Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Hemi had to go back to his original home...I am sad for me...but happy for him...

...because his family missed him a lot more than they expected to, so they are taking him back home. Hemi was great and I LOVE him! My older dog Snoop did not like Hemi so much. I trained Hemi to respect the underground electric fence and left him out one night with the other dogs, who seemed to be at peace with him. The next morning he had several bite marks on him - I felt horrible for him, like I failed him. We were worried that it might get we decided to let him go back.
Just a few days before that I made a mental note that he did not look happy, but he is a they really look happy? Well, yeah, they do, and he lost the happy spark in his eyes. I did not say anything to Brian because I figured it was my imagination...then Brian mentioned it over the weekend. We thought he missed the little kids around. So between that and the other dogs wanting a piece of him, we made the decision. I have been a crybaby for a few days, but that is okay. I got to experience having a bulldog, and I know I love it! :-)
Hemi was great the first week...but then the vacation was over and he was ready to go home. That is what I think anyways...

Here is Hemi before they came to get him and visit the horses.

I sent Hemi's big bone and a horse hoof home with him. He claimed the bone, and he dug up the horse hoof out from under the pine tree. (I brought home a few hooves from my hoof care class...and they show up in the yard at times)

Hemi is happy to see his family again...I will miss him...

The kids could not wait to see the horses.
Here we have Hemi and Batman being spoiled by Tank (baby) and Amy (Mom)...

Peanut wanted to ride a horse, so Tandee, my older Arab mare was the best choice, altho she has no mercy on beginners. Peanut is 3 yrs old and he did great! Totally fearless and he wanted to RUN! Ha ha! Instead, we trotted a little bit and walked a lotta bit.

Peanut rode Tandee over the dirt pile...he is taking his own little trail ride! Yee haw!

After Peanuts ride, we put Tank up there to 'ride'...

After riding it was time to feed the horses...

Batman gets spoiled with grass - and lessons were given on keeping the hand flat.

It is Coppers turn to be spoiled. He was not sure what to think of the little person. Peanut doesn't know how to move and speak quietly - everything is quick and loud. Copper did great most of the time, but sometimes he got startled and jumped back a little bit. It was good for him! :-) Actually it was good for both Copper and Peanut.

Tank on the corral panel with Amy in the spotter position...

Tank driving the tractor...

Then Peanut thought Tank needed help driving, so they both took it on!

Then it was time to say good-bye...I shed some tears, got many bulldog kisses, but it was still good because he was going home, and I think he knew it.
The boys had a ball with the animals, and I foresee another visit from them in the future. :-)

Until later...Karen and Tripp, who will miss Hemi too











Yep, we did it! Actually we did it a couple of times, then I went to get Brian and the camera! :-)

It all started with a nice little talk. He looks very accommodating, eh?

It was just another evening, it had dried out quite a bit, and I was going to go over everything we have already done to see what kind of reactions I was going to get, then it came time for the 'sack of taters' game.

He did great with that, then I decided to try my more than graceful athletic maneuvers and attempted to put a leg up on him. I did this several times - got myself up on his neck and the leg mostly up, rubbed it, then slid down. I used his front leg as a guide on my way down, and he did not move. Yay!
All the trainers talk about the horse reacting and you can just slide off...well, I have visions of me starting up and over, the horse moving the direction I am working from, which means I sort of slip over the other side, and possibly land on my head. So I am very cautious when I first try to get on bareback. I did find it was easier to get on Copper bareback than it was Tripp, and I think that is because Copper is so big, he has a lot of neck for me to use as support.

Almost there.....but still giving myself some room to get off if I need to.
He started moving but I was not worried because he did not show any signs of being in 'freak out' mode. When I was playing the 'sack of taters' game, he walked a little bit until I slipped off.

Even more almost there! And still giving myself some room in case he had a change of heart. He did not even mind me on his neck, so that is good...never know when you will need that neck! :-)

When I got on, I stayed low on his neck and kept rubbing him. He was very aware I was there and was questioning it, but not trying to escape it. I did a lot of talking and rubbing...
A couple of the times I got on, I stayed low on the neck, rubbed a lot, then slid off. I was not sure how he was going to be with me over his head, even tho I have stood on large rocks even taller than I would be sitting. You know how everything looks different to them. I don't have to understand it - I just have to understand that they see it differently, and I need to make decisions based on that. Hopefully they are good decisions.

I finally made it all the way up, and he is so worried and stressed - I mean look at that back foot! He is getting ready to take off any moment, and like a track star he has that toe planted!! And the expression on his face, he is making sure the film is rolling for the great escape! Ha ha ha!!!!
I love this! I love that he was relaxed and did not feel the need to get away from that big thing on his back. I moved a little bit, but did not totally get myself comfy because I did not want to ruin a good thing. I sat there quite a while and rubbed on him, then slid off and called it a day.

