Monday, September 12, 2011

Lucky - liberty play! Plus Poco & Ben, getting the senior horse back in shape, weeks 4-6



Poco and Ben continued to make progress in their fitness and ranges of motion throughout August. By the end of the month, we were up to 1/2 hour of work each session, 4 days per week. I adjusted each session, depending on how they worked on the steep hill circles. If they had a lot of energy and good mobility, we'd do about 10 minutes of walking on the steep hill, 10 minutes trotting circles on the gentle hill, and 10 minutes circling on the flat over ground poles at the walk. Days that their energy was lower, or they were a bit stiff, we cut out the trotting and did more walking over poles on the flat. Basically, no set program, just tweaking each time according to what they volunteered. Trotting was always voluntary, and both sometimes threw in a bit of cantering as well.
You can find part 1, part 2 and part 3 of their program in the July 2011 entries.

In early September, we got a lot of rain and footing became treacherous, so we took a break for a couple weeks. The footing should be dry enough to start up again later this week.









Lucky has started volunteering liberty play in the pasture! I had turned him out in the pasture to run off some high spirits, and as I sent him away, I realized he was circling back to me, first using the entire field, then bringing the circle in and looking for guidance. Suddenly, he was walking & trotting as I cued, coming in to me, turning, walking along with me. What an amazing breakthrough. Of course, with all the rain, all our play has been on hold the last couple weeks. Tonight I'm headed out to spend some time with him and see what he offers again.

Interested in learning more about the senior nutrition program I am using?
January international teleclasses, recorded for convenience!  
See website for details http://www.carrieeastman.com/Teleclasses---Video-Classes.html


Would you like to learn some simple exercises for your senior horse?
Contact me, and I can work with you both at your barn, or remotely by video.
www.carrieeastman.com

Thursday, August 18, 2011

At the South Mountain Fair...


 So here we are at the South Mountain Fair!
The fair gave us a great spot in the goat tent, facing the foot traffic.  We've had lots of visitors, and lots of questions about myotonic goats.



The Oak Hill pens



Our display - great end spot in the tent

Folks can help themselves to fliers about the my favorite goat products, take a business card (or 3) and flip through the Oak Hill photo album.  I've had many requests to make the goats faint, so I'm glad I included a photo of the herd falling down.



fliers and  the Oak Hill photo album
 The first day all 3 goats were pretty nervous about all the people, baby strollers, balloons, tractors and cattle!  Now they have settled in, and while they still aren't thrilled with baby strollers, they are taking the rest in stride.  Harley in particular has become a real ambassador for the breed.  I take her out for strolls around the livestock area, greeting children and answering questions about the breed.  Several children have adopted her, and return to the pens over and over to visit, pet, scratch and cajole goat kisses.



Harley & Carlotta "Where's lunch?"




Tonka napping in the sun
Tonka has been a bit frisky, and has taken to head-butting hands that reach into his pen to touch his head.

Last night we got to show in the open classes.  We were the only goats entered in the doe classes, and up against some Pygmy goats in the buck classes.  It was fun to have some ribbons to hang on the pens, and I was so proud of all 3 goats.  They handled the ring and the judging wonderfully, and no one fell down!  Harley is a little ham, and took to posing naturally.







Open Breeding Goats, Other Breeds - Bucks






Open Breeding Goats, Other Breeds - Does






Open Breeding Goats, Other Breeds - Does









Sunday, July 31, 2011

Poco & Ben - week 3 of getting my senior horses back into shape

Poco and Ben are into their 3rd week of their reconditioning program. Because they are both in their late 20s, we continue to take this slow and easy, adapting as we go.

The first week was ground poles at the walk on a slight hill. 5 minutes each direction. We added poles and changed the spacing/height during the week.

The second week, I added a couple more walking poles, and started trotting, 3 sets of 2 laps each direction.

Both guys are making very fast progress. I've had to add and change poles several times during the previous weeks, and increase trotting time at their insistence. I'm still starting our sessions with the polarity clearing, chest and tail points, running the bladder meridian, and finishing with Dr Golob's back exercises. In week 3, the differences between Poco and Ben are starting to show.

Historically, Ben has had issues with his hocks and with his ability to go round. So in our 3rd week, I've been using DNR Draw (no longer on the market) topically on his hocks daily. I have kept him on the gentle hill, and we've added trotting time. We are up to at least 5 minutes of trot each direction, and a few laps of canter both ways as well. We cool down over the ground poles. Ben has gotten very frisky, and insists on trotting or cantering for most of the time he's on the lunge. At this rate, he'll be under saddle by this weekend for some short rides. His back exercises are improving also.

Poco had navicular/ringbone/sidebone in both front hooves when he was 12. So I am watchful for any front end issues. Additionally, he had been weakest in his stifles, and was prone to sacro-illiac issues. So, rather than increase his trotting time significantly, I've moved Poco onto a steeper hill at the walk to focus on stifle strength. I allow him to trot on the flat if he chooses, which he usually does. I'm not pushing the trot yet though. I'm using DNR Draw on his stifles and sacrum, and also putting my favorite balm on his front pasterns and coronet bands anywhere that I feel old calcium deposits. I'm keeping a close eye for heat. I've gotten more aggressive with Dr Golob's neck telescoping. Poco's stifles have improved already (he isn't ducking the back exercises), and his topline is filling in. I noticed him cantering down a steep hill out in the field today with his hind end engaged. If he continues to improve, our next step is ponying off Ben on the trails at the walk.

Update:  the program continues...

Interested in learning more about the senior nutrition program I am using?
January international teleclasses, recorded for convenience!  
See website for details http://www.carrieeastman.com/Teleclasses---Video-Classes.html


Would you like guidance setting up some TTEAM obstacles?  Would you like to learn how to do some of the exercises I described?  Contact me for in person or video coaching!

(c) copyright 2016
All TTEAM and TTouch terminology is copyrighted and trademarked by TTEAM. These statements are not intended to diagnose or treat disease, and have not been evaluated by the FDA or AVMA.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The downside of ear tags...

Bandit and Conan got ear tags before their trip to Canada.  Bandit removed his.
Ear tag removal - the painful way

Bandit chillin' on the deck


Bandit found an oak leaf















Torn ears cannot be stitched due to cartillage damage.  I cleaned up the edges and applied balm to help it heal and keep the flies away.  Now he really does look like a bandit!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Updates - retraining Lucky the ex-racehorse, Poco & Ben - getting my senior horses back into shape

Wow, so much to report since last week.

