June 2 2012 

I hadn't seen Cooper since Tuesday. We got to the barn late on Saturday so I didn't tack him up. We went into the indoor arena with the rope halter and 12' rope and did ground work. We first did some changing eyes stage 1 for about 10 minutes then some sideways along the arena wall and c-pattern. I took him into the feed room and let him go in and out of the back arena door. Then I put the 22' rope on and did some lope, trot, walk transitions. Finished of with the c-pattern at a walk from more of a distance to cool down. Right from the beginning he didn't want to go out far, trying to come in close and stick to me most of the time.

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Comment by Coopersmom_1958 on June 30, 2012 at 3:18pm

Friday June 29 2012

We played with the 22' rope in the outdoor arena last night, some touch it, transitions and change of direction. We did some extreme helicopter with the stick & string. We played with the rope like a skipping rope. I tossed the rope over his head several times from the front and while standing in zone 3. We did some turn on forehand and haunches. I tried to run and have him trot up but I can't run but he did walk faster to keep up with me, then I stopped and flapped my arms and he backed up. Cooper was wanting to stick to me a lot. I tacked him all up and was going to ride but changed my mind after the ground work, I was too tired and it was getting dark out. He was very calm going back into the barn and I hosed him off and went back outside to a different area. There was another boarder grazing her horse and we stayed out with them for about 15 minutes. Had a great evening with him.

Comment by Coopersmom_1958 on June 27, 2012 at 10:01am

Tuesday June 26 2012

105th ride, I tacked Cooper up tonight with the rope hackamore and headed to the outdoor arena. He walked out the back door and past the hay elevator with ease. A few times his head would go up in the air and I would pull down on the lead rope under his chin and he would relax then I rubbed him. The trailer was parked near the arena tonight so I played some touch it with that and some barrels that were outside the arena also. He snorted once at the trailer then went and touched it and started to eat grass, no big deal. When we got to the barn there was a nice breeze but by the time we were outside it had stopped and the bugs were out. They were all over us, yuck, I almost swallowed a few, that must have been why Cooper was making faces. When we got on to ride it had gotten a little cooler out and the bugs weren't as bad.
I backed him in through the gate and started to do some circling. We played some porcupine on the nose and he was getting very light, but heavy with the chest one. We walked around with the stick on his withers and did some front end turns, stop and back up. Then we did some hindquarter yields and yo-yo. We were going to try to video the level 1 audition but didn't. Probably should have because I don't know how long the trailer will be parked there. Cooper had a lot of go tonight, I should have used the 22' rope and played more with that around the obstacles, next time I will bring it out with me.
After about 20 minutes of play on the ground I decided to get on. Cooper was walking very fast , we were walking around with another boarder and her thoroughbred and he was faster than him so we did lots of circles to stay with him. We walked all over the arena for about 10 minutes then tried a trot circle. I had to bring him down to a stop several times with the one rein stop. When the others cantered bu is while we were trotting I could feel Cooper wanting to go faster and would come to a one rein stop. I see in the video that my hands were bouncing all over, so glad I used the rope hackamore tonight. One time I thought Cooper was stretching his head down and relaxing but he was almost going to roll, another rider told me he was starting to tuck in his back legs so I bumped him to get him moving and get his mind off of that. I tried to loosen my grip on the reins, holding the horn with the opposite hand while doing trot circles with a directing rein. He was too fast to do a sitting trot so I was trying to post and getting confused with my diagonals. When I got off instead of going to the gate I got off in the middle of the arena so he wouldn't think the he can stop at the gate. We backed out of the gate and did some touch it on the barrels and trailer again before walking back inside.

Comment by Coopersmom_1958 on June 26, 2012 at 9:10am

Monday June 25 2012

We got to the barn late so I didn't tack Cooper up. I groomed him then decided to go for a walk in his huge paddock to try and look for his lost fly mask that he had on for one day. There were a few others riding out there and Cooper was watching them getting all excited, he wanted to run free and go be with them. He called to them a few times and I would bump him and have him pay attention to me. I had the 22' rope on so there was a lot of rope when he decided to kick up his heels, buck and try to run. I took the power position and when he hit the end and turned to face me he was looking at me like saying, how did you stop me LOL I didn't go far out in the paddock, it was very uneven ground and hard for me to walk in. There were some small hills, like little gully's and soft ground where they had placed round bales in the winter and we worked around that. I had him back down and then up the other side playing the yo-yo game. We did some circles and falling leaf at a walk and trot. I wanted to walk over by the pond but the ground was too uneven and the sun was starting to go down. 

