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 Post subject: Jen & Kate's little herd
PostPosted: Fri Jan 23, 2009 3:26 am 

Joined: Sun Jan 18, 2009 9:30 am
Posts: 289
Location: Australia
This was going to be a picture post about ALL the horses, but then I started writing about Holly and rambled at length, so I will make other posts (in this thread) for the others. :smile: I hope it's okay to post this story about Holly, it isn't about training... in fact it's very much about NOT-training.

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This is me on Holly. I'm pointing to ask if we can go in that direction, and in the last pic she's thinking about it. :D She hasn't been 'trained' to be ridden with no tack, so I can only ask, please can we go that way? and wait. :rofl: (And if we ever do train her to go in the direction asked, it will still only be ASK, she'll just have more motivation to do it. :smile:) I have started with the clicker a little bit, but in some ways don't want to lose the fact that SHE completely takes ME for a ride, rather than me 'riding' her... if I want to do that I can put a halter on her... it's a wonderful thing that everything is her choice and she looks after me so well.

The way I started riding her like that is this: I had lost all my confidence with riding, due to a combination of things. Mostly my lovely geldings being wild and scary, and a mare we had who was supposedly suitable for children (beginner children), suddenly bucking me off. If I got on a horse I felt horrible and just wanted to get off immediately. This was... about four years ago. One day, Holly was in the backyard (our horses mow the "lawn" 8) ) and I was out there with her... and suddenly got the idea to get on. So I did. Scared of riding, and for some reason I am suddenly getting on a horse with no tack - a horse I had been on ONCE before (she was very, very, very poor when we got her with her foal (Billy), so mum slowly fed her up and just spent time with her on the ground, by this time she was in great condition but we still hadn't really ridden her). Was I crazy? Maybe, but she was so safe. She gives out (and I hope THIS doesn't make me sound crazy) the safest, most calming feeling. From then on I got on her all the time, usually just for a few minutes. At first just standing, then walking, and then some trotting once I felt okay with it. Sometimes, when I would ask if her I could get on, she would say no (walk off), that was fine. :D More often than not she would say yes. (So much for "if you let a horse say no to you, they'll never let you/you'll have big problems etc.". :love: One day when I was with her in a bigger paddock, I felt like a canter. I trusted her enough. So we went to the end of the paddock and cantered back up, it was wonderful!! I was so excited to have done that. By this time I was riding some of the other horses a little bit, but I still wasn't feeling up to cantering on them WITH a bridle/halter and saddle.

I probably shouldn't have taken over my mum's wonderful mare like that :blush: :D (she didn't seem to mind though, and of course was still spending lots of time with her, I didn't steal her away ;) ) but she gave me my confidence back. :love: :love: :love:

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(Look at Holly here and not at me looking horrible, please!)
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I am weirdly inconsistent with wearing a helmet. :huh:
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In pyjamas :lol:
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Giving her a treat to say thank you for the ride. :D


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 23, 2009 7:21 am 
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What a lovely story. I myself have had some more and some less confident riding times. I never was the bravest of riders.... mayybe I just wanted that good relationship. Boltng bucking, hot and dnacing was never my cup of tea. I wasn't the best rider either. I am still not, but as long as I have earnest and communicating I can find places to be perfectly happy.

Funny though. I had quite a lesson in "some horses are just not a match for some people" lesson in spades one day. I was riding with my mentor over a few days one spring break. Most of the horses were out on the far fields for the off season, and only her most regular horses were up at the barn and close pastures, so we had them to choose from. This was when I was already considered a good intermediate rider. We were doing some field jumping. I was one the safest beginner horse in the barn. ANYONE could ride her. But she tossed me. I do not have a good sense of humor when it comes to myself, and certainly not back then. But it was just so bizarre and weird that I lay on the ground looking up at Davera and we just laughed. It was unreal. I got back up, came back to the approach all certain we'd do well since that was such an aberration, and she tossed me again. WHAT? Not out of anger or frustration, I decided I should call it a day. Definitely not a match. My shape? My smell? Something subtle... maybe just something about how she was feeling, who knows. But I had to ride her to back up a trail the next year and we had an awful time, so I tend to believe it was just a bad combo. Now I am very easy to allow for that.

