May 17th, 2002: Love at first sight?
This was the first day I met Reannon. Boy is she cute! All that mane and those curvy little ears! Just makes you melt looking at her. The only handling she has had basically is just having her feet trimmed on a regular basis. She is nervous of people but not totally afraid. I went into her paddock and after a few minutes of modified bonder work(to read more about the bonder go to my links page) of basically just sending her out and arcing her a few times I had her attention on me and she would let me approach her. Soon enough I could touch her all over her left side, pick up her feet, and lean over her back to touch her right side...although she won't let me approach that side. She was following me around like a puppy dog. I can safely say I was totally in love at that point and knew that she was going to be mine.
May 24th, 2002: She's mine!
Today i went up to visit Reannon again..but this time to buy her! Yup..she's mine..all mine!! Actually the real reason was to start her trailer training. Sandy from Olympic Andalusians has so wonderfully offered to train Reannon to trailer in a non stressful way. I can't thank her enough as I already have one horse ( I won't name names) who is petrified of trailers and i DON'T need another one!
The first challenge Sandy had was catching her. Reannon is ok with you approaching her and touching her for the most part but reach for that halter and off she goes. Unfortunately for Reannon she made the mistake of running into her stall so Sandy was able to corner her to catch her. Once caught Sandy then had to touch up her leading skills. Took a while to get her to learn what a tap from the crop meant but she's got it down pretty well now! Tap her front legs and they move forward tap her hind end and it moves forward.
The next challenge was getting her out of her paddock! She had never been out of it before and she wasn't convinced that now was a good time to. But Sandy was patient and after a while she took her first hesitant steps out into the new world. She was a bit apprehensive of the different footings such as grass and gravel so it took her a while to get coaxed into walking on them. I never really thought that a new walking surface could be so scarey for a horse but I guess since all she has known was hogfuel the different surfaces felt different and she wasn't sure if they were safe.
Then Sandy worked on getting her to walk up to the trailer. There was alot of moving backwards and forwards and backwards and forwards...but eventually she would stand at the opening of the trailer and take food from a bucket at the door.
I think she took some huge steps today and was a very brave girl considering EVERYTHING she did was new to her. Hehe.. I even gave her a carrot which she has never had before and she wasn't so sure how to eat it. She tried chewing it with her front teeth but they weren't strong enough and the pieces kept falling out so finally she figured out that she has to move it to the back..and then she quite enjoyed it!
Sandy will be working with her again on Monday..which of course I will be there to watch.
After the lesson I also got to meet Reannon's mother and grandmother at a nearby farm. Very sweet mares with great bloodlines.
All in all it was a very good day. I got lots of pics and Reannon I'm sure has alot to take in.
May 27th, 2002: Definate Progress!
Today was Reannon's second trailer lesson. She made definate progress from last time. This time is only took Sandy a few minutes to catch her and walk her up to the trailer. Once up to the trailer she took it nice and slow and by the end of the hour Reannon would step up into the trailer with both front feet. It was very cute watching her try to figure out just how high she had to lift her feet so she could get them up in the trailer. And then once she would lift her foot up she would paw the trailer to see how sturdy it was and make sure it was safe.
She is such a quick learner and isn't really afraid of the trailer so Sandy thinks that it will probably take one more lesson and she will be getting in an out of the trailer and then we can bring her home!! The next lesson will be on Thursday and if all goes well she will be down here on Monday! Yay!
I spent some time with her after Sandy left with the trailer. She still is apprehensive about being approached and was getting a little snotty with me being around her food so I sent her out (bonder) for a few laps, did some arcing with her an about 10 mins later she finally let me approach her...but get this....on her RIGHT side! I was able to pet the right side of her neck and shoulder, then it started to rain quite a bit and I had to get gong before dark so I left it with that being the last expereince she had with people of the day.
What a smart little girl she is!
June 5th, 2002: And She's In!!
Reannon went into the trailer today! It took Sandy about 10 minutes to catch her cause she saw the lead rope and did NOT want to be caught...but once she was caught she walked up to the trailer like a pro, pawed the trailer a few times, stepped up with he front end and within minutes she had her hind end in too. The next challenge was for Sandy to teach her to turn around in the trailer since she didn't know any "over" commands...but it didn't take long before she could walk in, turn around and walk out. Then we tried it with opening and closing the trailer door, no problem there either. Sheesh...I wish Bruderchen took to trailering like that!
