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 23, 2011

Ground work, arena ride, road ride!

So Laz and I have been re-working on his ground manners a little more.  He's awesome, like 90% but he does have this mental block on that I don't want his face/neck/shoulder area SO close to me.  When we went on the hand walk down the road last week, and he got panicky, it was the first thing he did, jump in toward me. 
No no no.  
So, I reached out to my Parelli trainer (I've only had her out once but plan on a 2nd session this summer) and she suggested going back to on line, to the 'sideways game'
So we did.  
It was like Laz had never been asked to do this.  He got SO pissy and animated and dramatic.  She was spot on right. This was his issue, and I had not taught him what I had been looking for/requesting.  
He yields his hindquarters perfectly, I just have to look at them and he moves around quickly and politely.  When I ask his shoulder/neck to move as I walk into him, he just stands there like a wall.  So, we have been re-working on that...see below for what I'm talking about:
Game #6
The Sideways Game
This is teaching the horse to go sideways equally as well to the right and left, with ease. The two important areas on the horse for this are the neck-to-nose area, and the hindquarters. We'll call them zone 1 (the nose) and zone 4 (the hindquarters). You need to play the Driving Game in repetitions of zone 1 then zone 4. Send zone 1, then zone 4, then 1, then 4, etc. until the horse straightens out and moves laterally sideways. Allow a loose rope and a little distance for the horse to get moving but not so much distance that he could turn away and kick you.
Sideways is important for developing suspension, lead changes, spins and to balance out "forwardaholics". Start slow and right; use a fence or rail to help prevent forward movement while the horse is learning.
Keys to Sideways Game: loose rope, Driving Game in zone 1 and zone 4, four phases.

Anyway, it went OK.  We need a ton of work in that department and we'll practice a few days a week to nail it down so he does understand.  I started by standing at the fence and asking him to side step over away from me.  He would slightly, and then it would turn WAY dramatic, he would grunt and then FLY over and then, turn bolt away from me.  He didn't get anywhere, I had him on the line and all is was able to do was run half a circle to the other side of me, and the fence stopped him. 
  LOL, as if he'd never seen my stick and rope. 
"WHAT IS THIS...HELP my Mom wants to beat me!!!?!?!" 

It was comical.  We worked on it, until he could do what I wanted calmly and with his head at a normal non-giraffe elevated position.  He tries, bless his heart! 

When Laz doesn't understand, his personality is to RUN from it.  Literally.  So, as long as I get tiny little shows of attempts to process it, we'll get to the end result where he'll be awesome at it and avoid/respect my space even more.
Now, this being said, he's NEVER run into me, but he's come close...too close for MY comfort...so we are addressing it now being he's showing me, it's spot that hasn't quite registered for him yet.
Again, it's nice to have these tools to go back to, when I know something is off or I want to improve it.
I'm sure every trainer has some form of this method....this is the one we chose to practice. 

After his explosions, I decided to end our Parelli games, when he gave me small attempts of "is this it??"
I never want him to think the games are annoying or too much for his brain to handle.  We always search for the good spot to end it on, until the next session.  So, I put on his bitless and decided we would ride for a bit. It was sunny, 80, and there was a great breeze which kept the heat and bugs off.
The wind picked up a bit, and he got a little worried but he didn't react physically and we had a great ride in the arena.  I decided, to again, present another task for him to see if he would be willing to tackle it.

I rode him out of the arena and down the dirt road.
Heading down it, he was coiled and a more little tense than normal.
Once we got from the barn driveway to the actual road, he sighed.  I think he just needed to see the road and make sure there were NO dragons.  With the wind blowing, he just couldn't smell for the dragons. ;)
So, he, myself and Mason walked down and it was awesome, peaceful and serene.
The wind didn't bother him, the garbage cans didn't bother him, the birds flying out from Mason snuffling them out of the weeds, the man working in his garage...nothing.  
Laz seemed to enjoy this walk as much as I did.
He kept looking out, glancing to the right gently, glancing to the left gently, and had such a nice forward walk going in both directions.
I love when he's brave and enjoying his time out.
There was a point, when I was nervous to ride this horse alone.
Now, I love it and never worry

Our road walk..all the way down and back (shy of one house..too close to the main busy road)
And of course Mason enjoyed his Sunday romp out too.
He found some little streams to roll in and get as wet as possible, and followed us our entire ride (arena and out)
sweet water dog.


  1. VERY COOL! Keep up the great work!

  2. I find that moving the forequarters is much more difficult than moving the hindquarters, too.

    A few weeks ago, I saw one of my fellow boarders out in the ring doing groundwork with her Appaloosa (Junior). She had that horse spinning around on his forhand -- it was amazing! Turns out she used to be the junior showmanship champion, so of course I asked her to give me a little lesson. She had me try it with Junior, and even though he knows how to do it, it was still very difficult for me. I really need to work on it!

    Awesome that Laz is so much more relaxed and happy. :-) That's some major progress!

  3. It's like a total different part of their brain!
    So what pointers/tips did she have you do with her Appy??

  4. Great ride on the road! Happy you and brave Laz.

  5. You called your Parelli trainer!! That is AWSUM that you have one close to you! I wonder if there are any around me. I tend to be more Chris Cox and Clinton Anderson oriented, but they are ALL GREAT and very inspiring. Congrats on your success!

  6. I need to learn about these games. Even though Tiny is very respectful of my space, it drives me nuts if I have to move her over for some reason. It's like I have to use all my weight to push her, or smack her or something equally undesirable. Because she's so easy, I get lazy on reinforcing stuff like this. Maybe this would be a fun thing to start learning about.

  7. I'll be back to read this post, but wanted to respond to your comment on my blog. My husband wasn't laid off. He was fired. Fired because he was injured. It's a very crappy company with no morals whatsoever and they have done it to several people. Thank you for the information though. I've never heard of Cobra and that will be helpful if either of us is ever laid off. Thank you for your comment. :)

  8. Awesome! I'm so happy for how far you've come with Laz and that you both now enjoy your time out together. :D