I still don't know if I will be able to ride him at the EMM, and to be honest, I am not as stressed about it as I was. If I do, great, if not, great too. I know I keep saying this, but I want him to get a patient adopter who realizes his potential. He is going to be such a wonderful horse for someone! If he can only do 3 or 4 things without being stressed out, that is great! He can only get better. He has been my biggest challenge so far because I did not understand how to make it easier on him...then I find out about the thinking and reacting side of the brain and the introvert/extrover part, and now I understand it more than before. He needs time - plain and simple. He is very social, loves to hang out with us, and wants to please us so bad. He is very gentle and kind, and he has eyes that are so soft when he is relaxed. He is just scared of new things and sometimes old things. The best way for his brain to process things is constant repetition and frequency. The frequency part is hard when you work a full time job and the evenings get darker quicker, but I will do what I can. I hope he gets a very patient adopter who realizes his potential.
Has anybody seen the movie '50 First Dates' with Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler? One of my favorite movies! There is a character called 10 Second Tom, and sometimes that is what I feel like with Copper. The thing is, Copper gets it and it takes a shorter amount of time to realize that he really does remember the saddle, he just forgot he remembered it.

Okay, gotta go now. I took my Mom to the airport today so got home early, which means I have plenty of daylight! I am hoping for the same results that I had a couple evenings ago. :-)

Until later...Karen and Tripp who says Copper will be just fine!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Copper's Day Out...due to mud...

We got whammied with storms...then got whammied again. The barn lot is finally drying out, but there are still some very sloppy spots. Saturday there was no getting the trailer in and out of the driveway, but Sunday we managed. The plan was to take Copper to the neighboring town arena so we could work. When we got there, the arena was a muddy mess! I was bummed out because I was counting on the good drainage, good surface cover, etc...BUT, we went in anyways. There were barrels set up, so I tried to 'run' him around the barrels. The mud was 4" to 5" deep and was sucking my boots down into it. But we managed...

Barrel #1...not bad, I think we can make it!

Almost around the barrel....yep, we can make it!

Woo hoo! We made it around the barrel and are headed to the other two. This may take a is hard to run in mud!

Okay, tired, Copper must hold me up...whew!

We took Hemi to the arena with us and he enjoyed getting out. He is ready to go find something else to explore since we won't let him play in the mud (did not bring a towel for him to sit on in the truck)


Then we headed to the Conservation Area. I knew the ground would be good there. At the lake watching people fishing on the other side of the cove...

COPPER SAYS: Hmmmmm, what do ya think? One little nudge should do it! Whinny whinny! (His version of Hee hee!)

COPPER SAYS: Yep, could make it look like an accident, then I could give her that cute little look with my eyebrows up that she likes so much!

Nope, went for a walk along the dam instead. There is a dip on the other side so we went down there and came back. We even practiced trotting! Now if we could just get it 90% of the time, all would be good.

Just a cool head shot...he was watching a fishing boat.

We spent a lot of time just looking and taking it in.

I tried to walk Hemi and Copper. We even trotted, but Copper trots faster than Hemi even tho Copper has a slow trot.

It turned in to a great day! The sun was shining, it was not too hot, we got out and got some fresh is good!

Still not where I want to be with Copper, but I have calmed down about it and am just going to do what we can do. I won't rush him because that will only screw his brain up. I don't want to do that - even if it is for short term. For me, this isn't a race. I just want to help find a mustang a great home, and I am praying for a home that will be patient with him. He is so sweet and tries so hard not to be afraid of things.

One morning it was very dark when we went out to feed - no moon or anything. I could see light colored things, so knew where my Arab mare and Batman were, but not anybody else. I reached out and little did I know, Copper was right there! I touched his butt and it freaked him out! Instead of kicking me, he tucked his butt and took a couple of hops forward, then let out his long easy going snort that let me know he was stressed, but he is okay now. I was very proud of him, and sooooo glad I did not get kicked!

Gotta head to work now....hope everyone is doing well!

Until later...Karen and Tripp who says he would not have freaked out over me touching his butt. :-)

2009 Texas EMM...

Brian and I made a quick weekend trip to visit the Texas EMM. We went the first year as spectators, the second year as a trainer and wonderful support staff, and this year as spectators again. My camera bit the dust so I only got a couple of blury pictures. We got a few with Brian's camera, but the color is is not great, but I am going to post a few.

We had a great time, and I have realized that the more I learn about training, I look at what riders are doing differently than I used to. Sidepassing used to be "Wow, that is so cool!" Now I say "Wow, that is so cool...I can barely see him/her cue the horse. Cool!" When I can see the cue I say "Wow, they are doing so good! Look how light that trainer is asking the horse to move over." I love light and gentle. I love watching it be done slowly and patient for a great result instead of being asked firmly/roughly just to have it done quickly (usually spins). I don't love jaws pulled all the way to the chest, or spurs that are jabbed in the side of the horse so you can't see the rowel. I look for stuff like that. I would never say that one method is right or wrong, unless there was outright abuse involved. I would say that one method might be right for ME or wrong for ME. I know my personality, and I need to do what works for ME. What works for me is usually going slow - and part of that is experience, I realize that. Either way, being in the horse world is like one big classroom, and I love it! Watching what everyone has done with their mustangs in just 3 months is still just as amazing as it was the first time I saw it. Having that many mustangs in one place is a huge rush - but sad too. I would rather see that many on the range, but that is another topic in itself.

