Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year!

Well, inventory is finally done and I got home at a halfway decent hour (even if it was dark). Had thought about just going out to feed and then coming in to take a nap so I could be awake to say happy new year at midnight, but the halter I ordered from mustangsaga had come in the mail!! So that was enough to revive me and I had to go try it on him.

I'll have to get a picture of it tomorrow as it was too dark tonight. It fits pretty good, just need to make the nose a lil smaller. I think he looks better in black than he does in royal blue. I haven't had time this past week to do much more than just pet him a little when I feed him, but even just that he's gotten better about me approaching him. So tonight I got the lead snapped on pretty easy and just tossed the rope over him a few times to make noise on the blanket which doesn't seem to concern him much. Switched halters and took his blanket off and then we worked on leading which at this point is still just a few steps, but we'll get there. When I went to put the blanket back on, I pulled it off the rail where I'd hung it and he wasn't too sure about that, but only went maybe half a circle around me. And then maybe another half a circle before he stopped and I could touch him with it. Then he just stood there while I started tossing it on him all unfolded. Will have to do that from the other side tomorrow. But I was then able to just toss his blanket up on his back like it was no big deal and get him all buckled in.

I'll have to get pictures tomorrow of him both in his new halter and out of it as I decided to leave the halter off tonight. Slipped it off and just stood there rubbing his face and his neck and then walked away before it was too much and I had to figure out how to get a hold of him again, lol. Fed him dinner and pet him some more before I wished him a happy new year :)

Saturday, December 27, 2008


Every year I dread the last week, that week between Christmas and New Years. At the store where I work we do our yearly inventory that week. There is so much stuff crammed into our small store, and we do the kind of inventory where you have to count each item against a list. It is long and tedious. It takes us nearly all 6 days to get it done. (Yes I know I am whining, but trust me, it's bad). And I still have to work at my other job. So what I am basically saying is I haven't and won't really have any time to work with CB until the new year :( But on the positive side, hopefully things will finish melting and I won't have to worry about him slipping on the icy snow/slush mess in his corral.

And it's not like I don't at least pet him when I feed him morning and night. It works best if I reach out and touch his hip first and then step forward to his shoulder and I can stand there and pet him while he munches.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Well, I don't have any cute Christmasy pics of CB, but I doubt he would have cared if I'd draped ribbons all over him. But here are a few pictures from today. Was out there for probably an hour, but as long as we kept doing different things, he didn't seem to get fed up and bored and cranky.

We were going to go outside his pen for the first time today, but we need to get the leading thing down better, we are getting there, but not quite far enough just yet. But I took his blanket off today which he was fine with and I brushed him all over, he seemed to enjoy it. Then we switched halters to my rope halter which unfortunately has a rope attached that I can't get off and it's not as long as my cotton rope so I ended up just tying that around his neck and using the cotton rope. We practiced backing up and coming forward, and disengaging the hindquarters. He was very attentive and cooperative today. Did a couple easy laps when I went to put the blanket back on but then stopped and I was able to touch him with it and he stood still while I set it on his back and slid it around some and then put it on. I think he's figured out he stays a lot dryer with it on!

Thank you Dad for my Christmas pony!!

Here he is in his Christmas blanket.

Here is a close-up of the little white "freckle" on his nose.

Here is his brand, the clipped hair is growing back and the scabs are coming loose.

It was dark enough in the stall that I had to use the flash otherwise the pics were coming out black. He didn't even flinch. Makes you kinda wonder about his vision and if you poke your finger straight towards his eye he doesn't blink, but he seems to be able to see to read body language and stuff so I'm just not really sure. Will just have to see how it goes.

Monday, December 22, 2008

No more drag line

As I sit here sipping my hot cocoa (with whipped cream!) I am reminded again how truly wonderful horses are. I'd been talking to a good friend of mine before heading out to feed CB and our goodnights were not said in their normal warm tone so I was a bit upset about that (okay, so I cried a little, but I come from a family of teary-eyed women). But before he said goodnight, he said "Say hi to horsey for me".

So when I got out to CB's pen I started telling him about it as I worked my way close enough to clip the lead on--oh yeah, when I'd been out dragging him his salt block this early afternoon I untied the short dragline that had been attached to his halter--and I told him my friend had said hi. The tension started to ease and I was able to relax into working with him.

