The Challenge | The Trainers and Students | Event Information
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Wednesday, August 11
Last night had rained a bunch (between 4 and 5 inches) and left a couple large water puddles in the arena. I wanted to take advantage of this with the horses that I ride, because there isn't a river or lake or pond near by that I can ride to and get the horses used to water. I was successful before it dried up. Reba was a little worried about it at first, but then after she smelled the water and tip toed into it, she was then walking right through it and then trotting through it. This was very exciting to me because she has never walked through water with me on her before. After that we worked on our leads (trying to figure out the best way to ask for the right lead and what works best for her). Then Karen and Pam came out and we worked on our free-style routine. There were some things that we added, and some things that we took out. Trying to make it just right for the length of time that we have. For the most part, we're doing well. I might change it a little yet before the completion on Saturday.
Tuesday, August 10
Today I rode extra early in the morning, which helped because it got very humid again in the afternoon. Karen came out and rode her warm-blood mare with Reba and I, and Reba didn't care at all. She did have a hard time picking up the right lead. She starts to anticipate it and tries to leap into the lope, but usually is getting the left lead. I worked on spiraling her in and then spiraling her back out and then asking for the lead and that help a lot.
Monday, August 9
It was very hot and humid today, so I just did very basic things with Reba. We just went through different things with her to make sure she understood what was being asked of her. Even though we didn't do much, she still was drenched with sweat.
Sunday, August 8
Today we played more with obstacles. We played with streamers hanging down from doorways (at first that was a scary thing) and those were pretty cool. We also played with throwing a ball around her and Frisbees and odd thing past her, over her, by her legs. The whole time I swear she was getting bored and ready to fall asleep. Karen and Pam bounced a big ball around her on the ground and then threw it over her head. I then worked on the flag with her. Started on the ground with it and then went on to in the saddle with it. We trotted with it and walked with it (loping with it wasn't an option because I couldn't hang onto it well enough to keep it up J). Reba says "Yup, I got it." There's not a lot that scares her. If she does see something different that upsets her or that she's uncertain about, you just have to take a couple minutes and show her it won't bite her and then she's fine. I also trimmed her feet today. She's better than she was the first time I did it, but there's still a lot of room for improvement.
Friday, August 6
Today we did another video (and it worked and downloaded correctly this time!) Reba did pretty well. There's still a lot to work on, but time is starting to run out. Reba's teeth have been doing well. She would be able to ride in the bit again, but being so close to the competition, I won't switch her. Sometimes it takes awhile to get a horse used to a bit and comfortable with it. With the competition so close, I'm going to just leave her in the bosal for now. She's starting to bend better and better, but still not quite balanced through the lope.
Wednesday, August 4
Today I rode Reba while Karen was riding one of her large warm-blood geldings. I didn't know how Reba would take being with a much larger horse, but she was fine. Karen passed Reba on both sides, to make sure Reba could handle being passed (and the fact that Reba's short legs didn't trot near as fast as the warm-bloods'). Reba didn't mind it; in fact, she tried to follow him, as if saying "Hi, can we be friends?" She's getting better and better every day. Her leads are coming nicer and she's more relaxed. She's figuring out her sidestepping (leg yielding) much better and I've been trying to think of more things to do with her for our freestyle presentation. If anyone has any suggestions, please let me know. I think we have our music picked out, down to 5 minutes. The video we took of Reba didn't work out and we didn't get it downloaded, so we're going to have to do another video and try it again, hopefully on Friday.
Tuesday, August 3
Reba is getting better and better at her loping. She's starting to relax more and more, even at the walk and trot she's more relaxed. She's able to make smaller circles now, and is doing a little better with her left lead. Her right lead she's still doing well. Today was the day she got her teeth done so that she would be more comfortable. She didn't like getting poked by the vet to have her anesthetic (so that the teeth could be floated). We'll have to try and work with that and get her used to being handled more by a vet. Other than that she didn't seem to mind the vet so much (maybe because the vet did pet her and play with her before hand). After having sharp points taken off and one loose cap removed, she was ready to go, go and sleep in a stall that is for the next 2 hours. She did have one cap that had already come off that the vet figured may have been causing some pain and discomfort.
SUCCESS! We finally figured out how to get the video from July 25th published up on YouTube. You can view it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=unAHix0si5c
Monday, August 2
Today we worked in the indoor arena, as it rained this morning pretty hard and the outdoor arena was pretty soggy and wet. We worked more on loping, different size circles and such. She's still not picking up her left lead very well; she thinks it should be the right lead. So we worked on the left lead some more. We also did some side passing (more like leg yields). We also went up to the tarp and picked it up (while I was riding her) and shook it all around and such. She didn't really care. And then I put it on the ground and she walked across it. The only thing she got upset about was when the cat walked into the arena and starting smelling the tarp. Reba thought this was a little odd and didn't like the cat in there too with her.
Sunday, August 1
Today we took it a little easier, but it was also a little more intense at the same time. We rode down the road and had to maneuver a couple different hills. It was good for her to get out and see something different, different scenery, different activities and different places. She did very well and didn't get too upset about anything. She was curious and was looking all around, which was ok. She stood very well for opening and closing the mailbox. We didn't meet any cars, so I don't know how she'll handle them, but otherwise she did very well.
