Thanks, you two!! :)
I'm excited to be working there more!
In the words of Gentleman Friend, when I told him [he's SO stoked about this job for me..I think he may be even slightly more excited than I am! So I try to keep him updated on job happenings, hahaha] about this new development: "STOP!! THAT IS SOOOOOO COOOOOOL!!! You are perfect for this!!"
This kid. I really have no idea how he's my cheerleader when I need one, my shrink when I need one, and my straight-up friend when I need one of those...HOW IS HE HUMAN.
Anyway, TODAY WENT SO SO SO GOOD!!!!!!!!!!! Like SOOOOO good.
I don't even know where to start.
We only had two riders today, an Autistic boy and a little girl with Down's.
The boy was first, on Buddy. After he got off, he wanted to help me lead the horse, so we led Buddy together. The little boy held the end of the lead rope, grabbed my hand [!!!THE CUTEST], I held on closer to Buddy's face, and we walked Buddy back to his "spot" together. It gave my heart the warm fuzzies. :)
Usually Buddy likes to bite me and, previous to this, they've kinda just let him since "the horses need an outlet for frustration." NOT ON ME, they don't!!!! Haha Anyway, so this week I've really been cracking down on him and that ride, he only tried to bite me maybe 3 times. He got popped with the halter [I've switched all the horses over to rope halters, haha] each time and stopped after the third try.
Then the girl. She rode the TWH, Skippy.
She did super great! Skippy also did better about mouthing on me. Again, they've just been letting it happen...but that ain't going to fly now. A new sheriff is in town! Haha He was still somewhat mouthy/looking for "excuses" to mouth but each time I caught him and didn't even need to correct him because he corrected himself.
The little girl told me that I should give her my pants [I was wearing these purpley-magenta ones that have those metal studs on the patootie pockets - they're SUPER comfy and what could go wrong with brightly colored pants! Haha] because "they're pretty." I got complimented on my cat shirt yesterday as well...it seems that my style is well suited for the tastes of kids with disabilities. I love it!!
THEN!! It only gets better!
I got to work with my boy, Fabio. Basically I'm just supposed to be desensitizing him because, in typical form with Arabs who haven't seen a lot of the world, he's spooky as heck. Most of it comes from not having a bond with someone, I think, since he's "gotten so much better since Emily started working with him!" But there's also a whole lot of mental anxiety going on. He's A LOT like Lacey when I first started with her. Both of their basic personalities are anxious+distrustful to the core, so it's really a matter of teaching them to trust their surroundings and trust the human handling them.
Anyway, he is so great. He was terrified of this basketball hoop we had set up so we fed hm treats while he had his head down through the net - the shaking of the hoop, while he ate, made him nervous but the fact he was getting treats overrode the nervousness.
We also threw tennis balls over and around him, hitting the wall and a velcro target - he was initially very nervous but we started out with his head in between myself and my helper while we threw the balls, so he felt "protected" but could still see what as happening. By the end of 15 minutes, we were able to line him up parallel to the wall, toss the lead rope over his neck, and have him stand by himself while we threw the balls over and under him - hitting the wall and the target AND having the balls roll back to hit his feet and legs.
My boss was impressed. But really, this horse has a GREAT mind.
And!! My boss gave me permission to ride him whenever I want and to take him on trail rides because she feels that she's never seen him respond to someone like he responds to me. MORE WARM FUZZIES!!
So I'm thinking I might take my saddle over there on Tuesday and see how it fits him. It is a wide, he's definitely wide, and they only have western saddles there. I like western saddles but if I'm going to be trail riding a spooky horse, I would prefer my Aussie! Haha
If it fits, I'll probably just ride him around in the arena a bit - get a feel for him from his back. Should be fun!! He has a nice quick walk like Lacey. #favorites
This is Buddy.
This is Skippy. As you can see, he kind of hates me. He mostly doesn't like that I've single-handedly ruined "all his favorite games!!" Really, he's much better than he was. Baby steps!!
And then this is "the Old Man", Tazzy. He's a National Show Horse [Saddlebred+Arabian, I think he's mostly Saddlebred] and he's pretty nice. We ground drive him = super fun.
Ok, pretttttty sure these people want me to bring Fabio home. STORY OF MY LIFE.
But yeah. Yesterday my boss texted me, saying that if I have a saddle I enjoy riding in, I should bring it to work tomorrow and try it on the boy. HAH, one step ahead of you, boss lady! And then she was like "you have permission to ride him whenever and wherever you'd like"!
I may look and talk like I was born yesterday but guess what. I wasn't. But anyway, this guy's personality wold actually be a good fit with Lacey's and he's super broke, aside from the spookiness, and he's only 12-ish!...maybe in a year or two. After I graduate college next June would be a probably smarter time to consider adding to my horse family. We'll see. NOT YET, Boss Lady!!