Since things went so well and she didn't seem to scared of being in the trailer....actually she quite liked being in it LOL...we hopefully will be bringing her down here in the next day or so! It's about time! 8)
June 7th, 2002: Home At Last!
Wow, what a day! It's nice to finally have Reannon down here in Victoria.
Reannon was great about everything today. She was pretty easy to catch, hopped into the trailer like a pro, didn't make a huge fuss on the trip down, unloaded well, led well from the trailer to her new pasture with a few little upsets....to be expected of a horse with little handling who has never been away from her birthplace before. She was stressed once she was free in her pasture and really wanted to get into the next pasture where the other horse was but she was nibbling grass now and then and eating hay between her rowdy paces up and down the fenceline.
She is getting alot better about being pet and such on both her sides...actually i don't even think she is one sided anymore. She was very willing to bond to anyone who would pay attention to her...i guess she got comfort from the company. As soon as humans left her she would start pacing around again.
The property is right next to a busy road which is great. It will get her used to the traffic noises. She is already gettign pretty tolerant of most vehicles passing although the odd motorcycle still spooks her out.
All in all I would say it was a very successful day. Nothing really went wrong and as soon as Reannon relaxes in her new home I think she will be very happy there.
I can't wait till tomorrow! I get to see her every day now that she is just down the road 8)
June 10th, 2002:Progress!
Things are going really well with Reannon. She is really liking any attention she can get even though she is still quite nervous about being touched. But I have made quite a bit of progress in the last few days. I have been working on things like getting her used to grooming, which now she will let me groom her whole body with a soft curry comb and medium body brush and pick both her front feet. She still doesn't like being caught though and although yesterday I did succeed in catching her and rubbing the lead rope on her shoulders she still ran from me today when I was holding the lead rope, so i decided to try doing the bonder with her. I wouldn't say it has been successfully completed as of yet but it did make her think and after about 30 mins I was able to approach her, catch her, lead her around her entire paddock, rub the lead rope over her entire body and she even let me take one of the matts out of her mane.
She did show all the signs during the bonder...one ear on me all the time, licking and chewing, putting her head down for a few seconds at a time, but she was still apprehensive so i wouldn't say she is yet BONDED. I will try again tomorrow though and hopefully it won't take as long.
I am very pleased with our progress. She really is a smart little girl.
June 20th, 2002: I must be doin something right!
Well some big progress has been made in the last 10 days.
Reannon is now pretty easy to catch, still a bit nervous when she see's the lead rope but doesn't run away. She stands to be groomed but she still doesn't like her mane to be touched. I think that is actually one of our biggest obsticles.
She is learning to lead and to give to pressure. She really loves having her nose rubbed and scratched so that has become her reward for good work. I have decided that in order to make more progress with her training wise that i would like to work her in a proper round pen so in order to do that she needs to be led to my house to use the one here on the property. That's about a 10 minute walk from where she is boarded. Of course she isn't confident and trusting enough to make that walk yet but we are working on it step by step.
Today, using the method in which I lead her until she gets nervous, stop, let her look and take her back to a comfortable place to regain her nerves and then attempt again to go farther....we got through the field next to her paddock, up the path, by the shed with a bunch of scary tools hanging off it, by a big piece of plastic on the ground, out to the back yard and over to a gazebo/tent with a picnic table under it. She actually went right under to to take a look at the picnic table. She was being VERY good so I stopped it there and will try to get a bit farther tomorrow. She is very polite when nervous and although she will dance around a bit she doesn't run me over or run into me and doesn't pull me around. She walks nicely behind me most of the time and stops when asked. I don't think it will take much more than a week before we will be walking up to my house happily 8)
June 22nd, 2002: An eventfull day!
