I had some really great sessions with the handsome devil last week but was so focused on getting Bre well that I didn't post about them. Then I went into a four day stretch of work. I ended up picking up some overtime so I worked two 12s (my normal shift) and two 16s over the course of four days. Those extra hours earned me overtime and doubleback time (time and a half if you work within 8 hours of your last shift). This means I get to work on less shift during the pay period. However, it also meant that I was dead tired when it all finished Weds. I got off work at 11am and passed out until about 8pm. I was awake for a few hours before crashing again. I ended up sleeping a good portion of Thurs as well with no energy for horses or blogging. Today I am still turned around because I've been up and busy during my normal sleeping hours but I am feeling somewhat normal so I can share more pictures from last week.
Last Friday I went out at about midnight to play with my boy. He was very cute and mostly obedient. I lunged him in the big arena a little but the main focus was getting him to stand tied in the aisle without throwing everything on the floor. I first started the process by telling him what not to eat. Since he wants to put everythign in his mouth this is a never ending list. I could feel myself becoming increasingly annoyed every time he threw a new item on my head. There isn't anywhere to tie him without tasty items in his reach so there is no way around temptation. And even more annoying is the fact that he isn't throwing his own stuff, he is throwing things from the high end hunter group that boards with us. He either throws the expensive item at me or plays tug of war when I try to get the item out of his mouth.
I know from all my psychology schooling and teaching riding lessons that it is much easier to tell someone what we want rather than list all the things we don't want. If we keep saying "Don't do behavior A" then all the person will think about is behavior A. This is something I was careful to keep in mind back when I was training Bre. For some reason I just forgot all of this and let myself get sucked into the trap of nagging him constantly with "No!".
I decided to go at the problem by giving him an area that he was allowed to mess with whatever he wanted. If he moved out of that area I would quickly move him right back where he was allowed. I cleared everything off his stall door and made that his area. This left only his lead rope to chew on. I started by brushing him on the tempting side so I could correctly redirect his behavior before he even snatched an unapproved item. From there I slowly started walking away from him and correcting him with "Ahh ahh" if I saw his little brain heading in the wrong direction. Rather than wait until he had something in his mouth to correct I just woudln't allow him to stand near the tasty items and would correct any steps in that direction. I was amazed that he was perfectly happy to chew his lead rope thoughtfully and my annoyance level went down to zero. He stood tied for at least a half hour and didn't dance or swing his rear all over.
Here is a little taste (haha, taste get it?) of my angel boy tied in the aisle. I took this before I started my new tactic. Just before I started filming I had to reach half my arm in his mouth to retrieve my car keys. Just after the video ended he threw all the blankets on the floor then grabbed a sleezy in his teeth and held on like a pit bull.
He had been standing calmly so I went around the corner to my tack locker. I suddenly heard silence instead of his usual jingle of the lead rope and I knew he had to be up to no good. I came back to find his butt pushed in Ryan's face and the two of them quite enjoying a strange love session.
I'm just a cute little baby. I would never do anything naughty.
Um, the other horse made me pick up this halter.