Lucky and I are out on the trails now bareback. He's excited, and very alert, yet still responsive. I'm so proud of him. We'll be adding the saddle to trail riding days this week. And we'll be joining a friend (thanks Missy) with a seasoned trail horse to help Lucky with his confidence.
In the ring, we have worked on standing quietly at the mounting block, standing for mounting, and relaxing after I'm on. He's done really well. We've got our walk-trot transitions, and great halts as well. We'll be taking the mounting block lessons out on the trail this week.
I've started doing more TTEAM with him again. Right now, we are working on Dolphin, leading up to Cheetah. He's still a bit confused about why I want him to walk further away from me.

For the ground exercises, Lucky will follow me with the lead draped over his neck.

Poco and Ben are through the first week of their reconditioning program. Because they are both in their late 20s, we're taking this slow and easy, and adapting as we go.
Last week we started with ground poles at the walk on a slight hill. 5 minutes each direction. Similar to the Parelli topline exercises. I walked with them over the poles, so looks like I'm getting reconditioned as well. I found as the week progressed, I was able to add poles until we were doing 5 or 6 each time around. Some days they could handle an elevated pole for the entire session. Other days, they dropped the pole part way through, and I would leave it down when that happened.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

First trail ride on Lucky! We did it! And an exercise program for Poco & Ben

It's been a long interesting journey with this ex-racehorse of mine.

Tonight, after a quick EFT reminder that riding Lucky is fun and easy, we played in the field a bit with some basic TTEAM obstacles and plenty of circles and yielding. And then we headed out onto the trail for the very first time.

Lucky was excited and interested, yet very controllable. I did have to dismount for a monster manure spreader. :-) After we got past that, I discovered a new gap in Lucky's training. Mounting on the trail. Did I mention I was bareback??? We practiced at ditches, stumps, lumber piles and rocks on the way home.

So I can see our next game is going to be standing quietly next to objects that I am standing on.

And, it's time for me to learn to swing up bareback without any mounting aid. Good thing he's short.


I also spent some time tonight laying out ground poles in a large circle on the hillside. I picked a very gentle slope. I put poles at 12, 3, 6 and 9 on the clockface. One pole was elevated, one was a pair set like cavaletti.
As Poco and Ben are older, I am starting with short sessions twice daily.
In one, I clear polarity, do K27 chest points and tail points, and finish with the back and neck exercises.  I use a flower essence spray topically on any blocked points and along their spine from withers to tail.
In the other, I run their bladder meridians on both sides 3 times, and do some basic TTouches, usually abalone over their bodies. Then some wand stroking all over, especially on their legs. After that, 5 minutes one way around the circle, more wand stroking for a short break, then 5 minutes the other way on the circle.
I'll reassess in a week to see how the program should be tweaked.

Part 2...
Part 3...
Part 4...

Fun to watch all the changes happening around here!

Interested in learning more about the senior nutrition program I am using?
January international teleclasses, recorded for convenience!  
See website for details http://www.carrieeastman.com/Teleclasses---Video-Classes.html

Friday, July 8, 2011

Lucky - we got it!

So, the last session removed the last of Lucky's fear & anxiety. Which is good. And, which led to the next layer of the onion.
So often when I get to the point that the horse finally realizes he/she can trust, the next stage is challenging boundaries. Pretty normal reaction, all things considered. Carolyn Resnick's Waterhole Rituals deal with this.
So, Lucky was different tonight about haltering and the saddle. He was turning his shoulder to me, cutting turns a bit close, bringing his haunches in on me, refusing to give his eyes. All subtle ways of getting into my space and challenging me.
Interestingly, I've been having lots of Parelli encounters lately, particularly with a client of mine. It occured to me that some of the basic exercises are a lot like the Taking Territory aspects of the Waterhole Rituals. So, I reached back to my Level I Parelli from back in '98 and did some basics with Lucky.
Fingertip yields of the shoulders and hindquarters, sending, circles, backing. Especially backing, as he was determined to crowd me tonight. I did everything gently and subtly, with breaks to relax.
It only took about 10 minutes, with plenty of pauses to chew things over, and he sighed and dropped his head and walked calmly with me.
When I got the saddle out, he made one try to shoulder past me. I backed him with the lead, and on the next try he stood for the saddle. (I used the lead Parelli-style, rather than the TTEAM wand and exercises, because I had a lead in one hand and a saddle over my arm, leaving no hand free for the wand.)
I put the saddle on and took it off from both sides a few times, and Lucky stood.
Looks like we've got the issue resolved.
Phew.

I must say I'm still thoughtful about the process. I still dream of a horse wanting to be ridden, accepting tack on the first try with only curiosity. And, perhaps that is too much to ask for from a horse with baggage and history. Only time and furter learning will tell.

I'm planning to go to 2 sessions daily over the weekend, so we can continue the ground games and get some riding in as well.


Plus, I'm working up fitness programs for the 2 oldest horses (28+). I'll post more about that next week.

Fun & easy!

Bucklings going to Canada

Conan and Bandit are headed to Canada soon.  Here are some pictures of the boys.

Bandit

Bandit - "must you really take pictures of my rear???"

Bandit - such a handsome face

Conan

Conan - look at that hiney!

Conan - Aaaawwww, he's so cute!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

A change of pace for Lucky

I went to work with Lucky tonight and could tell as soon as I approached with the hackamore that he was disengaged. He walked away from me, and refused to put on the hackamore, although he was very willing to visit with me if I kept the hackamore on my shoulder. He was clearly feeling hounded or pressured by my training agenda.
My gut said to do something totally different tonight to give us both a break.
Lucky was a touch pushy, so I started with taking space (sending him gently away).
Then I invited him back to me.
Two significant changes - he is calmer about being sent away, and he comes back to me willingly every time.
We played with stand, come, and going where I pointed.
We did some shoulder yields, hindquarter yields and backing from his nose or chest.
For the first time, he let me lead him with a hand under his chin.
We did companion walking, circles, figure-8s and halts.
All without any halter or tack.
Between each exercise, we stood quietly and I did abalone ttouches on his body, ear work, raccoon ttouches on his face, or just stood with him, breathing together and enjoying the evening.
By the end, he was interested and relaxed, and looking for the next game. He was connected and engaged, curious and relaxed.

I'm thinking that our next session with the saddle calls for something totally different.
I'm going to skip the hackamore, and just use a rope halter. I'm thinking there may still be a mental association that is contributing to his anxiety about saddles.

