Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Bally takes the lead!

Another scorcher today, so just wanted to build on from yesterday and go for a walk and see how we did....we did great!

Bridle on and B immediately started flipping the bit over and twisting the cheekpieces again - which then sits the bit way too high in her mouth, so I dropped it a hole each side....and she stopped flipping it, just picked it up and held it .... All she'd been doing was trying to get it comfortable but couldn't as I'd adjusted just a touch too high for her the first time - doh!

I thought I'd try a new route today - a there and back down the Flitch way which is a combined use path / bridleway that runs behind the farm. The idea was that we'd pootle along to the gate / step over bit, turn around and come back.

She was really nice and forward despite the fact this was new territory, so I gradually lengthened the line and let her take the lead which she did!!!!
I stopped after a couple of minutes and thought lets go the whole hog, brought my long line around her bum and fastened the other end to the rope halter to make proper long lines, went to her quarters ......
and asked her to walk on again.....
And walk on she did !!!!

We had a little trot too and she was working really nicely from my voice commands, I was so chuffed with her!!!

Once we approached the gate I asked for halt and came back round to lead her again as I wanted to make sure she didn't spook at the sight of it - It's a metal gate to stop vehicles using the path but has a big cut out with a rubber covered step in the middle for horses to go over...only some horse hate it and take a flying leap as they won't just "step" over the scary 9" high rubber bit for love nor money (...ahem...Safi lol!!)

We walked on up and I asked Bally to have a sniff at it and blow me down she just walked straight up to and then over it as if she'd done every day of her life - I know horses that have to be taken on a 20 minute detour as they won't walk over this thing! What a star!

Gave her loads of cuddles and scratches then we turned round and stepped over it again to head back home. Once we were nice and forwards again I flipped the reins over and let her lead and long reined her back down the path. We had a lovely walk / trot / walk and then I asked for halt again and took over at the front as I thought she'd been plenty brave enough for one night bless her

I took her into her stable for her good girl treats and then into the wash box to see if she'd like a wash off to cool down......well it didn't take long for her to accept the hose all over...this being the second time we tried it! - She wasn't keen on her legs being hosed just yet so I just used the sponge on them, but all up her neck, back, body and chest she stood and let me spray her and sponge her off - really enjoying it!! She kept sticking her nose over to sniff the spray gun bit and ended up standing there as I squirted water in her mouth then flapped it all back out over me lol!

I gave her a nice going over with the lovely scritchy plastic curry comb and then massaged some Eqyss Survivor into her gorgeous mane and ran my fingers through to detangle it - what a gorgeous girlie wub

Off back to the field for a lovely roll in the long grass, what a fantastic end to the day!

Monday, 29 June 2009

Whoops..catch up!

Yesterday was one of those hot sticky days when neither Bailarina or I felt much like doing anything, but we had a little play in the school, just because!

As usual she was nice and attentive in hand and I had some lovely work at liberty with her, where she walked, trotted and halted following me just from body language and voice commands....mind you when she'd had enough she stopped and looked at me..just saying "errrr it's too hot, ain't gonna" as I walked away to ask her to do another circuit....can't blame her - I'd had enough of running too!

She had a couple of mad moments on the lead rein prior to that too, feisty little missy!! Went to have a hoolie while I was still attached so I stopped dead and brought her round, walked forward again - ooh we had a bossy mare head shake and another attempt at boinging around. So I stopped and using fairly strong body language backed her up to remind her that on the lead she has manners! Our first real proper madam moment!!
I'm delighted to say she was a sweetheart after that and I knew she'd taken the lesson really well when she was happy to work at liberty with me :-) (Yes the fluffy bunny part of me wants a partnership and her to have a say in it, but I also need her to learn that sometimes we play and sometimes we work -if I'm on the end of a rope there are manners required and a body to be avoided!!)

Tonight was a fun night, with some really great lessons learnt, I was thrilled to see how pleased she was to be coming in to "do" stuff !

We came in and had a nice scratch and groom...after saying hello to the horsebox again with no pressure - she's happily walking right up and having a good sniff and snuffle up the ramp - tonight she was leaning right up it with her feet touching the bottom - I don't think it'll be too long before she takes a step - and it will be all her own idea - I'm just standing there clicking and giving her bits of apple when she's brave!

Popped her bridle and roller on - with no reaction whatsoever, I keep expecting her to at least go ooh whassat? but no, Little B takes it all in her stride :-)

We went out for a really nice walk down round the back of the hay field and the rape field, I just walked and jogged with her on a loose 10 ft of lead so she was just playing follow my leader, sometimes behind, sometimes to the side, but all just with a loose connection so that she's encouraged to move forwards freely herself in preparation for when we learn to long rein out and about
We had a bit of a whoohoo moment as we walked back past Sky and Alfie's field - they bombed across squealing and Bally did the eeek slam anchors on combined with a jump and a scoot...then lifted her tail and popped into the most amazing passage at my side - when I picked my jaw up off the floor I just walked with her as showed off in that spectacular Luso way - WOW!!

