I need help. Completely defeated.

The fire-breathing dragon needs to be tamed.

Instead of getting better, he gets worse.

Please help.

Seriously though, Subi is getting more unpredictable as the days go on. He’s generally pretty good in the mornings and pretty terrible at night. So I guess he is predictable but I can’t seem to fix it beyond that. We were better a month ago… [He’s fine in his stall. He eats, sleeps (evidence is the bedding found all over him including inside his ears), and looks generally relaxed in the morning)

Daylight used to make a difference, not now. Hard ground sometimes makes a difference, but not always. Mushy soft ground (most of the time) makes things worse.

If I do work in hand, it doesn’t necessarily make a difference in how he behaves. He’s spooky and reactive.

Generally though, if I do in hand work on the driveway before tossing him in his stall, he’s great for that. We don’t spook on the driveway even though the driveway is dark and shadowy. Unfortunately, we have to get TO the driveway in order to work there.

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Icy, slushy mess

Last night he got away from me for the first time. Not my finest moment, but I just could not hold on (it was slippery — freezing rain on top of snow made for pretty awful conditions) and he spooked at my husband and reared and I slipped and… I tried to hold on, but he got caught up in the rope and ultimately, I lost my grip. I caught him a second later, but… I’m ashamed that I lost control. I sort of kept him in check the rest of the way, but his brain was lost. Batt was screaming (seriously? Idiot horse didn’t help the situation) but we made it the rest of the way unscathed.

I need to spend a few hours just leading back and forth. Except, when we’re leading just to lead, he seems to know the difference???? We’re planning to install another gate so we can walk through the wood, but we need to cut up a fallen tree first. This will provide a darker path, but a flatter path too… I’ll take a spooking horse on flat surfaces over one on a hill any day.

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Prime…mush.

Anyway, I need help. I’m about to give up. While I don’t mean it, I feel completely defeated.

Update and help the cats please

Before I update, just wanted to put this out there. If you have a few dollars to spare, or can send a few supplies, please consider helping out. Some people I know through people I know, are working to help a cat hording situation in AZ. What was initially thought to be about 20 cats indoors and out, has turned out to be 30+ with exact numbers probably well above that. Every time they show up, more cats are there. The situation is taking significantly longer to handle too because the cats are requiring medical attention and surgery beyond just the spay/neuter. Many of the females are pregnant and have had litters. Most have giardia, many have URIs. Indoor cats have ear mites. It’s a horrific situation. Anyway, anything you can do, please do. I don’t share stuff like this often, but I am today. If all you can do is share the campaign, I’d appreciate it. If you can send a case of food, that would be wonderful! If you can donate money, they’d love that as well. If you are in Peoria AZ and can foster, please reach out.

GoFundMe the Monterosa Cat Project ($5 helps!)

Amazon Wish List for the Monterosa Cat Project (List is low now, but I’m assuming they may need more supplies)

Social Media 

img_9569In other news, I FINALLY have had a chance to hang out out with Ranger! I had a short lessons last week (I wasn’t able to do much thanks to my inability to breathe post pneumonia) and now my trainer is away for 3+ weeks at a horse show. But, I can ride during my lesson time while she’s away and thankfully I can breathe again! Nothing worth reporting on, but it was nice to ride again and work on regaining endurance. Nothing fancy, just some flat work and single, low fences. We were both exhausted after that. Lol. Ranger is a bit out of shape too…

Missed this guy so much!

Subi has sort of fallen off the wagon too. I’m not entirely sure what is going on with him. He started to adjust to coming in at night and then suddenly started tensing up, getting spooking, rearing all the time (almost on top of me one morning) and it all culminated 3 nights ago when I could not catch him for the first time in…13 years. This horse has issues, but catching isn’t one of him. And, for all his issues, he’s not spooky. Reactive? Yes, spooky no. The constant tension, stress in his eyes, and a few other things have me fearing ulcers. So, I’m trying a few things and I’ll see if we have any improvement. He’s been eating OK (well, not his hay), but at the same time… I’m trying to trust my gut. I will say I’m not scoping, even though many will say I should. He was scoped 4 years ago and I’m just not putting him through that stress again.

