Upcoming Server Move…

Good afternoon to our loyal readers and friends,

I will be changing server in the next few weeks to a newer, faster, more current… and hopefully therefore better and more stable… machine. Please bear with me as I move sites one after another and test the new infrastructure as we go along. It should be largely pain free, but with technology, you never know.

At any rate, please consider this advance warning… the sites may appear down from time to time, but neither Kirsten nor I are going anywhere, just moving services :=)

Best,

Mark

Upcoming Server Move…

Good afternoon to our loyal readers and friends,

I will be changing server in the next few weeks to a newer, faster, more current… and hopefully therefore better and more stable… machine. Please bear with me as I move sites one after another and test the new infrastructure as we go along. It should be largely pain free, but with technology, you never know.

At any rate, please consider this advance warning… the sites may appear down from time to time, but neither Kirsten nor I are going anywhere, just moving services :=)

Best,

Mark

Upcoming Server Move…

Good afternoon to our loyal readers and friends,

I will be changing server in the next few weeks to a newer, faster, more current… and hopefully therefore better and more stable… machine. Please bear with me as I move sites one after another and test the new infrastructure as we go along. It should be largely pain free, but with technology, you never know.

At any rate, please consider this advance warning… the sites may appear down from time to time, but neither Kirsten nor I are going anywhere, just moving services :=)

Best,

Mark

Flymasking the Un-halterable, Headshy Horse

You remember the story of belling the cat. We were handed a similar scenario…

The challenge: To put a flymask on a horse who is not halter-trained and is known to be headshy.

The solution: Clicker Training to the rescue!

Crockett is an Appy gelding, part of the PMU rescue herd we are currently helping with. His pale face and light skin require protection from sunburn and the torment of flies.  A long-nose flymask is a simple solution, but Crockett was headshy and unhalterable.  I clipped on my treat bag and began.

The scene unfolded like clockwork.  Crockett’s pasturemates, Gypsy and Betty, abandoned us for the comfort and shade of the loafing shed. No worries about other horses mugging us for treats!

Crockett immediately conncted the audible “click” with the treat that followed.  We began racing forward one baby step at a time. I held out the mask. After a minute he checked it out with his muzzle. Click! After several successful repetitions I upped the standard. It was no longer enough just to touch the mask. He got a little frustrated and tossed his head-and happened to rub his head from his eyes to his muzzle along the mask. Click!

We continued on in this fashion. Solidify a step. Add another level of trust. Before too long the mask was on- and so ill-fitting! Off came the mask and I tried another one. Baby steps again, and a few minutes later the new mask was on. Sigh-too small. I rummaged around in the barn and found a few more masks to try.

This glitch was not a frustration, but an opportunity for reinforcement.  Each successful masking solidified both my newfound communication with Crockett and his victory over being headshy.  I found a mask that fit a little better and sent him off into the herd.

When I finished my sessions with Gyspy and Betty, I walked out to visit with the others. Crockett saw me, pricked up his ears, and threaded his way through his pasture mates to join me. I call that a double success!

Ollie’s First Trail Class

We entered Ollie into the Trail Class on a whim.  We haven’t had the chance to school him through obstacles at home.  We saw the class as a great opportunity to work Ollie through new challenges, and to gauge his reaction to the unusual.

Ollie blew us away! He accepted each new obstacle, and stayed attentive to his rider (me!) the entire time.

Unfortunately we beat Mark, our trusty videographer, to the Trail Course.  The first obstacle was removing a letter(a feed bill perhaps?) from the mailbox and putting it back in.  Mark was still setting up as Ollie stood still, interested but relaxed, as I fumbled with the mailbox.

The video picks up as we step across the wooden bridge and progress through the 360 turn, the sidepass over a rail, and cavaletti.  We continue through the squeaky gate, the backup into a tight cluster of trees, and the trot figure eight.

Ollie continues to prove the versatility of the American Saddlebred Sport Horse.  Way to go, Ollie!