Friday Feb 3 we had a great ground session. I turned him loose in the arena when no one was in there. This was the second time doing that and he is starting to go in the scary back corners by himself. He even followed me back there with no lead on.

We then worked a little with the 12' rope and rope halter, doing some circles, change of directions, squeeze game, sideways, figure 8's. I worked with him a lot in January and forgot to post some of it, and it is starting to pay off finally. 

I found myself getting frightened a lot and had to try to stop myself from doing that. When I stood up tall and walked straight for things while trying not to worry too much, we got better. I have been watching and following a few of the Clinton Anderson methods. He is not much different than ones I already follow, but is a little more aggressive. After a few sessions of trying this way I found that I don't have to be so assertive. Cooper is very sensitive and was getting too jumpy so had to tone it down a lot.

I was having a hard time with the giving to the bit as Cooper would just race around me like a wild horse. His brain wasn't getting anything, he was going so fast. I would just raise the dressage whip and off he would go. One of the other boarders there who has gone through the Lyons training saw this and told me to try doing it at a walk with less whip. It was hard at first to get him to slow down but when he did he finally started to think, and I was getting less dizzy. It is working though, he is slowing down, listening more, and is more relaxed.

On Saturday Feb 4 after a few minutes of running around free in the arena we did some more ground work. He was very relaxed and did really well. We worked with the 12' rope and rope halter first, doing the usual exercises. I have been flexing him too, before I take him out of his stall and at the end of the each session. 

After this work I tacked him all up and did some giving to the bit work. We walked all around the whole arena, he was very good in the spooky corners. He did snort and try to back away a few times but we both handled it very well. I got him to go right up to the scary things and relax his head and stand there for awhile.

He was doing so well that I decided to try riding him. He was great, we walked quietly all around the arena while another person was riding and cantering past us. I asked for a jog and he was very good. A few times he veered away from the corners and I circled him and went right past them again. I was aware not to look at him too much and at the spooky doors and corners. When I looked ahead to where we were going things went better.

I am taking today off, I'm so sore from riding and walking so much.

I have still been doing exercises through the week at work during my lunch time. I've been struggling a lot to get the last 10 minutes done of a 30 minute treadmill routine. I have to keep it up and get stronger. Looking forward to the next ride on Cooper, of course if he is ready. What's the saying? work/play with the horse that shows up.

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Comment by Coopersmom_1958 on March 2, 2012 at 2:41pm

Well I have't been out since last Friday to see Cooper as I have had a flu or something. Hot and cold sweat, shivers that are making my stomach and back muscles hurt. I didn't take my temperature until last night and it was 40.7 C and that wasn't even one of my worse nights this week. I probably should have went to the doctors but I didn't. And I shouldn't have went to work, but I did, and everyday the boss would say, so see you bright and early tomorrow morning? He was sick the week before and came in to work but would leave at noon to go home.

I bundled all up to go to the barn to pay the board last night and didn't even get out of the car to go and say hi to Cooper. I had a long warm winter coat on with the hood pulled up over my face. I never wear this coat because I am too hot with it on but sure glad I kept it now, and had the heat up as well as the heated seat. Al went in and gave him the beet pulp treat we made up for him and he said that Cooper was looking for me. 

I felt better this morning after sweating a lot last night but about an hour ago I started getting the cold shivers again, ohhhh my aching muscles. I have the heat on and I hate heat!! I will be staying in all weekend to recoup some more.

At least I know Cooper is well taken care of and now one of the other boarders is giving him a handful of Equalizer at night as a treat. Now he looks for her every night LOL

The next blog will be starting March, just don't know when?

Comment by Coopersmom_1958 on February 27, 2012 at 9:29am

We went out to see Cooper on Thursday night after work and I did a little ground work with him. He was fabulous, having 10 days off from seeing him or doing any work. I am so happy with the way he is growing up, now to just get back in the saddle again and pretend I am taking lessons.

I went by myself of Friday night as my spouse went to spend time with his son as his pet rabbit passed away and he was very distraught.I did a little ground work down in the scary end of the arena on the 12' rope and rope halter and Cooper was very well behaved. Another boarder was lunging her horse and everytime he acted up Cooper would get a little jumpy but I stayed calm and he relaxed very quickly.

I did not get out to the barn again this past weekend but hope to go tonight after work. 

Comment by Coopersmom_1958 on February 22, 2012 at 10:50am

I didn't get out to see Cooper all weekend. I stayed in pj's until Tuesday as Monday was a holiday here in Ontario. I hear Cooper has been having fun rolling in mud, as they all are, and I will have a great time grooming him. Probably spend a whole evening doing that, it's ok though as I love doing that and just talking to him and I'm sure he loves it too, no work for him :)

We will see what Thursday brings and hope I can get out to see him, if not I WILL go on Friday for sure.

Comment by Coopersmom_1958 on February 17, 2012 at 10:10am

Yes, he is always tired and does this often. He is overworked and run down and won't go to the doctor, he looks many years older than he is. He's also trying to renovate the family home by himself for almost 6 years now. He is too old to do this work now and he won't accept any help or pay anyone to do it. No money anyway to do that as we are paying for 2 households, myself and our daughter are living in a separate apartment (the house is gutted) and paying for Cooper.  He hasn't been able to put any hours in on the house since August when he started a new job. He wants to go out to see Cooper with me and he enjoys it, so he tells me. He won't let me go alone, it's much safer with him there. I don't know what would have happened if he wasn't there the few times I was injured by Cooper.

