Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Day 23-25

Z is really coming into her own! We've been working on calm lunging. She's really getting great with dealing with new things. I've been pushing her limits more and more every day and she keeps surprising me!
The other day, i noticed how dirty her legs were, so i just started running my hand up and down them, she ended up letting me hold her front feet and pick them out with absolutely no problem, just like that. Her back legs aren't so easy, but they're coming along.
Today, she was an absolute angel working on all the things we've done so far, so i brought out an old girth and she let it sit on her back with no problems. Just to push my limits, i brought out a surcingle and she let it go on and get buckled, all the while standing like a perfect angel. Then we lunged and all went perfectly. Rather than pushing it farther than that, I took the surcingle off and left on a perfect note. :)

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Day 19-22

Z has been making really, really great strides the last few days. She's doing so well.
I started lunging her with the line on, and the first few times she was an angel to the left, but not so good to her right (as has been typical of her training so far). She is learning whoa/stop and turning very well, leading forward is a bit confusing for her, but she's doing pretty well, considering.
She's definitely getting more social. She leaves her corner to kind of greet everyone who pulls in the driveway. It's crazy for me to think she was totally wild a few weeks ago. I watch her move and see so much potential as a sport horse. I literally couldn't afford a warmblood with her leg action. No one believes me, but in dressage, she'd get nines on her gaits at least. :)
Anyway, her lunging is really coming along, and today I pulled out the Iunge whip just to see if it could make her more consistent. And we took our first steps forward on the lead! She let me touch her face and rub all the hair off her forehead, too! When I finished with her, I brought the green ball back out and, though she still doesn't like it, she let it be and even walked pretty close to it after only a minute. I left it in "her corner" and i swear, she was glaring at me when I left. Silly, girl. :) She's getting noticeably better every day, even though I only get an hour (two, if I'm lucky) to play with her, and even that doesn't get to happen every day...
I can't wait for the semester to end so I can have pony time all the time! :)

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Day 18 (I'm starting to lose count...)

I had very little time to go out today since I had classes and it starting raining as soon as I got home. The first five minutes it stopped, I was out the door.
She had really grown accustomed to the short lead since she eats off the ground with her hay and her feed tub. I got there, did about a minute of stick work and just clipped the long lead on. She didn't run at the first sign of pressure, so I was so happy. I started on her right side since i knew that was going to be her easier side. She let me swing the rope around and and over her back with no problem. Any movement she did was forward and toward me, which I took as a good sign. She lets me pull her head around, but has yet to take a step forward with it. She does, however, pivot on her front foot if i move around her and swing the lead.
Her left side is much more difficult. It has been with everything. She took off a few times, but wasn't scared of the lead behind her. She'd go once around and then stop and wait for me to come pick the lead up. Before we finished, I got her to take one step forward on her left and then went back to the right to finish on a very good note.
I'm so proud of how sensible and trusting she's becoming. She even is starting to get social over the fence. She comes to greet everyone (without letting them touch her, that is). :)
Okay, so the shirts. I've found a much easier way to distribute them and raise money. I haven't received payment from anyone online yet, so if you sent payment, let me know ASAP. Otherwise, I'll be posting information as soon as CustomInk gets in touch with me. Thank you so much.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Day 15-17

So now that Z is outside, she's had much more time to relax and grow more comfortable with her temporary home. She relies quite a bit on the calm disposition of the horses around her. We've done a lot of hanging around; taste-testing treats (to no avail...), eating grass by hand, and sniffing. Lots of sniffing. She's getting more social, though she's definitely still reserved, or maybe she just likes taking advantage of her little paddock versus her stall.
I've done a lot more stick work, which is definitely paying off in the form of long scratches for her and less movement for me. ;)
My favorite thing she has learned, by far, is how to free lunge close to me. She jogs around me, keeping an ear on me all the time, and turns to me as soon as I stop or ask her to turn around.
Today I got a small (maybe 2.5' or 3') lead onto her halter. She hates it. I gave her loads of grass and pats, but I think she just needs time to get herself used to it. She was calming down even before I left only minutes later. Here's hoping tomorrow will allow some lead work.
Okay. I'm SO sorry I haven't posted since FRIDAY. Worst blogger ever... Anyway. It just gets hard with two horses (and one or two that aren't mine) in training along with school, work, friends, and family. I really, really want to keep everyone updated daily, so I'll continue to do my best, regardless. (You'll just have to forgive any spelling/grammar mistakes on nights like tonight where I'm absolutely beat.) Thank you everyone for your support and everything. :)
P.S. I'm changing how the tshirts are going to work, I'm so sorry. I'll post full info tomorrow.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Day 13/14

