Midwest Horse Welfare Foundation, Inc. ----Discussion Forum

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Donna M
Love this sweet girl ... Raven enjoyed some snow rolling after an afternoon brushing. 

RavenSnowRoll2R.jpg RavenSnowRoll1.jpg 

Jenni O.
Well she certainly can't walk around looking freshly groomed. The other horses would laugh at her.
Amy T
Glad to see Raven continues to do well in your home. Thanks for the update!
Donna M
She is doing great Amy! The softness in her eye is heartwarming. Yesterday she was checking out my husband (before she started rolling). She has never approached him on her own before but he is getting more relaxed around the horses. 

I'm trying to get her to stand still in the barn while I brush her tail. She always wants to turn to face me. Yesterday she got it after a few reminders. She has been accepted into the herd and doesn't seem to be a loner anymore. Even the gelding who used to chase her away has accepted her. She is very relaxed in her environment and no longer shies away from me when I approach her with a halter. She used to go from the pasture to the barn on "high alert" but is much better about that too. She is more comfortable going into the barn for grooming and she has been in the arena for some ground work. In a couple months I should be able to bring her back home from her winter boarding location. 
Donna M
Today Raven and I enjoyed our first ride together since late last fall. She did great! The first mile or so she really tested me ... refused to move forward, wanted to return home, danced around, tossed her head in protest quite a bit ... but eventually she realized that wasn't going to change my plans for the day and she became cooperative. We didn't have any problems the rest of the way. She did get pretty vocal and called out for her pasture buddies about 30 minutes into the ride but she settled down quickly. She certainly has a lot to say! lol

I've adjusted my attitude and thinking with her a bit and am finding more success. I used to feel a little sympathy for her because she was more timid, but I've learned she will rise to my expectations and I can't let her get away with things I wouldn't tolerate from any other horse. 

I love the last picture. After we returned and I was brushing her in the barn, Raven was calling out and responding to a horse which I thought was one of her pasture mates who had been with us and was nearby. It turned out to be Sugar Bear waiting at the fence.      

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Denise S - WW
Thanks for the update Donna! The pictures are beautiful even with all that snow. Glad the ride went well!!
Anna WI
"I've adjusted my attitude and thinking with her a bit and am finding more success. I used to feel a little sympathy for her because she was more timid, but I've learned she will rise to my expectations and I can't let her get away with things I wouldn't tolerate from any other horse." 

Donna, I wish more people would realize this! Too many people make up so many excuses for their horses instead of taking responsibility for here and now. Horses thrive off leadership and not a person feeling bad for them!
Donna M
Denise ~ yep, we are still in winter's wicked grasp but I've heard we might hit highs in the 40s this week. 

Thanks Anna. These past couple years have been quite a learning experience. I've discovered that I am the one who needs to change my behavior if I want to see progress in my girls.
Lindsey N
I love how much you love your girls!!  And yes, I also love the attitude.  I know I need to change the way I think too, I'm always trying something new, but haven't found what works yet.  I feel like this is the year for me though :D  I have high hopes for 2014!!
Congratulations on such a great first "spring" ride...smile...sounds like you two did great.
Donna M
It was an amazing afternoon with Raven. She seems to look at me with more acceptance and understanding. Raven now stands calmly and patiently when I groom her, even when I brush her tail. That used to prompt her to turn around to face me. She definitely understands the cue "stand" which is very helpful while brushing her as she has a very thick coat and is shedding profusely! She seems to give me hugs in the barn (if that's even possible). When I'm brushing her neck and shoulders she turns her head in my direction and rests her chin on my shoulder. At first I was pushing her away because I didn't want her to be disrespectful about space but every other part of her body was calm and relaxed and her head movements were gentle so I decided to allow it. It was very touching and she is not at all being disrespectful. Feel free to tell me if I'm reading her incorrectly because I learn something new about these beautiful creatures each day and much of that knowledge comes from this forum. 

I purchased a set of Charles Wilhelm DVDs during one of the online auctions. I've been wanting to get started on some ground work and desensitizing exercises. After watching one of the DVDs, today was the first time I was able to get Raven to lunge! She used to seem so clueless but it turns out, as is always the case, it wasn't her at all ... it was me ... AGAIN. I learned that she is highly dependent upon my body position for cues and I really need to drive her from behind. If I don't maintain the right angle she turns toward me. We worked on transition from walk and trot. She seems to do better counter clockwise but I think that's also more of an issue with me as I am more comfortable with the equipment when I am using my dominant hand. We did some bridge work crossing from different directions, sometimes stopping on the bridge and sometimes not. She never once questioned or hesitated. She even stood still and calm while I dropped it to the ground from being propped up against the arena wall. I waved a bandanna attached to a stick around her head and body. She looked at me with curiosity but never flinched. When I returned her to the pasture she walked right next to me while I was on my way to get Sugar Bear. When I returned Sugar Bear, Raven came to the gate to greet us. It was an amazing day of "firsts" for Raven and me. Love her!

Scott: MHWF
I personally love reading your updates, not only because it is really nice to see Lakota settle in for you, but to also see how far you have some in such a short time. I know people who have had horses for years and years and have not learned as much as you have in the couple of years you have been a horseman (or woman). :)

And no, I do not think letting her nestle with you while you spend time with her is bad at all, as long as she means it in a good way and not a pushy way.

