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Riding

My daughter used to be a great and fearless little rider. Between loosing her perfect little mare and a few other things she doesn’t want to ride so much anymore.

I convinced her to go for a ride with me today while her brother was riding in the tractor with his father.

She noticed my new cinch right away! If that’s the first time she’s been around while I had a saddle on with my new cinch it has been awhile since we rode together!

Throughout the ride she kept saying how much she liked the cinch. It is beautiful in my favorite colors, all purple and orange.

By the time we finished the ride it occurred to me that this could be useful.

If you keep riding and start doing this more often, I told her, we can see about getting you a cinch of your own. When we get home we’ll look through her page and you can chose the colors and design that you want.

She was thrilled.

At home we sat down at the computer and looked at Lexy’s page. As we looked m daughter decided she wanted a unicorn! In purple and pink. Oh dear.

Since I had an on going message with Lexy I told her we could ask and see. It seemed like a bit of a stretch to fit that onto a cinch.
Lexy answered immediately and was very sweet, not only willing to try to get a unicorn on a cinch but encouraging my daughter to keep riding in order to get it.

We’ll see if she keeps up the riding or not. Hopefully this will be the extra push she needs to get back to it. She did a great job riding today!
Lexy’s fb page is here if anyone else is craving a purple and pink unicorn cinch, or even something a little less extra https://www.facebook.com/LNCustomCinchesMecatesMore/?epa=SEARCH_BOX

A New Pedestal

My sister in law has decided to clean out the shop. It’s a pretty impressive undertaking. Stuff has been accumulating in there for decades.

In the cleaning I have found quite a few items that will work as horse toys.

Out of the large collection of tires carefully stored away there were some smaller ones that I thought I might try for small pedestals. The first one I tried was for a three wheeler. It was too thick. I wanted wobbly but it was too wobbly.

The next one was an old fourwheeler tire.

I drug it out and screwed a small piece of plywood also scavenged from the shop to the top and tried it out. It was smushy but not too wobbly like the thicker one. When Rusty got both feet on it smashed almost flat. It would work.

I needed to take it back apart, trim the plywood to fit and add some of the rubber, also found in the shop, to the top so it wouldn’t be slippery. I asked where to find a saw. Starting to do things myself usually ends up with my husband deciding he needs to do them for me. Not entirely a bad thing 😉

A saber saw made quick work of the plywood. A carpet knife cut the scrap of bed liner surprisingly easy. Screwing it all back together was a little harder. The screws didn’t want to go through the tires, there was no getting them back  in the old holes. When  I pushed hard enough to go into the  tire it pulled right through the rubber on top. My husband found a scrap piece of metal tubing just the right length to hold the tire up and the screws went right in. Washers would also have solved the problem.

I may fill it with expanding foam at some  point or leave it as is. Part of the purpose of pedestals is to teach a horse to trust and step onto things that aren’t perfectly steady when we ask.

Once that was completed I started off to add some scrap pieces of old baler belt to my bridge! In horror my husband came to do that for me too. Between baler belts and the rest of the bed liner the bridge is now slip proof.

Now I just need to get out there and try it out. I wonder if the horses will be bothered by the new look of their old toys?

Oops, just realized after writing all of this out that it was on the wrong blog! I meant to put it on Rusty’s blog, it’s a piece for the Academy. Sometimes it’s easier to get longer ones written out here, or there 😉 then copy and paste after some proof reading. I guess I’ll leave it here because it doesn’t really matter where I put it.

 

Category: Horses  2 Comments

Positive Punishment? Negative Reinforcement? A Little Of Everything?

Sometimes the lines between the quadrants aren’t as clear as we would like.

My daughter hadn’t been sleeping. I need sleep, I found this to be very strong Positive Punishment. Walking through the days in a tired foggy haze made me grouchy and miserable to live with. That was not strong enough positive punishment to keep her from coming into our room every night just wanting someone to come back  to her room with her to stand there until she fell asleep, over and over again.

We tried all sorts of different techniques to get her to stop. After the first few times which were nightmare induced, it wasn’t because of fear so much as habit. She would be up and headed to our room before she was even fully awake. We tried patience, I admit I yelled a few times, my husband made her a noise machine that played audio books for her all night long. Please just lay there and listen to your book instead of coming to get us every time you wake up, we begged her.

None of it worked.

We were exhausted and our tempers were getting short.

This is where the lines start to blur.

I have been making the children come with me to feed in the mornings since they have been out of school. It’s good for them and they enjoy it once they get out there, even if they beg not to have to go every single day. It’s a fight to get them out the door.

It’s good for them, everyone needs to learn about work and responsibility. To them it is positive punishment though.

I told her that if she could make it through the night without waking us up she wouldn’t have to come with to feed.

It worked. She said the next day that she had been out of bed and almost to our door before she remembered feeding.

So she went back to bed.

What  category does this fall under?

Not positive reinforcement. Positive reinforcement would be offering her a reward for doing the thing we wanted. We are, but only in the form of relief from  punishment. The one receiving the punishment, or reward, is the one who gets to decide what is punishment or reward, not the one giving it.

Had she not slept I would have been applying positive punishment by making her continue to go feed with me.

Positive punishment isn’t always a bad thing. We think of it as punishing, cruel and hurtful. By the scientific definition it is anything that stops a behavior. In real life the punishment I offered is something that is far better for her than not to be punished. So often we, our horses, everything, look at things that are good for them as a bad  thing. Sometimes it’s uncomfortable, sometimes it’s hard to do. That doesn’t mean it’s not the best thing to do.