So I kinda have some Gentleman Friend stories...but they're of the "oh my goodness, he's the cutest!" variety - no new 'developments'.
1. I realized last night, after he showed up to give me "my hug" at 5:50 vs 5:20...that he's really making a point of coming to see me.
They were running super behind with the kids last night and apparently had only 4 people working with them, vs the 6+ people they need for things to run smoothly...but he came up to see me anyway and apologized profusely for being unable to stick around, because he knows time is important to me.
I don't know if I have another friend that's so.....caring! Even I don't know if I would be that caring.
2. Before church, in the afternoon, he posted a link to a picture on my Facebook wall [for those of you who are now looking, he's the one on the right in his profile picture - his twin is the other person ]. It was a picture of a car covered in those "my family is___" stickers...only all of the stickers were cats. He wrote "You with cats. Me with dogs."
I've never told him this but, ever since mid-high school, that has literally been a goal of mine to cover my car's back window with those cat stickers and have "me" in the very middle of them all.
He needs to get out of my head!! But really, makes my day.
Anyway, that's all.
I hope you all are doing super well!!
Oh! Also. Lacey picture!!
This is from last week...when we forgot what the sun was for a few days and it was kind of the greatest. Haha
[I don't really understand why her forelock is literally brown...I'd like to give her a bath this afternoon and maybe I can work that out....hopefully. Haha]
He is definitely worth the wait that guy of yours!!
Try some bluing shampoo on that gorgeous girls hair. Don't you know all little old ladies get their hair blued at the salon on Thursdays! ( or at least that's what my 9 year old says - due to the fact that my mother in law goes each Thursday to old lady day at the salon ) Posted via Mobile Device
Haha! She does need a good bluing, doesn't she, cakemom! I do have some of that blue horse shampoo...Quicsilver, but I've been a little nervous about using shampoo so near to her eyes. I thiiink her forelock might be long enough to pull behind her ears and wash like her mane though. That's something to try! Haha
Also, your 9 year old sounds adorable! Too funny.
Haha, RC! I don't know how Lacey would feel about another horse friend...she usually gets super overly attached to geldings and then she's just annoying for forever, but then my life seems to run more by the "it'll work out if it's right" adage so maybe they would be a good match. Personality-wise, they would be perfect together. *sigh*
Mr. GMan [I like that, Maggie! Sounds more manly than "Gentleman Friend" haha] is definitely worth the wait. Whoever his lucky lady one day is, she'll definitely be a lucky lady!! And to think that he only has brothers. Somebody's mom raised them right!!
Speaking of him, he texted me today to tell me about how the ladies he works with [he works with a group of 4 middle-aged/older ladies. They LOVE him. It's kind of the greatest. Hahaha] made him a card. I love that he's telling me stories from his life! Makes me feel thought about. :)
On the horse front, I got off work about an hour ago and I am poooooped.
I got to work a bunch with Fabio today AND I RODE HIM. For just a little while. He really did fabulously.
Lacey's definitely more "broke" than he is, but she was much greener than he is when I started working with her! Haha
He does not neckrein, has very very little concept of leg contact/pressure, but is very sensitive to my seat and VERY sensitive to leg pressure. Basically, he hates any kind of leg with an undying passion. He'll pin his ears as soon as you contact him at all with your legs, then start throwing his head [not badly, just "STOPPPPP IIIITTTTT" head throwing] and biting the air in front of him. If you keep pushing him, he'll act like he wants to plant his feet and sort of start humping his back, like he might want to buck....but if you keep pushing him, he'll pretty much give it up. Still pinning his ears...but if he just gave it up completely, that would make it too easy on me, right?
Then, of course, the next time you use any leg, Captain AngryFace returns...but rinse and repeat. He seems like he's either had a lot of easily intimidated people ride him [likely], people who just don't know any better ride him [likely], or people who over-punished for the "frowny faces" [also really likely]. Luckily for him, I know this "let's see if I can scare you!!" game AND I know that all the faces don't mean a whole lot so I can just ignore them. Take THAT, Fabs!!
That seems to be his biggest issue, that I saw. He stops and stands GREAT, backs up fantastic. I have no complaints. Oh! And, after one of his sassypants moments, I must have pushed him out of it a little hard because he began to trot - SMOOOOOTHEST TROT EVER. Yeah, I do not even know. I was like "we're trotting?? But it's so smooth and I don't feel like I'm about to fall off!"
Lacey is like riding a jackhammer+rabbit - bouncy and erratic in everything she does, love her.
I didn't ride for a super long time because I ran out of time this morning to grab my saddle so I was riding on their bareback pad which was super super thick and Mr. Obesity is already super wide = I could feeeel my hips stretching.
Other thought: SO weird riding a horse that can see!! I really forget how much I babysit Lacey with my body until I ride a horse where I don't need to compensate in those ways. Then I'm like "wait, why am I doing ___?" and really the only explanation is that we're encountering something Lacey would have difficulty with and I'm "helping her" figure it out. But I'm not riding Lacey and the horse I am riding doesn't need my help. Hahaha! Awkward.