I echo all of Scott's words, and just want to add how proud I am of you Donna (and I know that goes for Scott too as he expressed)!  
Thank you so much!!  This is really the good stuff.  :)  
Great update!  It sounds like you are starting spring off on the right foot, or hoof?  It's nice to hear about the bond you are developing with Raven. 
Donna, you are dong so well with your horses. I love how you are learning as you go along and stop to think that maybe it is you as a human not communicating right or whatever it may be. So many people are just quick to blame the horse and not consider they may have made an error.
I also want to add that many horses tend to be "one sided" meaning they do better on a particular side. This makes it important to practice things from both sides. (IMO) 
So glad you are enjoying your horses.
Donna M
Thanks! She really is a sweet girl. Today she had her teeth floated and was a bit slow to "awaken". She was sort of enjoying the brushing though. When I left the stall she was suddenly alert! Little stinker. 
Jenni O.
Ditto what Scott said. This was the horse that was originally listed as an arena horse, if I recall correctly. And she's become a trail pro in no time at all, and you two have quite the bond. I shouldn't say no time at all, because you have taken a lot of time to learn new things, and spent a lot of time with both horses. I love your updates too. But I do think you've accomplished a lot in the amount of time you've had the horses.
Donna M
Today Raven and I went on our second ride of the season. Maybe it was the wind or the unfamiliar horses we were with but she made me work for this one. She again refused to leave the property. Fortunately I had left her halter on and had the lead rope with me. Someone ponied Raven the first 40 minutes. Everything seemed to bother her today ... lines on the road, something in the ditch, unidentified noises, invisible goblins, etc. Traffic? No problem. Go figure! She didn't really settle down until we were on the way home.

I learned she will calmly stand tied in the arena but not in the barn. I grabbed the wrong bridle and had to leave her in the arena to make the exchange. A few friends were in there warming up their horses before our ride and when I returned they said she was calm and quiet the whole time. 

She was very cooperative for the bit today.  I was struggling with that for a while and used a couple different ways to hold her pressure points. She has been much better since I discovered her preference. Today I showed it to her, touched it to her lips and she willingly opened.  

June 1 we are attending a de-spooking clinic and trail ride. There is also an animal communicator scheduled to be there. I can't say I'm a believer in that sort of thing, but like many other aspects of this journey it will be a learning experience. 

She has been coughing quite a bit lately but was much quieter today. Even with her agitation and activity level I only heard one cough out of her. That figures too. Tomorrow morning the vet will be at the farm to check her. I'm like a first time parent in many ways ~ concerned about very normal and routine things. 
Sounds like you wound up having a good time, even though you had to work a bit for it.  :)  
I'm glad to hear the coughing is better.  Thanks for staying in contact with us on the phone about that Donna, we'll look forward to hearing what the vet has to say.  
Donna M
You're welcome Karen, but it is I who should be thanking you and Scott. You've talked me off the proverbial ledge a couple times when it comes to my girls. I'm probably a lot like an overprotective mother hen. We are going out again tomorrow afternoon. I was thinking of taking Sugar Bear but I would like to see if there is an improvement in Raven after today. The wind should be calmer which might help. 
Jenni O.
I had Peggy Sue out for her first ride the other week and she was kind of a pain in the butt too. It's that time of year, and the wind that never stops doesn't help. Have fun at the clinic. I never seem to have time to go to one. Good luck today.
Spring rides can often be interesting...smile...glad you persevered  through her issues and she settled down before the end of the ride.  Hope the cough ends up being something minor.
Donna M
Today was a much better day for Raven. I tried to desensitize her to leaving the driveway by leading her in and out the entrance to the farm. We met with mild success. When we left on the ride we turned left instead of right and she did not give me one single objection. Yesterday we turned right which is the way she always pitches a fit. She must be convinced Trollville is down the road in that direction. Today we were with all different horses than yesterday and only one was part of her herd. I had to watch her so she wouldn't bite his ass because she doesn't particularly care for him. Lighter winds probably helped her disposition today. Mild, occasional coughing today but nothing too alarming. I think there is something going through her herd. Half of them have been coughing to some degree the past few months. 

I'm pretty sure she still trusts me even though I force her to do things she isn't fond of. (wink) I brought out Sugar Bear for some grooming after the ride. When we returned to the pasture, Raven was a distance away but nickered and came to me for a cookie. She gave me a beautiful look of relaxed acceptance.
How interesting...I have one horse who really only wants to go west when we leave home.  When we go east, he can have a hard time relaxing and not gawking and finding things to spook at.  I must have missed Trollville to the east on all my rides...LOL..but he sure knows it is there!  Glad your ride was better this time out.
Donna M
Raven saw her vet today. Temp normal, lungs clear, no nasal discharge and she is fine. If you listen carefully you will hear Scott saying "I told you so". lol

I brought them home tonight! They knew right away where they were and seemed happy to be here. Left the house at 7:30 to pick them up and they were in their pasture by 9:00. Forty minutes of that was travel time. They loaded without much resistance ~ probably because I am getting better at reading them and timing when I redirect them with a little backing up. I've also learned to take my time and not try to rush them. 
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