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Girls Day Out

It seems like it has been cold forever but I know it was warm once. I know because we went out and played in it. heather brought Whitten and Brenna and Owen over and we climbed all over the hay bales and ran around out side.

Then to make a god day even better Tanna came over and she and Heather and I abandoned my poor long suffering husband with the children and went for a ride. The horses were crazed and zipping all over the place. We laughed and screamed trying to talk over the wind. Tanna found a hair ball, not from a cat but out of a cows stomach. Hard and round, like a rock but light as a feather. We inspected it carefully and showed it to the kids. They were distinctly unimpressed. Then sent it home with Tanna, its finder.

Then the cold weather moved back in and we returned to the indoors, hoping to ride again some day.

 

Confidence Challenge, Scary Object Edition

It officially starts today!

A friend of mine approached me at the end of last year. She wanted to know if our other friend Ineke and I would be interested in putting on an online training course. It sounded fun to us so we all umped right in. It took a good while to plan and get everything down and working. Now, finally, it is going! Not only did it fill up, within two days!, but we also have a waiting list for the next one already.

We all do clicker training with our horses, and our dogs, and children, and husbands, and anything else we can get our hands on. Now we are working hard to teach more people about it. Jain is the tech guy, lady ๐Ÿ˜‰ she is one of the few people who’s work my very particular husband approves of! As well experienced in online training stuff. Ineke is the sweet hippy chick who is great with people as well as horses, I actually did a lot of writing for the course and am happy to be along for the ride.

If this goes well we are looking forward to doing more like it!

I am Noche, in case you were wondering who in the world those people wereย  ๐Ÿ˜‰ย  Who wants to use their real names online. I certainly don’t!

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Trail Ride

As in we actually went on one today! There’s a little country church not far from us. We really like it, not sure why we don’t go there more often. Except the lack of children’s church, that’s a big one. And no restaurants between there and home. I admit a big plus of going to church is eating out afterwards. But I digress. They had a trail ride! We try to support them when we can and it sounded like lots of fun, so we went.

The day started out foggy and cold. Not just a little fog but a thick, sunny, dark, glorious fog! I drug the kids out to play in it as soon as I saw how perfect it was. We jumped in puddles and checked out the newly frozen garden then checked cows. The fog cleared though and warmed up. Perfect weather for a ride.

There were more people there than I had expected. A nice little crowd. It was more horses than Rusty had ever seen in his life. He came with to Fort Rob for the Morgan ride but I rode Gypsy the very nearly perfect Arab cross instead of him for the group ride. She was here too of course with her little people on board. Rusty wasn’t crazed at least. And the hills weren’t as big, that helped although whether it helped me or him more I’m not sure ๐Ÿ˜‰ We walked a few laps up and down the road in front of the church. Then The Goblin Child got on and we made more laps until it was time to go.

A little ways down the gravel then we turned in to someones pasture. Behind us followed a pickup pulling a trailer with hay and the non riders of the group. Rusty was nervous. Wanting to trot. Or stop and look around. Coyote was perfect. He and his little person followed happily. The pickup careful picked its way through the hills and ruts as the horses tried to remember that it couldn’t go everywhere they could. At the top of a particularly large hill we stopped and switched riders on Coyote.

Gypsy got switched to her other, bigger person. She had been ponied until then, now they were turned loose. The two of them zoomed all around. He’s a wonderful little rider, blessed with a great horse. 8 didn’t do as well, although Coyote was still trying to be perfect. He’s little though and will get better with time. He missed his nap and was tired.ย  Rusty had an obvious problem, although at first I couldn’t tell if it was nerves or what. Finally he started kicking out with one hind leg and I decided to hop off and see what was wrong. It turned into a bit of a leap as he jumped kicking enthusiastically on my way down. He had a whole ball of cactus in his heel. Poor baby. No wonder he was upset. I managed to get them out. They left blood. He felt mostly better after that. 8 was not having fun. Rusty wanted to trot. Or stop. I made him wait until we got to the bottom of the hill we were going down then let him off.

The Goblin Child was having fun on the hay wagon with her friends and didn’t want to get back on. I was dreading the thought of having to keep Rusty calm and make it back alive while ponying Coyote. Luckily I was able to convince my darling husband to abandon the children and join me for a ride. It was wonderful! We haven’t ridden together since before The Goblin Child was born. He did great on Coyote and Coyote did great with him. We zipped back to the church as fast as two Morgans can walk. Which was much faster than 1/4 horses can manage. It’s hard to be in front of the group while trying to follow the group leader. Oops.

At the church we were treated to hot dogs and s’mores around a campfire followed by music. The children ran off to play and we sat, relaxing by the fire in the coming evenings chill. The horses pawing in the trailer kept beat to old John Denver songs and gospel. The whole afternoon came together to be the best church service ever.

 

Camping Trip

My parents came out to see us. We had been planning the trip most of the summer. They were off on their yearly pilgrimage to the west coast.ย  A group of Morgan people were meeting at Fort Robinson for a weekend of trail riding. We all decided to drive over and, kind of, meet them. We are only so sociable so we decided to camp up at the wood reserve instead of staying with them in the fort proper. Unfortunately as the weekend drew near we realized it was the same weekend as Friendly Festival but if there’s one thing we’re willing to miss Festival for it’s a weekend of camping and horses.

