Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Piper's Training - Day 3

I wasn't able to go and observe Piper's training yesterday (darn JOB got in the way), but Colt told me this morning she did well although she would not break into a lope for anything.  So, he trotted her around and figured he would try again today. 

Here he is saddling her up toward the end of the training session.  He spends a good amount of time flexing and bending, working on yielding the hindquarters, backing, etc., before he rides her.  He told me of all the horses he has trained, she has been the most quiet while moving around her, saddling, etc.  She does not spook and is very laid back (maybe a little "too" laid back considering she doesn't want to break into a lope!)

But, it's only day 3, so I'm sure he will work her through that soon enough.

Colt trotting Pipey around the round pen:

I took a few little video clips, but I can't seem to get them to upload.  I'll work on that for the next post.

I'll be back there tomorrow watching and learning.  He is going to take her into the arena to ride her, hoping that being out of the round pen she will pick up the lope.  We'll see!

So far, so good!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Piper Goes to School

I never thought I would send Piper to someone for training.  Actually, I never thought I would find someone that I would TRUST enough to send her to.  But yesterday, that is exactly what I did.  I felt like I was leaving my first born at the bus stop on the first day of kindergarten. 
The perfect situation presented itself last week.  We found a trainer through someone we have known for several years and it turns out he lives only 4 miles from us.  We went and met him, talked about his training philosophy and style and checked out his facilities.  Before we went to talk to him, the thought of leaving Piper somewhere for training made me very anxious.  But after meeting him, I felt much better.  I gave him her background and explained the training we had already done with her.  Oh, and his name is Colt --- perfect name for a horse trainer, right? 

Yesterday morning when I brought her to him, he immediately set out to evaluate where she is at.  I sat outside the round pen and watched.  By the end of the session, he had me in there with him trying out some of the things he was working on with her.  AND THEN -- he saddled her up and was loping her around in a halter.  He told me that normally he does not ride a horse her age the first day because there are things he needs to work on with the horse before he can get to that point.  But he said that we had done a really good job getting her this far and she is super gentle and not afraid of anything and she was ready for it.  Yay Piper!
That is the big news around here.  We are going to have him put 30 days on her to fill in some of the holes in my training (Piper is the first horse I've ever tried to train, so I'm not ashamed to say I didn't do everything perfectly) and then we should be able to safely hit the trail.  I'm SOOOOO excited. 

I'll take some pics at tomorrow's training session and get them posted (wouldn't you know, my camera battery was dead when I got there on Monday morning). 

My little Piper is growing up...

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The One Rein Stop

Piper's training is progressing nicely.  I'm currently reading through a Clinton Anderson book on starting young horses.  A lot of it I have already done with Piper, but it is good to go back through and pick up on points I might have missed and to do some refresher work.  I use training videos as well, but I really like having a book I can stop and re-read something and earmark the page and go back to it later.

One of the things I've been working on lately is The One Rein Stop.  Basically, an "emergency brake".  It simply involves pulling the horse's head around to the side using one rein, with the idea being that if their head is turned to the side they cannot continue forward motion.  Piper flexes nicely to both sides, so this has been relatively easy for her to learn.  GOOD THING.  

Sunday as I was riding her in the round pen we had our first little "rodeo" moment.  We were riding around nicely when all of a sudden she decided that really wasn't what she wanted to be doing anymore.  She gave me 2-3 good bucks until I was able to get my hand down the left rein and pull her head around.  It worked!  She stopped her silliness and stood perfectly still.  We had a little "chat" for a minute, then continued on with no problems.  We were able to end the lesson on a good note. 

And, I didn't have to eat any dirt.  Bonus!

I still see her as this little baby I brought home almost 2 years ago:
Uh, yeah... not so little anymore! 
Not so little, and too big for her britches!  We'll continue working on that...

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Bunny Sunday

We had a visitor to the ranch last weekend all the way from North Carolina.  Judy, who works for the same company as Lee, was in town on business.  Several weeks before, she had been talking with Lee and somehow the conversation turned to animals.  Lee sent her to my blog to check out pics of ours.  When she saw the bunnies, she knew she wanted to come out and meet them.  So, when she arrived in Tucson, she came out for a Sunday afternoon visit.
The bunnies were on their best (most adorable) behavior.

Bully:  "Diggy, do you see what I see?  She has a camera."
"Hey everyone, SHE HAS A CAMERA.  Come get in the pic!"

Turbo: "No one can resist this much cuteness."
Happy Bunny Sunday everyone!  (Thanks to Judy for taking these pics).

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Cactus Rose in an Etsy Treasury

No, not our kitty, but the Cowgirl Cuff I named after her.  Etsy shop maclancy was kind enough to add my Cuff to this really cool Cactus/Desert themed treasury:

You can get a better view of the treasury here and also click on each picture to view details and visit the artist's shop.

As I've done in the past whenever I have a featured item in a treasury, I'm putting the Cactus Rose Cowgirl Cuff on sale for 15% off through this Sunday.  Simply send me an e-mail and I'll adjust the price for you.
And speaking of little Rosie, she is doing great after her spay surgery.  She's sleeping a lot, but that's pretty normal for kitties I'm learning!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Cactus Rose update

I dropped little Rosie off at the vet this morning to be spayed.  UGH.  I always worry when someone has to go under the knife. 

And she cried and meowed pitifully this morning for her breakfast, which I couldn't give her and she just didn't understand.
It's going to be a long day...

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Bunny Sunday

Now that the weather is cooperating and we are having warm days on a regular basis, the bunnies have been spending a lot of time in the outdoor bunny casa.  No little bunny hutch for our bunnies -- no way!  They have an 8x8 fully enclosed house with attached covered porch and an 8x12 enclosed outdoor run (complete with a brick paver floor to keep them from digging out and anything else digging in). 
The bunny casa is accessed through and connected to my garden.  The fenced portion is fully enclosed (including the top) and has 1/4 inch hardware cloth fencing so nothing can get in.  I love to go out there and sit with them and just hang out. 

"Hanging out" usually means bringing them treats and watching them chow down.  Today I went out with some grapes.  Watching their little mouths work over a grape is quite entertaining...
and messy.
I never get tired of seeing the faces they make while enjoying a juicy treat. 
Life's simple pleasures are the best.  Happy Bunny Sunday!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Wednesday Cowgirl Wisdom

I like this advice, I might just have to get my old guy out today and take a little ride.  I have been in a bit of funk for the last few weeks since we lost Bandit.  Things are just "a little" out of whack around our place.  I'm not spending every day crying or anything like that (not that I don't miss him), but I am feeling kind of deflated lately.

Even with the addition of our adorable little Cactus Rose -- who is confused and thinks she is a bunny.
Yes, that is her in the bunnies' litter box.  She likes to take her afternoon naps there.  And bother the bunnies when they are actually using it for it's intended purpose.
Really, all I need to do is look around if I'm feeling a little blue.  These animals of ours provide plenty of entertainment and smiles.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter Bunny Sunday

Finally! What we've all been waiting for:

A 4 pound chocolate bunny with NO CALORIES.  Happy Bunny Sunday everyone ~

Oh!  And don't forget, today is the last day to help rescued bunnies by purchasing from my Etsy or Artfire shops. I'm donating 25% of all sales to Heartland Rabbit Rescue.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

To Have a Horse in Your Life

I stumbled across this post I did last March.  As I re-read it and looked at the pictures I posted with it, it took on new meaning for me.  It's definitely worth another read.... enjoy.