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Introducing Loki - a training thread

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        03-30-2014, 12:24 PM
      #31
    Weanling
    Well folks, I don't think I could be any more proud or impressed with Loki mare than I was yesterday!

    She was wonderful for the farrier. We had a couple of moments where she pulled her foot away, but most of the time she stood still and let her feet be trimmed like she'd been doing it all her life. Even the parts where her foot was elevated on the hoof stand to rasp around the edges she was really good for, considering I didn't have a hoof stand or anything sturdy like that at my disposal for her foot handling training. The farrier at my barn is a very gentle man and he has a calm and deliberate way of working. I like him :) Loki's feet look great now too.

    After her trim I figured it was a good day for Loki to find out about western saddles, how they have two cinches and long flappy stirrup fenders. She did great :) no issue at all with the heavier/bigger/more cumbersome saddle. No issue with the rear cinch, and no issue with me flapping stirrups all over the place either.

    We went for a walk in the arena where I had a pole laid over two tires. No wide eyed behaviour at this strange contraption on the ground. As it is, when we walked up to one end of it, she put her head down and gave the end of the pole a chomp, lol. Walking over said elevated pole was no problem at all, and she followed me with a loose lead every time.

    We practiced putting a bit of weight in the stirrup with both hand and foot and making the saddle move around on her a bit - preparation for mounting! Both sides she was great, and I was able to do the little hop hop as one would do when mounting without her getting too wide eyed. She did move away a bit, but it was only a step or two and standing still for all that will come in time.

    However....... I have now found out one thing that makes this unflappable mare a bit nervous! I decided as we were walking the arena to see how Loki was with people jumping around her. She doesn't like it, lol. I'd do a little hop and she'd be fine, just put her head up and give me that 'what the heck are you doing human?' look. If I took it past a small hop and actually jumped, she would back away and get right nervous. I figure I was acting a little too 'predator' for her liking?? Don't think i'm going to transform into a mountain lion and jump on her with my paw claws ready to sink in, lol. But I did sure make myself look silly out there, jumping around like a fool, hahaha. And then I find out I had an audience in the viewing room of the tack shed......... lol! No big deal though, i'd rather look silly to those that might not understand what i'm doing than have my horse end up with training/desensitizing shortcomings.

    We came out of the arena and I untacked Loki. She doesn't care about stirrup fenders dragging across her back when a saddle is coming off.

    Took her into the round pen for a few minutes. Not sure if she'd seen a longe whip before so I rubbed it all over her, including her belly and legs. She didn't care. Sent her out by holding the longe whip up behind her bum and sending her off with my energy and a 'walk on'. Right away she moved off. Increased my energy and asked 'trot' and off she went trotting. Decreased my energy, backed off and asked her to walk. Right away she responded. Another trot, within two strides of my request. Walk again, right as I asked. Asked for a halt, done. Asked for a reverse to the other direction and she did a beautiful turn on the haunches, to the inside of the pen. Repeated walk, trot, walk, trot, walk and halt on the other direction. She tried to come in to me once (no malice, just wanted near me) but I sent her back out and her response was almost immediate. Good girl Loki!

    After the round pen I figured we could work on the "jumping human bean isn't scary" issue a little bit more. I didn't jump quite so high as in the arena, but not just a little hop. She wasn't as leery and just raised her head. We'll work on this, and get up to the point where she stands there calm while I look like I have ants in my pants, lol.

    Then we picked up feet while she was standing in the middle of the yard with the lead draped over her neck and the freedom to move off in any direction she wanted. She stood perfectly still for all four feet.

    Dang, i'm proud of this mare!

    All in all a great day with Loki! :)
         
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        03-31-2014, 12:28 AM
      #32
    Weanling
    Today Loki learned about round penning with a saddle on. Tacked her up with the wintec dressage and had her do a few laps at both a walk and trot. She gave a mini crow hop a time or two but didn't offer to buck once she was moving out with her saddle on at all. I think she was just feeling good, her couple crow hops looked to me like a happy horse, not one that is irritated by a saddle on.

    Afterwards, we went for a walk in the arena and I spent some more time standing on a milk crate and leaning on her back. She stood still for both sides today for longer than before. Good girl Loki!

