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

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Barb S
Love the updates on Onyx! He's such a cool horse.
Love your updates and nice trailer too!
5/22/2017:  Onyx is just the most awesome horse and definitely the right temperament to work with my disability.  Dr. Sara (my vet) saw him for the first time on April 27th and was amazed at how progressed Onyx and I are in only 3 months of training.  He already knows the sound of my car coming over the hill and starts trumpeting when I come into view.  He also gives out a loud nicker when I come into his enclosure.

The more I play with him, the more Onyx is telling me about his rough handling from spring 2016.  Fortunately, it's a matter of developing his trust and going slow to allow him time to think and understand what I am asking of him.  He is going to be a wonderful partner for me and is already picking up where Bravo left off in helping me with my balance.  Onyx stood quietly by the mounting platform (actually it's a drywaller bench from Home Depot) and with my grasping a hank of mane, I was able to get up and down on the platform.  My friend Robin was going to dismount from her horse to help me and I said, "No, that's Onyx's job now."

I am so looking forward to our rides and keep myself in check to not rush the progress and to remember the principles which will get us there.  I am so grateful for the Parelli Natural Horsemanship program as it has made the difference in me and my being able to help Onyx.
5/21/2017: Attached are a few photos of Onyx enjoying his pasture.  Happy horse! [crazy]

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Name: Onyx on pasture grouping.JPG, Views: 860, Size: 47.82 KB

Great update and great pics!  It can be sooooo hard to be patient...hang in there!
Heike B
It sounds like you two are just right for each other!
7/5/2017:  Onyx is doing very well in his training.  His confidence is building and he is starting to really relax in his environment, which also means his play drive is kicking in.

He has accepted the bench I use for mounting and stands patiently while I hold onto his mane to get up and down on it.  He seems to understand that he has a job now and helping me with my disability is part of that job.  He is going to be an amazing partner.

Onyx had an episode in which he exploded when I asked him to circle to the left.  He took off bucking and kicking out and jolted me off balance on the 12 ft line.  In trying to recover myself, I couldn’t see what was his problem.  The next time I put him on the 22 ft line and sent him off again on the circle.  Onyx exploded again and this time I got to see his facial expression and it was sheer panic.  The solution was to bring Onyx close to me and ask for the circle while I walked with him.  When I saw his confidence build in me and himself, I started to send him out a little farther each time.  Now Onyx can circle to the left at the end of the 22 ft line and also at liberty without the explosion.  He remains calm and checks in with me when he’s unsure.  The moment I see his facial expression change to unconfidence, I invite him to come into my space and relax for some down time.  Once he regains his confidence, we can move on to the next lesson.

I have come to see that Onyx is less confident and more fearful on his left side.  I have been working on that issue and Onyx is doing much better.  He is learning and understanding that it doesn’t have to hurt to be a horse.

The attached photo was taken after one of our training sessions.  Grass definitely is his comfort food.

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Name: Onyx grazing.JPG, Views: 741, Size: 145.00 KB

Scott: MHWF
Love that you are working through this with him and taking the time to notice things that others might miss. Thank you for the update and photo!
Yes, awesome update. Wonder what causes his fear on that side. Pain? A memory? Hmmm
Scott: MHWF
Onyx has a history of abuse....so this news comes as no surprise to those who know him.
Barb S
Thanks for the updates Lori! Onyx is extremely lucky! The fact that he got into MHWF and you found him. His future is bright!
Wonderful update.  Love how you have found a way to make him feel secure and build his confidence in you and himself in these scary situations.  Well done!!
7/30/2017:  Today Onyx and I met with trainer Emily Kemp Kraemer for the first time.  I played with Onyx to show Emily how far we have progressed in preparing him for riding.  She was very impressed with his willingness to participate and how quickly he became quiet when I quit our games.  Emily then played with him and really liked how he was handling too.  She gave me a few suggestions to work on for myself to improve my communication skills with Onyx.  We are looking forward to our next training session with Emily in about 3 weeks, which will also include Onyx's first ride.

