Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Thunder tries on the blue halter and gets a brushing!

The pen is finally getting a few dry mud peaks so I can change my plan of action! Woo hoo! Walking is still a challenge, but it is getting good enough where I am now introducing a few new odds and ends and trying to encourage them to WANT to be with me. I have been joking with Brian about them not being able to lead, but by golly you can balance a ball on their backs! Ha ha!

I found out that Beth has a blue halter for Thunder, so I needed to get the blue halter on Thunder pretty quick so Terry would not try to take it from her! Ha ha! He has a light brown colored one, and it will look good on Paco too - told ya, yellow is the only color I can think of that won't look good. :-) And maybe orange.

The blue halter looked great on Thunder, but it doesn't fit. It is a bit too small but we made it work for the photo shoot. :-)
Doesn't he look cute?

Thunder wanted his own t-shirt shot too....

THUNDER: "How you doin'?"

I had Brian check the wound on his nose and the bump under his jaw. I think it was smaller, but I needed him to check to make sure since he had not felt it in a while. Yep, it is smaller! Yay! Brian gets to pick up some antibiotics tomorrow - powder that will go in his feed.
Check out nosey Paco behind Brian and Thunder. I love this! Paco still avoids things when he wants to, which is most of the time, but this is a great example of his curiosity taking over...
When I see him trying not to peek, I try hard not to 'notice' and let him think he is getting one over on me. It makes me laugh, and it helps him to want to see what I am doing.

Thunder and Brian...it didn't take long for Thunder to relax when Brian came into the pen.

I pulled out a thin pad I have and started rubbing it on both of them. Paco made it to this...

Then he told Thunder all about it! (Thunder did not wear it, but I did rub it on his face and neck)

Tonite I did some brushing on both boys, and I touched Paco almost all over with one of the balls. He was not so sure about it, but we stuck at it until he decided it would get me before it got him, and if it didn't get me it must be okay. No photographer on duty for that part of the evening....

But there was for this part...

Thunder has had issues with a human body standing beside him. He always wants to face me, which is good, I would rather have that than the side or rump. The past few nights I have been working hard on getting him to stand still while I moved to his side, and he is doing great! I still have to be patient when I start, but it takes less and less time to get there. Tonite was awesome! I got his halter on and put his medicated rag in place on the nose wound to soften it up before cleaning, then I started petting on him. I decided to leave the lead rope off and see if he wouldn't let me beside him. He did, and not only did he accept that, he also let me brush back to his shoulders! I did not tempt fate and go beyond that...there was enough mud on the front half of him to keep me occupied anyways.

I would brush and he would sniff...we did that a lot, which is fine with me. I love that he wants to know about things... He asks questions and I try my best to answer them for him.

I rubbed on his side too, and he just stood there. A friend, Angela, had made the comment that this is the best time of year to work with new mustangs because they are starting to shed and are itchy. She is 100% right! :-)

I got a lot of dried mud off him and I guarantee you he will have it back on himself tomorrow! I joke about these two being like the movie, Lord of the Rings. Legolas (Paco) is great in battle but somehow always seems to stay clean. Aragorn (Thunder) is great in battle and is always dirty.

The past couple of nights have been great! The days are longer, the sun has been shining, and I am hanging out with horses. Yeah....life is great! :-)

Until later...Karen and Tripp

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Paco sports a bright blue halter...

Both Paco and Thunder have been wearing a halter - Thunder is roughly leading - Paco gives to the pressure very nicely and last night gave his first couple steps forward.

When I put the blue halter on Paco, this time I got to put my arm over his head (slowly) and slip it over his nose. Yippee!!!
Thunder isn't to that point yet - he still doesn't like my body beside his. We have been working on me getting to his side, and him not moving, and he is doing good. He gets wither scratches and I back off quickly to let him think about it. So this is one of the yo-yo's that Brian told me about....little by little each one will do something better than the other, then they will catch up and pass each other in something else. He is so right! :-) (Yes dear, I said you were right! Ha!)

