Monday, April 13, 2015

Morning commute and a plea for help

If one has to have a daily commute, to and from "ye olde salt mines" as my dad used to say; it always helps to have some beauty to admire and appreciate along the way.  

I'm thankful that I live in the country, among a few small towns and close enough to a city when, or if, we want to add some culture or something along those lines.  








I've always enjoyed the views, and try to be mindful of the vistas that I pass by, instead of being lost in my thoughts, or just driving mindlessly.  There are several locations that would be wonderful to have a home for the views alone.  We are situated between the "Coast Range" mountains, which is small as far as mountain ranges go, and on the east side we have the "Cascades", which is much more substantial and contains our famous peak, Mt. Hood.  We can also see Mt. St. Helens (or what's left of her) which was the mountain that blew her top back in 1981 (?) or so.  Our very own local volcano!  It's beautiful, but also kind of creepy to go and see the blast zone which is coming back to life.  



Farms and farm fields, wineries and grapes.  




And one of my favorites, a working old-fashioned windmill overlooking a serene pond, usually filled with swimming ducks...so peaceful.




Our weekend weather was typical for spring in Oregon.  Mild temps, some brisk breezes, intermittent sunshine and showers.  Overall, just about what we should expect for spring.  I've been hearing people complain about our rain and how it "just sucks", and I want to slap them for it.  We have been blessed with nothing but mild weather!  We hardly had a winter to speak of, had ample rainfall, but not overly much, no snow in our valley at all and now what us "lifers" know as normal, and they want to complain that everything isn't "perfect".  Just ticks me off!!  No matter what - people will always complain.  Like my grandma always used to say..."you can't make all of the people happy, any of the time; so don't even try".  Or even better; "life's a bitch and then you die".  She was so smart...  :)

Last night I spent some time working with Eagle.  What a mixed bag.  It started out great, walked right up when I called him, spent some time grooming and then did some in-hand work, saddled him and did some more.  He was like butter.  Relaxed, focused and seemed to be enjoying our time spent together, until...I decided to mount him.  He acted like he was totally freaked out by my getting on him.  I worked and worked and worked with him, and in the end it was getting dark and I had to go back to something we could end on a "happy place" with.  *sigh*  I swear, it's like taking 2 steps forward and 1 step backward with this horse.  I was so discouraged, but just decided to let it go and believe that we will get there.  It's just a minor set-back.  The problem is, I don't know what to do differently than what I was doing, for the next attempt.  He repeatedly would back up very fast when I'd lift my foot for the stirrup, or if my hubby held him, he'd swing his butt away from me, and fast.  I have to use the mounting block because I'm not able to just stick my foot in and away we go...I put my foot in, give a bounce or two, them hoist myself aboard.  And that, Eagle will not stand still for.  Good grief...

There were times when I wanted to lose my patience with him.  But I didn't.  Eagle already knew he was acting inappropriately because if I'd life my arm, or reach out to touch his side, or even just the saddle, he'd fly sideways like I was going to whack him. When that would happen, I'd just ignore it and move on. Wish I could get my hands on whoever it was that did whatever it was to this horse and just throttle them!!!  Because whatever it was...it has almost ruined a sensible, gentle, kind and undeserving horse.  He was robbed of any confidence or trust he once had in people.  He trusts me.  But, that fear is ingrained deep.  Very, very deeply.  

Tomorrow night we'll just begin again.  And again and again and again; until we make that much-needed breakthrough again.  It sure didn't do any good for Eagle, when my hubby took that fall off of him recently.  We just have to go through this, to get past it.  Poor Eagle, he just doesn't yet realize, how thoroughly stubborn and relentless I can be...

I would definitely appreciate any wisdom some of you might have though...any ideas or suggestions on exercises or whatever, that we can work on.  I'm running out of ideas that are creative and engaging.  I don't want either one of us to get bored.  *sigh*  Help...

Until tomorrow,
Lorie


8 comments:

Kate said...

My inclination would be to do nothing but leading and then standing still for mounting, until he's completely comfortable with that - falling asleep comfortable. It may take a long time, but the repetition and assurance of predictability it'll give him will go a long way to helping him let go of whatever it is that's bothering him.

I have some rules, one of them is I never, ever, get on a horse that won't stand still, in a relaxed manner, for mounting. It takes as long as it takes, and that's OK.

C-ingspots said...

I was hoping you'd comment Kate...that is where we were, standing asleep comfortable. WERE being the key word here! I totally agree with the standing still while mounting - that is a requirement for me. I will just keep at it, like you said, for as long as it takes. There really are no shortcuts are there? Thank you.

Kate said...

I'd also just do some standing around with him - letting him chill on the lead, not in your space, but with reassurance and praise from time to time. A horse like him is going to need extra amounts of positive reinforcement, and he's always going to react to any signs of anxiety in you - be sure you keep breathing.

Karen Ann said...

I've never been to Oregon, but through your pictures I see what an absolutely beautiful place it is to live. Your vistas are stunning!

As for Eagle... perhaps having a trainer (a kind one) work with him for a month would help you along. I know you know what you're doing, but they sense hesitation and your own fear and sometimes act on that or get more worked up because of it. Once you've taken a fall or a horse has repeatedly given you that kind of behavior... it's hard not to be a little anxious.

Grey Horse Matters said...

Trust me I know how frustrating and dangerous this behavior can be. I’ve dealt with Dusty and this problem since I got her when she was five. I think she’s got it now but truth be told it’s April again and she always (usually) acts badly when I go to ride her for the first time after her winter break.

I found this method that Carson over at the 7msn blog posted years ago. It worked.

http://www.the7msnranch.com/2008/09/how-i-taught-hank-to-stand-still.html

This lesson also worked very well in dealing with her antics.

http://greyhorsematters.blogspot.com/2012/04/dreaded-mounting-block.html

I hope you find one of them useful. I also know some people don’t agree with either method and have their own way of dealing with behavioral problems. I don’t feel either of these methods is harmful and they do seem to work. Good luck if you do decide to try them.

Gorgeous country you live in!

aurora said...

Don't think I'd ever get to work, I would just keep driving around soaking up the vista's...so beautiful!

Wish I had some words of wisdom, but I don't. I personally wouldn't get on a horse that scoots away fast. To me that's an issue best resolved with ground work. Good wishes as you work through this. I thought you had someone lined up to help with the sticky parts of training?

C-ingspots said...

Arlyne: I've read both those blog posts again. Thank you so much! Ironically, Carson's method is what we've been using and I think the problem with Eagle is fear. That's the main difference with him and all these other horses. We will prevail, we had it last summer and with more consistency, we'll get there again. It's just so frustrating! I think I understand your method as well, just a little bit of confusion on head direction...looking inside?? - not outside to prevent butt swing??
Aurora: Yes, Rachel is supposed to start working with us at the end of May. *fingers crossed* I'd really like for her to be able to easily mount my horse though...

Grey Horse Matters said...

Yes, his head should be looking towards the inside of the arena. Another thing I do with Dusty before I ride her now is to hand walk her around the arena a few times. And this may sound silly but I have a conversation with her and tell her what a good girl she is etc. It may calm her down or maybe both of us. Who knows but it seems to work. I think the more time you spend with Eagle just being calm and confident he will pick up on your mood and come around eventually. Good luck.