Yesterday it was windy and the weather has torn another piece of "sunroof" off of my barn so it now has two huge gaping holes over the run in. The most recent one keeps flopping around in the wind freaking the horses out. Father in law may have some metal siding that will fit the corrugation pattern and length of the holes so we may be able to patch them with that, we just have to get it done ASAP.
See that thing on the ground behind him? That is my sky light from the barn.*rolls eyes* Don't worry, I picked it up right away.
At any rate it has the ponies on edge. I almost didn't work Brego yesterday but it was sooo nice and it was supposed to rain today so even with the wind and the roof flopping around i decided to go ahead. I started with some work running loose but with his side reins on since he was acting really scattered and i trotted the edge off of him so he could focus on me. Then I put the long lines on him and had him do circles around me as usual, turning and stopping and speeding up and slowing down, etc. Which he is really good at.
Once he was good and tired I decided it is time again to work on ground driving. I.E. instead of standing off to the side where he can see me *his comfort zone* I am directly behind him where he can't see me *REALLY REALLY not his comfort zone*. His usual reaction to ground driving is to tuck his butt up, leap forward, ignore all cues from me for a good 10 to 15 steps, then turn to face me. This is also what he did when i was on his BACK and directing him where he couldn't see me, where instead of just letting him go until he realized he was fine I panicked and tried to stop him and threw myself right off balance and onto the ground.
I may have 30 years of horse experience but I have never been a skilled rider, and certainly never been a really talented trainer. I have harness trained several mini horses, and saddle trained a couple of ponies i had well trained to harness beforehand, but by "trained" I mean the basics. Stop, go and turn. What i consider either "green" or, depending on what the plans are for the horse, "backyard trail broke". Nothing more. And I've never had a horse react to ground driving the way Brego does.
So I have been really working on "Waaaalk" (that means slow down to a walk if you are going faster), "Easy" (keep doing what you are doing but stop being an idiot and acting like your tail is on fire) an "Whoa" (Stop. Now. Don't slide to a stop but gracefully drop speed and then stand there without snorting like a mountain lion is about to drop out of a tree on you). I really don't want to rate him back too much because he tends to be a slacker most of the time, but on the other hand when I get back up on him I don't want him to pull this ridiculous "bolting 10 steps" crap on me again.
Well, as he walked I slipped in behind him instead of staying in the middle of the "arena" area. The first thing he did was start going all wobbly trying to go around me so he could keep an eye on me. rather than try to make him go straight like usual I started having him do a serpentine... he could see me with his left eye for three seconds, i was out of his sight for 3 seconds then he could see me with his right eye for three seconds. Gradually I let him linger in the "can't see me" zone for longer until he tried to explode on me.
This is why I like starting them in the halter instead of a bit. because this took a lot more muscle than i would EVER want to have on his mouth. When he tried to explode forward I just held steady and said, "WAAAAaaaaaalk... EASY." he threw a bit of a fit, then settled down, then we started again. Same thing only this time he didn.t try nearly as hard to explode. He kept trying to get an eye on me, and if I pushed him past his comfort zone he would TRY to bolt, but he finally seemed to translate the "easy" and "whoa" from when he could see me to when he couldn't. Then, pretty suddenly, he just stopped fighting it. He would walk on in a line as long as i told him to, without being able to see me. If I tried to adjust his direction he would use it as an excuse to way over turn so he could see me, but he would walk away from me without doing that ludicrous leap forward!!
So I think it finally clicked in his brain! Now we will have to see if the "click" will stick!
Once we were done with that I pulled off all his gear, got him running so I could get some pictures, then gave him a full body scratch from head to toe, especially around his head where the halter had been. I Listerined his legs since the weather was supposed to turn wet today, then fed everyone their dinner.
He was a pretty good boy, and we made progress, but it took almost an hour of making him move those feet when he was being obstinate to get him to focus and think. That was probably his longest training session yet and we were a half hour into it before he really got his head into the work and paid attention. Considering he has only been back in work for like two weeks after 3 or more months off i won't complain! Plus it gave me an excuse to watch him trot around. *swoon*
Shutter click, that is. No text, just goatie pics.
Rosemary on top of the table, Thyme and Parsley in the shade....
Sage had the hut to herself...
parsley was going pee, but he never stands still unless he is going pee, otherwise he is walking toward me! Not sure if you can tell but he is getting better muscle tone in his hind end and shoulders.
He foams at the mouth, but only after he sees me going ot the barn to get food... I was freaked out because I could only find two things about goats having mouth foam... bloat and goat polio. But he has done this since the day i got him home and has shown no other signs of either disease. He just started working his mouth funny when he thinks food is coming, whips up this foam, then as soon as he eats it is gone and he seems fine. I really do NOT know what to think of it. None of the other goats do this.
Goat people... I tried to get poochie pics just in case, since they WERE out with a buck or two this winter... plus I would like before pictures for when i know they are bred to compare the after pictures to... lol... I wish I could have got video of that. The twins don't carry their tails up most of the time was out there trying to hold their tails up while they were running away like I was some creepy kind of freakshow, then my camera batteries died. *sigh*
I awoke this morning at about 2:30am to the sound of thunder and wind trying to blow my house down. All the critters weathered it fine, but that didn't stop me from worrying about them. I finally fell asleep and was woke at 4am by Tsu trying to find his dress socks, DOH. I'm glad I got so much accomplished yesterday because today is a complete bust outside. It clears up for a while then another batch of storms roll through. Hopefully the weather improves soon. We did need rain, but i am on a roll now and want to keep things going!