We'll see! Sommmmething certainly feels like it's happening! *fingers crossed*
And he is going to see his best friend in all the world next week=who knows what'll happen when he comes back. He seems to depend very heavily on the opinions of his close guy friends prior to making any kind of decision and the fact that he's being like this leading up to going to see that friend? Well, I don't want to count my chickens before they hatch BUT REALLY.
AND, a few days ago, I mentioned that my birthday was in a month...since it is [September 20, ya'll!]...and he was already aware of this. What. Again, no wanting to count chickens, but he knew already!!!!!
On the horse front: I forgot to take Lacey's weekly Remission photo this week...maybe it'll have to be every 2 weeks. ;)
She and the kiddos all say hi!
Funny+concerning story: so you guys remember how I was telling you about Atti dominating Lacey away from "his" food by headbutting her in the face?
Last night I hung up a haynet for her/them to share since it's been raining every night lately and the grass in the main pasture is starting to look a little thin [it's basically 'burning' off because the sun gets so hot everyday and there's very little shade for it]. They don't really neeeed hay but I figured it was the nice thing to do. ANYWAY.
Atticus saw Lacey start eating from the haynet, lept over to her, and started flailing his horns around in, what looked to be, an attempt to shove her off her HAY. WHY GOAT, WHY.
This makes me sad+mad. He's not supposed to be a jerk to Lacey!!
Thankfully, she was completely unimpressed by his maneuvers and just continued eating her hay. Seriously though. He needs to stop.
They will DEFINITELY be separated overnight again this winter!! I had thought about just combining the stalls, with the goat area still sort of separated [there's a strip of non-electrified electric tape separating Lacey's stall from the goat area - Lacey doesn't even think of going through it! Haha]...but no. That is definitely not going to happen. Goats are going to be on their side, Lacey on her side.
Jerk goat! He needs a kiss with a fist! No, he needs a sassy horse to show him to the boss is. Fabio, perhaps?
"Guys, I think Fabs needs a vacationnnnnn...at my house."
In Fabio news, he did really great today!! A little sassy with today's rider but I don't think I lunged him for nearly long enough. Work Creep was watching me lunge him and that made me nervous since I'm used to doing my own thing and not having people watch me. Haha
Anyway, yeah. I don't think he was lunged enough. Or, really, I don't think his brain was engaged enough while I lunged him.
On the bright side, we threw frisbees allllll around him, even accidentally hit him with one, and got very little reaction! I even had Work Creep sit on Fabs and drop 15 frisbees on to Fabs's rear....all at once! Fabs flinched very minimally at that but this is a bolt-y horse so the fact that he didn't bolt? Perfect. We repeated that exercise until he stopped being really flinchy about it. He was still uncomfortable [head up, very tuned in] but it was an improvement!
When we [freaking Work Creep] bonked him with the frisbee IN THE EAR, poor Fabs shot his head up in the air...but didn't move an inch. I was SOOO proud. I could have done a right then and there. SO much improvement from just a few weeks ago!!
The whole time while we did this, I was totally hands off on Fabs too!
I think I told you guys about that but I've found that for desensitizing, Fabio is better being disconnected from me. He feeds hardcore off my energy so anytime I'm holding him, he'll be acting calm because I'm holding him, not because he's necessarily genuinely ok with the goings on around him. And since the goal is actual desensitization, we achieve it better+more quickly if I ask him to stand somewhere, then leave him there.
Of course, in real therapy, toys are [at most] only really going to be gently thrown by therapists to kids, then thrown off Fabs by kids [rarely, usually they're set on to barrels/playground equipment]. There's very little dropping of the toys and the horse is very very rarely hit. The goal is to not hit the horse! Haha But my hope is to get him ok with the "worst case scenario" stuff so that the normal stuff is crazy easy and not scary in the least.
Anyway, he did great. My boss was practically beside herself when I told her what we had done with Fabs today! Haha But really, all it is is a matter of projecting confidence. Where she's "good boy"-ing and "it's ok"-ing all over the place, I'm acting completely unworried - even if I'm terrified out of my skin. Just a matter of projecting confidence. And it's all thanks to Lacey. Without that ol' horse, I'd still have no idea that "faking it til' you make it" actually works on horses, if you have a plan!
Also, a random picture I found on the internet that makes me pretty much cry laughing every time I see it.
It's from a TV show from the 90's called 'Freaks And Geeks' - fun fact, that kid, now grown up, is "Lance Sweets" on 'Bones'.
