PS…see you tomorrow
Until further notice, I have reassigned my duties as Star-trekker-trainer, and daily blog poster, to a highly qualified substitute.
As you can see, this substitute of mine has exuberance, she’s forthright with her goals, she has a good chomp, and every so often; a nice disposition.
HAPPY THANKSGIVING Y’ALL!
FOUR ON THE FLOOR AND HEAD OUT THE DOOR…YIPPEE!!!
After 10 days of working with Star, and getting him over his fears and green-colt anxieties about loading in a trailer, we had the best day yet.
Thank you Goddess of Patience! Thank you Blocker Tie Rings! Thank you Janice for leaving your trailer!
Not only did Star load, he stayed. He sniffed. He stuck his head out the side door. He nibbled. He leaned into my fingers at his favorite scratch spots and batted his eyes. He turned his head this way and that. He backed out a few steps, then came forward. Then he stayed again…for awhile.
And then he asked… “Hay girl…where’s the TV?”
I was so happy with this headway (wimpy pun), I promised we’d watch the next Panthers game together.
It was the same feeling I had at age 14, when I won four blue ribbons and then grand champion, in a horse show at summer camp. It was hard work and team effort then, and no less so today. With the same huge feeling of accomplishment.
And trust. Gotta have trust.
Head out da door…four on da floor…
Lookin’ like Turkey Day…you hot-red-headed-turkey-you.
I haven’t posted Photos of the Day in two entire days.
I had my reasons. I think one was valid…the rest a bunch of poo.
Honestly, I think I needed a break. But the scary thing? I immediately got used to it.
Makes me wonder if I should take weekends off. But that’s when things happen!
For example…Saturday I had Recluse Man help me with Star. I really believed the day had come when that stubborn mule would load and go. Like an ‘IN-N-OUT’ Burger.
He went in OK. And he came out OK… breaking two lead ropes, and ruining a new halter along the way.
I got him loaded again…after much coaxing…then called it quits. Always great to end on a good note.
Sunday was dismal. The coldest day so far this winter, with a bitter-stiff breeze. I had Recluse Man and a helper who is good with horses, and yet we still regressed.
Star wouldn’t even load. Not used to guys hanging out….trying new techniques…and probably gazing into my eyes… watching me wanting to turn the Panthers game on…we called it quits. Again. With no progress made.
Saturday I wasn’t able to post a POTD because I couldn’t access my FFF blog site. I took a nap at 8pm and didn’t wake up until 1am. Site was up, I wrote a post, went back to bed, woke up, and thought..HOW STUPID IS THAT? I should never have accessed.
Sunday I wasn’t able to post a POTD because I was accessing so much great football. Double Header!…Panthers then the Packers…my favorite two teams…WON!
I was very happy. Then later on, I found myself easily entertained with some really great excuses for not posting.
And then it was the late game!!!
Are you ready for some more and more and more FOOTBALL???
Lately, beyond football, I’ve been watching too much news and having nightmares about terrorist attacks. There are snipers and suicide bombers and feelings of deep fear inside my head. I wake up…then fall asleep to the next nightmare.
2nd nightmare…I’m trying to walk Star to my farm…1.2 miles along the highway. There are trucks roaring by, loaded with Christmas trees and lumber, that backfire when there is no shoulder on the road and nowhere to escape.
They are equally scary nightmares.
Then I’m shivering…and realize Recluse Man has rolled all the covers around himself, just like D.O.G. wrapped in his pig blankets. I grunt. He grunts. (I mean Recluse Man). I steal back the covers.
Now back to Star. We had a really good day today. I needed to hit ‘rewind’ on our training sessions and start with some easy tying. Forget the trailer. I had worked with tying him last winter and he did great, but there was no trailer in sight.
I thought he’d freak over any kind of tying at this point, but again, he surprised me.
Don’t forget this is a very green horse.
I bought two Blocker Tie Rings after watching videos, and seeing how much sense they made. The lead line is wrapped inside the tie ring so there is some play in the line when a horse pulls back forcefully. The amount of play is adjustable.
Once there is some give in the line, the horse will ease off on the crazy pulling. Horses are prey animals who hate restraint. Especially when separated from their herd. But when the restraint gives..no need to pull!
I was amazed by how quickly Star calmed after having a mini-freak-out. There was nothing to break. Nothing to fight. Nothing to bring him down…or up. In fact, he ended up with just a little longer line…(which I quickly shortened as soon as he moseyed closer).
