Sunday May 5 2013

I hadn't played or worked with Cooper for a few weeks as I had not been feeling well. We got to the barn around 6 p.m. and the barn manager and her husband were doing feed and we had to wait until 7:30 when they brought the horses in. They said it was too dangerous for us to go out and get him as there were 3 new geldings out in the paddock and they didn't know yet how they would behave.
Once we got him in I took him right out into the outdoor arena without grooming and then picked his feet outdoors. We played on 22' rope doing circles and figure 8's around 4 cones. We did change of directions, transitions at a walk, trot and canter. He was getting a little pinny eared at times, I think I was applying too much pressure as he was being very sensitive tonight. He tried to run and back away from me one time and ended up standing in front of a jump standard. I did not let it get me upset and continued on with what we were doing. I brought him in closer in the circle and then he wanted to stick close to me and not move out.
Then we went for a walk doing travelling circles all around the outdoor arena. He kept trying to stop and get bites of grass so I would swing the carrot stick and string quite vigorously a few times, smacking the ground behind him. One time he got a little rambunctious and squealed and kicked his heels at me then tried to pull out of my hands but I was prepared and took the power position. We played outdoors for about 45 minutes, it was a nice evening. I was tired and weak from the workout but felt very good emotionally from spending time with Cooper.

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Comment by Coopersmom_1958 on May 28, 2013 at 10:00am

Monday May 27 2013

There werr a few others in the outdoor arena so we just stayed indoors so I could use the stick with the bag on it so we stayed in the indoor arena and played on 22' rope. We did circles and change of directions, falling leaf or C pattern, and transitions at a walk and trot. We did some squeeze at the scary end of the arena before heading over to do the poles.
I had the 4 trot poles set up again with one flat, 2 middle ones raised on either end and then another flat. We used the longer poles tonight, the last time we used the short poles and they weren't as good as using the big long ones. He trotted over them great but the first few time he walked over them he tripped and banged his feet because he was looking all around him to the sides and not where he was going. I think there was some noise on the outside of the arena wall.
Then we switched to the 12' rope and did the closer work. Another boarder came in with her horse to lunge him and Cooper started to get full of it then. Every time she yelled canter he wanted to go too. When doing the smaller circles around me he tried to back away from me a few time while trying to yield the hindquarters to go the other direction. Again I just moved him back out the same way instead of changing until he got better with the hindquarter yield. We did some half circle exercise from one end of the arena to the other several times. He was still looking all around and I had to bump the rope a few times until he had his attention on me. Then he was moving sideways and bent towards me as he passed in front of me, how Buck says the exercise is supposed to go.
He is getting very soft with the backing and flexing his head now. A few times as soon as I touched the know under his chin he flexed his head. The backing circle to the left is great but still having a harder time with the backing right circle. He is getting better at it though. I still didn't give him enough soak time, I have to remember to do that. I was so pooped out again from so much walking that I didn't ride again. We played around in the arena on the ground for at least an hour and a half. Besides I want to get him softer on the halter before trying the riding exercises, not too much longer as he is getting good at these ground exercises.
While in the aisle untacking another horse spooked in the cross ties and Cooper spooked too, but in place and he just stood there, what a good boy! He stood great even while Al put treats in his bucket. Yes, TREATS again! There wer no carrots left so he only got one apple and a handful of Equalizer. It was funny watching him as he pushed everything around in the bucket looking for the carrots!
I don't know when I will get out again this week, it might not be until Friday.

Comment by Coopersmom_1958 on May 28, 2013 at 9:59am

Saturday May 25 2013

We played in the indoor arena on 22' rope doing circles and change of directions, falling leaf or C pattern, and transitions at a walk and trot. I used the carrot stick with the bag on the end and he wasn't jumpy with that at all, but he was looking all around and jumping at outside noises. I had to bump his nose a lot to get him to pay attention to me. We stayed at the far end of the arena for a little while just doing squeeze game and half circles until he calmed down a little before moving on.
We did some trot work over the trot poles again. We had set up the short trot poles with one flat, 2 middle ones raised on either end and then another flat. Several times he went out past the poles, next time we are going to use the longer ones.
Then we switched to the 12' rope and did the smaller circles and leading by exercise, yielding the hindquarters to go in the other direction. Again, several times I just moved him back out the same way instead of changing until he got better with the hindquarter yield. We did some backing trying to get him to flex and hold it while backing, its coming along. The backing circle to the left is great but still having a harder time with the backing right circle. I must remember the soak time!
I had tacked him all up out again but after an hours play I was too tired from so much walking so I didn't ride.