Back to the yard to untack and have a little handful of nuts, then as we were both quite warm I took her into the washbox to sponge her off and see if she would be willing to let me introduce the hose.
She was so good, enjoyed the sponging so as I'd had the hose in my hand all the time I was sponging her I just added a trickle of water from the hose over her legs too. She didn't seem at all bothered so I moved the hose up to her chest and ribs and again just keeping on with the sponging, but with trickle from the hose washed her down -she was a star.
I'll bring her in most sunny days for a nice cool down like that, so she appreciates it and it remains something nice to be enjoyed. I don't think it'll be long before she's accepting the hose all over, but I like to take these sort of things very slowly so she never associates it with being pressurised or scared...all good!

After all that excitement we just had a nice slow meander back to the field where I left her happily grazing - a really good day!!

Saturday, 27 June 2009

A quiet day...a bit sad

We all trooped up to the farm this morning: Superhubby, Ben & Leyna the rottdogs, little Spuddy and moi. Bailarina came a pootling up to say hello to B& L as she hadn't met them before.

Ben was up for a game of tag - he still tries it with Safi, but she won't play any more - Little B was more than happy to give that wonderful Luso "I AM the boss" headshake at him and play for a few minutes showing off that wonderful trot - and a foot perfect half pass!! - But it was lovely to see her turn to Leyna who, as a rather stately and rotund old lady, doesn't really do games of tag any more and go to herd her then stop, give her a little nudge and a sniff and gently walk behind her...bless her!

Bally then proceeded to follow me round whilst I poo picked and then stood and had a lovely scratch..all good!

After lunch Aunty Louise (another crazy Luso lady lol) came over to meet Bailarina and....... we have another member of the fan club, she loved her! Very taken with how well she's matured and thought her lovely temperament was a real testament to a good upbringing :-) She said that Little B had come into my life at just the right time and was there to help me through the pain of the loss of Safi...if ever there was a little mare that loved having a hug and a scratch it was her and she'll help me through the heartbreak

Louise is a qualified Bowen therapist who's treated Safi many times over the last few years and she was coming over to see if she could make her a little more comfortable by giving her a treatment this afternoon....
Sadly Safi didn't want to be touched at all, made it quite clear that she wasn't going to be treated and even with very gentle massage she was tense and trying to move away - this is a horse that used to stand on the open yard and fall asleep during her Bowen therapy. Lou and I both ended up in tears because Safi was just saying no more. The only place she was happy for Lou to treat was her head - the one place on her body that she doesn't actually have a problem.
It made me so sad because I know I'm running out of time with her and it's hurting so much. It's odd little things like that and the fact that she is stripping the willow tree completely despite the heavy dose of painkillers, she still feels the need to self medicate so must be in pain still and I can't bear that. She is still interested in life though and oddly is being far more cuddly with me - which makes it even harder to bear
Lou was great though, sat me down and made me start talking about the hows and whens...
but after she'd had gone I just sat with Safi and cried and cried :-( No surprises I'm writing this and blubbering again.

Did my evening check on Bally and I think she sensed my sadness as she followed me around the field as I poo picked, never leaving my side, she was very gentle and let me have a good cry all over her too, then made me laugh as she tried to steal my laces...nearly pulled me off my feet, funny girl...bless her x

Friday, 26 June 2009

Why oh Why???

Didn't I take my camera to the yard today...it was monumental!

We pootled on in from the field and had a wander up to Dawn's horsebox again, no hesitation this time and Bailarina just walked herself right on up to it! I stood to the side and let her have a good sniff in her own time, one more step and she'd have been on it...all without any prompting from me. A bit too early for that just yet though - Lots of clicks and treats were had for her sterling and very brave effort!!!

As we arrived in the yard one of the regular yard farriers arrived too, so we stood and watched him work (good standing around practise..we like a bit of that) He took one look and said "Lusitano?" (Blimey!! thinks I) then "really nice sort, well put together" Another member of the Bally fan club then lol! He's not quite patient enough for my liking so I wouldn't use him, specially not on a youngster (even if he does like like Little B ;-) )

Into our yard and I tied Bally up, did her tootsies, then fetched my work bridle...and my roller.....

Bridle on, lots more chewing, she has this habit of sort of flipping the bit over in her mouth so it twists the cheek pieces...didn't matter how many times I turned it back...it's odd because it means she prefers holding it with the curve of the bit going the wrong way..funny girl!

Whilst she stood having a good old chew I popped the roller polypad on...no reaction, let her have a good sniff at the roller...all fine, popped it over her back...nowt, flapped it around her sides...couldn't have cared less, reached under and slowly did the first buckle....absolutely no reaction whatsoever, and did the second strap....and then tightened it......Bailarina just turned and looked at me then carried on flipping and chewing her bit !!! Each step was clicked and treated..what a fabulous start!

I took her down to the school (all kitted out!), she had a bit of a blip going through the gate - I want her calm steady and in walk, Little B walked til she was level with the gate then had a bit of a scoot and a trot through, so back we went the other way in walk, clicked and treated. Turned her to walk back into the school and she trotted again! So we repeated and broke it down into single walk steps coming in this time, which worked well.

