Probably Time to Get a Dog….

Some tricks are inherently easy to teach an animal because they are based on their core instincts and behaviors. Teaching a horse to play catch is definitely not one of those kinds of tricks.

Horses don’t naturally like to catch objects in their mouths like dogs. They aren’t hunters. They don’t have the instinct to follow an object in flight and try and grasp it with their teeth. Add to this that a horse has a bit of a blind spot directly in front of them, and you can see how this trick can be a bit difficult for a horse to learn. Most horses can learn to “catch” objects by just opening their mouths wide and having the handler toss the object into their mouths. When they feel the object, they close their mouth. Dino, however, has learned to have pretty good eye – mouth coordination, and plays some real catch by grasping the object with his teeth. Check him out in the video below.

If you are wondering why I would teach a horse to play catch….let’s just say that I sometimes have some extra time on my hands while I wait for my daughter to finish with Pony!

Dino Learns to LOVE Ear Clipping

Training Dino (Wiley) to love the ear trimming process was easy to do with clicker training. It just takes time. I started Dino when he was 2, and practiced every couple of months while I was clipping pony anyway. I got a little more practice after I purchased some handy cordless $12 mustache clippers. I was just too lazy to get out my real clippers and go find an electrical outlet (I know, pretty bad!).

Dino is only 3 in this video, and he is already pretty decent at the ear trimming process. I can trim 1 handed with Dino untied.  I prefer him untied, so he feels like he can move away if he is uncomfortable. Dino started out like most horses and wanted nothing to do with clippers inside his ears (or on his bridle path). He was OK with them on the outside of his ears though-but by no means relaxed. I slowly desensitized Dino to the feel of clippers and then to their sound. Only after he was relaxed with the sound and feel, did I try to go inside the ear. Even then, I stopped after the first swipe and gave Dino a nice jackpot reward. Now I can go deep into the ears with no resistance. What a good baby dinosaur!

Tucson’s Liberty Jumping Featured in Horse Nation!

Tucson's Liberty Jumping makes Horse Nation
Tucson’s Liberty Jumping makes Horse Nation

My “once in a lifetime” horse Tucson passed away back in 2013. So, imagine my surprise when I found out he had been featured in Horse Nation. I love the idea that he is still doing his “demos” for people, even long after he has gone. I hope he is still getting carrots in heaven every time someone watches him jump at liberty!  As of today, there are over 30K views….that’s a lot of carrots!

Some People Say Horses Aren’t So Smart…..

What does this mean???
What does this mean???

I hear comments about horses not being very smart all the time. But I think they just might be wickedly smart. They may even have a keen sense of humor. You just have to pay attention.

Take Dino, for instance. Now I admit that Dino hadn’t been as “active” as a 3 year old horse should be. It had been incredibly hot, so he had mostly just been getting turned out. That’s when “this” started. 3 times in one week, my giant dinosaur of a horse used his automatic waterer for a toilet. This is no accident either. Dino’s normal “relief station” is at the very other end of his paddock. This is an intentional message. A plea for attention. When the weather cooled, and Dino was back to his normal exercise routine, this nighttime activity ceased. Yep, Dino, I got the message loud and clear (although I really fail to see the humor in this). I just wish you would communicate in a way that was a bit easier to clean up!

Baby Dino Goes English!

Baby Dino's first English ride
Baby Dino’s first English ride

3 years old,  a little over 2 1/2 months under saddle. Yep, it’s time to go English! Kelsey (13) volunteered to give Dino’s his first ride under English tack. I am so proud of them both!

Dino (aka Wiley) has been doing really well. I spent the majority of the first 2 1/2 months just getting him to understand the forward aids. Now that he is moving forward with decent rhythm and relaxation, I’ve started adding a bit of connection to the equation. In this video, Dino had 4 days of connection work….just enough for Kelsey to keep his head down and out of giraffe mode. Dino is starting some long and low exercises to get those back muscles working, but I didn’t want Kelsey working on that. It was her first time trotting him, and I was just happy that Dino kept a level frame. He has that long brontosaurus neck that he loves to stretch up in the air!

Dino has been so good with everything, I forget he is only 3 sometimes. I’ve ridden him bareback and hacked him around the barn. Nothing.  He has basically been good at everything as long as I take it slow. Personality wise, Dino is growing out of the colt like angst of his 2 year old year and moving straight into grandpa mode. There are still some days where he pitches a fit because he can’t play with his friends, but they come only once a month or so now. It won’t be long before those behaviors are extinguished, and he is just a totally sweet old-soul type of horse. He really is becoming a gentle giant. I LOVE him!

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