    Other than that, it was just a grooming day and a hang out with "my" mare day. After I turned her out I brought out Eddie for a bareback ride and then before leaving the barn I went to say bye to both of them. Loki is turning into quite the domineering mare out in her pen! Another mare that used to threaten with laid back ears is now being chased away, sometimes with Loki running backwards at her! (some people may ask 'can standardbreds do that??' hahaha!) but with all the 'threats' though, not once did Loki actually make contact with the other mare. I'll have to keep an eye on her behaviour. Don't need anyone hurt out there.

    To those reading this thread, does it seem like i'm all over the place with my training and in a month and a half Loki should be farther along than she is? I had the barn manager comment to me that she should've learned ground driving already. With all the snow and ice we pretty much had to call the first few weeks a loss on anything substantial training wise. I also have had time to 'get into' Loki's mind and I know what her limit is on when/how much she can handle as far as being taught new things. I think she's right where she needs to be right now, without being rushed, and both myself and her owner are mighty impressed with what's been accomplished already (considering she was barely halter broke when we got her). There are things to work on as far as what she already knows, and I want to solidify those things before we move on to the next step. Manager's comment today just irked me a bit I guess.
         
        03-31-2014, 12:45 AM
      #33
    Weanling
    I was editing and ran out of time.

    What I was trying to say, lol, was that Loki's owner got to come out today to see her. Other than giving me some trouble (Loki! Not her owner, haha) by being balky when I went to go send her through the gate, she was on good behaviour for her real 'mommy', lol.
         
        03-31-2014, 09:01 AM
      #34
    Started
    Never let someone else dictate the pace of training. The only one in the relationship that can dictate the training "speed" is the horse. It is not worth it in my book to go out on the ice and have a bad experience ground driving. It is harder to fix a bad experience than create new positive ones. Fast training does NOT equal good training. Take as much time as you need you are creating a masterpiece.
    EdmontonHorseGal likes this.
         
        04-04-2014, 06:23 PM
      #35
    Weanling
    Headed out to the barn on wednesday night for a short while and Loki was such a good girl for me again. We pretty much just reviewed some of the things she has already learned, but put a little twist on some of it.

    I've previously stood on the mounting block and leaned on her back. This time I asked her to stand between the fence and the mounting block while I leaned heavily on both her sides (including the 'wrong' side, lol, the right - no one sided horses for me!). The space she was asked to stand in isn't wide, just a foot or so wider than her, and she didn't mind having the fence on one side and a tall leaning human on the other. I'd say I put a good 60% of my weight on her and she stood like a rock :)

    Then I tied her lead up like reins, stood beside her (both sides) and we worked on yielding/turning her head when asked, backing, and walking forward a bit and then asking for her to yield her head for a turn. Progress is being made! She is still a bit confused about the human not being in 'normal' leading position, lol, but she's figuring out that I can stand at her shoulder and she still needs to go forward when asked.

    We also walked around the arena and walked over some raised poles. Loose lead the whole time and no hesitation to step over poles when they were above the ground. We tried trotting in hand but other than a few steps she wasn't sure about that. Something to work on!

    Picking up feet when completely loose in the arena was no issue. I can confidently say she is 'foot trained' now.

    Also tied her to the fence for about 15 minutes and she was great. A little bit of pulling back, but as soon as she discovered that tension she let herself forward/off it, figured it out pretty quick on her own.

    This weekend we will begin ponying. I do hope Eddie horse doesn't mind being a training buddy, lol.
         
        04-06-2014, 02:11 PM
      #36
    Weanling
    Yesterday Loki was an absolute doll for me.

    She 'sent' through every gate we went through - coming out of her pen, going in the round pen, coming out of the round pen, and going back into her pen later. Good girl Loki!

    We did some round penning with her bridle/bit on. She hardly chews on the bit any more at all, just lets it be in her mouth most of the time. We worked on yielding her head right and left and backing when asked with the reins in hand. Afterwards, I took the reins off and we free lunged. She was just about perfect with her walk/trot transitions and reversing in the round pen was spot on 8 out of 10 times I asked. Looking back, I realize one of those two not great reverses was 100% my fault, I wasn't putting myself in the right position to ask her what I wanted. Something for me to work on!

