Sunday, June 22, 2008

Progress report

What a great weekend it was! I finally have some quiet time to reflect on it and wanted to share it with all of you, my blogger family. I brought Harley home from my friend's house on Friday because my farrier was coming. He was so cute meeting me at the gate and jumped right up on the trailer ready to go home. I cannot believe the changes in this horse since I got him. He used to stall at the sight of my trailer and not really do anything bad just refuse to move forward or get in without a fuss. Now he will load in anything, ramp, step up, slant or open box. My farrier could not believe how docile he was being in his stall either. He has been openly aggressive toward anything,(except me) when in the confines of his stall. This is actually where he bit my son about a year ago. When I brought him home from Mike and Corey's barn I decided to try something new with him, I kept him over at a friend's house in a dry lot during the night and turned out during the day. She also had an arena and I was able to ride him 4-5 days a week no matter the weather. He has been an absolute doll since he has been there. Here I had been turning him out all day and stalling him at night. I think the difference is him not being stalled, sure he could go in a stall if he wanted and he did but he was not confined. I know how he feels. I love the outdoors and all winter I feel confined and grouchy because it is so darned cold outside that I don't spend enough time out there. On Saturday I loaded him up and went down to visit and ride with Mike and Corey. They had not seen us since we left in May. We had a good ride and they were both pleased with how well we were getting along. Mike had a gelding for me to try while I was there.
I must tell you I had no fear getting up on that gelding whatsoever. I rode him just about 15 minutes and knew he wasn't IT either. Corey seemed relieved that I did not like him and later I asked him why. In the privacy of our conversation without Mike (his dad) he told me he thought the horse was under me, meaning not enough horse and that I was beyond that stage. WOW! I think that was a compliment.
He told me that I might just be better off putting more time and training into what I have with Harley. Now folks this is a revalation because Corey has never been a fan of Harley , although I am not sure why? Anyway he looked at a video I had of a horse in WI that I was toying around with going to try and gave me his opinion on that.

Today I saddled Harley and rode around here at the house. I made myself a little trail course to practice on and what fun we had. I started with my pasture gate and worked with Harley on opening and closing it slowly. Harley likes to do everything in high gear. Next we did the swamp challenge, which was to cross a small stream running through my property. I call it the swamp because the approach to it and after it is very marshy ground, making Harley nervous that he is in quicksand. Then came the log walk over, it was a downed tree that came up to Harley's knees he did not hesitate with that one. I really threw him with the tarp from hell trick though.
I hung a blue tarp in one of the trees out back and asked him to approach it. We need some serious work here. He did not trust me enough to get within 10 feet of it on his back yet he would walk up to it if I was on foot. Hmmmm..... we will keep at it. Finally we had the giant ball roll. Yes just like it sounds, I used my kids giant ball and asked Harley to use his nose to roll it between two trees. At first he did not get it but I think he liked it after he figured it out. All in all he did a great job on the obstacles and I was proud of him, darn he is making me rethink this whole new horse idea!
Happy trails....


Pony Girl said...

Sounds like you and Harley had a great ride and practiced some new things! I like the exercise ball idea, I want to get one of those. I also like hanging the tarp. I have done it from the ground, but hanging it would be good, too.
I think that being stalled could have contributed to Harley's former mood. I think that some horses just need to have more space and "wiggle time" than others!

Mrs Mom said...

Way to go TRC! ;)

Been needing to catch up w/ you--- and have not had the chance! (Sorry...) Donation went via Red Cross w/ request it go to your area. I wish we could have done more to help...

Give Harley a rub from us- sounds like you two are hitting your stride together!! Keep it up!