Working with Reannon today was a good learning experience for the both of us. It started off REALLY well! She followed me around like a puppy dog again while I cleaned her paddock, we no problem at all to catch, stood pretty well for grooming and was soaking up as much attention as possible. I decided to try and see how far out of the property we could get this time. She obviously remembered from Thursday that there was nothing scarey from her paddock to the gazeebo and took a total of about 2 minutes to get to it instead of the 45 it took last time. Once she got to the gazebo there was alot of new stuff to take in. The owner of the property was building a new shed so not only was there a new shed in progress, his tools (saws, work table, wood etc) all over but there was a lawn mower in the yard, a big black tarp, a wheel barrow and a ton of lawn chairs. It was like our own little obsticle course!
She was a good girl though and we went slowly. First challenge was to get past the lawn mower and lawn chairs. Then the tarp and tools, while the guy was still working on the shed! The some more lawn chairs including a brightly colored blow up one, and the wheel barrow. All went well until we got to the wheel barrow. We got past it but she knocked it over with her bum and spooked herself. But she regained her composure enough to walk quietly back to her comfort spot (which is now the gazebo!) and try again. I should have just left it at that. My mistake. She was still nervous by the wheel barrow and i wanted to leave it when she was comfortable there but the guy was going to start up his table saw and so I took her back to the gazebo. She didn't even bat an eye when he started it up and just grazed while we waited. The problem started when I he was done and I tried to lead her over to the wheel barrow and she wasn't going to move! She was putting up a big fight cause I guess she was bored and tired and wanted to go back to her friend who had been calling her like crazy the entire time. Of course I couldn't let her get her way so we had our first fight. I stayed calm but she didn't want any part of leading away from her friend. It took me a good ten minutes of her having a little temper tantrum (she is only 2 so it's not unexpected) but i finally got her over to the black tarp. I praised her and led her back.
She leads very well now even when nervous, won't pass my shoulder with her head and doesn't step on me or invade my space. She stops when asked almost immediately and walks on when asked...for the most part 8)
Over all I'm not disappointed with todays work. She got introduced to alot of scarey objects and for the most part did very well with them. Hopefully next time the guy wont be working an his stuff won't be int eh way of the drive way and we can get a little farther.
June 28th, 2002: She's Moving!
I have decided to move Reannon to where Bruderchen is. It will be way more expensive but the care there is 100% better, the property is safer, they are more knowledgeable...not to mention I work there 5 days a week, she will get group turnout, a large paddock with a shelter at night, clean water etc.
The place I have her at now is cheap but the people aren't really knowledgeable (they leave the wheel barrow and fork and shovel on the ground in the paddock!), the space isn't big enough, there is no safe place to work her, if/when she gets away from me she is very close to a busy road and there is nothing to stop her from running on to it. In fact a couple of days ago she did get away from me when we had another fight and she backed into a lawn chair and freaked herself out. She ran back to her paddock but because it was closed cause there was the other horse in it she tried to find a way in by walking around in the forest beside it, scraping up her legs on cut tree trunks, getting the lead rope caught, stepping in a whole and almost falling into a well that she couldn't see.
Not fun to watch that's for sure but she wouldn't come to me at first until the well incident when she realized I was her only hope of getting out of there.
Also the people there didn't even notify me when she broke through the fence and cut up her legs. I found out on my own. I asked and it turns out that they put teh sprinkler on in her paddock and she freaked out and ran throught the fence, loose on the property ..ug!
So ...hopefully Reannon will be at her new home tomorrow or Sunday, and she will be going right next to Bruderchen. I think they will probably fall in love...I just hope they don't get attached!
On a lighter note...on Wednesday I decided to just to basic leading with her since she has been a bit fiesty lately but I think it was because she was coming into season. Now that she is in season she is back to being sweet and did everything I asked. She was really good when about 20 Harley's went by..all she did was turn around and then just stood there when she realized that i wasn't reacting.
So hopefully she will be ok to load into the trailer this weekend as I still haven't gotten her off the property yet. It's been raining the last few days so I haven't worked with her but I might today if the rain lets up.
I can't wait to have her moved!! I will be so relieved.
June 30th, 2002: She's Moved!