Comment by Marlene Thoms on February 16, 2012 at 7:39pm

Just curious, is that at least  twice now your helper has fallen asleep just warming up the car? Is he just overworked, or do you think maybe his exhaust system should be checked? A low grade leak can cause sleepiness in the car, without knocking someone out completely.

Comment by Coopersmom_1958 on February 16, 2012 at 4:45pm

Feb 13/12 I did some flexing and desensitizing exercises in the aisle before taking Cooper out into the arena. We did a some groundwork and walked around into all the scary corners. Cooper was more relaxed tonight. I was waiting for my helper so I could get on and he fell asleep in the car with it running to keep warm. One of the boarders went out and woke him up LOL By this time everyone else had left the arena and I was in there alone. 

I mounted a little easier tonight, hopefully someday I won't need my helper to stabilize my leg and push my other one over Coopers rear end. Cooper has gotten so used to me doing this, it is a none issue with him.

I did some flexing when I got on before moving off into a walk. I tried some one rein stops, I am so unbalanced when I do this. I did some jogs around the safe end of the arena, everytime I went a little too close to the other end he start getting jittery, me too. Yes, I know he felt that and even though I was looking to where I wanted to go I was nervous down there.

I don't know if I will be gong out much during the work week anymore. By the time I get home it is late and then I am so tired in the morning for work. I can't seem to go there and do a fast one hour workout. We are always there at least 3 hours or more. I don't like this indoor arena, so that probably rubs off on Cooper too. I am looking forward to the nicer weather when we can go outside into the huge fenced in outdoor arena. Of course then the arena will be packed because everyone else wants the same thing. But that' s ok, I liked it when we did the Lyons clinic and there were lots of horses and riders.

Comment by Coopersmom_1958 on February 12, 2012 at 9:17pm

Feb 11 2012 Took Cooper out into the arena with the rope halter and 12' rope to do a little groundwork before someone turned their horse loose in the arena. We did some circles, changing eyes, figure 8's. There was another boarder in there and she had a tarp down so I took Cooper over to it. He snorted at it then tried to pick it up and pawed at it. I walked him over it several times with no problem. He was very calm and relaxed during all this.

I tacked him up while the other horse was loosed in the arena then we went back inside and did some giving to the bit work. I was going to get on but lost my helper, he went to warm up in the car and fell asleep LOL

When he finally came back in I was the only one in the arena. He stood quietly while mounting, he is so good with me dragging my feet over his rear end. As we started to walk off there were lots of noises coming from inside which were scaring him and making him jumpy. I made him walk on with a low head. Very sad as there is a horse that injured himself a week ago on Feb 5, fractured pelvis. If he doesn't improve soon then the owner has to make a life decision. I don't know what I would do if that happened, I feel so bad for her and her horse.

I rode Cooper around for about 20 minutes and a walk and jog, our 80th ride.

I tried to do a faster trot but felt him getting out of control so slowed down to a walk. After I brought the smaller tarp out of my locker and rubbed it all over Cooper and then in front of him. He grabbed it and started to shake it. There was another horse in cross ties watching him, a thoroughbred. I asked if she wanted to try it with her horse and she said "OH NO" he would go ballistic. Hmmmm.

Anyway, was too sore again to move, so stayed home today. 

Comment by Coopersmom_1958 on February 10, 2012 at 9:28am

Feb 9/12 I did some flexing and desensitizing with the rope then tacked Cooper up. I put the bit and bridle and the 12' rope and halter and did some groundwork. Worked some in the far end of the arena to start with the halter and rope, he was spooky again back there. .
Then we did some giving to the bit. Started off walking first near the front part of arena and he did good, then we worked our way to the back of the arena. He started acting like a goof back there again. He was very jumpy in one corner and almost ran me over a few times. Another horse, a big chestnut thoroughbred, was acting spooky down that end too and I think he was catching the vibes from her. 
Groomed him and did some head shy exercises. My arms were getting so heavy by the time he finally relaxed with this. Have to do this one a lot more from now on. 
Gave him his beet pulp, carrot and an apple then said good night until Saturday. I was wobbly and stumbling all over after that hour long workout.

Comment by Coopersmom_1958 on February 8, 2012 at 9:04am

Feb 6 2012 We got stuck in traffic tonight on the way to the barn and what usually is a 15 to 20 minute drive turned into an hour and a half. That was not fun at all.

With this sunny weather we have been having here the geldings have been playing hard and running around a lot outside. One horse injured himself very badly, left back upper leg area. They think it was maybe a slip in the mud. There is mud near the gate and a lot of the horses crowd around it when its time to come in and then the kicking and running starts for positioning in line.

After picking Cooper's feet and doing some flexing I turned Cooper loose in arena. I bent over one time to tie my shoe and he came trotting right up to me, stopped right at me and stared like he was wondering why I was bent over. My husband got that on video, will have to post it.

I then groomed him and we headed back into the arena for some ground work. Cooper was very relaxed tonight, a little stiff on one leg but it got better the more he moved. He did spook a little and snort in the usual corners but it was minimal. We practiced the Clinton Anderson slap and walk exercise, the changing eyes stage 1 exercise and the circle driving stage 1 exercise. Most of them are so similar to what I already do, I think I already wrote that before. There was a ground pole out so we did a few walks and trots over it.

I took him to the back of the arena and had him go up and rest in the scary parts. After all that walking around I was pooped out.

I hope to get out after work on Thursday and maybe ride, if we don't get stuck in traffic again. I haven't been able to leave early from work since moving to this new barn.

Comment by Coopersmom_1958 on February 8, 2012 at 8:42am

Thanks so much everyone!!

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