Thursday, April 30, 2009

Week's Progress

Well here we are at the end of another week. MissFire continues to make progress everyday but its baby steps these days. For some reason she still hasn’t let her guard down. This mare has a very tough exterior. She really tells a story. I have managed to get a few more rides in. They all go uneventful and she is quiet and willing. I won’t go into detail of the past week but here is a bit about last night.

I went out and caught her without trouble. She is much better with being caught now. I brushed her out, cleaned her front feet, and picked up her back feet (for the first time). She was great for all of this. So I was excited thinking we were going to have a good day. I took her to the trailer to tack her up. She was a nervous wreck. Went I went to put the saddle pad on her she started trembling. So I took it back a few steps and rubbed her down with it. After that I put the saddle on her and cinched her up. I was busy trying to get things ready for our first drill competition of the season so I had her stay tied for a bit.

When I was ready to put her to work I started to untie her and she blew up. Rearing, striking, running around (well trying). She really lost it! So I calmed her down and pulled her to the tack room so I could sit down and pet her. She was doing great, she let me touch her nose like 4 times and before I knew what happened she jumped backward and ran over the sidewalk and into the flower bed. I asked her to come forward and as soon as I went to touch her forehead she ran backwards across the yard. So I kept her backing all the way to the arena and around the round pen. By the time she got to the round pen she was done backing. I’m sure her muscles were hurting but I was tired of her rearing backwards at me. She stood quietly and let me touch her face and nose. I then bridled her and put her in the round pen. I went back to the trailer to get my goodies (ball, tarp, flag, and rope) and let her get used to the bit idea.

She was great for the flag tonight but nervous about the tarp. I had her drag it for a while then had her carry it. The ball was another story. She was scared and kept evading it. At one point she jumped and tried running through the panels of my round pen. Not sure what she was thinking, she didn’t try to jump it just run through it.

So we are now both exhausted and tired. But I still really wanted to ride her. So far we had only had very short rides; they were only a couple minutes at a time not really riding just hanging out on her back. So last night I crawled up on her a couple times then did some exercises off the panels and getting her to bend. When I finally was big and brave I asked to take a few steps. We rode for approximately 30 minutes last night. She was solid the whole time. I had the tarp, ball, and flag in the middle of the round pen and she kept stopping and staring at them. Pretty cute! She would also stuff her nose into the rope I had hanging on the rail.

By the end of the night I was feeling pretty good. The middle of the night was pretty discouraging. It still is. She really seems to be “happy” carrying a rider. She has her ears forward and moves willingly. She is a smart girl I wish I knew the key to her heart. She is always happy to see me but is always on edge.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Weird Pony!!

I looked out my window to see MissFire doing more strange stuff. She loves to go to the top of the pile of dirt (behind her) to eat grass or to just hang out. She has always been a water fanatic. Anything to play in it. She loves it! Well its hard to tell in the pictures but she is rolling in the pond. She didn't go all the way in but put the front half of her body in it! She's a nut what can I say....

All Clean!

Yesterday was so nice! I just love sunny weather! I went to the barn without a game plan. All I knew was I wanted to be outside and I wanted to play with the ponies. I decided I wanted to work on an obstacle course, so I set up a few obstacles in a little back pen I have. Next I went to the barn and turned out the other horses and went in to catch MissFire. I thought she needed a bath so we went to work on her first bath. She was great! She really loved the scrubbing in her mane. Here are some pictures of her after her bath.

While she was drying so we went out back and played with the obstacle course. She was really unsure about the tarps which drives me crazy. She has been worked with the tarps several times now but some day the light bulb will come on (I hope). She did the backing well and trotted around the cones. When I was leaving the obstacle course I decided to throw her in the trailer for a second. I then decided to leave her there for a bit to finish some hay in a hay bag. I then moved on to washing Surprise. When I was done I tied her to the trailer to dry. I was listening to MissFire lightly paw the trailer for a while then she got quiet. I was pleased until I walked around the corner to find this......

She was just hanging out. I never heard her panic and do anything stupid. The hay bag is pretty old with a ratty piece of twine holding it together. A little pressure would have snapped it so she must not of cared. I unclipped it and she let me pick up her foot and remove it. What a good girl!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Slow Week

This has been a pretty slow week for MissFire and me. I spent Monday and Tuesday working with her face. I was able to play with her mouth on Tuesday and halter her! Haltering has been a pain. I have been putting the halter around her neck and walking to the the trailer to put it on. Once she was loaded she would stand quietly and let me put it on. Well now I can catch her and put the halter on her. Wednesday and Thursday I took her to Fall City and played with tarps and balls. She was less that pleased with all of this but tolerated it. I have a few pics that Juliane took but I forgot my computer so I couldn't take them. Oh well. Last night Nora played on her bareback for a bit last night and that was about the extent of the week. Slow but steady. We will see what this weekend brings.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Quiet Time..

So last night I had the vet out for routine check ups. I also wanted him to check MissFire's teeth. Well after a couple sedatives we still couldn't get to her mouth. He said he would try again in a couple weeks when he comes out to castrate the mini donkey (sorry Jr). So he spent some time playing with her. She was still super reactive and wasn't letting her guard down. Well after he left I took advantage of the situation and proceeded to "attack" her face. I rubbed and rubbed her nose, nostrils, inside her mouth, the works! Yes she was sedated but she was still super reactive. I did notice that she had some super sharp edges in there after he left once I was able to get my hands in there. She feels like her top jaw overhangs both sides of her bottom jaw. It felt like her teeth might cut me they were so sharp.