August 4th will mark 6 months of Onyx and I being partners.  It sounds like a long time, but it has gone by so fast.  At this point, Onyx seems to be over his abusive handling issues.  If he reacts now, he is signalling me that I need to make myself clearer to him so he understands exactly what I am asking him to do.  Then he is quite happy.
Barb S
That's exciting news!!! Can't wait to hear how he does!😊🙌🏻
9-17-2017: Onyx and I are finally moving forward to our goal of our first ride.  We had two setbacks along our journey in August.  The first setback was Onyx receiving a well-placed kick in the right side abdomen from one of the geldings.  He was one hurting boy for several weeks and needed downtime to recover.  At his last vet appointment on September 7th, Dr. Sara did a chiropractic adjustment and declared Onyx ready to go.  The second setback was mine in that I had adverse reactions to a medication that actually attacked my joints - localizing in the hips and knees.  I have been one hurting gal but no less determined to continue our journey.

Onyx has made great progress in the saddling process.  Not once has he offered to buck, bolt, or any other such negative responses to this training.  I have attached a few photos to show him in his attire and displaying his sweet disposition to the experience.  Onyx is definitely a pretty mover.

Onyx is so much more than I expected to find in my partner and every time we're together, I get even more.  Next year this time, we'll be on the trails.

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Name: Onyx and Lori closeup 2 - 9-17-2017.JPG, Views: 469, Size: 116.79 KB

Name: Onyx and Lori saddled in pasture A - 9-17-2017.JPG, Views: 468, Size: 138.94 KB

Name: Onyx and Lori saddled in pasture B - 9-17-2017.JPG, Views: 460, Size: 173.02 KB

Name: Onyx and Lori saddled in pasture C - 9-17-2017.JPG, Views: 464, Size: 99.00 KB

Your boy not only looks handsome, he looks soft and gentle, too.  Well done!
Lori, I am sorry to hear about the mishaps for both you and Onxy, but very happy to hear that things are still headed in the right direction for you both!  Thank you so much for sharing your journey with us, and the great pictures too.  We truly do appreciate it!  
Awesome to hear how you two are doing together!
11/2/2017:  Today Emily Kemp Kraemer came out to start Onyx with his riding training.  She played with Onyx, getting him used to her different energies and stimuli to get him to accept and soften.  Then Emily saddled him and Onyx was very much the gentleman.  She again played with him to get him used to her equipment and find any spots that may cause Onyx issues.

After Onyx showed himself to be steady, Emily started with mounting and just up and down with putting weight in the stirrups on both sides.  When she felt secure in Onyx for that, she progressed to sitting sideways in the saddle, again mounting from both sides.  Then Emily started asking Onyx to bend to rein pressure and finally yield to move his feet.

Emily could read that Onyx was waiting for something bad to come, so she stopped, unsaddled, and left Onyx's experience on a good note.  He needed a good 10 minutes to just debrief all that had happened to him.  When Onyx came out of his introvert stupor, he came over for attention.  And did he get praised.

He did all so well and I was so proud of him that I actually started to cry.  All that I had dreamed of having with Onyx is coming true.

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Name: Onyx accepting Emily 2.JPG, Views: 356, Size: 53.46 KB

Name: Onyx accepting Emily 3.JPG, Views: 356, Size: 47.97 KB

Name: Onyx accepting Emily 4.JPG, Views: 354, Size: 46.09 KB

[smile] Keep up the good work!
Barb S
Great job! I look forward to Onyx’s progress.
Your patience is paying off so nicely.  I am proud of you both!!
Your posts are always so entertaining. Keep up the good work 🙂
11/16/2017:  Today was Emily Kemp Kraemer's second session with Onyx.  She put him through more advanced colt starting maneuvers and helped Onyx become a better master of his emotions.  Onyx was so much softer in his responses and bends, which allowed Emily to really make progress.  I held my breath when Emily finally swung up and settled herself into the saddle.  I was able to breathe again when Emily and Onyx rode off, making their way around the arena.  Onyx was so well behaved and getting in tune with his passenger.  Again, Emily found a good note to stop on and unsaddled Onyx for his time to think about his lessons.

Now I will be picking up where Emily left off.  I am planning to continue lessons with Emily to make sure that I am keeping on the right path for Onyx's training.  These are a few photos of Emily riding Onyx and one in which Emily is working on the one-rein stop with him.  Enjoy!

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Name: Onyx w Emily - 11-16-2017.JPG, Views: 210, Size: 39.73 KB

Name: Onyx w Emily 2 - 11-16-2017.JPG, Views: 215, Size: 25.86 KB

Name: Onyx w Emily 3 - 11-16-2017.JPG, Views: 211, Size: 34.38 KB

Wow! How exciting! Hopefully you will be hitting the trails with him in summer. He is handsome under saddle!
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