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Bending Bella

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    05-16-2011, 06:34 PM
Green Broke
Spent some time with the girls out in the pasture today. The past 2 days have been really nice but incredibly windy! Lost 10 big trees in the back yard alone
It was pretty hot so they were kinda lazy. Chico especially. She's just about completely shed out except for some parts on her belly. Bella still has quite a bit to go because she's so darn harry!
Bella's getting really good on the yo-yo game (better than chico even), though her circling still needs work. She goes, but she still likes to pull at the end of the rope and trotting was a big fight this afternoon. She was not too happy to be doing it Got her to take a jump, though without walking over it for once.
The mosquitos are HORRIBLE today. Worse than I have EVER seen them before. One thing I hate about summer is the bugs
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    05-17-2011, 10:49 PM
Green Broke
Took Chico out today. Was going to work with Bella too, but had to run to town and the weather was iffy when we got back.
Had Chico on a 22 foot line today, trying to get her to break into a lope. She was lazy again but I did manage to get her to run a few strides in each direction which was good for her. She usually just wants to trot faster and faster.
Afterwards I groomed her up good & rubbed her down with a wet cloth to get rid of some of the dust & dirt from her coat. She's been looking brown lately & not black lol
Should be able to take Bella out tomorrow. Got a new girth for the saddle so we should be able to try it out!
    05-18-2011, 09:31 PM
Green Broke
Finally got an english girth that fits! Apparently my horses are fat...
Took both the girls out to give it a try & I quite like it!
Worked on Bella's turning some more. She does it very well on the ground & from the saddle but we're still working on it while moving forward. I had to ride her back and forth down the road a bunch of times until she would go straight on without trying to turn or weave around.
I found that once we get around either corner and are away from home she's not too bad. She goes straight and will even trot in a straight line
I think it will take alot of work to get her turning at a run but we're getting there!

Here are some pics from today. Still gotta get the english bridle
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    05-21-2011, 08:46 PM
Green Broke
Took Bella for another ride today. Just getting her used to riding away from home. Once we get around the far corners she's fine but she still weaves & wants to turn back on me so we had to do a whole bunch of circles along the way Better than last time though! I only had to make 4 passes of the yard instead of 7.
Laid a tarp out to try her out around it but naturally she didn't give a hoot. Walked all over it like it wasnt even there.
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    05-22-2011, 09:50 PM
Let me know about the bending part and what you did to get there,its like the exact same thing with toril,he has no brakes or steering wheel.he also has space issues and will mow you down in a heart beat.She looks great by the way,lost some weight,toril went down 4 girth sizes in 4 months,but 2 of those were from fur:)
    05-23-2011, 04:08 PM
Green Broke
Well she's still improving on her bending. Just about there at a walk! Next will be keeping it at a trot and hopefully eventually a canter. We've had nonstop rain for the past 24 hours so it's going to be a while before I can take her out in the field but i've been riding her up and down the roads.

I know Bella (and my other mare, Chico) HATES the indoor arena. They both get attitudes if they're under a roof. She doesn't like to run so it takes alot of encouragement when we're at the arena to get her to break into a lope. She bucked on me once but that was nothing ha ha Chico gives me much worse!
She also doesnt like to jump much even on the line but we're going to fix that (hopefully!)

As for bending, i've been using the Natural Horsemanship methods (Pat Parelli to be specific but the others are just as good. I just prefer the way he explains things.). Basically I started out getting her to yield her forehand & hindquarters while on the ground, first with just physical pressure/"porcupine game" (start light & increase pressure until she moves off, then release. That's the key part).

After I moved to rhythmic pressure (driving game) & used my short training whip to tap the areas I wanted her to move. If she didn't, again id increase pressure until she moved off.
By now i've got her yielding her hindquarters away from me very nicely. Her forehand is much better too, though with alot of really friendly/bold/pushy horses they do not like to move their front end away because that is their place of power & they don't like to sumbit.

