Sunday, August 30, 2009

Ready to learn

Yesterday, I went to a weanling clinic sponsored by the New Mexico Arabian Horse Association. I had planned on leaving at 8:00AM so I would have plenty of time to get to the farm by 9:00AM but, as usual, I was running late. I confess, I was surfing the web. ;) Fortunately, I found out that the clinic didn't start until 9:30 so then I decided to leave by 8:30. However, because I turned the horses out into the big field and I have a hundred and one things to do all the time, I didn't leave the house until 8:50. I had a long drive ahead of me so I pushed the pedal to the metal as much as I could. I finally got there just at 9:30 and, fortunately, they were still parking cars. I asked the parking guy if there were any spaces up close for a little car and he said there was, so I scooted in right up front. :) They were still setting up when I walked up to pay my fee. Hooray, I wasn't late after all!!! It cost me $20 for the clinic and lunch and I got a raffle ticket for door prizes too.

I settled down on some blanket covered hay bales, under a tarp, right near the round pen. The clinic started right after I sat down- what great timing! ;)

Jeff Shelton, of Puzzle Quarter Horses & Training, was giving the clinic. He started off by working his 2 year old Quarter horse in the round pen. The horse responded well, even side passing and performing turns on the fore and hind quarters strictly by visual cues. Then, he jumped on and rode him around with a just a neck rope. That was really great, but I wanted to see him work with the babies!

Jeff told us that he had previously worked with a six month old weanling, Seri, the night before for a couple of hours. Kathy haltered and led Seri into the round pen and then Jeff showed us the proper methods for teaching respect, leading, de-sensitizing, and some beginner roundpen work. He laid out a tarp and worked with Seri until she willingly walked and trotted over it and even stopped on it. He showed how you need to be relaxed and calm while working with your horse and use your body language to convey what you want from your horse.

He likes to use treats every so often to reinforce the horse's positive results. However, that's not always possible with weanlings. Seri spit out the cookie.
He suggested that the ideally trained horse is one that has "Whoa- waiting for go", and "Go- waiting for whoa", to steal a phrase from Pat Parelli, I think.

These are some of the highlights I got from the clinic. Much of this can be used on any age horse.
  • When you start something, always end on a good note.
  • farts = relaxation in the horse
  • Rub the jugular area of the neck. It is the most vulnerable part of their body. When they get comfortable with you touching them there they will get more confidence and trust in you.
  • Work behind the shoulder for forward movement.
  • Desensitizing and disengaging go hand in hand. In other words, the more supple and loose the horse is, the less tense and afraid he is.
  • Apply thumb pressure on the poll area only until the head drops. Continue working at this until the horse becomes extremely responsive and drops head quickly and willingly.
  • Always keep the withers "calm" and touch all body flinches until they stop. Make it a "touching" game.
  • Whenever you pick up the horses feet, drop a leg instead of placing it back down. Otherwise, the horse may begin to lean on you.
  • Use circular motions around the face and eyes to desensitize the area.

To prepare for this clinic, Kathy, of Romance Arabians, left her weanling, "Timmy" completely unhandled. Now, at 5 months, Jeff would show us how to train him. I don't think this went over as well as he had hoped. First off, Jeff is a Quarter Horse trainer and Arabians are a whole 'nother breed! And Timmy was extremely stubborn! He and Seri were turned out together and while Seri could be caught, Timmy would have none of it. Jeff and Kathy spent about 20 minutes catching the little devil and finally ended up leading the filly, Seri, back into the round pen with Timmy following. Then Seri was taken out and he began working on the colt. He eventually got close enough to place a neckrope and a butt rope on Timmy and he began working with him. At this point, he was asking for only one step to the side at a time.When the foal refused to move forward, Jeff suggested just waiting it out, all day, if need be. He says to keep a steady pressure on the rope and eventually the horse will give in to the pressure and step forward. I guess it usually works, but not with Timmy!He just closed his eyes and thought about taking a nap.Jeff pulled harder and Timmy braced back, closed his eyes and prepared to spend all day there too, never intending to move. LOL. A clinician's nightmare! Because, this was a clinic, he had to give up and go on to other things. Too bad, Timmy won!

This is one of the mares watching from the field, not Timmy's though. Timmy's mama had just been sold and shipped to Dubai last week.

Jeff suggests working on lateral flexion, bringing the head to each side until the horse drops his head, then immediately releasing the pressure. This is considered low impact training and can go on indefinitely.

By now, poor Timmy was about wore out and it was getting noonish so they had to stop.

I must add, for Timmy's behalf, that he was absolutely terrified of the bleachers, tarps, and people. He never would come to our side of the round pen. Poor baby! Under different conditions, Jeff might have made faster progress with the little colt, like he did Seri, because he worked her the night before.

Also, door prizes were given out, lots of them. And guess what? I was the first number called! I won a set of horse clippers. That is so cool, because I didn't have any before. I also got a great big bag of horse cookies.

