Thursday, January 22, 2009

Catch-Up Thursday

I wanted to catch up on some things that I haven't written about lately.

{My Boy's Catch-Me if You Can Game}

You might notice from my photos of My Boy that he's still occasionally in a double-halter. For those of you that don't know, My Boy decided to revisit an old bad habit at the end of last summer, which is being difficult to catch. After he had an abscess and I embarrassingly couldn't catch him for the vet, I decided to keep a breakaway halter on him, even though that went against my better judgement of horse keeping. The double halter look happens when I am just too lazy remove the breakaway halter once I get a regular halter on him. I could probably just use the breakaway, but for some reason I fear that it might "break away" at an impromptu time. Oh goodness, I can't imagine anything worse that a hard to catch horse loose in the neighborhood! But lately, I've been removing the breakaway out from under the regular one. When I put him away, I can usually just unbuckle the regular halter, reattach it around the throat latch like I do when I bridle, so he's "held" while I put the breakaway back on. I don't do this when I catch him in the pasture because he's still a little touchy and I'm afraid he might bolt and then I wouldn't have as much control of him with just a halter hanging on his neck.

My Boy has actually been pretty good about catching lately. He usually comes down to the gate, or halfway, then lets me approach him. I just have to do it slowly, and act very non-threatening and disinterested. I also make sure I always have incentive, as well, which he does not get until he is caught and haltered. I have little problem actually snapping the lead onto the breakaway. It's when I go to put the regular halter on that he almost immediately starts raising his head and balking in anticipation of being caught. It's like he doesn't realize that he is already caught. I know, what a goofball! I usually back him into the corner by the gate, so he can't back up, then halter him.

Las weekend he pulled the balking the minute he saw me start to raise the regular halter, and I'd had enough of his antics. I whacked him on the side with the halter and said "WHOA!" In other words- mommy'd had enough! Then I haltered him without a problem. I think half of the time he's just pulling this attitude because it's a habit for him. He needs to know I'm going going to stick it out. I need to break his bad pattern of behavior. I also think my confidence has grown as I've been dealing with this. It's frustrating, I will admit. I have such little time with my horse anyway, it was not ideal last summer when I spent half of our time together chasing him around the pasture trying to catch him. And it's disheartening because one would like to think their horse kinda likes them and wants to spend time with them. I mean really, the horse pretty much lives "The life of Riley!"

When spring sets in and the pasture is dry, I hope to turn him out without a halter again. Then we will be back to ground zero with catching and haltering (the two go hand in hand for his problem.) The only time I'll turn him out with a breakaway will be when he has a farrier or vet appointment, because I can't mess with the catching issue and not have him ready to go at these times. Then again, if we can't work through this, he may just wear a breakaway forever.

{Auntie's Fancy Albert}

Remember my Aunt's search for a horse? (That ex-rope horse gelding we looked at did eventually find a new home!) As you might recall me mentioning in a past post, she decided to just lease the Arabian gelding, Albert, that she was taking lessons on. Being a lease-before-I-bought kind of girl, I completely support her decision. Whether she ultimately ends up with Albert or not, I know that she is enjoying him immensely and learning a lot along the way. However, it is hard not to get attached, as I learned while leasing my spotted boy. Warning Auntie: look where that got me!

{English Invasion}

I thought I wanted to go in on the purchase of an English saddle with Paint Girl. The saddle is at my sister's now, on loan as a trial by the friend who would sell it to us. Paint Girl and I have yet to try it on our horses. But I am thinking that because I am cutting back a bit, it would be wise to not spend money on something I am not going to use that much. Although it would be fun, my goals with my horse for this summer don't really include riding him hunt seat. There are a few other horsey items I am coveting and saving my pennies for (see tomorrow's post for the scoop on that!) so I think the English saddle purchase is on hold for the time being. That being said, I have not tried it on him yet. Once I see it on his back, who knows what could happen!

{Blog Schedule}

I'm finding that my new blog schedule is helping organize my chaotic mind. It gives me something to start with should I feel a bit of writer's block for a post (which lucky for me, rarely happens. I never seem to have a shortage to write or talk about!)

