Bella- August 2019

Weds 1st Aug

Working away at the first lesson games, today we worked with poles too so that she can see what the games are for. Here is how things are going….

1. More steps happening now

2. Lighter cues

3. Games working around obstacles

4. Upping energy and noise with familiarisation of stick/string

5. Understanding ‘stay’ after backing up

6. Back up wiggle is slowly getting lighter

7. Moving forehand is getting there

8. S2M is going well and she’s slowly allowing me in her right more

 

Sat 4th Aug

Well today we worked on playing some games with POLES and also playing them whilst Mark rode Stormy away from us. Bella was a star, she kept an eye on where Storm went but was able to connect to me and play nicely too which is great. The pole work we have started on is:

  1. walk over 4 trot poles without hitting them
  2. walk over one pole just front feet and halt
  3. back up off pole with front feet

We tried backing up over pole with back feet but she really doesn’t get this…yet πŸ™‚

I also did a huge amount of Familiarisation with our bareback pad, girthed it up and then played some games with her wearing it….it went very well, very pleased with her progress today, here’s some pics from the bareback session….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tues 6th Aug

I’ve been continuing with the basic HS NH games over the last few days with Bella, introduced some half circle trot with calmness and also some Feel sidepass moves L&R which I was very surprised with how well that went. She’s getting used to me being on her right more and I’ve also started asking her to lower her head with some ‘manic butterfly’ focus games building that more and more so that her face familiarisation is getting better. She can raise her head as if startled when a hand comes near her which isn’t bad but I want her to be fine with hands near her face and to learn to lower her head instead of raising it and she is learning that lowering her head is good, brings about relaxation and that the worrying thing goes away when head is down…this also helps relieve her of any unnecessary negative adrenaline (-E) being around and so she falls in love with relaxation/head down and the endorphins it produces, just like the endorphins that are produced when grazing.

Today we also did more familiarisation with things on her back…..a sweat rug and a saddle with pad. I’m not sure at all if she’s ever had these things on her or if she has whether it’s been a positive experience BUT she took to both nicely and am going to build up time with these and a bareback pad and treat her as if she’s a youngster being backed for the first time…better to be safe than sorry, for her and for me πŸ™‚

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thurs 8th Aug

 

More Familiarisation for Bella today with a visit from the farrier.

She didΒ very well but we realise she’s not had this done as often as she should have and was feeling a wee bit unstable at times, even though farrier was quick, calm and kind and gave her LOTS of scratches.

SO…our job is to put her foot up on a stand every day for longer and longer periods, to make sure she feels happy and secure with her foot in the back and forward positions ready for her next trim.

 

 

 

Fri 9th Aug

Well the heavens have truly opened up today and Storm and Bella were getting soaked SO it was a great opportunity to Familiarise her to a rug. She was a bit sceptical but took it well, she was ok walking around in it and still happily in it a few hours later when we took it off as the rain stopped. By winter she’ll be used to one no problem πŸ™‚

 

Sun 11th Aug

Its been raining on and off for days and its been hard to try to get out with Bella and Storm for any length of time SO today when I went out to feed them their dinner at 5 o’clock and it was still drizzling I decided to put together a new Agility course and it was lovely that both of them came over to see what I was up to…a great start to a short play session I thought πŸ™‚

First was a really nice liberty play with Storm, it is lovely for Bella to see me playing with him, he’s so confident and calm with all the obstacles that it gives her confidence. Bella’s online session was very good but it showed in our familiarisation with the stick and string over her back that I’d not done it for a while…..we need to have much more consistency doing this so really hoping the weather behaves itself soon. Here’s some pics from today…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mon 12th Aug

Today we had some nice weather during the day so Mark and I got ourselves together and out to Storm and Bella for some fun. I started out grooming Bella and then playing with the Agility obstacles online. She did really well and is starting to really understand my cues now…and my cues are able to get lighter now too πŸ™‚

 

< Foot in hulahoop

 

Bunting lane >

 

 

< Draw through bunting

 

Bunting backup >

 

 

< Over tarp

 