Today I walked her round in hand one circuit each way, and although she was wary at the caravan end, she stayed forward and walking, just a little tenser than I would have liked.

Then for the first time I let her off to loose school....whoohoo and off she went!. The idea is that as she trots I say trot, if she walks I say walk etc so that she starts to pick up the voice commands under no pressure.
She looked spectacular as she trotted, cantered, span and hoolied around for five minutes...why didn't I bring the bloody camera argh!!!!

Only one minor eek moment - the polypad started to slip out from under the roller, a couple of wonderfully balanced and extremely athletic whoopee bucks saw it sent flying......whoops!

Once she'd settled down and it wasn't all quite so exciting I wandered around and let her follow me into the corners, then nice and calmly popped her lead rope back on and finished off with another circuit in hand each way - she did go to have another whoopee, but a firm no and a check brought her straight back, bless her she really does try so hard!

And then.....as there was one in the school......to finish off the session we walked over a coloured pole!

She had a little sniff as we approached it but as I walked over it she just followed, no change in tempo, no skittishness, just walked over it as if she'd been doing it all her life - most horses at least have a bit of a leap the first time - I'm astonished at what she will take in her stride - Superstar!!!! I like to use poles for mazes, fans etc to get ponies using their backs and abs better, and to think about what they are doing with their legs also makes schooling a lot more interesting, so unless it was a total fluke, she's going to be really good at that play / work stuff.

So what a brilliant day - we walked back down the yard and I gave her a lovely grooming and scratch and a little handful of nuts so she knew she'd done really well, then we wandered back down to the field and had a ten minute chill out together as she grazed around me whilst I sat and just reflected on just how clever she's been x

We'll have another day off tomorrow to let her relax in mind and body after taking so much in today :-)

Thursday, 25 June 2009

A big girl now

Who looks exceptionally smart and grown up in her bridle and bit!!

This is what Bailarina will be modelling should we crack the calm happy loading and travelling and get out to some shows before the end of the Autumn.....and I think you'll agree she looks rather gorgeous!

I've been practising the over the ears like a bridle job using her headcollar pretty much since day one so she is used to the feeling, but this is first try with a bit and apart from the usual baby chomping and crunching on it, she gave it her usual...oh yeah, whatever. Opened her mouth to accept the bit with no hesitation (now there's a surprise lol ;-) )

I always start them with the bit fairly low in their mouths so they can pick it up and hold it to show me where it's most comfortable for them and then I adjust it accordingly so we don't have any tongue over the bit shenanigans!

She was a lot more settled in the stable full stop today, glad of something to think about whilst she was in there!

I'll swap her to a work bridle next time, but keep the baby bit in until she's actually being asked to relax her jaw in her inhand work, which we are quite a way off yet. But she'll start wearing a bridle under her headcollar occasionally when we go out for our little wanders from now on.

Next step is a roller :-o

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

We had....

....A night off tonight, and so can you :-)

I hacked my friend Louise's Luso boy Tesouro out, then popped over to see Little B, sat in the field with her and had a cuddle as she nibbled my boots....sweet!

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Seeing the sights...

Little Bailarina just gets better every day :-) (you'll all get bored of me singing her praises soon) I can't believe I have so much to write about, but she just continues to surprise me. Pauline you have done such a fantastic job in bringing her up, she's so bright and enthusiastic about everything...a bit shy of things to start with but..well honestly...I am giving her loads to think about!! - She is just so lovely to be around

We went a wandering again - just around the back of the fields so a ten minute walk...to visit the scary Haylage bales and she didn't even hesitate tonight..in fact she marched up to the first one and started trying to lick it!! I had to pull her away lol!
Had a little inhand trot, but it was very hot so neither of us us was feeling particularly energetic or enthusiastic about having a run.

I brought her in to the yard with the intention of popping her in her stable for a groom but on the way I spotted Dawn's horsebox out...with the ramp down.(Dawn is our Yard Owner)
So as Little B was being such a brave girl we walked towards it..and then walked right towards it - yes she was doing it again...... totally exceeding my expectations! I used the clicker at this point with a click, click / treat for steps in the right direction and as we were about four feet away she stopped. I just asked for another forward step and she walked right up and sniffed the ramp - Jackpot!!!!! Massive scratches and a couple of bits of apple as we stood there nice and calmly. Then I asked her to step back and we walked away - We might have a play with Bessie my little Horsebus this coming weekend..I don't want any pressure on her, I want her to trust that she can get on the box and it won't be a bad experience..we'll get there!

On the way back to the stable I thought she could be introduced to the washbox, normal stable..but bare, big swing arm on the wall with a hose attached and hanging down..possibly scary...um nope. She walked straight in with me, I gave her a loose lead and she walked around, sniffed and had a nibble on a haynet left in there - all good!

