Sunday, August 29, 2010

Our day with Jay, the Cowboy who wears tennis shoes....

On Saturday, August 28th, Boom and I headed to Lawrence, KS to meet with Jay Miller.  He a trainer for the Lincoln, NE EMM and also a member of the Midwest Mustang and Burro Saddle Club.  He works a regular full time job like most of us, and working with horses is one of his many hobbies that he has on the side.  Jay has a natural talent for this.....he is so comfortable walking in that ring and communicating with the horse.  It was awesome to watch and listen....
He also has an awesome wife!  We talked about his many hobbies and how all his friends like to talk...not once did Jay mention that he liked to talk.  Ha ha!  It makes it much easier to do the things you love when you have support from your significant other.  :-)

This is Levi (that is what our Mustang Club calls him) whose real name is WhoDat (they had a contest at one of Jay's sponsors, and that is the name that was pulled out of the hat).  Levi was very thin the day we all picked up our horses from Elm Creek, NE, and that day Jay mentioned that something was not right with his eyes.  Come to find out, he is almost blind.  If you are within a foot or two of his face, depending where the sun is, he reacts to movement, but other than that, it is all sound.  At night he is much less confident and more careful where he puts his feet.
On pick up day he had lots of areas on him that were missing hair, and he had some hoof marks on his hide where the skin was gone, including on the front of his face.  This poor guy was pushed around and could not escape what was coming his way because he could not see....and he was getting pushed away from the feed.

Levi has had some good groceries of his own, and thanks to Jay who has a much bigger challenge than any of us do, Levi will have a chance for a future.  Jay was given the option of taking him back and getting another horse, but the fate of Levi would not have been good.  Jay decided to stick to the words he shared with someone else, that it was not about winning, it was about helping to find a mustang a good home, so he kept Levi and has been working with him.  Levi has a special place in our Mustang Clubs hearts..... 



Even tho things are different for Levi, Jay treats him just like the others.  He gets tied up and just hangs out....isn't he just cute as he can be?  I honestly believe that Jay was selected for Levi for a reason...we don't have to know what the reason is right now.  But when the moment comes, we will all smile and say "This is why God gave you Levi....."...



Jay is riding Levi.  Levi does great on the flat ground....he is still learning to navigate and be comfortable with uneven ground. 
The softness of Levi's flexing made me realize how soft Boom is NOT!  Lots more flexing is in our present and future.  Jay picks up the lead line and Levi flexes - that is my goal for Boom.  Tripp is almost that good....so I do have someone here at home to compare.





Jay has some other horses, some mustangs, some domestics, and these two were full of it!  Jay's mustang Barley shares a dry lot with these two, and sometimes Jay works Barley with these two running around.  It took Jay a minute to get Barley's attention because Barley just knew it was one of these two that Jay wanted....not him.  Ha ha!




I mean why would Jay want Barley when these two obviously need some reprimanding?  :-)



Then Barley realizes.....darn, he picked me!
Even with all the energy all around him, Barley comes to Jay....Barley knows his job.
Notice how much Barley and Levi look alike?  It is a sign...  Hee hee!  



Jay is haltering Barley and the other two are celebrating that it was not their turn.  They are saying "HE PICKED YOU....HA HA HA!!!!"



While lunging Barley, Boomer decides to follow suit.....



Notice how Barley is focused on Jay even tho the two whipper snappers behind him are still trying to get him in trouble.  :-)



Jay has had Barley since 2001 I think he said.  He and Barley are buds...




When I first arrived, Patti from our Mustang group met me, and she watched with me and we both asked questions.  Then we heard a car pull up and Dona and Mary Lou hopped out!  What a surprise.  While Jay was talking to us about what he was doing and why, I noticed the reflections in his sunglasses.....




This one shows all 4 of us at the fence....



Boom was not so sure about Jay at first.  When Boom was tied to the trailer and Jay walked up, Boom backed up and that head went in the air as if to say "I don't think so!  I don't do strangers!"  He has not met a lot of people and when someone new shows up, he is not comfortable.  Once that person takes the lead rope and they walk and talk, he is fine.