Saturday, July 31
Today we worked on more circles. Making them bigger and then smaller and then doing circles anywhere in the arena when asked and then however I asked. Reba also had an audience today, as my parents and a friend came and watched her. She also had the dogs running around and chasing each other, in and through the arena and she didn't seem to care. She had a harder time picking up her left lead; she jumps into it and tries to pick up the right lead instead of the left one. We'll have to practice more and get her better with that.
Wednesday, July 28
Today we worked on the head set again and making sure that Reba had it good at the walk and trot first. We did lots of small circles at the walk and trot, and not just on either end of the arena, but every corner and every couple of feet whenever I felt it would do some good. This helped tremendously when I asked for the lope, I then kept her on the circle. She tried going the other direction a couple times on the open side, but then she realized that it wouldn't work. By doing the circle, it brought her head in towards the center much better and down a little bit. Yay!
Tuesday, July 27
All horses must have known there was a storm coming today, because they all were acting very strangely, including Reba. Reba's figured out that she can tuck her head at the lope. She does very well on the left lead, her right lead though, she has figured out how to stick her nose out and to the left on the long side of the arena. I tried several different things to try and nothing seemed to work. I tried stopping her and then going again, and that didn't work at all. I tried going back to the walk and trotand getting her nose tucked in at the slower gaits before going to the lope, that didn't work either. Finally I just loped hr a couple strides and stopped her before she could get the chance to stick her nose out again. Karen then latter suggested trying to do circles on her at the lope to the right and then she almost can't stick her nose the other direction. I'll have to try that tomorrow. She's also figuring out better how to move off of my leg. Sometimes she gets lazy and doesn't think it means anything. She plays the "make me" game. I've taken to riding with a dressage whip (even though I'm riding her western) and spanking her with it when she doesn't want to move forward or listen to my feet. It can go on either side and even go next to where my feet would be. It seems to help and is a good backup/alternative. I don't want her to be afraid of it and I want her to be prepared for whatever her next owner may do/use on her. I use the whip because I no longer has split reins, because my reins are now a mecarte (like a roping rein, but longer and made of horse-hair).
Monday, July 26
Today was more basics; she's trying really hard to figure out that loping is part of life and how to not leap into it so badly. She still lopes fast, but has now figured out how to keep her head down when loping. J This is good. Everything is starting to work out a little better and hopefully she'll do well for the completion, only a couple weeks away.
Sunday, July 25
Today we got more pictures and a video of Reba. As soon as we can figure out how to get it up on You-Tube, I'll have a link available for anyone who wants to see it. Today she was even more relaxed than yesterday and not so pushy on the right side. She's starting to figure out that it won't hurt her. She did kind of leap into her lope, but a tractor was going by at the same time and she didn't much care for that. Her turns are getting better and better and she's not sticking her head up in the air to turn or back up anymore.
Saturday, July 24
Reba had a good long break and time off, due to me being sick. We started out again in the bosal and spent a lot of time just walking and trotting before loping. She still pulls quite a bit to the left and doesn't want to tip her nose to the right. Today was also the first day she's ever ridden with another horse in the arena. Karen rode her warm blood mare at the same time. At first Reba was a little intimidated by the size of the mare, but then she figured out that she could stand another horse in the arena with her and it wasn't such a big deal. At the end she finally did tip her nose in and down for the loping, a much better change!
Monday, July 19
Today Reba did a lot better with the bosal. She's getting more used to it, but still not going great with going to the right. Her right lead she won't pick up and she's started leaping into the lope again.
Sunday, July 18
Today we worked with the bosal and she started to figure it out. She still hasn't quite figured out the loping though. She's not doing so well to the right, so I think working with her more on that direction will help her out a lot. We'll see how she does. We also did more ground work with the ball and the tarp and poles. Those poles she thinks should just move and get out of her way.
Saturday, July 17
Today I worked on the ground a lot with Reba. I clipped her muzzle and bridle path again. We worked with the tarp and the big ball and the poles. Most of the stuff she doesn't even care about. Then I saddled her up and worked with her at lounging on the ground. The vet had come and looked at her teeth yesterday and she found that Reba has several sharp points and impacted molars that are making it painful for her to accept the bit. Tomorrow I will try a bosal on her and see how she takes it.
Thursday, July 15
Today Reba and I worked on lounging with the saddle and halter. She thought about dodging back around the other way for the right lead a twice, but realized that it wasn't that bad and that dodging around wasn't going to work. Then we worked on going over some ground poles, while she was free lounging. She did ok for that. She wasn't interested in slowing down though, instead she just wanted to be able to go faster and faster at the trot.
Tuesday, July 13
Worked on the right lead today. She'll give a nice headset going to the left, but it's harder for her to the right. This will come with time.
Monday, July 12
Today we did more basics again. Reba has learned to be able to relax. The saddle change has really let her relax. She now lopes off when I ask for the lope (not rushing into it) even if it's not the correct lead. We did some more side passing and she did a much better job at it today. She's figured out a lot faster now that she isn't hurting anymore. Hopefully we'll be able to get her out a little more before the competition. That would help her get used to being in a new place.