Off into our barn and her stable -and it's quite funny, left loose she's still a bit tense in there, fidgety and unsettled...but if I tie her up she settles straight away - funny girl! We had a good groom and a hoof picking session and then walked back down to the field after another hard afternoons work.
I sat in the grass with her and she grazed around me, nibbled my toes and ruffled my hair for me - a nice end to a great bonding session :-)

Monday, 22 June 2009

Pootling around

Guess who came to meet me at the gate this morning for a good grooming...Yay!

And we had a repeat performance this evening!

As we'd had such a good trundle round yesterday I decided we could brave the wild blue yonder and actually have a mini in hand hack out tonight.
Off we went down the track but turned left this time to walk down the back of the fields and ..........Bailarina was great, right there in my hand, no hanging back, just nice, calm and forwards. Even when the boys came hoolying across the paddocks she gave a little whoohoo and gave me nothing more than a couple of jogging steps and settled right back down to our happy little pootling

Well that was until we got to about 25 feet away from the hay field and Little B spotted the newly bagged and wrapped monster blue Haylage bales!

Eyes on stalks she tucked herself behind me and let me go first, I just needed to be confident and keep marching on so she could trust in that. She had a couple of sticky moments but just a little encouragement and she kept going albeit quite gingerly.......

So up in the field and I asked her to trot on to totally unstick her and it worked, we almost had a game of longline tag around the bales...suddenly they weren't quite so scary!

I love opening her trot up inhand, she is so poised and very very good at watching me for cues to lengthen or slow down or stop, what a joy!! (I'm not sure I like all this running lark though I might get fit!!..lucky I had the foresight to stick my Trail shoes on rather than my yard boots lol!!)

That was good enough for today so we came back down the track at the front of the fields this time and even approaching the back of one of the yards where there was a bonfire she was still forward and with me...she had a little wibble as someone behind the hedge picked that moment to drag something very large and heavy across their yard, but no running, she just jumped and stayed with me, but very tense now. The chap was really apologetic, he must have seen B over the hedge doing a creditable giraffe impersonation cos he stopped and yelled sorry!

I was really pleased that she settled immediately as soon as the noise stopped and I was able to continue on with a loose line and her just "with" me.

Lots of scratches and another little groom and that was us done for the night, great progress!

I'm confident now that she has enough trust to start actually going out and about on proper walks - we have great off road hacking, and Captain the stalwart ex riding school shire cross is going to come and nanny us the first time out - he's a real old trooper who used to lead all the babies out so he really knows his job.

Sunday, 21 June 2009

Out for a wander

First...lets say hello
to a special visitor to today's Blog

......Hi Safi!!

Safi has been helping Gi by very ably mowing the lawn this weekend and I think she makes a very pretty garden implement as well as a lovely garden ornament!!

On to the star of the blog..... Bailarina had a good day today, she was very pleased to see us this afternoon and as she seemed so amenable and it was very quiet down at the yard we thought we'd all go for a little wander and see some scary stuff...on a Sunday afternoon whilst it wasn't quite so scary!

First off though Little B helped me poo pick by supervising the proceedings - just to make sure I was doing it properly!

Then we got all kitted up ready for a trundle round the farm...to meet a few scary monsters!

Only.....they didn't seem at all scary!! She just wandered around after me, following whatever I did, calmly and without fuss, earning herself lots of clicks and treats

So as it was all going so well we went past the fabricators where we'd met the forklift the other day...I was expecting a bit of hesitation because it had been quite a challenge for her.... um...nope!!!

Back round on to the yard to get up close and personal with a bus

And as you can see she wasn't bothered in the slightest!!!
What a superstar!!!!!

So she got lots of treats and then we trundled off to finish the circuit

Funnily enough the only time during the whole proceedings that there was any tension on the lead was 5 seconds after the last shot above...when she decided she couldn't walk past that horribly scary water trough you can see Spuddy heading towards and needed a tiny tweak for forwards!!!

I just couldn't have been more pleased with her today...onwards and upwards!

Saturday, 20 June 2009

Friends again

After getting a proper verbal *rse chewing from some lovely people last night I'm feeling a lot better about stuff today
They pointed out all the positive things that happened during the session...even when things were at their scariest Little B stayed with me or came to me...which is EXACTLY what I'm looking for at this stage.... my well deserved kicking has been duly taken on board ;-)

Took the clicker bag with me to the field..ready for action if the situation presented itself...well I got through the gate and about a 1/4 of the way in When Bailarina left her grazing and walked over to see me :-) I was able to give her a good click and treat (carrots!) She's also starting to pick up the fact that mugging is no go and is getting the head away to receive a reward idea

We had a fun time poo picking as she mock charged the wheelbarrow, then span and leapt around, ready to repeat the fun game...Um I'm not sure just how much bullfighting there is on her Dam side, but she appears to be a complete natural at it!! LOL

As she followed me back up the field towards the gate I clicked for following and rewarded when she came to me, watching very carefully for signs of hesitation so I could pick my last reward spot carefully...one step closer to the gateway than she would make on her own....

