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

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Yes great update.  Love the interaction between you two.
4/28/2019: Play date with Onyx went exceptionally well. Several weeks ago I discovered a touchy spot for Onyx, which led me to believe that someone slammed a bit in his mouth. I inserted my index fingers into the corners of his mouth and he went nuts, flipping his head violently up and down and trying to expel my fingers. I kept with him until he started to quiet and then removed my fingers. I kept up this process until he got quiet in his mouth. Today, however, I introduced the bridle with Parelli's confidence bit. I first placed the crown and brow band on his head and left the bit dangling under his chin. Then I unbuckled the strap with the bit and gently inserted it into Onyx's mouth. He did a lot of playing with the bit, sliding it up and down his tongue, but he did not have the violent reaction he displayed weeks ago. Then I buckled the strap and Onyx and I went into our play mode and he got right down to business. From now on every time I play with him, the bridle will be part of our routine. I will submit a photo of Onyx wearing bridle in my next update.
5/9/2019: Onyx wearing his bridle. Sure is a handsome fella!

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5/13/2019: I dropped off Onyx at school today. He is training with Emily Kemp Kraemer to learn what he needs to be for my riding partner. Onyx will be in training for a month and during that time, Emily plans to have me come and take lessons with her on Onyx. I am so excited to start riding and enjoying my boy. Once he is home, I plan to continue monthly lessons with Emily to help us improve our relationship in the saddle. This is Onyx with his new paddock pal, Phoenix, who also arrived today to start his training with Emily.

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Good luck on this new journey with Onyx!

5/17/2019: Today was a nice birthday outing. I got to sit in on a training session Emily was having with Onyx. She said that she doesn't need to do much ground work with him to prepare him for riding.  I should hope not because that's what we've been doing for two years.  She came to him with the bridle and he now takes the bit willingly.  I was so excited to see that my work with him on this challenging issue paid off.  I got to see him do circles at the walk and trot; go very nicely down the rail, but one thing I noticed was his blah expression.  Onyx didn't notice that I was sitting outside the arena watching him.  On his second round as he was coming toward me, he suddenly dropped his head and looked straight at me.  His eyes got large and his ears pricked forward.  Suddenly his movements got more animated and his walk took on a bold stride.  Every time he neared the rail he would drop his head and look at me.  Emily said it was the best ride she had on him all week.  As you can see in the photo, Onyx was clearly showing off for his mom.

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What a wonderful birthday present!
Jan N
Love the bond you have built with him!
What a neat experience!  
6/12/2019: I had my first ride today on Onyx under the supervision of my trainer, Emily Kemp Kraemer. It felt great being topside again and Onyx dealt really well with my physical issues. Looking forward to tomorrow's ride. Sorry no photos for this session. Emily and I agreed that today's ride was about safety, getting Onyx acquainted with my being on him, and helping me deal with my physical challenges.
Congratulations!  You both have worked hard for this!
That was a long road. Congrats!!!
6/17/2019: Today was my third ride on Onyx with Emily Kemp Kraemer. Last Thursday was my second ride, which went well in spite of the wind and cold. My balance was much better today and I spent more time with my focus on actually getting in harmony with his big stride. Emily even guided us over the bridge several times to help me understand how his body moved and to make adjustments in my body. I got to take over the reins to get him used to my cues. I also brought Onyx home today and he is getting acquainted with his new pasture pal. He settled in right away and is enjoying his supper. Today was just an awesome day.

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He's so pretty and you have a lot of patience.
Congratulations on all you & Onyx have accomplished together! He is a beautiful horse and you have been on a beautiful journey together. Hope your journey keeps getting better!
Wonderful to see you riding Onyx!
6/20/2019: Today was my 4th ride on Onyx with assistance from Robin Royer. Onyx stood quietly for me at the mounting and dismounting parts of the ride. He also rode very nicely throughout the 45-minute session. He is so much fun. We ended with Onyx getting his "good job" pat.

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Barb S
Just caught up on Onyx. Great news! You’re doing an awesome job with him!
I've said it before, and I know I will say it again....but...I love the bond you two have.
6/26/2019: Today was a monumental achievement for Onyx and me. It was our first time going solo. Right from the start at the mounting block, Onyx was my partner. He stood beautifully for me as I fumbled getting on. Then he moved off at a walk at my cue and was so soft in his responses. We rode around the arena on our own, and then we were joined by Robin and her Tennessee Walking horse, Star. Gail set up cones, barrels, and other obstacles for us, and also acted as photographer. Onyx was getting softer with his maneuvers, listening to my legs, seat, weight shift, and then the reins. We finished the ride at the bench and Onyx stood patiently as I fumbled getting off.
I want to acknowledge and thank Emily Kemp Kraemer for all her dedication and efforts with Onyx and me to make this dream possible. She is truly an amazing horsewoman and trainer.

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Jan N
Applause all around !! Tears of happiness for you and Onyx here.
How incredibly awesome!!  
You have one beautiful and awesome steed there. And it is so neat for the rest of us to see you reap all the time, patience, love and hard work you have put in to get where you are. You both deserve this!
7/7/2019: Onyx and I had a wonderful ride today. Thankful for the change in the weather.

I just want to take this opportunity to thank all of Onyx's devoted fans for their encouragement and wonderful comments on his thread.  Two years may seem like a long time, but with Onyx, that two years seemed to fly by.

I was talking with my friends about this episode in my life and Onyx's life, and we agreed that all was in God's hands and timing.  Onyx needed that time to learn that being a horse doesn't have to hurt, that love can be unconditional between a horse and human, and that patience is really a virtue.  Onyx has taught me a lot about left-brain introvert horseanality and what it takes to get through to motivate him and he also taught me a lot about myself.  I had to think creatively to encourage him and to keep things interesting for him.  Left-brains are very smart and can undo your strict agendas.  I now go to the barn with a simple plan and then see what Onyx has on his.  He has taught me to be flexible and to wear a smile no matter how small the achievement.  When we finish, we are both smiling.  That's a great feeling!

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