PACO: "I challenge anybody to find a color that I won't look good in. Except yellow...I just don't think yellow will go with my golden hue."
(I am trying to remember...but I think Terry got Paco a bright blue halter)

Paco was feeling pretty good in this new color, so he gave me a little look one direction....

Then he gave me a little head tilt to the side...

Then he wanted to try the t-shirt shot....from down below looking up...
PACO: "How you doin'?" (say it with a little tude and this is what Paco was looking for)

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I didn't get good pictures of Thunder, but Paco didn't mind. He says this entry is about him. :-)

Both boys are doing great, they have finally taken treats from me, so life is good. I break up alfalfa cubes - they make great healthy treats.

Funny on Paco. He still tries to throw in the "I can care less if you live or die" attitude and just won't give humans the time of day unless you make him. I am finding him peeking at me more and more, and last night was the best!
The night before I was trying to get him to sniff the alfalfa cubes and he just was not going to do it. I wish you could see his expression and watch him turn his head - just like a spoiled little kid. One night I wanted to know how far he would go to NOT look at me. I would take baby steps one direction and he finally had his nose touching his belly! No joke! I can't help but laugh. Anyways, I got the cube up to his lips and he was not going to open them, so I wiggled it in and got to his teeth. I wiggled it some more and those lips started moving lightly, then he must have gotten a taste of it because he tried to give the innocent look as he took the cube and chewed it. It took a couple of "wiggle thru the lips" times before he thought he might want to come to me to sniff another one.
Both boys are very gentle when they take them.

The thing is, I could probably get Paco to do anything I want because he tolerates things so well. I don't want him to tolerate - I want him to get to the point where he really knows it is okay, and he is getting there. I have had to stand back and take a look at what I was doing to try and figure out how to best reach my goals. That is one of the many things that is so great about these guys. I learn...I have a class room right in my front yard and it is up to me to learn to make things as easy as possible for them to learn. Yep, life is good....

Until later...Karen and Tripp

Flash goes to a new home...

Flash is the large pony that we acquired, and he needs a job. He had his own little girl last summer and life happened so we got him back. I saw several ads for people wanting a 'kid broke pony' but that can mean anything, and I just didn't feel comfortable contacting anybody, and it isn't like we HAD to get rid of him. A friend of mine contacted me and she knew someone who was looking for a pony for her nieces and nephews. The gal and I corresponded, and come to find out I knew of her because she had adopted a mustang the year before and the friend who contacted first me helped her get a halter on her mustang! It is a small world, and things happen for a reason, even if we don't know the reason at the time.

She has kids ages 3 - 10 who will be giving Flash a job. The 10 yr old is a little horseman already and loves to ride, so he and Flash will be able to make up their own stories about their journeys. Yay!

Flash is not one bit interested in meeting his new pasture friends yet...he is more interested in the green stuff that he has not seen for months! :-)

Brian with one of the new friends of Flash...

One of the gray horses was heading to his home today too. The other gray was raised by the friend who contacted me. The sorrel is the mustang, and she was very camera shy.

They have the cutest baby goat!

The goat is not one bit afraid of the cat...

They are real animal oriented so I know Flash will have a great home! It always hurts to let them go - but he really is happier when he has a job. And we know he will come back if he doesn't work out. I sure do hope he is well behaved! Hee hee!

Until later...Karen and Tripp who says "Flash who?"

Magical Moments...

Sorry, no photos...just a story....

I had a dog named Storm for 12 years. She died a few years ago, and I still cry sometimes because I miss her so much - she was the one dog who nobody will take the place of. I love all my other pets - but Storm was just different. If I was upset, she just knew, and she would come over to me and just be there...rest her head on me without demanding attention. I love that dog! :-)

Present day...I was out working with Thunder and I had a little melt down. Nothing bad...just frustration because of the mud, of not being able to move very well in it, of giving mixed signals because arms are flailing while I try to stay standing up (not always with a lot of luck), just a lot of little things in general - but the mud is what sent me to tears.