Jay had me work Boom in the pen a while to see what I was doing, and Boom responded, etc.  I was very proud because Jay thought Boom and I had a good connection, he said my timing was very good, and he had a few tips and hints for me to help me be better.  That is one of the reasons I was there....to learn to be better, and to work on my confidence and the confidence of Boom.  Let's just say I would pay money to spend a day at a clinic with this guy!

When Jay went into the pen Boom was running off some nervous energy....nothing frantic, just not sure.  By the way, Jay has a 60 ft round pen that is awesome.  They are one of his sponsors and the ones who had the contest to name his EMM horse.  The panels are made in Arkansas and I love how the panels fit together and how it is truly round.  I also like how the tops of the panels fit flush so the top of the pen is flat all the way around instead of having the dips like I do with the panels I have. 

Anyways, Jay and Boom are getting a feel for each other.  Isn't Boom handsome?  :-)



Boom responds to Jay very well and comes right in.....
One of my problems is all the crazy noises and actions that were not a problem before our fall, are a big problem now.  It is like I opened a 'portal' and all this 'stuff' is coming out.  Popping noises and hitting the ground with the whip or stick/string are a couple of those things that are scary now.



I was so impressed because there was no running the crap out of Boom to make a point.  In fact, for all the running Boom did (most of it being his choice), he did not break a sweat.  Jay just made the right thing easier and the wrong thing harder....how many times have we heard that?
If Boom got scared and wanted to take off, Jay let him, then asked for a little more when Boom thought he was ready to stop.  


A little bit of flexing and Boom taking a power nap in between....



Jay communicating with Boom.....



I was using Brian's camera and was winging it on some shots....I forgot I had the zoom in, and this is one of the many close ups I got - I thought it was neat....



I learned about Clinton Anderson's soft lariat rope.  I felt it and to me it felt stiff like the one we have.  Then I saw Jay work with it....the softness is in how it works, not how it feels.  Mine keeps a loop and I am constantly having to untwist it, while this one will lay out straight and it is much easier to flip around. 

This was a little "what the heck is that?" kick....other than this, he mostly cantered around then stopped.  He was a little jumpy with the girth area too - also something new since the fall.  That open 'portal'....


While Jay stops to answer questions and to explain a few things, Boom comes in behind him and waits...



After a lot of ground work and finding out what Boom knows and doesn't know, it was time to start hopping on him. 
This is where my nerves kicked in - When Jay hopped on and Boom scooted sideways, I got a sick knot and I felt my heart race.  Boom did not take off bucking or bolting, he was just moving because he was afraid and Jay flexed that head in towards him.  If the jumping was a little much, Jay would work him then ask him to come back for another try. 


I found that the more Jay worked with Boom and the more Boom relaxed, so did I....



Now I have to be realistic here....I am not near as athletic and in shape as Jay is, so I am going to have to make the best of it.  Jay says that me being the way I am will make Boom better because he is going to have to get used to me moving around more to get where I want to be...not his exact words but you get the idea.  :-)
Boom is concerned here but knows that nothing bad happened before, it won't happen now.  If Boom should decide to move out of the way, he will go the opposite way of where Jay is so Jay can slide right off.  Truth time - I know it makes sense and sounds simple to me, but I worry about him going the other way and me going right over on my head.  :-)



FLEX FLEX FLEX.....flexing that head around guarantees that if Boom moves, his hind end is going  around because he is going to follow his nose - which means Jay would slide right off.



Here is where I got the most emotional (in a good way).  Look at Boom and his face...head is not sky high and eyes are not all buggy and worried.  Jay is sliding on with the head flexed at a 45 degree angle....he flexes him even more and pets on him.....
Knowing Boom was relaxed and not worried made me so happy!  I was so worried I was screwing up his brain due to my fear. 



Jay relaxes and talks to us about Boom and how he won't buck....and he started smacking the end of the lead rope back and forth while keeping him flexed.  Boom did not seem concerned at all - he was paying attention to Jay.