Sunday, July 11
Today it started raining pretty hard just as I got Reba into the barn. She was a little nervous about this, in that she didn't like the noise. She eventually got used to the noise and settled down. I got her saddled up and then we went into the indoor. It's been awhile since we've worked in there, but she did pretty well. At first she didn't lie the doors being open, she could see out and didn't quite like being able to see everything out there, like a boogie man was going to come out and bite her. But she got over that and we worked on controlling her trot and loping. Her loping is coming very nicely, sometimes she still rushes once she picks up the lead, but she settles into it nicely. She doesn't always pick up the correct one, but that's ok. We also worked on a little side passing. That was really hard for her, she doesn't seem to know what to do for sure, but she eventually figured out a couple steps.
Thursday, July 8
Today Reba and I worked on backing. She would always just take two steps and be done. So today we worked on taking 5 or 6 steps. By doing this she got very confused and didn't think that this was such a good idea at first. It took her awhile, but she finally figured out that she could back several steps at a time and not be afraid of it. Her loping is getting better; she's not leaping into it as badly, but still trots a little fast to get into it. At first she tends to run and rush, and then she settles into a nice and easy lope. We're getting there!
Wednesday, July 7
Today I tried a different saddle on Reba, a Billy Cook roping saddle. She was so good, she didn't stick her nose in the air like she had been doing and she didn't leap into the lope. She had a much quieter way of going about her and she did everything much smoother. The saddle may be a little too long for her, so I'll have to look and see if I have a different one that ends up fitting her that is a little shorter in the skirts. She had a much better head set going both ways, but still hasn't quite found her balance going around either way yet at the lope. Now that her saddle fits her better, hopefully this will only take a little time to figure it out.
Tuesday, July 6
Today we worked on loping again, and still had the same problem as yesterday, but not quite as bad. It's like she's' having a really hard time with her balance, and I think I'll try a different saddle tomorrow. Maybe that will help. Maybe the saddle is pinching her somewhere and it hurts, so she's resorting to leaping into the lope and sticking her nose back out.
For anyone who is interested in Reba, she's 14.1 HH, not very tall. A small adult or intermediate to experienced child would be good for her. I'm 5'1", so she may look bigger in the pictures than what she really is. She needs an aurigan bit, or one with no nickel, as she's very sensitive in her mouth. She also needs to have spurs; otherwise she will go through your legs. If you have any other questions, please let me know.
Monday, July 5
Today Reba and I worked inside the indoor. She did pretty well, except has really started to leap into the lope. She has been sticking her nose in the air to do so, and then leaps and lopes. Often then running with her nose in the air. She's also trying very hard to out the door that we came in. It will take some more work and perhaps more adjustments before we get this loping thing down pat.
Sunday, July 4
Somebody must have told Reba that Sunday's were her day off, because today she decided that it was just much too muggy and sticky to work. We worked a lot on loping, and she didn't think that having a head set while loping sounded like fun, but eventually we got it, even going around to the left. She did have a lot of stop and starts though. She would be going around the arena and decide to just veer off and stop, slamming on the brakes. We worked on that quite a bit before she made it all the way around the arena without slamming on the brakes and trying to stop. She'll get better and better as time goes on though.
Saturday, July 3
Today I forgot Reba's saddle in the horse trailer at my house (Reba is boarded at another facility) so I rode her bareback. I didn't use my spurs at first, in case she got scared if I accidently bumped her with them. But I had to put them on, because she realized after about ten minutes that I didn't have them on and that she could get through my leg.
At first she didn't know what to think of me being bareback. She just stood there and kind of looked back at me as if asking "What are you doing?" Eventually she realized that it was still just yet again another day. She still had to listen to what I ask of her. She ended up doing very well. We worked on shortening and lengthen her strides. She still has a hard time with this. We didn't do any loping.
We also did some free lounging in the round pen over ground poles. This made her realize that she didn't have to rush through them and have a nice, easy, and relaxed stride and not trip over the poles.
Thursday, July 1
Today Reba went out again to the Dunn Co. Fairgrounds for a 4-H clinic. When we got there, there were other people getting the arena ready for a weekend of horse shows. We didn't get to do a whole lot, but it was still good for her to get out and see everything. Before when we'd go, I'd usually get there early and nobody would be there when we rode around the arena, but today was different. There were people walking and working around in the arena while we were riding. She didn't know what to think. We did get to walk and trot a little though. And then they watered the arena with Reba in it! It was a gravity flowing tank, but she still wasn't quite sure she likes the whole idea of being in the arena while she was in the arena at the same time. Eventually she realized it wasn't going to hurt her, but then it left a pond (small puddles really) that she didn't know how to get across. Eventually she put one foot in, then another, and then another and walked across the wet ground.
Wednesday, June 30
Today was the first day that Reba had gotten a head set at the lope, but only going to the right on the right lead. Her left lead she still doesn't feel as comfortable with and hasn't found her balance as well. She's also picking up on her lead departures a lot better and getting more comfortable with it. Her downward transitions still need improvement. She thinks that she needs to slam on the brakes when I ask her to slow down. She does this hard and fast on her front end, and so she needs to learn that she can slow down and make it a nice transition. In general she's starting to understand the flexion and head set that I ask of her. She does like to rush into the left lead and she puts her nose into the air to pick it up.