While she was in her sleepy state I took even more advantage and put a bridle on her! It was still a huge deal but she allowed me to put i ton and take it off several times. The faces she made were priceless! She couldn't figure out why this hunk of metal was in her mouth. I left it loose so she could hold it on her own.

By the time I was done with her she was clipped (bridle path and trimmed the outsides of her ears), bridled, and her nose and mouth were rubbed. So was it just because she was sedated? Today we will see... I did go back out several times last night and to keep reinforcing it. I was able to rub her nose still. She wasn't nearly as quiet but she is getting there. Oh and if you look in the pictures I was able to put a blanket on her. Back leg straps and all. She didn't mind at all!

Friday, April 10, 2009


That's what I ask myself everyday. The past few weeks have been challenging. MissFire has a very strong opinion about most things. I knew this coming into it from the first second I laid eyes on her. Some days I think I have made great progress and other days I feel like we don't progress at all. This has been one of those weeks. I worked quite a bit at home in the round pen. Going over all the basics checking for holes. Sometimes she decides I can't catch her or can't touch her. She just won't let her guard down. You can tell she wants me to work with her. She hangs her head over her stall door begging for me to come in. When I enter her stall she will hang out until I approach her then takes off to the paddock. Its so frustrating. Once caught she is alright to work with. I can brush her entire body, pick up her back feet, swing ropes around her, play with tarps, and go for walks. She loves her walks, she is so bold and not afraid of anything. I was able to get a couple more rides on her this week. She is still solid under saddle or bareback.

So I guess all in all she does make progress every day. In four short weeks I have made huge progress and am very happy with her. I would have never guessed that I would be on her back this early or completed as much as I have. She is a very smart mare that learns (good or bad) very quick!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Crazy Weekend

So the last couple of days have been crazy. I decided to go to Juliane’s for a Mustang get together. Both of us felt we needed to set some extra time aside just for the Mustangs. So Friday I took a half day from work and headed to Juliane’s.

Once we got to the arena we took MissFire to the round pen and began working with her with the tarp. She was hilarious! She acted like she was scared but was busy looking at something else. It didn’t take long until she was wearing it. That was pretty boring so Juliane took over and addressed her mouth issues. It was a long battle for both of the girls. MissFire wasn’t having any of it and Juliane wasn’t giving up. For the first time ever MissFire took to striking out (several times) at Juliane. When that didn’t work she would drop her head to the ground (still evading) but allow Juliane to put her finger in her mouth. She is so irritating when it comes to her mouth. Next we worked on laying over her and putting our leg over her. She was pretty boring for the most part. It didn’t surprise me to much since her major problems go along with her mouth. Once she was cooled down we called it quits for the time being.

Oh what to do with you?
Later that night we headed back to the round pen not certain what to expect. To my surprise we found a calm quiet MissFire who was standing completely still and allowed me to do mounting exercises. She was great, I even got brave and swung my leg over a couple times. She never acted scared, nervous, or anything but quiet and relaxed. I was a little worried because my little fireball doesn’t typically take new things so quietly. So I quit for a bit and let Juliane have a turn with Sangria while MissFire sat around soaking it all in. When we went back to working with MissFire we were able to ride small circles at a walk. She was so light with the halter and was bending and giving with a light touch. I couldn’t be happier with her first ride. She was so calm and quiet. It was like I had a new horse. I kept asking “where is my horse?” Don’t get me wrong I loved the “new” MissFire but it was a little scary not getting any reaction out of her.

Well my fire ball was back on Saturday. She was a pill to halter on, not surprising at all. When we got to the arena I saddled her and tied her to the rail while we practiced. She stood mostly quiet. I did look over at one point and watched her reach out and touch a perfect stranger with her nose. Crazy pony! Anyhow when I went and got her from the rail I proceeded to mounting exercises. I will admit I was being a weenie! I didn’t really want to ride her in such a large arena with so many other horses. So after some peer pressure from the team (thanks guys) I swung my leg over and walked around a bit. Of course she was great! Not as quiet as yesterday but still not worried. I rode her a few different times before I took her to the river. She dove straight in, she has issues with water and they are she has to be in it or drinking it at all times. I wonder if she didn’t have much of a water source where she came from. Well Skippy and MissFire soaked me before we left the water. They pawed so much and so hard they were getting water up on my head. Lets just say they had a blast!

And if she hasn’t been through enough I took her another sleep over tonight so she can go to a 4-H show. When we arrived I was put to work working the in gates and judging so I left her in the trailer for a couple hours. She doesn't always stand still at the trailer and with so many little kids I wanted to be there when she was out there. When I let her out and tied her to the trailer she was very happy to be out. She eventually tied quietly. We walked around eating grass and meeting new people. I had some kids play with her (older ones that I know) and she just hung out. I didn't try to ride her today. I figured with all the kids and wasn't sure if I would be allowed so it was an easy day. MissFire was so happy to be home tucked into her stall last night. She is exhausted!