Pre-tears I led Thunder over to the panels and I sat against one and just dropped my head to get my mind focused. Thunder started sniffing my hair, so I flipped the pony tail over and he was nuzzling it. All of a sudden the tears started flowing and my head dropped down lower....then the magical moment....Thunder dropped his head all the way down to where I was at and lightly took his nose and nudged my forehead. He left his head down low, and I peeked up at him. How could I not smile? I rubbed his forehead and we just sat there a while. I have not felt like that since Storm died. Thunder just knew....Beth is going to have herself a very special horse! :-)
All I ask is for her to love him and treat him like the special guy his is.

Until later...Karen and Tripp

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

My Mini-Clinic with Tripp and Tips from Wrangler Jayne...

I subscribe to Wrangler Jaynes newsletter. I would LOVE to go to one of her clinics but there is one tiny problem...she is in Australia! :-) Someday I am going to order her DVD's. Here are her tips that I received the other night - I thought they were awesome!

Tip 1: Set the scene
Prepare yourself, your tools, your environment. Put forethought into planning for better results.

Tip 2: Keep sessions short & sweet
Rather than countless repetitions, if you get a positive improvement 3 times in a row, quit the lesson!

Tip 3: Leave 'em wanting more!
Don't 'overstay your welcome'! End the session with something for your horse - ie: scratches and rubs, and walk away when they're really enjoying it! They'll look forward to your next session all the more!

A lot of us have heard this before, just maybe worded differently. I really love her and her gentle ways...look up her web site!

Now on to my mini-clinic. I have never attended a clinic before so what better way to start than a Basic Natural Horsemanship mini clinic. It was last Monday night and lasted for 2 1/2 hrs. All of it was ground work, and even tho I already had a grasp on most of what we covered, we were shown different ways to do things. There were 5 of us with horses and Tripp was the only mustang. He did so good! He didn't start getting bored until about 20 minutes before quitting time. There was one horse that was more experienced than the rest of ours, but all in all I think we were pretty evenly matched. We had a very good time!

Since most of the pictures were action shots, they didn't turn out very good, so I grabbed what I could...

Here we have our attention on the clinician, and Tripp is making sure Brian is taking his picture! He wanted proof to show his friends he was there. :-)

The hardest thing for me to put together was my lead, my stick and string, and getting Tripp to move along the wall preparing him to learn to side-pass. I was a big time klutz! Melanie, the clinician, used Tripp as an example and she got him moving. I think that helped me a lot because Tripp had an idea of what he should do, so now he could do what he 'thinks' I am asking. It was the hardest thing we did all night but also the most fun once we got it going on!

Tripp was curious about Melanie and even tho she doesn't want a horse in her space, she will never squash their curiosity.

We don't have a ball like this at home - in fact we want one of those big giant balls! Tripp enjoyed moving the ball and pawing at it.

Here is Tripp with some of his class mates.

Here I am giving the 'pressure look' to try to get him to back up - okay, this was also hard for me because when he looks at me like he is looking at me here, it is hard not to laugh! Mainly because I think he is laughing at me. :-)

With the lead rope wiggle and the exaggerated look, he finally backed up. When he made it to the end of the poles on the ground, I would stop him, let him think about it, then ask him for another step or two. I have never done this before even tho I have seen it on RFD several times...and even tho I don't like wacking on the lead line, we both did pretty darn good!

I thought Tripp would roll because he has not seen dry ground since the BLM adoption! He pawed a lot, but never did roll.

OH! There are huge mirrors on the wall at each end, and the first time we walked by the mirror and Tripp noticed himself it was awesome! He saw himself, with another me, plus there was a rider in the background for him to watch. I love when they discover new things, and Tripp is so expressive it is hard not to smile. Brian was not in the arena yet so missed the shock factor. Brian laughed and said that was the first time Tripp met his equal.

Another thing - since horse herds do most of their communicating with body language, we were not to use verbal cues. Oh my goodness...I talk non-stop to my horses so it was tough on me to keep my mouth shut! Ha ha! She did not say to never use verbal - just for this class we weren't...and even tho it was tough it was very cool. When we saw Chris Cox a few years ago, he said the same thing. He doesn't 'talk' to his horses with his voice, he talks to them with his body.

