Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Joe is a Star!

FINALLY! Joe and I had a wonderful day together today! I'm amazed that the weather is holding out, as late as November 27th and the temps are about 60F outside, sun is shining, just beautiful, so I'm taking advantage before it all goes away.

So today Joe got to try out his snazzy new store-bought leather sidepull that I picked up at Equine Affaire. He looks so "Texas" in it, lol! Along with some awesome rope reins w/slobber straps that I splurged on Ebay for myself for Christmas. WOW! He is soooo responsive it is amazing. Just touch the rein, and he gives Gosh, I really need to watch every move I make and lighten myself up so much.

So anyway, tacked up, and out to the roundpen we went. I set up my obstacles again, I took my good friend CJ's idea and set up the cones in a cloverleaf pattern, had my squeeze barrels and my "L" on the ground. We went through that, and walked around a bit, did some lateral flexion from the ground, all making sure things were soft and giving and on me. All systems go!

So I swapped out the halter for the new sidepull, checked it out from the ground a bit, beautiful! Amazing softness and responsiveness, wow!

So climbed aboard (well, it wasn't that easy, we're still working on bumping up to the mounting block). He bumps right up, he actually gets too close so I can't even get my leg up. But that isn't the real problem. The real problem is that I get him where I want him, then as soon as I turn my body to face the saddle, he backs up. Lakota does the same thing. So obvously I'm doing something wrong. I finally got on him by rapid-fire clicking/treating in the position I wanted, and I think I just happened to get on fast enough that he didn't get a chance to move back, and of course he got lots of CT for standing still after I mounted. The second time wasn't as easy, (yes, there was a second time, I'm getting to that soon).

So from the saddle, we did the cloverleaf, the "L", the squeeze, and we did lots of backing. LOTS of backing. I must have perpetually tight cheecks or something. I'm trying so hard to be relaxed in the saddle, but apparently I keep tensing my butt, because his head goes up and he stops. If I'm too tight when I ask for forward, I get back. LOTS of back. We can back all the way around the pen, lol! (softly too, nose between his knees, etc.) Just a touch of the rein and he gives and drops his head. Beautiful!

Joe was doing so good, amidst the chickens scratching, running and grabbing the bit of oats I drop (chickens love CT too), the stupid goats must be in heat, because they are making the most bizarre roaring noise, and chasing each other around flapping their tongues. What strange animals they are. So that is pretty annoying, but we mostly ignored them except to laugh at them.

So we're meandering around, me trying to relax my butt, Joe trying to figure out what in the world I'm doing up there. Quite a few times, I just took a deep breath and sighed/exhaled, and he dropped his head (big CT for that). So that was great.

Then suddenly, I hear "jingle, jingle, jingle". Joe's head goes up and he's looking toward the back yard. Here comes Shouey, happy as a clam, tongue lolling, running through the yard. I left her tied out the back door. She is not allowed loose, none of them are, for some very good reasons.

Shouey spots the chickens. Oh crap. She starts making a beeline, chickens are squawking and scattering. I leapt off Joe (it was a "Cowboy moment"), scaled the RP panel, jumped off the other side, chased the stupid dog, through the goat pen, then she got out a hole and had a chicken on the other side of the fence (2x3 wire). I climbed over this stupid fence (luckily it was half falling down, probably all the way down now), leapt over the other side (I can hear Joe racing around the RP, and I have this vague worry of him getting caught up in his reins, but I had draped them over the saddle horn, glad I got the shorter ones and not the longer ones). Grab the chicken out of the dogs mouth, yank handfulls of feathers out of the dogs mouth, then start dragging her in the house. I come out from behind the woodpile with the dog, and Joe's head goes up ..... and comes on over to investigate. Good boy! CT for that. Find a rope, drag the dog in the house, let Joe sniff her through the pen a few times and CT for it. Stupid dog tries scrambling under the fence right at Joe's feet. She could have gotten her head smashed in. Jerk. She's in the doghouse now for sure, lol!

So after that, I came back out, Joe came right over to me as I was walking up the hill, got lots of "Good Boy's", and after I stopped shaking, we decided to get back on. It must have taken 20 minutes of rocking, back and forth. I can just point, and he will stand where I point, but as soon as I reach for the saddle, he steps back. I just stood, waiting for him to work it out. He tried so many things, and he just did this beautiful HQ disengage all the way around the mounting block, it was beautiful and soft, but I was looking for "stand still", lol! Oh well, I finally did end up getting on, I got him to stand still with rapid-fire click, then just moved the block over a few inches so I could get on. I need to get more athletic and leap on like Rocketman, LOL!

So then we just did a few more things, a little cloverleaf (he was worried about the muddy area by the gate, so we avoided that), and we tried some neck-reining, and of course worked on my tight-butt.

Then I loosened the girth, took off the side-pull and attempted to put on the halter, and he walked away, lol! He stuffed his nose in the halter to go out ,but didn't want to get changed to go back to the barn. So I CT him for wandering back over and putting the halter on (incidentally, even just me fastening the halter has him yielding and giving to just the pressure of me tieing the knots). It actually is difficult to maneuver around him to fiddle with saddle, etc., because ever single move I make, he is reading as "stay with me", and is constantly with me, I can't get to the other side of him. We'll work that out, its just so cute and funny.

So we went out of the pen pretty easily, so I figured I would reward him with some grass. We went into the backyard and had a few bites of the pathetic little nibbles of grass left, and even he wasn't impressed with what was available. So we started going back to the barn. Uh-uh, did the feet-plant, mule-thing again. It took less time to work him out of it this time, with plenty of CT for a step ahead. He's so funny, I just keep steady light pressure on the lead (I'm usually like 10 feet ahead of him), and he takes his chin and hooks it onto the knot and flips it. Obviously that doesn't work, and he gets CT for forward.

Back up to the barn, had a good brushing of the saddle/girth area, and a nice big fat flake of second-cut hay. He stood beautifully while I untacked and put things away, never moved (this was before the hay).

Did I mention yesterday that I had Lakota out? I pretty much had the same effect on Lakota, a lot of confusion with my butt-muscles. She went better for Mandy, lol! We both rode her a little bit, and she gave pony rides to Vic. Too cute!

As for the chicken? She's not going to make it. She has a hole in her back, and I think Shouey punctured a lung, she is wheezing and rasping. I've put in a call for Dr. Kevorkian services :-(

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