May Goals: Tarp and Standing Tied

Today I worked on two of our May goals. This is the first time Avalon has ever seen the tarp, and while she won't go over it, she does not mind wearing it or having it flap around. She was so good about it!!

After about 10 minutes with the tarp we moved on to working on standing tied in the aisle. This did not go that smoothly as she had to mouth everything, dance around, and look at everything. I think I will work on ground tying and getting her to stand in the indoor, as well as short sessions actually standing tied. I had her tied to the outside of one of the stalls, and I also had a crosstie attached to one side of her halter. 

I'm trying to keep our sessions short, I don't want to overload her, but she's so cute and awesome it's tough not to keep working with her!!


Every day

This whole seeing my pony every day? It's pretty awesome!! And it's making for a very friendly pony!


May Goals and Purchases

I feel like I finally have a horse that I can set small goals with and actually, maybe, achieve them! Here are a few that we'll be working on:

1. Walks! I want to take Avalon on lots of walks- trails, road, indoor, outdoor, around the property. I want to expose her to everything.
2. Work more on tying. Avalon ties fine in her stall (still sometimes pulls back). I'd like to be able to tie her in the aisle or on the hitching post where the wash stall is. Once she can consistently tie for 30 minutes we will start working on cross tying.
3. Give her a bath. Baby girl desperately needs her tail washed and put up in a tail wrap to keep it clean and long.
4. Expose her more to clippers and spray. I've brought the clippers out a few times and she's okay with them, but we definitely need to work on using them more. Same with spray. She can handle a couple of sprays of coat conditioner/fly spray, but then she will get nervous and start dancing around.
5. Expose her to tarps and other scary objects I can think up. Work on them not being scary things.
6. Hopefully take a field trip somewhere with barn mates. I'd love to get her back on the trailer and tag along to a show or clinic, just to get her off the property.
7. Expose her to long lines (attached to halter) and get her to walk forward and turn.

Things I want to purchase this month:
1. Fly mask (flies are already getting bad!).
2. Fly spray
3. Shampoo, blueing shampoo, conditioner, sweat scrape, sponge (I threw out all my old bathing supplies)

Things that need to get done this month:
1. Worm with Panacur
2. Hoof trim



"As a rider you must slowly and methodically show your horse what is appropriate. You also have to discourage what's inappropriate, not by making the inappropriate impossible, but by making it difficult so that the horse himself chooses appropriate behavior. You can't choose it for him; you can only make it difficult for him to make the wrong choices. If, however, you make it impossible for him to make the wrong choices, you're making war."- Buck Brannaman

I want Avalon to have positive experiences. I want her training to be based around positive experiences and getting through scary things in a calm, non-threatening way. I want her to trust that I will not put her into dangerous situations, and that we can trust each other through all things. I have not had her long enough, or worked with her enough, to even get a taste of that yet. She doesn't have any reason to trust me yet. Her life is based on fear, and getting away from scary things.

The scariest thing that she has had to deal with (other than the 20 hour trailer ride to get to me), was asking her to step into a slant load 3 horse trailer in the pouring rain yesterday morning at 7am. The woman I use to trailer runs her own local transport business, has a great trailer, drives safely, and is also prompt and reliable. A little backstory: she's trailered Finn probably a dozen times. Finn is an asshole getting on the trailer, and it normally would take 30 minutes to get him on. He would eventually get on after a lot of angry prompting and pushing, but it was nothing he couldn't mentally handle. He wasn't scared, he was simply being a jerk and refusing. Avalon was not a jerk. She was scared and had no idea what was being asked of her. Asking her to step a foot up, into a box, was not part of the routine. After about 5 minutes of leading her up to it, turning her, and leading her up to it, she put one hoof up as if she was going to jump in, but then backed right off. She was figuring it out. She wasn't being mean or aggressive, she was being a scared baby. This was when the woman I use took her, put the chain over her nose, and basically forced her into the trailer. It was not positive, but she was in. When we arrived at the new barn and got her off the trailer she told us that we can't let her get away with that crap. I'm not quite sure what that meant, as she wasn't being a jerk.

I see so many trainers and horse people that base their training on fear, and scaring their horse into doing things. I want my horse to WANT to do things. I'm fairly certain that if we had given her another ten minutes she would have gotten on. I want her to figure things out, whether it takes five minutes or an hour. I want her to respect me as the leader, and I think there is a fine line between respect and fear, that many tend to cross over. I do know that I don't want our relationship to be based on fear.

Today I went up to the barn and Avalon was hanging in the back of the paddock with the broodmares. Everyone seems to be getting along really well. For some reason I feel way more confident with her at this barn. I think part of the reason is due to the fact that there's not 30+ Thoroughbreds running around like psychopaths trying to kill each other in the paddock and breaking fences and each other all day long. New barn is a small mix of warmbloods, retirees, and quarter horses. All the horses just seem calm and peaceful...and so does Avalon. I actually want to see my horse now. Walked her around the property a bit and let her graze. Then I took her into the indoor, which she hasn't been in yet. I love the indoor because you can close all the doors completely so that she can't see out and can focus completely on me. The old barn there were only chains closing off the aisle ways, and the doors don't close completely, so Avalon was always distracted. I worked with her on some basic groundwork and then we played with some cones and worked on whoa's. She is such a curious and friendly little one, and a quick learner

Here she is distracted by the mirror (she's never seen one before) and NOT whoa'ing. After about ten minutes she was stopping right away and turning into me. 



It's been a great couple of days! I have tons to post about, but just haven't had the time to do so. Most importantly, this morning we moved to our new barn. It took Avalon about 10 tens to figure out getting on the trailer wasn't going to kill her, she did great on the hour ride over there, and she settled right into her stall, as well as into her paddock with the other mares. Here's some pics:

She looks so big here!!

Also working on a new blog template, which is partly done. It really is time to move on, and I am finally starting to be okay with that. I'm off to the barn for the second time today. Stay tuned!