Early mornings with animals are definitely good! I just don't like having things I KNOW I need to do...but instead of being able to do that stuff, I have to stand around, you know? Haha
He's not super huge, height-wise. Around-wise, he's a monster! Haha Height-wise, I would guess 15.1-2hh? I'm 5ft 8in and his back is maybe shoulder-height+ on me...
Fabs returned today!
He was SO good today. He needed quite a bit of lunging but that's pretty average for him. Straight off the trailer from my bosses house, I lunged him for 20 minutes, then re-braided his mane for 10, then he went straight into having a session with a kid, and he took it all like a champ! The kid was even using a small plastic bat to knock objects off of barrels - Fabs didn't bat an eye.
Such a champ. I've never even worked with him on that sort of thing [heck, I've never even waved the bat around his or even let him smell it before!] so it was a great sign that he's beginning to transfer his "object trust" to unfamiliar objects as well as familiar ones.
Then, we had one more session [kid rode Buddy, Fabs chilled], and then I decided to work with Fabs using a big exercise ball. The exercise ball had been a big issue of his previously!
And, of course, since I was expecting him to look at it funny, did he look at it at all funny?? Psh, NO. He didn't even care when I was directly bouncing the ball off of him. I basically played "Wall-Ball" with him as the wall. And he just went with it!
After that, the volunteer on today-days had asked if we could go on a little ride into the back pasture, just for funnsies. I said sure, of course, and we headed down there.
Funny thing: the other horse [BUDDY] was being a little jerk about going down there while Fabio couldn't have cared less. He was happy to head down, walked at a nice even walk once down there, and didn't spook at anything, even when an errant chicken went flying out of a bush in the pasture. I even spooked at that but Fabs was like "Oh! Hello chicken!!"
Anyway, it was wonderful. He is SO like Lacey, only even a bit more tolerant. Lacey's darn tolerant but Fabio has the patience of a...cement boulder. Or maybe the stamina. Because really, he had gone from not being worked with all weekend to being on the trailer, then used, used, used for a solid 3 hours after getting off the trailer! I was really impressed. He's a good guy.
And I was going to mention to you guys, on the topic of hoof care, that I'm totally not anti-shoes and I hope it doesn't sound that way. I'm just anti-incompetent farriers/trimmers! I would be just as judgmental if a barefoot trimmer was doing what's being done to them!
Other proud moment I forgot to mention: as you probably remember, Mr. Fabio HATES leg contact. And last Friday, the last time anyone rode him, I had a really successful session with him using leg contact which I ended as soon as he stopped pressing his ears so flatly to his head whenever I touched him with my legs.
Today, on this ride, I was using my leg like normal [leg is second nature to me so I really couldn't stop if I tried, nor should I tip-toe around Fabs's leg "thing" just because he doesn't like it], and about 85% of the time he didn't flatten his ears AT ALL when I squeezed him forward AND he moved forward off my leg!! Usually that would have elicited an "Excuuuuuuuuse me??! I WAS going to go forward but now that you did that, well, I most pointedly REFUSE."-type response [he responds well to "clucks" forward but squeezing+clucks is more effective, imo] so kind of super thrilled! Of course, he does love love love the outdoors more than anything - exploring is his "thing"...but last time we went out, he was very 'sticky' even while "adventuring".
I look forward to riding him in the barn tomorrow and seeing what he does...perhaps that one session was so influential that it'll only be a few more session before he "gets" leg?? I'm not holding my breath, but I'm hopeful!
Of course, he still has absolutely no clue what leg means in terms of turning/etc but we're working in it. I added my weighted reins to the bridle I'm using on him, hoping that the added weight will help him "get" it. He seemed to like them today but we'll see.
Basically he's all over really "heavy" in the bridle so, after leg, guess what, Fabs?
I am SO his worst nightmare.
Lacey had a lesson which she did FANTASTICALLY for! I'm so proud of her AND her lesson kid today. The girl who comes today has been riding with Lacey+me for nearly 3 years and she's really a natural. I really don't have a lot to teach her anymore but she+her family don't want to move up to a new instructor...which is super sweet. So now she just gets to ride/work with Lacey and I nitpick.