Z finally got to go outside. She was so incredibly happy to just stretch her leg. She didn't even freak out. Just had a look around and sniffed everywhere.
I let her out before class and went right back after class. I tried going right up to her, but she wasn't feeling it, so i just free lunged her. After a little bit of energy wasting, she calmed down so much that she was calmly jogging a steady circle around me and turning toward me to turn every time. She's smart and trusting, but still hasn't gotten over the touch anticipation.
Day 14 isn't really happening as I am overly exhausted and, at the risk of getting really sick, I'm letting myself rest. I'm not fortunate enough to be super close to Z all the time. She's 20 minutes away, and it costs me gas money every time I'm out. I have to remember that, until college lets out, I'm going to have to balance and I know everything is the way it is for a reason. :)
Also, if anyone still wants tshirts, http://www.customink.com/signup/2w2io7c4 :)

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Day 12

So now that I've lost all journalistic credibility from that introduction, yes. With help and encouragement from Caitlin and grass, Z has her halter on. It was a long, tedious process, but with the right rewards, everything went so smooth.
Grass seems to be the only handheld treat that she understands at this point and I'm truly grateful to Bekkah for coming out yesterday when I didn't feel well and showing her how to eat grass from people's hands.
I still can't get over how amazing it was. I had obviously decided to use a breakaway halter and made sure to purchase one that would adjust under her chin as well as over her head. I unbuckled the chin and unsnapped the throat latch and was able to just put it over her ears and slide it over so I could buckle everything up. She's such a good pony, but I've got to teach her how to take other treats. She doesn't understand peppermints and it super unsure about grain or carrots. Who know? Maybe apples will work. She just loves her some food. :)

Monday, April 15, 2013

Day 10

I seriously can't believe I've already had this incredible girl in my life for ten days.
S&h e was so relaxed today. And I swear she was making fun of me as I struggled to get he r water tub out for it's daily washing. She's getting better and better every day with the (incredibly noisy) wheelbarrow when I clean out her stall. She's starting to not get so panicky at new things and she just watches it and let's it happen.
Since she's been so sensible, i asked Bekkah to come in and pet her. Z had never had two people in her stall before, let alone had anyone other than me touch her. She was a pro! Totally unfazed. Se sniffed around and snorted a little, but hardly flinched and didn't move herself anywhere! It's cool to see how far she's com in ten days, even if other people are already riding their mustangs. I'm so proud of her and of myself. Every little thing is so treasured because it's all firsts for both of us. I've never broken a horse on the ground, only in the tack. Everything I do is trial-and-error which means it might take me longer. I've noticed, though, that I learn more in an hour or two a day than I ever have in the same time with any other horse, even if I'm just laying in her stall with her.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Day 9

So i decided today that i was too exhausted to do too much with Z, so i just sat in her stall so that she could get used to me just being there. Silly me, I ended up falling asleep in her stall! It's a good thing she just stayed and ate her hay. What a good girl.
Poor thing, though, is so bored, so she's taken to playing with the wood in the stall. She's got a Likit ball, all the hay she could want, and he toy of a water tub. :)
So not much progress today, although she was so relaxed when i got up that petting her and leaning over her hack was nothing to her. I'm so excited to get the halter in and really start work.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Day 8

Today was pretty much the same as yesterday, but I left her halter in her stall for a while so hopefully she can become more acquainted with it. :)
Now it's just a time game. So I'll use the rest of this post for updates and info not directly regarding the four legged creature.
First off, congrats to Caitlin Stewart of finally getting her gorgeous standardbred that she lulled from the kill pen! I know she will live a happy and healthy life now that she has you.
Second, thank you so much to everyone who came out to the bake sale. Every cent was so appreciated.
Third, information on the shirts. Here's the link with the picture of the shirt, the sign up sheet and the payment info. :) Just let me know if you have any questions!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Day 7

