My goals [and now his] for the next month (he does most of these in some minor form already):
- be comfortable with all parts of his body being touched and handled
- comfort with having his feet picked up and handled for a far amount of time (need to get his feet trimmed soon - yes, we will be barefoot and natural!!)
- learn to lead and give respectable space to me while leading
- giving to pressure and flexing
- lunging and listening to requests, body language requests, as I don't expect voice commands to click yet
- practice loading happily and quietly
- ground tying and standing politely and quietly to any and all acceptable objects
And guess what? ACCOMPLISHED IT ALL. Booya. In fact, I'm pretty certain other than driving goals, we've accomplished nearly every goal I've had in place. Goooo Griffin!
What now? Well, obviously further building up from the solid foundation we've developed! And the biggest goal for him for the summer is to just be healthy and grow, grow, grow! He's come a mighty far way...
|I have this photo in the little photo-film reel I keep adding to...but it's on my desktop which hasn't had internet access in days and thus is not uploaded for your viewing pleasure....yet.|
But seems to be at a bit of a stand still in his growth. I'm still eager (and scared) to see him when I return from 2.5 weeks of gone-ness. I bet he's much bigger. Having Q around makes him seem not so minuscule since they are only 2-3 inches different in height (of the other horses: two are ~16hh and all the others are ~15.2hh).
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Wednesday I ponied Griffin, and then let him follow at liberty on the ride Q and I went on. She was very pissy on a ride with Mayer the day prior so I wanted to see how she'd do with a different horse.
No crankiness toward Griffin at all. She was overly concerned about his where-abouts though and had trouble listening to me. At one point when he lagged behind and then galloped to catch up she even spooked and tried to run away from him. I think she must have had a few bad experiences with people/animals sneaking up from behind so she's really, really wary. She would also get concerned when Griffin would take one of his many wrong turns and disappear for 30 seconds or so. (I find it comical that he thinks he's the trail master-navigator.)
Griffin will be very good for her on the trails since he is so unpredictable. She has to deal with him coming up from behind, leaving her to go elsewhere, and passing her. Its good practical experience for the two of them. It also really helps that he's the only horse she trusts so far at her new home.
By the end of the ride, Q chilled out a lot and was beginning to listen to me a lot better. I really, truly think she has the potential to be awesome. We just need to get a trust thing going. Optimism, I has it.
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Q is coming further along every day. Griffin is the only horse in the field she trusts so far. It makes me happy to drive up to the barn to see the two of them swishing flies for one another in the field apart from the others. I'm glad my two can be friends.
He's a good influence on her as far as teaching her a few tricks - like coming when I call and whistle in the field. She won't come immediately, but when she realizes he isn't coming back she tags right along. They both get a little treat to munch, halters put on, and in they come. Good horses.
I honestly believe that she has never had someone be nice to her continuously no matter the circumstance. She constantly gives me this wild look and will throw her head in the air when I speak harshly to her for doing something she shouldn't. When she shows poor ground manners I turn about quickly to be in front of her, lead in hand, and give a quick jerk of the lead to get her to pay mind and not be a snot. She balks in a manner of a horse who expects a harsh blow to follow. She always seems surprised when I don't give it. As soon as she settles and stands, I resume whatever I was doing.
We go through the harsh words, about face, exchange stand-the-F-still / are-you-gonna-kill-me? looks maybe two times and then she chills the F out and realizes, Oh, hey, this two-legged person isn't gonna hurt me. Cool. I'll be chill. And then she gets lots of happy words and strokes and pats from me.
Today, I toyed around with her shoeless front hoof. Goal to rasp it down so it would fit in a boot I had so we could go ride. She jumped all around to avoid me doing this. We did our routine exchange of body language, and within two bouts of that she chilled the F out and let me do it. Such a good girl! Lots of praise.
Before I prodded around trying to put the boot on I remembered I had some essential lavender oil in the car. I let her sniff it, she licked and chewed. I applied it around the base of her nostrils. I then proceeded to get caught up in conversation for a few minutes. When I went to put the boot on she was the most docile thing EVER. I was shocked. Didn't care that I had to pick up and put down her foot a lot to get the boot settled right. So, so, so chill.
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Griffin has learned to be a snot though. He finally realized on our ride today that when he gets unhooked from his lead that he doesn't really have to follow us. Today he said "Fuck herd mentality, I'm going home. See you guys later!" I had to go fetch him TWICE. My stupid fault for thinking he'd listen the second time.
He did behave fairly well after that.... Other than throwing a kick at Kenai's head. Le sigh. Those antics combined with him thinking he can go "chill" in the tack room whenever he damn well pleases proved to me today that he needs more big-boy work in his life. If he doesn't have enough stimuli from our workouts and has enough time to throw shenanigans, he's time to learn some more complicated maneuvers.
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OH. Last note on today. Griffin passed Q and I on one of his many wrong-turns on the way home. This one wasn't so much a wrong turn as a little detour, so Q and I followed. We came out into the field on top and Griffin took off running.
I let Q canter.
The boot came loose finally and she FREAKED OUT.
I tried to slow her and tell her it was okay, I'd fix it, just stop (I literally said this aloud to her in a calm voice - thanks subconcious chill-me for taking over). While chill-Liz was saying these things to crazy-Q, normal-Liz was thinking at the same time, Okay, where's the best place to fall off and how am I gonna do this without killing myself?!
I managed to slow her and one rein stop her.
Griffin was still galloping into his own personal sunset at this point. I jumped off her and got the boot off my now dancing horse who was upset her buddy had run away. Fortunately for all involved, he made a safe U-turn at his earliest convenience and came back. All was right with the world.
Stay tuned for adventures with FRIESIANS later in the week (I'm squee-ing inside constantly over the dream-come-true to ride a Friesian...and a Friesian sporthorse!