Mom and dad got here on Thursday. We had, another, birthday party for The Goblin Child. I think that makes four parties now? She may be slightly spoiled ๐Ÿ˜‰ย  Then Friday morning we got up bright and early and were off to the fort. Only, not. As much as I thought I had everything ready to go already it took hours to get everything packed and animals fed. Then just as we were finally ready and about to load the horses there was a phone call that some neighbors were working cattle and had found a bull in with them that wasn’t theirs. We had to go get him and bring him home before we could take off with the trailer. We pulled into the neighbors corrals and nothing was there. We called to see where this bull was supposed to be. North of the house they said. We went to the house and there was a barn to the north, but not even a road to it much less cattle being worked. We called again trying to figure out what in the world was going on. Finally they added a rather important piece of information. They weren’t working cows at their house but over at their pasture. That little bit of info would have helped from the beginning.

Once we got him home and put out with the horses that would be staying there we were able to load our horses and get going. Down to a friends to pick up a horse we got to borrow for the weekend. She had been standing patiently most of the morning tied to a trailer. She walked right onto the trailer and we were off. Again.

We made Chadron for a late lunch then off towards the fort. Again. It was hot. We pulled into the campground at the wood reserve to find it packed. Loads of big living quarters trailers were squeezed in so tight we could barely make the turn around them. I was muttering grouchily about them when I realized, I knew them!! It was my good friend Kay and her riding group.ย  That didn’t make me so grouchy after all.

I have millions of pictures so I will try to tell the rest of the story through them.

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Rodeo, Again

Last year when we went to the kids first rodeo they loved it. We found a out about more coming up the next summer and I told them we could go. The next summer came around, things changed, we lost Onna, but the rodeos were still coming up. The Goblin Child found out about them and still really wanted to go. I told her we’d try.

Coyote isn’t Onna. 8 has been riding him, while being led. T.G.C. has been getting started on him, trying to get used to him after riding her own horse. i have a lot more I want to say but don’t seem to be getting around to writing it. So here are the videos. It wasn’t great. We all survived. I did not get to work with Rusty the way I wanted. There was no way we could have done it without Tanna and Jerry. They were life savers. We are so grateful to Tanna for coming along and always appreciate all the help she gives us.

They scared me half to death here loping back!

 

 

 

I kept watching not through the phone and it would drift down. I’d look back at it and realize I was filming dirt and get aimed again then back to the dirt. Oops.

 

The End Of A Challenge

Over on Rusty’s page I’ve spent the last few weeks playing with all the strange ways I could think of to get on my horse. No particular reason. Wanted something fun to do and I had seen a couple of ways that looked cool to try. Turned out I didn’t, couldn’t, do those but did come up with a few others. Rusty was a willing and enthusiastic participant who takes my strange ways in stride.

We worked on lots of little thing and put them together into a couple of big things. I can’t begin to say how proud I am of him and what a fun and enlightening trip training him has been. Not just this part but all of it. Normal horse training drives me insane now. When I see people round penning and desensitizing horses, the pointlessness of it nearly makes my head explode. Desensitizing in my biggest pet peeve at the moment. Why in the world would someone chase a horse around until they get tired enough to accept what ever you are trying to force on them when you could, without ever making the horse scared in the first place, show them how fun it is to chase and play with things they once considered scary?

No, Rusty is not perfect. Far from it really ๐Ÿ˜‰ But he is the perfect example of clicker training and it’s effectiveness. Using traditional, natural horsemanship methods, I got exactly nowhere with him. He still ran me over. He still bounced off the end of the rope.

Now he works off a rope most of the time. He’s nipped my fingers a few times being over enthusiastic for food but has not crashed into me once. He now comes when called, I can’t even begin to think of the vocal cues he knows, walk, trot, canter, whoa, bow, lie down, step big (Spanish walk), and the list goes on. Not to mention being light and responsive to ride.

A quick intro to this video turned into a bit of a rant. But anyway, here is the end result of our little training exploration. All put together into one short video.

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Self Loading

I’ve been indulging in an in depth exploration of all the weird and unusual ways I can think of to get on my horses. Rusty in particular. I wanted to share a couple of my favorite ones here! These are long and involved and complicated, obviously not ones that would, probably, be used everyday.

The benefits of teaching such in-depth skills is well hidden in the details. I achieve control well beyond the basic. My horses get used to all sorts of strange things. They also enjoy the work and want to come play. Quite the opposite of horse who are drilled and “desensitized” (I’m coming to hate that word and all that it implies). Hope you enjoy!

 

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Show and Tell, Again

This time she took her horse. The lovely Princess Onna stood nicely as all the preschool children petted her nose and tried desperately to feed her treats. The whole thing was a little stressful though and she couldn’t handle eating too. The wind had picked up bowing a blizzard in and was whipping through the parking lot where we unloaded, stirring dust up into our faces. Princess Onna stood like the princess she is carefully not smashing any small children.

Horse Stuff

Some horse friends an I got together and did a thing. We had a blast doing it and it’s so fun to have friends from all over the world. There is also the couple from the north of England who farm. A mother from Canada. A young girl from Slovakia. And many others but it was fun to have people from two continents at least get together on a project. Showing off our horses and letting people know that you don’t need force and macho idiocy to train a horse.

 

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