile ago. Since then we have had a clinic here with Jennie Wentworth in the fall of 2010. She discovered quickly that we were a group that took things seriously... but we did like to laugh a lot. We learned a lot.. Reba realized that she needed a new horse (and got one...) Kelly was frustrated with her lack of balance and concern about loping (she has overcome both) and I realized that I needed to work on my confidence.

Since then we have done a lot of trail riding with new converts to CA. We are preparing for another clinic in late September... We have 7 ladies that would like to participate, but room for 6.. we'll see how that works out. I had hoped to ride Vaskur in the clinic, but we have a long way to go.

From this point on this blog will be mostly about my trials and tribulations with my Icelandic Horse, Vaskur. Vaskur is a 7 year old gelding who has only been gelded a year ago. He is very mellow, but very lazy. He has spent about 2 1/2 months with Fausto, who has done a good job riding him and intuitively finding his gaits. He is fun to ride. However, I got him home about 2 weeks before I went to NY and only rode once briefly. I did start groundwork with him, but he knows absolutely none of it. I stayed in NY two weeks reconnecting with family on my Dad's side then spent yesterday recovering.. . This morning I intended to hit the ground running, but I ended up sleeping in. I did get in about 45 minutes with him before it got too hot. My goal was to work through the first 4 or 5 groundwork exercises. I did this with varying success.

  • Desensitizing with rope, stick and string... no problems.
  • Backing up is better... however, he continues to look at me with one eye not matter how much I bump.
  • Flexing - we no longer go round in circles, so that is better. He holds his head very vertical which is different than how Gray flexes..
  • Yielding the HQ is better than when we started before NY. He kept wanting to go in circles. I backed up today to just asking for one step. We finally got that on both sides. He wants to step towards me crossing over his front legs as he shuffles his back feet. I tried to block that motion and finally get a crossover step with his back feet. I quit while we were ahead .. and will continue tomorrow. I have the next two weeks wide open and plan to work every day.
  • Lunging Stage One went so much better than before NY. I had to get very assertive to get him to leave... today it was not a problem to get him to move off at all. He wants to stop and pulls on the halter, but this is the first day he got the concept at all, so I am encouraged.
  • I started Yielding the FQ, but as you can imagine that wasn't pretty. Got a step in each direction...
  • At that point.... I desensitized and gave him some time tied up.
It was just too hot to do much else. Tomorrow I will start earlier in the day.

Last night Kelly, Reba, and I went to help our neighbor Deb start working with reactive mare... fun! We go help Eska tonight....

Saturday, December 26, 2009


#17 Final Day

These photographs should be reversed, but I am in a hotel working on Joseph's little laptop and don't know how to do that without losing a photo.

Our last morning started at 5:30 when Reba picked me up in Jim's truck. She opted to drive which was fine with me. In fact, the only driving I did was hauling the trailer. Reba and Kelly were my helpers all weekend, and they were the biggest help. They fed, watered, groomed, cleaned stalls, encouraged me, and even offered a nip of VO when necessary..... Reba drove us all over when we went out to eat or wander. Anyhow, we got back there in time for me to get a little one on one help. I worked again on yielding the front end and the back end since I knew we would be lunging, and sending again this morning. We started with all of that and then we kind of combined the two. We were to send the horse and then step in front of the horse while changing hands on the stick and rope, and then immediately send them the other direction. In the second photo I am getting some help from Clinton, in the first photo I am getting the hang of it.

Another exercise we did was walking in a circle with our horse walking with us... we would rest our stick on their shoulder. We would walk in about 10 feet circles for awhile and then we would change directions. We also did an exercise that teaches the horse to stay by our shoulder while leading them. As the horse got the hang of that, we worked on changing directions to the inside, and also to the outside. The object being that the horse would learn when to hustle and catch up.

We ate our last lunch at the Subway again. It was close, and menu predictable

Friday, December 25, 2009

#16 Merry Christmas.... and the rest of day two.

After the break, Clinton told us that we would be loping on a loose rein. You could hold on to the saddle horn... but you were not to steer or otherwise touch the reins. He had 3 people go at a time. I was in the second batch that went. I was really nervous because my horse is an old roping horse and likes to go fast. Clinton asked if anyone wanted one of his assistants to ride their horse for them first. I nearly went for it, but I didn't chicken out... However, once we got going our horses had to negotiate around 17 other horses. It was pretty scary and I think I said that out loud, because he asked me again if I wanted someone to ride my horse. I really started thinking about it then, but hung on. Just when he was going to ask us to stop the Gray really started moving. I knew from experience if I just yanked him into a one rein stop that he would stop on a dime. I was afraid I might get launched. You know that about "an object in motion stays in motion...." So since I was on the other side of the arena, I cheated a little, slowed him down first and then stopped him. I did it!! Faced another fear. It was interesting to watch all the other folks lope on theirs. Some did opt out, but most didn't.

We took a short ten minute break when all had had a chance to ride. When we got back, they had made a line about 15 feet away from the fence all the way around the arena. We were to trot or lope, but this time we were aloud to use one hand on the rein. What they wanted us to do was to teach the horse to ride the fence. We were to keep them between the line and the fence. If they strayed over the line we were to over correct and steer them straight to the fence and then let them go on. We were to wait until they committed to the mistake and then correct them. That is a good part of his philosophy. He doesn't want us to nag the horse, or not allow them to err... He feels they learn better and faster. This was a more comfortable exercise for me because we could choose to trot or lope... and we could slow them down if they would go too fast...

Quite a day... horses and humans were exhausted.. We were supposed to know feed or water for awhile, but we were trying to get home so I could attend the Mayfield Christmas. The gal in the stall next to us, overheard our dilemma and offered to feed and water later for us. That was great, so we hopped into the truck and took off. The Mayfield gathering was wonderful... great attendance. I had another whole generation to teach "Who's got a beard that's long and white.... " to. Definitely worth driving two hours to get to. I kind of slipped out early because Reba was picking me up at 5:30 in the morning!

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