He got a special treat tonight of beet pulp with carrots, apples and some Equalizer. I usually only give him the beet pulp in the winter. 

Comment by Coopersmom_1958 on June 25, 2012 at 10:33am

Friday June 22 2012

We did some groundwork using the rope halter and 12' lead, practicing the seven games. I have been watching the new Parelli Level 1 dvd and thinking about submitting an audition for Level 1. We'll see, I know we can do it but both of us have been getting lazy with a lot of the games. I see circling is not on the audition now for this level.

We walked out past the hay elevator out the back arena door and walked on a looser lead out to the outdoor arena. Need to work on porcupine game and getting a quicker response to the yo-yo game. He was heavy on the nose when asking him with phase 1 to back up, had to go to 4, but eventually he did it at phase 1. I tried with the carrot stick at his throat groove and he just stands there and leans at phase 4 before finally taking a step, same with his hindquarters. Have to practice doing it all in under 10 minutes.

I didn't get out to see him this weekend, I was up and out early Saturday morning doing things and laid down for a little nap around 2 p.m. and slept right through to noon on Sunday then had to do things around the home. I must have needed the rest and I'm sure Cooper liked not working. Hoping to head out tonight, Monday to do some work, or no work, either way I just want to go see him.

Comment by Coopersmom_1958 on June 20, 2012 at 11:22pm

Wednesday June 20 2012

We went out to the barn tonight after physiotherapy as the farrier had called and moved Cooper's pedicure up a week to tomorrow and I had to leave some money. I like that the barn is this close that we can just go and do that. It was very hot out today so I decided to hose Cooper off and also when he saw me he pressed his face right into the corner of his door wanting to see me. Cooper had been rubbing the dock of his tail again, losing more of it, and it was stuck up in the air like steel wool. So I got the shampoo and conditioner out and did his mane and tail. This is actually the very first time I have totally scrubbed his tail from top to bottom and it looked and felt so nice when it dried. No camera tonight to get some photos of his tail, forgot that we both have cell phones with cameras!! We were in the wash stall for over 30 minutes, I got just as wet as he did. I took him outside after and let him graze. There were a few others standing out there with their horses too, just enjoying the breeze that came as it got later. Probably heading up tomorrow night but again if it's too hot I won't be riding, just hose him off again. It's supposed to rain but the last few times the weatherman has said that we haven't got hardly any rain.

Comment by Coopersmom_1958 on June 19, 2012 at 10:49am

104th ride. I used the bit and bridle tonight. We went out to the outdoor arena past the hay elevator and he was very good about it. I had the rope halter and 12' rope on under the bridle and we walked all around the edge of the arena again, doing squeeze, circles and falling leaf pattern. He tried to grab a mouthful of grass and had it stuck in his mouth part way around the arena. He wasn't trying to chew it with the bit in his mouth and I had to pull it all out.
I trotted him over some poles that were set up and he stumbled almost every time we went over them so just walked him over them a few times after that. The breeze was nice outside but it wasn't keeping the bugs away, they were landing on the both of us. 
He stood nicely while I got on and while my spouse got my legs in the stirrups and put the elastics on. I walked around the arena for a little, following another horse around and talking to his rider. I then tried to do some trot and right from the beginning Cooper didn't want to do it. He would fall out at his shoulder and not listen well to the outside rein or the inside one. When going past the gate he would go sideways and try to stop, it took some work to get him to go on. We worked on square corners which he does great when turning to the left with pressure from my right leg but when going to the right I couldn't seem to put enough pressure from my left leg which is the prosthetic one. The stop was not working good, I had to apply quite a bit of pressure to stop and back up when he wasn't listening to my seat and verbal command. I found myself tensing up in the thighs a lot and then trying to relax them. I was tight on the reins again and when I tried to lengthen them Cooper would run out and not listen so I would shorten them again.
He was having one of those nights, and I wasn't relaxed either. Next ride I will use the rope hackamore again, see how he is with it. I also didn't put the silicone sleeve on my leg because it was muggy out and my leg was very sore from moving around a lot. Next time I will have to wear it no matter how hot it is.
When I untacked him he was very wet in the saddle pad and cinch area so I gave him a cool hosing and shampooed the saddle and girth area with some derma shampoo. Then I took him outside and let him graze for awhile before bringing him back in and finishing off grooming and cleaning him up more. I have been doing the ground tie a lot lately and a few times when he knows his treats are in his feed bucket he tries to back out of the aisle and into his stall. I will have to start keeping his stall door closed from now on when we are in the aisle.
Temperatures are supposed to feel like 44 C on Tuesday so I don't think I will be going to the barn, going to stay home in the ac and stay cool. I just might go later though and cold hose Cooper a little, we'll see.

