Saturday, March 28, 2009

Me and Pneumonia are not friends

To all of you who were wishing me well I THANK YOU!! So much... I Want to thank S&D and her Hubby for caring for my horse's. And My good friend Dusty for caring for Acacia. Ugh... I"m still tired and very beaten up. Pneumonia = My Personal Hell... BUT I'm almost over it and here's the great news!!!! I have not smoked a cigarette since Last Tuesday... Pros and Cons... T Rex is getting back in the game!!!! Thank you Thank you Thank ALL OF YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Let's get back on track... We got a mustang to train!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Minor detail

Well, it's a minor setback. I have pneumonia and will be out for a few days... Be back soon.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

It's so true

So one thing that John Lyons believes in is that a horse should be more relaxed at the end of a lesson, than at the beginning. And it is so true!!! When working with Acacia that is my number one goal. I don't want her to be scared at all!!! And holy cow, she rarely is!
Last night was her first time with a saddle on. Did she care? No... Well she was curious and nervous, but she didn't rear, buck, strike, thrash, nothing! And THAT is the goal of every lesson! So here are some more pictures of Acacia being the brave little girl she is.

Oh and by the way... When she "loves" me, she shoves her muzzle in the crook of my neck, or rests her chin on my shoulder. Yeah and I love her right back!!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Life is Good!

It has been an AMAZING weekend!! Acacia is already a champ!!!! First she was a mudball and Saturday was warm enough to attempt a bath. So we did. And she LOVED it!! She liked it so much she ended up playing and drinking from the hose. See the great thing about water as a training tool, is that you can stand at a safe distance and they can kick and kick at it, yet water never goes away. IT teaches them so much about being touched all over... She loves her stall too now and wasn't too keen on coming out at first but in the end she was a rockstar!!!

Sunday was a HUUUUGE day! She stands and is super gentled now... So I decide to push the envelope a bit more and bust out the clippers... She could care less!!!!! She has a nice clipped muzzle and bridle path!! The clippers were loud too, but her curiosity was way too strong for her not to check them out... I was so shocked and beyond thrilled that she let me clip her face!

Next task was me throwing my coat all over her. Again there was no reaction as long as I let her smell it first, she didn't care.
Last but not least, she has NO fear of tarps, she finds them fun and interesting... Now that took some coaxing at first, but she walked over the tarp within 2 minutes tops!!!!

She is so damn funny, because when she gets scared now, she just shoves her muzzle into my
shoulder and
But I know you wil
l keep me safe!!"

Yeah, I am falling in love FAST and hard...

Saturday, March 21, 2009


So yesterday it was cold and nasty and poor Acacia was shivering, so something HAD to be done. She had to be led into a stall. Never being led before I still had one rope around her neck and the lead as my just in cases. All gates were shut and I had to move her throw a labyrinth of things she'd never seen before.

It was a cake walk. I couldn't believe it. She would walk and take all her steps with me but if I got too far ahead of her then she's stop, wait for me to back up, shove her nose in my shoulder for protection and we'd walk on.... We also had to rinse her legs off as it was just too muddy and she actually LOVED the water!!! She loves her stall too. She settled right in munching her hay and relaxing finally.

Her welcome wagon to Seattle so far has been nothing but poor pissing rain, wind, sleet, and hail. And her outside shelter just wasn't cutting the mustard. So happily she is snug as a bug in a rug in her stall!! More pics to come on Monday!!!!!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Tough Lessons....

When training a horse, any horse, there are those lessons that if you have one, will tear out your heart... Last night we had one of those. Last night, she learned to tie....

I walked up to her as I do, clipped the lead rope on her and slipped a rope over her head. Why a rope?? Well, if she learns to break a halter and a lead rope she will do it again and again.... So I rigged up the rope so it wouldn't get tight on her, it's just an enforcer that all. And I tied her to a huge pole with the lead rope a hair tighter than the rope. Now she has about a good two and half feet of slack, I don't want her nose mashed up on the pole, I just want her to feel a little bit of that tension when she backs up. Again the rope around her neck is my second line of defense, not my first, I want her to get used to the lead rope and halter.