Anyway, today they did really well.
Then, I went to work.
And things went half downhill. Basically it was all fine but my boss was picking at me so much for the way I do things with the crop/stick [she thinks the horse should see it+"run into" it for a correction - I think it should be more out of sight so the horse doesn't end up only behaving when you have said crop/stick] and, since a lot of the way I do it comes from how my hands function, I had to tell her about it. And I feel like a huge cop-out.
Basically, I have a condition called "Mirror Dystonia" [overview article: Page not found | Stuff You Should Know ] which, luckily for me, only affects my hands and my toes. I move one toe, that same toe on the other foot moves identically. I move a hand in a certain way, my other hand moves the same. You can see it really clearly in the end of Atticus' "Bye-bye" video when I'm scratching his head - my other hand is going nuts! Haha
For reference, here it is cued up to the right spot [ETA: just kidding on the cuing, it starts at 59 seconds in]:
Anyway, it influences how I hold the crop/stick since, if I let the horse "run into the stick", I'm also cuing their face with my opposite hand as I shift the stick around = confusing signals.
And I had to tell her about it. And I feel terrible. She seemed really interested in the condition and sort of almost lit up, like I was some kind of new "subject" of study. I really don't think of it as a "disability" or anything like that...it's just another funny little quirk of mine = I hated that I had to literally say "I CAN'T because ____." "Can't" is the opposite of everything I believe. I mean, to me, "can't" means "can" is in disguise and we just need to help "can't" be comfortable enough to de-"'t" itself and become "can".
But in this case, I literally CAN NOT. And I so dearly wish I could.
I never tell anyone about my Mirror Dystonia because 1. People want me to do "party tricks" with it [I can write with both hands at once, left hand writes perfectly backwards], 2. They feel "bad" for me, 3. Again with the "can't" - if no one knows, I can't blame anything on it/no one else can blame anything I do on it and THAT is how I want it.
Anyway, that was frustrating. I wish she could just accept/trust that we have different ways of doing stuff and both of our ways are ok. Hopefully she will in a few months, after all she really doesn't know me at all at this point! If I were in her shoes, I think I would need few months.
I do come across as kind of "intense" sometimes, especially with horses. I don't mean to be intense, of course, but I really am sometimes. Basically I'm either babbling on, never shutting up, or I come across as "too intense". Need to find that happy medium!
I just run a tight ship.
Anyway, happy thoughts of the day:
1. I got new Converse Hi-Tops! They basically last 2 years per pair when I use them as "summer horse shoes" and my last pair were disintegrating into sandals. So now I have spiffing new ones!!
AND! I used to wear 7.5-8's in Converse, pre-gluten-free, because my feet were "SO wide". Length-wise, my feet are tiny but they were basically little squares with toes attache, so I had to size-up to fit the width.
Post-gluten-free, I haven't gotten new shoes until today. And you know what I discovered??
I knew that my feet were much narrower since going GF but I didn't know how much narrower: these new shoes are SIXES. SIZE freaking 6!! I lost 1 1/2 or even 2 whole shoe sizes all from going gluten free!!! HOW DOES THAT HAPPEN. And these 6's are 100% perfect. Maybe even the tiniest bit big. What.
2. Gentleman Friend returned yesterday. He uploaded photos from his adventure this morning onto Facebook and tagged me in two that he and his besties took specifically because "they thought they were really funny and that I would appreciate them" [it was absolutely hilarious - a stuffed llama had been put into a dinosaur exhibit]. I was the only person tagged in the album too! So it wasn't like everybody was getting tagged.
I thought that was really really sweet.
And it was right after I had spent some time doubting our friendship and being all "Psh, he says the right words but never DOES anything unless I ask him to. Actions speak louder than words, ya'll."
I am telling you: 1. He has a serious KNACK for doing/saying the right thing at the right time. 2. HOW on earth do I, little doubter me, deserve to be friends with people who, as a group, care about me enough to think of me when they're having time together after not seeing each other for months? I seriously know how Peter felt after denying Jesus in the Bible! Geez.
Dear Emily, STOP BEING A TOOL.
