06.08.31: Fried Brains

This morning started out chilly like all others. Breakfast was eggs and hash browns, and some strawberries. I headed up to feed Roscoe and then on to Remuda. They surprised us by switching up the leaders. I finally had a chance to be in the remuda with Rachael.

We had a long remuda which surprised me since Linda was supposed to be teaching our class. We talked about a lot of different things and went over what everyone did the previous day. I got a chance to talk about some of the things that I ran into the day before with Roscoe, and have an idea of how to continue working. Rachael sent us off on a break and we came back together and chose a couple horses to do some short demos with. I practically begged her to work with Roscoe just to see how she would approach him. She agreed, and so as a class we gathered and then headed up to the pen, observing as we went up the hill. It amazed me that with the whole class walking up he was highly curious. She went through safety guidelines for approaching a new horse, and finally stepped into the pen with him. She realized quickly that he was pretty much indifferent to her being there. She began to carefully engage him being provocative by going slowly and giving him plenty of warning of what was going to happen. He became quickly responsive and paid her much better attention. I now have several different things that I can do to work with him.

We went and watched while Rachael worked with John's little mustang next. He had much the same attitude that Roscoe had, but yet had different issues, and was not very confident in zone 1 with Rachael. She worked through that quickly and talked about where she would go next with him.

While we were watching we heard some noises from the playground and looked down from the hill and saw a rather large dirt devil whirling right over one of the other remudas during their demos. I managed to get a picture, but it certainly isn't a good one, unfortunately. It takes too long to get the camera ready.

We finished up there and then headed into the coverall to listen to Linda talk about the circling game. She brought in Remmer who is larger than life when up close to him. He was gorgeous and as always well behaved. He's just such a gentleman.

She began by doing quite a bit of talking about the circling game and discussing the use and reasoning behind it. She then began to demonstrate some of the things that she and Rem had been working on lately, including backing around the ring, which he apparently hates, and doing spins, which are really cool. She showed how setting up a spin is like setting up a change of direction and going one step further by asking them to continue turning around instead of only reversing the direction. Rem did really well and it was great fun to watch her play with him. She really has an ability to engage him and get him thinking about what she is doing. She challenges him a lot and doesn't bore him. That’s a lot to live up to with a horse, particularly when they are designed to frustrate predators.

The demo ended with questions, which were all really good. Lunch came afterwards and was seafood gumbo and jambalaya. I discovered it was then that Mom sent me a box! Yay for snacks from Mom! We all vegged for a little while and then headed back to the coverall for round two with Linda, this time using people's horses for demos.

The first horse was perfect. It was kinda boring really, and it made me feel kind of silly that it was chosen at all. The woman had problems with her circling game, but that was two days ago, and now things are fine. Though Linda identified a displaced behavior. The mare would stick out her tongue out the side of her mouth as a compensation for anxiety. She was a show horse at one time, and so there are a lot of things that make her really tense and it comes out in her tongue sticking out.

The second horse was a little mustang much like Roscoe, which was terrific to watch. Linda was very firm with him and played all sorts of games to engage his mind. I need to try some of them with Roscoe and see what happens.

The third horse was really interesting... The woman unfortunately had really misread her horse, despite the fact that she owned her for her whole life. The mare carried her head and neck almost straight up, which is a huge sign of tension, and the woman thought it was just a normal thing. I can understand not recognizing that before you enter into Parelli, but the signs that the horse was constantly stressed were all over the board everywhere. It was sad to see that she didn't recognize it. She entered the ring saying that her horse was a lot like Remmer, which couldn't be further from the truth. Linda went through a long time working on helping the horse to relax. She worked her through speeding up and slowing down at the trot to help her engage her mind. She also stood with her and since she wanted to raise her head, Linda pushed her head up higher. As soon as the mare would try to drop her head, Linda would release. It was to teach the mare that putting her head down really is more comfortable than running around with it in the air. A horse having their head in the air keeps them in a right brained state, where as dropping their heads releases chemicals and endorphins and is so good for them.

It finished up and we had a nice long question and answer session. We discussed lots of things and were able to get many answers to things that we saw during the demonstration. At that point, I had no brains left to do anything. It was also 4:30 already, and dinner is early on Wednesdays due to the packed evening schedule. I went up and hung out with Roscoe for a bit before going to get the materials to work on Lillan's surprise. I gathered that and headed down to the lodge, grabbed a quick shower, grabbed dinner, then headed back up the hill to feed Roscoe some dinner. I came back down and began working on the surprise in a hurry. I finally got it finished up as the campfire was starting, and hurried out though there were no good seats left. I sat on the ground next to the fire ring, and thankfully never managed to get popped by cinders. It was a great time, as always. The fires are so much fun. I finally wandered up to bed after a while, and Emma and I crashed.

Next Page: Friday, September 1, 2006: Intrigue