It worked really well, she had a little hesitation, but much closer to the gate than she had been when she stopped on the lead line and walked towards me for a click and jackpot - carrots, scratches AND a belly rub, clever girl!

Left it at that, said goodbye and went out the gate. Bless her she stood for a couple of minutes and watched before wandering back off down the field

Friday, 19 June 2009

And two steps back....

Today was not a great day all told and I learnt a valuable lesson that I really should have known already - there is no rush, if it doesn't feel right walk away - there is always tomorrow!

Had to go to my vets this afternoon to pick up another box of Danilon and whilst I was there confirm my decision about Safi to Jane in the office so she could let Andre know ...she said that Andre had spoken about it and the general consensus was that we had both been through enough now - cue floods of tears (inconsolable sobbing in semi public places seems to be my forte at the minute) so I was not in a good frame of mind when I arrived at the yard

I'd already decided just to bring Bally in for a groom and put her back out, but the fates conspired against us for even that much. I went to the field and plonked myself down about a third of the way in - B was at the bottom nattering over the fence to Patch...but she broke off and pootled on up to see me - This really lifted my spirits as it was the first time she has approached me entirely on her own terms.

Popped her halter on and asked her to follow up to the gate..again we had hesitation, but very half hearted. At this point someone in the yard at the back of the industrial units started swinging a fork lift with long boards and flappy plastic on...all in view of the fields. Cue Little B having a rigid, quaking, eye popping panic attack (on the spot thank goodness) My friend Di was two paddocks up so I shouted over could she and her horse Prince give us a lead in...sure no problem.

Well whilst I was asking for little forward steps in the gateway I suddenly heard thundering hooves...Prince had taken fright at the bloody forklift behind the hedge pulled away from Di and was bearing down on us at a rapid rate of knots!!!! I'm holding B and he comes charging into our gateway - Poor little B is rooted to the spot at this and in that moment of shock I manage to grab him.
We all get ourselves sorted out and decide to go the back way into the yard...everyone on their toes and round the corner we walk slap bang into another forklift..Prince goes goes vertical and baby B literally craps herself

On tippy toes and with hearts going like the clappers I finally get her into her box and she's quivering all over poor little lamb...I'm feeling pretty much the same so I just turned her loose, sat at the back of the box..(on the scary hemcore!!) and watching her carefully I clicked for any remotely calm behaviour. She finally joined me on the bed after some door barging, mini rearing and what looked suspiciously like an attempt to eye up jumping put of the box and after snorting and furrowing the evil bedding about with her nose, scraping it up into a mountain and at last relaxing enough to give me some licking and chewing she topped it all off and had a big wee :-)

Happy with this sign of calm acceptance I popped her headcollar on (over the ears a la bridle) and took her back out via the big barn where she had to stand for five minutes whilst I had a chat with Di and Michelle (good girl, little fidgety, but always stepping back when asked)
We had a quick circuit of the school as we were passing which was utterly pointless as Bally didn't have enough focus on me...actually that's not fair -she did respond to me moving to a more driving body position at her quarters by giving me an amazing ooh la whoopee canter depart!! but her halts weren't as good today....not enough focus as she'd had way too much for a tired little brain to cope with.

Off back to the field and there was a bit of shying and a walking into the back of my heel moment, for which she got halted and moved back (I gave a very strong step / hip tilt and moved straight in front her in a block and purposeful forward stance to move her feet instead of the other way round!) Slightly chastened she walked nicely back to the paddock on a very loose lead - best so far...think she was tired though, it didn't feel "right" - through the gate and back round towards it so I could fasten it..which she did brilliantly, then headcollar off over her ears without shying or moving backwards and she stayed long enough for a little scratch before heading off to see her pals.

Reading back it wasn't so bad, but I do feel that I pushed her too far tonight...or inadvertantly gave her too much to cope with and I was definitely in the wrong frame of mind for teaching a baby...OK part of me says she's nearly three, she should be doing x / y / z by now...but by who's standards...certainly not hers! She needs more time to settle and I need time to get my head around the whole situation and relax...there is no rush - if we don't make some shows this summer because we're still concentrating on baby steps then so be it!

The weekend will be spent just regaining acceptance and working on trust...at liberty. I don't generally like working anything in a horses field as it's very much their space, but at the minute this is her comfort zone and I need 100% there before I can conceivably expect it anywhere else.

Thursday, 18 June 2009

A smiley day!

This is what greets me in the morning wub

In 9 years of ownership Safi never, ever let me approach her when she was asleep, Bailarina managed to lift her head and ask for a cuddle before flopping back down and getting on with a serious snooze whilst I poo picked around her!

