Friday February 1 2013. While grooming Cooper he was getting antsy and nipping at everyone who went by including me and Al and pinning his ears. I decided to put his bridle on and do some giving to the bit work. At first he was going like crazy and would not slow down to a walk so I took him off and let him free run as no one else was in the arena. He ran around a lot for a few minutes then started to listen to me. He kept a circle around me and changed directions when I asked him to. One time when changing directions he bumped up against the kickboards and stepped in a hole that looked like a rodent or something made to get into the arena. I called him in and put him back on the lead to check his movement and he looked ok so we continued on with giving to the bit work. 

We were in the arena for about 20 minutes then went back inside and gave him beet pulp. I didn't take the camera so no pictures. They all look the same anyway, dark and green LOL.

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Comment by Coopersmom_1958 on March 2, 2013 at 3:15pm

Saturday February 23 2013

I used the bridle and lunge line and lunged him in both directions over 3 trot poles. No head bobbing tonight, he was great going in both directions. He spooked 3 times from falling snow off of the roof, it sounded like a cannon going off outside! The 4th time the snow came down he just flinched and I was the one that jumped, he was a good boy. Another boarder was there with her camera and offered to take pictures, that was so nice of her. One of the other boarders was just finishing up riding her horse and offered to ride Cooper. She rode Cooper around at a trot and did some canter. She offered to canter him anytime I wanted, when I ride and don't work him hard, which I hardly ever work him hard LOL. I didn't get out to see him all the next week because of stomach troubles again but Al went a few times to give him some beet pulp.

Comment by Coopersmom_1958 on February 22, 2013 at 3:57pm

Thursday, February 21 2013 I hadn't been out to see Cooper in over a week and really wasn't feeling up to going again tonight. The late nights when I have to get up early for work the next morning were getting to me. My husband pushed me to get dressed and go out to see him, even if it was to just give him some beet pulp. When we got there he was pushing his nose against the stall door again wanting us to open it and see him. He stood in front of me and I gave him a great big hug. He started rubbing on me with a soft look in his eyes, I let him do it and didn't push him away. He had another horse's halter on again and the new one I just bought him in January was hanging on his door broken. He has gone through 3 nylon halters in the last 3 months from playing halter tag in the fields with the other boys. At least they were still on him and I am getting a nice collection of breakaway crown pieces!! The first week we were at this barn he lost his new leather halter in the field and it was never found. I had to rush to the rest room so my husband groomed him and when I got back I decided to take him for a little lunge in the arena since no one was in there riding and creating a lot of dust.

I attached the lunge line to the regular flat leather halter and he did great. We did walk, trot in both directions over trot poles. One time he looked like he was about to speed up and I said steady very calmly and he slowed back down listening to me. Another boarder came in to ride so I ended the lunging and we just walked around the arena, doing some stops and backing up. I asked him to move out away from me and walk around me and he started to trot with his head bent in towards me coming in close. He didn't want to be too far away from me and I had to ask several times for him to slow back down to a walk, I think he likes doing this exercise fast.

We walked around for a little while with the other boarder riding her horse. I took him back in and gave him a little rub all over and again he started rubbing on me. I don't think it was a dominance thing, I think he missed me. When we left I looked back and he was watching us leave with his head squished up against the door again.

Friday, February 22 2013

I went out to do the company banking today and headed to a bank that was close to the tack store and then went to Bahr's Saddlery to get some more Zen-A-Min supplement and picked up another nylon halter. This one looks like it is a lot thicker so might not be so easy for them to break while playing. It cost a little more but looks to be stronger. We'll see, maybe he's already lost the leather one I put on him last night? The weather was starting to get bad on the way out there so we might not be heading out tonight to see him, but going Saturday for sure!! He makes me feel so much better and can bring me out of the dumps better than any medicine or therapist!