I got the chance to go out to see Z Baby this morning before class. Poor thing was so cod because it's miserable and rainy and windy out. She was so good just relaxing while I pet all under her belly and her chest and neck. I got the halter out and rubbed it all over her body and latched it on her neck. I'm starting to think that she may have had something actually happen to her face/head because she would panic so badly when the halter touched it. I'm going to call Steffen in the next day or two to try again with the rope on her nose. I don't want to, I'd like to do everything slowly and naturally, but she's so good with everything else that I want to see her overcome this fear. I don't think she'll be bad to get under saddle or anything because she's already letting me lean over her. She also gives to pushing pressure on her neck and shoulder which makes me really excited. :)

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Day 6

Short post today as we worked on many of our previous things.
She let me put my hand over her face, but still not on her nose. Getting closer though.
Other than that, she's getting SO much better with touch her belly and legs. I think halter in the next few days for sure!
I'm just such a spaz around her, poor thing is freaked out enough without my noises and crazy movements. I gotta tone it down more around her. :)
Also, crazy girl knocked her water over again. I think this is going to become a thing she does often, so i moved it and took away her full water tub privileges. She just gets 1/3 and I'll clean it every day. (The tub is big, so 1/3 is plenty in a day, even in the heat.) Silly, silly, girl.
(No pictures today either.)
P.S. I'm going to sell T-shirts to raise money for her cost of living. I'll post information about sizing/ordering tomorrow. :)

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Day 5

So I was pretty distracted with some personal things today, so I tried to keep things simpler.
I just sat in her stall for a really long time, letting her sniff me and and the halter. I think it was good to have a day where she wasn't tempted to get angry.
After I felt a little better (the therapeutic nature of horses), I got the halter buckled around her neck and she didn't mind the jingling. Next, since I knew she wasn't so comfortable with me touching her face, I got the stick back out to work with he "trouble areas" She eventually let me rub over most of her face and her front legs with no problem. She wanted to kick quite a lot with her back legs, so there was a lot of touching her and then releasing the pressure. It ended up being a pretty good thing that she wasn't super comfortable. It started to teach her that she'll get rewarded for reacting in a calm manner. She's beginning to get that she can take her time figuring things out. There's no rush. She's just not allowed try to hurt whatever's unfamiliar or try to hurt me. She's getting it. Always slow and steady with her.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Day 4

Today was another amazing day with Baby Z. I went out to buy her a breakaway halter and came to the barn only to find she had knocked over her water tub from playing in it and her whole stall had to be stripped. The precious girl didn't even freak out when I came up with an exceptionally squeaky wheelbarrow and shoveled all the wet shavings and hay out. :)
I went right in when I was done with a body brush in hand. I pet her for a second and she didn't flinch when I started to brush her! I was so proud and she was behaving so well. I probably just brushed both sides (yes, she let me get to her other side today!) for over a half hour. I then decided to be daring and bring out the paddle brush for her mane and tail. She was a little wary of the noise, but once she got over that, she let me brush the length of her mane. By the way, her mane is so healthy and shiny and pin straight! Her tail, however was caked in mud, so I only brushed a section so she could hear the noise and feel me move her tail. I can now brush and rub from the pol, between her ears, all the way over the rest of her body (with the exception of her belly and the front of her back legs). I'm so excited to be getting this far after the long setback. :)

I'd like to say a quick thanks to everyone who reads this so faithfully already, and sorry it's up so late. Lol. (sorry, no pics today either)
Also, congrats to everyone who's getting to far so quickly with their mares!!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Day 3

Today was such a huge improvement over yesterday.
I tried a new method of trying to get close to her. I used a long stick to rub on her body. Once she accepted that, I left to go ride my horse.
I came back a few hours later and just sat and let her listen to me talk from outside the stall for a little. After a while, I put a Likit ball in there to stop her from chewing the wood. She loved it (even though it was empty, she could play with it on the wall). After that I went back in and started with the stick again. She really accepted it this time so I moved closer to her and I was finally able to rub my hand on her. She wasn't totally sure about it, but she let it happen. :) I couldn't have been more happy. I went in and out a few times without the stick and eventually she was okay with me coming right in to touch her whole body. Her legs and head are still pretty iffy, but I was so incredibly happy with how far she came in such a short time. I tried to get to her other side, but she stayed against the wall and I decided not to push it, and just finished with some well deserved scratches.
Things are looking up. :)

