Sunday, December 21, 2008

Steve Holt! weekly update: week 2

And the snow just...keeps...falling...

Yesterday when I woke up I walked out into a whopping 8 degrees. The horses had pretty much emptied the water tub, but when I went to the faucet it was frozen. I grabbed a couple of buckets, came inside, filled them with hot water, then went back out and dumped the water on the faucet. Problem solved.

No. Problem not solved.

Hose was frozen. I'd drained it the last time I used it, but evidently there was enough water left somewhere in there to create a blockage, so back inside with the buckets, and back out with steaming hot water to dump onto the hose.

Didn't work. Although I did manage to get myself nice and wet, and instantly found myself with ice covered cover alls.

I've heard some folks put their hoses in their bath tubs to thaw them. That wasn't going to work. The hose wasn't exactly coiled up nice and was long and stiff and I wasn't about to try to drag it through the house while everyone was asleep to the bath tub. Not to mention I'd have to shed all my clothes, including the ice covered cover alls, before setting foot inside. No...that wouldn't work. Instead I decided I'd stuff the hose into the washing machine.

Remember when I said the hose was stiff and not coiled? Stuffing it into the wash was rather like putting 3' spaghetti noodles into a pot without breaking just stand and wait for them to slowly become limp, stuffing more and more in as you go.

The thought occurred to me that the hose would probably freeze the moment I set foot outside and all this struggle would be for not...and I should have listened to myself.

In the end, I was packing buckets. If I'd just started out packing buckets I'd have been done a lot earlier and wouldn't my clothes wouldn't have been frozen. Live and learn.

On to Steve Holt!'s week. It's been so cold that I've ignored a couple things that I'd hoped to accomplish; picking up feet and standing tied. That said, here's what we've done:

Steve Holt! now allows me to rub his muzzle. I can run my fingers around his lips and up inside his mouth, massaging his gums. He's not sure about the finger in the mouth, but finds it interesting enough to stand for it.

He's now without his short lead as he's become more tolerant of me approaching.

He almost stands still for the big blanket to go on his back, and waits patiently for the front buckles and belly straps.

He leads nicely back and forth to the round pen as well as in the field.

He crosses the bridge.

He'll walk beneath a low pole with streamers; low is an issue as he has to duck his head.

Yesterday I put a new halter on him. I cheated; I put it on over the web halter, then slipped the web off underneath.'s done. The rope gives me more control.

He's learning to drop his head with pressure. This wasn't happening with the web halter.

He jumped the blue barrel in the round pen. I didn't ask for it, he's been wanting to do it and finally did.

I ponied him off from the back of Sandy yesterday. We started in the round pen, then (while mounted) I opened the gate and we walked across the field. Steve Holt! stayed back at Sandy's hip and didn't try to move away from us. He was very respectful of Sandy's pinned back ears, but listened to me and walked up to sniff my hand.

Steve Holt! was saddled for the first time, fully, yesterday. He stood with his rope on the ground as I approached with the saddle blankets. This has been a big issue, standing still. Yesterday was the first time he didn't move. Both blankets went up without a hitch. He did try to side step away from the saddle, but not bad. I tightened the cinch for the first time and lunged him at a walk and trot, both ways.

Twice yesterday, for the first time, Steve Holt! approached me of his own free will without me having to work for it.

Yesterday marked a turning of the page. Not that we haven't got a lot of work ahead of us, but he made a decision to begin trusting me at a new level. If I were a more aggressive trainer, I'd have climbed on. But I'm not...I'm slow and soft. There are still holes and it's been too cold to spend that much time out there filling them. With the weather like it is, I may eventually have to take my first ride here at home, but I really hope not.

The goals for this week remain similar...if not the same. Pick up feet. Handle ears. Get a bridle on. Work on trailer loading (only haven't done this because City Boy has had the truck at work, meaning I can't back the trailer to a safe loading place...although I don't think we'll have any issues with this.)


Angie Nelson said...

You could blow some of that snow southeast if you like to. I miss it terribly...but, like you, I don't care for all the added work it brings. I'm impressed with your boy and am enjoying seeing the progress.

Rising Rainbow said...

LOL!!!! I so know about hose wrestling........not that I'm doing it currently because the hose would win.....but I have been there and done that.