Sounds like you guys are a *good* match. :smile:

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 23, 2009 9:36 am 
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That is such a nice story, Kate!! And no, to me it does not sound like you were crazy... or maybe most of us are a bit crazy over here. 8)

I can so relate to your feelings about riding. I actually never had a horse who was "unsafe" to ride (except for my first year of riding when I was twelve), but when I got Titum who also wasn't dangerous but a bit scared sometimes, there were countless times I fell off. He did not run away but always made those fast and unexpected sideways spooks when there was something as scary as a bird, a white flower or a butterfly, which left me sitting on the ground at the position where we had been together before while he was now standing one meter next to me. And I did not like falling off. ;) So with time I learned to better anticipate those situations and either prepare him for it or get off before. I saw no point in staying on in a situation where we both did not feel safe. Actually I am asking myself if what I would be teaching with that is actually what I want him to learn. Well, for the two of us I prefered the lesson that we could trust each other and not get each other into those situations in the first place. :smile:

Please do post some more pictures of the others as well, I am so looking forward to seeing more of your lovely herd. :)


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 23, 2009 6:09 pm 
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How nice Kate!
It is great they let you do this, they look very comfortable and happy with it!
Yay! :applause:

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 23, 2009 9:32 pm 
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Hey Kate!

Nice photos, and your story too!

I too got bucked off when I was trying out a second horse a few years ago! OUCH! And I knew then that I wanted to train differently!! And now ironically, big ol' green Lucy is the horse I feel safest on, cuz I know I can communicate with her, even in scary situations, and I know I have given her no reason to be afraid or try to get rid of me! I think I do a lot of the same as you, just asking and reinforcing stuff, clicker training is so cool!

Brenda

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 24, 2009 6:19 am 

Joined: Sun Jan 18, 2009 9:30 am
Posts: 289
Location: Australia
Annaliese, you are so right that some horses are not a match for some people, and sometimes it's better just to leave it at that. I've ridden horses at various places that I just did not get on with, too. My mum never liked riding Destiny, I thought he was the best horse in the world to ride but she was very uncomfortable on him, she said she had trouble communicating with him (they got on fine on the ground though :)). It was odd because I usually think she is better than I am at communicating with horses.

I have worked through this (just on the ground, she was only young so no riding) with one horse, though: when we first got Bonnie she did NOT like me. I was upset because I thought she was great (originally we looked to buy her FOR me) and I'd never had a horse seem to actively dislike me like that before. I hadn't done a thing to her and she seemed to hate me. :( She loved Mum, absolutely adored her, but couldn't stand me. At first she was just very aloof with me, but then it got worse. We thought that she was maybe jealous of me, she did seem to want mum all to herself. She would try to chase me away from her. :ieks: So maybe it was just that and not that we were not a good match, I don't know. She seems to like me a lot now. :D (Lots of positive reinforcement... she's the same with me whether I have food or not, but maybe she's just been conditioned to like me :huh: :lol:)

Romy, if it is crazy... then I don't mind being crazy. 8)

Fast and unexpected sideways spooks are the worst!! I've had that happen lots of times. Destiny used to do it... he'd be fine with big things you'd really expect to scare a horse, and then leap away from the bird or butterfly or even invisible (to me) monsters. (If he does it on the ground, he jumps towards me and gets really close. I get the feeling he would leap into my arms if he were small enough. :huh:)

As I said in one of your threads, I completely agree with you about when a horse is scared, getting off, and for the lesson to be about trust and safety, not that you can force him into the scary situation. :yes: :D

I'll post pictures of the others shortly. :smile:

Tlove, thank you for the nice comments :D it's good to know the horses seem happy and comfortable to other people's eyes too. :)

Brenda,
Brenda wrote:
And now ironically, big ol' green Lucy is the horse I feel safest on, cuz I know I can communicate with her, even in scary situations, and I know I have given her no reason to be afraid or try to get rid of me!