Ellie the head groom on the yard said that Bally gave her the fright of her life today, she went down to check everyone over and noticed she was flat out in the field...called, no response, went to the gate and yelled...nothing.....thinking that the curse of Larri was well and truly striking again she ran up the field where on arrival at a completely sparkoed Bally she promptly opened an eye, twitched an ear and went back to sleep rofl

We had a great session tonight, again she was a bit hesitant coming in, but less resistant than yesterday. Just a mini plant an ask for forwards from me and an instant response. Straight up the yard with a couple of little eek whassat moments and into the box where we had an introduction to the clicker and a target....need to rethink the treats, she couldn't have cared less about the ones I had rolleyes so not a great start laugh

I had some saddle cloths out so I thought we could try a bit of desensitisation with them...er, no need, after she turned round to see what I'd plonked on her back, wriggled down over her rump and draped up over neck she sighed and started dozing off!!!! yawn

So after all that tremendous effort I tied her up in the box for the first time for her grooming session and just replaced her feet if she fidgeted or moved, Soon she got the idea that it was much easier just to stand still oooh what a good girl!! thumbs I have also started putting the headcollar on over her ears like a bridle in preparation - I'll use the clicker to train a head down response as she was a teeny bit giraffe like, but not at all bothered about the headpeice coming over and having her ears squooshed

After all this excitement we stood on the yard whilst Dawn the YO manouvered her horsebox around and again although she was wary Little B was amenable to standing with me and watching the proceedings

Off into the school tonight to see what she thought of that...I don't think that she's ever been in one and she was wary (cue a rather tentative walk following me round the perimeter), but looking to me for reassurance wub
Once she'd been asked to step into the corners - I just walked into them and stood in a relaxed dropped hip and shoulder stance then dipped and invited her to join my space...which she did!!!!! We then had a five minute walk, trot and halt workout just inhand and she was fabulous...even let me open her up down the long side into a more extended trot and then into a Klaus style hip tilt / halt...Bailarina was foot perfect yahoo

All done and very, very pleased with how clever and brave she was we then wandered back down the scary path with another couple of eek whassat moments, but I just stayed completely calm and she again took my cue that it was OK and pootled on down on a loose line, through the gate and then stood like an angel again while I did the gate handle up Cheesy

Oh bless her I can't believe this is only day three!

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Baby Steps

Decided that Little MissB could brave the walk back from the field to the stable tonight and bearing in mind the issue of the gateway we had going in I popped a pressure halter on for safety.

She is very, very good with it, if she stops it just takes a tiny tweak to ask for forwards again and she readily gave it to me. Bless her she got a little bit sticky as we got within 10 feet of the gateway and pulled back to run, but I just held on, looked away and remained absolutely solid and calm. She stopped, had a think about it and gave me a couple of steps of forward..good girl!!! Lots of praise, another couple of steps and she went to go backwards again..a little more half hearted about it though. I just repeated the solid holding stance and within a second she moved herself back into our comfort zone and then followed me right to the entrance!! Cue a massive scratch and lots of praise for being such a brave little girl :-)

I was quite surprised and very pleased that she stood like a lamb as I undid the handles and asked her to walk through and stop when I did. She's very good at following body language / signals and I've figured that the key to creating a good bond with her is building and keeping her trust by being absolutely consistent in keeping myself totally calm, non reactive and positive.

She happily looked to me for reassurance along the path and even when she had a little wibble as she passed a very squeaky drainpipe she dithered and came towards me rather than turn tail.

Round we went past the parked double decker bus without a flicker of an ear and she strode down the yard as if she owned it. We stopped to have a chat (aka cooing over just how lovely she is!!!) to Connie, Di, Michelle and Suzanne and Little B was very good - a bit fidgety but as soon as I signalled her to take a step back square if she walked forward she did without hesitation.

One thing I'll be working on when she's settled is the "ground tying" where a dropped rope means stop and don't move from the where the rope falls...very very useful. Safi was always an absolute superstar at it. Bailarina is so intelligent I don't think it'll take her long to pick up anything!!

Off into the stable which was quite a big ask as she hadn't been in her own yard before, but again she happily marched in beside me. She was a little nervous as I closed the door, but we just had a good groom and scratch of her itchy spots to make it a good experience. I had to laugh, she might a while to get used to Hemcore bedding...she walked up to her bed and gave a great big snort....blowing it right back in her face - oops!

Time to head back down to the field and I was *delighted* (hahaha) to see a rather large articulated lorry parked in the main yard...well blow me down Little B didn't even look at it, what a superstar!!!
We practised inhand transitions down the path and again she proved what a good girl she is..ear cocked on me she followed my movement and walked, trotted and halted with no other cues. I LOVE her trot, such poise and elevation it takes my breath away.

Into the field again and she had a teeny wibble moving right into my space as we reached the gate but she moved straight back when asked and walked through the gate calm as you like, stood like a lamb as I fastened it and was an angel as I turned her away.

The plan is to bring her in each evening now and take each day as it comes, taking little steps to teach or introduce something new without pushing her out of her comfort zone...watch this space!

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Good Morning sleepyhead :-)

Ooh who's that?

Hello Button!!

Showing off her amazing paces

Settling in and looking utterly lovely!

She's here safe and sound

Yesterday was a very long and slightly too eventful day!

Becky and I didn't actually get to Pauline's till 3pm partly due to an accident on A1.
We all said hello to little B, Had a coffee and a chat, sorted all the paperwork out and about 4pm went to start loading.