I discover new blogs all of the time. I always think oh cool! Then I look at their sidebar and notice they have been blogging 3 years and have over 400 posts and I will I ever go back and read them all, to really learn their whole story? One of the greatest compliments I received was a comment at some point during my first year of blogging, that someone printed out my entire blog, took it to work, and read it on their lunch break! Okay this is giving me a scary idea, but I have plenty to read at work and it is mostly education journals. Have you ever gone back and read a blog from the beginning? I have! If anyone's "site meter" has shown me hanging around there for a couple of hours, don't worry, that will be the reason!

One thing I hope to do off and on is "repost" links to old posts that might relate to something current, or that I just want to bring up again, in particular for new readers who might have never read them in the first place. This will be in the upper left-hand corner, where I also hope to put links to interesting sites now and then, like the necklace contest at Two Dog Pond. I often highlight and put links to previous posts in a post if I refer to it as well. Any other suggestions out there on how you catch-up on other's gazillions of posts or help other's catch-up on you?

And speaking of catch-up, is there anything I forgot to catch you up on in this post that you are wondering about?

It's almost Friday, everyone!


  1. aaah catching up one others blogs...its is HARD to do. And sometimes I almost feel uncomfortable commenting until I know Im not going to stick my foot in my mouth you know?

    I do try to catch up, about the same way as your it seems, just spend an evening with one or two and read their back posts.

    I have yet to add it to my new layout, but I used to have my top 10 posts on the sidebar so people could get a feel for who I am and what I write. Thats always an option.

  2. I like your blog schedule idea. I should do something like that. I too have writers block at times about what to blog about. And then 3 days go by and I haven't blogged about anything!

  3. Brig plays that game sometimes, too! Man, it makes me crazy. I usually give him a treat once he lets me put the halter on and now he shoves his face into the halter, often getting the wrong spot, which is sometimes equally annoying because then he gets frustrated with me!

    One thing I did when he was in his You Can't Get Me stage was make him run. His fields have always been small, so it was easy to chase him around and keep him going until he was hot and tired, then gave up. Eventually he learned it was just easier to get caught. I don't know this would work in a field larger than an acre and we're moving him to a three-acre pasture, so I have the feeling I'm in for some good times!


  4. PG-

    I have lots of little tricks that I can share with you when it comes to making your horse easier to catch. I only have one hard to catch horse, here on the ranch, and there are 120 of them running around. Gump was mistreated by his previous owner- the ranch bred him, sold him and then bought him back, so he's got a viable reason.

    Other than that- it's basically two things:
    1. I'm sure you've taught your horse to disengage his hindquarters since you're into the NH methods. So what we like to do when we've got them in the round-pen is teach them to disengage their hindquarters with our hand on their neck. left hand on the right side of their neck- pressure on them until they move that hip around- beware that you don't get your foot stepped on by a front leg though- as sometimes they have to rearrange themselves to get balanced enough to move that hip. We've found that this helps in that if we teach them that, when we do get close enough to catch them with a string or halter rope (we only use rope halters here) that they're already *mentally* caught, because they are thinking- hey this person might as me to disengage my hips, so they're mentally ready.

    2. Dont' rush it. Treat it like you've got all the time in the world and don't reach out to your horse if they get close. We've found that staying relaxed and as uninterested as possible (try cocking your front foot, and hip in a resting position to help your horse relax too) helps. Remember they're only a horse, so they do what they know best- fly and eat. If you go to catch him and he wants to run away the best thing to do is to follow him from a parallel distance, and stay farther away. the more room you give him, the slower he'll eventually go. I try to get them to lock on to me, and then from there get them ready to catch.

    Hopefully this helps. Goodluck!

  5. Oh...sweetie, Albert is verra nice and I am not that fond of Arabians! Congrats to your aunt. Your boy is so beautiful, I never get tired of looking at him!

    As for the blog schedule, great idea. I am one of those that actually does read people's blogs from beginning to end! That is the only way to get to know who they really are, don't you think?

    Anyway, have a fantabulous weekend, sista! Sending you hugs and sunshine from Texas!