We also worked on putting her head down when I was on the ground. We've done this a little, but not to the extent of having her leave it down. Usually she would put it down and then pop her head right back up. I wanted her to be able to put her head down and leave it down. This then get her ready to be able to be bridled or haltered by someone short, like myself. At first she didn't understand that she had to leave her head down for awhile, and then it was like the light bulb came on and she left it lower.
Tuesday, June 29
Today Reba and I worked on loping. She's become more right sided than left sided (my fault) due to me working with her more on the right. We are also trying to get better transitions all the way around, from the walk to trot, trot to lope, lope to trot, trot to walk, and walk to halt. Our trot to lope and lope to trot needs to most work, especially since she stumbles into and out of the lope. With more practice, hopefully she'll begin to make nice transitions. She's already learned that she doesn't have to rush through the lope all the time and that she can slow down. We also worked on some circling and slow turn-arounds (spins). She likes to only take a few steps and then quit, we worked on taking more than a few steps and that she can take as many steps as what is asked for.
Monday, June 28
Today I asked Reba to do a lot of different transitions. Along with that I introduced her to more yielding off of my legs and moving her hindquarters over without me having to bend her head around. And then I asked her to yield her hindquarters over and then walk at the same time. "What!?!?" she says, "I don't get it". She got confused and then I would ask again and then she'd take a couple steps and I'd stop and let her think about it and go again. This was really hard for her, because it was combining two totally different things, but at the end she started to understand it. The more she rides, the more requests there will be to do two or three or more requests all at once.
Saturday, June 26
Picture day today and it was hot and sticky. Reba sweated just standing still (as did the rest of us) in the hot sun. But she was very good. There were some problems with the camera, and Reba just stood there patiently waiting while we tried to get the camera figured out. She then was introduced to the umbrella while I was in the saddle (she says "Ok, so what") and pulled the barrel around and swung the rope. She's also starting to figure out that she doesn't have to rush around at the trot. We backed through the gate to get to the bridge which she walked over and even stood still on it ("So boring" she says). We'll have to get more and more creative.
Friday, June 25
Today I worked on more of the loping and getting her to find a more steady rhythm and cadence for it. Also working on picking it up as soon as I cue for it. She's doing much better at picking up the correct leads, and has figured that out. We also worked on more walk trot transitions. Asking her to pick up the trot and keep it in a nice, steady tempo without learching and jerking, and then being able to slow back down to the walk and doing it nicely. This took awhile as she likes to jerk forward when she goes into the trot. This will all take time and more practice for her.
Thursday, June 24
Walk/trot transitions and more of being able to move her hindquarters was what we worked on today. I also worked on some loping, getting her to lope off better in the correct lead. Even getting the lope better with the leg cues and not having to trot and trot so fast. Also trying to get her to get an even tempo and rhythm at the lope and keep it steady to continue the lope as she goes around the corners. This she finds a little difficult as she hasn't found a good balance for the lope yet.
Wednesday, June 23
Today I worked on moving Reba's hindquarters either way. I did this on a straight line and then would ask her to move over and then continue straight at the walk. At first she didn't understand what was being asked. After awhile she figured it out. Not great, but it started to improve. We also worked on more walk/trot transitions.
After we were done, I trimmed her muzzle again and more of her bridle path. Trimming her muzzle is still a little tricky and I have to go really slowly. Her ears aren't much better, but I would like to have the hair left in her ears as it helps protect her ears from the bugs. So I just brush the trimmer against her ears so that she can get used to it.
Tuesday, June 22
Today I switched to yet another bit. It seems that Reba has an allergic reaction to metal. She now has a bit with aurigan metal in it. She needs a bit with no nickel metal in it. At first she didn't know what to think of this bit, but then she got better and better. I asked her to have a head set and she did it very well. We worked on head sets and also walk/trot transitions.
Monday, June 21
Today I introduced Reba to spurs. I did this on the ground first. I just rolled it up over her shoulder and she bucked and squealed for a couple minutes. After a while she calmed down and I did it again and again until she got used to it and didn't care about the spurs any more. I saddled her up and then we went out and rode around. She listened to my legs a lot better. She had known what my leg cues meant, but quite often would run right through my leg(s). At first I was very careful in touching her sides with the spurs, but after she got used to it, I used them a little more and more if she needed it.
Friday, June 18
Today Reba got her back feet trimmed. She did the same thing as the day before in that she didn't quite understand what was being asked of her and always wanted to her foot down. But then she realized that she had to hold it up. By the time I got to the second foot, she did very well in holding her foot for me in order to trim it for her.
I also rode her around a little. She did ok. I tried a different bit again today, she seemed to like this one better. The very first bit I tried with her was a three piece snaffle.
The second bit was a Myler two piece bit with a very curved mouth-piece, the third a D-ring snaffle with a very curved mouth-piece with copper in-lay. Today I tried a regular two piece O-ring snaffle. She offered more of a head set than with the D-ring snaffle.
Thursday, June 17
I took Reba to the fairgrounds again for a 4-H clinic. A youth rider uses one of my own personal horses for the 4-H program. I tried to get there a little earlier in order to walk Reba around and then ride her. I was able to ride her around the arena at a walk either way and then I had to finish up because the clinic was ready to start. I then had her tied to the trailer.
