About this Blog

Meet my very 1st horse, Lazarus.
I couldn't wait for Santa anymore or ask one more time for a pony for my bday (after age 30 it got embarrassing). I took matters in my own hands and I finally decided to pick a pony that needed a new home. Laz found me as I contemplated with this idea. He was sweet yet very sassy, fresh off the track, Thoroughbred (OTTB).
Join us for our re-training, rehabbing from laminitis and testing all parts of mixed up horsemanship and partnership, and luck...

Monday, May 17, 2010

Adjusting our communication

After a really busy work week, I only made to see Laz  on Monday evening, Friday evening and yesterday (Sunday).  Not the best showing up but it's hard to carve out 4-5 hours in my day when trying to work to afford my horse...talk about a cat chasing it's tail!
Anyway, Friday proved to be a challenging day.  Winds were whipping around 35 mph and Laz was up around 45 mph and bug eyed!  I hand walked him for 2 hours trying to get him to settle down.  After an hour or so, my BO "C" came and met up with me, with Ellie (her young filly) to work both the ponies together.  Ellie is SUCH a smart youngster and learns so quickly.  She is going to be an amazing horse.  Even though she was scared at some points, she never acted stupid and really listens and gets it.  Half of that (or more) is the BO's natural ability to translate what she is asking of her properly.  
With Laz and I, we weren't quite on that sync of good communication but we did eventually get there with some help.  I was hanging on to Laz's lead too tightly again for fear of getting trampled when he spooks.  I feel that if I can 'control' him with my lead that I can prevent him from jumping on me.  But I think what I'm doing is making him feel claustrophobic and closed in when he's scared.  "C" had me gently lunge him for a bit to allow Laz to choose to get his sillies out and he bucked out a couple times (after our hour walk mind you) and then he focused a little better on me.  She reminded me that a loose lead is going to keep him calm and that I HAVE to trust my horse. So hard sometimes after dealing with years of horses that bowled me over. Those of you that own TB's or any high strung horse, know what I'm talking about, right?! It's always in the back of my head.  When he jumps, I jump.  Not a good combo.
  So I did listen to her and kept a loose line and he almost immediately calmed down and even when he did spook, he just rushed up past me and looked at me like "oh, oops..sorry"  But nothing dangerous.  He just has a rocket flight instinct and if I just continue to work with him and let him know that he can trust  me as his leader, he'll be kept safe.  The other great thing that "C" reminded me of is my bear voice.  She thought I was using too much of it on Friday, and that it was working against me.  It's only for when he is really not listening. Her method is this "ask your horse..if he doesn't listen then you TELL your horse, and finally if they still don't listen... then 'kick his ass voice is used'" So the 1, 2, 3 method and with me on Friday, I was going straight to TELL and never really asking him.  Not fair to him, but I didn't realize that I was growling at him so much, so it was good to have her to check me.  So I revised that when we walked around on our loose lead, and if he spooked, I would just coo at him to calm him down instead of 'barking' at him.   He seemed more responsive to that and I think just needed to be 'talked' to and reassured that he's safe with me.  His spooks don't make him a bad horse, it just makes him a bit more to handle and hopefully over time (and with less wind, lol) he'll settle down and get more confidence.  For such a big boy, he really is a big baby!  I'm not overly confident in handling him because of his size sometimes and I have to work on that.

It is SO interesting that those little communication adjustments in our lesson made SUCH a big difference.  I wish and strive to know WHEN to make those adjustments on my own...opening those lines of communication and learning what he needs and how he learns best from me.  It's fun when you get that 'A-ha' moment of communication.  Love it.
I want to make sure that when I do get back on, that I have my nerve to ride through his spooks and not be a tense rider.  I'm hoping that creating a strong foundation on the ground with him will translate on his back.

Sunday, we just enjoyed Lazarus from a distance because my husband and I went to the farm to help plant the garden.  We planted SO many (hopeful) yummy things; corn, tomatoes, peas, orka, fennel, onions, carrots, lettuces, squash of a few varieties, herbs, and more!  I'm so looking forward to be able to 'ride' and then pluck some fresh veggies for dinner in the next couple months. 
Laz continues to look so good with his metallic summer coat coming in, and has gained great muscle back in his body. I'm setting up a day with a chiropractor out there (per Cliff's rec) to work on his back/hips and help smooth out any internal kinks from being stalled for so long.  
Tonight the BO and I are meeting at a barn in between us to attend a laminitis seminar and a tack sale!  I have like $20 to spend, lol, so I'm sure I won't be buying anything but I hope to hear some interesting things about laminitis and what others are doing.  I do feel like I'm walking in there tonight with a horse whose case should be studied!!! 