We continued on working with disengaging his hindquarters from a tap on the hip and turn to face me. Which he does really well on the right side, and we got one good one on the left. Then we worked on backing up from a wiggle of the lead rope (which I think will work better once I get my rope halter on him) which he managed to take a few steps back. So then, the real test, getting him to take a step forward. Since our previous attempts at straight forward had not gone well, I asked for forward and slightly to the side. He did it! I got a step forward a few times which is a huge improvement from me pulling and him just standing there braced against the web halter. So more noise and fuss of the stick and string against the blanket (didn't feel quite up to trying to take it off tonight). And then I started playing with his muzzle.

I can't go straight for the muzzle (yet), but he loves his face rubbed so I can rub my way down to his nostrils. Even wiggled my finger into his mouth a couple times. I rubbed his nose with the end of the rope and then started slipping it on and off like a halter. He just stood there. So I figured, why not and looped the rope around his neck and unbuckled the halter. I took it off and rubbed his halterless-face a bit and then slipped it over his nose a few times before buckling it back on (not quite ready to just leave it off).

So all in all, a pretty good end to the night :)

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Toasty warm!

We seem to do most of our work in the dark since it gets dark so early.

Today I was finally able to pick up a blanket. I ended up getting one with just a bit of insulation to keep some heat in so he doesn't have to burn calories staying warm and can put them to putting some meat on his ribs. It will be interesting to see what size blanket he wears when he's all grown up. Right now, the blanket I got was a size 68.

With the snow that is falling feeling wetter than the past snows, and with the nasty winds we had last night, I really wanted to get this blanket on him. So we started off with some review of moving his hindquarters over from a tap on the hip. After we did it a couple times tonight, he'd step over when I tapped the air above his hip. He steps across with his hind leg better when I am on his right than on his left. On his right side, he'll step across in the back and turn to face me, on the left, he sort of steps over and goes in a few circles and then stops. But he's getting there.

So that went pretty well, and I didn't want to overdo it, so I went and got the blanket out of the bag it was in. I wish the snow wasn't getting packed so slick in his pen! We did many more laps of the pen than we have previously....

I almost had it on him, it was opened up over his back until he turned his head to the right and looked at it, then he decided it was going to eat him and he trotted off, of course the blanket fell off. Dumb me for trying to put it on without showing it to him on both sides just because he was standing still. Took awhile for me to be able to touch him with it again, but he finally stood still and let me gently touch him with it, just kept touching him with it and taking it off and inching it closer to the top of his back. Let it get bigger and just kept up the sorta rhythmical brushing it against him until I could sort of set/toss it on the top of his back. And ta-da, we got in on, straps all done up, even the leg straps, he didn't mind at all when I touched his back legs to do the straps.

Hard to see in the picture because it was dark, but he's wearing his new blanket! I took the picture from the gate and he didn't even lift his head when the flash went off. The alfalfa was much more interesting.

I think the real test is going to be when I take it off and try and put it back on again....

Friday, December 19, 2008

11 degrees and falling

When I went out to work with CB tonight (okay, yeah, it was kinda late) and then feed him dinner, it was about 15 degrees out. By the time I came back in, it was down to 11 degrees. Brr!!

We had a good session tonight. He started off with that step of his rump towards me so off I sent him, around and around a few times, and then asked him to stop. Still kinda more rump than face so off he went again. It didn't really take him long to get it figured out and his rump stayed further back than his front end. So after he got a good rub, we started working on moving his hindquarters from a tap of the stick on the hip. It went MUCH better than it did yesterday. Yesterday it was a case of tap-tap-tap-TAP-TAP-TAP-TAP!-TAP!-TAP!-TAP!!-TAP!!-well, you get the idea. Today he got it by the TAP and that at probably the first one of those.

It was getting cold, he'd done well, so after some more pets and rubs and arms around his neck and over his back, I went to get his dinner. I set it down, he came in and started eating, I made a quiet move toward him to pet his neck before heading out and the rump came back towards me. he went a couple laps and I asked him to stop and he turned and looked right at me. I was able to walk up to him and rub his forehead with the end of the stick.

I can wiggle his halter all around, but he's not too sure about me taking a piece of the rope and trying to slip that over his nose like putting on a halter. So we'll be working on that before we get to the point of trying to take it off and put it on again.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Pretty as a picture

Unfortunately the snow did not melt overnight. No, it had to keep snowing and we now have over a foot of the darn stuff. At this point I am just dreading the mess it will make when it finally decides to melt.