Well to my surprise she did VERY well, she only had a few times where she tried to pull back and all you can do is watch them kick and paw and pull their hardest. That's the part that kills me... I want so bad to tell her it'll be OK, that it's just a lesson, but she has to figure it out on her own... Once she learned she couldn't go anywhere she stood and looked around to say "Hey lady! Where's my chow???" So I brought her over some hay and then proceeded to pet her all over her face, chin, and cheeks... Damn she is a smart girl. Being tied didn't bother her one bit after she had some comfort food LOL. She let me walk up to her and away and back and forth and rub her darling head. I still go slow and easy with the petting, I don't want her to get scared and think I'm trapping her...

So far she likes the rubs!! I keep telling her, "It's only going to get better from here!"

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Day 4

We are 95% there. We are 5% away from having the partnership that I crave!!! She round pens beautifully now!! She always turns IN to me when I ask her to reverse, She NEVER shows me her bum. She has no fear of tarps, walks right up to me, I can walk right up to her.

She's way too smart and I know, with out question that she has to be 100% on board with me or we will never make it to our full potential!
As much as it would be easier for me to rush things and get all over her, I have to keep reminding myself that sometimes "you need to SLOW DOWN to speed up."
She is amazing and she continues to grow with me... here's a couple pics of my friends Hubby Standing with her!!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

So Bad

So tonight was Day 3! And Acacia is doing amazing! Tonight we worked more in the round pen, getting her to trust me and come to me... It's very easy and tempting to just grab her halter and force myself on her. Force her to stand while I touch her and she freaks out, but that accomplishes nothing. All she learns is that I am a dominant person that she doesn't want to be around.

So I wait and I round pen and I watch her body language as she watches mine. She stops and turns into me and I hold out my hand and she gives little horse sniffles on it, slowly making her way up my arm and finally to face. She is checking me out. She knows I'm OK. Now she stands and I can walk up to her head and hold out my hand and she knows she can stand and feel good. And she does, back leg cocked looking at me the whole, while I'm only a mere 4 inches away from her. I can touch her face all over and her halter and she's OK. And that is what I'm looking for.

You know when you train any horse you may take 5 steps forward and by the next day you may loose a step and be at 4. And that's not a problem, horses can only retain so much we try to cram at them...

Acacia is 80% there. 80% gentle enough for me to walk up to her without her moving, I can feel it. She can be touched all over her body with my "extendo arm" and she could care less... Every horse moves at their own pace however and Acacia is in a groove. She wants to know me and like me, but she battles with instinct. And that's OK too. Again, as much as I could easily lock her up in a stall or tie her and force her to take my presence, that is NOT a partnership and in the long will turn her sour towards me. Slow and steady wins the race...

Join Me

Day 1~ I want so bad for her to love and trust me, but have to use my better judgement and NOT dare think about rushing her. I only have 90 days to get her from wild to broke. So Sunday morning I get up and am thrilled to go and work with her. Begin "gentling" her, so to speak. I arrive at the barn and go into her round pen and all she does is move away from me. I advance and retreat, for at least 30 minutes and while I can get closer to her, she still looks at me as if I'm a horse eating human.

I finally grab some hay and hold it in my hands for another 20 minutes and she finally got the courage to came and check me out. She inched her way closer until finally she was eating out of my HANDS!!! She sniffed at me and continued eating.

While I was AMAZED at our progress, I was also beginning to panic. "What if I can't gentle her?" or "What if it takes too long?" I am an over analyzer you could say.

Day 2 ~ Yesterday was AMAZING! I begin some round pen work with her John Lyons style. Watching every move she makes, every ear twitch, lip movement, snort, EVERYTHING I'm watching. Within 10 minutes she is turning and facing me, I advance and retreat and when she turns her head away to look out of the pen, I move her on. She can NOT ignore me.

The feeling of the lunge whip lightly (and I mean LIGHTLY) touching her is enough to make her BOOGIE! HOWEVER, she NEVER kicks, strikes, bites, or freaks out on me! She's curious and cautious... Again though, within minutes, she's used to it . Is this mare really that smart?? YES she is! She finally just stands still while I use the lunge whip to give her scratches on the shoulder, withers and back.