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Someone at work filled the candy jar with peppermints. I may have been taking handfuls for the kids… 

In addition, I’m doing some behavior modification. Teresa from Journey with a Dancing Horse recommended a leading technique that I started introducing last night. Basically, you have the horse follow and maintain the same distance. This video explains it. Probably not the best way to introduce it, but I introduced it last night, in the dark, on the driveway. We’ve been doing work on the driveway at night before heading into his stall. I think he started to get the idea. Then we followed up this morning in the round pen and led to the field that way. He seemed more relaxed (though he is better in the daylight). We did have a spook, but this one was legitimate as my dog came flying around the corner like a bat out of hell. He stayed out of my space and calmed down immediately once he realized it way Hermione so I’ll take that one as a win. Normally we have an incident and we carry tension the rest of the walk to the field. Not today.

That’s about it. Batty’s heaves are acting up, so I’m thinking I’m going to have to go the steamer route soon. I’m broke so I’ll be building one, but I was hoping to avoid it. He’s better with hay outside (despite the round bale form — my round bale guy has really good hay), it’s just the stall seems to exacerbate his issues. Oh well.

Subi and the big, tall, terrible, awesome, scary, wonderful… tarp.

I’ve alluded to having issues with Subi lately. Sometimes he’s fine leading to and from the barn. Sometimes he’s a rearing mess. I cannot for the LIFE OF ME figure out what sets him off. Maybe it’s being in a stall for the night and he just has more energy? Maybe is that there are big, tall, terrible giants in the sky scaring him to death and only he can see them? I don’t know. But honestly? I’m sick of it.

I’ve been swapping back and forth between leading him in a halter and chain and a rope halter. For a while he was overreacting to the halter/chain so the rope halter was better, but then post OMG CRAZY HORSE incident, I swapped back to the halter/chain combo as I had better control. I had been backing/halting, but I’ve limited that some as Subi has started to anticipate the backing once he misbehaves… So, he rears, halts, and then backs himself. Stupid thoroughbreds…

Anyway, I ordered some ground training books and I’ll start posting about those later. BUT Friday night I basically melted down. For no reason what-so-ever he was stupid. He hates the dark and soft ground and that combo is a perfect excuse to misbehave. So we spooked at Batt, we spooked at the giants in the sky, and we just were stupid and poorly behaved in our walk to the stall. This was AFTER we stood in the howling wind with no halter or lead rope changing blankets (WTF? I can’t do that with either of my other 2). I finally dumped him in his stall, started crying, and told him I’d sell him if I could find someone who wanted to buy him. Then fed peppermints to Jiminy and Batt… Not my finest moment.

But, I started fresh Saturday morning. The ground was frozen and he was a perfect gentleman to turnout. Prior to turnout (post reading 101 ground exercises), we working on dropping his head for a few minutes based on poll pressure (with halter assistance if needed), releasing at the first sign of compliance. He picked it us really quickly. Then turnout.

Later that day, I dumped him in the round pen and did some basic lunging. Just walk-halts for about 15-20 minutes. I reintroduced change of direction too and we worked on that for about 10 minutes. We did some turns on the forehand (both ways) which were hand with his arthritis, but I accepted effort, not perfection, and he was trying. One side was easier than the other. After a while, I realized I needed something else since there were no fireworks and decided to grab the tarp in my car.

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My plan with the tarp was to introduce it over the course of several sessions/weeks. Except, I walked it over, folded, and Subi looked at me and went back to grazing. So I dropped it by his head and he gave no shits. So I made it make noise and no response. Thanks horse. SERIOUSLY????

Next, thinking I might as well risk my life, I tossed the thing on his back and he continued to give no shits.img_9509

Then his neck. From his neck it fell over his head which was not a problem until it blocked the grass, which just required him to push it out of the way.

WHO IS THIS HORSE?????

So, I decided to make him stand on it. This took about 30 seconds mostly because he didn’t see the point.

Then we walked and lunged over it. Caveat. He was only willing to lunge to the right over it and had to be led to the left over it, but since he had no issue walking over it, I’m assuming he was tired/sore by that point.

We have 3000 problems, but tarps aren’t one of them.

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I planned to work him more yesterday, but I was tired and well, day off. Today we have snow and my university seems to want to avoid closing despite the city closing offices…

You crazy lunatics! Why are you spooking?!?!?!?!?!