But I can say that I'm better than I used to be [when I was a teen, I would TELL people about this^ and basically freak out to their face. It was bad. I lost friends and I had no idea that that^ was the issue!] and being conscious of this trait is the first step towards becoming better! I'll get there....one day.
And Gentleman Friend is sure helping me learn about how to trust that someone cares deeply, even if they aren't talking to you daily or "liking" the "correct" number of posts on Facebook or whatever. That someone can care deeply AND be independent.
Also, tomorrow is the goats' "Gotcha' Day"!!! I'm excited! Lacey's lesson kid today brought Lacey+the G's a big bag of treats as a present.
Last night Lacey and Hazel wore blankets for the first time since Spring! It was raining ridiculously a lot last night and the poor girls were shivering. So they got blankies. :)
Earlier in the week, Fabio wanted to show off his bowling skill.
[I love how this horse will stay wherever you put him!! Haha]
Same day, Mr. Tazzy. He has some kind of locking-stifle/hock issue. He does ok but he's lame a lot of the time. Poor guy!
Skippy. He hates me still. I really hope his personality isn't typical of TWH's...I've always thought a gaited horse would be so much fun, but Skippy is kind of the worst horse I have ever met. Actually, honestly, he's not the "worst". His personality would be perfectly suited to someone who enjoys a really nosey horse who wants to be involved with everything. And that kind of person is not me, at all.
I love his coloring though! And watching him move!!
Kind of maybe this week's "Remission Shot". I haven't seen a whole lot more changes in her, but her crestiness seems noticeably less to me [hard to see in this picture though! Oh Lacey!].
The lady where you work should be very glad to have you, and should stay out of your way. Results speak louder than method (well, I don't mean that all methods are ok, such as the end justifying any means) . But, if you are bringing this horse into greater usablility, then she should just say, "thanks" and stay out of your way and be happy to have found you.
Your training a goat, to respond to verbal commands, is evidence enough of your skill as an animal trainer.
Thanks Caroline :) That's what I'm inclined to think too, haha...but she's my boss so I have to humor her and be respectful. A lesson in patience!
On the funny story side of life: I've forgotten how hilarious teenage boys can be.
I went to church, had a very minimal amount of time with Gentleman Friend [they roped him into TEACHING the kids now...instead of just working with them...so he was really visiting me on borrowed time] - "10 seconds" turned into 10 minutes...haha I eventually had to be like "...I don't want them to fire you, but I do?"
Then, later, I saw Mr. Gman's little 14 year old brother, "J" - the one who went to the zoo with us+my brother a few months ago.
I never know how to act with J. Do I go out of my way to greet him? Do I ignore him? Do I only greet him if it would be rude not to?
He came with Gman to camp a few times, went on a couple horse rides at camp [and, apparently - as Gman tells it, whenever J would tell the story of those rides, I would be prominently featured as "the weird but cool girl"], then we had that zoo trip..basically it's not like he doesn't know who I am! But he's a super quiet kid and I have compassion for my fellow introverts. Haha
I used to ignore him, pre-zoo, because I didn't know if he remembered me, etc.
Post-zoo, I tried saying hi to him once when he was with their parents and well..that was like poking a tiger. I got barely a head-nod, no smile, nothing. OH SNAP.
Funny part: tonight I saw him with some friends and wasn't going to say hi...but then we ended up right next to each other in the line to grab communion = would have been rude to say nothing. So I poked him and smiled.
Then, after church, he was right outside the door with his friends and as I walked past, he touched my arm and was like "It was really nice to see you tonight. It's been a while!"
I almost peed my pants I was laughing so hard. [after I got away from him, of course! Didn't laugh in his face, I basically said "oh! It was great to see you too!" haha]
14 YEAR OLDS THESE DAYS!!
Apparently when you're with your buddies, greeting an older female = good for swag levels. HILARIOUS.
I'm still laughing.
That whole family. Can I be one???! Hahahahaha My awkward would fit in SO WELL.
And then, tonight Mr. Gman made sure to mention those pictures he tagged me in..that I told you guys about? He wanted to make sure that I liked them.
