'Cool Running Creek'

'Cool Running Creek'

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Here's where we are......and then some

Things are very busy here at the Bar T. With 3 new mustangs and our personal horses combined leaves little time for anything. Pardon continues to make daily progress with the least bit of attention. I think with the time I spent with Medicine Man last year Pardon would already be in the parades. In the past week I’ve only been able to give him an average of 45 min’s per day. I spend more time with him in the stall than the round pen. BUT, with that said here’s where we are. Monday we worked on all the basics learned before any new tasks. Round pen left and right with a stop on command at any point. He did have his favorite spots in the round pen where he was most comfortable but now we can operate in any place. Without lead we can brush his entire body including his tail. He loves his head and pole scratched and rubbing his eyes will almost put him to sleep. With the lounge whip we can crack it all around, slap the ground, and toss it all over his body and around his legs. No problem. Bag on a stick? Well, If you could hold up he would stand while you beat him with it for hours with no interest. Thru his legs, belly, hind-end, manly-parts, no problem. Bug spray? I think he now knows that it keeps those nasty horse fly’s away. I have given him 2 doses of equi-spot and that’s working a lot of the fly issues. A rinse off is tolerated but not really loved. Leads forward and backward on request with a slack rope. He is just beginning to follow slightly without any lead until he gets distracted but can be picked up again just by turning in a circle. I still want him a bit further up on my shoulder as we lead, now he stays about 2 feet behind me. Feet, I have both fronts with little panic from him and can hold 10-15 seconds. Going for the rear feet later this week. Blue tarp is no problem walking on or having it rubbed on him. I did trim his bridle path with electric clippers over the weekend. We even cut back a few whiskers in the process. Now for the new stuff. My goal Monday was to get on his back. That went well. Within 10 min’s of first attempt I had laid across his back from both sides, slid all around from neck to hips and put a pad on and off 10-15 times. The little fellow didn’t quite know what to think when I started jumping up a down as I rubbed his body. I think he envisioned me being the big bad tiger… after we got thru that Pardon only spooked 1 time after I got on moving more from my own fright than his. A super horse. With the pad I was able to get on and off either side at my leisure by the end of the session. I really haven’t found a true issue with this fellow. His trust is slowly overcoming his fears, his manners well outweighs the times he does spook keeping he and I safe during that brief second. Can’t wait until tomorrow. Saddle time!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Day 3 and a Name change!

Back home at last. After being gone 6 days I felt Ricochet would have forgotten most of what we've learned. Yes he was a little shy, would rather run than be close to me but the face up and turns we're still there. It's Sunday evening, 7 days from the last session so a recap on all things learned were in order. It's really been hot lately and today is no exception. Temp is 96 and it 7pm. Wow, I think we need to do this in the fall! I had to rope him again, this must be the last time for roping and we were back in tune within 30 min's. Being so hot I'd brought in a water hose for a bath if he could stand it and boy did he. Being so shy and enjoying the cool water really confused him I think. Good things just can't come from humans........Yes folks, a bath on the 3rd lesson. After the bath a quick squeegee down and back to work. During my absence I thought a lot about a new name. His demeanor just didn't match his name. I gave lots of thought and I came up with the name that will stick. "PARDON" I've never had a horse or worked with a horse that had such manners. Under no circumstance will he run over you, bump into you, push you or just plain ol' walk into you. This fellow really respects his handler and fellow horses. To see him get in a stressful spot, he can't go back, won't go forward over you and left and right are out of the question so he just stands and trembles til the danger passes. What a gentleman! Plans for this evening was to move him out of the roundpen and into a stall in the barn. His fears would not let him walk into the barn. It was getting late so I just decided to try something he has become really great at. Backing! Whenever Pardon just won't walk thru it, over it, around it, or by it we just back right thru it. And does he do it with style. No pressure on the lead or halter. Just a sigh to back and off we go. We backed down the ally and right into his new stall. No problem. We will work on walking in forward tomorrow. So for the remainder of the evening Hay, sweetfeed, and water and a fan to keep cool by.......OHHHH, what a life.

Day 2, Ricochet continues to impress!

Monday morning came with one more chance to work with Ricochet. I had to leave town for a week today and wanted to get his halter on and off, start leading and work on a little de-spooking today.

Right out he came with yesterdays lessons still fresh on his mind. Left, right, face-up were still in the front of his mind. I did have a little trouble touching him so back out with the rope and we had a lead rope on him within ten min's. My nephew, Daniel was down and he is really interested in the horse training stuff. I started with hands all over his body rubbing face, pole, neck, withers, belly and back and worked down both rear legs to his hocks. Yes, sometimes he would run off but patience paid off as he had a complete rub down. I brought Daniel into the roundpen for some additional human exposure and Ricochet picked up on this quickly. We worked on yielding the hindquarters and facing up even when we walked tight circles. This fellow really did catch on quick! We finished up the day with a short lesson in lunging and again, he fell right into the task at hand. I put him away for the remainder of the week in hopes that his memory was as good as his attention.