Preparing for turn in and turn out lately has been… interesting. Subi is either really good or really… not good and on edge. I’m sure part of it is that he needs a job and being in a stall for half the night isn’t helping. So, he’s either on his best behavior or he rears. I’m prepared for both.

This morning he was pretty good walking down to the field. Until we got close and then… explosion. What made this different was there was a chain reaction. Usually Subi explode and I can get his attention and Batt ignores us. Except this time Batt exploded too. My husband was a little shocked by the calm, fat appendix thing at the end of his lead rope exploding in the air with all four feet off the ground (this is impressive). I focused on Subi while Erik got Batty in the field. Except, once in the field, Batt started rolling and bucking and acting stupid while Subi tried to be good while almost exploding again. I could feel the power keg in my hand and we had one mini explosion as we walked to the gate and while he wasn’t listening, he was trying. Once his halter was off (stupid rope halter…), the fireworks started…

FYI Jiminy had NO IDEA what was going on (he only reacted when the big guys got too close to him and to join the fun)…

Watch with sound…

I’m hoping everyone will be alive and INSIDE THE FIELD when I get home. They were picking at Subi’s leftover mash when I left for work so I assume that was enough of a distraction… Jiminy was VERY disappointed that the boys calmed down enough to help pick at food as he thought the bucket was 100% his…

Horses are stupid.

It feels like I’ve been saying this a lot, but evidently I haven’t used this as a blog title yet.

But seriously, HORSES ARE STUPID. At least my horses are stupid.

Subi seems to follow a 2-3 day on (good behavior) followed by an explosion.

I had been leading him in with a halter and a chain. Except, he started resenting the chain, overreacting to the chain, and I decided to try something different so we’ve moved on to the rope halter. Prior to the rope halter, it got to the point that I couldn’t even correct any behavior as he’d correct himself… With the rope halter, things have been better. Well, I haven’t had to do anything since throwing it on Friday, but… Most of our time is spent with Subi licking and chewing. Saturday night I even led him to the barn alone. No Batt in sight! (Batt decided he wanted to go out the frozen gate shut gate and I didn’t feel like waiting…)

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Not innocent

Until last night. Last night he was on edge. But, we halted, we backed, we licked, we chewed, we backed, we halted, we kept ourselves in check. I was very proud. Especially considering the ground was slushy and gross.

This morning, slush had frozen over and I pulled blankets. So, 28 degrees out, he was cold. And it was icy. (tough, it was going up to 54-55). And instead of behaving, Subi decided rearing was the right response. I can’t remember my initial reaction. I might have just yanked on his halter a few times and then backed him down the snowy hill. Then we walked onto the icy driveway to take the less slippy path.

Passing the “front” of the house, he tried to be stupid again and I lost it and yelled “ARE YOU CRAZY? DO YOU WANT US BOTH TO DIE? WOULD THAT JUST BE EASIER?” And scared the shit out of both him and Batty. And after that, every time he so much breathed out of place, I might have yelled, “WOAH!” and Subi halted. And then a little harshly yelled, “Back!” and he backed. And then “Walk on!” and only, then did I soften my voice… We made it to the field pretty quickly even with halt and back breaks, but by the time we got there, lots of licking and chewing were going on, and a stupid chestnut’s head was on the ground.

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So. Much. Trouble. 

When he first reared, he nearly reared on top of me and well, not acceptable. The halting and backing HAD been working alone, but sometimes you need to escalate? I’m not sure I’m a fan of yelling (lol), but sometimes I forget JUST HOW MUCH this horse reacts to voice and dislikes being yelled at.

Once the round pen dries up some (haha) we’re going to start working in there. I’m not sure he’ll be sound enough for lunging, but no reason I can’t start desensitizing and other ground work. I need a book of fun ground exercises that aren’t stressful for joints. But if it kills me, we’re going to learn to love tarps. That’s my Subi goal. We’re bomb proofing.

Meanwhile, my other stupid horse is a sloppy eater. Send help. HOW DO I FIX THIS???

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Who does this? How do I fix this? I can’t feed him on the ground as he’d spill his feed all over and eat his bedding… He’d do better without the cubes/pulp but chronic colic and I’m scared to stop what’s working… Picture taken during arctic blast so slop was FROZEN TO THE WALL. 

And my stupid mini likes to poop under the tack room door. We moved mats around, but he’s driving me insane.