Saturday, February 19, 2011

Building Trust

After seeing how frightened Gib got yesterday, I decided it was time to go back to basics.  Today we worked on responding to pressure: lowering the head (relax signal) with light pressure on the lead rope, and moving the shoulder away from tapping with the whip.  He is definitely resistant on the left, and has trust issues with his head - but after maybe 30-40 minutes of me being repetitively annoying, he was readily lowering his head and moving his shoulder over.

Then I had my 11 year old step up into the stirrup and then down, over and over until it became pretty blase for the horse.  Then she laid on his back and hopped down a few times, and then finally mounted several times.  He doesn't like to move when she is on him - turns into a statue - which is not the reaction when I get on or her brother.  I think he has a soft spot for kids, and even though number 3 child is only a year older than number 4 child - somehow for the horse it makes a difference.  When he finally calmed down enough to take a couple of steps and release his head - I stopped the day on a good note.  I felt like that was productive.  He is definitely coming toward me more in the stall, rather than automatically running for the corner.

My youngest and her friend tacked up the paint and gave each other pony rides.  They also gave their brothers pony rides, which was nice.  I am glad one of my four is interested in horses and willing to do the work of learning.

I also have had a number of my children's friends here all day - I think at the moment there are 9 people under the age of 20 (some quite a bit younger than 20) under my roof.  I need to go down and make a whole lot of pizza.  I wish I'd started the dough earlier.

I transplanted a bunch of tomato plants that were getting too big for their pots.  My huge pile of compost is coming in handy.  It is a really big pile thanks to the sheep and horses.  Quite a lot of it is ready to use, which is wonderful.  I was selling it, but have decided I need it more than I need the feed money it provides.  Tomorrow, I would like to plant some cukes, peas, and some kai choy, bok choy, and collards, as well as radish. Somethings are going to start in the green house, and some will be out in the garden - most the radishes and the cabbages will go directly out.  Cabbages do great here, and collards are practically perennial in Hawaii.

My husband has an opportunity for a semi-career change which would allow him to come home.    Please pray that things work out!


From Beyond My Kitchen Window said...

I will most certainly say a prayer that the career change works out for your husband. It will be wonderful for you to have him home. It gets really lonesome I'm sure. My husband has two jobs ( three kids in college) I am usually alone most nights. That is why I started my blog. It kept me busy at night and I wasn't glued to the television. Hope Gib keeps progressing!

Chai Chai said...

So you got rid of one horse because you didn't have enough time to devote to it and now....

The wonderful part of this story is how the training is an entire family affair, builds great memories and closeness.

NancyDe said...

Thanks FBMKW, it gets lonely and it is a lot of work with four kids at home.. I have been doing this by myself during work weeks for 3 years now. It's time it stops.

Chai Chai, the difference is, if I felt like dealing with his initial panic every mount, I can ride this horse right now. The mare could lead, tie, and stand for the farrier - and that was about it. This horse, at least, can be backed and ridden. I am just putting some trust and a mouth on him, so he can be ridden more safely - and so he can enjoy it, too. Instead of hours a week, it is more like an hour - fortunately, the days are longer, too!