This is pretttty much the story of my life. But I love new friends! Just hate having to keep up with allllll of them. First world problems. I like meeting people, I guess that's the way to put it.
Today was kind of not the greatest - I had a migraine alllllll day, had to work, and 3 of the 4 horses were being huge jerks. Fabs, of course, was super good...but the other 3. >.<
The other three have been allowed to get away with sooo much junk for so long without consistent 'laws' that they are just...AH. Makes me want to tear my hair out.
Fabs, on the other hand, got very little work before I showed up so he doesn't have nearly the ingrained habits the others do.
Not to mention that the previous horse handler basically taught the horses that she had to be carrying a "carrot stick"-type stick for her to be taken seriously. Instead of actually getting on their cases for doing things, like biting while a child is riding, she would "let them run into the stick". Which is all fine and good, except for the part where it doesn't work. I imagine it probably does in the 'real' world but it's ended up that I literally have to slap the horses in the face whenever they bite because a pop with the halter means nothing. Ok, actually, a pop with the halter means "fight back".
Making me SUPER aggravated. One of the horses, Buddy, was actually lunging -open mouthed- to bite my stomach today while I was leading him. SO not ok.
Sosososo frustrating. And of course, I started getting frustrated which didn't help.
They never even THINK of behaving in these ways when there's not a kid on their back, but once the kids go on... And I'm not supposed to really get after them while a child is riding because, well, a kid is riding them!
I am going to LOSE MY MIND tomorrow.
I'm going to try carrying a small crop and popping them on the chest tomorrow - it won't be going for the face like they're used to so it won't be reinforcing that, maybe it won't be disruptive to the kid, and maybe it'll actually work. Fingers crossed.
Plus side: I think we have 6 kids tomorrow and 2 of those kids ride Mr. Fabs. Unlike the 8 kids we had today, with 2 on Fabs.
Fabs is also having some biting issues but he's not actually trying to make contact - if I just ignore him and remind myself to breathe, he 'magically' starts to behave again. Pretty much whenever I forget to breathe, he starts being a snot. It's a good reminder!! Haha
I think he's losing some weight/getting more muscley!!
Lacey, on the other hand, is being wonderful...as always. I'm hoping to be able to fit in a ride on her tomorrow....I'm not sure how/when but I need one and I think she probably would like an outing.
I LOVE that I can come home to a horse that's trained exactly how I want and who I don't really need to chastise or get after. She really is a wonderful old girl.
Ohhh I can feel your frustration from here, Emily.
Nothing worse than spoiled rotten intelligent lesson horses. They KNOW when you can't discipline them and they will use that time to get you!
Best thing to do? Pop a volunteer/worker on them instead of a kid... if they do anything stupid, correct them. The volunteer can handle the reaction of the horse better than a kid. Just make sure that it's OK with the director of the facility :)
I'm so happy you have Lacey lou.. she's exactly the calm welcome home you need after a pressing/trivial workday!
At least for now it seems like I've found a method of correction that works for the horses and works for me: carrying a little crop, just long enough that I can carry it in my 'active' hand, and I can just smack them on the shoulder or chest as needed. Today it wasn't disruptive at all and after a few pops, both Skippy and Buddy stopped being poo-faces! They continued to try little stuff but they were soundly corrected each time and by the time rides were done for the day, they had totally stopped even trying!!
Of course, in the case of Skippy, this improvement came at the cost of his respect in EVERY OTHER AREA but we'll get there. That horse is dumber than a box of rocks [those hay feeder-bags with the single large hole? Turn the hole towards a wall and he'll start having a cow about "not having food"...even if he turned the bag himself.] but he's persistent!! Haha
Fabs, on the other hand, came up mildly lame today. :(((((( His hooves were pretty thrushy when I checked them and he's in need to a trim [these poor horses, you would be APPALLED at the shoeing jobs they each have. It's horrific.] so I sprayed them with ACV to hopefully get some of that thrush. We've also just made the "Fall Switch" from hot sunny weather EVERYDAY to rain on a near daily basis at some point during the day = perfect conditions for an abscess.
So I'm not toooo worried. His legs didn't show an heat and it was just a very mild little head bob at the trot to the left coupled with a mild distaste for movement. Nothing major at all. I'm betting+hoping he'll be all better by Tuesday. :)
Founder is a concern with him, but there was no heat so I don't think that's it.