We would  like the lines between the quadrants to be well defined and clear. Punishment bad. Reward good.  Really though life is a constant weighing and re-balancing of the scales.

She is still sleeping through the night. She is still not going with to feed. Responsibility and the importance of work in life will have to be taught at some point, right now getting to sleep through the night weighs far more heavily on my scale.

Great Timing

Now. Now when riding your horse isn’t politically correct, The Goblin Child has decided she wants to ride horses.

All this time I’ve been trying to get her to participate, to get her to do ground work or just sit on a horse and she’s refused.

I was working with Harvey the other day and she ordered me to lead him over to a place where she could get on. Of course I let her. The next day she decided to sit on Rusty while we worked and go for a ride. Yesterday I saddled Smoke for her and we went for a walk. 8 decided he wanted on behind and the four of us walked out to the mail box and back.

8 decided at the mail box that he wanted to walk. He is very slow. Smoke was headed home and going fast. It made for an interesting trip.

 

Pony Poetry

This was a prompt for a poem for little kids. Kind of a fun looking project I thought. The kids not so much.

It took me a few days to find time and get them sat down.

From The Goblin Child about Harvey.

As black as the night  (never mind that he’s actually a bay -my comments not hers)

Like coal

An elegant pretty horse

My pony is as pretty as they can get

 

From 8 about Smoke   -some help from me

As old as a mole rat (?!) The Goblin Child thought turtle

Like an old weathered tree

A goofy fun nice horse

My pony is tall and really good

 

My demo about Rusty

As smart as they come

Like a dog not a horse

A beautiful red boy

My pony is practically perfect

Not exactly great poetry but it was kind of fun for the five minutes I was able to get them to sit still and think a bit.

Christmas Pictures

It was  the perfect winter day. Warm but snowing. I had picked up a Santa hat the day before and wanted to get some video of Rusty dressed up for Christmas. The kids came out to play and it turned into a family photo shoot. I thought this was much more fun than sitting on a human Santa’s lap!

 

8 And Harvey

Sometimes while working with the horses I end up with videos that I can’t share on Rusty’s facebook page. People on  the internets get a little crazy about kids without helmets and well, it just didn’t seem like the best idea to share it publicly. I loved these too much not to share them somewhere though so I’ll put them here. 8 does usually wear a helmet, I think I should mention that. I hadn’t planned on him riding right now. There wasn’t time to run back to the house, he would have gotten ditracted and wandered off. I thought we should take the chance to play while we could.

Teaching Harvey to go around things was this months trick that we added in the Academy. Teaching how to come pick up a rider is our trick for next month. Harvey is doing a great job at it and I think we are ready.

The Academy is doing very well. We just finished our last intake for new members. It was the shortest yet and the most people joined! We have just over five hundred members now from all over the world. Mostly US and Australia but also England, Slavakia (is that right? It’s somewhere in middle Europe), The Netherlands, Greece, It’s so much fun  to see where all the people are from.

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Rodeo!

There were two shows this weekend. I had planned on making it a really busy weekend and making them both.
The kids refused to even try to ride and were making me insane trying to get them on a horse.
I gave up on that and said that if they didn’t want to I wasn’t going to force them and I would go play with my horse instead.
I really needed that after the maddening attempts at riding with children.
In the end I decided to skip the actual show. With the horses at least. I wasn’t going to miss it altogether just because of these rotten children. I wanted go visit with friends!
Once we got there I wished so badly that we had brought the horses. It was a small relaxed sort of show, not the fancy, strict type that the kids were NOT ready for. They could have done this one.
I got to visit with Andrea a little and talk horse/clicker training while she judged trail. Rebecca was too busy working to be much fun. The horses were all fun to watch and the weather not too hot.
The next day we went to a little kid rodeo. It was also a perfect one for them. This time I had ignored their desires and brought horses.
Even if they didn’t want to ride I could get my horses out and about and used to being in public. Extra training never hurts.
Once I had everyone saddled, I brought ALL the horses, the kids wanted on and to go play!
It’s a great little rodeo. No fuss. No entries. No placing. Just kids out playing on their horses.
A friend of ours met us there and helped with horses and kids. She rode Smoke and ponied Rusty or I rode Rusty and ponied Smoke while we lead kids around. There were goats, kids roping dummies, horses running all over the place, the general chaos that it does horses so good to get used to. They were both great.
Hieldorf had to wait in the trailer. I don’t have enough saddles for everyone and I haven’t spent enough time with him to really mess with him out and about. He stood quietly with no screaming or pawing though. What a good boy.
I did saddle Harvey with some thought to letting my daughter ride him. We ran out of time and didn’t get to see what he was like in the arena first so we didn’t try it. I did get to pony him around though and when it was all over our friend, Taya, got on him and I ponied them around. They were both great. Harvey didn’t bat an eye at anything and Taya was very brave on such a green horse. He didn’t give her any reason not to be though.
After the rodeo there was also a hay scramble? Not sure what it was called but they threw change into a bucket filled with hay and turned the children loose to dig for it. Between that and the treat bags they handed out talk about good positive reinforcement for the children. A perfect way to reward them all for a job well done.
On the way home my children started asking when the next show was! They loved it and wanted to do it again!
Yesterday, small rotten children, the last show was yesterday, that you did not want to go to, remember? 🙄
Oh well, maybe next year 🤣