Then, there was a question and answer session with a local veterinarian. I asked about the proper time to wean a foal. She suggested at about four months, depending on the mare and foal. If the mare is drying up or losing condition, it's good to wean sooner. It also depends on if the foal is eating hay and grain well. There were several other good questions and answers about worming foals and how much grain to feed, etc. She said Ivermectin, Pyrantel, and fenbendazole are all okay to worm with but never use Quest on a foal. Horses should be checked for sand in their intestines because they can colic. Foals don't have to be fed grain as long as they get good quality hay, and lots of it.

Finally, lunch was served: half a roast chicken, beans, cole slaw, biscuit, and lemonade. Wow! A huge lunch! And a good one too!

All in all, it was a good clinic. It showed the best and worst possible scenarios for working with foals. This wasn't a bad thing, at all. In fact, it made me appreciate Yalla! more for what I can do with her and now I have ideas about what other things I need to work on. I went out yesterday after the clinic to apply some of that training. Yalla! is leading pretty well for the most part although she does balk now and then. I waited her out with some steady pressure like Jeff suggested and she came forward right away! I worked on her bending to side pressure and dropping her head. Even though I've been rubbing her all over since she was born, she still gets "flinchy" in some areas, so I worked on those too. I can understand her thought process a little more now after watching Timmy and Seri.

After I worked with Yalla! I rode Annie, bareback, with a halter and the lead rope looped up and tied for reins. She was awesome. We walked, trotted, and even loped some. She was very responsive for me. It was a thoroughly enjoyable day!

Ready to learn - song: Buddha of Suburbia, artist: David Bowie, album: Buddha of Suburbia

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

thing that she enjoys

Here's Yalla! eating her morning grain. What a piggy she is! She smacks her lips, chews with her mouth open, and grunts a lot. She even paws while she's eating as if she can't get enough. You can't even hear Annie eating in the background.

She still nurses too.While I was feeding them the other day I noticed a lump/knot on Annie's back leg. I don't know what happened but I figured it might feel good to get some liniment on it. Notice the strange pattern of veins to the front of it.So I pulled out the ol' jug of horse liniment. I love the smell of liniment, don't you?

I soaked a wash cloth and lightly rubbed the knot. It must have felt good because I've never seen a horse react like she did. She loves to be rubbed and scratched and she has lots of G spots. She is about the most sensual mare I know. She rolled her upper lip down and closed her eyes and swayed back and forth, almost pushing me over with her rocking. I wish I could have gotten a picture of her. Maybe they should include horse liniment in the kama sutra oils.Maybe if I keep massaging it the knot will go away. Liniment tends to bring warmth and thus, blood, to any pained areas so maybe it will help heal it. I don't know, but she sure enjoys it. Hmmm, I wonder if I should throw some liniment in a bucket of water and give her an all over rubdown. I'll bet she'd LOVE it.

Thing that she enjoys - song: Criminal World, artist: David Bowie, album: Let's Dance

Monday, August 24, 2009

valuable loved one left unnamed

I'm still trying to formally name my Arabian filly, Yalla! I am especially tickled now that she is developing an "F" on her forehead instead of a star.
Her sire is Kakhem Sahib by Khemosabi, out of Allah Rahki (Aladdin) and her dam is Fantastyk Gal by AH Gallant (El Paso) and out of Fantastka.
Her barn name is Yalla! which means hurry up or let's go! She earned that name and besides, I don't want to call her Kheema like a dozen other mares out there, after her grandsire, Khemosabi, who was a VERY famous Arabian stallion. I also want to include some form of Fantastka.

Polish Arabians are usually named with the first letter of their mother's name, however, Yalla! is not pure Polish like her mother since her father, Kakhem Sahib, is a Domestic (American) bred Arabian. Her grandmother, Fantastka, was a Polish import, a winning racehorse, and Polish National Champion Mare.

I would love to get Yalla! into the name but I also want Fantastyk or Fantastka and Khemosabi references for the grandparents. So far I've considered:

Fantastyk Kaheema

Fantastyk Al Kheema

Kaheema Fantastka

But I don't know how to get Yalla! into the mix.

Any suggestions?


Yalla Khema Fantastka

Yalla! Fantastykheema (what a mouthful, but I kinda like it.)

The Arabian Horse Association only allows 21 letters.

What does anyone think?? Suggestions are completely welcome and appreciated.

BTW- I found out that Annie (Fantastyk Gal) has a FULL sister, one year younger, named Fantastyk Girl! Crazy, huh? Was the breeder so impressed with Annie that he bred her mama right back to the same stallion? I believe that Annie was destined for the racetrack and when the breeder, Bob Magness, of Magness Arabians, died, his herd was liquidated. I just lucked out on getting her. But that is another story...
Valuable loved one left unnamed - song: African Night Flight, artist: David Bowie, album: Lodger

That rainbow way

This morning, I saw a beautiful rainbow. It was so large I had to take photos in sections. The colors were magnificent!And then it started raining. Isn't that backwards? Isn't it supposed to rain first?