While assessing the sir's lameness:
And my personal cutie, this morning:
I'm SO excited about Lacey's weight right now!! She is literally perfect. Not fat, not thin, just ideal. I LOVE IT!!
She such a sweet pony too. Gah, I just love how easy she is to work with. It's such a breath of fresh air after these therapy horses who I have to get after and get after and get after. I think I have to get after Miss Lace like.....once every month?? And even that seems improbable. Haha! She's a gem. :)
On the Gentleman Friend front, brace yourselves, he was sweet again.
First, he told me some story on Monday, I had a story to share on Tuesday, and yesterday there was nothing..except 2 "likes" on Facebook. Today I was all "huh, I hope he's going to text me today" around lunchtime...I pulled out my phone, and I had JUST gotten a text from him!
And all it was was to make sure he had told me that he wasn't going to be at church on Sunday. Which we had already covered like 40 times last Sunday.
And eventually we got around to Mr. Gman thinking that Fabio would jump through flaming hoops if I asked him to. He seriously overestimates my level of awesome. Hahaha
Also, I think I may have narrowed down the change in behavior [to being more openly 'snuggly'] we are witnessing: last Saturday, about the time this started, I posted something on Facebook about my personality type...just for funnsies. He 'liked' it and, since he's an adorable NERD, I can almost guarantee he read it.
And in this thing, it talked all about how my personality type is pretty much the opposite of comfortable with our emotions. And that any kind of effort at showing affection should be taken really seriously. Which is really super true. I feel a lot but does it come out? Pshhhh, NO.
Then, as you know, the next day after that we went all gooshy with the "I'm praying for you" and "the blessing is mutual" and "I think you're super great" stuff which is basically not at all anything like how his normal, average, behavior pattern is.
Maybe he wasn't sure how I felt and didn't want to impose...but now that he realizes that my baby-small efforts are really kind of a big deal....? haha We'll see!
He's an overthinker too.
I appreciate this.
You guys should hear this kid, you ask him about his life plan and he's all "Well, in a year I want to do this, in 2 years I'll be doing this, in 10...blah, blah, blah...but! I don't want to do THAT until this happens because I don't want ___ to think ____ and that'd be sketchy, but maybe I should do it now? I'll just tell ___ that ___ isn't true. But what if they don't believe me? What do you think? Wouldn't ___ be so awesome? Should I even care what ___ says about it?"
He has an entire plan for getting married too: he plans on knowing the girl for a while, being friends, then dating for under a year, then being engaged for under a year...but maybe close to a year.. since "the wedding has to be AWESOME", and then getting married.
I guess it's this whole mindset, one that I had never heard until I met him, where you should be friends for long enough to know whether the other person is someone you would want to marry, and the short dating/engagement time is to help the relationship stay physically pure [since anything more than kissing really is thought of as "marriage stuff"]. I'm on board with all of that but it's pretty adorable to me. I had never met anyone who felt so strongly about that until I met him! Haha I never even knew that^ was an option! But I kind of love it.
But anyway, so according to that "chart", if this were to become "real"...well...watch out world!
This level of overthinking = HILARIOUS.
We are two peas in a pod.
ANYHOO. I hope you all are doing absolutely wonderfully!!
Gah, today already feels like it's taken forevvver. Mostly because I've been incredibly effective with my time. But now I'm tired! Haha
First, they called me into work this morning. Apparently my boss had planned to ask if I could work today...and forgot to ask me. Haha She's been super super busy this week [we had a site evaluation for a grant she's hoping to get, she's still trying to find someone to do my job when I go back to school on September 30th, AND she's doing all her therapist duties too! I don't know how she's surviving] so it's not a big deal that she forgot. Anyway, I was free so I went into work.
I've worked EIGHTY hours this month!! After living on $15, maybe $30, a week for the last 2 years...I don't even know WHAT I'm going to do with these paychecks!! Haha Like, I'll 'have to' save some because I have absolutely no where to spend it! I love the idea of, for the first time in my life, having $$ wiggle-room! I cannot wait.
Anyway, 80 hours!
So I went to work.
And guess what? When Mr. Fabs saw me, did he run like he sometimes does or ignore me like he does the other half of the time? NO. HE NICKERED!!!!! AND walked up to me!!!!!!! I love you toooooo, pony!!
It was so exciting! Haha
We had 2 kids come, then we had an hour long break. I decided to lunge Fabio since he seemed like he wanted to be worked with, then we went for a walk in the parking lot, and then I rode him a tad.