If saddling continues to be an issue, we may just stick to bareback for a while and see what happens.

And still more saddling Lucky...

Lucky challenges me mentally and emotionally more than any other horse I have ever worked with.
Getting a read on why he says "no" can be tricky.
He is very sensitive and emotional, and reactive. Much more than my other Arabian Ben. I'd be curious to know if that is a difference common to Polish vs. Egyptian Arabian lines...
So, back to Lucky.
Lots more "no's" last night. They didn't last as long, and we reached a point of calmness faster, so I feel I'm on the right track.
Just waiting for that final insight and a breakthrough to full acceptance, for both of us.

I know I can ride him bareback, and he is calm about that. For long rides, a saddle would be more comfortable for us both.

So, we'll see what the next session brings.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

more saddling Lucky

Still getting resistance on the saddling. Blocking with his head, bolting forward.
Doesn't appear to be fear at this point. Anxiety, tension, anticipation of what comes next, some "no". Very head high.
Chunked the process down a lot. Saddlepad alone, then pad/saddle. No girth.
Added treats.
Lots of ear work, forelock slides, ttouches on his face, to get him thinking & relaxed.
Python lifts on his legs while wearing the saddle to ground him.
Head lowering, to get him out of fight/flight mode.
Got progress tonight.

We'll see how much stuck when I play with him tomorrow.

I'll know we've got it when I can saddle him while he's at liberty in the corral with no bridle/halter.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Saddling Lucky



Spent about an hour tonight working on saddling. It has been months since I've saddled Lucky, as we've been playing bareback.



So, I discovered he still had a LOT of anxiety about being saddled.



The process tonight involved lots of TTouch, mainly connected clouded leopard. Plus ear work, ttouches on his face, neck rocking, leg rocking - basically all his favorites to really get him in a relaxed receptive thinking state of mind.



Then the pad.



Then more ttouches and some food rewards.



On and off with the pad, mixed in with ttouches and treats and reassurance, lowering his head when necessary.



Then the same process with the saddle.



Then with the saddle and girth.



All of this done on both sides of his body.



Not habituation or desensitizing, but reengaging his thought processes whenever he would get anxious. I'd wait for the head to lower, the eye to soften, the licking/chewing/yawning, then move to the next stage. I'll know next session how much he processed, and how much he accepted.

We finished out with a nice long walk down the road, wearing the saddle. He practically led me! He really loves to be out and about seeing new things, and I suspect he is going to be a rockin' trail horse.

He was very careful to help me up the steep hill on the way home, actually pausing to nudge me, and towing me along willingly with his halter.


We're making great strides, and we'll be out riding the trails very soon. Yea!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Riding Lucky







The last couple nights I've had fun sessions with Lucky.






Last night it was very very windy with a front coming through. Our entire session consisted of lots of TTouches while I stood on the mounting block, settling him enough to get on. Mane slides, forelock slides, connected clouded leopard along his neck and back. I would move the mounting block around his body to work from different angles.


When he finally dropped his head and licked & chewed, I got on and repeated some TTouches on his neck and withers. When he again relaxed enough to loosen his neck, drop his head & chew, we walked through the labyrinth. It took several times through for him to calm enough to negotiate all the turns. One decent pass through and we called it good.





Tonight, I really took my time tacking him up and leading him out. Lots more TTouches, mainly abalone and clouded leopard, all over his body. Plus tiny clouded leopard ttouches on his face and forelock slides (he LOVES forelock slides).





At the mounting block I did one round of EFT on "Riding Lucky is fun & easy". (He likes to stand with his nose touching my hands while I do EFT. )


We had a great ride, doing hindquarter yields, opening his shoulders, stopping & backing. He did the labyrinth much better. And we were able to do bigger & bigger circles, starting so tiny they were almost turns on the forehand, then getting bigger until we were doing sweeping figure 8s. By the end he was walking calmly & with energy, dropping his head and bending.


I led him on a walk down the road to finish out our time together. He does like to stop suddenly to watch every new thing. Tonight, we learned about ground hogs and rabbits. He stays close to me and stands his ground, and will move forward again after investigating. He will match his speed to mine, even when we head for home, walking, jogging or stopping on a totally loose rein.


I'm finding that my confidence in him, and my confidence in my own ability to cope with whatever he does is growing. When we were riding, he did a bit of dancing around, and even leaped forward, and I stayed on and calm.


I'm still riding him bareback, as I find my balance is better and I can feel his movement more. He is also more calm bareback.


I'm planning to reintroduce the saddle in the next couple days.





I'm so thrilled with his progress, and mine! Thank goodness for TTEAM, EFT and Waterhole Rituals.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Lucky welcomed the hackamore!!!



The picture says it all.

I added treats to our play sessions, and everything fell into place. This last picture was taken out in the open pasture we ride in, and Lucky walked to me when he saw me coming with the hackamore.

Back to riding tomorrow!


Dianne came today and did another Sportsmassage session on Lucky. She reported much improvement in his shoulders, which had been very tight. She also got more releasing in his gluteus accessorius. What I saw was a freer canter and his tail held to the center instead of pulled to the left.


Lucky also got his bi-weekly pedicure yesterday. His toes have backed up nicely, his hairlines have evened out. He still tends to grow a flare on his right hind. I'll be curious to see if Dianne's work combined with riding changes his hoof growth.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Lucky - more on the bridle

I used a different approach today with Lucky.

I realized that my energy yesterday was still too aggressive, demanding results. As gentle as the leading from behind was, it was still done with the intention of being a consequence of refusing the hackamore.

So I regrouped, read some Carolyn Resnick articles, and meditated a bit on what was happening. Then I took the hackamore out to Lucky and just got very quiet to watch his reaction. His high spirits are indeed hiding fear.

If I approached him with the hackamore, he evaded by raising his head, then turning away if I persisted.
If I pushed when he evaded by following him, he moved more and got more head high.
When I stood quietly with the hackamore, he would approach withing a few feet, head high.
If I sat with the hackamore, his eyes would soften, he would lower his head and approach me cautiously, keeping a close eye on the hackamore. The slightest clank of metal and away he'd go.

My gut said to chunk the process down even further. Rather than make the goal to put the hackamore on him, I made the goal just to get him willing to stand and walk with me if the hackamore was hanging on my shoulder.

I starting by hanging the hackamore on the fence, and doing some companion walking with Lucky. (For those not familiar with Carolyn Resnick's Waterhole Rituals, this is free walking, no tack at all, with the horse matching your movements voluntarily. Like joining up.)

