Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Everyone's Needs Have Been Met - For Once..

Today, I wound up having a really active (yet mostly unplanned) horsey day!

My two horse-girl friends (ages 16 and 10) came out to play this morning and stayed for three hours. The time flew by for all of us. The younger girl played with Smokey, while the older one played with Cody, and I attempted to keep Guinness occupied while helping them out. They are pretty much novices around horses, which is wonderful as they have no bad habits and are totally open to learning Parelli Natural Horsemanship (my chosen method).

We started with each girl attracting and then haltering her horse. Then we went over safe tying and quick release knots. Next, we lightly groomed while looking them over and searching for itchy spots, and picked out hooves.

We then proceeded out to the roundpen to play the Friendly, Porcupine, Driving & Yo Yo games in all different ways. (At this point Guinness was getting bored and naughty and needed to be locked out.) Next, they took the horses out into the larger paddock and played with different obstacles. Some of the tasks that they achieved were: sideways over logs, figure 8 with traffic cones, Yo Yo through cones, stepping on a tire, sending over a small jump, and walking over the "bridge." Wow!

It started to rain so we quickly put Cody away and mounted Smokey. (Riding is the "cherry on top" for these girls.) Each girl took her turn standing on a stump and asked Smokey to come over to get them, which he eventually did. They each mounted and then gave him a cookie. Then they practiced coaxing him to move forward and to go where they were focusing. They both did great. I reminded them that Smokey is a very challenging critter to ride and that they are helping me to teach him that being ridden can be fun.

Both Smokey & Cody were relaxed with happy expressions and lowered heads around the girls. They seemed very happy with all the attention.

Guinness on the other hand was jumping up and down while making "pick me, pick me" faces, so this evening he got his turn. But first, Cody and I practiced his new skill of coming over to the fence to allow me to mount at liberty. He had to weigh his options and decide that it was worth the cookie, then he was very willing - he came to get me three times. :-)

After that, Guinness and I snuck down to the roundpen (staying at liberty the entire time) where we played everything that I could think of! Stick to me, yo yo, circling, jumping barrels, hide your hiney, backing from pressure, lead by the leg, porcupine every which way, walking forward & backing from zone 5, sideways and more. I even brought a hat with us and he picked it up and gave it to me 3 times. He also bowed once with each foreleg. I'm happy to say that his "draw" was wonderful. We had a great time. I'm going to strive to find 20 minutes or so each day to play with him and I'm going to have to get much more creative to stay ahead of him!!

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