Comment by Coopersmom_1958 on June 17, 2012 at 12:29am

Saturday June 16 2012

103rd ride, tonight we used the rope hackamore again. When walking out the back door the hay elevator thing was out and it was something new for Cooper. He was snorting at it and not wanting to walk past it. I let him have some hay from it then he was ok with it and we walked out to the outdoor arena without another scare.

I walked him all around the edges again, letting him stop to eat grass here and there. When we got all the way around I went over near the scary open doors and did some squeeze until he was comfortable. 

I got on him and did some flexing before moving off into a walk. It's been a little easier getting on the last few times since wearing the silicone sleeve over my prosthetic leg. We walked around the arena doing some circles, change of directions, practicing the open direct rein position and the indirect rein. The stops are getting so good now, I say whoa and he is already starting to stop. We then did some trot all over the arena, doing some figure 8's in the middle of the arena and posting trot on the far side. We were playing with the barrels and doing the pattern at a trot. I felt like I was getting a better seat and being able to stay up much better when he would wiggle under me. He only did that a few times, the wiggling. The bugs were bugging, more me than Cooper.

Comment by Coopersmom_1958 on June 15, 2012 at 11:18pm

Friday June 15 2012

102nd ride. Used the bridle and bit tonight. Tacked up and walked around indoor arena with the 12' rope and rope halter doing falling leaf, circles and change of direction at a walk and a trot. Then we walked out to the outdoor arena nice and calmly. I didn't let him stop to eat grass tonight as I had the bit in his mouth. When we got to the outdoor arena we walked all around the edge. There was one person doing ground work tonight. At one end there were some jumps set up and I had him walk over an x jump. He lifted his feet great and walked right over it. I didn't want to try it at a trot because the standard was high and I would have had to flip my rope over it and that might have startled him so I just walked him over them.

When we got to the mounting block I got on and did some flexing on both sides with the bridle and bit. By this time we were in the arena all by ourselves and Cooper was fine with being alone. We started off walking all around the arena, doing circles and staying on the outside of the arena. He was really responding well to the bit, reins and my legs. When Cooper would look off to the outside I would tip his nose in and have him pay attention.Then we started to do some trot, trot circles in the corners and some posting trot. I was really trying to keep my right leg in and my stomach muscles engaged. When doing the trot circles Cooper would fall out at the shoulder and tip me a little off balance but I was able to correct myself quickly and correct him too with the outside balancing rein. There was a cat using his giant litter box and that was spooking Cooper a little but we got past him. He was quite speedy at the beginning. I then practiced several stops. I would say whoa, breath out and sit deep and pull back and get him to back up if he didn't stop. After about 3 times doing this he started to stop quicker. He also slowed down his trot a lot, actually getting a jog. We had a few really good stops on just the word whoa! Escellent!!
I walked him out after those great stops and got off and took his bridle off so he just had the halter on. We slowly walked back inside stopping to let him eat grass. The barn manager and her husband were just going by to do feed check and saw that I was stumbling a little, I was so hot with my helmet on, and asked if I wanted them to walk him in so I could take my helmet off. Phew what relief to get that off, I'm sure you could see steam rising from my head :)
The weather was great and Cooper was very good, it was another nice night.

Comment by Coopersmom_1958 on June 15, 2012 at 9:49am

June 14 2012

101 ride, Cooper was so good tonight. I watched Jonathan Field Horsemanship riding dvd and was typing out what he was saying and it helped me to remember more. There are no arena mates of books to take to the barn with me from his dvd's, the only thing missing as he is great! I'm going to try and ride in the rope hackamore for awhile but I might try the bit again since already he is getting better listening to me and he is getting less and less spooky.

We worked for about 10 minutes in the indoor arena on the 22' rope, doing transitions, walk, trot and canter. He didn't want to go tonight and his canter/lope was nice and slow. He was also trying to stay in close to me again and not wanting to go out on the circle. I drove him in and out the back arena door a few times then part way into the feed room door. Then we walked out the back arena doors past all the scary parked cars with no reaction. When we first walked out the barn manager's husband was on the riding lawn mower and came around the corner and Cooper did great, no reaction to that either. I would have him lower his head with a touch to the poll when he started to raise his head. There were noises all around tonight and he was very relaxed.