Once Lucky and I both had calm, centered energy and were walking easily together, I got the hackamore and hung it on my shoulder. He immediately backed away.
I was able to encourage him to approach by sitting whenever he got nervous. At first, he would walk with me several feet away only. Gradually he came closer in, even nosing the hackamore. Finally we were moving in unison. When I shifted the hackamore to my other shoulder, and moved to Lucky's right side, I had to start all over gaining his trust. The off side took longer. When he finally came in and joined me, walking calmly, I ended the session.

Tomorrow I plan to do several short sessions like this, add in some EFT and TTouches, and hopefully get him to volunteer to wear the hackamore.

I must confess I am feeling impatient to get back on and ride again. I have to put those feelings aside, and allow this relationship to build at it's own pace. The more I honor his free will, and the softer I get, the more responsive and obedient he is becoming, which encourages me that this process will lead us back to riding and partnership on the trail. He listens better than ever, and I can often direct him from 20-30 ft away easily.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Lucky - accepting the bridle

After the weekend off, I had plans to ride Lucky again tonight.
You know what they say about plans...
When I went into the corral with his hackamore, he walked away. He had done this the last couple times we worked together. I was focused on getting out on the trail and let it slide. Tonight I paid attention, realizing that skipping steps would lead to issues later. So we would play with accepting the hackamore.


After some time just standing in his area, sharing space, some brushing and some body ttouches, he again walked away from the hackamore.
Now, I certainly can get the bridle on without his full consent. Easy enough to run him into the stall, or chase him around until he submits, or even just keep keep offering the bridle until he is desensitized.
My goal for us is to have partnership without resistance, that honors his free will.



After a bit of gentle leading from behind at the walk and some sharing space, he reluctantly took the hackamore. With hindsight, I probably could have done the EFT without the hackamore on first. It's a learning process for me as well...
I tapped in several statements with EFT, the 2 most effective being:
Bridling Lucky is fun and easy
Being bridled means fun time together
Lucky was fascinated by the tapping, moving in close and resting his nose on my hands.


When I finished, I gave him a few moments to process, then took the hackamore off and let him walk around.


A few minutes later, I again approached to put the hackamore on. He still tried to dodge at first. Hmm... better, still not 100% So my next strategy was to do some random tiger ttouches with the pads of my fingers on his neck and body, followed by some forelock slides, put on the hackamore, and repeat the ttouches. I gave him some time to process again, removed the hackamore, and let him wander around for a bit.


When I approached him again with the hackamore, he stood his ground, head a bit high and was willing to touch the hackamore with his nose. Still some fear and resistance. He then retreated to his stall. After some brushing and petting, I again offered the hackamore. He let me put it on, with his head high and tense. I asked him to lower his head and as soon as he relaxed and moved his head down, I removed the hackamore. He licked and chewed. We repeated the sequence again. Again more licking and chewing when I brought his head down. One more time through. More licking and chewing, and that "ah-hah" look he gets when he is making a connection.


At that point, my gut said stop and see what happens tomorrow.


So, I learned some more today about Lucky. His resistance to the hackamore appears to be fear-based. He is super sensitive to how I handle the other horses, not just him. If I turn up my body language with Foster (who loves to invade space) Lucky regresses a bit in his trust.


Overall, as I continue to work with him, I'm noticing that he watches me most of the time when I am outside. He keeps an eye on me whenever I'm within view. He comes to greet me much more often, and is very curious about what I do in the barnyard, approaching to investigate.


I'm really curious to see how he is tomorrow.



Thursday, June 16, 2011

Ted

I submitted Ted's case history to the TTEAM offices for approval the other day. It occurred to me that my readers might find his evolution interesting.
Ted is a 16 year old Welsh Cob gelding.
When I first met Ted, he was emotionally distant from people, even his person Mary. Ted was very mouthy, and would mug people for treats. He was cranky about grooming and being tacked up. Too much the gentleman to actually bite or kick someone, he would pin his ears, switch his tail, bite objects or block you with his body.
I started with Ted's physical condition. A combination of bio energy work and nutrition changes helped Ted become more balanced and lose some weight.
Ted's back was locked up and he had obvious saddle damage. I used a combination of TTouches and other bodywork to help Ted heal himself. When his back was on the way to full healing, Prudence Heaney came out to fit Ted with a new saddle.
Proper barefoot trimming made the changes to his hooves, and a visit from Dr. Regan Golob tweaked the last few body issues.
I also switched Ted from a snaffle bridle to a Kincaid jumping hackamore.
Plenty of TTouches and going back to the basics on the ground slowly taught Ted that I would listen to him and respect his space & wishes. Once he realized he had a choice, he began volunteering to participate. Ted would test me sometimes, refusing and watching to see if I would allow the "no". Steps forward and steps back.
By this spring, Ted was going completely bridleless, walking and trotting in hand and under saddle. His attitude had turned around completely and he was enjoying human company and touch. His back flexibility was almost normal. And Ted and Mary were partners! So amazing to see this independent distant boy actively watch for Mary's arrival, and come to greet her!

Here's a short video of me & Ted, all bundled up, on one of his first bridleless rides:



In Mary's words...
"I almost gave up on riding Ted when I heard about Carrie Eastman and her healing work with humans and animals.
When we met, I knew right away that Carrie Eastman was the right teacher at the right time for Ted and me. Ted connected with Carrie immediately, and almost seemed to sigh with relief that I had finally gotten the message: that being with a horse is about partnership on all levels – mind, body and especially heart. And, that just as in any relationship - it is real, steady, sometimes difficult often joyous work in the here and now.
Carrie taught me how to listen to Ted: to have his well being first and foremost up front and center. Carrie taught me how to better understand Ted’s body language, to notice when he is not feeling well, to give him the ok to say “no” when he doesn’t want to do a particular exercise. Carrie also taught Ted and me practical, step-by-step ways to connect and build the trust between us through our interactions on the ground and eventually in the saddle. And, that being with a horse is not about winning or losing. It’s about caring enough to listen and respond to what my equine partner is saying or doing.
The difference in my relationship with Ted, because of Carrie’s work with us, is palpable. I was away for a time this winter, and when I came back to see Ted he greeted me with a sweetness that moved me in a way I didn’t know was possible. It was clear that Ted not only recognized me, but that he was also glad to see me and enjoyed our doing the TTouch exercises that Carrie had taught us. When I rode him a couple months later - the first time in almost 6months - I clearly sensed that something had changed; Ted wanted to do that with me.
That sweetness continues – even through rough patches when I lose awareness and forget to listen to Ted and hear what he is telling me. Carrie and Ted and I continue to work with each other remotely since Ted and I have moved 700 miles away from PA. I know that with Carrie’s guidance, the bond and trust between Ted and me will grow deeper and stronger as we partner and learn from each other. " Mary Riley-Sanders

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

And tonight we rode!

