Snow-day!

The white stuff is falling from the sky again, and it has been four days since my human has come to give me treats.  Last time she came we played on the ground and the lady who usually feeds us stood in the middle and watched, strange thing was she didn’t have any treats. A while ago she came later when the sun was just starting to go down and decided to go riding in a hurry.  I was whisked out of the pasture, the heavy saddle was put on my back and to add insult she put the bit in my mouth without warming it up!  She then preceded to bring me OUTSIDE the ring.  Why did she want to go back outside?  Human do you remember the last time?  There were dragons in them thar woods!  Oh well, she insisted. We went out to the field and the little human brought out a moving feed bucket that made a lot of noise.  The little human kept running away with it, and try as I might my human would not let me eat it.  After chasing the giant feed tub the humans decided to lay down in it…. humans even I know that food doesn’t just appear if you lay in your feed tub, trust me I have tried it.  The humans are always jealous of my speed and power.  Either they want to ride on my back or get pulled behind me so they don’t have to use their two little legs.  Today was a pull behind day.  Once sitting in the feed tub they held on to a rope attached to my saddle.  The big human was a little tougher to pull, but pull I did and it felt so good!  This is what I was meant to do, pull and be outside the silly little fence that they set up under a roof. We had so much fun!  And now the snow is falling again so maybe we will do it again.  Stay fuzzy,

Ymir

Greetings,

Ymir and I have had a great couple of weeks!  We have gone sledjoring, done some liberty in the field, and almost completed our level 3 liberty auditions.  I forgot to add in the sideways during my audition so I will be filming that soon, adding it to my video and sending it in!  It will be such a relief to get my level 3’s started!  I had a meeting with my mentor on friday and progress continues!  There is now a facebook group for people in the course in colorado, and it is really neat to see all the people who will be in my class.  We have a snowday today and I am looking forward to taking the sled and skis out to the barn and giving skijoring and sledjoring a go again.

Dashing through the snow

My question to my mentor this week was when do I ask for something again, and when is that asking just being greedy.  He said that generally he follows the rule of three.  The basic idea being that if you have three successful tries at what you want then you move on.  It can be three in a row (preferably) or three in a session, but don’t push past that if you can help it because it is only confusing the horse.  The first time you ask and get what you want, for example a step to the right with the hind quarters the horse asks why did you stop asking and what did I do?  The second time they do it right they start thinking they understand.  The third time they really get it and are happy to understand.  After that third time they start thinking that maybe they are NOT understanding and the human wants something different. They might start doing something else trying to figure out what you want and you have to start over again.  So my rule for the next month, stick to three successful tries and have fun!

Happy snowday,

Amy

With Bells On

Oh Bother,

The weather outside is frightful, well, for my human that is.  I however, am quite enjoying the chill in the air.  I have a warm coat, and enough ‘insulation’ to keep me quite comfortable in whatever mother nature gives us.  My human shows up for a few days, and then disappears.  She came back today and we played some of our usual games.  She started by seeing if I remembered how to pick up my feet, which of course I do but it is so fun to see her struggle.  We played chase the human this time she stayed on her feet.  Last time when she played this game she ended up sitting on the ground, I had to stop quick to not step on her!  We also did something that we have not practiced in a long time. She wanted me to go first and lead!

Ground driving fun :) with bells of course!

Ground driving fun 🙂 with bells of course!

I am one step ahead of her as always and decided to play “do the opposite”.  When she tugged and yelled at me to go left (towards the end with the monsters!) I went right.  When she wanted me to go right (also towards the end with the monsters!) I went left. Yet again she tied those infernal bells to my surcingle.  After some yelling and slapping of the lines to no avail she finally picked up the purple carrot stick of doom.  I decided to get very smart quickly.  After a few quick circles around the ring she started jumping up and down shaking her hands and feet.  I have no idea what she was doing but she kept making the same noise again and again “KKKKKOOOOOOLLLLLDDDDDD Why is it so cold Ymir!?”  Then she whipped off all the things she had tied on to me, including the bells thank the good nightmare!  As fast as she could she opened the gate and shoved me through. I imagine it must have looked pretty comical the little human trying to push me, imagine.  Then, the best part of the day for last she gave out our dry winter grass in the little blocks.  Hurray!  We will all live another day, I hope next time she brings the carrots I get more of them than I do of the tasty treats- apple flavor this week.  Stay fuzzy my friends,

Ymir

Arctic Greetings,

-2 degrees tonight as I was doing chores.  I worked all day today in a nice warm school and by the time I got to the barn it was past 4:00pm and the temperature was dropping fast.  Even with hand warmers my fingers were so cold they hurt!  Four wheelbarrow loads later I had cleaned 2/3 of both pastures and officially frozen both feet.  Ymir and I have been working on the 22′ rope with all 7 games.  The ‘chase the human’ game is stick to me around obstacles, and yes I did fall flat on my bum running backwards the other day.  Have I mentioned I love my pony?  He saw me go down and stopped quick sniffing to see if I had found any new treats on the ground 🙂   He has gotten much better at the figure 8 around cones and we have even progressed to the trot on the 22′ and Ymir is still sound!!! The trot figure 8 was the doom of him this summer and he kept having lameness issues on a circle to the right.  So needless to say, we don’t do a lot of figure 8’s in a row but I am very happy about their progress.

