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

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Barb S
Excited to see Onyx could possibly going to his forever home??He's such an awesome boy!
February 4, 2017:  With a little incentive, Onyx walked in the trailer.  He was a good traveler for the 3-1/2 hours drive to his new home.  At unloading, he quietly backed out of the trailer, looked around, and whinnied "I'm home."  I took him into the indoor arena and acquainted him with his new training environment.  Onyx was the quiet, easy going horse that I had fun playing with in August.  After Kelly and I finalized the board agreement, I went back out to catch him again.  I called his name and he came right up to me.  We are on our way to building an incredible relationship.

Thank you, Karen and Scott, for your help and patience in placing him in my care.  It was a long six months of getting my ducks in a row, but Onyx has made the wait so worth while.  Stay tuned for updates as Onyx and I begin our journey together.

Jenni O.
As everyone can see, Onyx finally did leave for his new home yesterday.  We are happy and excited for Onyx and Lori both, and excited to see what new face will arrive here at MHWF in Oynx' place as well.  

We all look forward to hearing about Onyx new life and his training journey to saddle and riding.  

Here is an adoption day picture to make things official.  [smile]  Congratulations and thank you Lori! 

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Barb S
YES!!! CONGRATS!!! I`m SO HAPPY for Onyx and Lori! He is such a character and is going to make you laugh...A LOT. CONGRATS!!!
February 10, 2017: We are coming up on one week together. Onyx is doing amazingly well in learning Level 1 of Parelli Natural Horsemanship program. He is a fast learner and very responsive, which is making his training really easy. He loves attention and is super sweet. He comes to his name and is learning my whistle to let him know that I have arrived at the barn. What a fun horse!

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Jenni O.
Great update!
Barb S
Looking forward to hear his progress. Onyx is such a neat horse! Congrats again!
Onyx is doing really well.  He is learning the Yo-Yo game and has found his impulsion.  I have been working with him on lateral flexion and yields and he is so soft and responsive. I am really looking forward to getting him under saddle, but I know I need to be patient and allow him to get really good with his ground work and his understanding of why he is learning all these new things.  I have attached another photo and I think he is just the sweetest horse.

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Scott: MHWF
Love the updates....thank you!
Donna R
Love your updates and sensible approach to your training.  A really great match!

3/3/2017:  Onyx was so amazing yesterday. I was teaching him to "follow a feel" with my 12 ft rope and he got bent into a pretzel in the wrong direction. I waited patiently with a taut rope and I could actually see from the look on his face that he was trying to figure out where he went wrong. All of a sudden his light bulb clicked and he unfolded himself and flexed in the direction of the feel on the rope. Was so great to watch him figure it out calmly and the second time was even better because he understood what it now meant.

In the middle of our sessions, I take a 20-minute break to give us both a chance to reflect on what we just did.  After about 10 minutes, I heard this snoring and looked up to find Onyx sleeping.  He was so relaxed with his hip cocked and head level.  I just laughed.

This new photo was taken after I scraped all the dried red clay mud from his body.  It took quite a bit of effort to get this forward ear shot because Onyx isn't the kind of horse that gets upset by much.  I think they should have taken a video of our efforts, which would have been more comical.

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Jenny B
Mr. Handsome is just so handsome! Glad to hear he's doing so well!
He is starting to become the most amazing partner for you!!  [biggrin]
Love the snore story!  What a bond you guys have.
3/7/2017:  My play date with Onyx started out well.  The winds were breezy but we played in the indoor arena anyway.  Today Onyx learned more about the Circling Game and how to better maintain gait and maintain direction.

As we were progressing in our session, the wind kicked up to 50+ mph and sounded like a freight train roaring past the barn walls.  Suddenly the roof rattled and banged and I let out a shriek because it sounded like the roof was either going to blow off or cave in.  I looked over my shoulder at Onyx.  He got scared and rather than bolting and running over the top of me, he did a lovely rollback with a tight turn on the haunches.  He made a small circle and stopped about 4 ft behind me. He lowered his head and starting licking and chewing.  I quietly walked up to him and started stroking his neck.  I waited a few minutes with him and then moved on to our next topic: the Sideways Game.

Onyx caught on very quickly.  Although, quickly seems to be his learning MO in whatever we do together.  He was still on edge from the wind roaring and the barn rattling, but he focused his attention on me and what I was asking him to do.  His trust in me became very strong and he looked to me as his leader.  He didn't rely on his own judgment as to how to cope with the situation.