Dianne came this morning to do some Sportsmassage on Lucky. Got some really fascinating releases in his gluteus accessorius - he stretched his hind leg waaaaay back, and then stretched his tail (he usually carries his tail to the left). He was yawning, licking and chewing for at least 10 minutes after the session.

I was hopeful Lucky would offer up some riding time tonight. And he did!
He remembered all about the mounting block and standing quietly while I do TTouches on his back and neck. I mostly use connected abalone or clouded leopard as those soothe and ground him the best.

He negotiated the ground poles, labyrinth and "L" easily. He was a little stumbly over the high pole.
We also worked trot circles.
Interesting side note - after his bodywork this morning, tonight riding him, he felt very loose and swingy at the walk and trot (is swingy even a word???) I'm used to a "tighter" ride on him, and had to adjust to his movement. As I was riding bareback, those first few minutes were interesting.
Basically, he remembered everything we had worked on last time he was under saddle. He is one seriously smart horse.

I did more EFT while I was on him. I tapped in:


  • Giving clear signals and direction

  • Trusting him to maintain his gait

  • Keeping his attention and focus

  • Moving in unison

I'm looking forward to expanding out trot work and adding canter transitions on the long line.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Whoo-hoo! Lucky & EFT

Making some real progress with Lucky! This is so exciting!
Honestly, it's as much about progress with myself as with him. He's such an amazing teacher.

Our leading from behind is improving. My signals are getting more subtle, and he is staying calmer about being moved.

We went for another walk tonight, and I got to tap in a bunch of new messages using EFT (while juggling reins and a wand).




  • Remaining confident when Lucky spooks


  • Inspiring Lucky with my confidence & courage


  • Appreciating Lucky's alertness


  • Being centered and grounded


  • Working as a team


Only had 1 little spook tonight! Lots of sniffing and looking around, mixed with lots of chewing and licking.



I brought my TTEAM wand along, and did full body strokes and head lowering several times on the walk tonight. Really helped him stay grounded and calm.



On the way home, when you might expect him to get fast and inattentive, he did random slow walk-fast walk -jog-halt transitions just following my lead without any voice or lead cues. Brilliant!



He also helped tow me up the last really steep hill, happily and willingly. Phew...we're talking seriously steep.



I'm hoping for some ring time tomorrow, get in a bit of riding. Dianne is coming to do Sportsmassage on him before our ride. http://www.expertmassage4u.com/ I've got my TTEAM obstacle course all set up and ready.



And I got rid of the funny blue fleece on his hackamore noseband - green vetwrap looks and probably feels so much better, and he can see below his nose better now also.



Until tomorrow!

Monday, June 13, 2011

A stroll with Lucky...

Now that Lucky has had his teeth done by Krystin Dennis www.horsefloss.com it's time to get back into training.

I've been using a combination of TTEAM, waterhold rituals and EFT with Lucky.

For those of you familiar with Carolyn Resnick's Waterhole Rituals, Lucky and I have finally bonded, mostly from just sharing space, sitting and enjoying each other's company. I can lead him from behind now, and he does a pretty decent companion walk, when he chooses. You can see more of Carolyn's work at www.carolynresnick.com

I depend on TTEAM and TTouch to help Lucky make changes in his body and mind. He has gotten much more comfortable with me touching him, working with him while standing on a mounting block, etc. Using TTouch, he has also gotten over the negative associations with saddles and bridles.

Whenever I find Lucky's high spirits daunting, I use EFT to clear my emotions.

So putting this all together, Lucky willingly accepted the hackamore tonight, so we decided to go for a walk (me leading him) down the road. Along the way, we encountered scary trash bags, a tractor, other horses, cows, and a BRIDGE (maybe there are trolls underneath?) I recognize now that Lucky lacks confidence, and he looks to me for reassurance, as well as boundaries. So we practiced walk-halt and walk-trot-halt transitions, and also head lowering whenever we stopped. I picked grass for treats along the way, rewarding him for standing quietly. (Plus, chewing on grass helps keep horses breathing and out of flight/fight mode.) He often stops and puts his head against me, asking whether he did something right. Tonight was a real dance between reassurance and boundaries, as he still tends to get quick and high headed. I did have to use EFT twice, tapping in confidence for handling his high spirits and mutual trust.

When we got home, we did a few laps through the labyrinth and over some ground poles, just to settle down and really get him thinking.

It was so lovely out, I ended up just sitting out in the field with the herd for a while, enjoying the evening. I got greetings from all the horses, and Ben volunteered some happy companion walking, following me around the field.

I'm enjoying the journey with Lucky. Each day brings something new. I've learned to stay in the moment and let go of agendas.


Looking forward to tomorrow's adventures!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

May 2011 - the herd out grazing

New doeling coming to Oak Hill!

Alice, Poppy, and our new doeling Mystique
Every year, the Oak Hill bucks breed a few carefully-screened outside does. This past year, Cocoa Puff was bred to Twin Harts Alice. I'm a huge fan of the Twin Harts goats, as Elizabeth keeps and breeds only the most correct conformation & the best mothers. She always has a waiting list for her kids. I'm very fortunate to know the owner of Alice, who is out of Kokomo, the best of Elizabeth's does.
So, Alice just had 2 lovely doelings - a red blackbelly and a tricolor peacock. The little peacock girl is coming to be one of our breeding does!
Mystique
Poppy
Mystique

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Updated annual nutrition program for my horses, including monthly checklist

Here is my updated annual checklist of  products for my horses.  Please contact me and visit the link at the bottom for my favorite brand.