Lesson Number 1 Learned~ STANDING and letting this lady touch me with this long arm thing is wayyyyyy easier than me running!!!

I begin again with a shorter and different colored whip. Again trying to simply rest it on her shoulder. But it's new and she's on the move again. She finally stops and turns into me and puts her head out. I hold up the whip and let her sniff it and touch her withers with it and begin to use it as her personal scratcher! She is wary of this new "device" and moves on and stops several times, before stopping for good and letting me touch her all over with it. While I can't personally get that close to her, my "extended" arm can.

She turns in again and sniffs the whip, only this time going all the way up to my hand and arm!!! She stands quiet and sniffs my hand more letting me gently touch her muzzle. She moves on and comes back to me for more sniffings! Each sniff getting longer and more comfortable. I am elated!!! and decide this is a PERFECT end to day 2!!!!

Lesson Number 2 Learned ~ My hand is not SCARY :)

Road Trip

OK, Back up again... LOL!! THIS is how it all got started. I went on the Extreme Mustang Makeover site and saw that they were having the Western States Challenge in Sacramento, CA among other challenges. HOWEVER I had missed other application deadlines EXCEPT for this one!! So I had to fill out a detailed application AND have 2 clients of mine fill out a refernce form. Draw maps of where she'd be kept and the shelter she would have. I had to answer questions about my training style, why I should be chosen, how long, so on and so forth. Out of ALL of the applicants the EMM and BLM only were able to choose 29 trainers!!! ME, being one of 29. Let me tell you the BLM does NOT screw around. They want to know EVERYTHING. How much you feed, size of your water buckets... WOW! They also stress that these horses are "Federal Property." Yeeeeeks! It's good in the long run though as I find my Acacia to be precious and holding in her blood the history of these wild horses.

Trip Time!!! ~ My dear friends and I hit the road Thursday night at 7pm from Seattle, WA heading to Litchfield, CA about an 11 hour drive BOTH WAYS... We drove until well past midnight until we stopped for some sleep in Eugene, OR.

Up at 6:30 am we had to be up and ready for another 7 hour drive to Litchfield, threw mountains, past a TON of farms and fields and finally in to the high desert, when we arrived. I had to go into the office and fill out paperwork as last year apparently, a lot of mustangs came back EMACIATED!!! WTF?!?!?!?!?! Why would you sign up for this if you don't have the means???? Any who, they told me I'd be getting a black mare with a little star and snip.

I handed my paperwork to the wranglers outside and we backed the trailer up to the chute. One of the cowboys jumped on his horse and cut her out of the herd. As she came down the chute I thought I was going to die, not knowing what to expect. I was more than surprised when this cute little darling came trotting into the end of the chute. The Cowboys cut off her ID tag, opened the front of the cute, touched her bum and she walked right into the trailer. No kicking, thrashing, rearing, nothing...

We begin to make our way back after our brief 30 minute stop to get Acacia. Very anti-climactic... 11 hour drive for 30 minutes, then we're off again... *sigh*

Acacia doesn't move in the trailer, and every time we stop to get gas I sneak peeks to make sure she's OK. She's shaking, but fine. She hasn't eaten or gone to the bathroom yet, but she's a trooper. We end up back in Eugene, OR and decide it's way too much to try and finish out the rest of the drive, as we would have gotten home at around 2-3AM, so we stop for the night. Acacia doesn't make a peep the whole night. In the morning when we check on her she has eaten and drank water and there is manure in the trailer!!

Saturday morning we wake up and hit the road again... Arriving at home, being welcomed back by a rainy afternoon. We back up to the round pen, open then door and she jumps out of the trailer and gives a "Where am I?" Snort. She circles around, we throw her feed in the pen and let her rest another night...

Monday, March 16, 2009

Meet Acacia

So I recieved some sound advice to start a second blog about Acacia. The mustamg I was given for the Extreme Mustang Makeover... This will be her story..

Acacia is a four yr old Black Bay mare who came from the Three Sisters Herd. She was captured as a yearling and has been living at the BLM ever since...This is her chance to teach me...