After church, I texted him about something else+mentioned them, saying something about their perfectly timed-ness. He said that he was "so so glad :) we all [meaning the besties] saw them and thought of you immediately :):)"
Then, I texted him back about how they really brightened my day and I got a text back that said: ":):):)"
Hahahaha SO MANY SMILIES.
I don't think I ever even gotten that kind of smiley concentration from a female friend!!! Haha
It would seem that it's kind of a big deal that I actually did like those pictures a lot.
Right??! I SO know what you mean. Hilarious and adorable. Like how you feel when you see a baby bird learning how to fly.
I wonder if J told Mr. Gman about seeing me......probably. They're super close. Hahahaha!
Speaking of teenage boys, I think Work Creep has finalllly gotten the message. Or maybe he's just moved on...in either case, I'm allll good. Now he's starting to really behave like a brother of mine which is wonderful, I love having guy friends!!
Anyway, today he was telling me about his "Lady Friend" and he said the SWEETEST thing about her. Apparently they're hanging out tomorrow and she wants to watch anime which "he's totally on board with because he likes her, even though he knows absolutely nothing about+has no 'real' interest in anime...but it's something she likes, so he's totally there."
How sweet is that???!!!
I was just like "Work Creep, she better be nice to you!"
[also, good sign that he's telling me about girls!! Guys don't talk girls with girls they're interested in...in my limited experience. And I'm a romantic sap. I do love a good romantic comedy...this can be one in real life!!]
I can only hope that Gentleman Friend feels that way about me. I can only hope.
Work-wise, today the schedule changed - due to school starting for most of the therapy kids. We started at 11:30am [on the hottest day of the summer so far, no less = yaaaaay.] and had our last kid from 5-5:30pm. DEATH. I don't even know if I'll be able to get out my armchair after I'm done writing this!! Haha
Fabs was a true true champion of the cause. FOR REAL. He was first with a girl who's never actually had a full hippotherapy session because she starts wailing+crying, can't handle it. He really took it with a REALLY aggravated ADHD+Autism spectrum kid last Friday - the kid literally had a kicking+screaming+hitting TANTRUM on poor Fabio's back and Fabio didn't bat an eyelash [he got a tiny bit "internalized", where I felt him shut off a little from our energy "convection current" but that's to be expected - he had to protect himself! Overall, he took it better than I've ever seen!]. ANYWAY, we figured that after that showing last week, he was likely to succeed this week if this girl lit off.
And you know what?
He was so relaxed, smooth, and calm for this little girl that she literally fell ASLEEP on his back! My boss was riding with her [the girl was maybe 4=really tiny] and doing some bodywork on her while she rode and it was really incredible.
That horse is a freaking STAR.
He is going to be so absolutely rock steady in a few years with the right experiences! I can't wait!!
In other Fabs news: it would seem that while teaching him about leg pressure, I have also taught him to neckrein......... that was the plan for like 40 steps in the future and he just skipped ALL of them. In no more than four 15 minute sessions. WHO IS THIS HORSE. HOW IS HE SO COOL. He makes me feel like a genius/world class horse trainer. and it's allllll him.
Bottom line: he's doing so good with single-leg leg pressure. He's still not real happy about both legs at once but it's only momentary. The other issue I've been running into is a matter of impulsion, I think. If I sit back a little too much or say "good boy!" = BAM, BRAKES. SO MUCH BRAKES. So. FAST. BRAKES.
Literal butt tucking, hoof sliding, dead stops.
And of course, everytime it catches me off-guard and then I have to reposition myself and get him going again = not exactly the steps I would like to take for solving the issue. And, if he were any other horse, I would goose him hard in the sides with my heels to be like "OH HECK NO." but he's expecting me to hurt him with my legs at some point and I really don't want to just give him confirmation that I'm going to hurt him. Especially since I LIKE that he's listening to my seat so well...don't really like that "good boy"="stop" but I don't want "good boy" to equal "heel goose" either!
Luckily, he's so super smooth so his "sliding stops" aren't much more jarring than a single step of Lacey's trot. Ok, probably less jarring. I'm going to try to work on it a little tomorrow - just keeping him going, start working on leg=devices for speed/support+guidance...not just guidance.