Jan - March:



  • amino-acid chelated mineral and vitamin mix*

  • free choice amino-acid chelated calcium-phosphorus* in 2 different ratios, my favorite pink salt (or Redmond salt) and a natural mined trace mineral with fulvic acid*

  • prebiotic*

  • chia and vitamin E blend* or  chia seeds

I stop all supplements in feed except the prebiotic one day per week (free choices are still offered)

April:


  • continue amino-acid chelated mineral vitamin mix*

  • continue free choice chelated calcium-phosphorus blends*,  my favorite salt/Redmond salt and natural mined trace mineral with fulvic acid*

  • continue prebiotic

  • stop vitamin E/chia blend* or  chia when grass turns green

  • stop all supplements in feed except prebiotic* one day per week (free choices are still offered)

  • start 1 tsp diatomaceous earth/montmorrillonite clay/prebiotic blend* at night

  • start 10 days amino acid-chelated copper blend* at full dose

May:


  • continue 1 tsp diatomaceous earth/montmorrillonite clay/prebiotic blend* at night

  • stop all supplements in feed except prebiotic* (free choices still offered)

  • start 28 days of herbal detoxifier/vermifuge (repels parasites)*

  • continue  free choice minerals

  • continue prebiotic

June-August:


  • restart amino-acid chelated mineral vitamin mix*

  • continue 1 tsp diatomaceous earth/montmorrillonite clay/prebiotic blend* at night

  • continue free choices

  • continue prebiotic*

  • stop all supplements in feed (except prebiotic) one day per week

  • 7 Day Parasite Cocktail in July and August. I stop the other supplements except the free choice minerals and prebiotic while doing the cocktail. Time the cocktail so that the full moon falls on the 4th of the 7 days. Contact me for the cocktail recipe, which is a blend of several brand-name products.


Oct:


  • stop amino-acid chelated mineral vitamin mix*

  • start 28 days herbal detoxifier/vermifuge*

  • continue 1 tsp diatomaceous earth/montmorrillonite clay/prebiotic blend* at night

  • continue prebiotic*

  • continue  free choice minerals

  • start Waiora Natural Cellular Defense

Nov-Dec:


  • start amino-acid chelated mineral vitamin mix*

  • stop diatomaceous earth/montmorrillonite clay/prebiotic blend*

  • stop Waiora Natural Cellular Defense

  • start vitamin E/chia blend* or  chia when

  • continue prebiotic*

  • continue free choice minerals

  • stop all supplements in feed (except prebiotic) one day per week

In the summer, I offer a unique electrolyte* in a bucket of water daily free choice as needed.

I also offer the electrolyte as needed year-round to the older horses who are prone to getting dehydrated.

My black-skinned Arabian with melanoma gets 1/4 dose of amino acid chelated copper* daily year round (any dark horse that is prone to sun bleaching may benefit from this) . He stops the copper when on the herbal detoxifier.

All the horses get one of several joint support options.  Contact me for specifics. They stop the joint supplements when on the herbal detoxifier*.

I sometime substitute Wachters brand Sea Meal instead of the amino acid chelated mineral vitamin mix*, if I feel the horses need improved hoof quality. I use 1 container per horse, then switch back to the regular mix.


*www.dynamitemarketing.com/carrieeastman

Copyright ©2016 Carrie Eastman.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration or American Veterinary Medical Association, and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Always consult your veterinarian about any changes to your animal’s health program.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Just Chickadee & Winky left to kid!

Video of the 2011 kids playing in the field. Challenging to video while adults are mugging for treats and kids are nibbling on my feet...

Just Chickadee & Winky left to kid!

Here are the 2011 kids playing in the field. Challenging to video when they keep running over to chew on my shoes & pants...


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

February buck & doe videos

Just for fun, here are some current videos of the Oak Hill herd. This video is Tonka's reintroduction to the buck herd, now that he is bigger. Tonka is the black/gray/white peacock buck, and he is sparring with Gandalf, while Astro, Cocoa Puff and Dreamer watch.



And the does, a few weeks ago during the snow:


The same does, now 3-5 weeks from kidding:



I'll continue to post updates as kidding approaches. 

Carrie & the goats

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Winter feeding tips and 2011 show schedule

To maintain weight, think fats. Black oil sunflower seeds and/or roasted soybeans. For soybeans, I use the cold extruded whole soybean pellets. A tiny handful goes a long way. Watch out for GMO soybeans. 

To maintain body heat, free choice roughage is the best. The roughage generates heat as it breaks down in the body. I prefer grass hays, or grass mixed with alfalfa or clover. I do not feed straight alfalfa because of the high nitrogen, lower fiber content, high protein and the effect on the calcium ratio.

Oats and corn are the most warming grains. I prefer the oats, as so much corn these days is GMO.

I offer a prebiotic/probiotic whenever there is a sudden weather change, or if the animals are otherwise stressed. You can find my favorite prebiotic here. With other brands, make sure they are labeled pre as well as pro. 

I offer electrolyte water in addition to plain water. I always make plain water available. My favorite electrolyte has the correct sodium/potassium ratio and a smidge of molasses for taste and energy.  


2011 Shows - Come and meet some of the Oak Hill herd!


Myotonic Goat Show @ The Pet Expo Reading, PA March 19

Keystone State Fainting Goat Show @ The Pet Expo Reading, PA March 20

South Mountain Fair Arendtsville, PA August 17

South Mountain Myotonic Goat Show @ The South Mountain Fair August 20



2011 kidding
Kids will start arriving in early March.  Stay tuned!

Copyright ©2016 Carrie Eastman.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration or American Veterinary Medical Association, and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Always consult your veterinarian about any changes to your animal’s health program.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

TTEAM Case Study - Lucky

Many of you have been following Lucky's progress as he and I build our partnership. I will be posting the write-ups of his TTEAM sessions and other conscious horsemanship work that we do together. Here are his TTEAM notes to date, to bring you up to speed on his progress and my thought processes.

TTEAM CASE STUDY -Lucky


Name of Horse: Lucky
Name of Owner: Me
Age: 12
Sex: gelding
Color: Dark brown
Breed: Arabian
Height: 15.0
Date seen: 3/12/2010
Length of session: ½ hr


Background, Concerns, Issues, Questions

Lucky is an ex-racehorse. There are some gaps in his training under saddle. He is stiff, strongly left-handed, tends to be head-high and frightened of new situations. He is the dominant horse in the herd, yet hides behind another when faced with anything new. He has an old tendon bow. Interestingly, he has one eye with exposed white sclera, like a person’s. I’m told this is genetic and runs on his father’s side. I am reluctant to ride Lucky because he is so fast and nimble, and has a tendency to bolt when frightened. He is very anxious and wound up when presented with a saddle or bit. He is calmer when ridden bareback and in a hackamore. I sense he is holding back from me emotionally, not quite trusting and not truly a friend. My goal is to earn his friendship and trust, and be able to safely ride him in the ring and on the trail at the walk, trot and canter.

