Monday, May 7, 2012

Playing Catch-Up, and Quincy

(This is partially crossposted to the Pangea blog! Sorry for the overlap!)
Sorry for my brief absence - I've been out of state at a practicum for a few days and have been insanely busy in the meantime! I didn't even have time to say I was leaving! I made it back all in one piece thankfully, armed with ever-increasing knowledge and a desire to get under even more horses. (I'm glad you all are horse people, because upon reading that sentence for a second time, it could be taken horribly the wrong way.)

The one thing I never even got a chance to mention before I headed frantically off for my journey was Quincy's day. May 3rd marked the 8-year anniversary of his death, and at this point it seems like such a sad, distant memory. He's been gone for so long... sometimes it feels like just yesterday, sometimes it feels like an eternity. Take a little time to go and honor his memory, if you like reading about Pangea, Gogo, and Bay Girl. I wouldn't be here without his love, and neither would any of them.

Tributes to Quincy

I miss you, Fuzzman. Every day, and I always will.

In Bay Girl news, we are up to $686!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The response so far has been completely overwhelming, and I can't thank you guys enough. You guys are THE BEST. THE ABSOLUTE BEST.

Today was deworming day for the entire farm. I long ago strayed away from this practice with my own horse, but the farm horses are still on a rotational program, so first thing in the morning I nailed everyone with their dewormer. If you remember, Bay Girl once had a violent opposition to being dewormed, but today? She stood quietly and let me do it!! I can't hardly believe it... who is this mare and what has she done with Bay Girl??

I also tried at the end of the day to give her a different kind of cookie, a flavor I haven't tried before. I've only just started to get her to accept those rock-hard Manna-Pro cookies (which was what happened to be laying around at the time), but other cookies? With one suspicious sniff, she said no.

Oh well. We'll keep trying.

Now, since all of you have been so amazingly awesome and helpful, I figure you guys should choose what Bay Girl and I work on next! We're essentially stuck working out in the pasture until her colt is weaned, and he is a total pest to work around. (He got an elbow in the esophagus today when he tried to mount me.... colts.) Here are the things Bay Girl knows how to do at this point:

- Catch
- Halter, but needs work
- Be sprayed down from a spray bottle
- Stand for brushing
- Feet handling
- Fly mask
- Lead and back away from pressure, but needs refinement
- Deworming
- Crossties and standing tied, mostly

Things Bay Girl doesn't know how to do:

- Everything else

We're pretty much starting from complete scratch on everything, but that's all right. Remember that we started out with a mare that wouldn't even come near people at all, so the fact that we've gotten this far is astounding!

My basic list of things to work on is something along these lines: introduction to clippers, practice haltering, more refinement of groundwork and leading, backing, etc., and more of this type of stuff. So readers, what would YOU work on with a mare who is limited to pasture-only work, and who has an obnoxious little colt at her side? Let your imaginations run wild!


  1. I would probably work on moving the haunches and shoulders (separately first and then sidepass obviously). :) That sucks that the baby is so annoying. Do the owners even come out and see him or work with him at all? Congrats on the money earned so far. I'm so excited for you and Bay Girl!!

    Wow, Quincy was beautiful. I'll go read his tribute tomorrow. Right now I need some sleep!

  2. Wormer? Sure, okay. Delicious cookie?? What, woman, are you trying to poison me??! And sorry but I had to snort at the thought of you getting mounted by a hormonal colt, cheeky sod!

    As for what to work on next, I say cookies. Definitely cookies.

  3. Hopefully he hasn't been trying to mount Bay Girl!

  4. Just curious if you worm at all? I've been reading a lot about the use of diatomaceous earth as a natural wormer, not sure if you knew anything about it. Maybe you can try desensitizing her to some tack? She might be a little sensitive in that area, but maybe just rubbing a saddle pad on her, etc. You can also try teaching her something fun like clicker training. My gelding loves when i click so he touches his nose to a target to get a treat. Maybe just some scratches and rubs would be a better reward since she doesn't seem to have much interest in treats. I use animal crackers.

  5. You should probably just make an offer with the money you've raised so far.

  6. Does she bathe yet? I was also going to suggest clicker training. Once she is habituated to the click, and that it means "yes, good," you can use it as a reward in itself, with occasional treats. Then when you're doing other desensitizations, it can be used to reinforce what you want. Saddle pad, click. Move haunches, click. Of course good old body language is also a great reinforcer.

    Love that you're going to make an offer. She's meant to be yours.

  7. I started my young mare who, while not abused and frightened, know nothing. After establishing halter and basic care, I moved to working with moving the body parts - haunches, shoulder, neck, ribcage, head. It teaches them basic pressure-release and that you control their bodies, setting them up for riding and just basic handling. I'd also say, start desensitizing with saddle pads or ropes.