I bought myself one of those curly hoses when I found one 75 feet long. It came this week and I'm wishing I bought 2. It's really nice hose and light enough I can carry both easily from the barn to the house. I didn't buy this hose for the farm as much as for horse shows BUT after this experience you can bet I'm getting another one so I have the 125 feet I need to get watering done more frozen hoses for me.

As for Steve Holt!'s training, sounds to me like you made some milestone moves in this crap weather. Ponying him is cool and wearing the saddle, no short rope, you are rocking right along.

I use rope halters to teach giving to pressure too.....funny how they make such a different when the parts touch the same places. My scientist part wants to know why????

Sounds like you're doing if this weather will only let up so you can really get to it.

Tracey said...

Oh, Angie...if only I could! I think there are a few southerners who would enjoy a white Christmas more than MiKael and I would :)

M~I'm jealous! A curly hose? That would have been divine this morning.

I think it's funny how we used rope halters decades ago, then we had to use web or leather because they were 'better'...and now we're back to rope because the horse can actually feel it, lol!

Rising Rainbow said...

This curly hose is really great. I had seen this length at a horse show but have never found where to buy one until now. I had already ordered the one with this weather hit. Then I saw someone's post on their blog about using them for freezing weather. Now with our "wonderful" weather and my new broad view for the hose's use, I'm gonna have to order another one.

It is funny how things have worked with the styles in halters. I remember sneers over rope the shows there are still sneers but that's their problem. I like my horses to have "real" manners and trust in me alont with them....that takes a rope halter in the I have little tiny ones for my foals. LOL Once they are trained, they're light enough I can do most things without a halter if I want to.

froglander said...

I haven't even tried with a hose since the weather froze. I've just been carrying buckets of warm water morning and evening to melt the ice and top off his bucket. Tonight it wasn't even frozen! Now if he'll just drink it down so I can clean it.

Steve Holt! sounds like he's doing great! I can't wait to see a video of you on him!

Nikki said...

Isn't this weather grand Tracey. We have almost a foot so I'm sure you have much more. Today we had a little heat wave when it got up to 29'. Have a blessed day. Nikki

Katee said...

Winter is just not a great time to be doing this challenge, is it? I commend you for going out into that white mud and bitter cold. The desire to just stay inside with some cocoa must be very strong.

Steve Holt! looks like he is coming along really well. He is such a handsome fellow!

Tracey said...

No ice in the water was such a thrill yesterday, wasn't it, Froglander? are you feeling these days? Hope you're healing up and getting some rest.

Katee, you're not just a kidding! I lost nearly 15 lbs while working Sandy. Gained half of that back and was looking forward to losing it again this time around...but between training sessions I come inside for hot cocoa, lol!

Molly said...

Tracey you are completely my hero. Frozen hoses, too much snow, icy watery clothes, and just starting a new horse. You are the woman for the job. I lay around watching the pelicans dive and feel like I'm missing something that everyone is suffering through right now.

Lea and her Mustangs said...

Shall we comiserate together about the weather. We have 3 feet - wonderful? No so. Its 9 here -ain't Global Warming wonderful. It could be 30 below huh?

Cave BlackFyre said...

I'm telling you.... YOu shoudl get on him in this stuff, it's cleaner then mud to land in and softer then hard dirt, lololol...

He's coming along this boy.

Jessie said...

Slow and steady wins the race. I'm glad you're taking your time. Steve Holt! will be a great horse when all is said and done.

Stop by my blog to claim your prize, if you get a chance!

Karen C. said...

ARGH! Frozen hoses! I have made so many messes dragging hoses around the house to thaw out, and reading about you tackling a stiff uncoiled hose was making me laugh in understanding! Now I keep the hoses hanging up on a couple of nails so there are no curls or kinks for the water to plug it up. I also have a 50 ft. curly hose that will hang up in a 6 or 7 ft space. We have the narrow diameter one, so it doesn't move water quickly, but it is great in a pinch! Brian found a bigger diameter one that he keeps telling me about. And who am I to deny him a hose that will make MY life easier??? Ha!

Steve Holt! is a very handsome guy, and even more so with the saddle on! You both are doing great in spite of the weather you are having! You are a trooper!

Be safe!
Karen and Tripp