Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Trailer Loading 101

Today was really warm out, 40 degrees, (even though it's supposed to get down to -5 tonight) so everything was melted! It was a perfect day for learning how to trailer load. We backed the trailer down to the barn so that Remington would at least be in a familiar area and wouldn't have any distractions.

I thought he would load pretty easily after all that work on the bridge, but I wasn't expecting him to act like he'd been doing it his entire life! I was very proud of him! I even tied him in and closed a divider. He stood like a champ.

And of course I have to add the obligatory dog picture... MONKEY PILE ON CAPER!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Just a few more photos...

Went back out tonight and worked him some more.

My friend, Aubrey, was working with her 2 year old App filly, Belle. So Remington had a lesson in tying. He did excellent! I had been tying him for very short periods of time, but this was the first time he had to do it for a long period of time. Other than trying to untie himself, he just stood and watched as Aubrey worked her horse!

Next, we did some more desensitizing. Brought out the flag, tarp, and cones. We set up a small obstacle course and both Belle and Remington worked through it.

The pups came out with me tonight as well. Remington doesn't mind them, but when they're in the barn they have to stay under the bench, just in case!

Pony Pony Pony

This weeks video shows Remington learning how to pony!

This is his second time being ponied and his first time being ponied outside. I think it was day 6 or 7 that I ponied him in the barn a little, but that arena is too small to really teach them much. He was pretty full of himself today, but I pulled him right out of the stall, threw a saddle on and brought him outside, so I can't blame him. It makes for more interesting viewing anyhow!

I am a big fan of ponying, and it's probably one of the things I do most with my own youngsters. I had the help of my 6 year old Appaloosa mare, Riskie. She is a professional pony horse if there is such a thing! She keeps them in line, and will lay her ears back if they get ahead of where they should be.

I am continuing to find things to sack him out with, and several people have come to visit him, so he's getting used to strangers. I mentioned the feed sack in my last post. He was okay with it in my hands, but tied to a stick, it is VERY scary! I was out there last night working him and he probably kicked it off the string about 3 or 4 times... We worked for a good half hour on having it touch him without kicking. I ended on a good note last night and this morning he was much more comfortable with it, but still not 100% sure he cared for it.

Friday, January 25, 2008

A good day

I'm sure you are wondering about the farrier, well we didn't trim his feet. I should have seen it coming, even though he is fine with me doing anything I want to him, he is not okay with strangers yet. I think my farrier had a plan in mind to begin with because he didn't bring his tools in when he came to the barn. He just wanted to meet Remington and get him used to his presence before asking him to do anything. Rem was obviously nervous around him, but did pick up his feet when asked. We decided it would be best to try another time, and not ask him to do anything during his first encounter with the farrier. He will return Monday.

Today was a lot of fun. I feel that Remington is now truly enjoying our time together. He seems to be trying a lot harder to do what I ask, and is starting to look for praise when he does the right thing.

I started off today sacking him out with none other than a feed sack! I wonder if that's where the term came from? Heh heh. He did pretty well with it, but better on his left side than his right. After he stood well with the repeated crinkling noise all over his body, I figured he could probably handle the clippers, so I brought those out next.

I hog tied him and shaved his brand off... ONLY KIDDING! I didn't hog tie him! I did clip his brand though, and I think he actually enjoyed the clippers. It was like a horsey massage for his neck. He also liked it on his muzzle, but I didn't try for a bridle path.

Next, I got the saddle out. I've been introducing it slowly and he has taken to it well. Today was the first day I asked him to trot with it though, and he did quite well. He was a little surprised but quickly relaxed again.

And lastly, I decided it was time for him to wear a blanket. He'll be going out to his pen this weekend as it's not supposed to be as cold, so for extra warmth he can wear a blanket out there!

I still had to clean his stall after I put the blanket on, so of course when left in an arena full of sand what does he do? Roll with the blanket on.... what a goose. I should have known...

I am looking forward to getting lots done this weekend, and of course I'll have a video to share!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Why am I up so late?

Making video's I guess...

The link above will take you to a silly little video I made of Remington trotting like a mad man. He was in the stall all night so he needed to stretch his legs!

Now, off to bed!!

Monday, January 21, 2008

A new blogger!