As other horses started to arrive she started to nicker and whinny to other horses. She didn't know any of them, but she thought that maybe they could be her new friends. Otherwise she stood at the trailer very well. She also got her front feet trimmed while waiting at the fairgrounds. At first she didn't understand what was being asked of her, she always wanted to put her foot back down, but after awhile, she realized that she has to hold it up in order for me to trim it. She was much better about holding the second foot for me after she realized what was expected her.
Several weeks ago Pam Powers did an article about Reba in the Leader Telegram Newspaper on Reba. When she went to the 4-H clinic, people were very attracted to her and asked about her. Most all knew who she was because they had read about her in the newspaper.
Wednesday, June 16
Today Reba went down the road while being ridden. At first she wasn't too happy about the whole idea, looking at all the different things that were all new to her, but she didn't freak out too badly. She just looked at the horse trailer a little oddly. She saw a cat jumping through the tall hay and she didn't mind. She did try and turn around a couple times to go back home, but ended up going to the end of the road anyway (it's a dead end road). Turning around I made her go past the driveway. She wasn't happy about this either. We ended up being able to then go and open the mailbox. She did very well. After getting back to the barn, I was able to clip her muzzle. This took a little while, as she's still extremely sensitive around her muzzle and nose. I even trimmed part of a bridle path. She's also getting better about the fly spray on her legs and belly.
Tuesday, June 15
Today Reba just walked around each way of the arena. We also worked a little with the headset. We tried a new bit today so we wouldn't have to keep switching headstalls all the time. She didn't like it much at all. She seems to think now that the arena isn't a good place to be, as it's too much work. Or she gets it from not liking the bit, I don't know which.
Monday, June 14
Reba had four days off due to being gone to a horse clinic in Bowlus, MN. She most definitely showed it too. She didn't want to any sort of head setting, nor did she want to go forward. This took a little time and I worked with her to just be willing to go forward. She had worked herself up pretty good and she ended up getting another cool bath, which helped her a lot in that she learned that then the fly spray wasn't too bad.
Wednesday, June 9
Today Reba and I had a little help from Karen Lee. She helped me get the headset better on Reba, but the biggest thing is that we found out that Reba didn’t like the snaffle bit that I was using. We switched to a different snaffle bit and then she was much better. After that little work out, we then worked with the rope a little more and drug around a bucket attached to the rope. At first she was a little nervous, but then she got a lot better and didn’t care. She’s starting to figure out how to do circles. The smaller, the better as it’s easier for her right now.
Tuesday, June 8
Today was rainy and cold so we worked in the indoor arena. Reba got a little nervous because of the noise that the rain makes on the roof, but eventually she figured out it was ok. We drug out the tarp and she happily walked over that. We then worked on going over the barrels, but instead she learned that she can move the barrels instead of going over them. There seems to be a lot more distractions for her at first in the indoor, but after she settles down, there’s less. She listened to my legs well. She wanted to go towards the door, but she eventually realized she could keep going away from it or in a circle. She also loped in both directions and picked up both leads. She’s getting better about dropping her hear, not great, but just a slight bit.
Monday, June 7
Reba did very well today, a little pushy, but it’s understandable that she wants to go back to her buddies. It took her a little, but she finally realized that she could lope and pick up each lead. She did it very well, but she was quite sweaty by the time she got the right lead. I also worked with her and swinging the rope some more and then dragging it. Even though I worked with her on the ground with the rope and dragging it, she didn’t like it from the saddle at first. But all she did was jump sideways a little. But before I knew it, I was dragging the rope from both sides of her, and she didn’t care.
We also tried working on the headset a little, but she had a tendency to stick her nose out. We worked on this throughout the riding, but she had a very hard time with it. At the end, she earned herself a nice, cool rinse from the hose. At first she didn’t like it, but after awhile she realized that it wasn’t too bad and she stood as it felt good. She also realized that she could stand for the fly spray.
Saturday, June 5
Today I rode Reba and we worked with the rope some more. I was able to swing the rope from her back and coil it back up. She did pretty good and getting more and more used to being worked with the rope. We also worked on loping. Even though she was going to the right, she still picked up the left lead. But this will all come with more time and practice. She didn’t offer to buck or anything. Instead she’s drawn more and more towards the gate.
We also worked more with the fly spray. She’s figured out that the fly spray is most definitely different that water. It comes out of the same sort of sprayer, but smells different. So we’ve been redoing the spray with real fly spray.
Thursday, June 3
Today was Reba’s first day off the farm since she had arrived on the farm. We attended a 4-H clinic with one of my own personal horses and I figured that it would do Reba some good to get off the farm. I got there plenty early so that Reba could get accustomed to being in a new place. She loaded very well and willingly into the trailer, and off we went. When we first got there, she was a little nervous, but after looking around she calmed right down. She stood tied and didn’t paw, she just relaxed. I led her around to look at things and she did very well. She walked over the bridge on the grounds and over the tarp and through the narrow barn several times. I reloaded her into the trailer several times to let her know that the trailer still wouldn’t eat her.
Several people came up to her and petted her. Trailers were pulling in and unloading horses and she didn’t care about any of it. The horses were just other horses to her. She enjoyed the people petting her. She did very well until more people showed up late and tried to squeeze their trailer in between her and a fence. There wasn’t enough room for them to be able to tie their horses and with so many people running around so close to her, she had gotten worried. I untied her and led her around a little and let her watch the people and watch the horses. When they unloaded a paint foal, she was in total awe. None of the other horses had her attention like that foal, either because it was so small or because it was funny colored. She wasn’t scared of it, but wasn’t quite sure what it was either.
