Monday, March 31, 2008

WEEK 2..... Mar 16-22

I was able to get to Tina 4 days this week. Saddled her the first day of the week after going over everything I'd done the previous week. I will flag her and swing ropes around and all over her to some degree almost every time I work with her throughout these 3 months.

She moved out perty good when first saddled, but very cautious. Tina kept looking back at that thing on her back, but never did blow. After figuring that thing wasn't gonna " get her", she freed up real nice.

The 2nd day with the saddle she freed up under it even sooner. I did a lot of work pushing and leading her forward as I am beside her and next to saddle both sides using the lead rope, flag, my hands, and the stirrups as well as my body. I push her hind end away, change eyes, step front end over, all the while I want her to allow me to have contact with her. On this day I used a saddle horse as well to lead her around in the round corral and arena and got her trotting beside me perty decent. I did quite a bit of leaning all over her from horseback both sides.
This week I add moving laterally using flag and the stirrups. I also want her to get some bend in her rib cage, maybe use my body and start bending her around me.

The 3rd day with saddle she crow hopped around a little. I also used my lass rope around her flank area to accept the feel and eventually lead to that pressure. I put the rope high around her hind legs and walk her around, which is a very entrapping feeling at first. In addition, I put a loop around each pastern and start working on her giving to the rope and stopping and picking up her hind feet to that feel. Tina and I took a little trip.... I ponied her outside of corrals, over different obstacles, between house and barn, and also led her thru saddling stalls with RR tie floor. I ask her to lead thru a doorway into a small riding area in my barn.... she took right to it!
When I finished working with Tina our last session this week, I led her a foot over to the barn and onto RR tie floor and unsaddled her.

The local paper, The Whitman County Gazette came down Friday and took some pictures of my bronc. They did a nice job putting together an article that landed on the front page in spite of my plea to not make a big deal of it!

Carla left for Vancouver to be with our 2 1/2 yr old grandaughter, Ali and her parents, Tim and Erin as they welcomed identical twin sisters into the family. Jillian Marie and Katherine Sue Mock were born Mar. 22. What a blessing! Ali, Jill and Kate will be over riding horses with Papa soon!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Week 1 Mar 10-15

I have 10 client horses right now, plus our Hooper Crossing horses which I try to keep up on. I am also giving a couple lessons a week. I'll do my best to get to my mustang filly every day...probably won't be able to, but hopefully I can spend enough time with her to give a good showing down in Sacramento the 1st part of June. Was able to work with her 4 days this first week. Monday I spent 2 hrs. She's not a big horse, but she's just 3, so has a few more years of growing. Tina is a nice headed 'stang, with big eyes. (The left a little bigger now, after the escapade getting up here.) There's a small cut above it and it swelled where she maybe hit the back end of the trailer (or maybe the highway) on the big escape.

Yer wondering why the name Tina Turner. Well she's a little, sexy, scary, wild bay with big hair and good legs. She's even got high heels on the 2 hinds.

Anyway, I enter my round corral a-horseback. After she kinda settles with me in there I throw a loop around her neck, no reason to jerk the slack tight. I work her around both directions with my horse, then start applying pressure, never needing to go to the horn but a few times. I ask and take whatever she gives me at first, because I just want her to learn to give to the pressure of the rope, so whether it's the hind end stepping away or the front end coming to me or just the neck, shoulder or or nose, I release if I get the slightest amount of give. It doesn't have to be but barely noticeable...just a hair of movement is enough for her to start figuring out if she gives to the pressure, I release. Now Tina really wants the easy way, got a perty good mind, gonna be a nice little filly to work with. Within a half hour I was touching her. Whatever side she first gave me, that's the side I took.

Shelley had them put a halter and lead on before they first loaded them up in Sacramento, but she did manage to lose the lead rope before they were loaded into my trailer.

It was about an hour of lass work and I had her stepping away with the hind and getting the front end to go the other direction fairly consistent on both sides and rubbing and petting both sides of Tina a little. I then snapped a long lead rope on her and was able to have my horse stand in the middle of the round corral with me still in the saddle and send Tina one way , kick her hind end away, see the opposite eye, step the front end across, then back her off the halter and lead rope. Also I could bring her up to me , move the hind end around , then change sides and push her eye and step her front end laterally away.

Flagged her all over---neck, along her back, down her hind legs, then started rubbing the girth area. Then I got off my horse and did the same things on the ground. I did not ask her to move away from my hand at her eye but a couple times and just a step or two, needed a lot more trust to ask much of that at that point.

I petted, rubbed and talked to her on both sides for a while, just before I unsnapped her halter and called it a good 1st day.

I did perty much the same thing the 2nd day. Started out in the saddle (on a quiet gelding) and finished on the ground, all the while gaining more trust. Everything took a little less time, so I spent about an hour that go around.

3rd day started out a-foot. Moved the mustang around , kinda got her stopping and looking at me. I used my rope to help her get hooked on me. I would swing it easy and every time she gave me her attention or die down, then I'd stop swinging. It helps desensitize them as well. One can rope her around the neck, on the back , around her body and every time she comes to you is rest and release. It gets them real good about the movement, noise and feel of the rope, to where it becomes no big deal. Depending how much this is worked on you can draw them to you or drive them away with the swinging of the rope. I then used a halter and lead rope to desensitize her all over her body , around and up and down all 4 legs , around her girth area and flank. Did the same thing with the cloth flag. Then I tied a cinch around her girth that I attach with a short rope, tighten it slowly, then let it loose, move it around. Do that quite a bit then move her out.

