Mar 062020

By Patty Wilber

Part three?  Well, part one was “Training with a buddy“.

Coco, the palomino, was a great mentor for Birdie, who, at this time was a bit on the “YOU WANT ME TO DO WHAAAAT!?” end of the spectrum. (Coco finished her 60 days at the end of February and we got a nice video of her at the walk, trot and lope. Her sister, Fancy, has come in!)

Fancy.  I have to apologize, because this is a nice mare and the picture does not do her any kind of justice, except her legs look good. She has a beautiful face and a really cute build. She is three and is here to get started.

Part two for Birdie was sort of spread around in the last three blogs.

But to recap, Birdie came in January and she had been handled, but not that much: Never had her feet picked up let alone trimmed (but, that is not to say her feet were in bad shape–they were, and are, actually, in really good shape), was hard to catch, didn’t tie, and was just a tad over reactive, which was why I used the buddy training to help her.  At the end of February I added magnesium (which is often calms horses, some) to her diet.

I didn’t even try to get on her the whole first month and I also had a bum knee that held me back from hopping on a potentially silly colt-start for a bit. I started riding her in February.   

A fellow trainer that gets his horses loping on ride one, offered to help me get her loping (I was at ride nine) and I seriously considered it, but then decided that I would just stick to my program, as I am comfortable with it, and it works for me, all in good time. 

So here we are at the start of March, and Birdie now has 18 rides (and around 40 days of work), has been out on the trail twice (with a buddy–she still needs emotional support), can trailer and tie, can have her feet cleaned and can lope just a little, both leads.  She is pretty light and coordinated and will be one that can bury her stop. 

Birdie on  ride 18, second trail ride. Thanks Mary Ann S. for the picture!

I do think the magnesium has turned her down a notch, making her more comfortable in new situations (but not a dead-head by any measure!)

Lucy is jealous of the time I am spending with Fancy and Birdie in the round pen and she hangs around at the gate, apparently begging to come in, so I opened it.  She marched in to tell me that I should pay attention to her. I went ahead and worked her in there on Thursday and she ran hard and bucked a lot, and vigorously, which made me laugh because under saddle I am often having to really work to get her to move out!

Tuesday: Lucy waiting for some attention in the round pen!

We did go to a shaggy show last weekend and she showed good spark in cow horse and circled up like a pro.  She also got firsts in five of her eight classes, so you know I was pretty satisfied! Still a long way from perfect, but I sure do get along with her.

Happy Friday!

  8 Responses to “Birdie, Part Three”

  1. Beautiful journal.. thank you!

  2. Looking at your gate and laughing, because the main gate to my horse area has the same bent bottom rail. I wonder how many other horse people have that same bend? –Christy

  3. I like your approach to training…some of them just take longer. Some take longer on everything and some take longer on just some things. And I like Birdie’s looks (sucker for solid bays, sucker for horses with that depth of body, a good hip, and a neck that is in front of me, not halfway down the mountain of their withers.) Coco and Fancy both look like lovely mares, and I hope are as sweet as their expressions. Lucy is definitely giving you A Look…You’re MY human, why are you spending all that time with strangers, don’t you LOVE me?

    Training with a buddy comment: Rags is definitely a calming influence on Tigger, but Tigger (who had had months of learning both verbal commands and hand gestures from me) is slowly convincing Rags that it’s a good idea to watch and listen to me. But we’re not there yet, and Rags has a dented halo after Monday’s episode, when he knocked me down and ran over me. He has since been disabused of any notion that this is acceptable behavior, and I’m sorry it took a serious smack on each of two occasions, but…my safety matters. If I’d done better earlier it wouldn’t have happened, but I thought we had “don’t crowd, don’t bump, don’t…” taken care of. At this point he recognizes the need to respect Mr. Dressage Whip when I’m carrying it while also carrying hay or feed, but hasn’t transferred it to just me. This morning he decided that being given the OK to present his head for a rub = permission to crowd again, especially because I wasn’t carrying the whip or anything he recognized as a corrective tool. Nope.

    Tigger, who knows all that already, stops at a polite distance and gives Rags a look of “You’re about to get into trouble” when Rags moves in on me. But when I was currying some dried mud off of Rags today, Tigger’s look was “You’re letting her DO that to you??” (Tigger does not like being touched, let alone groomed. Rags likes being handled.) Otherwise, they’re getting along fine, with only minimal signals of “Get AWAY” now and then.

    • Sounds like they’re working out really well together!

    • Birdie is one I get along with well. I don’t know fancy too well yet, but things are going along quite well with her so far!. I was really happy with how Coco soften up and got more flexible and interactive–she is pretty shy. Lucy is a lot of fun for me!

      Well, bad boy Rags, but I am sure you will have him toeing the line! Can’t wait to hear about your rides on the 80 acres!!

  4. Fancy is adorable!

    Quiessence makes a big difference with Takota…but definitely hasn’t turned him into a dead-head. Just a little slower to pop off, a little easier for him to think things through.

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