Monday, August 29, 2016

Sweetwater, Handling and Conditioning

J and I got up at 4:00 AM Thursday morning to make it to Lexington by 8:00.  Sweetwater loaded and unloaded fine.  She was a little excited but really not too bad.
I got her to her stall and we were set up and ready for the weekend activities which started at 9:00 with "Show Prep"
This involved all of us in the ring while a MHF staff person talked about training.  (really, might have been a little late for that)  While everyone else was riding around I pretty much just had to stand there.  Story of my life for the weekend, standing there.  This was followed by the Handling and Conditioning class.  J was good to video it for me.
I really thought she did a good job.  I think the catching part was a lot my fault the way I approached her.  I was in too big a hurry.  She did everything else about as good as she could.  We ended up 17/23.  I really thought I would beat the one that wouldn't load on the trailer and was excused but he placed 15th.
There wasn't much to do with Sweetwater after that so I watched Mary Miller Jordan doing Liberty with Mustangs
She was interesting and definitely had a different way of thinking about her training.  She talked about focusing mental energy at the horse to create energy from them then capture the energy back and refocus it at a different spot to get them to do something else.  My ESP is apparently not very strong so I still carry a lunge whip.  I think she is very good at reading the horse's body language and her horses are reading her's more than she realizes.  It was very remarkable for her to join up all 4 and lope around with them.
Then Friday I didn't have anything to do with Sweetwater until 5:00 when I had to lead her through the trail class.  So I cleaned her stall, fed and watered her and went to watch the Maneuvers class.  When I got back her stall looked like this...
She had pulled the buckets off the wall, one she had gotten the handle off of and the other she had broken the double snap that was holding it up.  She had also gotten the bungee cords off that were keeping the buckets from moving.   She had pawed all of her had into the shavings and pawed all of that to the back of the stall.  I ended up taking her out to graze for most of the afternoon so I missed the rest of the lectures and demos.
I'll put the video up tomorrow but it is taking too long to upload to youtube.  Since J was gone, he left after the class on Thursday, I got a stranger to video me and a friend just sent me this picture on facebook. I earned 3 points out of a possible 80 for my efforts.  Plus, I got a minor rope burn which you will see why in the video tomorrow.
Then, to add insult to injury, the BLM asked if they could use my horse for a "Wild Horse Gentling Demo"  the next morning since they didn't have a wild mustang there for the "professional" trainer to use.  I reluctantly agreed but also asked if they could start referring to me as a Veterinarian instead of a Veteran.  And since I was done competing could I give my horse a tranquilizer for the night since she was still tearing the stall apart.  She had added raking her teeth across the bars to the striking and pawing that she had been doing. 
So Saturday morning I took Sweetwater out of her stall to the round pen where she enjoyed being able to run around some after being cooped up for 2 days.  Then the "trainer" come in and talks about his philosophy of leadership, telling some feel good story about his mustang while he rubs on the horse with his crutch.  Wow, he is surprise she didn't spook at that.  Then he goes to halter her and she turns her head away.  Oh, she's telling us she's not ready, more touchy feely talk then try to halter again.  She does the exact same thing but he forces the halter on and says, "see the difference, see how soft she is now".  Then he talks about all the nerve endings in the ear and nose and proceeds to rub his finger in her ears and nose then says, "that's a good place to stop with her today, see how relaxed she is now."
How about how relaxed she was 2 days ago after just getting there!
Anyway, when I got back to the stall she refused to go in.  After 30 minutes of trying which was difficult because of all the people walking past, someone finally offered to help.  She used the lunge whip on the rear while I pulled on the front and she Sweetwater finally went in.  I guess I wasn't sticking my finger in her ear or nose right. I left her in the stall until J got there at lunch time.  She then turned the bucket of water I offered her over and made a lake at the doorway which she proceeded to paw in and make an even worse mess of things.   So I had to take her out again and bathe her.  After that I just let her graze until the "Meet and Greet" at 3:00.  This is where we go into the arena and try to get the public interested in our horses and answer any questions they may have. 
This is what Sweetwater chose to do while the other trainer from my county was doing flips off of hers.  By the way, she did an amazing job, made the top 10, pulled a cart and finished 8th overall. 
Enough for today, I'll finish up later. 


Virginia Reasor said...

At least you achieved all of your goals

C said...

I agree with the prior comment - you had excellent goals and I'm glad you met them (except for the rope burn).

ESP and touching ears and nose. HUMPH. I say good grief. I wish either of these "theorist" could have been given sweetwater from the start. I would have loved to have seen how far their approaches would have gotten after 100 days. I think you made great progress.

I thought you did great on the video. It sounds like a tough tough go on the stall.

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