Tuesday, April 19, 2011

One Day Makes A Difference

I keep thinking and thinking about this. I suppose it shouldn't be that much of a surprise to me ... or even be that big of a deal ... but it is.

Last week I finally put Ferreira up on my ParelliConnect Wall. (btw, anyone can sign up for a free 30 day trial) She's 5 this year and I know its about time to really press to find her a person. Part of that, for me, is to make sure that she has a reasonable mini foundation to set her up for success in life. You know, simple things like, trimable and trailerable.
On Parelli Connect there is a really cool tracking feature which is a big motivator and positive reinforcement for me. It tracks my horsemanship hours as well as each horse in all four savvys. It also gives each horse a checklist so I thought it would be really good for me to put her on there because that way I'd get credit for my hours (very important to me as my goal is 500 a year) and to use the checklists for her development.
Ferreria has had the least amount of development of Lil's three babies. Jake was Lil's first and got A TON of attention from us. It was just so amazing to have a little foal and he was soooooooooo cute! We also had quite a few less horses so by the time he was 3 he was set up. We had to lock the trailer doors so he wouldn't get into it.....our farrier nailed shoes on all four feet...we saddled him without a hitch, got on, easy as pie. The icing was that we found him a perfect human partner!
Jack, Lil's second baby, Kip claimed from the moment he squirted out. He got less time than Jake did but still was handled quite a bit, is very pleasant to be around and Kip is almost ready to finish up his level 2 Online with him. (Although, I have to say, Jack a PAIN when it comes to fences. They'd better be hot man or it means nothing more that a suggestion to him.)
We were there when Ferreira was born about 5:35 early Feb 16th 2006. Kip and I both imprinted her over the first hours. I made sure in her first week that she understood how to yield to driving and steady pressure, the yoyo game (hugely important safety game in my opinion) and of course lots of friendly with us humans. She has known nothing other than us as a part of her herd and that we are the highest in the pecking order.
That was pretty much it. Last summer I started to feel the pressure of a nifty horse hanging around our barn doing nothing. We brought her into this world and are responsible for her life. I had hung back a little because I didn't feel like I could commit to several weeks in a row and I was thinking that perhaps it would be a detriment to her to have a few days here and there.
When the round pen dried up I figured I should get going. So one day we played. Just the beginnings of the basics. Put the games to a purpose and start the figure 8 pattern as well as touch it. We had a few misunderstandings and a tiny bit of drama but I remember being quite impressed at how much communication we did have because seriously this was perhaps the 8th time she'd ever had a line on her since she was a few weeks old. We were both quite happy at the end of the session.
Then I got distracted by Nigel and trying to get to Lil as well and gratefully busy with real estate...so that was all the one on one time I ended up spending with her. One day in the fall she got a tummy ache so Kip and I hand grazed her until she had a poo...other than that, no more school. (even that really wasn't school)

Last week I was prepared for Ferreira and I's first session this year to be getting up to the arena. Although the arena is in the middle of the 5 acres the horses get turned out on and she's been in it many times with the rest of the gang, its about 300 feet away from the herd when they are in the barn. Our session last year was in the round pen which is very close to the barn but is still way too wet to use. I figured we'd do approach and retreat and make a 7 day program out of it if we needed to.

F marched right up there with me. Like a good little marching follower! Slightly stunned with happy surpise, I sent her through the gate like a squeeze and as she turned to face me she spooked and headed back out. She stopped midway before she hit the end of the line and came back to me. She looked at me like "wait, did you want to do something? my paddock is boring. do you have any good ideas?".
From there we just played like I would normally play with any other level 1-2 horse. It was so fun! Same thing the next day. What a nice feeling. It like being given time! I thought we'd be starting from zero. Instead...so many things are actually solid! Jump the barrels, touch everything, learning to put feet on stuff, fig 8...With another 20 hours or so she should be ready to rock and roll with someone. (we're on the lookout for that person to appear)
I'm so glad I played with her that one day last summer. Because, one day makes a difference. I'll never forget that now.