    After round penning I tacked her up with my english ap. Loki has now worn all three of my saddles. The ap is not one I will ride her in though, it is definitely a bit too wide and I don't want her learning that being ridden is uncomfortable in any way. First rides will most likely be in the western, as i'll have my 'oh crud' handle at the ready, lol, just in case. But as much as the barn manager is convinced she'll buck on her first ride, i'm ready to place a bet with him that she won't at all.

    We went for a hand walk in the arena, over poles and practiced learning 'whoa'. Also learned about stirrup irons and how they can bop against bellies. We worked on standing still and putting weight in the stirrup with both hand and foot, both in the middle of the arena and at the mounting block. Twice I was able to lift off the mounting block and have my full weight on her without her moving at all, once on each side. Good girl Loki! I think my timeline of actually getting on her mid april or so isn't too out of line :)
         
        04-07-2014, 03:34 PM
      #37
    Weanling
    Got out to the barn again yesterday but Loki was having one of those 'stretched out and enjoying the lazy life' long naps in the sun, so I decided to just work with Eddie horse and have a nice ride out in the back pasture. The lil booger sure likes galloping up hills :)

    And then I had a scary barn moment. I was the only one there, in the tack shed, and I hear horses squealing like crazy. Rush outside to see one of the newly gelded colts in Eddie's pen laying down right at the fence line. Hmmm...... that's not right! I force myself to walk over calmly, even though I wanted to run (don't want to freak out the horses)! Horse was stuck in the fence! It seemed like forever, but I got him out and he just has a couple scratches, nothing serious. He was super good and calm and let me slowly extract him one leg at a time and he got up on his own and walked off fine. Quite the adventure for me though!
         
        04-08-2014, 12:17 AM
      #38
    Weanling
    Loki was such a good mare tonight. We worked on standing still while I was 'half mounted' - foot in stirrup and all my weight on her, leaning on/over her back as well. At one point she turned her head and gave me a look that I could have sworn said "come on lady, get all the way on already", lol. But we don't have enough training done yet on head control/bit/reins, etc. I won't be getting on her fully until I know she will listen and respond to cues from the reins consistently, as well as verbal cues (walk, trot, and whoa are pretty close to perfect already when we round pen). Don't need a wreck happening and don't need her training set back any! May seem kind of backward for me to be doing the mounting 'pre work' before things like ground driving, but Loki has shown me that she is the type of horse that doesn't forget past lessons, so I feel this time spent on other things before we work on rein cues isn't wasted. I'm so happy with her progress, and we'll get everything done that needs to be done.

    Let Loki stand tied at the fence for a while after. She was really good and didn't offer to pull back at all, or make any tension in the lead really. I wouldn't call her tie trained yet by far, but she's to the point where I am not at all concerned with having her tied and not being near her. She kicked over her grooming bucket and didn't even bat an eyelash when brushes fell out right under her nose. Of course this happened right when I said to myself 'i better move that before it gets kicked', lol.

    Another great Loki day :) we didn't get around to ponying over the weekend like I had planned, but with her being unconcerned with people above her and being on her side like I was tonight, ponying may be something that we won't require a lot of. I will still pony her, but not as much as I had originally planned.
         
        04-17-2014, 03:52 PM
      #39
    Weanling
    Well Loki, you've once again made me very happy and proud of you!

    Yesterday evening was our first ground driving session. Did a little sacking out with the coiled lines and some free lunging in the round pen first. Hooked the long lines up to her halter and we worked on yielding her bum around when pressure was applied. She caught on right quick. After, a simple 'walk on' and a little jiggle of the lines had her walking fairly nicely around the pen. Whoa and back were excellent! Turning, well, I think our big issue was using the halter (which is slightly too big for her) and having it slide around on her face too much. Next session will be with her bit/bridle and i'm sure it will go much better.

    Considering the weather was absolutely disgusting out, with a lot of wind, snow blowing down, and cold cold cold............. Loki was amazing :)
    Hailey1203 likes this.
         
        04-18-2014, 11:28 AM
      #40
    Weanling
    Im actually so impressed with how much work you've done with my little mare!!
    EdmontonHorseGal likes this.
         

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