We had a great time and hopefully we will be able to do something else like this real soon.

Have a wonderful day everyone!

Until later, Karen and Tripp who finally met his equal...

Paco and Thunder both wear halters! Woo hoo!

In spite of the weather I have been getting quite a bit done. The positive thing about the mud and me not being able to walk normal is it makes me slow down and take my time. I am not sure, but I think have been spending a lot more rubbing time with them. I still have to be careful because my feet get sucked in and I don't want to stress them and have them barrel over me.

I have had the halter on Thunder a few times, and last night he was leading! It was a little stop and start, but all in all he did FANTASTIC!!!! Yippee!!! It is his curious have to know what you are doing personality that helps with this task. Tonite he was even better! Oh how I wish I could get both of these guys on dry ground because they would improve leaps and bounds. They are both real smart (of course! They are mustangs!) and I try to add new stuff to what we are doing, but I know they can do more. And this is where the mud is good...keeps me going slow! :-)

Brian has not had time to check out my progress with them. He was out last night to check the wound on his cheek and Thunder was very afraid at first. Other than the weekend when Beth and Terry came to visit them, it has been just me. Brian is very good with them and took his time to let Thunder get to know him. Next thing I know Brian is rubbing his forehead then they took a short walk around the pen.

THUNDER SAYS: I am not going over there - it is muddy! (Ha ha ha!!!!)

Thunder had a wound on his cheek from the BLM pens, and the swelling would go down and it would continue to drain, then it would plug up and swell back up again. I am trying to get it cleaned out as much as I can and tonite was the night to introduce Thunder to the rag! He snorted and nodded his head, but we finally worked thru it. I put the rag under the nose band of the halter and he was bouncing his head up and down while the rag flapped back and forth. I really expected him to blow up and run a small circle then come back to me (because that is what he does when the pressure is too much), but he just stood there.
I think we had quite a break thru tonite. He has been very protective of the hurt side and I finally got him to let me touch it. I let him know that it was okay for me to put my hand across his nose, and when he stopped trying to get away, I moved my hand away. Once he realized it wasn't going to hurt, he was much better and let me rub on it a bit.
I have a call in to the vet to get some antibiotics for his feed. I did not want to get them started on sweet feed, but we need something yummy to put the non-yummy stuff in.

Here is Thunder sporting his pretty blue rag. :-)

Tonite I wanted to introduce Paco to the halter, even if it was to just rub him with it. I have had the rope all over him and his face and he is fine - the only thing about his face is he doesn't want it touched. I was flipping the halter all around him on both sides and never could get it over the nose. I could not move graceful enough to stick with him. Before I started a very bad habit, I improvised! I got the lunge line out and put the end thru the nose and brought it to me. Oh my gosh! He just stood there while I grabbed the end. It was a little tricky getting it tied, but he decided I was not giving up - and he was right. :-)

The other night I had the black string looped over his nose and I imagined it was a black halter and I thought he looked hot in black! Tonite he is sporting hunter green and he looks hot in this color too! :-)
We did not do any actual walking but we did do a lot of release to pressure moves and he did well.

Isn't he cute...I mean handsome?

I think both of them are doing real good. One will do better at one thing while the other one will do better at something else. Brian says he thinks they will go back and forth but both will be equally great. Nicely said! :-)

Until later....Karen and Tripp who remembers those days!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Not rain or snow can keep me out of the mustang pen...

I woke up to snow. I was hoping it would not start until later in the day because the ground was doing pretty good. Oh well...it is pretty, so we have that! And the mosquitoes that were eating me and the horses alive the past two nights are gone. :-)