Comment by Coopersmom_1958 on May 24, 2013 at 12:34pm

Thursday May 23 2013

We practiced some Buck Brannaman exercises again. There was another boarder lunging her horse at the same time on the far end of the arena so didn't use the bag. I had the 22' rope on at first and we did some walk, trot transitions at the front of the indoor arena. We did some circles in the front part of the arena at first. I let him out almost to the end of the 22' rope so he was doing really big circles. Cooper slipped out with his stifle again 2 times just doing trot circles, big circles, so we set up the 4 poles, one flat then 2 raised at either end, then another flat one.  When we first started this he was spooking at the back of the arena again. The poles were set up off center of the arena and closer to the back scary end. I then took him to the back and did some half circles and squeeze between me and the back arena door until he settled down. Then we went back to the poles and went over them first going to the left and he did great. Then when we changed directions going to the right he was having little fits. The first time he trotted up to the poles and then stopped right in front of them and went sideways trying to escape. I pushed him on, swinging the lunge whip while raising the rope hand and pointing; I didn't get the carrot stick out because of the other horse in there. It took a lot of pushing to get him to go over them and when he finally did it was at a walk. When he got over them he would raise his head, get all spooky and take off at a snotty canter, giving little squeals and tossing his head around. I had to be very firm with the rope to get him to come back to a trot and then a walk.

After I got home I thought about this and have to remember that if he does this again that I should give him a moment and then ask again, make him confident. Or maybe to make it my idea, since I know he is going to stop there then I can stop him right at the poles, give him a moment and then ask him to go over them. I was being too fast, not giving him time to think. Some may think this is wrong and might even say get after him more, but that doesn't always work with Cooper. He did this a few more times, stopping and walking over the poles then taking off in a canter. I changed directions several times and he finally calmed down and did some great trots in both directions. We had been playing around the arena on the 22' rope for about 30 minutes and then another rider came in so I put the 12' rope on to do some other exercises. When I took him inside and changed ropes he tried to back into his stall, like he was thinking we are all done now, I want my treats! I turned him around in the stall and walked him back out to the arena.

We did some circles again at a walk with the united 4 quarters; yielding the hindquarters and leading back out onto the circle in the same direction. Again like the other nights, when I went to shorten the rope to untrack and yield the hindquarters, as soon as I started to bring my hands together, he would be trying to make the turn and change of direction, so I did a lot of just sending him back out on the circle. After doing this several time we started doing this with the change of directions. One time when I went to step towards his right hindquarter to yield them he tried to escape me again by walking backwards, trying to back right into the barn. He moves quickly too, and I have to step up my pace and try to get to his hind to move him over. This time I had to swing the tail of the rope and connect to get him to turn over and face me. Then we went back to yielding the hindquarters again and then he was fine.

Then we practiced the backing with softness, I tried to remember to release and soften at the slightest try. We did the backing circles and just like the last time, he was good when taking his head to the backing to the left and doing the left circle, but he was still getting stuck the other way to the right (I’m getting confused about the direction all the time). He just wants to do a turn on the haunches when I tip his nose to the right and try to back the right circle (I think I got this right this time). I was being more patient and slowed down to give him soak time.

He is always looking for his treats after and I think I might have to stop giving him things all the time. Maybe cut it back to just once in awhile. Al goes, ahhh, he looks forward to this, but he is looking for them ALL the time. He gets them in his bucket and he knows they are in there, which is the first place he goes when I put him back in his stall. A few times the treats weren’t’ in his bucket yet and he comes right over to the stall door, pressing his head into it and looking at us while jigging back and forth, until we take them in to his bucket. I don’t let him push me and won’t let him go to his bucket until I leave the stall but he still tries to bowl Al over. Al is getting better and making him wait but not all the time. I want Al to start doing some of this ground work with Cooper so he will be safer. I also want to try not giving him any treats for awhile, this week he got carrots and apples 3 days in a row. See how long it lasts if we do this LOL

We won't be out to see him Friday night but hope to get out Saturday. Never know though, we might go out to pick his feet, and give him TREATS!!!

Comment by Coopersmom_1958 on May 24, 2013 at 12:29pm

Wednesday May 22 2013

We don't usually go on Wednesdays because of physio but decided to go after dinner to pick his feet and ended up grooming him and spending almost an hour with him while he ground tied in aisle. He stood great for the whole time we were there with him. He got his treats again!!