Another part of the "porcupine game" is getting her to bend her head around while I stand at her shoulder. I put one hand on her wither and with the other I grab the side of her halter and gently bring her nose towards me. At first she wanted to spin circles, so I just went with her until she stopped, then I released. Now she's got it that she just turns her head without spinning because she knows that's what I want & I just hold it there.
Another trick (i can't do it yet with Bella because her tail's a little short & her back is long) is to grab their tail and make them bring their nose around to touch it. Again, they really like to spin until they figure it out.

Once I had her doing all this fine & bending on the ground, I got in the saddle & did the same. Just pull the rein slowly & gently until her nose was touching my boot & hold it there. Even if she spun, I kept the pressure until she stopped completely. Do it in both directions a couple of times over before even riding off.
It's still a work in progress but she's so smart & patient!

As for personal space issues, Bella had them too (she still does at times, but again she's improved). A good NH game for this is the "yo-yo game". Basically you're making the horse back away from you in a straight line & then come back to you on the same line. It starts with the "porcupine" and "driving game", where you get them to back away from you using pressure (starting light & increasing until they move). Even one step is good at first. Then bring them back.

Wiggling the rope is another step to this as well. Start with a light wiggle through your fingers, then your wrist, then your elbow and increase until your entire arm is swinging if the horse doesn't back off. Eventually the rope will start to "snap" in their face & they will back off from it. That's when you relax and let them stand & think it over. Then repeat & eventually all you'll have to do is wiggle your finger at them & they'll back up.
The only time Bella has any personal space issues now is when she's getting her feet done lol. She does well for the farrier but she spends her whole time trying to find something to chew on!

Hope that helps ;) If you're interested at all you can look into some NH books or videos. You don't have to go with Parelli, that's just my personal choice. I like the way they break everything down & make it easy to learn. Just ignore the mustache lol but he's got alot of neat tips & ideas. And trust me, it really does work if you do it properly. I've found Fjords are very intelligent & always like to be doing something interesting so this sort of training is really stimulating for them because it's something new every time!
    05-30-2011, 04:57 PM
Green Broke
Bath Time!

Bathed the girls today!
Chico I know has been bathed before by her other owners & by myself once so she did really well She could care less about the hose it's the soapy sponge that she didn't like. No pully, just alot of dancing around.
She looks gorgeous afterwards though!

Bella i'm not too sure about. If she has been bathed before it wasn't very often because she acted like it was a totally new procedure. She was a little nervous of the hose but after a few minutes of letting her dance around (i had her long rope looped around a post so that it held her but she could back off some if she pulled, which she did) she calmed down & let me finish the job.
She still has a bunch of winter hair on her under belly, so it's not as slick-looking as it could be.
Unfortunately the sun went away before I could get good pictures of her. Looks like it's going to rain some more

Before this I worked with them both a little on the ground & let them graze in the yard for 20 minutes. Finally got Chico jumping the barrels without throwing a hissy fit. Bella still just shoves her way through
I set up a smaller "jump" but she still refuses to actually jump it. She prefers to walk over, which is why she has so much trouble with the barrels.
Both girls went in & out of the trailer without hesitation
    08-08-2011, 08:30 PM
Green Broke
Sheesh! Been awhile since I updated!
Bella's doing good. Still softening up with her bending but she's MUCH better. She's getting used to being bathed as well.
Havent been riding her as much as i'd like but we've been keeping up with the ground work. My niece loves getting up on her whenever she can, though it's been so rainy this summer
Here are some recent photos! Bella's lost so much weight too still chubby though lol
Taking Mia (the puppy) for a ride
I am NOT responsible for the hairdo
    08-08-2011, 10:00 PM
Green Broke
Chico's doing well also. She has scratches at the moment on her hind right foot but that's healing nicely. My cousins were up over the August long weekend so I took them for a ride. They rode Chico & I was on Bella since I didnt think they would have been able to get her listening since they're beginners.
Chico jumping. I know, pics are kinda blurry...

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