I drug my mom out in the snow today so she could snap some pictures for me, I ran out of room in my pockets to bring my camera out with me.

He has a tendency to swing his rump towards me when I try and approach him before I have a hold of his dragline. I am thinking to send him forward (need to get that gate up so he doesn't just go inside the shelter) for a couple laps and then step back, ask him to stop, and see if I can get him to face me instead of his tail facing me. He doesn't seem to do it in a threatening way, more an insecure I'm not sure if I really want you to catch me way. At least, that is how it has seemed so far.

So was trying to get him to move his hindquarters away from me by rhythmically tapping his hip with the end of the stick. Got him to step over a couple times, figure we'll keep working on this. Still working on the whole leading idea, thought if I could get his feet moving we could turn that into leading.

The brush I stuffed in my pocket today was the mane & tail brush again. The snow had his coat too damp to brush so I brushed his mane and forelock and then mom snapped some pictures :)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Okay, the snow can all melt and be gone now

Oddball day with nearly a foot of snow (as measured on the railing on my grandma's deck).

The college where I work part time was closed today because of the snow so I didn't have to go to work. So I cleaned CB's pen and tried to scoop some of the snow out, but it just snowed more and made it look like I hadn't done anything. I think he is starting to connect the back door opening with food, he comes out of his stall and looks all perked up and interested. With all the snow I didn't really work with him today, but each time I went out to feed him or do anything out there, I pet him. One time was able to just walk up (slowly) and the other two times I reached out and scratched him with my pitchfork first. Hopefully it won't snow any more any time soon and I can scrape most of the snow out so we can actually do something.

My cat, Bentley, has decided to help me post my blog tonight. I would take a picture but he has my arm trapped. He is an indoor cat who is very snuggly but also likes to bounce off the walls and often skids into things as he's doing laps.

I am tempted (if it warms up) to go out and sit on the top rail of his pen so he can get used to someone/thing being above him. Not that he's going to be ridden any time soon, but I figure the more I get him used to now the better :)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The good ole plastic bag... a little scary. Well, scary when it's in the air above his head, not so bad when it is touching him, even on his head. So we'll keep working with the plastic bag and I am determined to find some sort of blanket that has some heft to it without being too awkward to swing all over him (an old Navajo blanket would be good but alas I don't have one).

On a good note I was able to touch him and get a hold of the short rope without needing to touch him with a stick first so that was nice. He also let me pick up each front foot a couple of times. Found a scratch on the inside of his right leg but it's not very big and looks like just the skin so I'm not too worried.

I stuffed a mane and tail brush in my pocket tonight so his mane got all the tangles brushed out. He was a very good boy and stood still the whole time.

Ran out of momentum to make it out a second time this evening though. Hopefully I will have some daylight Thursday and Friday so I can take some pictures!

It's funny, I have a bunch of horse books, but going through them, I don't really have any on starting a yearling. So what all should a coming two year old know? I mean, he should lead, stand tied, be able to groom, pick up his feet, ideally load into a trailer but I don't have one to practice with, and what else? Once we get to that point, could set up some sort of like in-hand trail courses I guess. As long as we go in reasonable steps, he could learn to turn on the forehand and on the haunches and sidepass from the ground, right? I am a list kind of person, I want a list of things that I can check off, lol.

Monday, December 15, 2008

I finally remembered to bring a brush!

Today was a good day!

Found an inexpensive stick with a string so it was easier to just get that than try and rig up my own. It is bright red so it should be easy to keep track of, lol. Touched him all over with it, flipped the string all over, really the only place he doesn't like me touching is around his ears but he's getting better.

The really good part though was that he let me get on his right side! Worked my way around to stand in front of him and he just looked at me, ears all perked. I rubbed his forehead with the end of the stick and then reached the stick out to rub his right shoulder. That went okay so I just kept stepping around while I rubbed him with the stick. I was able to reach out and touch him and started rubbing him with my hand. Yay! It's taken me a week to get around to that side but when I went back out tonight was no problem to pet his right side.

And I finally remembered to bring a brush with me! It's a nice medium boar bristle brush I got for a present when I had Taffy (I love that brush). I let him sniff it and then started brushing him all over with it--his face, his neck, his body, his legs, I think he liked it.

He seems to like to have his cheekbones rubbed. I had my hands all over his face, one on each side and his head just sunk down, but didn't really seem like he was trying to get away from it. He even allowed me to rub his poll some.

