Dealing with a miniature extrovert, other issues

I have been continuing to go to my natural horsemanship lessons so I can learn as much as I can.  I learned this week that Shmigley’s extremely spooky, and that I need to put in a lot of hours with this little miniature pony.  The reason is because I need to break through the barrier of his fear, work with him enough to convince him that I am not someone to fear but that I am his partner.  I am also giving him some extra magnesium.

Shmigley (Photo by Amy Miller)

Shmigley (Photo by Amy Miller)

Does anyone have a horse that seems to be extra spooky and can’t seem to get them to move from point A to point B?  That is what it seemed like with me.  Shmigley’s “horsinality” seemed to be an extremely right-brained extrovert, meaning a very spooky horse who feels the need to move his feet.

Actually, I was supposed to have a riding lesson with my own horses yesterday, but last week while I was driving home pulling the horses from a lesson, all of a sudden a big clanging sound emerged from under my hood and more on the right side of my Tahoe.  I pulled over and turned it off.  I then restarted it hoping that the sound was just a fluke.  I really was praying that it would straighten itself out.  But the noise started up again.  I called my husband John (who admits to not being mechanically inclined) and he came to my aid and figured it was a problem with a spark plug wire.  But now I have been stranded without my Tahoe for over a week.  We can’t seem to find a mechanic who is willing to come to our home to fix the Tahoe as well as our car, which has been sitting with a broken serpentine belt.  I was beginning to feel like the saying goes, “when it rains it pours.”  There was one mechanic who was going to fix it for us at our home but the day he was going to arrive, he was not able to make it.

I am hoping that my Tahoe is fixed very soon and that I am able to pull my horses once again either to a lesson, or a ride in the mountains.  I am praying that this happens very soon.

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The stories from training just keep on coming

I have had many great experiences with my horses and with the minis as well this week.  So I will just share three of the stories for different posts on the blog.

Cheyenne takes a bow with Amy on her back during a child's birthday party.  (Photo by John G. Miller)

Cheyenne takes a bow with Amy on her back during a child’s birthday party. (Photo by John G. Miller)

The first story is about Cheyenne and her training.  You see, Cheyenne is being trained for different things, such as her tricks, natural horsemanship and riding her enough to get her to be an even better riding horse.  Natural horsemanship and tricks go hand in hand because both disciplines involve working the horses on the ground, so we need to be able to be the alpha horse and help the horse learn the tricks but also enjoy being a true partner with me.

The other day I went out to work with a friend’s horse, but after I worked with that horse I allowed my own two horses to come out in the pasture themselves so they could get a nice run and stretching done for their physical as well as their emotional well being.   Since Cheyenne was out there eating and my husband accompanied me this time, I decided to see what Cheyenne would do for me at liberty.  She did great for me.  She yielded her hindquarters, forequarters, side pass away from me as well as toward me when I signaled her with a hand gesture.  She came forward with a gesture and backed up when I went toward her tail and grabbed a few tail hairs.  I asked her to do a nice, deep bow and she gave it for me.  She is an awesome horse.

When I went to my natural horsemanship lesson on Monday, I started showing my instructor what I did with my horse in the pasture.  She did a lot of the same things but then she eventually wandered off just like she did at the end of the time I spent with her in the pasture.  Then my instructor asked me if I knew how to get her to come back and pay attention to me.  I told her that I didn’t exactly know.

For about the next half hour, we worked on teaching her to allow me to be alpha by controlling her feet, mainly her hind feet.  If she stood and looked at the instructor, she would reward Cheyenne for standing straight in front of her but Cheyenne still did not approach her at all.  Then the idea was to cause her to yield her hind quarters and hopefully the horse would then yield her quarters and approach the handler.  Cheyenne didn’t want to approach her, she wanted it her way.  So we would continue this game until things got worse but in the end, a half hour into it, she approached her handler.  It was a great thing to see.  After a few more lessons that day, I did the same thing and Cheyenne approached me the same way.  For the next couple of weeks, we will continue to do this to get Cheyenne totally connected with me as her alpha.

It is more difficult for Cheyenne to yield to me because she is an alpha mare.  But this is not all.  I had both of my horses loose in the arena and it didn’t take Gypsy long to realize that she was not the one Jo was zeroing in on.  So she eventually just stood and did not respond to what was going on.  That was an interesting thing to observe.

Even after that was over, Cheyenne kept looking back at that part of the wall or the arena as if she was trying to figure out what happened there.  It was quite interesting.  She was probably thinking what just happened to me to cause me to do what I did.  But for the next 20 minutes she continued to look back and lick her lips.  But she is a great horse and I keep learning a lot from her.

Please feel free to respond with your thoughts.

So many horses, so little time

miniIn working with the horses, I find that I have so many things that I want to teach the horses, so many different things that I am thinking about trying — making out a sheet with the week all filled out on what I teach on which days of the week.  I need to ride Cheyenne, teach her all her natural horsemanship drills, and work on all the tricks as well as practice piano and painting.  Sometimes I get a little overwhelmed with all their schooling, especially when I have four horses to work with.  Two horses and two minis, to be exact.

I enjoy working with the horses, but sometimes I feel as if I don’t have enough time to do it.  Since there are four of them to work with, I have to figure out the amount of time I have to work with each individual horse.  There are times I feel as if I need more hours in a day to work with each individual horse/pony and to give each one more time since they have so much to learn.

So when you start training your horse tricks, be prepared — there is sssooooo much that you would have to train your trick horse, it keeps you very busy.  Trick training takes time when you really want to master it.  It really could keep me busy enough to make it into a full-time job.  Unfortunately, it is not making me enough money to where I could afford to turn it into a full-time job.  But I am hoping that the horse business will pick up.

I am hoping that this is the year that the horses will be more popular and get some more shows for people and their families.

Stay tuned and keep watching for follow-up.