Observations

Limited range of motion in his leg circles. Tail held to the side. Usually stands with a hind leg cocked. Head headed. Plus see above.

Thought process

Whatever we do together must be pleasurable, feel safe to him, and create new associations. Any physical therapy we do to improve his range of motion and flexibility will have to be carefully done, as causing him further pain will push him away emotionally. I feel we have to have greater trust, and he has to learn more courage, before I feel comfortable riding him.

Work done

I did abalone and clouded leopard along his neck, back and rump anytime he started getting excited or distracted. I also introduced him to the wand, which he easily accepted. He was a bit nervous about the lead chain for a few minutes. We practiced lowering his head with a voice cue, chain cue and wand stroking on his neck. We did a bit of the dance, and found he brought his head up with every step. We also did leading from both sides using elephant. He lost focus easily, and often missed the first wand cue to stop. When he figured out elephant, we moved to dingo. He found the wand on his back irritating, although he did respond and learn the stop and start.

Next session plan

Keeping in mind that plans are made to be changed, depending on how the horse responds that day…
Next session I will add in the labyrinth with the elephant leading. I will also add in head lowering from cueing on the poll. Leg circles front and rear and some python lifts for his legs as well. Tail pulls/circles and pearling if he likes them. I also plan to continue the touches around his hind end, experimenting with abalone, leopard and raccoon to find the ttouches he responds best to.

My learning

I learned to keep my plans even more flexible. Short sessions appear to be a better choice for Lucky.

Second Session
Date seen: 10/16
Length of session: ½ hour

Observations
It was very windy and chilly and all the horses were quite jumpy and frisky. My plan was to build on last session, seeing how much of elephant and dingo he remembered, especially the stopping on cue. Also planned to expand his comfort zone by moving further away from the herd. I did less bodywork, especially with his legs and hind end, as he was hyper alert and a bit spooky with the weather.

Work done
With the weather conditions, I decided to try Lucky in a body wrap for the first time, hoping that would give him confidence. I spent a few minutes introducing him to wrap, which went very smoothly. Then we practiced elephant leading from his left. I found he needed cues to lower his head at each transition as well as when walking. He responded easily to cueing from the lead chain, so I added in cueing from the poll. He picked that up very quickly. I mixed in the dance with walking, halting and a lot of body stroking with the wand. I opted to skip dingo as he was distracted and nervous. I switched to leading from his right side, and after he was moving and halting calmly we walked down the drive and into the field across the road. He became unfocused again and reluctant to stop, so we practiced walking just a step or two, then halting with head down. I mixed in the dance every few halts, and also cued him it was ok to eat some grass every few halts. The chewing helped keep him calm and listening. Several times he stopped and wanted to bury his head in my jacket. He bolted once when we turned back to the barn. Interestingly, he started forward only a few steps then stopped and snorted and chewed. Usually his bolts are much more uncontrolled. I’m thinking the body wrap and all the leg stroking & tapping with the wand kept him more grounded and in his body. By the end of the session he was stopping smoothly just with body posture, voice and wand cues, without actually needing to touch him with the wand on the chest or noseband.

Next session plan
I plan to continue using the bodywrap. Also plan to take him a bit further from home, and add in dingo. Also plan to get to the labyrinth next session. I’m going to see if my neighbour will allow me to set up a labyrinth in the field.

My learning
I learned I have to move and adapt quickly, and that I can remain calm while being quick. I also learned that he looks to me for reassurance more than I realized.

Third Session
Date seen: 10/20
Length of session: 20 minutes

Observations
The sun was setting, so I was limited to working in the open field where there was still some daylight. Windy and chilly, Lucky was wound up in the field. Interestingly, I took one of my other horses out first to ride and graze in the field. Lucky was keenly interested in what we were doing, staring, running the fence, going to the gate and calling to us. I had an impression that he wanted to be the one out there. I have also noticed that Lucky’s behaviour toward me at other times has changed. He has become more trusting, more interested in physical contact. He has taken to pressing his head to my chest, and gently nibbling at me.

Work done
As we had a short time period available, I played with stroking his body & legs with the wand, which settles him. Also tapped his hooves with the wand during the stroking. We played with halting entirely from wand and voice cues in elephant while walking down the drive. At first, he took 8 or so steps before stopping. By the third try, he was stopping within 2 steps. We also continued to play with head lowering, cueing from the lead and neck stroking with the wand. When we got to the open field, he was distracted and demanding to eat grass when stopped. So I alternated the head lowering with the dance whenever he lost his focus. We had one spook where he bolted forward a few steps. I also invented a cue indicating when it is ok for him to eat grass, and allowed several snack breaks during the play. He may be starting to calm himself by lowering his head unprompted and licking/chewing when something worries him.

Next session plan
Plan to start early enough to incorporate labyrinth, ground poles, possibly pick-up sticks (the random pattern should engage his mind more). Also perhaps playing with standing quietly for ttouches & wand stroking next to the mounting block.

My learning
A lot of learning can be packed into a very short session, without planning for that to happen. Just learning to focus and calm himself, on a windy evening in a field of lush grass was a big mental & emotional challenge for us both.

Fourth Session
Date seen: 10/22
Length of session: 20 minutes

Observations
Lucky seemed fairly peaceful and interested in having a play session.

Work done
After using the wand on his body and legs to settle and ground him, I walked Lucky over to the mounting block. Lucky was anxious about the mounting block, and was reluctant to stand still. I alternated between head lowering using the wand under his neck and lying leapard Ttouches on his neck back and loins. When Lucky was standing quietly with a soft eye and licking/chewing, I then climbed on the mounting block. Again he got anxious so I repeated the head lowering and lying leopard. I repeated this cycle several times, moving the mounting block closer to his head, then closer to his rump, then to his other side in several spots.

At that point, my instinct said we had spent enough time on that experience. We moved to the field where the obstacle course is laid out. Lucky easily remembered elegant elephant, cheetah and dingo with cueing the camel. I then introduced him to boomers bound. He mastered boomers bound quickly, so we moved into dolphin. After a few minutes of dolphin, just leading on his left side, I felt we had made enough progress for the day and ended the session.

Next session plan
Plan to incorporate labyrinth and ground poles and continue work on dolphin.

My learning
I realized how anxious he still is about the mounting block. I was also very impressed with how quickly he learns. He appreciates a moment to mull over each new thing, and seeks physical reassurance that he has done well.

Fifth Session
Date seen: 10/25
Length of session: 30 minutes

Observations
He seemed interested in another session, and was cooperative about his halter, approaching me.