Oh I can relate to this so much!! I felt so much safer on Willow even the first time I ever rode her (which was the first time she'd ever been ridden) than many, many other, trained horses I have ridden. (and it wasn't because she is small and I could bail off easily if needed ;) ) We had done so much work together, and I could communicate with her, and she with me - and as with you and Lucy, I've given her no reason to be afraid or want to get rid of me!! I wish she was bigger (maybe not Lucy's size... a Willow that big would be a bit worrying I think! :lol:) but big enough to be my everyday riding horse. ::sigh::
And yes, clicker training is VERY cool. :yeah:


Anyway, more photos soon!


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 24, 2009 1:43 pm 

Joined: Sun Jan 18, 2009 9:30 am
Posts: 289
Location: Australia
Hmm, in some of my photos, my seat could be a lot better. :huh: I need to ride properly and more often, instead of just getting on them every now and then and sitting any which way. I don't know WHAT I was doing in one of the photos up there ^^^ on Holly, twisting around and... looking at something on the ground? :huh:

Okay, here's me on Muffin, with Destiny:

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This would be one of my favourite pictures, because it's me with my boys, but Muffin doesn't look very happy. :(

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Muffin. There's a tangle in his mane, making him look neglected :( I did get it out! It was from sticking his head through the fence to get to the grass outside, that's why his mane is all uneven, too.

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Practising being calm at the bottom of the hill. He always wants to run up to the top.

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I like this one for some reason, even though it's blurry and my legs are too forward.

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And here is my gorgeous Destiny.

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^This is the most recent photo of him, 15th Jan 09

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Sorry about all the photos with a bit. I don't use a bit now that he's mine, but I haven't ridden him for years (more about why later). This was in 2002 at the farmstay where I stayed and worked for a month (and then went back as often as I could until it closed:() and where I met Destiny and Muffin. I got to know Muffin later when I took over his care (he had had a leg injury soon after they got him, and was being lunged and brought back into work) when the horse manager went back to England. But Destiny I first rode early in my stay. The horse manager, Eve, told me he bucked, but I didn't care! I had seen her riding him and playing in the river, he looked like such fun, I had to try him. So I did and fell in love. I rode most of the horses there at one point or another, and got to know and loved them all, but he was my boy. :l: :l: :l: :l: :l: :l: :l: :l: We had so much fun. He never bucked me off (well, not then). He reared a lot (only a half-rear, except for once when I was bareback and he didn't want to go in the river, so he stood RIGHT up.) which I thought was soooooooooooo much fun. And he would get excited and dance and prance, also lots of fun. :love: None of it was in a dangerous way (yes, I know, many would disagree about any sort of rearing not being dangerous) it was just exciting! The most fun we had was in the river, he would go in and play with the water and leap around.

Then I had to LEAVE. And leave him. It was horrible. They didn't want to sell him, we had no money and nowhere to keep him... but finally they said they would sell :D and I could keep him there on agistment and pay for him in installments. I will write more about him later when I start my diary, and talk about Muffin too. I'm too tired to write much more tonight.

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Edit: I'll post photos of the others tomorrow. I was going to do it tonight, but it's very late now, I'd better go to sleep. :yawn:


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 25, 2009 2:09 am 

Joined: Sun Jan 18, 2009 9:30 am
Posts: 289
Location: Australia
Lots of pictures:

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Bonnie :D

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Float re-training with the clicker... (ideally I would have had no halter on her, but the grass near the float was so good that she would have just eaten all day ;) I didn't use the leadrope to get her on, it was all targetting.) She was scared very badly in a float, and reared up and bashed her poll on a bar on the roof, so she had BIG problems going on. She would rear, standing up as high as she could (that's very high) if faced with a float or truck, and do everything she could think of to avoid going in. I hired a float to work with her, and thought it would take days or weeks to convince her even to put a foot on the ramp, (especially as food had been tried to lure her - rather than as a reward - onto things before and hadn't worked) but no, she ended up going right IN on the first day we started. Is it any wonder I love clicker training so much. :l: :D :D :D
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Bon & Billy running

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Bonnie & Mum

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Baby Billy & Mum, teaching him to walk along with her. :D His mouth looks odd and huge because he was kicked in it :( I have no idea who did that, but I suspect he may have got in the way of an altercation between his mother and someone, because ALL the horses, even the bullies like Destiny, were amazingly tolerant and so, so gentle with the foals.

