The people get a new house and I have to stay in the same old stall

Howdy blog followers,

As the title suggests Jellybean is a feeling a bit left out of the hoopla.  We just moved into a cute little house and the pony has taken a back seat since the weekend move.  We did however give her stall a good cleaning and added some fresh shavings.  Hopefully she will not be too upset with us when we get back to working her later this week.

Oh!  She also asked for her stall fans to be adjusted to blow more directly on her when she lays down to sleep.  Rather than have her kick and bite at me I accommodated these wishes of the princess horse.

I am sure Amanda will entertain you with more stories soon.

Thanks for reading!

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Skipping some steps, with good results

Well I decided to jump the gun and just see how things went. And they turned out better than expected! I posted the other day about the prerequisites to bridling, but when I got into the round pen I felt inspired to give it a try without the extra steps. Surprise! So I just put the halter around her neck so I had something to hold onto, then put my arm over her head (which she generously lowered) holding the bridle. Then I used my left hand to hold the bit and open her lips. She opened her mouth in addition to her lips and I smoothly brought the bit into her mouth. A few quick adjustments and I let her wander around. The bit is too wide, so I will be looking for a narrower one soon.

 















She chewed on the bit and tried to make it fall out. Then she tried coughing it out (leftover snacks came out instead). She tried rubbing it off on my leg. She tried rubbing her nose in the mud. Then stuck her mouth in the mini-lake in the round pen. About 10 minutes later she got bored with chewing, and decided to try and eat some weeds. She was very awkward trying to chew, and I guess she either figured it out or gave up. 



















I was really impressed with her intelligence!! Although she did want to visit the other horses and continue teasing the geldings. 


Well other trainers might have suggested this be the end, but Jellybean was so chill I decided to push the envelope. I borrowed the vaulting surcingle and some reins from the tackroom, and set up a long lining exercise. The full check snaffle is especially useful for this exercise, because the bit cannot be pulled through her mouth and it spreads the pressure out better than a D-ring or O-ring. 


I pulled left or right, and while she was confused at first, she remembered this exercise with the halter and figured it out! 

And finally, just because I think Jellybean is awesome, I wanted to see if she was normally as sweet as when she was drugged. I brought Jellybean over to the gate and eventually (after she stood still enough) sat on her bareback. I didn’t use the reins for direction, I just clucked at her to make her go forward. This almost worked, until she walked to the middle of the water puddle and wanted to sniff other horses… I saw the writing on the wall and pulled one rein to make her turn and move. After a few more minutes and some pawing in the water (!!!) I hoped off safely away from the mud. And thus ended our excellent training session!

On another note, I came across this blog about a mare who needed some lovin’ and thought I would pass it along! I think Jellybean will be like this when she gets older.

Some Thoughts on Bridling

     As I have mentioned several times, Jellybean is due to start being bridled soon. As I was thinking about how to do this, I realized I had never thought about it. I watched a cool documentary while I was on vacation about Buck Brannaman, and decided first to check out his opinions. I found this step by step article he wrote, which I will summarize for you:

  • Teach your horse to lower their head with slight pressure
  • Teach your horse to open their mouth as if with a bit calmly
  • Mimic the motion of the bridle over the ears and eyes with the halter
  • Accustom the horse to the new position you will use for bridling.
     Another trainer whose methods I appreciate is John Lyons, as I worked with/for a friend who completed his program. I browsed some of his material I have lying around and found similar suggestions:
  • Teach the horse to move away from pressure
  • Teach the horse when he turns toward you he will lower his head
  • Get you horse used to you playing with his teeth and tongue
  • Do not take the bit in and out on a green horse
     I haven’t completed many of the prerequisites to bridling with Jellybean, so looks like we will be working on more basics. I think our benchmarks/training program will look something like this:
  • Learn how to lower head, then leave it where it needs to be
  • Allow touching of tongue, lips, teeth without raising head
  • Accept motion of bridling with halter
  • Accept bit
  • ???
  • Profit!
     It looks like I have a lot of work to go! I think we will spice up training sessions with “pony rides”

Back Home with Presents!

I finally made it home, much to Jellybean’s chagrin or joy, depending on your perspective. She was ornery and didn’t really want to come stand so I could look at her, especially since it was interfering with dinner! While I was in NC I got some presents for Jellybean! She got her new halter in addition to some really swanky new boots! She also got a set of splint boots not pictured. Jellybean has never worn boots, although she had a brief time in standing wraps. She took a few minutes to get settled in, looking like a cat with tape on her paws! Unfortunately I did not get any photos, but needless to say, it was hilarious. 

I feel so awkward!!

Hey Cowboy! You’re looking good today 😉

Hey Chocolaté! Leave me alone Mom!!

She spent some time in the round pen, playing around and galloping awkwardly before she finally chilled out and went back to her dinner. This is just the beginning *muhahaha*

lunging a pony and taking showers

Hi All!  Amanda is gone for one more day so I thought I would help you pass the time with some more photos and an update!

Jellybean and I have developed a real horse to human relationship.  over the course of Amanda’s abandonment of her two favorite animals we have really bonded well.   Jellybean no longer kicks or bites at me.  She also has learned that while I may not be the alpha of her herd I am certainly higher than she is.   We have had lots of fun experiences while Amanda was out.  Here is another pic of her in her saddle getting ready to work in the round pen.

Hey dad!  There is grass over here
However, I am never satisfied that she earned her dinner until we do something new.   So, Jellybean got a shower yesterday too!   Now mind you, she does NOT like water so this is a big step for her.  
have you no decency?
I even managed to convince her a spray in the face was not going to be the death of her.  I did not press my luck though.  She got squeeged dry and put back in a nice clean stall with copious hay, grain and, water.  Very pleased pony.
Also, she got weight taped on Sunday.  In the past two weeks she has put on some poundage!  she gained 40 pounds since we upped her feed and she now unofficially stands between 15.1 and 15.2 hands high.  I think she has a few more inches in her as she is still a bit taller in the back end than the front.
Happy Wednesday and I hope you are enjoying the antics while Amanda is out.

Can I please be a kid again?

It looks like Robert has Jellybean under control while I’m on vacation so I won’t trouble you with anything serious. But I did buy her this adorable halter…

That’s right. It has JELLYBEANS on it!!! 



I also wanted to link this post I read this morning about the Breyer horses. I never actually had any, but I plan on tricking my children into loving them so I can buy them as adults…