We'll get there. He's trying so hard to please me!
This morning, the boy saw me with his halter and took off, running flat out, for the area in the pasture where I always lunge him. I followed him, because lunging was indeed my plan, he walked right up to me, and pretty much put his halter on himself!! Hahaha
What a sweetie.
Later we rode around.
"What happens, Fabs, if I put my feet up near the crest of your neck?"
"What about if I sit sideways??" [for the record, I have never felt so secure sitting sideways on a horse!! I sat there for probably 5 minutes and he didn't move a muscle. But he really could have - his back is that safe-feeling!]
After I turned him back out:
"I was such a good boy that you want to work with me again??!!"
"OK!! Pick me! Pick me!!!!"
[I was really only going out there to pet him but he thought we should hang out. Too bad I had to go do 'real' work = lame ]
And then when I got home, finally, guess who had decided to go visiting the llamas?
The goats are hilarious. I love how they're basically organized by color, kind of.
And that was today. I hope you all are doing super super well!!!
So frustrating. I just got back from feeding L+the G's. I went up there, fed them, started walking back up to the gate, and discovered the "Angry Old Man" INSIDE the pasture! He had just walked in like he owned it, past the very visibly posted "No Trespassing" sign, and was wandering into the pasture. Then, when he saw me and I explained to him that I wasn't comfortable with people just entering the pasture, due to safety concerns, he YELLED AT ME about how he should be allowed into the pasture because "the horse goes to the bathroom near his house [IN HER PASTURE] and he wasn't calling the health department about it"!! WHO on earth DO YOU THINK YOU ARE, sir??!
OH. MY. Gosh. I was really polite to him and walked him out the pasture, didn't get mad, stayed cordial...but REALLY. 'My' freaking pasture, my horse, MY GOATS, my "no trespassing" sign!! Where in all that does he get "please try to bully me so you can chill in the pasture"??
Anyway, I called the little old people who own the pasture and let them know what had happened, just in case he calls them and has a cow. He's done that before. They, of course, take everything he says with some huge grains of salt because they know he's a little [a lot??] nuts..but they should be in the loop.
Basically, I'm glad that I was able to get him out without too much of a fuss but I kind of want to cry. HMPH.
It's so weird to me. That guy is the MEANEST person I have ever met. Maybe it's just me, but people are usually pretty nice to me. I guess I kind of exude a "Snow White"-type vibe and people say I'm funny so... But really, people are usually nice but this guy is just the angriest.
But then, at the same time, there's another old man who lives with the angry guy and he is THE NICEST EVER. He always stops to chat with me, tells me I'm beautiful and that Lacey is beautiful, we talk about how our respective days have gone/are going to go, etc. He's super sweet. His favorite line to use is: me - "Hey, how are you?!" him - "Better now!" So sweet.
Anyway, I hate that the world has angry people. I think that's the worst part. I really want everybody to get along and I would very much like to be friends with everybody...or at least have everybody be civil to each other. And the angry old man just plain refuses. BOO.
Well, I'm just going to keep being polite and respectful but continue to stand my ground.
In other news, the goats went on a field trip againnnnn this afternoon. The jerks.
Lacey is not pleased with them.
And, on the Gentleman Friend-front, [this is going to seem really silly but trust me, for him/us this isn't so silly] he commented on my Facebook status today! We're both super introverted+prone to overthinking = we rarely comment on anything anywhere on Facebook and if we do comment, it's kind of a 'thing'! Haha
AND! He commented on two things 2ish weeks ago, I commented on two things of his, then today he commented on my stuff = picking up some momentum here! Haha But now it's my turn to comment...maybe. Or maybe it's still his...we'll see. [we have a lot of unspoken mutual agreements. ]
Oh, but guys. :( Not going to see him on Sunday because I'm getting pre-birthday cupcakes with a friend before church. Excited about the cupcakes, bummed about not seeing him. But, in terms of being "less available" = good. However, my excessive avaliablity hasn't seemed to harm anything yet...!
BUT!!! My birthday is a week from this Friday and he's been conscious of my birthday coming up, without me saying anything, for at least a month.