I lunged him and he might have been the littlest bit off still, but it wasn't obvious like yesterday... It also went away when I shooed him out into a bigger circle.
I did notice, however, that he seems really really stiff on his left side. So I'm wondering if that's contributing to the head bob - he tenses up and normal movements look jerky? I don't know. His left side has typically been his "bad" side though so I don't know.
Anyway, I decided to hop on him a little bit and work on him with leg contact. I brought that rope sidepull of Lacey's, but it was in my car. Ooops, guess we had to walk down to my car!!
I think it's really good for him to go walking through the parking lot. He doesn't have to usually so it's a 'different' yet safe place for him to look at things.
He got to park with the cars. Poor guy.
He even backed out.
Then I hopped on a rode for a couple of minutes. We just did a figure eight in one barn, with the goal being him moving off my leg at all and, in a perfect world, putting his ears up while this is happening. He HATES any and all leg contact. It's so weird, you can touch his sides on the ground without any issues but I can't express how much he hates it undersaddle.
He really seems to be just waiting for me to really goose him or do something else painful with my legs. I don't know how to explain it otherwise.
Anyway, we just did a little figure-eight. I didn't push him for a perfect shape [only using one leg at a time, both together at this point cases a "I AM going to buck!"-style meltdown], I just wanted to get him realizing that my legs are communicating with him...not punishing him. And it only took him about 10 minutes to figure it out!
He started turning off my leg only, with very minimal rein guidance, but his ears were still pinned to his head. After about 5 more minutes of just going around, switching which side my leg was touching, you know the drill, he actually lifted his ears just slightly. They were still "snarly" ears, but they weren't flat back-snaky ears. So I accepted that and hopped right off.
That seemed to really make an impression on him because for the next hour, he was a lot more prick-eared vs his usual "ears back" thing. He spends a whole lot of time with his ears pretty flat back, even when he's not necessarily mad.
I'm explaining it as him "having a lot of thoughts and an expressive face" which is probably half of it, but I think the other half might be something in his past that taught him that people are mostly not enjoyable.
Or maybe it was just the people at this therapy place who've taught him that! I mean, one girl "got him to accept people bumping him with their legs by bumping him constantly and not letting him get mad or run!!" OH. MY. GOSH. NOOO. Maybe you'd survive/not cause damage doing that to the average QH but not to the average Arabian!!! OH MY WORD. Way to try and DIE. Apparently she survived but REALLY.
Anyway, we had quite the successful ride today!
THEN, we had our last kid, and were done with that for the day. I went home, got some lunch, and manned-up to take Lacey on a ride. Riding two horses in one day is not really where my current level of fitness is! Haha I ride maaaaaybe once a week, more probably once every 2 weeks so my riding muscles are sort of dead. I think I'm going to try riding Fabs more though, today was so successful that if we have that kind of success for 3 days in a row, I think he would be over his issue in no time! And then, hello hitting the trails! [cuz really, don't reallllly want to take a horse out who's liable to freak if you use leg. HAH.]
Anyway, hit the trails with Lacey. The goats were HUGE pains in the neck though. They BOTH escaped to wait for us outside the fence. >.< NOT FUNNY. Anyway, next time I think I'm just going to do it and tie Atticus in the shed+lock Hazel in the goat pen. I don't like the idea of tying him up unsupervised but I guarantee he'll escape the goat pen if I just leave him loose in there and this leaving the pasture to 'wait' for me and Lacey thing is getting out of hand. On the flip side, one time I tied him for the evening and apparently forgot to untie him...so he was tied in the morning when I went to feed. I felt TERRIBLE but he was 100% fine.
1 hour<overnight. And really, there's pretty much no way for him to hang himself or anything else. I should probably do a ten-fifteen minute test run before actually going on a ride.
Anyway, Lacey and I had a really nice ride. The woods smell wonderful this time of year and she was REALLY happy to be out. I think we did like 4 canter sets, and one gallop, where usually she's happy to stick with one canter!
We found a neat caterpillar!!
And that is all for today! I hope you guys are doing super well!
Oh oh! I completely spaced that I had taken a picture of Buddy for you guys today!! Haha He's such a big lug. Makes me laugh...when he's not being a jerk.
Also, apparently he's a Belgian/Fjord cross. What a strange cross! But he's the sturdiest horse I have evvvvver seen.
And, because I can, the sunset tonight was gorrrrgeous!!