Some of you might recall my first post talking about the trip down to Ewing with my friend, Jess Schmitt. She has finally gotten around to starting up a blog about her mustang, National Treasure (Nash).

Just thought I'd spread the word, because it's just so much fun to see all the mustangs moving right along!

Today I made an appointment with the farrier for Remington's feet...

Whether he's ready or not he's going to get a trim. He was really good about letting me get the ice balls out of his feet, so I'm hoping he can handle it. I am going to get under him and hold him the way a farrier would in these next couple days so by Thursday he should know what to expect.
I'll let you know how it goes, wish us luck!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Day 10 video is up

Here is the video for Day 10

So... it was -9 this morning when we went out to do that video. My toes and fingers and face were frozen! Poor Remington was shivering, so I put him in a stall for the day.

We are working hard on our ground work, because I am not going to overlook that area of the competition! Over 35 trainers in the first competition scored a 0 on the in hand portion.

After my last post, I got some pretty good advice from a few of my fellow trainers. It was great to talk with them about the way things are going, and to learn a little more about training mustangs, as this is my first attempt.

The most important advice though was to do things at my own pace and not worry about how everyone else is doing. I am proud of Remington and all of the things he's accomplished so far. The biggest challenge has been the "bridge". You will see at the end of the video how well he does with it, but I spent 2 and a half hours out with him on Thursday trying to get him up on that thing. He just didn't know how to pick up his feet that high, and he wouldn't look at it. I would walk him right up to it and his feet would hit it and he'd stop dead in his tracks. I worked on getting him to lower his head so he could take a look at it. That didn't help much, but it was a valuable lesson none the less. Next I would set his foot on the bridge for him, just to show him that it could be done. I think he found it amusing that I was trying to make him move his feet... He finally did figure it out, but it was a struggle, and looking back, I shouldn't have asked him at that time. I should have worked on crossing over obstacles that are flush with the ground as opposed to raised. It's over and done with though and Remington learned one thing...

I'm more stubborn than he is!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Stupid worries :-)

I really enjoy reading about everyone's progress with their mustangs but at the same time I begin to doubt my own. I see people with saddles already on their horses and horses that load in the trailer! It's great, but I need to stop comparing myself or I'll rush things and end up going backwards. *sigh* I know everyone works at a different pace and everyone has very individual horses, so I just need to relax and have fun! After all, I've still got 90 days 12 hours 1 minute and 15 seconds until April 18... I have a countdown on my computer... I know, I'm a dork.

So anyway, I'll get Joe into the frigid cold with me tomorrow so he can freeze his fingers off while he takes some video!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Into the Unknown...

...more like, into the barn! Yep, today we did it. It was COLD outside! I mean, turn the snot in your nose to ice, cold. So there was only one way Remington was going to be worked, and that was in the barn out of the cold! Well not really out of the cold... but at least out of the wind.

He was excellent and walked all the way up to the barn like a gentlemen. Once at the opening he took a good long look, but followed me when asked. The scariest part was all the barrels laying around inside the arena. Especially the black one!

Once inside I did a bit of longeing but he was a little too nervous to accomplish much on the end of the longe, so I decided to work on leading. He is getting really good, and with the help of my driving whip he's learning to stay at my shoulder instead of following far behind like in the video. I am also able to pick up all four feet with my hands! I don't ask him to hold them for too long, but I think tomorrow I'll get the hoof pick and have at 'em. They are caked full of poo.

I will have lots to show on this weekend's video!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

2nd video is up

Here is the 2nd part of day 4

I don't know why the videos are so grainy... it's rather upsetting that they are of high quality off of my camera and then when transferred to youtube they turn to blurry messes :-(

Oh well, if anyone has any suggestions on how to upload good videos, let me know.

Went back out tonight and was feeling confident... that was a mistake!

I thought we could possibly make the trek from Remington's pen to the barn... Remington had other ideas! It started out okay, we made it through the gate about 5 steps and then Rem noticed he was "free!" and proceeded to snort, spin and bolt! Haha, that was fun. I got him turned around and decided it was time to go back into his pen and try for the barn another day. Again, Remington had other ideas. He was not willing to give up his newfound freedom yet. So after about 15 minutes of coaxing we made it back into the safety of his pen.

Back to work in the pen, I was able to pick up all four feet and hold them with my rope. I was quite pleased with this. Over all I'm happy with where we are, but this is definitely a lesson in patience!