  6. I do the "release to pressure" with my mare, but do it with my eyes. She watches me as she moves away, I avert my glance. Then she stops. We do this a couple times and then she'll stop & let me approach. Perhaps she is really easy to catch, but just has ME trained to think I'm doing this! LOL!

    I read Mugwumps from start to finish because it wasn't too long & she has some continuing stories which I wanted to see how they started.

  7. Its hard for me to post every day. I cant ever seem to sit down and find the time. Great ideas! I love your aunts horse. I love grays!

  8. Re finding new blogs - I'm the same way PG. When I find a new blog I keep it in my favourites folder and then play catch up. Once I've read the whole thing I add it on my blogroll. Usually it takes me quite awhile, and I admit there are a few that I sometimes skim through in parts, but usually its completely read. One major exception is FHOTD. I have NOT read that entire blog, probably because its not really the story of any one person/horse/family.

    I've noticed some people put labels (or tags?) on their posts as a way of organizing.

  9. That catching thing is probably the one bad behavior in a horse that really becomes most annoying. After reading through the old post and the comments, I have nothing to add! My methods most closely follow Brown Eyed Cowgirls'.

    Can My Boy handle a rope being tossed over him yet? What I've learned most in the past couple of years working with Todd, is that horses need to learn the difference between motions/movement that mean something and motions/movement that doesn't mean a thing.

    I give all my colts "the rope treatment" first off. I use a 25 foot soft cotton rope. Starting with rubbing it on the horse to eventually literally throwing it up and over their backs with a big arm wave. Then I repeatedly flip the rope from pole to tail (the rope stays over their body I just keep making it move forward or backward). They learn to handle the object (rope) and the movement of my arms. It doesn't take long either. do you keep your desk so clean & neat!!! ;~)

  10. {Gtyyup} ~ Ha ha, what you don't see is the left side of the table- piled high with mail, horse magazines, catalogs, notepads, gloves, pens, my camera....That is an older picture, and what I do see to the left of my laptop is a roll of Bottle Caps candy. Mmmmm.....wish I had some of those right about now! ;)

  11. Hi Ponygirl,

    I've recently discovered your blog and I love it! Thank you for introducing me to Appys- My Boy is absolutely beautiful...I'm longing to get back on horseback after about um.. 17 years! What I'd really like to read is your very first posts (I imagine they're about wanting to get back in the saddle, and how you went about finding your horse?)- I tried to go back to them and it way pretty time consuming- could you put them on a sidebar maybe?

    Anyway, thanks for sharing
    Melissa in Oz

  12. It seems as if a horse gets to have a 'catching' routine. My older gelding is easy, but my big mare likes to walk away about ten feet or so, almost as if to say 'I don't wanna, but I'll allow you to do it'- so it's not too bad. I have known horses that take off right across the field, though!

  13. {Melissa} ~ Thanks for stopping by! I tried formatting the archived posts in reverse, so the oldest posts I wrote are now listed at the top. I will leave this up for a while, but may revert back to "newest posts at the top" at some point. For some reason, I couldn't figure out how to access the older posts the other way. If I clicked on "2009" I got the first post of 2009, but no list that would take me back to the very beginning, other than reading through each post and clicking on "older post" at the bottom. If anyone has any advice, let me know, thanks!

  14. I just click the arrow next to the year and down drops the months, then click the arrow next to the month and down comes the list of posts for that that any help?

  15. Have you ever just spent time in his paddock feeding him things. Even if it's out of a bucket it can often enforce that you are there to just hang out, not catch him and ride him every time. I know a lot of owners want to get right down to business of handling but it really pays off sticking with the small stuff sometimes.

  16. {Gtyyup}~ Thanks, those little arrows are actually there for a reason, eh? :)

    {Anonymous}~ Thanks for the suggestion. Yep, I have spent time with him, just hanging out. Not as often as I would like though, and I hope to do more of it this spring and summer. My horse is a 45 minute drive (one-way) from me, so I tend to want to make the best of our time together, especially in the winter when I usually only see him on the weekends. On a "mellow" day, he comes out, gets groomed, longed lightly, then hand-grazes.