School begans!

After arriving home early on Sunday morning, 2 AM I gave my project a little rest until Sunday evening. I had planned on getting the halter off, number tag off, and a little hands on before the day was done. Having only 1 roundpen and 2 mustangs we (Chapin and I) are having to schedule our times so as not to conflict. Chapin was in first and gave me the pen around 7 in the evening so I could have a couple of hours before dark. I picked a name during the ride home for my horse due to his reaction in and around confined areas. In watching him he reminded me of a pinball bouncing off anything he touched. Hence, the name Ricochet came to be.

Ricochet entered the roundpen with purpose. He was a little lost without Chapin's horse, "Razin Cain" in the pen so his focus was on the attached stalls. It didn't take long for Ricochet to pull into my world and he was very quick in facing up. This was really exciting because this can sometimes take 15 min's. With him, in less than 5. Direction change went well after that and he seemed genuinely interested in what was going on. After about 30 min's of left, right, face-up and follow me with his head I decided to put a rope on him to speed things up and go for the touch. Without the rope I was able to get within 10 feet of him. I didn't want to make the same mistake I did with Medicine Man in working til dark and having to deal with that.

So, out comes a new rope my kids game me for Father's day with a Buck Brannoman honda and around his neck it goes. Now, here was a big surprise, no bucking, kicking, snorting, or rude behavior when he felt the rope across his body or the pressure on his neck. (I had already thrown the rope on him several times during the initial roundpen work to kinda de-sensitize him to the new feel). Within 5 min's he was facing up fully and backing away from me when I applied to much pressure with my body. What else could you ask for! Within 30 min's, I was able to touch him on the forehead and a jaw rub. We had several observers that evening so the distractions were very large for this close contact. Our friend Helena decided she wanted to try her hand at this mustang taming stuff so in she comes and gives it a try. One thing I failed to tell her was don't try to hold him when he runs off, wait until the burst is over and have him face back up using the rope. Well, he gave her a real sand ski trip across the roundpen and her poor hands just could take the sliding rope and she wound up with several rope burns. I think she maybe learned a lesson. After a few touches I removed the number tag, removed the rope and gave him the rest of the evening to soak-in his lesson. Monday would bring new and exciting things.

Another horse? Just what I needed!

I just had the fill in the mustang world on a future addition to the Bar T before I get underway with my EMM Mustang. In early May while researching the BLM internet auction site I ran across the seldom seen mustang. A splattered paint, 15.2 hands, 5 years old and looking for a home. This young man was captured in CA 18 months ago and had not made it to an adoption site. Well, as luck would have it I was able to adopt him for a mear $280.00. I arranged shipment via the BLM (free if your willing to wait for them to leap frog your horse from the holding site to a local adoption) to Archdale. While we were in IL picking up our 3 EMM horses we where walking around the site and low and behold, there he stands awaiting transportation to NC . Not having enough room in the trailer or room here at the BAR T until we have these 3 manageable we just had to leave him in IL. I hope to have my EMM mustang well on his way by the time he gets here. I haven't named him yet so if anyone has any ideas just run'em up the flag pole!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Horses Arrive

Welcome all to the next Extreme Mustang Makeover 2008. We've just returned from Ewing, IL with our new gifts from BLM/EMM. The trip up was with much anticipation as to what was awaiting. After 12 hours on the road we arrived at the facility at 9:00 am. We were 2nd in line for our horses so we had some time to look around and check out the grounds. They had alot of horses ranging from weanling's to mature horses separated mainly by age in holding pens. Each pen of adequate size to support the number of horses with no overcrowding. They all had plenty of hay and fresh water. During our walk around we were surprised with 1 horse in particular. A very flashy paint gilding very similar to one I adopted earlier from the Internet adoption site. Well, as fate has it he was the same. I had adopted him in early May and arranged for shipment to our local adoption site here in NC for the annual adoption in July. Well, seems as if they have leap-frogged him to IL awaiting the local adoption here. This really was a pleasant surprise.
OK, own to the draw. Again as last year selection for horses had already been made prior to the trainer arrivals so there would be no favoritism. WE backed up to the pens and had our first look at our new projects. As mentioned earlier we were there for 3 horses. 2 EMM horses and a yearling for the yearling challenge. First out of the pen was a nice yearling, a bay filly with legs as long as a giraffe. That's for Emily and was she happy! 2 down the line was a bold and very stocky chestnut that turned out to be mine. More on him later. And third was Chapin's bay, a 3 year old slender but healthy gilding. As BLM requires a halter was put on all the horses with little trouble. The handlers at the facility were excellent in handling the horses and created a near to none stressful environment for the mustangs. Horses loaded and back on the road. We decided to stop a couple of hours down the road after they had settled in for a little hay and water. The trip went well afterwards and they ate and drank for the entire ride home. We arrived back at the Bar T around 1:00 AM and released our new friends directly into the round pen for sorting out later after a few hours of sleep.