I was having trouble with them at liberty because Ymir would go really well one way but then not switch directions to do the other half of the “8”.  My mentor reminded me that every step has to be rewarded and repetition without reinforcement of what is correct leads to confusion and frustration.  So if we start going to the right round the cone and switch in the middle to go left around the next cone I reward him after the change in the middle to go right again around the first cone.  This reward makes sure he knows that that game is finished and he has done it correctly.  He is very happy for the treat, and he is doing the pattern correctly!  The other game that has always been a challenge for us is sideways.  Keeping both the front end and the back end going without either one leading is hard for any horse, but for a round short-legged fjord it is that much harder.  I am happy to report that since going back and reinforcing the game on the 22′ we have been able to get sideways to right along the fence at liberty.  Sideways to the left he still leads with the forehand (front legs) and ends up eventually walking away from me.  Our connection however, is as strong as ever and I have really enjoyed my time playing with him.  He is always eager  to please, and thinking.  Although, this has become a bit of a problem of late as he tries every new trick he has learned to get a treat!

 Looking for the magic treat between his legs...


Looking for the magic treat…

He tries to move his hindquarters towards me when I stand in just the right spot, he backs up if I stand behind him, and he sticks his head between his front legs and bows whenever I don’t give him a treat.  Oh the joys, I am truly thankful to have such a “super-pony”

Amy

Of Dragons and Wind

Greetings followers of my tale,

Saturday my human finally showed up after four days away.  As per her usual she decided to do many things in the short time she was there.  First she got the snowballs out of my hooves, relief at last.  Then we played a game involving cones and barrels.  I don’t know why she insists on doing all those fun games at the end of the ring where the monsters live, but perhaps she is trying to scare them away?  Either way, she had treats so all was well and I got to do some snorting and dancing, things I don’t normally get to do.  My human just laughed and told me the monsters were away for the day.  How in the world does she know!?  My friend Szereto is on stall rest for a while after slicing open his leg- severing arteries and all- so his friend Bugatti is keeping him company in the indoor so we went outside for a walk. Bugatti is not very friendly with me, he always gives me looks and is not above giving me a good chase.  It is so not fair his legs are longer than mine (he is 17hh!)  It was a lovely day 18 degrees and sunny, that was, until the dragons showed up.

These dragons must have come from a land with a lot of trees because they were smashing our trees down and dragging them to their lair at a fantastic speed!  They got closer…and closer…and closer…. As they dragged the trees through the brush I could see flashes of orange and low growls coming from their snouts.  You can imagine my fear!  My human would be a tasty snack and myself a glorious feast for the beasts! That is most likely why they were taking out the trees, all the better to roast us with!  So what does my human do?  Well the most foolish thing, she gets off my back!  Why would she ever do that? I can run faster for the both of us for sure!  We walk back to the big red building and it seems Bugatti is being chased!  Oh no! Szereto is trapped in his stall, they are doomed.  My brave human marches on, telling all of us that it will be ok, how she will save us I do not know.  Finally the dragons are quiet, I hope the horses down the road are safe.  She gives me a treat and puts on my blanket (must be wet in the forecast) kisses me goodnight- Yuck! and says she will be back. IMG_20150103_155213_905 I just hope she comes back before the dragons do…

-Ymir

Oh what a day that was!  Ymir is not normally the snorty sort, but Saturday all of the horses were in a panic as a neighbor helped to clear logs for a new pasture.  I am sure the big orange tractor looked like a dragon to Ymir and his friends, and they did make quite the racket pulling the trees through the brush.  Even Linda Parelli says to get off if you feel unsafe, and although my trustworthy stead is wonderful, I don’t fancy falling off anytime soon!  So we walked back to the indoor where Bugatti was running around full tilt and poor Szereto was bouncing around his little “stall”.  We don’t have stalls at this barn, but plenty of short roundpen panels so we have made a little box for him to stay while his leg hopefully heals.

In Liberty news, we have gotten much more control over the figure 8 pattern and had some really nice circles as warm-up before vaulting.  I have been working really hard on moving Ymir’s haunches towards me.  This is for mounting off the fence and the like, but I will have to have a bit more of a distinction about when I want it because when we did sideways the other day he thought I wanted him to move his haunches towards me when I really wanted him to take everything away.  It’s all in the carrot stick placement, both are a bit similar and I can see why he would be confused.  So to the drawing board we go with that.

Today is Monday and my first day off from skiing in two weeks!  My mom and my sister are both off from work and school so as much as I would love to spend the day with the pony, a nice day at home it is.  It is about 30 degrees with gusts of wind that are making the whole house shake. So it is probably not a good day to try and get something done with the pony.  It is going to be a high of 10 degrees this Wednesday, and of course it is my day to do chores, but that’s why they make hand warmers right?  Sending warm thoughts,

IMG_20141229_163637_754

Ymir knows how to keep warm

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You have to listen in all directions for the dragons! Be aware!

-Amy