Go Star! Go Blocker Tie Rings! GO INTO THE DAMN TRAILER!!!
At this rate…I will be happy to get that mule here for Turkey Day. I will STUFF HIM GOOD… RIGHT INTO THE TRAILER.
Here are some Photos of the Day. I do believe I will put an album together after that horse finally gets here…ya know…for his grandkids.
To be continued.
Star Treks; definition
To Boldly Go Where No Horse Has Gone Before…
I’m tellin’ ya…I am wiped out from being a Star Treks groupie.
That horse! We have logged some miles this week.
Once Star and I trekked down together this morning, we had a good, short session. He loaded immediately in the trailer, and then over and over again…so long as there was a grain bucket waiting in the bowels of that cave from hell.
Attitudes flared when there was no food in sight. I decided to end on a good note and return for a different sort of afternoon session, with Recluse Man’s help.
After trekking up first thing this morning to get Star, he and I Star Trekked back down and through the creek, as we passed all kinds of ghosts in the wind and monsters in the creek. After our first session, I decided to leave Star in the lower paddock until session number two. No more Star Trekking! I chained the fence, figuring I’d return in a couple of hours.
And dang if that horse hadn’t Star Trekked right over the fence and on to higher grounds.
Just as I pulled up, I caught sight of him leading the troops around the very last and highest bend in sight. When I shouted out, he looked my way with his ears pricked, then did a quick 180º (my heart skipped a beat), then did any even faster 180º (my heart thudded), and continued to lead his troops…up.
No doubt with a smirk on his green lips.
Then Recluse Man texted to say he’d be home after dark.
I was bummed. I had really hoped to move Star tomorrow, but I think we need at least one more session before he’ll quietly and fully load.
After our session…we parted in peace.
They were so far away when I returned, even when I threatened by screaming…
“SET PHASERS TO STUN”
…it seemed Highly Illogical.
Today was Day Four of Star’s trailer loading training.
On Day Three, Star put his two front legs inside the trailer, while his hind two stayed firm on the ramp. It didn’t last long, but it was a huge improvement over the previous session. So long as there is forward motion with each session, I find I can muster a whole lotta patience. The pay-off is so worth it.
For your Photos of the Day…I never thought a set of horse legs could look so gratifying…or make me so happy.
May I present …FOUR ON THE FLOOR!!! I even had witnesses, although they were busy looking for crumbs from my secret bribery technique…Then suddenly eight more legs loaded!!!There is much more to this story but alas…it’s late…and Thursday Night Football has begun.
I don’t have many photos to share today. I was more focused on a training session with Star, and didn’t want to distract our efforts by pulling out my camera. When I did, there was a break in concentration that wasn’t worth losing over a few photos.
We did not fully load in the trailer today, but once again, we made strides.
Am I talking like we are one?
Hell…if we were, he’d be dictating from the couch, after whipping up a carrot cake for us.
I want my boys to make life easy. Or rather…I want to make life easy on my boys? (Consult Recluse Man for the answer)
That will take awhile.
Meanwhile… bottom line…Star got his front legs inside the trailer today, and both back legs on the ramp. It only happened once, but I was beaming the rest of the afternoon. We got two legs on the ramp many times…but OMG…the flat, inside part was the scariest.
“I am a girl in constant sorrow…if only I get that horse here tomorrow.” (sorry…but that tune just popped into my head)
We started on Sunday with butt ropes and multiple lead lines and tricks and treats…and lots of resistance and lots of high pawing and scary rearing up.
Today, there was much pawing on the ramp (good sign)…but the rears were wimpy and few compared to Sunday, (double good sign). And there was so much more trust without restraints, and positive rewards after Star realized resistance wasn’t worth the effort.
Of course there was only me, (like yesterday)…not a whole gang of human strangers, (like Sunday)…and none of his horse buddies to cop the treats. Or dogs. Well waitaminute…that damn puppy ran through my car twice today…leaving muddy paw prints all over the place. And eating horse treats. Damn. Sorry Rita…but DAMNDAWG!
At the end of the day, I wasn’t disappointed about not fully loading Star in the trailer. I think we were both a little surprised, feeling a renewed connection we shared many months ago. The tiny gestures. The eye contact. The mutual understating and reactions over certain behaviors.