On a separate note, but FUN is that I won something! I literally NEVER win contests but I'm changing my attitude and now thinking/dreaming of all the things that I could win now  (lotto would be great!) but I did win a great book from "Pet's Blogroll" which is a great networking site for fellow bloggers who bloggity blog about their furry creatures.  Go check it out if you haven't already and get your blog on there.  I look forward to receiving my winning prize "One Good Dog" being I am a huge pup lover and need a good book to read. Perfect! Thanks!!!


  1. I know your feeling about a cat chasing it's tail!! I think about that daily. If it's not work it's something else!!!

  2. I think we are living VERY similar lives with our very similar broken ponies and learning experiences!!! Maybe we should have gotten Shetlands for our 'Firsties,' lol! Although I think u are braver than I!

  3. Hey! Thanks for the note on how to keep my herbs in the freezer! That is great news for me. Since i have never been into food prep or veggie gardens before, every little hint helps!
    And don't you hate the wind? It makes me so mad sometimes!

  4. ah, but the wind can be useful as Kristen is learning. I usually forego riding on extremely windy days to work on ground manners. Even the most experienced riders and horses can benefit from occassional ground work reminders. The blowing wind challenges my beasts (I call them beasts on those days because that is what they usually act like)to focus on me and what I am asking them to do. If I can't control them on the ground how can I expect to control them under saddle should a quick wind storm try to ruin my trail ride or camping experience. So when you think it is too windy to spend time with your horse, think again. And rainy days, well they can be used for that two hour grooming / massaging session that your horse has been looking forward to (these are the sessions that I feel most appreciative of and get that "good Mom" feeling from). Safe trails everyone - Hap'N Acres.

  5. P.S. Kristen, you will learn to make those adjustments the more time you spend with Laz. You are too new to this to be expected to know what to do in EVERY situation. It took the past 40 years for me to learn and I am still learning (and don't think I have days that they scare the crap out of me, but you have to immediately LET IT GO). Not everything works every time and on every horse. The more you get to know Laz the more you will begin to instinctively know what he needs. But I commend you ... you are a very good student and try very hard (although I can still see that you need to breathe more LOL). TIME, TIME, TIME ... that's what you both need and one day all of a sudden you will be thinking what you want him to do and he will do it before you ask. Now that's a communication accomplishment to look forward to! Hap'N Acres

  6. Kristen,
    Laz reminds me so much of Olly when I first got him. He is a great deal bigger than me too. I have always let him walk on a loose lead and used my hands to keep him at the distance I want him to. If he steps too close to me I use my hand on his shoulder and ask him to step away. If he spooks I have some reaction time with the loose lead. He can take a few steps forward and get that out of the way and I can have a 2 second freak out before I the rope gets tight. By that time we are both back to calm. lol I find that I don't have to use the "kick ass" voice unless he really knows he isn't suppose to do something, like eating grass while walking. If he is truely freaking out, I try to stay calm and collected. Remember he is like you child, your 1100 pound child, but he doesn't know that. He thinks he is smaller and will be eaten.
    You have a great head on your shoulders and the fact that you are so eager to learn, tells me that you are already a great equestrian. I have total confidence in you and Laz. I think you are doing great!

  7. Oh, and I have never been trampled or even stepped on by the BigRedHorse...just thought you might want to know that ;)

  8. It sounds like Laz is a great teacher for you (so is "C"). It does take alot of guts to go out with a jittery BIG horse who is spooking it up. He is probably helping your confidence a lot because you're seeing that you can handle him in his "moments". I hope that's the case, anyway.

    I don't have much experience with TBs. I've ridden two of them, but I think they were the exception and not the rule. They were both calm go anywhere do anything horses. They were also older :).

  9. I just read my comment and realized it might come off as rude (the TB part). I think that TBs are all very athletic and super horses all around - I just wanted to clear that up. From what I read about them, they just seem like they're very sensitive. Is that true?