But yeah, overall I really like that horse. You know how you sometimes just get a "feeling" from a horse when you climb on their back?
Basically, bottom-line, I felt EXACTLY what I want to feel from a horse I'm really going to feel comfortable riding. Real honesty and a willingness to connect, but no tinge of "I've given up/I'm doing this because I will be made to if I don't".
It's the same feeling I get from Lacey and it's not a feeling I've felt often. Of course, doesn't mean he's going to be perfect or anything but it does mean that if he acts up, it's more likely to be from fear/pain/past experience than just "I don't wanna."
I hate "I don't wanna"! Nothing I like less than a horse that refuses to try because he/she just doesn't want to. Haha!
Under saddle he sounds exactly like a mare I work with! PITA most of the time, no amount of work I've tried has calmed her down. If anyone has suggestions to solve this I think maybe we could both use them lol
For real, on both counts, RC!! Buddy's mane is hilarious. I don't think it really gets any longer than that either - all the other horses have VERY long manes [so I don't think anyone is pulling them]...and he just doesn't. It's silly. :)
And Fabs would definitely be a good Mr for Lacey's Mrs. They'd be like an old married couple in the best way! Hahaha
Haha true story, amp!! Arabs, love them! Haha
Well. On the my horse front. Some bummer news. Nothing super terrible bad but Miss Lacey's having an BIG ERU episode again.
I'm SUPER bummed. Majorly.
1. I hate having my girl be in so much pain.
2. That freaking right eye of hers!! I'm so mad at it. I think this is probably "it" for it, like she's going to be 100% blind in it after this. SO MAD.
She's already so blind as it is. I was super hopeful that since it's been a year since her last bad episode and a little over a year since I started really feeding her "for her eyes" that maybe we would get some space between that episode 1.5 years ago and the next "big" one. Yeah, NOT.
[I'm in the "anger" stage of grief right now, can you tell? Hah. I sat and cried for 20 minutes this morning when I discovered her.]
That right eye is literally swollen shut currently and the left one is a little swollen but not bad at all. The right one has always been her "bad" one though and ERU doesn't always attack both eyes at once.
Plus side for her, she is higher than a kite, thanks to our good friend Bute. I gave her 1g this morning and I'll give her 1g tonight. I might give her 1.5 tonight just because the vet had me give her 3g the last time she had a bad episode - gotta get that inflammation down in the eye so her pupil stops being "locked open". The being "locked open" is what causes increased blindness so it's super important to get that taken care of asap. The inflammation was less when I check her around 4pm but her pupil was still wide open.
I hate giving her so much bute but it's only temporary. :/
If she's not markedly improved by tomorrow, I'll call the vet. At this point, my vet is pretty comfortable with me treating her myself, especially since I'm not using any kind of steroidal ointment on her eye - it's super important to have the vet out before I use any ointment since, if she has any kind of eye abrasion, steroid ointment will turn the abrasion into an eye ulcer. HORRIFYING.
I guess she decided I wasn't paying enough attention to her?
Pooooor baby girl!!
Here she is with her double flymasks [the bug-eye one doesn't have enough UV protection to be used alone but the ones I make her aren't really big enough for her eye to be swollen in. This way looks stupid but she gets room and UV protection! Haha]
And here's Fabs from today. He must be reading this journal and saw me say that he was unphotogenic.
So think Miss Lacey good healing thoughts. She has a lesson tomorrow and Friday which might be a little tough. Friday lesson we can just give her a bath, tomorrow..we'll see.
Gentleman Friend texted me two separate times today - chatty Kathy!!! Haha Once was to tell me about how he's gotten one of the ladies he works with to start saying "story of my life" because he apparently says that a lot. And I was the one to get him started on saying that......he's cute. :) The other was jut a random story about a magazine I'm letting him borrow.
That's 3 texts in TWO days. What is happening??! Haha
And in Fabs news, that horse. Alllllll he needed was a leader who he can trust. Literally the only thing.
In the two weeks since I've really stared working with him specifically, he's now walking up to me to put his head IN the halter - he had been running away before which was "his favorite trick", I lunged him today with zero grumpy faces showing up - "it's unlikely that you're ever going to see him with happy ears, unless he's scared"....etc etc.
AND he had his first ever actual therapy kid on his back today!!
He did amazing. He was under a lot of stress from even just having a disabled kid on his back but he dealt with it super well - instead of bottling it up then spooking at something, he actually kept sneezing after really stressful maneuvers and even shook once to release all that pent up stress. I was really proud of him for dealing with it, for being a "grown up" about it.
I also lunged him twice today which he apparently LOVES - big surprise, the Arab loves running around vs just sitting and eating in the pasture. Haha NOT. One of Lacey's favorite activities is being lunged as well! Dem' Arabians!