Adventures With Ms. Brandy - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 32 Old 03-31-2020, 04:01 PM Thread Starter
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Smile Adventures With Ms. Brandy

Original thread: https://www.horseforum.com/horse-tra...ur-herd-813417

3/31/20

So per suggestions from a few different people, @kbrewer and I are starting a journal thread to track our progress working with Brandy, a horse who was left at the family farm by previous boarders. We do not know the full history of this horse but we were told that she was not very nice - this is definitely not the case, as we have learned!! We have not ridden her yet because she needs a hoof trim and a preemptive vet check, but she has the most wonderful ground manners and handles delightfully. She stands to be groomed, lifts all four feet easily, leads well, is very gentle and curious, and tolerates all manner of poking, prodding and tugging. Taking care of her gives us something to do during all this covid-19 mess :)

Today we went out to the barn to practice ground manners and tacking up. When going out to get her, she stood and waited for me to walk all the way across the pasture to halter her. Whoever was turning them out before we started coming out to the farm always left their nylon halters on :( so today I took that off and worked her in a rope halter. We were unable to catch Skippy, one of the other horses who is unrideable to keep her company, so we went without today. Brandy led like a dream, though she did get a little excited and forward as we neared the other small pasture we use for working (which is why we're practicing ground manners!).

I tied her up and groomed her thoroughly before we tried tacking up. She is a little sensitive to the girth being tightened, but she does not offer to bite or kick in any way. The best part was finding out that she LOVES the bit!! I slipped the bridle on over the rope halter since we were just going to practice leading in hand with tack on, and as soon as she saw the bit she started opening her mouth and grabbing for it. The entire time we worked with her today, she was calm, pleasant, and curious. Every time we see her I like her more because of her gentle curious personality, which is the opposite of what we were told!!

To end on a good note before untacking, we walked a few circles in hand around the small pasture and even jogged a little bit (until I ran out of breath). She moves beautifully and we can't wait to get in the saddle.

Once we turned her back out, we were a little worried that she may bolt away as soon as we took the rope halter off, so I looped the lead rope around her neck while @kbrewer undid the halter. Brandy didn't move a muscle and stood there calmly, taking a crunchy carrot treat once I had fully released her, and she actually did not move from that spot until we took our attention off of her and started talking about something else. Once we were ignoring her, she took off with a tiny squeal to go round up her herd.

All in all, a really good day :)

(pardon our terribly mismatched tack LOL)
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post #2 of 32 Old 03-31-2020, 06:50 PM Thread Starter
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Btw, anyone else feel free to post here with questions or comments as well! You won't mess up our journal keeping :)
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post #3 of 32 Old 04-01-2020, 06:20 PM Thread Starter
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4/1/20

So I guess we had too good of a session yesterday and had to pay for it today There was someone with a truck and a trailer hauling old fencing and brush out of the pasture, and when the truck had drove into Brandy's field of vision while she was standing tied, she did spook a little bit but calmed down quickly. From then on, she was giving me a bit more trouble than usual- moving around, pawing, not holding still well. I finished up grooming her and took her out to lunge a little bit once she had settled down.

Both of us definitely need to work on our cues there, but once she gets moving, she's absolutely gorgeous! She has a lovely jog and carries herself beautifully. A few times she got a little too excited and kicked up in the air a little or tried to move away, but I stood there holding the rope and not reacting until she hit the end and pulled herself around. Despite the wild excitement, she was still very content the entire time. Tomorrow if the weather stays nice we're going to really drill down on lunging manners and work on reinforcing cues.

We were told by the girl who comes out to take care of the horses that since Ms. Brandy is the boss of the herd, she needs someone who can be equally firm and confident working with her. Luckily she doesn't give us more trouble than we can handle :) just a little bit pushy and excitable, but she always reins it back in very quickly.
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post #4 of 32 Old 04-04-2020, 10:13 PM Thread Starter
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4/4/20

Forgot to write about our session on the 3rd, but it was pretty uneventful.

Today I went out by myself for a little bit after work since it was still a perfect temperature and there was still plenty of daylight. Today brought some new challenges for Brandy - it was feeding time later in the evening, so when I caught her I was separating her from her buddies and taking her over to do some work instead of eating. Someone was popping off gunshots a few miles away as well.

