Monday, May 30, 2016

Sweetwater End of First Month and Other Things

We have had a busy Memorial Day weekend. 
Friday morning started off bright and early with Otoelene helping to gather cattle to work.
J decided to work the cows in smaller groups this year which has worked out well since Sweetwater is still in the cattle barn.
Otoelene was a dream to ride as usual.
The trainer I had contacted still has not picked up Wrangler after 3 weeks so I am having second thoughts about sending Wrangler to him.  His actions so far have been pretty unprofessional.  In the mean time, we are still doing some painting.
Then our saddle club met at a local campground for some camping and trail riding.  Friday evening we went on a short 1 hour ride from which Otoelene came back limping.  
Brother was a bit of a handful for J and he did a lot of weaving and circling around me to try to slow him down.  
There were 48 trailers and the campgrounds (6 from our club, the rest from out of state).  The location is made for about 15.  
J talked me into riding Brother Saturday since Otoelene was lame.  Once again, he was a handful.  He just doesn't like to be boxed in between slower horses. He did much better when I got him near the front behind the 2 TWHs.  He had no problem keeping up with them.  
With that grin maybe I shouldn't have left J back at camp.
Today, Otoelene is on Bute for pain, trim/sulfa (antibiotic) and an icthamol poultice (a drawing agent).  The farrier is coming tomorrow to pull her shoe to see if there is an abscess.  
 
Sweetwater is still making slow but steady progress.  Saddling has proven easier than unsaddling.  I wish she would just hold still while I unhook the girth and move to the other side instead of jumping sideways and dumping the saddle off.  She is doing so much better with the fence work.  Next, I need to start driving her to work on steering some before someone gets on for real.  I might see if I can find a brave/foolish young man to sit up there first.  
And today was the first day I turned her loose in the arena to graze on her own.  I've been worried that I wouldn't be able to recapture her so I did leave a lead rope dragging.  She didn't seem to mind the rope as long as it allowed her to eat all that grass.  And it was no problem just getting the end of the rope when it was time to go back to the barn.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Sweetwater First Half Week 4

Sunday Sweetwater had a visitor in her lot.  Our beef, on the day before he was taken to his final destination, made a great escape all the way from his lot though the gate to Sweetwater's lot.  
 Looks like he is already desensitized to plastic.
 One of my sisters came to visit too.  For anyone that knows her she is a good as having a 5 year old running around to help desensitize Sweetwater.
 Then Monday was a big day.  I introduced he to a saddle.  I used a light hunter one first because I knew I was going to have to do a lot of showing/taking away.  I will spare you the video of when I finally put it on and tightened the girth, but it was very similar to the video of when I snapped the lead rope on her for the first time, just a little more bucking and some donkey like sound effects.
  It wasn't long before she accepted it and let me lunge her and lead her out to graze.
 This morning I managed to comb her forelock.  Now I just have the tail to go.
I've been working on brushing and rubbing her legs but today was the first day I was able to pick up the front ones without her trying to lay down.  Excuse the view but I'm doing the filming by myself.  I have worked on her rear legs with brushing, rubbing and a rope but haven't gotten up the nerve to pick them up yet.  I've seen how hard she can kick so I might wait a little longer.
 She was much more accepting of the saddle today, no bucking or running off.
Looks like she will make a pretty hunter or dressage horse.
Almost a month and she has made lots of changes in both her appearance and training.  I've pretty much given up on thinking we will be competitive at the end.  We will just be at whatever stage we make it to.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Just Kit Sunday #106

Kit Kat was hanging out with me the other day while I was working with Sweetwater. 
 Maybe he was getting familiar with the head gate so he can help next time we work cattle.
Or maybe he was just trying to get closer to the barn swallows that were flying around.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Sweetwater, Day 21

It's been three weeks and we are finally making progress. Sweetwater had another big day today.  
She started off having to go to a new to her part of the barn so we could work some cattle.  First, I lead her around in the new space then stood with her to let her relax.  Then she got her breakfast there so she was pretty settled before the cows and calves came in.  I sort of think she enjoys having something interesting to look at.  
By the way, this is not the kind of paint you want.  
 Then, since she had done so well yesterday with the flagging, I thought it might be time to try her outside of her lot.   First, we had to get through the gate and over the log that keeps the goats out and then into the pen next to hers that is about 3x as large and with a hill.
She got a bit uppity so I had to do a little lunging until she settled back down.  
She was even brave enough to drink out of the tire trough.  
Then, if you can believe it, I took her out of the lot and up the hill to the outdoor arena.  The fence is not very tall so I was worried that if she spooked she might just go over, but she never and much of an issue.          