Comment by Coopersmom_1958 on May 22, 2013 at 4:07pm

Tuesday May 21 2013

The barn was very busy when we got there. The farrier was doing 3 horse and had just started the first one. He was working right in front of Cooper's stall so I took Cooper into the arena to groom as all the aisles were full. He was very sweaty so I decided to take him to the wash stall and bath him. After we went outside to let him graze and dry off some then we went back indoors and practiced some Buck Brannaman exercises again. There was another boarder lunging her horse at the same time and lots of others in the aisles so I couldn't take the stick with the bag out so I just used the tail of the rope.

We did some half circles across part of the arena at first. Then we practiced backing with softness, at least I tried to anyway but I was forgetting to release and soften up a lot. I am so glad that my spouse loves taping this stuff, that way I get to see what I am doing wrong, and right. We did the backing circles and he was better tonight when tipping his head to the left and doing the right circle, the other direction is very good just have to work on getting softer. He got stuck a few times and I had to bump him to get his feet moving, he was much better tonight. I was being more patient and sometimes I remembered to give him some soak time. I have to remember to give him more of that and take my time with everything. Then we did some circles again with the united 4 quarters, yielding the hindquarters and leading back out onto the circle in the same direction. After that we did circles with a change of direction. Every time I moved my hand to shorten the rope and change sides he would already be trying to change directions, so then I would just send him straight out again on the circle without the change of direction. He was really wanting to be very close to me too and I had to keep sending him away from me. We did much better tonight and can't wait to see what the next time brings, he soaks this stuff up so quickly and is very smart.

Comment by Coopersmom_1958 on May 21, 2013 at 1:13pm

Sunday May 19 2013

I only got out one day of the long weekend to see Cooper and it was at night. We practiced some Buck Brannaman exercises. Half circles, exactly like falling leaf and C-pattern from one end of indoor arena to another a few times. Then we practiced backing with a feel. Then we tried some backing circles, he was very good when I tipped his head to the right and he did a left circle but the other way he just wanted to do a turn on the haunches. I was getting frustrated and so was he so we quit that side and did another good one the other way. Then we did some circles, keeping all 4 quarters on the circle, yielding the hindquarters and leading back out onto the circle in the same direction. After that we did circles with a change of direction which he already does very well. I watched the ground DVD on the backing over again several times and see where I was going wrong and hope to do it again with more softness the next time.
I got the 7 Clinics DVD's on Friday, May 17, a lot of the exercises are the same as the other clinicians that I already do, with a few small differences. I did notice that in the ground DVD's that there was not anything on flexing each side on the ground but you can see students doing it in the DVD's. I haven't watched all the riding DVD's yet so maybe there is some mention of it in those.

Comment by Coopersmom_1958 on May 21, 2013 at 1:12pm

Tuesday May 14 2013

I took Cooper out to the indoor arena on a regular lunge line and flat halter and did some transitions, mostly trot and walk. Trotted him over some raised poles that someone had set up. 4 poles with 2 end ones raised on opposite ends. He did great going to the left then when trying the right he would come to a walk to go over them. When I finally got a good trot to the left we finished up and then went to have his manicure.

Comment by Coopersmom_1958 on May 13, 2013 at 9:29am

Saturday May 11 2013

I tacked Cooper all up and we played indoors on 22' rope doing circles and falling leaf pattern to the back of the arena. He spooked and bolted at the back of the arena and I got him under control easily. It was all dark in the barn behind the arena and he could hear the horses over there snorting but couldn't see them. We did some approach and retreat at the back door and lots of change of direction, transitions at a walk, trot and canter around the whole arena. He slipped at the front of the arena and went down once on his back left leg while trotting to the left. He didn't seem sore or stiff but I set up the trot poles and did some work over them.
He was quite spooky tonight with his head high looking around at everything so I decided not to ride. We played for almost 45 minutes before he finally let down and had a relaxing blow, one time only.

Comment by Coopersmom_1958 on May 9, 2013 at 8:59am

Tuesday May 7 2013

We went outdoors again and did a few minutes of ground work, falling leaf pattern. The footing was very deep and hard for me to walk in so I decided to get on for our 154th ride. There were a few others riding around, galloping and jumping and I could feel Cooper tensing up under me every time one of them landed after a jump. We did some walk, whoa, and turns. Only walked around for about 15 minutes as it was getting dark and he was spooking at the cat in the bushes.

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