I went out early afternoon to work with them and while, and ended up spending two hours out there. The time went by so quickly! Both of them did great. I used the cotton lunge line this time - looped it over their neck and was trying to get them used to moving away from the pressure. Paco has worn the rope before and did great!!! I got to rubbing on his jaw and neck too...that was huge because he would tolerate the approach from the side, but I didn't want his side, I wanted his face. He has been trying so hard to do ask I ask...but he is a busy boy with a busy mind and he just doesn't have time to waste on things like looking at little 'ol me! Ha ha! So I have to change it up a lot. It works out.
Thunder had never worn the rope before and he was great as far as me putting it there, and I could move him one direction but the other direction freaked him out and he took off. Well, I tried to hold on, and I did, but I just slid right thru the mud. We worked on that a while and he finally got to where he would move back and forth. Then I thought I would try to get the halter on him. We did it! I had to tie it one handed...hey, some people can tie a knot in a cherry stem with their tongue, and some can tie a rope halter with one hand. I am the latter. :-)

I let him wear it all day and took it off tonite. I was proud of both of them again tonite because Paco was in the trailer, and Thunder was in the small area outside of the trailer. They don't like feeling trapped in that small area so they usually move around a lot. Tonite Paco stayed in the trailer and watched us, and I walked up to Thunder and untied the halter with one hand. Yay!

When I first went out this morning Paco played peek-a-boo over Thunder...

They did great...I say that a lot, don't I? :-) More and more they are getting to where they walk towards me - not all the way up to me, but towards me.

In spite of the constant wet snow, it was fun going out a couple times today and playing with them. I am freezing and can't seem to warm up - even after a hot shower to wash the mud off. But it was worth it!

I took a few other random pictures....snow on the chimes just seems wrong. The chimes are supposed to sing with the birds. No birds singing today!

Here are Ajax and Zjax at the big bale, and look to the left under the canopy...that is Chase the llama.

The lillies are coming up...and are now snow covered. They probably expected it.

For those of you who are dealing with the weather again...be careful and keep warm!

Until later....Karen and Tripp

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Fantabulous Afternoon and Evening!!!

Tonites entry is going to be relaxing and peaceful! Look out tomorrow...I found more information to share! :-)

I left work an hour early - well, not exactly early...I took lunch late so I could get home to play with horses. The sun was shining and I just had to be here to enjoy it!

The first thing I did was play with Paco and Thunder - and I decided that this afternoon was going to be relaxing for them. No moving around unless we had to...just a lot of rubbing and touching.

Thunder was fantastic!!! I did not use the 'friendly pink stick' to get up to him - I walked up to him softly and he snorted and sniffed, then I started rubbing on him and scratching some mud off. Break thru today - I rubbed both sides of his neck! His right side is much better and I made it to his withers and scratched mud off his back. I did a lot of walking away and coming back, and tonite was much better because the sun actually is baking the mud! Woo hoo! It is still sticky, but not near as bad. After a lot of rubbing and moving around him, I got the stick and threw the string around. He really did great! My photographer was not home so I had to try to get a couple by myself...which should not be too difficult seeing as I am the self portrait Queen! :-)

Thunder likes to play with things. The other night he knocked an orange cone over and was rolling it around - this afternoon he rolled the ball around a while.

Yep, self portrait...rubbing Thunders neck.

Paco was awesome tonite! He thought he was too busy to stand still for very long, so we did a few slow directional changes and I started with the stick and string. I worked my way up the stick like I did with Thunder and he was not so sure about that, but eventually I would sneak a rub in, then move back down the stick before he realized what happened. That worked perfect! I did that several times then got that forehead rub in! Woo hoo! He got real nervous, then I noticed the turkeys in the yard and the dogs stalking them...so I had to go save the day for the turkeys. When I came back, it was like he said "Okay, I am ready now." I rubbed the stick on him again, and he let me pet his face several times! I am very excited...can you tell?

Here we are with a little forehead rub...

He also let me rest my hand on his nose. He accepted this very well...like I said, it was like he told me he was ready.

I was putting the loop around Pacos nose again - here is how a black rope halter would look...I think he will look hot in black! :-)

This was the night before - Paco thought the alfalfa cubes were pretty good. Thunder sniffed them but was not impressed. He thinks I can do better! :-)

Here Paco has his eyes closed...he is thinking...he is going to the 'friendly pink stick' for the answer...Aaaaaahhhhh, yes, he has it....but he isn't telling...

After playing with those two I headed to barn to take care of chores and visit with the others. Most of them are shedding pretty good so I was doing a lot of scratching. Brian got home early enough to enjoy the rest of the daylight with me - Yay!