We walked around part of the arena as a lesson was going on in one end. I let him stop several times to eat grass. He stood quietly while I mounted then we stayed in that spot doing some flexing and making him wait. He tried to walk off a few times and I put him back in the spot and flexed some more. We walked around a lot at first, maybe 10 minutes of walking, getting him to stay on the edge of the arena by using my leg and the reins. He raised his head a few times and I would bump him back to listening to me. I went to walk around one of the barrels and he spooked at the plastic things on the ground that they use for the jumps. Silly boy, he already saw them when I was on the ground walking him around them. A few other boarders came into the arena and started working fast around the arena, Cooper didn't even get excited. The barn manager commented on how well he was with the others running around in there. We started to do some trot and trot circles in the corners, again he was much better. A few times he tried to drop into the circle and I tried to push him back out with rein and leg and when that didn't work I did a one rein stop and some flexing then went right back out onto the circle and started all over. We practiced some turn on the haunches in both directions, the left way was better. Did some sideways both directions and some square corner turns, improving every time!

I felt way more confident in the saddle tonight even when he got scared a few times at the invisible monsters hiding in the bushes. It was a very nice night except for the bugs.

Comment by Coopersmom_1958 on June 13, 2012 at 12:15pm

Tuesday June 12 2012

100th Ride!! Yahoo!! I forgot this was the big one and my spouse forgot the camera at the barn so I don't even know if there are some good photos! 

I tacked up with the rope hackamore again. We did some falling leaf to the back of the arena while waiting for another boarder to come outside with us. Walked out the back door and around parked vehicles with no snorting or high head, he did really good. When we got to the outdoor arena we did ground work and walked all around the edge doing squeeze, circles, change of directions. It was breezy out and temperature was perfect. When we got to the far side where the trees are Cooper was a little spooky in that area, running through the squeeze several times before finally settling to a slower trot and a walk. I let him stop a few times to grab a mouthful of grass and one of the riders said I shouldn't let him do that in the arena because then he would think he can do it all the time. I didn't think there was anything wrong with that as long as he didn't have a bit in his mouth, oh well. 

Cooper stood quietly while I mounted, with assistance from my spouse, then we stood there for a moment and did some flexing on both sides. Then we headed off on our ride. I did a lot of walking all around the arena, even over to the scary sides. I was having to bump him a lot tonight with the hackamore to get him to bring his attention back to me and not what was going on or wasn't going on at the outside of the arena, the monsters. I felt him jump a few times under me, small ones, he's getting better. When I ask for a whoa he stretches out before he stops, not working on collection right now with the rope hackamore, and he seems to slip a bit with the back legs. We then tried to follow some circles that were marked out in the arena by another rider. I had him going at a trot very nicely and then he would try to veer off into the middle and head to the gate. I used the indirect rein to disengage him and put him back on the circle. I have been watching the riding DVDs from Jonathan Field' Horsemanship and was trying to do the pattern he was doing on the circle in DVD 2 Part 2 of Becoming A Great Rider.He was fighting me tonight and my hands were getting sore on the rope reins, must remember to find my riding gloves. I also have to remember to let him have a responsibility rein. loosen up and stop the micro-managing and holding on so tight. We did several circles, walking and trotting, posting and sit trot. There were 2 circles on the ground and we followed them both. We did some turn on the haunches and I tried to go sideways over a pole, which I couldn't get to work so we just did it away from the pole. I had the elastics on tonight so was able to keep my feet in the stirrups when I tried to some leg yields. 

We worked all around the arena for about 30 minutes with me having to struggle with him a lot. Then we rode at a walk to cool down all around the edge of the arena in both directions with the other rider. I tried a counter bend to the left and he did it perfect but to the right was not so good. I decided to go out of the arena and head into the indoor while riding and Cooper did very well again. There was someone getting into there truck with a dog and Cooper raised his head and tensed a little but I managed to get his head down and pay attention to where we were going. I then rode indoors for about another 10 minutes at a walk, going by the scary feed room door while there was someone in there making noise. 

Overall it was a nice evening, Cooper did well even with all the struggles. We can't have it perfect all the time.

Got a new Parelli member DVD in the mail today, Freestyle Figure 8 Pattern. Can't wait to watch that and get some more ideas of things to work on with Cooper. 

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