Eventually she calmed down again and I tied her back up. She kept her eyes on that foal, but otherwise stood very well. People loved her and petted her. She wanted people to pet her all night and got mad when they left and wouldn’t pet her any more. She’s become quite a social butterfly.
Wednesday June 2
I worked with Reba in the indoor today. She hardly moved when I fly sprayed her today. I then saddled her up and walked her around the indoor. I opened the doors so that she could see out. She was very interested in looking out at the other horses. I then proceeded to drag out objects and she did very well. She didn’t really even care. Unlike her first experience with the indoor, she was much calmer and realized that it was ok to relax. I took the tarp out and introduced it to her. Eventually it was unfolded completely and draped across her as she walked around the arena. It fell off of her and she didn’t care. She walked across it and hardly batted an eye. By the end I had her carrying the big ball in the saddle while she walked around, she trotted across the tarp and poles and was jumping over the barrels (tipped over, of course). I also worked on swinging a rope while I was on her. We also then went and worked with the bridge. Only this time I rode her over the bridge. Going towards the pasture with the other horses was great; going away from them was a little harder because she wanted to go back towards the other horses. But either way, she did very well.
Tuesday, June 1
Today Reba was just ridden with a snaffle. No side-pull to save her. She did very well, however she was very distracted with the neighbor who was driving his team of horses up and down his drive way and up and down the road. She eventually figured out that she could listen to me just as well with the snaffle as she could with the side-pull, but that horse drawn thing…..SPOOKY. She realized she could still turn left and still turn right. She’s getting a lot better with the fly spray too. At first she gets a little upset and then she stands after she realizes that it’s not going to hurt her. Usually she only takes a couple steps now instead of making many laps around me.
I helped Karen move a bunch of horses around today to accommodate the growing grass in the pastures. Reba was left in the same pasture, but her horse “buddy” was moved to another, and several other horses were moved into Reba’s pasture. Reba took it all very well. She immediately bonded with a new buddy. She also tried to calm down another horse that was very worried about having his buddy leaving him. He ran down the hill to the bottom of the pasture screaming and looking for his buddy. Reba ended up showing up shortly after several minutes and took him back up to the top of the hill with the rest of the herd to eat at the top of the hill.
Monday, May 31
Today we worked with the spray and then we also worked with the trailer loading. She walked right in without even thinking twice. This is a big accomplishment compared to when I had picked her up. She didn’t want to be sent in, but eventually she figured out that either way, the trailer was an ok place to be. After that we went and went for a ride.
I’ve been introducing her more and more with the snaffle bit. She did very well and I rode her with just the snaffle at the very end. She’s also getting very good with her leg cues. After ridding I went and hosed her off. This took awhile, but she figured it out, from a distance. She’s getting more friendly with other people and realizing that she can relax. She’s getting better and better every day.
Saturday, May 29
The fly spray is getting better. Just have to spray a lot a bunch and then she realizes that it’s not going to hurt her and then she’ll stand still. Today we also worked on going over the bridge, back and forth. She did very well and didn’t even hesitate going over it. After that we worked with the rope and swinging it up over her head and then dragging things.
At first she wasn’t too sure about it and then she realized it was ok and wouldn’t hurt her to let it touch her. We drug a barrel around on the ground, letting the rope touch her back legs and haunches.
We also worked on introducing her to an umbrella. It took her a little bit to get used to the umbrella, as it made a little noise in the wind and was odd looking. Afterwards we worked on trotting a little and she did very well, being able to go around the whole arena with out stopping, even around the corners. At the end I introduced her to the water hose and water. She didn’t like that at all, but that will just take time.
Wednesday, May 26
The fly spray isn’t going to eat Reba, as she’s finding out. Nor are the clippers. I was allowed to clip some of her long hairs off of her face today and she took it quite well. I then got her ready to ride and introduced her to the snaffle bit. This she played with for quite some time, but by the time I had stopped ridding, she had stopped playing with it. Her follow through have been getting better, about sending her through gates and between the fence and me.
She’s also starting to figure out what my leg means and moving away from it a lot better. Afterwards we worked on our showmanship a little and she figured out that she can stand with all of her feet square. We went for a walk down the road and that was quite interesting. She saw a few cars, and other things that she found odd, like silver culverts.
Tuesday, May 25
More work with the clippers and fly spray in a bottle. Reba’s getting much better about both of them. I Hadn’t ridden her now for a few days so today is the day to get back on. She did really well, no bucking for not being ridden for 2 days. She’s getting better and more confident about trotting, she’s starting to think about loping. Her trotting on the ground is getting better and better also, she’s a fast learner.
Monday, May 24
Today we worked on getting used to the clippers, and the fly spray in a bottle. Clippers, spray, and ropes, Oh My!
Sunday, May 23
I just longed Reba around today and worked with the rope. Her longing was not at all great when she first came. She had no idea what to do, and would keep turning around to look at me as if she thought I should pet her. But she’s getting better. Her loping still isn’t great with it, but it’s coming around. She’s also getting better about letting other people go up to her in the pasture and pet her and catch her.