Brian peeking over the backs of his fan club...

Brian and HIS horse Tripp - okay, I said it! Here is the deal...when we have adopted in the past I am the one who filled out the paperwork and they only put one name on it. So I had several mustangs and a couple burros. Brian FINALLY got to fill out the paperwork, and who is it on? Yep! My 2008 EMM horse Tripp! Now isn't that just too funny? He also adopted Joker as a yearling at the EMM that year, so he officially has two mustangs now. ONLY two! HA HA HA!!!

Brian and Halo...she looks like she is falling asleep...

Halo was one of the first two we adopted - and she foaled a few hours after we got her home. She was the classic mustang I always wanted to adopt - she was not mean but she had no use for any humans and she could care less if we lived or died. No joke! It took a couple of months to get to the point where she would look at me. She went thru all the motions during lessons, but she really was not in it WITH me. This was during my learning process of training, so there really is no telling how many mistakes I made at that time. Once she looked at us, it was much easier to work with her. Now she is a big puppy dog...she comes up behind us and lightly puts her forehead on our back, or she will walk up to ya, and step a couple baby steps closer...she is a sweetheart.

Ajax and Zjax were eating next to each other tonite. We can't get the round bales in their area because of the mud, so I have been throwing flakes on my wooden bridge. They are standing on that with their hay.

What a great night!!!
Until later....Karen and Tripp who knows that I am really his person! ;-)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Obedience or Respect.....Moving Sneaky or Moving Soft.....???

I try to keep this blog light and fun, but sometimes I find myself pondering things. Good things...anything I can learn by is a good thing. :-)
There are pictures below, so if you want to get to that part, scroll down. :-)

I am finding the more I want to work with mustangs and learn about all horses, I also am learning about people. I hear different things, read different things, see different things, and get to asking myself questions. I like questions - makes me and usually some unsuspecting victim talk about new things with me. :-)

The latest thoughts are about obedience vs. respect.
Obedience: the act or practice of obeying; dutiful or submissive compliance. (just one definition)
Respect: (I find that the definition of respect is a little more complicated so I will pick the best one that suits me...actually I could not pick just one, so I picked 3)
esteem for or a sense of the worth or excellence of a person, a personal quality or ability, or something considered as a manifestation of a personal quality or ability: I have great respect for her judgment.
deference to a right, privilege, privileged position, or someone or something considered to have certain rights or privileges; proper acceptance or courtesy; acknowledgment: respect for a suspect's right to counsel; to show respect for the flag; respect for the elderly.
the condition of being esteemed or honored: to be held in respect.

I can be obedient (really! I can!) but does that mean I respect the person I am obeying? No. Respect isn't so simple for me. With respect comes trust...if I don't trust you, I don't respect you. Which brings me to the horses I work with. I can push and push until they obey me, but what have I done to earn their trust and/or respect? I want them to know I can be a leader they can count on. Just like trust with people, it takes time. Every once in a while something happens and I start to second guess myself, then I have a jolt and remember that I am just fine! I need to keep doing what I am doing, at the rate I am doing it at. There is a reason I do what I do. Might be my experience level and being very conservative when it comes to pushing them outside of their comfort zone, I might be reading the horse just fine and realize that I should only go so far so the lesson sinks in, might be something as simple (and annoying) as weather...it can be a myriad of things.

The other thing I was thinking about was "Don't try to move sneaky around a horse because they will think there is a reason for it." That is true, but isn't there a difference between being sneaky and moving softly? I like to think I move softly when I am starting with the new untouched horses. They sometimes snort, nod their heads, lean back to keep that safe distance, flinch when I get close...all because they are still afraid and nervous. Up until now, humans have been there to throw out feed and fill waters - that is it. It is my job to let them know it is going to be okay, and moving around like a banshee isn't going to help someone like me or the horse I am working with. My everyday chores and activities around the pen are all normal - loud klunking and klanking, hooting and hollering, driving the wheelbarrow around - but when I am working with them, I move softly and try to take my time. I already know that it will work and I will be rubbing them all over. Again...it takes time.