The video is right after we got into the ring.  She wasn't listening completely but did better than I expected.  
I let her do some grazing.  I'm not sure she has ever seen this much grass since she has been in a holding facility for the last 4 years. 
I tried to introduce her to some clover but she wouldn't even taste it.  She preferred the grass seed heads.  
And then amazingly, she followed me all around the 12 acre field that the arena is in.  Back at her lot we did more flagging, mane combing and no pictures, but I worked her with the saddle pad.  Progress is definitely being made.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Sweetwater Day 20

I think we had a breakthrough yestersday.  It took a little longer to get the lead rope on but then I felt she was mentally strong enough to start flagging.  Flagging for those that don't know is taking something scary like plastic or fabric and desensitizing the horse to it by "flagging" it all over them.   
There were a few bolts at the beginning but we ended up great!  I was able to trace her whole body on both sides with her staying still.  I still have hope.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Stuff Other Than Sweetwater

We do have a life beyond the mustang.  Here are a few of our recent adventures. 
 J tried to get a second swarm of bees.  This swarm was from our own hive.
 They were pretty high up and J couldn't hold the box on the ladder so he used a 5 gallon bucket.
 Then dumped them into the hive.  They stayed for a few days but then left.
 We've planted most of the garden but then had two nights in the 30's last week where we had to cover it all up.
 We had a surprise kidding.  I guess I have miscounted the goats and this one snuck by.  She had triples but one was dead, one was up and nursing and one was very weak.  J had to put the goat hook on the catch pole to snag her.
 The weak one nursed well but that night was one of the cold ones and the next morning she was down and out with hypothermia.  I warmed her up and tube fed her.  It has taken a few days for her to get straightened out but she is doing fine now and looking for a new home.
 Then we got a call about another swarm of bees.  These were on a stick on the ground so easy to get to.  It looks like these might stay.
 Wrangler has been on the back burner.  I did get a new painting from him this week.
 But he was never meant to stay here so I have contacted a trainer to take him and get him sold for me.  He'll make someone a good horse, just not here.  I've got a few more sheets of paper in the current pack I hope to get him to paint on before he goes.
 J has declared this the summer of Brother.  He plans to "ride him into the ground." Whatever that means.
 He started with some liberty work,
Then went on to do some riding in the barn.  We are hoping to get back out on the trails soon. 
And we have let E go off to Ecuador for 3 week on a college conservation course.  I think she will have a wonderful time.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Sweetwater Day 18

 In the morning I worked on some desensitization with a big piece of plastic.
She actually didn't seem to mind too much with me approaching her with it.
 I'm sure I'm doing something wrong but she is starting to accept it, at least at a distance.  She never spun to take off or bounced off the fence as in the past.
 After a little bit I put it in her feed tub and put the hay on top.  She was none too happy about it.
 But she did approach it from several sides,
 Inspected it thoroughly,
 and finally decided it was ok to eat the hay.
 I then put it under the tub for the rest of the day.  I think I'll get a bigger piece where she will have to stand on it next.  Food is a strong tool in desensitizing.
Then in the evening I just worked on being able to walk up to her and stand next to her and rub her.  There might have been a breakthrough.  I got he lead rope on after about 5 minutes without too much drama.  Then she actually relaxed.  Not sure if it shows up in this picture but her lower lip is very relaxed. 
And she had a relaxed rear leg.  I know it does't seem like much but she also stood still while I walked from one side to the other and let me brush both sides without moving off.  She is leading some better too.   Then this morning when I just fed her, I brushed both sides without a lead rope and no moving off.  Keeping my fingers crossed.
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