At first she was leery of other people, but now she’s realizing that other people may pet her and feed her treats too. With the rope I led her from one side and had the bucket and rope on the other side. She wasn’t scared, but didn’t quite understand what I was asking of her at first. But now she’s figured it out. It’s all different stuff so that she’ll get better about being introduced to new objects.
Saturday, May 22
Today went so well. I did more work with the rope with Reba and she’s very smart and getting used to different things. I roped a bucket with her and then I drug the bucket around the arena. At first she didn’t know what the rope was touching her leg, but after awhile she didn’t care. Nor did she care if it got tangled in between her legs or not. Also worked with the hula-hoop a little. She really didn’t like that. But after awhile she realized that life isn’t always out to get her. She’s now trotting around the whole length of the arena, and I think here very soon she’ll be almost ready to start loping.
Thursday, May 20
Introduced Reba to the rope today. She didn’t really care for it at first. I think she thought it would eat her or something. After swinging it around she finally realized that it was ok and wasn’t going to eat her. Her riding is getting better all the time. At first she was a little scared about me using my legs on her other than to get her to walk. If I had my leg against her asking her to turn, she’s jump sideways as if to say “Oh my, what was that!?!?” but now she’s gotten a lot better and is starting to figure it out.
Wednesday, May 19
Getting Reba used to the spray bottle and the fly spray. She actually hates it! I think it’s more of the feeling that she gets when the spray hits her more that the sound. So we worked on that, getting her used to the bottle, letting her know that it won’t hurt her, letting her hear it make the spray sound, but the feeling she still doesn’t like.
She’s getting better about her trotting. We trotted again today, both ways just a couple steps, but she’s getting more more confident about it all.
Tuesday, May 18
Reba had gotten more pictures taken of her today. Today was the first day that she actually felt confident and comfortable with walking off. Before she had always took little baby steps and today she actually stretched out and extended her walk. We even trotted a little bit, maybe 2 or 3 strides.
She was also very interested in Karen, and wanted to know why she was there. It was hard to get Reba to make circles or to walk away from Karen while she was taking the pictures because Reba kept wanting to go back to her to look at her. In the end it all worked out well and Karen got pictures. I was also able to stand on top of Reba, for the first time.
Monday, May 17
Today Reba and I went into the big outdoor arena. I walked her on the ground around the whole thing both ways on first, letting her look at the fence and letting her know that it wouldn’t hurt her. I then asked her do some light longing so that she would get used to it. She didn’t quite know what I was asking for, but she started to figure it out. I then got on and walked her around the whole arena again. At first she was a little confused, but then figured out that she could walk straight lines and didn’t have to keep turning or going in circles. She did get a little worried when some maintenance people were working on some equipment, but she didn’t seem to mind the car that went right by the arena on the road. We are getting better and better.
Saturday, May 15
Reba learned very well from yesterday that when she’s tied up, she doesn’t need to paw, dance, or try and get away. She realized that it’s ok to stand while tied. During our ride, she realized that she can make bigger and bigger circles, even walk across the round pen. She was very interested in going towards the other horses, but took awhile to go away from them. This will all come with time, and eventually she’ll be able to be confident to do more and more.
Friday, May 14
Today Karen (the lady who owns the facility where Reba is boarded at, Hay River Equestrian) turned Reba out with the rest of the horses in the pasture. She did this before I had gotten there and the horses and Reba were still running around and playing. She wasn’t very enthused about being caught, mostly because she had just been making friends with the other horses.
Later after I had caught her I tied her up so that I could go back and get the saddle. She was not at all pleased about being tied up and not being by her new friends. She wanted to go back and play and run. It took her about an hour to settle down and stand quietly. That was her lesson for the day.
Wednesday, May 12
I rode Reba outside today. She’s getting used to walking a little further, but still not quite sure of what she’s to do. She’s still making lots of small circles. Her right side still isn’t as confident, but getting better as time goes on. She’s not offered any bucking under the saddle at all, nor has she bucked with just the saddle on for the last couple days.
Tuesday, May 11
Today was rainy and cold, so I took her into the indoor. She obviously had never been in an indoor arena before, so I turned her loose to explore. She ran around for awhile, screaming and whinnying. She had a very hard time with everything for awhile. I went into the center and then she seemed relieved and turned to me for comfort, which is always good. She then settled down. I saddled her up and could tell she was a little nervous, so I drug out the tarp and poles and big ball. I worked her going over the tarp and walking over the poles. At first she was a little nervous with all this different work of different things, but then it really helped her calm down because she had to then stop and think about what she was doing in order to accomplish the task. It didn’t take her long, within ten minutes she was walking over the tarp like she had been doing it her whole life. After that I got on her and asked her to move around. She’s a very sensitive horse, but she’s also very willing to learn.
Monday, May 10
Reba has been here a week and she’s making a lot of progress. She’s very willing to be caught and enjoys being played with and petted. Pam (Powers) took pictures today of us riding, actually she took pictures throughout what we did for the day.
When I went to spank her on the butt for turning her butt toward be in the round pen, instead of away from me, the end of the longe whip got tangled in her tail. She didn’t spook or buck, she just kept on trotting, looking back every once in awhile. I asked her to stop and she did.
Without the halter on, she let me untangle the whip from her tail. I then saddled her up and she bucked a few strides and then was great. Next came the mounting, which she stood rock still for, from both sides.