They were subtle…and clear…in a way I never get from communicating with people.
Maybe Star was thinking…duh…you human-girl…you are finally catching on.
Fortunately, I have the trailer on loan for a few more days. Tomorrow will be a wash-out, and too wet to pursue. So maybe Thursday is the day…or Friday. And that could be the first Thursday or Friday in December. But I hope not.
I have learned so much from these training sessions. But most of all…I have felt this joy, working with a horse I admire.
Star is so green…maybe that’s part of the attraction. I like to think I’m the first human he’s learned to trust. Lofty thoughts aside…I know he connects…as much as a horse can do….if you are not a bale of hay, or scoop of grain.
NO STARS IN SIGHT IN THE PASTURE!!!
For those of you who have been following the adventures of Star…the horse that is sooner or later bound for my farm…here is the latest.
Star did not load in the trailer all the way today, but we made great strides. Janice was sweet enough to leave her trailer behind so I could work with Star in a more relaxed environment. Just one on one with a trailer. Like Aaron Rodgers says…RELAX!
But then I started to realize…there is no such thing as a relaxed environment at this farm. In fact, there are a ton of distractions in the neighborhood. For being out in the country on a dead end road, there are horses all around, and people jogging and walking, and dogs barking and stealing my gloves and lead lines, and trucks and cars, and the mailman and neighbors. But what finally ended our session? The loud blasts of gunshots nearby! Even the Great Pyrenees slumbering out of sight, was glued to my leg after that.
It had been awhile since Star and I had a training session together, so I spent time with him first off, working in the round pen. A refresher crash course of sorts. I made some spooky stuff for him to walk on…a huge length of plastic wrap with corrugated tin underneath. He walked over it so many times, it got booooring. Could a ramp to a trailer be scarier than that?
I used a stick and a flag and tips I learned in videos I watched, but overall I found that I wanted him to trust me, without instilling fear. I want to make him feel like the trailer is a happy space. We were on the verge…until the damn gunshots….
Now you’re wondering…. WHAT THE HECK? Where does Dr. RM Spock fit into this?
Well, lemme back up. When I go to Star-Bucks, I have to round up the horsies first. Their pasture is huge and very steep and lately they favor the uppermost parts. I drive up in my trusty Subaru, but it sure makes things easier if I have a helper, shaking the bucket of grain, enticing the three stooges down to the lower pasture. Then I single out Star, and jump the creek with him, to move him into the paddock with the round pen. And that’s where the scary-ass trailer is parked.
Elizabeth is a pro at this, however she wasn’t available this morning.
But look who showed up…to beam the horsies down!!!!
He kept saying crazy shit like…
“Logic is the beginning of wisdom, not the end.”
“Change is the essential process of all existence.”
“Once you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.”
He was getting heady as I got the halter ready….I couldn’t help myself…
“SAY WAAAAH DOC RM SPOCK???? …
…BEAM THAT DAMN HORSE IN THE TRAILER!!!!”
And with that, he disappeared.
Still… I must say…DR. RM SPOCK…ROCKS.
There are plenty of documentary photos from the attempted trailer loading of my friend Star today. However…I would rather not edit them now and be reminded of the hours we spent futily trying to load that stubborn mule.
I had the very best of help with Team Trailer Star…thanks to Karen, Janice, Elizabeth, and Recluse Man. I thought Recluse Man might ride away on Buck while we weren’t watching. I mean…he had big feelings for that horse. But there was no breaking up Star-Buck today.
After more than two hours of rearing and balking and roping and walking…we chose to leave the trailer behind.
I will work with Star tomorrow…hopefully getting him adjusted and loading in the trailer with no big distractions.
Team Trailer Star and I would rather have it go peacefully and naturally…even if it takes a few days…rather than use force and fear tactics.
So there’s your stubborn mule Photo of the Day.
Elizabeth helped me herd the horsies to a lower paddock at their farm a few miles away. The plan is to load Star on a trailer bound for my farm, first thing tomorrow morning.
Wishes be true!!! I will have the whole winter to work with him and love on him and train him.
The light this afternoon was striking. The sun was so low, even though only 3 pm. Such a blue sky and crisp shadows. It was a wacky-wonderful round-up shoot-and-visit.
Wish I had the energy to share more photos.
No…I take that back. I only have one wish for tonight.
See you tomorrow Mr. Star-light.