Progress and a couple videos...

I got my boyfriend up early this morning and had him come out to film a few things that Remington has learned in his first 4 days of training.

He is still pretty nervous when I first enter the pen, but calms down once I make contact, and calms down even more once I get the halter on. He is getting good at longeing at the walk and the trot, but the area I have is too small for anymore than that. I didn't want to trot him much today as everything froze last night, so the ground is pretty slick. Soon I will be able to lead him into the small indoor, where I can get a lot more done! Remington also picks up both front feet briefly when I apply pressure with the rope, I'll be working on holding them up longer and longer and also moving onto the back feet soon.

Working with his feet is one of the first things I want to accomplish because they desperately need a trim! We were told they would be trimmed before we got them, but his sure weren't...

Here is one of the videos, but the other is taking pretty long to upload, so I'll have to try later...

Thanks for looking!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Come back Sunday!

I promise an update and a video tomorrow! I am really happy with how far we've gotten in just a few days, come back tomorrow to find out more!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

It Starts...

Well, it really started in November when a friend of mine told me about the Midwest Mustang Challenge. I had vaguely remembered hearing about the Extreme Mustang Makeover in which 100 trainers were given 100 days to train 100 wild mustangs. At the end of the 100 days, a competition was held in Fort Worth, Texas with a 1st place prize of $10,000. The Midwest Challenge is similar with fewer trainers, and the competition will be held at the Midwest Horse Fair in Madison, Wisconsin. I decided it would be a great experience, so I applied.
On Dec. 21st, I found out I was chosen as one of sixty trainers. I was grateful to have two wonderful references on my application, as well as the use of my friend's facility to train the mustang.

Waiting until Jan. 9th to pick up my mustang was really difficult. Sometimes I am far too impatient for my own good. I had no idea what I was getting. We were told we had a 50/50 chance of a mare or a gelding. The first competition only had geldings. I own two mares, so this tidbit of information didn't really phase me.

So after a great deal of waiting... Jan. 9th finally arrived. A friend of mine, Jessica Schmitt, was also accepted for the competition, so we decided it would be best to drive down together to pick up our mustangs. Ewing, Illinois is about 6 and a half hours from Janesville. We left at 4 in the morning! We did get lost a few times, but finally made it to the holding facility at about 11:30. Things seemed to be going smoothly as we saw several trucks and trailers headed out on our way in. There were just 2 trailers ahead of us when we got there. When we went into the office to sign in we found out a little more about our Mustangs. Both Jessie and I received bay geldings! After getting their numbers we headed out to load them up. First was Jessie's, he loaded great, and is a beautiful dark bay. Mine was next and he loaded like a pro. After that, things went smoothly all the way home.

I decided I was going to name my horse after an artist, as art is very important to me. I just couldn't decide which artist, so I chose to wait until meeting the horse. After seeing my bay gelding "Remington" seemed to fit perfectly. He looks like a horse straight out of one of Frederick Remington's paintings.

Anyway... I'm sure this is getting long and boring so onto the first day of training! I really think I've got a great mustang on my hands. He is very calm and inquisitive. I spent this morning using Kitty Lauman's chosen method of mustang gentling using a bamboo pole. He did really well with this. If you would like more info on Kitty (2nd place winner in the first competition) I have a link to her website to the right. After he got used to the pole I added a rope to it and worked on touching him everywhere. He did kick out a few times when the pole touched his legs, but got over it. I decided to let him eat his breakfast and return later since he was being really good. When I returned I did some more of the same stuff, tossing the rope and using the bamboo pole to get him used to me. I took a small break to watch my 2 horses playing around in their paddock, and was surprised to see Remington sneaking up on me out of the corner of my eye. He walked right up to me and sniffed my face!! Then, I sneezed and ruined the moment... Oh well, he's gotta get used to that, allergies are no fun. After seeing how brave he could be I decided I would try to see if he'd allow me to touch him. I kept getting closer and closer rubbing him with the bamboo pole until I was really just a few inches from him. I could tell he was scared, but he did let me rub his shoulder, withers, and neck. I was happy with that for the first day.

This weekend I can hopefully get my boyfriend to take some photos and video of me and Remington.

Thanks for reading!