Sunday, March 15, 2009

Nina hits the trail and Trailerloading

Great day - gorgeous weather and time on my side. I started with Cowboy. My plan was to get him more comfortable with the trailer. So, we played online, especially sideways, back, squeeze and circle. I'm asking more for cantering in the circle online without any guff. :-) He's doing really - progressing nicely. Then, we went for trailer loading. He knows how to load, but he's not comfortable in there alone and he seems to feel claustrophobic when I close the panels on him. So, I worked on loading him and unloading him, closing the panel when he's in and I even asked him to step only the front feet out and then back in with the hind feet already in the trailer. It was a good session and he was quite accommodating. More tomorrow. I'd like to get him on the trail and load him some more. Time to progress with our games, also.

Then Nina. She was quite an LBE on adrenalin and got away from me a couple times. I have a couple new learn burns from her. She's learned to whip her head away and I had to be ready to hang on and not allow her to think that was a worthy solution. She eventually learned that pattern was not so effective - that's after I learned that it was coming and to be effective. After about 20 mins, she was calm, cooperative and obedient. She still needs more friendly game with the stick and string and we'll work on that next. Then we worked on loading into the trailer. like Cowboy, she loads fine but doesn't feel confident about the panel being closed on her. So, we took our time and gained some confidence. She was doing great after about 20-30 mins and I moved on.

Water! It was warm enough for the hose and my horses are all dirty and dusty. I also thought it was a good time to see how Nina felt about being sprayed with water. She struck at it with force and kicked at when it splashed behind the drive line. I played approach and retreat and she got better, much better. She looked nice and shiny with all the dust removed. She's so much bigger than last summer, too. I sprayed off Cowboy and Rain - they both needed it badly.

It was time to go hit the trail. I loaded Rain and Nina and headed to Hidden Mesa to pony Nina on her first trail ride. It was a fantastic ride! The first 1/2 mile, we came across a man running while driving his 2 donkeys in front of him. That scared the crap out of both of my horses! He was running towards us, which didn't help a bit. Nina went completely right-brained, moving her feet, pooping... I hopped off hoping that I could be more effective on the ground with her fear. Luckily, the guy cut me a little slack and came to a walk. That helped tremendously. We watched him go by and I hopped back on and off we went.

Nina crossed water - she had a little trouble, but following Rain she quickly realized she was going to be fine. We encountered numerous bikers - some who yielded to us (as they're supposed to) and some who zoomed by (very annoying). We encountered walkers, runners, even an ATV (not supposed to be there!). It was a busy day at the local trailhead and great for Nina!

She loaded up beautifully when it was time to go and we all relaxed into our journey home. When we got back, Abby was laying in the pasture and I was sure something was wrong. She didn't move at all when we drove up, which was bizarre. I grabbed Steve and went to check her out. She didn't move until we were next to her, touching her. It was doubly-unusual that the other horses were standing over her and also didn't come to meet us at the trailer when we returned. It was a somber sight. I walked Abby to the barn and checked her out. She stayed in a stall/run all night for monitoring. She seems ok - lethargic and tired. Not the typical Thoroughbred.

A great day with a lot of progression for multiple horses and for me. I'm missing Gemini - maybe I'll do something with him today.


dazey said...

This is the first time I've been to your blog, and it is very interesting. You are trying hard with the Parelli games and I can tell you really love your horses and are doing your best with them. If only I could add to the information you have about how to relate to them. It sounds like an advertisement, but there's no way I could leave such information in a comment. It is in a small paperback available on for $9.95. Basic Training for a Safe Trail Horse with subtitle of Eliminating the Fear Factors. I'm convinced it would really help you.

Tia Jones said...

Thanks, dazey! I'll check that book out on Amazon.