Comment by Coopersmom_1958 on February 13, 2013 at 11:10am

Tuesday February 12 2013

We worked with the 12' rope tonight, I didn't feel like getting tangled up in the 22' rope. We did some of the beginning exercises from Jonathan Field's Horsemanship Natural Foundation Series. At first we were alone in the arena and we did some walk and stop exercise, keeping him behind me. He did great with this, I only had to wiggle him back a few times then he stopped as soon as I did. I tried to run and get him to trot but I can't do that. I felt like I was running like crazy but Cooper would just walk faster behind me. I can't run at all with this leg!! I will have to teach Al this part of it, that would be good for him to get Cooper's respect. We did some extreme helicopter again and slapping the ground from side to side. When I first switched sides I accidently hit Cooper in the head with the string. I felt so bad, I dropped the stick and hugged and rubbed him telling him I was sooo sorry!! I picked up the stick and did this slapping again this time being very careful to keep the string way up over his head. He was fine with it, thankfully he was frightened by it.
Two riders came in so we stayed in the middle of the arena doing some yielding of his hindquarters and forequarters several times. I walked him around me in small circles with the stick on his back and slid the stick back and tapped him when he fell out of place. He swished his tail a lot when I did this, don't think he like me tapping him and asking him to stay up with me. He only went ahead of me a few times then I would bump the rope and bring the carrot stick in front and he would stop then continue walking with me. I tried to keep things flowing but I was getting tangled up in the rope and the string on the carrot stick. I asked him to move out onto a bigger circle and asked for some trot while trying to walk around with him. Another two riders came in so now there were four riding around us trotting and cantering and lots going on. Cooper did great with them, several times they would go right behind him and he stood quietly. We did several change of directions on the bigger circle, with him almost doing a rollback, he was trying very hard tonight to do things right, such a good boy! I brought him in closer to me and he started trotting around me with his head into me on a very loose lead. I held my hand out towards his nose and he touched it a few times. We changed direction and he did the same thing, wanting to stay in close to me.
After about 30 minutes of this ground work we did some ground tie work, run up and rub stuff, only I didn't' drop the rope because of all the others in the arena. He was really good on his left side then the first time I did it on his right side he flinched, but only once, then he was great after. We stood for a long time just watching everyone else ride. He stood quietly always watching me. I am watching Jonathan's DVD's over and over but I always seem to forget how to do things, the old brain is not working right LOL
I groomed him and then we did some flexing on both sides in aisle way before putting him in his stall to have his beet pulp.

Comment by Coopersmom_1958 on February 13, 2013 at 10:45am

Monday February 11 2013

We did ground work with 22' rope. First we did some walk, trot over 2 ground poles then did falling leaf pattern and headed to the back of arena and did approach & retreat in the scary corners. I had him rest several times in both corners, doing a turn and stay standing there. He did great sideways movement away from me to the right but gave me a bit of a hard time to go to the left towards the poles in the corner. I then did the falling leaf back to the front of the arena and started to ask for more from him. One time he didn't like it at all and pulled out of my hands and ran into the barn where Al stepped on the rope to stop him from going any farther. I did some abrupt back up in the aisle then took him back into the arena for more work, shortening up the rope a little. I did some friendly game with the stick and string and some extreme helicopter and slapping the ground on each side of him. I then walked all around him, keeping a hand on him while slapping the ground with the string. I haven't done this in a long time and he was great with it.
Next time going to work with the 12' rope and do the beginning exercises again, try to do the Horseman's Dance with him as we have never done it. Or as a friend suggested, I can still use the 22' rope but shorten it to 12' then gradually let him out more until I get to his threshold and then bring him back in using the approach and retreat method with this also. Great Idea!

Comment by Coopersmom_1958 on February 6, 2013 at 9:06am

Tuesday February 5 2013

I stopped in to see Cooper and pick his feet on Saturday before heading out to a party then didn't see him again until tonight.

I ground tied him while grooming and left him several times to go into tack room and he stayed in that spot. He didn't move his feet but he stretched his neck out a few times and pulled someone's blanket down off of their stall door that was beside him. He was also trying to grab the hose and buckets that were on the other side of him. There was also another person with her horse doing bridling exercises while standing right in front of him and he didn't try to go see them, and that is one of his paddock buddies.
We did some circling with 22' rope and rope halter. There was another horse at the far end being lunged and Cooper would look at them a lot. We did a lot of change of directions to keep his mind on me. A few times he tossed his head and looked like he was about to take off so I had him change directions. We did transitions, walk, trot, canter and whoa. Then we did some yo-yo game and had him wait at the end of the line for the next move, he was watching me with his ears forward waiting. Then we did the falling leaf pattern while walking to the back of arena and I had him stand in the corners at that end where the poles are and in front of the feed room door. He did really well with the ground work tonight.
There was no one in arena so I took him off the lead and let him run. He still had a ton of energy, running and kicking up his heals with his tail flagging in the air. He would not connect with me but just kept running so I put him back on the 12' rope and just had him walk around me to cool off. He would stay out on the circle while walking to the left but when I asked him to go to the right he would come into me and bend around me while moving sideways, he didn't want to go out on that side.
I took him inside and groomed him again. He was getting fidgety and trying to back into his stall as he knew his food was in there. I moved his feet some more and then had him stand still. We did some flexing and walk, whoa and back up in the aisle before I let him go in his stall.

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