All in all a pretty good day :)

Saturday, December 13, 2008


I know it is rather objectionable stuff, but it sure is pretty :)

Good thing CB doesn't demand a precise schedule! He's been rather cooperative about me going out to work with him in the daylight, or at 9:30 at night and with the snow tonight, I think it was more fun in the dark.

I know, I know, he's a (former) wild horse and can handle the weather and all, but I don't know if I can! He's thin, and it's even more obvious with snow frozen on his back and sides. I want to get him a blanket. Something cheap cuz he's just going to grow out of it, but just something that can keep him dry and keep that darn white stuff off! I mean, it'd help him put/keep weight on if he didn't have to spend calories staying warm, right? And it'd be a good training step to wear a blanket, right? So I can justify wanting to wrap him up all toasty warm?

On a good note, I stood on his right side while he looked at me for a moment before moving to put me back on the side where I belong, so I think we'll get there.

It seems that once I get that initial touch of the work session, he's pretty good about me touching him wherever with hand or rope (so far, gotta bring a blanket out or something, was too cold to use my coat!). I was able to rub all the way down front and back legs on his good side. He even sort of picked up his front foot when I kinda tickled his pastern the first time.

On a different note, I have this sweatshirt with a mare on it with her ears pinned back that says "Bad Mare Day". It felt like a day for a sweatshirt so I wore it to work. I got multiple comments on it today, both at the tack store where you'd expect to find horse people, and at Costco where two gals at the deli got a kick out of it.

I hope, over the course of working with CB and keeping this blog I will learn to be a somewhat better writer! Some of my posts sound more like lists than anything else.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Left side, right side

Was going to get pictures today, if I hadn't come down with a stomach bug and ended up sleeping the daylight away (totally was not in my plans!). But I feel better this evening so I went out to work by the light of the yard-light.

Got close to him much quicker tonight. Managed to rub his front leg down to his pastern, and back leg to his hock-note to self: bring a brush next time! He really seems to like his face rubbed under and around the halter.

Tossed the rope all over, he wasn't too sure about it dragging on the ground behind him as he moved away, but he settled down. Got it around his barrel and sorta rubbed him back and forth with the rope, didn't seem to mind.

What he does mind though, is me trying to get on his right side! I try to step to that side, he turns his head and follows me with his left eye until he can't bend any further and then swings around to face me. The closest I got was when I fed him, I stood on his right side while he munched his hay after we were done.

Any suggestions for getting to his right side? I can reach over or under his neck and pet him on that side, I had the rope swinging back and forth on that side, he just really would rather I stayed on his left.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Shorter is definitely better

Okay, so had a not so great job interview down in Seattle at 2pm today. Doesn't really bother that it was not so great because I don't really want the job, it's too far away-down in Tukwilla. So by the time I got home it was dark, but I figured with the yard light from the house I should have enough light to work him for a bit. Too dark for pictures though, sorry Dad, tomorrow for sure!

I got the long rope snapped on fairly easily tonight which was nice. Rubbed him all over with the pole (I think I'm going to try and jury-rig one of those carrot stick type deals with a rope on the end) and he was fine with it all over, even under his chin. So...I was trying to get close enough to pet him, but he kept pinning his ears back and looking cranky and then he tried to nip me. Just what I was waiting for, so I got after him like all get out and back and around and around he went, and then into smaller circles with the pole resting on top of his withers, and then he stood still and let me pet all over his shoulder, neck, back and his face around his halter. Yes! I took my hand away, then pet him a little more, scratched under his jaw (I think he liked that) and sort of lightly pat along his shoulder and neck some. I unclipped the long rope, gave him one last pet, and went back into the house. We are both learning :)

One nice thing about getting after him, it got him moving around the pen and it reconfirmed what had caught my eye about him :)


Went out to work with him again a couple hours later and I was able to pet him much sooner. Easy to get a hold of the rope too :) Pet down to his knee on his front leg, and on his face. Figured we'd sorta reconfirm the note we'd ended on earlier and then try a step forward tomorrow (in the daylight). I know it won't always go as nice as this, but good days keep you going :)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

What if I screw up?

Okay, I was out there longer than I'd planned today, and I think it was too long for the little guy's attention span. I hope I didn't screw things up too bad :(

Started off rubbing him with the long pole again, only place it seems to bother him is by his ears so we'll work on that. He's feeling more confident now I think, much more mobile today. Wasn't so much into letting me pet him, only managed to touch him briefly a couple of times with my hand.