Onyx's is becoming a true partner in this relationship and not relying on his prey animal instinct for survival.

Sorry, I don't have any new photos yet.  I will take the camera out to the barn again.
Another great story showing again what a good bond you two have.  So awesome.
Barb S
That's great news! I'm so happy you chose Onyx. He's such a cool horse.
4/1/2017:  The time has come to move Onyx to his permanent home.  I led him from the pasture into the arena and played a few games with him to gain his respect and acceptance in my role as his leader.  My friend Robin came with her trailer and I walked him up to the trailer and allowed him time to assess the situation.  Then I asked him to accompany me inside and he walked in quietly.  Once again Onyx has showed himself to be my partner and also gave me the confidence in him that even with my disability that we are in this journey together.

Unlike his 3-1/2 hours of travel from Pittsville, this trailer ride was only 10 minutes.  Onyx quietly backed out of the trailer and took his first long look at his new home.  He greeted the other horses and then fell into step with me as I led him around the place.

After a grooming session, I took Onyx into the indoor arena and picked up playing the Parelli 7 Games of Natural Horsemanship with him.  I wanted Onyx to know that the surroundings may have changed, but my handling and communication with him will always be consistent.  He settled into the games and was very light and responsive.

I introduced him to a few obstacles that were in the arena and at this time he isn't confident enough in his environment to relax.  I saw that his frame had tensed and with Onyx being a left brain introvert horse, I stopped and gave him the time to think his way through the situation.  It took about 10 minutes for the change to occur: blinking, breathing deeper, and licking/chewing.  Then I petted his forehead and he lowered his head in the submission pose and we called it a day.  I always try to end our sessions on a positive note.
I'm happy to hear that Onyx is settling in well and is "home" now.  It's great to hear of your journey together, thank you for keeping us updated Lori!  
4/7/2017: Today was a beautiful day and I arrived at the barn to find Onyx lying under the warm sun asleep.  Seemed a shame to wake him; he looked so peaceful.  But awake him I did and he was excited to see me.

Onyx and I played the 7 Games outside and he was very responsive, very light and eager to participate.  Then we moved indoors for his first saddling.  Onyx was curious and gave the saddle a good sniffing.

He was a bit unsettled when I swung the saddle up for the first time.  He needed to move his feet so I just walked with him while holding the saddle on his back.  When he regained his emotional control and came to a stop, I removed the saddle.  After a few seconds, I swung the saddle in place again and this time he was okay with it.  He was relaxed and quiet.  Since this was also my photo opportunity for saddle fitting, he was very patient while Gail took the photos and I adjusted the rigging.  Onyx is definitely a big boy and it took us a while of hunting through girths to get one large enough for him. Looks like I'll be going shopping for new girths.

I played with Onyx while under saddle to make sure that he was comfortable and secure that this saddle was fitting him well and nothing was going to hurt him.  He became very confident and moved out gracefully in his strides.  I started training him for the mounting platform that I need to use and that is something we need to work on some more.

Gail was watching me during this time and she said to me, "You're just dying to put a leg over that saddle."  She is so right.  Onyx is making my training him so much easier than I expected.  We have certainly developed the relationship of respect and trust.

Our first ride won't be until May.  I am working on saddle cues and also getting him used to reining cues with the natural hackamore all from the ground.  Onyx needs a chiropractic adjustment as I am seeing some issues in his poll and throughout his spine when he flexes to the right.  I want him in top condition before I add my weight to his back.

I have attached a new photo of Onyx sporting his saddle and new hunter green saddle pad.  He is a handsome fellow and is picking up that nickname at the barn too from Gail and the other boarders.

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4/22/2017:  Oh yeah!  It's spring and even Onyx has a spring in his step (photo attached).  He is such a happy horse and really enjoys our play sessions.  I like to prove to him that training does not have to feel like work and he really gets into the learning phase.  We are progressing on his saddle training and will be about another month before that first ride.  I am not inclined to rush this part as I want to develop a solid ground foundation for him so that we have no issues in the saddle.

I finally found the horse trailer (photo attached) that I have been searching for and am determined that Onyx and I will be trail riding this fall.

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Name: 1985 Kiefer 2 horse trailer front left side.JPG, Views: 304, Size: 61.22 KB

Carla (Wis)
Love that trailer!
Love that springy step!  And the trailer!!
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