Here are the Idols (non-pro (altho some are pro) and beginners) doing a walk thru with the judges.

Terri and Rage came to our Midwest Mustang & Burro Show about a week before the EMM. They did great! Watching Terri and Rage is like watching a dance...they are a great team and made Top 10 in Idols at the EMM. Yay!

Here are her ribbons from the fun show. She proudly displayed them on the stall.

Here they are sidepassing around the square...

Turning in the square...

Trotting over the logs...

Our stall neighbors from last year competed again this year. These two boys are amazing and so gentle! When I was inquiring about bitless bridles, I found their web site. It was pure luck that got us as stall neighbors!
Their site is:

Here is Nik and Ranahan. You really need to check out their web site because there are some awesome pictures of Nik on his horse and his brothers horse in the ocean! These guys are daredevils and love stunts. The best part is they can do stunts, and their horses are totally comfortable with it.

Here is Nik doing a back flip off his mustang...

Then he butt hopped back on to his mustang, and landed in the saddle! No joke! Nik is a long legged fellow and his horse was pretty short, but still...very cool! I could not have done it!

Nik competed in the Legends (experienced/pro trainers) and they walked over the logs, and they had to turn sideways then forward, then sidepass to the 'L'. I think he got 14th place in Legends. I wish he would have made it to the Finals. He would have put on a heck of a show!

Nik's brother Kris was in the Idols, and he made Top 10! Woo hoo! He ended up with 3rd place overall in the finals! Woo hoo!!!

This shows you what kind of trust Kris has with his horses. He blindfolded A Boy Named Sioux and cantered around the arena...

And a sharp turn...

And he guides Sioux on to the bridge - while Sioux is still blindfolded!

This is the kind of guy Kris is...he is giving Sioux all the credit. He and Nik both are very polite, fun, talented young men. Their whole family is the type that you wished you had as a neighbor, and I don't like neighbors! :-)

Now, the EMM isn't just for horse training...sometimes romances start at the EMM...they just did not know it yet! (wink wink) Jenny Jess was a trainer last year and again this year, and she found Kris on Face Book or one of those pages after the EMM last year, and they became friends. Well folks, they became good enough friends that they decided to get MARRIED! Woooo hooooo hoooooo!!!!!

Here is Jenny with her mustang...well, one of them. She took on two mustangs this year, and rode one.

Here she is backing thru the 'L' and she has a smile on her face. Yep, she will fit in great with her new family!

Before the youth trainers got started, they came out to do a dance and one of the judges, Bob Morehouse, joined them! What a fun guy!

One of my favorite people from last year was this little gal. Here is Kirstin and Tuff. Tuff e Nuff to wear pink! She took on 3 yearlings last year and did amazing. I don't know how she did it. In just a year she has grown up so much!
There was a lot of pink worn by many trainers...the announcer asked the audience to stand up if your family has experienced cancer, and I sure did not see many sitting down. I lost my Dad to cancer too, so I have seen what a horrible disease it is, and I have had that helpless feeling because there isn't anything we can do to fix it. I keep hoping that someday they will find a cure. :-)

Here is Kirstin and Tuff while one of the judges asks a question.

The youth trainers had to answer a question that they made up themselves. Well, I don't care if you make it up yourself, I would still be a nervous wreck and probably choke on my tongue! All the youth did great - I was proud of all of them, and so impressed! They are all so creative with their yearlings and they gave me ideas!

After going thru the course each trainer had to let their horse loose in the pen, shoo it away, then catch it again.
Here is Kirstin and problem!

Nurtural Bitless Bridles had a booth set up this year, which was great because I got to see all the different styles in person.

Here is Gilbert with his mustang (Gilbert doesn't know I know his name...hee hee!) Gilbert and another girl were interested in the bitless bridles, and each was having different problems with their horses and the bit. The bitless people went out to the practice ring with them and fitted them in one to try out. Both people really liked how their horses relaxed. The girl's horse (from what I heard) was doing a lot of head tossing, rearing and a little bucking, so relaxed was a nice change. I wish I had a picture of her too! Both horses did great considering they were just introduced to something new a few hours before.

Here Gilbert sports a hot pink bridle to go with his light pink shirt...yep, another family touched by cancer.

Something new this year was the Mutt Makeover! Patti Colbert, who is a business genius, got together with the Humane Society in TX and they decided to do a Mutt Makeover. Ten dogs went home with trainers and they had 7 weeks to train them and bring them to show. It really was cute, and I wish I had pictures of all the dogs. There were a few big dogs and a few small dogs.

This is Harry - we thought his ears were cute!

Another dog...

And another dog...

Then there is the little Aussie dog who started barking at the judges and the camera man. The trainer could not get the dog to pay attention after that, but we all thought it was cute. I thought he was protecting her! :-)

At the Legends Finals, the top 3 dogs came in and did a finals performance too. In our opinion, the dogs stole the show! The trainers and horses were good, but the dogs added something special. We also enjoyed the Idols Finals more than the Legends this year. The past couple of years there has been something different that makes is say "WOW!" but this year was a little different. No was all good and we will definately go again!

Until later...Karen and Tripp