  17. The last comment was what I was going to say---basically, I go out several times a day to do nothing but treat them to scratches and an extra flake of hay. I have 7 horses, so they do feel like they need to be the first to me, lest they be left out of whatever good thing I may bring for them. They don't do this for the rest of my family who usually just come to ride--my daughter and her horse included. Her mare will walk or run away from her every time--but not from me.

    However, that said, my Mustang--after being virtually left alone for two weeks--besides feeding--reverted back to walking away. She had been just as good as the others. And, that's what I've been blogging about lately. I don't want to chase her on the ice--but luckily, she came to me with no event yesterday. So, maybe she's coming back around.

    You've inspired me again to get my butt out there and treat her to some lovin'--so I'll sign off after saying, I, too, love your blog! Thanks!

  18. Catching up is hard to do (sung to the tune of "Breaking Up Is Hard To Do.") Once in awhile I come across a blog where the writing is so compelling, I will take the time to go back to the beginning.

    Speaking of bad habits, while I was grooming him tonight, Poco kept turning around and putting his mouth on me. He knows better. I had to have the talk with Mr. Fry about how horses are not dogs. He thinks it's fun when they lick and put their mouths on him. That's the way he plays with the dogs and the way he thinks he should play with the horses. All of a sudden both horses are very mouthy. No biting, but it has definitely escalated and you and I both know where it would end up going. He doesn't get it, but he agreed to stop letting them do it.

  19. My problem is that I find blogs and then forget. Then find them again and get way behind! I have such a hard time keeping up. But I try my best.

    I desperately need to spend time with Miss Priss. She has gotten an attitude deluxe. I just haven't had the time to deal with her. I feel like such a bad horse owner!

  20. My Flash used to be impossible to catch, he would run me ragged and then I would just give up and he was happy. Yeah, he had me pegged. Now the second he sees or hears me he flies over, he can't get enough of me. Since he doesn't have to "work" for a living anymore he is more than happy to come to me. LOL.

    I have read a few blogs from the beginning - one of them was very long and took me quite a long time to read!!!

    When I happen upon a new blog I find interesting I will go back and read as much as I can in an evening just so I get more of a feel for the person.

  21. Modeling really??!! aw shucks, maybe for Field and Stream! hahahaa Thanks my dear organized friend! Look at you! Schedules neat desk tops, groomed fine looking I need to get organized! You make it look so neat!

  22. Hi,
    Thanks for stopping by my blog. What a very neat desk you do you make that happen?!?! Be back soon!

  23. Lucky for me I have never had a problem catching Gilly, even when he jumped the fence and was running down the road! As he ran past the house I opened the door and yelled his name and he spun around and ran up into the yard and started eating. I ran out with a dog leash, the only thing I could find at the moment, walked up to him, put it around his neck and lead him back to the field. I normally go into the barn and into his stall to catch him, sometimes he will walk out the door and I will just start doing something in his stall, he is so nosy that he will come back inside to see what I am doing. Then I just slip his halter on and off we go. Pokey, the donkey, will try to chase Gilly off because he has to stay in the barn while I work or ride Gilly and he hates being left alone. I took him with me once, loose, that didn't work out well, he wanted to chase the dogs and be a bad boy. He is still a baby so I don't know if he will follow better as he gets older....but that's another story! He needs work in the round pen too on lots of things.
    The first two horses I had were hard to catch but I lucked out with Gilly. He has always come when I have called. Even from way up on top of the hill, I call he comes at a gallop down over the hill then slides to a stop at the gate where I am waiting with the halter in hand. (Maybe he is trying out to be a reining horse? LOL)
    Good luck with My Boy, he looks like he has that appy attitude! They can be stinkers can't they?

  24. Hey! Thanks for stopping by again. lol I agree with you about the way my blog use to be it would bog down my puter too. Not sure what that was all obout. I agree with you about reading from the begining I do the same thing. Hope to here from ya soon.
    Love your new layout!


I love hearing from my readers!! I truly enjoy all of your feedback, advice, helpful tips, and stories. You all make me laugh and I learn so much from you, too. I will try to post replies to your comments as often as I can.

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