Work done
My plan was to continue our work with dolphin, adding in the right side. I also had the labyrinth and ground poles set up.
After a short refresher of elegant elephant and cheetah on his right side, we started into the labyrinth in cheetah. I noticed that whenever his hind end was pointed at the end of the field he lost focus, got head high and wanted to bolt forward. While he was in the labyrinth, turned in the more challenging direction, I asked him to halt using cueing the camel, then spent several minutes lowering his head, using the wand to stroke his legs, and I also did a few steps of the dance, which got him focused and calm again. By the third time through, he stayed calm and focused and stopped on voice cue only.
Then we walked toward the scary part of the field in elephant. When he got close enough to start showing slight signs of anxiety we stopped. I asked him to lower his head. Then, my instinct said to get in front of him, with my back to the scary spot between him and the “danger”. Then I introduced cobra. I would ask him to walk toward me (and toward the scary place), then I’d ask him to stop. He had cobra mastered by the 4th try.
At that point, we switched back to cheetah to head back for the barn. He had several spooks with bolting forward, and refused to respond to cueing the camel or boomers bound when this happened. I kept walking with him, asking him to lower his head and then asking him to stop. He got stuck in that pattern, and I felt it was best to stop and pick up again next session, as he was getting frustrated.

Next session plan
I plan to use the bodywrap again, as this really helped his confidence a couple sessions back. I’m also going to move one of the obstacles, perhaps pickup sticks, closer to the scary zone. I hope to be able to use Ttouches while he stands facing the scary spot to diffuse his anxiety.

My learning
I learned that when Lucky regresses I sometimes revert to old patterns of demanding obedience rather than looking for creative solutions and listening to him. Patience, patience, patience. I also realized that as long as his first instinct is to bolt forward and be unable to calm and stop himself, I have no business riding him.

Sixth Session
Date seen: 10/27
Length of session: ~30 minutes

Observations
He was friendly on approach, relaxed about putting on the halter, and generally interested and willing to go and do something with me. That is a real shift for him.

Work done
We spent just a few minutes at the mounting block, practicing standing quietly while I got on and off the block and moved the block to various spots on both sides of Lucky. I used long wand strokes all over his body while doing this. He stood totally quietly, just keeping a wary eye on me at first. That is a huge improvement over the dancing and head-high attitude of last session.
I put the body wrap on him. We then headed into the field to the labyrinth. First time through, he walked out of the labyrinth over the pole when he turned his hind end in the scary direction from the other day. Once he stopped, we turned to face the “danger” and I spent a few moments doing python lifts on his front legs and also doing more wand stroking on his legs. My hope was the python lifts would ground him, bring him back into his body more, and relax him. The second time through the labyrinth, while he was watchful when his back was turned, he stopped at every cue.
So we moved on to the pickup sticks. I had these set up down in the scary hollow. At first, we just walked rapidly in elephant through the sticks toward the “danger” making a big circle toward the scary zone to turn around so he was less likely to bolt forward or into me if he spooked. After a couple passes back and forth through the sticks without any halts I asked for a stop using boomers bound and cueing the camel while he was fairly far from the “danger”. I found that quick stops where he walks again as soon as stopping works better than asking for long pauses in keeping his frustration level down. As his stops became more responsive, we went from 10 steps down to a couple to get a full stop and his head was lower.
We also faced into the “danger” and practiced cobra. He is a little reluctant to halt from the wand cue, which seems more like a lack of understanding of the cue. He comes readily to the lead cue, and less consistently to the wand cue. He tends to stop in my space and want to rest his nose on my chest.
After 3 or 4 rounds of cobra, we headed back to the barn in cheetah, practicing short halts along the way with boomers bound and cueing the camel.

Next session plan
Focus more on bodywork next lesson, for a change of pace and to track any physical changes happening as his head position is staying lower. Experiment with several ttouches, tail work, ear work, and leg work to see what he likes and what helps his tension.

My learning
I feel like we made huge progress today with the halting. The key was realizing that I was pushing his patience too far asking for long halts.

Seventh Session
Date seen: 11/1
Length of session: 15 minutes

Observations
Lucky was anxious to join the other horses grazing, so I was prepared to keep the session interesting and short, and work mainly on leading to keep his attention.

Work done
We did all our leading from his right side today. Headed straight into the labyrinth after some wand stroking. He did that easily both directions, following the wand & body cues without any physical cues at all. We then practiced dingo and boomers bound. He was stopping promptly within 3 steps from the wand and voice only, without needing cueing the camel. He also handled cheetah and long cheetah easily from voice and body. We played with cobra a bit. He is still eager to anticipate the forward cue and has to be reminded to wait for me.
When he was able to stand quietly in cobra, I decided to add something new. We went back to cheetah, and started trot in cheetah. The first 2 tries he walked faster without trotting. The third time he jogged a couple steps and I praised and stopped him. By the fifth try, he went smoothly into the trot from voice and body cues, and stopped easily from boomers bound. So we ended the session and he went to graze with his buddy.

Next session plan
I’m wondering where to go from here. He has obviously mastered some basics. I will continue the trot in cheetah, and perhaps long cheetah. I will review my notes and figure out what our next step is. Perhaps starting to introduce tack again. Maybe add some new obstacles, like a ground tarp or wagon wheel. Overall, I feel it is important for him to be able to calm himself, lower his head and stop easily from a variety of cues in a variety of situations before I get on his very athletic, very quick & agile back.

My learning
I am challenged to find new things for him to do. I still have a bit of anxiety over the idea of riding him soon.

Eighth Session
Date seen: 11/9
Length of session: 20 mins

Observations
Lucky was just a bit impatient tonight.

Work done
Quick review on both sides of cheetah with cueing the camel. Review of head lowering from poll pressure and lead. Labyrinth in both directions. He has these mastered.
Played with the dance. He still does not quite get which leg I am indicating.
Played with cobra. His come is great. His stop and stand are a bit impatient. So we spent a few minutes on cobra.
Played with slow walk – fast walk transitions and walk-trot transitions in cheetah.

Next session plan
Do more bodywork at the mounting block.
Start adding in the tack.

My learning
I’m a bit stumped how to improve his halts without drilling him, or reprimanding him. Perhaps find a reward that he gets while he stands quietly? A bit of food? Some bodywork?

Next post I will talk about the solutions I came up with, and what we are doing now. Until then, stay warm & enjoy your 4 legged friends.