Well, yesterday Reannon was moved to High Oaks. It took about an hour to get her into the trailer but considering this was only her second time trailering, whe was being loaded on the road with cars passing and she was leaving her horsey friend i think she did really well. We didn' rush her.....let her take her time as long as she was attempting to go into the trailer and not trying to get away. At first she was a bit upset but once she calmed down she would get her front end in the trailer but it took as a little while to get the back end to follow. Once in she has a little fit and scrambled a bit, pawed for the first minute of the ride but was good for most of it (only a 5 minute drive), unloaded well and lead nicely into her paddock.
Her and Bru met right away as their paddocks are side by side. Bru let her know that this was his territory by pooping and then striking in it while squealing, then they sniffed and are good friends. I told Bru the Reannon was his little sister and that he had to set a good example which he has been doing.
Reannon settled in really fast and started eating her hay and drinkin instantly. That's one good thing.. I'll never have to worry about her rejecting strange water since she always dives right in.
Today I groomed and and decided to show her the different pastures she will be going in. She didn't want to leave Bru at first but then she followed me where ever I went. I showed her three different pastures and let her in them for about 15 minutes each. She got to meet a few of the 17 or so horses at the barn and got along with them all. She isn't very dominant so I don't think she will be a problem when going out with any of the horses. I will be spending the next week or so still showing her the different pastures and paddocks and putting her out with various horses. Once I am confident that she will lead fine for the people who work at the barn then she will be moved around each day with different horses and in different places.
It's a big relief to know that she is happy and safe at her new home.
July 1st, 2002: Things are going well!!
Reannon has settled really well into her new home. She is really liking all the attention she gets too! She is really starting to trust me too. I have almost lead her around the entire property around the barn, showing her the various paddocks and pastures, and in one of the paddocks there is a stall but the horse has to go up a wooden ramp to get into it because it's higher than the paddock so i decided to lead her up that. She was very brave and after about a minute she followed me right in and out without a fuss. So far she gets along well with all the horses she has met and doesn't really get stressed out when moved from paddock to paddock even if there isn't a horse right next to her.
I am also trying to teach her to allow a halter to go on and off so I can take her's off and know that I will be able to get it back on her again! I took a large nylon halter and let her sniff it and rubbed it on her nose and shoulder. Then I worked on lifting it up to her nose without her back off and then over her nose. That's as far as I went today but she was really good so I didn't want to jinx it!
July 26th, 2002 : Is training 2 yr olds always this easy??
I know I haven't updated in a while but that is just because there are way to many things to update! Reannon is doing better than I could ever hope. Here is a list of things i have now done with her/can do with her:
-put halter on an off
-pick/trim her feet
-hand pick her mane and tail
-lead her basically anywhere
-just starting to teach her to free lunge
-tie her (she isn't actually tied yet...but she doesn't know that! )
-lead her over cavaletti's and small cross poles
-trail walks (just started those...she is still nervous but that will wear off)
-opening and closing really noisey gaits
-turn her out with other horses
-she has been in all the rings including the indoor
And...as of the last few days....i can feed her vitamins without her crowding me. That is my biggest pet peeve..not to mention dangerous...a horse that is possesive of it's food. The first time I fed her the vitamins she had her ears back and was crowding me so I yelled at her and told her to stay back which she did. The second day she stood back but struck out at me which REALLY got her in some trouble. And now when she see's me with her food she backs away from the dish and waits until I have poured the vitamins and says it's ok for her to eat..then she will come forward and eat. Not bad after only two times!
And her biggest feat, which happened today was I put a saddle pad and surcingle on her! She has had a saddle on her before....a few days before I met her a guy came out, ran her into the ground and when she was too tired to fight back he put a saddle on her and did up the cinch. i expected that the experience probably wasn't too great for her so I didn't think she would be readily accepting of something on her back...but I was wrong.
I let her sniff it, then I rubbed it on her shoulder, i put it on her back, and did it up all with barely a flinch! She was a little uneasy about me tightening it up cause i didn't want it to slip so she was walking around a bit but once she realised i wasn't going stop trying she stood still. Once i had it on and tight i let her go so she could get used to the feeling of it. I expected a buck or something...but no. She just walked around quietly, so I free lunged her a bit so she could feel it at all gaits. Did she care? no. So i took it off and called it a night. I hope she's that easy to back!