As always, she was a delight (and even nickered when she saw me for the first time!). No fuss about being separated, not even about being taken away from dinner and brought over to work. Though today was only session #4, she improves radically each time. We worked on vocal commands (speed up, whoa, stop, etc) and finally got her to lunge at something other than a trot I discovered that her left side is her weak side. She'll give a couple good circles then flip around and begin going the other way. She'll go to the right all day long, but would only work a little bit to the left before either stopping or switching. I have a feeling it could be a bit of a pain issue combined with that being her weaker side, so I'll discuss it with the vet and maybe farrier too when they hopefully come out.

Her and I are both rusty in the horsemanship department - she hasn't been ridden in years and I haven't been actively riding in a year While I never learned much groundwork in my previous lessons, I've done a lot of research and am learning as I go. I think Brandy and I both have many things to learn from each other :)
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post #5 of 32 Old 04-07-2020, 10:32 AM Thread Starter
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4/6/20

Went out to work in the evening again on lunging and a bit of ground manners last night. The new stimulus this time was the boarder working her horse in the neighboring pasture at the same time. Brandy was very curious as to what was going on, but once we started working she brought all her attention back to me.

We worked on direction changes and transitions on the line and received some helpful tips from the boarder who had worked with her before about a year ago - apparently her random direction changes are just her way of throwing a tiny hissy fit about working and I quickly learned how to spot them and correct it before she got anywhere. We even got up to cantering for just a minute and she moves beautifully! I stretched her legs post-workout and while she was a bit confused at first, she then relaxed and let me pull on her legs to help relieve some of that stiffness.

When we left, I took the bridles with me and took them apart to clean and oil them. We also confirmed that the farrier will be coming out to see the herd next Monday morning and we'll be scheduling a vet check up today :)
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post #6 of 32 Old 04-07-2020, 12:43 PM
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What an exciting journal! I love ground work and once you are more at ease with her you can try little games with her. Teach her how to sidepass from the ground. Teach her to move over to a mounting block of fence (youtube has great videos teaching this) Rewarding her for coming to you and standing tied is great. You can add stretching - like carrot stretches to help her body get used to being supple again.

I look forward to more entries
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post #7 of 32 Old 04-08-2020, 12:20 PM Thread Starter
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4/7/20

Thank you @carshon ! She yields hind and forequarters excellently but we're still working on sidepassing. She's very responsive and eager to please :)

Yesterday I went out solo, later in the day again after their evening hay. We warmed up in the work arena for a bit on lunging, yielding her head and body for a little bit before we went on a walk around the property for the first time. I waited to start doing this until I felt she was more comfortable having me as company instead of other horses since the entire herd is buddy sour. She was excellent - head nice and low, completely relaxed and yielding to me up until the point the other horses realized where she was and started calling out. This made her a little antsy so we did some small circles on the lead rope at the top of the hill until she regained her "thinking cap" and we were able to continue. We stopped up on a nice grassy patch by a little pond a little ways away from the other horses and I let her graze for about 15 minutes. She only called out twice in response to their constant whinnying but was otherwise completely responsive to me and relaxed.

She is overall a very attentive and sensitive horse and I can't wait to see more of what she can do. I did finally realize what was bugging me about how she stands - her toes are so grown out that her heels have worn down on her rear legs and it's causing her to stand with her hind limbs camped under. I don't know when she last saw a farrier but he will be coming out this coming Monday so I will grill him with questions then :)

We also tested a saddle fit. Seems to fit her well but my big ol' behind doesn't quite fit the seat well because it's so sloped. I don't have the funds to purchase another currently so I will deal with it for now.
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post #8 of 32 Old 04-09-2020, 04:46 PM Thread Starter
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4/8/20

Brandy decided to have a little fun with catching yesterday. She played keep away for a little bit, walking and trotting away (with the rest of the herd in pursuit) as I calmly followed with the rope halter and lead in hand. This continued for another five minutes until she decided she'd had her fun, and stood there licking her lips while I put the halter on. I swear she was giving me a little cheeky smile

Per usual, she was very good and polite on the ground. We lunged for a little bit as a warm up, working on gait transitions and burning off a little bit of that extra spice she had today Brandy was very good and she continues to get better every session when it comes to cues, and there was no tomfoolery this time with stopping or switching directions. Once she was warmed up, we went for a light walk up the hill again, stopping up top to let her graze once more. Since the other horses were way out in the field, they didn't pose much drama this time, and Brandy was perfectly calm and attuned to me.

I have officially scheduled a vet appointment to get her a checkup now for next Wednesday, so fingers crossed!
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post #9 of 32 Old 04-09-2020, 04:54 PM
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good work.
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post #10 of 32 Old 04-11-2020, 10:54 AM
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I'd have a hard time in that saddle too, hopefully something better will come along for you and this nice horse.
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