Jewels: And The Box

Jewels goes along for days, even weeks without an upset.  The normal humdrum of life. Grazing on hay in her stall.  Having a conversation with the tenant beside her.  Being turned out to romp and roll. Enjoying the cool crisp air and the warmth of a late fall sun. A nibble and pull of the tender green grasses after a rain. Her desire is nothing more than the simple pleasures in her life. Then, I ask her to step out of her comfort zone. I tie her up and dust off the caked on mud. Brush her mane and tail. Saddle and bridle her and take her to the arena for a schooling session. All of this, for the simple pleasures in my life. I didn’t think about her feelings prior. Or, how she might respond to the coming events. Jewels always tries. She never resists and she never gets disagreeable about my need to ride any longer. We’ve found some sort of common ground. A meeting of the minds going in the same direction.

During my lesson last week, my trainer sat astride Jewels. I was having a little difficulty getting her to be patient and wait on my cues for a cross over on her front legs. Jewels thinks she needs to over think the process and quickly push on to next thing. We’ve been working on crossing over without moving her hind-quarters. She has a problem moving her shoulders away from pressure. After a short lesson from the trainer, Jewels got the message. It helped me grasp the position in which I needed to be in order to get the same results. I learn much better when someone shows me verses someone telling me. Now Jewels and I are moving on to side passing. Something I’ve noticed during training is: as long as Jewels understands what you’re asking, she never forgets. She can then repeat the exercise over again with no resistance. She’s truly a very smart individual. One of the unfortunate things. She also remembers her old bad habits. Those are few and far between now.

A couple of days before my lesson. It was late in the evening and all the other horses were up for the night. I wasn’t going to ride. Instead, we went to the arena and worked on liberty training. She’s getting real good at staying close, listening and watching for my hand signals. I’m impressed with her every time we work on those seemingly small steps. We were done for the night. I tied her up, brushed and curried her off. I untied her and started walking towards the stall. All of the sudden she saw a box,  jumped straight up in the air and ran backwards like a freight train. Snorting and carrying on like someone lit her tail on fire. I grabbed the box on the run and threw it at her. She was beside herself. It was the perfect opportunity to educate her on another inanimate object, that she thought, was going to kill her!

After Jewels calmed down. I rubbed the box all over her. I dropped it in front of her and rubbed her again. Before to long, she was standing with her head down and had all fours planted on the ground. There was no doubt, Jewels thought I was nuts. Quite frankly, I get tired of her silly reactions to simple things. I know they’re not silly to her, but she needs to react with a little less drama! LOL It wasn’t to long before the box was riding her. She was still suspicious and a tad bit reluctant. You can see it in her eyes. Never the less. I rewarded her with a lot of verbal praise.


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Posted in Daily Rambling, Horse Training

Jewels: Has A New Trick Up Her Sleeve

I started working Jewels at “Liberty” sometime back. My goal was to better educate her on ‘wanting to be closer to me’ without forcing her. It took a lot of hours to gain her trust. Most of my time was spent handling her and making it worth, her time, to get to know me better. Without making her feel cagey or confined in a small area. I let it be her idea. Not so much lately. I’ve not had the time or capabilities to stand on my feet for long. Sometimes, it can take an hour or so to get her to send off and return off lead. Just getting her to stay with me for long periods of time was quite a challenging experience. Hence, standing on my feet, with my previous physical limitations, was difficult for me. The Arabs, I use to own, we’re a snap in that department.  They always thought I was their best friend right from the beginning. Jewels? Not much!

It has been several days since I’ve been out to the barn. I felt the need to put everything else on the back burner and spend some quality time with Jewels. No one was at the barn. I took advantage of the quiet. Today, ‘I thought’. I’ll give her a little refresher course on “Liberty” training and see what she remembers. Normally, I’d have schooled her in a small area at first. Then, on to a larger space. It was a tad chilly and windy this afternoon. We had a lot of rain the past few days, also. I opted to use the arena instead of the round pen. I gathered her from the stall, took her to the arena and let her go. I barely got her halter off before she took off. Jewels leaped in the air like a jack rabbit several times before she landed a ground covering walk. I enjoyed watching her unravel all that energy she had bottled up.

I left her in the arena for a few minutes while making a phone call and filling my pockets full of horse treats. Jewels loves peppermint snacks. Returning to the scene. I noticed she was having a conversation with the big appaloosa gelding in the outside paddock. Since I was too lazy to walk all the way across the arena. I called her, hoping, she’d come to me without much hesitation. Surprisingly enough. She came right to me after calling her a couple of times.

Jewels has gotten better and better about coming when she’s called. This only took me 3 years to achieve. Good things come to those who wait? Nope! It takes persistence and determination. Or, in my case. All it took, and “God” love him. I know he was always worried about me. Was my husband relentlessly chanting in my ear. She’s to crazy! She’s to far beyond repair. You need to get rid of her. You’ll never gain her respect. In his defense. He loved me and didn’t want to see me get hurt. I’m so glad, I’m a thick-headed ol broad and wish he was here today. He’d see how wonderful she’s become. I can even get her to kiss me! How cute is this?

Moving right along. We started doing some sending exercises in both directions. She did splendidly!

This exercise is a prelude to the next step. Ultimately, my goal is to do some sort of choreographed routine with her someday. I’ll figure out our capabilities as we move along. Until next time. Happy horsing around!

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Posted in Daily Rambling, Horse Training

Just What I Needed

A little down time. Everyone needs it. I stole a lot of me time last night.  My week was long and exhausting, for no particular reason. It was everything rolled up in one huge bundle. I’m trying so hard not to crash and burn. However, I think it’s inevitable. Sooner or later it will catch up to me.

My animals are starting to feel the impact of my depression. They seem to console me at times. They seem to be closer to me than before.  My lap is always full of love. We’re watching some TV here. I thank God for my special little friends! 


Posted in Daily Rambling
"It's better to ride even if you get thrown, then to wind up just wishing you had." - Chris LeDoux.
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