This morning, Annie and Yalla! were waiting for breakfast.
Yalla! is like a little kid, always watching...She neighs whenever I call to her.
I sure wish her neck would grow! She still has to bend her front legs to reach the ground. She is over 230 pounds now, at 2 - 1/2 months old, and loves to munch grain and hay, as well as nurse. Here's a butt shot just for fun. Her tail is getting quite bushy and multi-colored. She still has her dorsal stripe but it is blending more and more into her dark coat. The morning sun has distorted the colors in this photo. She's actually quite a bit darker but you can see that her tail is black, brown and white on the sides.

Annie still puts Scout and Nadia together in the middle when she and Yalla! are in the arena together with them. It rained yesterday and both Nadia and Scout took advantage of a good roll in the damp dirt.

If you look really fast at this photo, it looks like Scout has Nadia's head, or Nadia is a pinto Appaloosa. hahaa.

That rainbow way - song: TVC15, artist: David Bowie, album: Stationtostation

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Leave a mark on me

The other day I hung a fly trap in my barn. Annie thought it was a horse eater. She would look at it, turn in a circle and look at it again. Yalla! had no idea what was so interesting but she obeyed her mother, staying by her side and going in circles too. It didn't take long for Annie to decide it wasn't going to hurt them. She decided to ignore it and went into her stall to eat with little Yalla! right behind her. Now she completely ignores the hanging bag. She is so much calmer than she used to be.

Today, while the horses were out in the field (arena) it rained on them. Then, I saw Yalla! roll for the first time ever! Unfortunately, I couldn't get any pictures but I did notice that the star on her forehead has changed somewhat. Now it looks like someone painted an "F". Look at the next photo. Don't you agree? I guess she's had it for a while but it just looks so prominent now. This is very cool since her name is going to be Kaheema Fantastyka or Fantastyk Kaheema. I haven't decided which way to write it yet.
Here's a head shot of Annie looking at the fly trap from the other day. Isn't she pretty?
Leave a mark on me - song: Beat of your drum, artist: Tin Machine, albm: Tin Machine

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

It's happening outside

My boys and I arrived late Friday night at my mom's house in northern new Mexico. We gave her a bouquet of flowers and some birthday presents. Of course, we sang Happy Birthday and watched her blow out the candles on her birthday cake. Then we headed up to my cabin for the night. We are welcome to stay with my mom but I love my little cabin at the top of the mountain.

When we unlocked the shutters on the windows in the morning we saw my lodger sleeping under the window boards. He takes a little while to wake up. Then he flys away for the time we are at the cabin but he comes back when we leave.
We had egg burritos with sausage, green peppers, cheese and salsa and freshly brewed coffee for breakfast. Then it was time for a little work.
A couple of years ago my husband cut an enormous pine tree down that was growing too near the cabin. This was taken last fall and it doesn't do it justice. The tree is much bigger than it looks. The base is easily 2 feet across. This is a view of THE TREE from inside my cabin. This is the upper part. You can see how close it is to the cabin. If it had fallen wrong it would have taken down the cabin.It still needs to be cut up for firewood. Ross is quite handy with a chainsaw so he went to work at it. However, our big chainsaw wasn't acting properly and the small one wasn't big enough to do the job so we only got the upper branches cut up on this trip. It was still a pretty good load to bring home. Here he is trying to figure out what to do with the blasted chainsaw!After the woodcutting, Ross wanted to have some fun, so he went fishing at one of the little ponds down at the bottom of the mountain. I joined him for a while but he wasn't having any luck at all.
I decided to go for a walk near my cabin. I only made it to the field next door but I took lots and lots of photos.
This vine was growing up through a pine tree. Does anyone know what kind of plant it is?

I love how the rocks are mossy and the trees grow all around them. It rained a few days earlier and this rock still had a puddle of water in it. This is a four foot high boulder that I climbed on.
Does anyone know what this cute little vine is called?
Look at all these young pine trees! They're all about 2-4 feet tall.
I love how all these branches are so crooked. Unfortunately, they look like dead trees so we'll need to take them down.
This pretty pine tree is growing up through the branches of the other trees.The ranchers were very creative in the old days, using anything they could for fencing.

There is a whole art on barbed wire. Every rancher twisted his a little bit differently.
I came across some scat, a lot of scat actually! This pile was huge!!! This is only a few hundred yards from my cabin. Seeing that, and then another pile near it, I decided it was time to return to my cabin.

Later in the day, my boys were driving away from my mom's house at the bottom of the hill and they saw a black bear run across the road in front of the truck. It was huge, they said, 300-400 pounds! Judging from the pile of scat I saw, I would agree.

Here's a picture of Trevor, kicking back and enjoying the cabin.
Soon it was time to go home again. Always, too soon!

FYI- I spoke with my mom yesterday and she saw the bear walking near her yard. She agreed that it was big! And the other day, she saw a hawk circling around near her Pug dog. He must have decided that Tobey is too big because he gave up and left. There are eagles in the area though so I guess she needs to keep an eye out for Tobey when he's outside now.

It's happening outside- song: Outside, artist: David Bowie, album: Outside