Sunday, December 16, 2012

de-stress

Shyloh has done her job perfectly today. I think I am de-stressed and ready to tackle the work week. It seems that stress is going around in a few of my blogger friends lately. I hope their ponies work some magic on them, too!

It is odd to be 55 degrees F in December. Maybe in Florida or California that is normal, but in Michigan this weather is far from normal. And then there is the rain. . .and the mud. Needless to say, I arrived at the part to a pony with a wet top half and a muddy bottom half. Anthony showed me how to wrap her tail so it would not drag in the mud. Even though I had it braided, the bottom was still a muddy mess.

Today was also the barn Christmas party and some horses got all decked out for the occasion!
Brenda and Buddy
Faith
We got some delicious food and we hung out with horses and horse people. It was a nice party! And a new horse arrived! A five year old blue roan Tennessee Walker! Doesn't he have the cutest baby face?
Jose
After the festivities, I decided to pull Shy back out of her pasture and work with her on bridling. Lately (well, maybe for longer than I like to admit), Shy has been clamping her teeth shut and forcing me to stick my finger in her mouth to get it to open to put the bit in. She doesn't pull her head away or fight it in any other way. It hasn't been difficult to deal with, since she never fought me sticking my finger in her mouth, but it was annoying and bothersome, especially with a driving bridle. 

So I took out the clicker and we went to work. I used the command "open" and after four or five successful clicks and treats, Shy was opening her mouth without a problem. That clicker is like magic! The video starts out with Tony braying in the background. I only got one try, because all the others were out of screen shot. But at least this one was a success!

We took a break from that and worked on another behavior. I want Shy to pick her hooves up on command. She is already really good at picking them up when I pick her hooves, but it would be cool to have to pick them up with a word. I tapped a leg, said "foot" and when Shy picked it up, click and treat. Shy got this really quick, too. The back legs were much better and more controlled for picking up. The front legs need a some more refinement, since she wants to wave with them. But I was pleased with her progress! I even switched up the order I did the legs each time.

We hung out and Shy worked her de-stressing on me me some more. I grabbed a bucket, stood on it, and hung over her. She was so good. When I was done, Shy was feeling playful and was playing with the bucket. When I put her back in the pasture, Shy had her crew waiting in the back for her, and Jessie waiting up front. Silly ponies!
Zanna, Lukas, and Tony waiting for Shy to join them in the mud pit
Jessie waiting up front
Back together again!

8 comments:

  1. Yuck... what a mess in the paddock.
    Cool...how Shy responds to the clicker.
    What fun....hanging around for a party at the barn!
    I'm glad you got your horse therapy in.
    Will Friday's terrible event have an impact on what you do at work?

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  2. Ye gads, the hideousness of the mud .... I can only fling my arms up in terror and flee shriekingly. It's much the same at my place. Glug bluggy

    And 55 degrees in California is considered kinda cold for us. Warm is like the 60s and 70s.

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    1. The mud is awful! And for some messed up reason the horses would rather stand around in that, than go in the sandy area. Crazy.
      I have to laugh at 55 degrees being cold for you!

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  3. Aww "open" is so cute! I definitely need to do some clicker training with Trooper, I started then haven't done any for a while!

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    1. I was wondering how the clicker training was going with Trooper!

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  4. We are having the same weather in Ontario...warm for December and lots of rain...needless to say there is mud...

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  5. You are the perfect owner for her. So many people would start a battle. You just take a step back and figure out a way to work smart. No wonder she loves you so much.

    I am jealous you made your barn xmas party. I worked grave the night before mine and slept right through it.

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    Replies
    1. You can't really win a fight (fairly) with an animal 4x your size and 3x as stubborn! So just think of another way to accomplish the goal. I have found what works well for us.
      I don't envy your work schedule at all. Yuck!

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