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Day 2

She's wild. That's for sure.
I got a call this morning at work shortly after receiving a picture and a panicked picture. Zonta pulled her halter off her nose so the whole thing was hanging around her neck. I was terrifying thinking the whole day that she was going to hang herself. After finishing work and driving (totally not breaking any speed limits *cough*) to the farm, we decided to let her out in her field to try to join up and let he blow off some steam. Long story short, she's back in the stall now.
I spent nine hours trying any and every method I knew of trying to get her to trust me enough to let me touch her. I eventually hit a point where neither of us were making any progress, so I did the one thing I was trying my hardest not to: I called in some backup.
With the help of Steffen, a local cowboy with extensive mustang experience, we got the halter off of her neck and got her back in her stall. I really didn't want to do that, but she really is so tough and so smart that there was no other way to get her to stay close enough to me to touch. We couldn't get another halter on her, but Steffen's going to come back next weekend and we'll try again.
I mean, I obviously knew it wasn't going to be easy, but it was hard to leave without ever even touching her. I've definitely got my work cut out for me. (Maybe this is a sign she wanted to be called Jezebel. It's fits her personality a little more. Lol.) It's going to make it that much better though when we do have our first real breakthrough.
I do have to say, though, when I called Steffan and decided I was done for the day, it was definitely time. I was so sunburned and so exhausted. It's been a long weekend for both of us, but the only way to go now is up. Slowly, but surely, up.
I just have to keep reminding myself of what my boyfriend just told me; "You shouldn't be comparing yourself to other trainers...your partner is unique. your story is your own. turn your rock into a diamond."
We'll get there...

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Day 1

After 15 hours of going nonstop, I'm finally home and showered. :) It's hard to believe that by 9:45 this morning, I was already on my way home, my gorgeous Zonta in tow.
I woke up at 3:25 this morning, and, deciding it was too early, but I was already too excited to go back to sleep, I just stared at my clock for the next hour until my alarm actually went off. By 5:30 Caitlin and I were in the trailer, pulling out. We got to Lorton around 9 and I signed my life (as I knew it) away to become a mustang trainer. When they gave me my slip, it simply said "1147 brown 4yo mare". When I found her, just put back after separating from her pen-mate, she stood, resting, with her head down while horses on either side of her carried on and ran around. I knew immediately that I'd love her. She looked around with such an air of sensibility; something I found rare in my quick look around the pens. She had a few struggles getting the halter on and standing in the small, confined chute, but she went right on the trailer and stayed pretty calm most of the drive home.
I stopped by my house to show Zonta her adoptive grandparents and when I got out of the truck, she was facing the back door of the trailer, trembling, and covered in sweat. Her next stop was Wawa (of all places) to get gas, which she handled quite well, just looking around quite a bit. Finally we headed to the farm to unload and formally meet each other.
I parked the trailer up next to the barn, but decided I wanted to spend some time in the trailer with her before running her into the stall (yes, stall, because of a current situation with another horse at the barn). She was incredibly wary of me and pretty skittish, but after a few hours of just standing and talking and slowly shifting my weight to get closer to her, we were to the point where I could walk away and she'd take a few steps toward me. I was so incredibly pleased with this that I decided it was time to try to get her off.
We opened the trailer and set up a sort-of chute to guide her in, but she just stayed contently on the trailer. We ended up having to chase her in. but even that didn't traumatize her that much. She's pretty happy, finally went potty and ate a little, she even had a drink from a small bucket.
I'm so excited to go over after work tomorrow, let her out and really work with her and try to join up and get to touch her.
It was also so cool to see everyone else's updates on Facebook, especially those already on their second day with the ponies.
I have to thank Caitlin, first and foremost, but also, my parents, Bekkah, Des, Casie, and Josh for all their help getting me here today. :)
See you next update!