Finally got her on and in and away at 6.45...ah somebody wasn't keen to leave home just yet thank you very much!

She wasn't scared in the slightest, just didn't see any reason why she should go on the box.

We weren't going to get confrontational - it just doesn't work with horses like that, so after trying food, bum leverage and lots of praise for the teeniest forward motion we walked her on hoof by hoof (oh boy does my back hurt this morning!!!) got her on, and as we slowly brought the partition over and it touched her bum she freaked, went a bit haywire and scattering us like nine pins leapt off the box ......oh joy!!

Back to square one and now we have a filly who really doesn't want to play ball, now pumped full of adrenalin and scared as well as feeling quite stubborn and getting a bit antsy with it but patience and perseverance paid off and once I'd got her to the top of the ramp hoof by blummin hoof, with Pauline at the rear stopping her going backwards and Becky keeping a good steady hold of the front she actually did the last bit herself which was a great sign and really encouraging. All the help from everyone was really appreciated, a great team effort...and in all the drama I've forgotten everyone's names..sorry!!!!

This time we got the partition done, and the side gates too with nothing more than a bit of nervous eye rolling but once the ramp started going up she panicked again, I was in with her and just hung on and kept calm, talking to her .......she was not getting out again at this point!

As soon as we got everything shut up we just had to get on with it and go as she was very jumpy and scared ....not a nice way to say goodbye to your baby, I'm so sorry it was so stressful Pauline :-(

The first 10 minutes were some of the scariest I've ever had, she was shaking and scrabbling and sweating and bouncing up and down trying to get over the breast bar, but as soon as we got on bigger roads she started to settle and an hour in she was already nibbling hay and calming down properly. I stayed with her for a couple of hours in the back just chatting away and stroking her, trying to make amends for the scary experience, once she was settled I hopped out into the warmth of the car

We took it very slowly on the way back, stopping every hour just to check her and she remained calm and settled which was great

Got to the yard at 11.40pm and she unloaded ok, little bit hesitant, but then she decided she'd had enough of all this malarky and planted the anchor again and wouldn't go in the barn...so I turned her the other way and walked down the yard around the other side of the barn and got her into Dan's box (her temporary home for the night as Fi, Hanley, Captain, Bel-Ami, Holly and Peace were all in there and the girls in her barn were all out)
Got her all tucked up and settled in, left her saying hello to Bel-Ami next door.

She'd had an ok night was quite chilled and settled in the stable when I got up there this morning at 7.20, looked a bit dehydrated still, but the grass was very wet this morning so I knew she'd get more water that way

I remade her aquaintance, had a nice itchy scratchy grooming session, did her feet then popped a headcollar and longline on to take her round the yard and show her where and what everything was and she was a very good girl. Everytime she stopped I'd let her have a sniff and a look and ask her to walk on and with a teeny bit of pressure she did, yay!!

Only had a minor blip going in to the field when she was a bit bargy going through the gate...which scared her a bit, so did it a few times backwards and forwards being nice and calm till she settled and respected my space.

Walked her round the perimiter and had a little trot in hand....Oh Wow, she really does dance, lovely movement with lots of suspension and no pulling or silliness, she was just there in my hand...bodes well for the showring!

I let her off once I thought she was safe and calm and she trotted off to meet her new neighbour Button, one little squeal and they settled down side by side next to the fence to graze

Pauline - She is amazing and so are you, I know how hard this has been, but I promise you that your little Special One is in safe hands

Saturday, 13 June 2009

Just about ready

Finally finished her stable today!!

It's all scrubbed, painted, fixed up, de cobwebbed, the bed is down and her hoof bucket and water bucket are in ready and waiting....

Gave the whole yard a tidy up in the end, It's got a bit scruffy looking since I left...nobody else seems to have stable OCD like me lol! I can see I'll be having words if people don't smarten up their acts..and the walkway whilst they're at it.

Bit of a bittersweet day at home, I finally got it together enough to sort out, clean and put away all Safi's tack. I'd been dreading it, but I don't know...today I was able to handle it and think about good times. Her Portuguese bridle needed a bit of TLC, so that's been thoroughly scrubbed, had half a pot of Ko-Cho-Line rubbed in and it's now fermenting in the airing cupboard in a black bag - it'll be a smooth as silk when it's cooked.

I'm pretty confident that one of Safi's bridles will fit..(ahem four to choose from..blush) and My bit collection numbers 16, so I'm sure I'll have at least one to suit Bailarina lol!
I know it's miles off before I even consider backing her but thank goodness I now have the Fhoenix along with a good range of pads and shims, so no worries about building up a saddle collection as she grows...Safi had FIVE at one point!! Mind you her best was having one fitted that she outgrew in three months ....oops

I've got every other bit of kit imaginable already for lunging, long reining and in hand work. Boots and bandages of every description and for all purposes...see my "never ever throw anything away" habit does come in useful and it means my poor Hubstar won't need to be ever so slightly tetchy at me buying even more horse stuff, because I have a tack room full that'll do just nicely lol!