Jay started playing with the inside of Boom's mouth.....and Boom says "Ptooey...does not taste like chicken!"



Jay has a trailer with the skinny door opening.  Ours is a small open stock with a swing door.  Boom went right in and Jay worked on him backing out.  I really like the skinny door for this exercise.  Jay showed me a couple of pressure points on Boom to help him decide he wants to move....they work quick too, and it does not take much.



Time for a drink.......




Then it was time to be tied up for a while.....he just hung out and was happy he could rest and think about things.  Chris Cox calls it soaking....



There was so much information and I tried to absorb it all.  Sometimes I feel like an old sponge.  I don't hold as much information as I used to but I sure try!  Some stuff falls out, and it has to be put back in again in order for it to finally stick. 

We could have worked longer but we had a party to head off to.  Which was good...gave us all a break to talk about what we did, and it gave Boom a break to think about his day too.  I am going to continue with what we did, and knowing Boom has some of his confidence back I am going to try even harder to make sure he keeps it, which means I need to work on mine. 

A friend sent me a DVD of a Parelli episode about confidence (Thank you Mike, this is exactly what I need!).  A girl had a bad fall and Linda Parelli is helping her work thru it.  I started watching it today,  and as Linda is asking questions and the girl is answering, I am sitting there thinking "THAT IS ME!"  "THAT IS EXACTLY HOW I FEEL!"  Linda did not start working with the girl at her point of fear - she started before the point of fear.  There were exercises they worked on and I am sitting here thinking to myself "This is brilliant!"  I am going to finish it by myself tonite, then have Brian watch it with me later.  There is so much on there, and I think he will get a lot out of it too. 

Two of the main things I need to work on the most are the flexing, and letting him stand tied for a while.  I have never done that because I don't have a good tie place.  I will have to use the trailer for now, and Brian will be glad that I am finally going to commit to a couple of places for tie poles.  He has been after me for quite a while about this. 
Our backing needs a lot of work too.  He will back, but he is slow and lazy and I need to put more energy into my request if he doesn't back like a man!  Ha ha! 

It was a great day and I am so happy! 
Tonite I worked on our main things, then got my bucket out and did a combination of what Jay did, and what I was seeing on the Parelli DVD.  By the time I was done, I was hopping up across his back then sliding down, and his head did not even go up.  I was running at him making crazy noises (Jay was doing this) then I would leap at him to make like I was getting on.  He just stood there for the leaping part, but at times would move with the crazy actions and noises but I kept with him until he kept those feet still. 
I was also swinging my leg as high as I could back and forth from front to back as I was standing beside him.  The only time he tried to move away is when I swung my leg up and my boot heel his his flank....so I kept doing it as long as I could and moved around a lot.  It is good for him to deal with my uncoordinated moves, and it is good for me to help make me more flexible. 

I know I am forgetting things and will remember them later.....only 4 more weeks until the EMM....time sure does fly!

Until later....Karen and Tripp who helped me thru a big obstacle!  Hugs to Tripp!

4 comments:

Angela said...

I am SO PROUD OF YOU!!!!!!! Way to go...and what a great thing for Jay to help you out...Guess that's why I love our mustang club....Helping us all to help these horses is what it's all about! ROCK ON JAY, KAREN, LEVI, AND BOOM!!!!!!!!!!

Parelli Central said...

Hi Karen! I'm glad that Linda's segment about (re)gaining confidence is helping you. Having lost my confidence and regained it thru Parelli it is one of my favorite Savvy Club DVD's!

Petra Christensen
1Star Parelli Junior Instructor
Parelli Central

Michelle said...

WOOOOHHHHHOOOOO! Good for you. I am so glad that you have found someone who would help. You'll be back up there in no time.

Kirstin's Mustang Project 2008 said...

Karen,

You doing such a wonderful job; as always, with Boom. I wish I had someone like Jay to take Kirstin and Patriot to. It is always nice to have someone else's help and input. Plus the exposure is great as well. Keep up the great work!
Priscilla