There are a lot of other things I have been thinking about but I will leave that for another day.

These pictures are from Monday and Tuesday evening of working with Paco and Thunder. Monday night I had Thunder in the big pen and Tuesday night Paco was in the big pen. The other one is in the small pen and gets close up action.
Both horses were a huge challenge to work with! Neither one picked up where we left off, and it took a long time for them to get back with the program.

Thunder is great about facing up with me - he is very curious and was even taking a step to me every once in a while. Monday night was a different story. He was blasting around that pen, not even paying attention to me. It was a long time before I finally got his attention and he turned to look at me - with several snorts to follow! I love his snorts! :-)
While I was doing this, Paco was in the small pen and checking out Brian. Brian let Paco do it on his own terms...take time to explore.

Thunder had already been getting forehead rubs with the stick. I used to joke with Copper about the 'friendly pink stick' making him feel good. Now I joke with these two about the 'friendly pink stick'. Nothing like a good forehead rub....
When he nods his head, I hold the stick out and he reaches forward for the rub. Love it! He is back!

I like to change it up a bit - we might work a few half circles and face up, or change directions real quick. I point, cluck then raise the other hand with the stick in it. It took a while, but he got the hang of it again. After a few times of changing it up we would face up again and I would rub some more. I gradually start to work my way up the stick...

With my hand still on the stick, I touch his forehead...

I rub the forehead....and take the stick away. I made it up to his poll, and each side of his face. When my arm got on the side of him he was very nervous but sniffed and nuzzled my hand and the sleeve of my jacket. I was proud of him. This rubbing is something I will take a long time to do - I have stood there an hour or more rubbing and finding itchy spots. Once you find an itchy spot, you are in! Ha!

After the forehead and face rub, I let him sniff my hand again.

We worked up to almost a full face rub.

I also flipped the string all over the place and took the stick over his head back and forth...he was very good about this.

Tuesday night was Paco night, and you know how Clinton talks about a horse "flipping you off"? Paco was flipping me off! He was just defiant and didn't want to pay attention. I knew I would have to work at it because it was only Saturday that he did excellent at facing me and actually looking and paying attention to me, following me when I moved and yielding those hindquarters. He gave me a heck of a work out in that mud! Ugh! We finally came to an understanding and after a few times of him not wanting to face me, he decided that I just might leave him alone if he does what I ask.

In the very beginning I will accept a side to rub withers, etc., but once we start learning directions, yielding hindquarters, etc., I want two eyes and will not accept a shoulder, side or butt. I want to rub on their necks and foreheads from the front - I want them to pay attention to me. After me thinking I was going to have a heart attack, things started clicking. It turned into a great lesson! I lost my photographer so I was on my own - so I got some forehead rubbing! It was the first time I could do it with his attention on me.

Paco and forehead rub...

Not only did I flip the string around his body, I also looped it around his head and nose. When he would look away, I would gently put pressure on it. He got it! He would bring that face back! Woo hoo!

Rubbing the side of his face...

When I was closing the gate panel to open the two areas up again, Paco went into the cubby hole...and did not get stressed out. I walked up to him and rubbed - he tolerated it but didn't try to escape. I kept closing it a little tighter slowly, and he finally backed up. He did it again tonite after working with him...kinda funny!

Monday night Paco was checking out the water hose...the sunset was glowing all over and was beautiful...

Paco sniffing Brian's hand...this is Brian's self portrait. :-)

And here is my self portrait with Epona. :-)

I got to work with both boys tonite in the big pen because they both took less time to pick up where we left off. I was rubbing on one side of Thunders neck and scratched some mud off his ear area, and I got up close to Paco. Touching was still a 'no-no' for Paco from the front, but that is okay. I stood close enough to him to see he has two whorls on his face. I am going to look it up...there is supposed to be something special about whorls and where they are on a horses face.

After I was done with both of them tonite, I fed and then sat at the back of the trailer and just listened to them munch their hay. It was peaceful....

Progress is being made...I love mustangs!

Until later...Karen and Tripp