Sunday, May 9
Today was saddling day! I started by using the flag on her first and then went to the saddle pad. I let it be on her, let her smell it, fall off her, etc. She didn’t care! I then let her smell the saddle, let it touch her, swung it around a little, and then put it up on her back (not the tiny place it there and hope she doesn’t notice, but the swing it had and land with a thud). None of this is done while she’s tied up.
She didn’t move. I cinched her up and she took a step, but no more. After she sat there awhile, I had her move and then she bucked one lap around the round pen and then quit. I let her be by herself to wear and figure that thing out while I rode another horse.
I then went back and had her walk, trot and lope both directions, and still no other bucks. I flapped the stirrups around, her left side she was great, her right side she wasn’t so sure about, but she figured it out. Wow! Smart horse. We’ll see what tomorrow brings.
Saturday, May 8
Today I introduced her to the flag and she took it pretty well. She wants so badly to be friends and get along with people, but she’s still timid. Whenever she gets scared, she’s starting to come to me for reassurance. But that’s good too; she’s very intelligent and doesn’t seem to hold a grudge. She may get work up, but then seems to get over it quickly, which is good.
Thursday, May 6
Reba’s doing very well. She’s settling down into her new environment and starting to be able to focus on what’s going on. Today was much easier to catch her. I walked up to her and was able to pet her and then I would walk away. This got the better of her after doing it several times. She ended up getting very curious and realized that it was ok for me to just sit and pet her. She would end up following me after I had petted her and then left. After doing this several times I was able to slip the halter on easily. She let me pick up all four feet and touch her everywhere. But she was still leery of me touching her face and muzzle, but she’s getting much better. She’s a very fast learner and willing to try. She’s timid, but she did start to look to me for reassurance. She’s still not great about her right side being worked on, but getting better. Her allowing me to catch was a big improvement. She did everything I asked her to, to the best of her knowledge and ability. I climbed on top of the round pen fence and sat up there. She was leery and cautious, but never totally frightened. She didn’t like being on the right side for that, but that’ll come. I also introduced her to my big winter coat while on the ground. At first she was a little leery, but then she realized that it wasn’t going to hurt her and she then carried it all over on her back like it had belonged there forever. I’m very excited that she’s progressing so fast. She’s so smart and likes to please.
Wednesday, May 5
Reba had discovered the other horses yesterday when we arrived, but has been kept separate from them. Whenever they come up closer to eat grain, she gets very excited to see them and talks to them. That’s to be expected as she’s a horse and still isn’t real comfortable with all of her surroundings, but that will also take time. Today I worked with her in the round pen, but wasn’t able to catch her like I had planned. I had planned on just getting her more familiarized with me and being around me. I just wanted to have her hang out with me for the time being. I could get up to her and then she’d take off right away, showing me her beautiful behind. I worked on getting her to be able to stop and not turn away from me. As she got more comfortable, I then asked her to stand longer and then would go up to her and pet her. But all I would do is one pet and then she’d leave again. So we worked on that until I would pet her neck and her face and then I walked away. Tomorrow is another day.
Tuesday, May 4
I picked Reba up in North Branch, MN. I let Kris (the lady who helps with the MN Hooved Animal Foundation and who had contacted me about Reba) catch Reba, as she seemed a little like the kind of horse that wasn’t totally fond of strangers. When I went to switch halters from a nylon halter to a rope halter, I realized that she had some issues about having her nose and muzzle touched. She was a little head shy. I tried slipping the other halter off only to have her rear up. It was time to rewind, back up and go slower with her and get her more used to me before switching the halters. Lots of petting and smooth talking to her resulted in a halter change. But she wasn’t too keen on leaving her buddies either. The barn door was a little too narrow for her liking, and her buddies weren’t going with her out the barn door, in fact they were running around outside and playing without her. She finally realized that the narrow doorway was actually ok to go through. Once outside she saw all of her buddies running around again and didn’t think that loading into the trailer was on her list of things to do. After putting a butt rope around her butt, she stepped up and into the trailer. Once secure in there, we were on our way. Once arriving in Boyceville, WI, she unloaded fine and was put into a pen for the night. She was very interested in all the other horses, as she seems very social.
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To get in touch with Jamie Johnson regarding Reba, or to set up a time where you can meet them both, please feel free to contact Jamie via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 715-574-1655.
About Jamie Johnson: I grew up in Medford, WI surrounded by dairy cows and horses. Horses have always been my fantasy. During school I showing and competed in 4-H, Little Britches Rodeo, High School Rodeo and at local shows. I helped do some clinics for the 4-H and would give riding lessons and train other people’s horses. I apprenticed with my farrier for several years during high school, and after school I apprenticed with Buster McLaury for three summers (http://www.bustermclaury.com).
I graduated from Weatherford College in Weatherford, TX with an associate’s degree in Equine Science and Management. After returning to WI I have continued the training and lessons to help other people. I currently am training out of Hay River Equestrian in Boyceville, WI (http://users.chipvalley.com/hayriver). Reba will be the third rescue horse I’ve trained. I have trained two horses from Hay River and they will be showing this summer in several dressage shows. I grew up riding western, but have been riding both western and dressage for the past year. If you have any questions please feel free to contact me - my e-mail is email@example.com and my cell phone is 715-574-1655.