Just spent a lovely hour out in the paddock with Safi - she liked my pint of Robinsons Apple and Pear Fruit & Barley squash very much, not as much as her sugarbeet / danilon tea I have to say...blummin good job she likes it though, I've just upped the dose to four a day in the hope I can reduce it down again and still give her some relief...poor pony :-(
Aunty Louise is going to come and give her a couple of Bowen treatments to see if she can make her back a little more comfortable, obviously nothing she can do for the Ringbone, but that's what the extra Danilon is hopefully going to ease.

It's a bit of an odd feeling now that the decision about what to do as the treatment has failed has been forced on me - once I heard the options available it wasn't that hard to make. No more stress, no more operations, no more Rossdales, no more getting our hopes up about a miracle cure just for her to break again. No... just a peaceful summer off her face on Danilon and then a quiet dignified end and she's free of the pain forever.
It's funny really, I thought people would be telling me to keep trying, but no-one, not one person in RL or on the net has said to put her through another op, they've all said enough is enough..stop torturing myself and stressing her and just let her be
Making the decision was surprisingly easy - Living with it isn't and when it comes down to it I really, really don't know how I'm going to cope. She's been such a huge part of my life for so long - she really is my baby, but I have to have the strength to give her the right to an end to the pain

Oh bugger I'm bawling again :`-(

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Getting there!!

Been a bit all over the place this week with the general crapness of life bogging me down, but I'm finally allowing myself to really, REALLY believe that Bailarina will be coming on Monday!
I'm terrible, I know I am, but I just couldn't face any more disappointment.......anyway enough of the pity posting, where ARE we at??

Well someone has a very lovely new headcollar, a slightly two tone forest green job with padding on the poll and nose, silver coloured fittings and little sparkly silver horses galloping along the noseband...horror of horrors, Little B is going bling!!
Slight grrrr in that they didn't have a nice matchy matchy lead rope, so the hunt is on! HC nicely matches the rather fab fleece & travel rug I already have.
Managed to get run off the road by a complete barsteward in a van coming round a blind bend on the wrong side on the way home from the shop though, I swerved to miss him and smacked the kerb taking out two of my tyres....quite an expensive headcollar!

Pauline sent me the draft of the loan agreement I'd set up today, all looks good, just a tweak to the layout and fonts and we're done - as I spend all morning drafting translation contracts it was nice to work on something that meant so much to me for a change. I think seeing it all in black and white in legalese made it hit home that, yes, it is happening!
Have a few outings lined up for her already, just very small low key local shows...having a bit of a hmmm about what to show her in - at three she should be in an inhand bridle and bitted, but I want to take everything nice and slowly with her so don't intend on rushing that rather important job.
I'm seeing if I can get hold of a second hand Portuguese presentation halter, but no joy as yet, really don't need anything like that until next year for the major shows like Herts County, Windsor and Suffolk, so for now it's either my Portuguese bridle (a bit OTT as even more bling!!) or a cheapy inhand English one...Ebay have some at just over £10!! It doesn't need to last though so might go for one....

The paddock is all weeded, fence checked, water all set up and ready!! Captain and Prince have been allocated as grass toppers for the rest of the week as it's looking just a bit too lush in there for an already rotund little Luso ;-)
She's going down to the bottom end with Patch and Button Moon, so all three Bay girlies together bless!

Friday, 5 June 2009

Just had to share...

Pauline sent me this fab picture of Bailarina and Martha...just chillin'

So where are we at so far...?

Well it looks like everything is heading pretty smoothly towards a pick up date of June 15th!!
Things were a bit in the air as poor little Bessie Horsebus just wasn't going to be up to a 400 mile round trip...eeek!
So I did a bit of investigating - I couldn't get a reasonable date out of the local (ish) box hire companies and the first transporter run I could find was in September...nope definitely couldn't wait that long!!
So HUGE Thanks have to go to Amy for the offer to loan the Battlebus and to BeckyE for offering her trailer and 4x4

As Becky insisted she wanted to help, I gladly took her up on the offer! So Becky and I will be trundling up with her lovely Equitrek and hopefully Little B will think it's the bees knees and happily hop onboard (unlike big sis Safi...three hours & six people later she wasn't going anywhere, thank you!)

Meanwhile I drafted the loan agreement for Pauline to have a play with, hopefully that'll all be sorted next week, and I've arranged her insurance. Good old NFU came up trumps.

Down on the farm her stable is half painted (get on with it woman!!) the paddock is all ready to receive her highness. Just need confirmation of her vac status and I think we are all ready to rock and roll!!!

Sadly all the shine is being taken off as Safi's steroid treatment has failed and 9 weeks post jabs she's hopping lame again and quite down and depressed with it.
Andre will be coming out next week to discuss options :-(

It's raining yay!! so I'm off to fertilise my paddocks at home...no fancy kit here, this involves me, a wheelbarrow, some suregrow and ...um superhubby not happy with my all singing and dancing sprinkler......actually the kitchen colander lol!