Thursday, March 14, 2013

Desensitization Extravaganza

No ride for the poor ponies yesterday. It's dead week which means I literally feel like death. Can this term be over pretty please? Today started off rather well with me waking up early (not a morning person) to get to my one class today. Only to walk all the way across campus and show up at an empty classroom. Huh, guess I forgot to remember that class was cancelled today? Oh well it was a nice walk I guess.

At least I got to see my favorite flowers blooming everywhere!

Anyways, onto the ponies. Goals for Queenie today:
  • Mounting: She has no problem with me jumping up and down besides her, throwing myself at her or bouncing in the stirrup but as soon as I throw my leg over she has a minor melt down. Not okay, I don't particularly enjoy the feeling of sitting on a bomb about to explode nor will it inspire confidence in anyone who comes to look at her and the first thing she does is spook.
    • How we're going to fix it: lots of mounting! Get on, wait for her to settle, give her a treat and lots of scritches, then get off. Get back on, wait for her to settle, give her a treat and lots of scritches, then get off. Rinse, repeat until she decides that it's not such a bad thing. 
  • Halting: I don't know what was done to her but halting scares her. I pull on both reins, albeit gently, and she sucks back and stops suddenly then moves her feet all over the place. We established an emergency one rein stop as soon as I got on her for our first ride (thank GOODNESS I decided to work on that first, it's a lifesaver). The one rein stop doesn't bother her one bit, she stops and stands nicely. 
    • How we're going to fix it: lots of stopping! I feel like this is something that just has to be done over and over and over again because there's not a lot else to do to fix this. Once she finally plants her feet she's fine, just the first 30 seconds to a minute she dances around and I don't want to have to rely on a one rein stop. 
  • Spooking at Everything: She literally spooks at everything. Oh poor mare. I promise that not everything is out to get you. Hence my title for the day.
    • How we're going to fix it: Expose her to lots of scary stuff! I'm going to go buy a little 5x7' tarp this weekend, going to bring a plastic bag to tie on the end of my carrot stick to work with her with, I'm going to set up a mini "trail course" with poles and barrels and flowers and such, and we're going to go for a scary walk outside over to the weigh station (I want to see how much this beast weighs!) During all of this we're going to work on ground manners because blowing through the halter is not okay. She's in a rope halter but she still doesn't listen to it and I hate chains so I never want anyone to feel like they have to use one one her so she needs to learn how to respond to a plain halter.
Goals for the Jetta monster:
  • Steadier in the bridle: She was driving me nuts the other day with her playing with the contact. I told her last time I rode her that if she can act like a grown up the next time I ride her then I will set up jumps on Friday. We'll see how that goes.
  • Desensitizing! Like I stated in my last post, Jetta has the spring spookies. She's not typically a spooky horse. So like Queenie, she's going to get the whole nine yards of desensitization. Remember the whole running away with the ribbons thing? Yeah, those ribbons are coming back and we're going to work on that. I am sorely tempted to just tie them to her bridle and set her loose in the arena until she figure out that they're not going to eat her but I figure that's unusually cruel so we'll just work on me rubbing and fluttering them on her face until she decides they're not worth the effort of spooking.
If all goes well with Jetta being a grown-up (she is after all almost seven so I can't pull the baby horsey card anymore) we will jump on Friday and then I will decide what classes to enter for the jumping show at the end of this month! It's actually an indoor event derby - they will have show jumping classes and indoor xc classes. I feel comfortable doing beginner novice at 2'7" both show jumping and xc, and I feel pretty comfortable doing novice at 2'11" for show jumping but I'm not quite sure if I should test the waters and try xc. I'm still a bit of a scaredy cat after she dumped me over that novice coop last summer. Plus I don't know if I should spend all the money doing all four classes since they're $20 a pop. Decisions, decisions.

And in a slightly more random note, please someone buy this horse:

This is Dusty. He boards at my barn and I'm in love/in serious want with him.

He's four years old and get this: he's a 1/2 Arab, 1/2 Missouri Fox Trotter. Now, I don't like either of those breeds typically, I'm just not a fan. I don't have anything against them, they're just not my thing. But I LOVE Dusty.

The owner just dropped his price to $2250. I wish I could afford him but my budget for horses tends to be $500 or free. And I can't rationalize another project for that much when I have several at my disposal that are free.

What I love about him: he has gorgeous conformation. That picture doesn't quite show it, but he's got a neck that's to die for. And he has lovely gaits. I was quite surprised to see him move, he's got a floaty trot and canter and he oversteps by several inches without even trying when he walks and trots. Dressage prospect!! He's only been ridden western but I think he'd make an awesome dressage horse and be versatile enough to switch back and forth from dressage to western.

Only thing I don't like about him is he's very mouthy. Not bitey, but just loves to lick and lip you at all times. Definite pet peeve of mine, but he's like a puppy. You can't get mad with those big brown eyes looking at you.

Another girl at the barn just started "working" with him cause his owner doesn't have time to ride him. She just posted on facebook about this new "colt" she was putting "training" on and "starting" him under saddle and that he'll make a nice horse for gaming. Oh dear, first of all he's already been started, second of all you aren't going to increase his value with gaming training. Please someone save this poor guy. He doesn't want to be a gamer he wants to be a fancy dressage horse!


  1. Those flowers are lovely! Nice that your class was cancelled!

  2. They sound like great things to work on. I really wonder what Queenies previous trainer actually did to make her the way she is - your gonna do great things for this horse.