I was able to get the long rope clipped onto the ring at the end of the short rope and started working on giving to pressure. Gives great to the left, we went in a lot of circles that way. He will barely let me onto his right side to work on that at all, but managed it a couple of times.

Never really was able to touch him much, towards the end, when it was getting rather dark, his ears were starting to go back instead of ears perked looking at me so...we stopped at a point where he did turn and look at me with his ears up and I unclipped the long rope for some reason, hope I can get it on again! Gave him his dinner and there was no hesitation about taking a couple bites of hay from my hand.

It wasn't until I came inside that I realized I'd been out there for two hours. No wonder he was fed up! So I hope I haven't messed up too badly and that I do better tomorrow.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Meet Coyote Bay

Meet Coyote Bay. So far he likes to spend his time standing inside his shelter. My grandma kept glancing out the back kitchen window and only twice spotted him outside. I think he has decided that since that is where the food is, that is his safe place!

After work today it was time to start getting to know my little guy. In an attempt to keep him outside in the square pen I tried roping off the opening to his shelter. He didn't really go for that and quickly convinced me it was pointless to close that off. So off we went with our long green garden stake (lightest and longest thing I could find). First time I touched him with it he scurried forward and then just stopped in his shelter. So....rather than pushing the issue on day 1-1/2 with a pole that could stand to be a bit longer, we just hung out inside. I just started rubbing him all over with it, top and bottom of his neck, back, belly, rump, hind legs, front legs, he even sniffed at it and tried to chew on the end. I inched my way close enough that I could reach out and touch his shoulder with my hand. He seemed okay with that so I just started rubbing and petting as much of him as I could reach. When he thought he'd had enough, he would walk away a few steps, but I just kept the pole resting on him and we'd start over.

It's fun to watch his very expressive face. You can definitely see a worried look when he isn't sure about something, and can then watch his face relax and he realizes things are okay.

Definitely going to have to work on getting to both sides of him though! He would much rather I stay on his left. I could touch him with the pole on the right but he would never face me on that side, always kept me on his left. Might bring the longer rope out with me tomorrow and see if we can start working on leading a little bit. The rope he has on right now has been just the right length for him to step on, he has definitely figured out the giving to pressure thing in that regard!

I am very tempted to get a gate so I can close off the shelter when we are working so I can end up using his pen more as a small "square" pen.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

He's home!

Had thought about waiting until tomorrow to post, so that I could include some pictures, but I figured words would work too. Help myself get into a habit of this :)

After deciphering my poor directions, Tracey dropped him off this forenoon. Once she backed up to the gate across my grandma's somewhat soggy backyard (oh for the dryness in Burns!) and we got the doors opened he stood in the trailer, calmly munching some alfalfa and showing no interest in getting out. Tracey was able to talk him out of the trailer from outside and after he stepped on his rope a couple of times and checked out where the ground was he stepped out of the trailer and into his new home like it was no big deal. Unfortunately, at this point, after watching him for a moment and thanking Tracey (Thank you!!) I had to race off to work.

This evening when I fed him his dinner I hung out inside the shelter leaning against the wall while he ate. I inched a little too close for his comfort so he decided to relocate himself outside, but it didn't take long for him to decide that food was more interesting than I was scary so he came back inside to munch some more.

I can't wait to get a better look at him in the daylight tomorrow!

Friday, December 5, 2008

And so it begins...

I have wanted a wild horse ever since I read an article in an old Horse and Horsemen magazine. It has been quite some time since that magazine article, but that desire for a wild horse hasn't faded. In the meantime I became interested in dressage and ran across another magazine article in Flying Changes about mustangs and their movement as the float across the land. So now my dream was more defined, I wanted to find a wild horse and train it to be a dressage horse and when I find myself at a dressage show and someone asks me "what kind of horse is that?" I could proudly say, "a Mustang!"

So, the "little" guy I picked out this weekend probably doesn't look like much at first glance, I didn't really notice him until the last minute when I was able to get this pen of will-be-geldings to move from one end of the pen to the other that I was really able to watch how they moved. This one just floated across the ground with his little dun buddy while the others that had caught my eye as they were just standing there tended to lumber over the ground. He is about a year and a half old and is listed as being about 15 hands and he still has a lot of growing to do!