Introduced the big monster plastic flag that day. It was scary for quite a while, but in time was rubbing her all over both sides with it. It's important that whatever you desensitize with, you also have them move away from the pressure of as well. Where once they were moving away because of fear, I want to step the horse forward and by me with the flag, blanket, rope, etc. Move the hind end away, front end across with pressure at the eye, and back up.

I picked all her feet up with the halter rope, had her step forward and lead around with each front leg, extend her front leg out in front off the ground and relax. In between different areas I was working on I'd stop and work on petting her all over and always move the hind end away and front end across. Worked a rope, stick, and flag all around head, nose and neck to get her good about putting a halter on. I spent about 2 1/2 hrs that day.

The 4th day I spent about an hour going over the same things as days before, but added pushing her forward with the lead and my body language. I'm right next to her, behind the withers all the while patting and bumping her with my body on both sides of her to start simulating where I'd be in the saddle.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Mustang Pickup..... the rest of the story!

Mar 9
Carla and I spent the night in Motel 6, woke up at 3:30, thinking it's 4:30 with the time change and all, wondering what happened to our wake up call. So we get a good early start to Doris 175 mi. south of Redmond.... good thing we did.
I was kinda half thinkin' the trip to Doris would be a waste, wondering just how we'd ease those stangs a foot into a panel corral and not knowing how big of a trap they were in. We get to Doris, have breakfast at "Mama's Cafe" with the Simmons, then check out our situation.
We figure out the best way to set up the panels, make a wing with a bunch of old cedar posts that we set in snow drifts, and drape a bunch of borrowed tarps over the posts extending out from the panels to the wire fence and along the fence on both sides of the hay trap. We also tied twine along each side of the fence to maybe discourage the mustangs from trying the wire or at least enable them to see it better. Together we all asked that the Lord would see this done and we'd be on the road.
We get around the horses with someone on the outside of the wire fence on one side. We just kinda slowly walk them up toward the panel end, stopping every few steps to let them think about it all. The further we ask them to move, the more worried they get. They start wanting to work from side to side and are looking out over the not so sturdy fences. At one point one of them leaned into the wire fence, thought seriously about going thru it and almost caught a leg on the bottom wire, but the hard snow kept the wire in place. We then had to ease up and let the horses run back behind us.
The mustangs were content to be on the one end of the trap, they hadn't even ventured up to the hay during the night. These two horses weren't very high headed or wild eyed. They had been in the BLM Facilities for quite awhile, so we could get fairly close to them, just couldn't ask them to do anything without them looking for a way out.
I was thinking to myself...." probably would be a lot easier if I had a saddle horse and we just let them out where there weren't any fences and just rope 'em. Could have them halter broke and in the trailer quicker." But what we did was to be smarter than the hairy hoofed creatures and not go against what they wanted. They liked the one particular end and corner, so we brought some hay and buckets of water down there, which they went right for. We packed all the panels down to where they were and tied the panels up on the fence corner and all along it, raising them up to about 7 ft. so we didin't have to worry about the horses trying them. We slowly built a pen around our broncs, then gradually made is smaller. We backed our trailer down to them ( since the Simmons trailer no longer had a door! ) and eventually made a little alleyway.
I used my wild rag as a flag, and everytime their heads were toward the trailer back off the pressure. The gelding seriously thought about stepping in a few times, but is was a perty high first step. These two needed a little more encouragement, so Shelley found a traveling blanket behind the seat of the pickup. It was a little louder, and just the ticket!
The horses jumped in the trailer, we shut the door, cleaned up our mess, stacked the panels and hit the road. We met the Simmons in Redmond, unloaded Shelley's braumby, thanked them for breakfast at "Mama's" and headed north to Hooper.
We unloaded my makeover filly.... "Tina Turner" at 11:30 PM

A special thanks goes out to Roy and Joanne Sharp for the loan of the nice trailer!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Mustang Pickup

18 Mar 2008
Mustang Challenge
Mar 8, 2008
10:20 am Carla and I pulled out of our driveway heading to Redmond, Or. about 320 miles from our home near Hooper, WA. Dan and Shelley Simmons were down in Sacramento picking up both mine and Shelleys draw. We arrived in Redmond with still plenty of daylight left. Thought we’d find our way out to the training/boarding facilities, where Shelley would be keeping her "stang" and we were to pick ours up. Planned on meeting the Simmons there that evening and checking out my filly, then go back into town, spend the night and then load her in the trailer Sun. morning and head home
Piece of Cake!
Nope.... didn’t quite happen that way! As we pulled into Redmond, all proud or ourselves for making the trip without running anybody off the road, and actually on time, Shelley calls and says the worst thing that could happen just did. Seems the worst that Dan and Shelley could come up with was to be bouncing across the RR tracks, heading out of Doris, CA ( pop. 1,000 which I think they’re lying.... maybe counting dogs and cows ) and to have a train barreling down on them blow it’s whistle. They look in their mirrors and there’s a couple of broom tails kinda trotting along the highway. Looked just like the two they were hauling. So they pull over, look in their trailer..... there’s no more door!
When ole Dinah blew her horn, those 2 critters hit the back end of the trailer hard enough to bust the welds on the hinges!
Fortunately, the two mustangs followed a gravel road and someone in a rig behind the Simmons followed the two jail birds and " Praise the Lord!" they turned into an open gate of an old hay trap, maybe an acre.
Well, the Simmons found the ole boy that owns the cow outfit on the outskirts of Doris. He was kind enough to bring a bunch of panels and set them up on the gate end of the trap. Then he gets a horseback and eases in there, but looks like the mustangs are thinking of hitting the wire fence and changing our good fortune.
The new plan was to just let them be thru the night and hopefully the horses would be content with a little hay thrown out for them and cows on the other side of the fence.