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Halter training. She got him to like the halter so much he would rather come to you in the paddock if you had a halter in your hand than not. :D :lol:

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Argh, excuse all the weeds! :blush: :blush: :blush:

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Billy in the front yard, Jan 2007

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October 2008

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Targetting :D

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Muffin & Billy. Poor Bill, he hangs over the fence and runs around and tries to convince Muffin to come and play with him like they used to when he was younger, but Muffin isn't interested. I had to separate them once Billy grew up, not because he was aggressive to the geldings, but because his play was so rough and they're not as young as they used to be. Muffin seemed to have a hard time when Bill jumped all over him. He would stop for a while if Muffin told him that was enough, but then he'd start again. Maybe I was being too overprotective, I don't know. It just seemed a bit unfair to Muffin, he was getting sick of him. They still touch noses and talk to each other over the fence, but I feel bad that Bill doesn't have anyone to play with except me, and I obviously can't do rough horse games.

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When they were together.

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Gretchen & me

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My friend Luke having a lesson on Gretchen. (With a no-bit bridle.) She's scared of most people on the ground (though from a trail riding business, so used to having different people on her back) especially men, but she loves Luke, he's really gentle. :D She's excellent for lessons, she really looks after people.

I've already posted lots of Holly, but here are a few more:
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Mum & Holly

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Willow

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This was the first time I got on her. She did so well! She is 4 and a half here. If I could go back, I'd wait until she was even older than that, full mature - so around now. But I only rode her for a few minutes at a time, about six times (including up the road twice and she acted like a fully trained, very quiet, much older horse :D), and then did leave it. She's six now and I haven't been back on her yet, I need to lose weight. Or maybe even find someone smaller to ride her, that would probably be better, she is really small. Oh and I was slim back then, not like some of the photos here, so I was light and she carried me easily. The jumper I'm wearing in this next one makes me look bigger than I was. :huh:
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2nd ride. "Where's my treat?" Me on her back was just another game to her. :D

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Muffin, Holly and a neighbour :D

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Holly & Gretchen

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Muffin & Bonnie 2003

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Foals & Holly, 2003


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 25, 2009 4:09 am 
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Great photos!!!

So cool about the float re-training!! I have done a little re-training with Lucy, actually taught her to BACK into the stock trailer cuz she was so scared to go in forwards!!! Yeah for c/t!! I plan to do more next spring!

All the horses are beautiful, and Willow? is adorable!!

Brenda

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 25, 2009 5:22 am 

Joined: Sun Jan 18, 2009 9:30 am
Posts: 289
Location: Australia
Thanks Brenda :D

Quote:
I have done a little re-training with Lucy, actually taught her to BACK into the stock trailer cuz she was so scared to go in forwards!!!

:D That's so great!!! (But not great that she was scared, of course.) :applause:


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 25, 2009 11:03 am 

Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2009 11:33 am
Posts: 114
Hi Kate,

What a lovely herd of horses you have! Willow is sooooooo cute!

Fiona


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 25, 2009 5:21 pm 
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Location: provincie Utrecht
nice herd you have, thanks for sharing the pics


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 30, 2009 6:11 pm 
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Posts: 331
Location: Bavaria, Germany
Hi Kate,
thanks for sharing, I really like to watch your photos :)
And nice to meet you... ;)

Kind regards, Anna


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 12, 2009 1:21 am 
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Location: Marlborough, New Zealand
Hi lovely photos.

I especially like the one of Billy eating grass (second one). he looks so similar to my horse Cappy and I love steel greys. :love:

They all look so happy!

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 12, 2009 3:11 pm 

Joined: Sat Jan 24, 2009 6:05 pm
Posts: 133
I love your herd! They are all beautiful....and to hear you lost your confidence helps me a lot too...and the way you got it back. I am/have been, in similar situation....am just getting over it i think....i love your approach. And your paddocks all look very familiar to me! I feel i may have even seen your horses before! :applause: :applause: :applause:


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