Over tarp >

 

 

< Fig 8’s

 

Fig 8’s >

 

 

< Labyrinth

 

Labyrinth >

 

 

< 2 feet easily on ped

 

Back feet on ped >

 

 

< Trot poles

 

Trot poles >

 

 

< Fig 8’s

 

Weave >

 

 

< Circles

 

Beginning sidepass >

 

 

< Sidepass

 

Touch it…>

 

 

 

It was a lovely session of Agility. We also walked in-hand up the field and hill while Mark rode Big stormy. She was calm, attentive and responsive to my breathing transitions, backing up off a light cue on the halter/rope and didn’t worry or try to catch Stormy up no matter what gait he did or where he was in the field πŸ™‚

 

 

 

 

 

 

And in between Bella showed she can have a yeehaa when she doesn’t understand something….but what a lovely yeehaa she had, engaged in her core and not in a nasty way at all…

 

And last, but not least, we had a lovely calm session at the mounting block…here, most of all, I’m looking for her to find relaxation with me here. I will do this more and more and ask her to rest with me at the block…our ‘sweet spot’ πŸ™‚

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What a nice day, great that the weather allowed me to catch up on Bella’s training today

 

The 13th Aug

Bella and I need to do more undemanding time so thought we’d try to do more today. We went into a round pen for some ‘together time’ but I didn’t realise how bonded Storm and Bella have become because as soon as Mark started riding Stormy round and about her total attention was on him and where he was! how interesting! LOL

 

< distracted Bella

 

took 20 mins she lowered her head >

 

 

< Bella watching Storm’s every move

 

Mark and Storm >

 

 

I think I need to do our ‘undemanding time’ when Storm is close by next time! LOL

 

Weds 14th Aug

Today I thought about trying some ‘hanging out time’ with Bella as tomorrow I’m away to teach a clinic in Dumfries & Galloway for 5 days SO it’s time for some hugs πŸ™‚ We started off at liberty in the round pen with me sitting in the centre but she just started grazing as there is quite a bit of grass in it SO…..I took her out on line and stood on the crate to give her some hugs and get her used to me being at her saddle area, on both sides. She was quiet and attentive and I loved our quiet time together today….must do more of it πŸ™‚

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Dynamic Duo

 

 

 

Weds 21 Aug

I’ve been away teaching over the weekend so today was my first day back with the herd, 6 days without any contact. Bella yesterday at dinner was sceptical if me like when she first came but it only took 5 mins to be back in her ‘bubble’ so today was as if I’d not been away πŸ™‚

We started off with a bit of play in the agility area but with a bareback pad on, I need her to get used to moving with it on her back and a girth around her ribs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

We also made sure her new 7′ rug fits well…

 

Both the pad and rug are familiarisation games which she took too well πŸ™‚

 

 

 

 

Next Mark went out and rode Storm in the long grass of the field and Bella and I went and walked and played in that area too… She has not been out here yet so it was interesting to see if she was ok, which she was and we had a nice time.

Bella (Isobella) – Arrival and Start to our Journey (July 2019)

JULY 2019

BELLA ((Isobella)- details:
Shire broodmare (we’ve been told she was ridden by a previous owner)
17.2hh and 10 yrs old.

Thursday 11th July – Bella was delivered to us today and Mark walked her the mile along tracks to our field where she will now rest up, get used to us and our routines and start to feel at home. Soon she will be in with Big Storm and we hope they will be the best if friends.


< Walking towards new home with Mark

 

With me in her new field >

 

 

First day: Friday 12 July

Bella was a little sceptical today but I just made sure she felt safe and not pressured to do anything at all. She was nicely curious about things like the grooming kit the halter and rope on the floor, the quad bike and me too πŸ™‚

 

Allowing her curiosity will help her feel at home

 

 

 

 

 

 

She’s also enjoying her meals….starting off small and just forage it will help her settle and help us connect with her quickly.

 

 

 

In the afternoon we spent some time faltering her, grooming her, fly spraying her and getting the tangles out if her name and tail.

 

it’s a short tail at the moment but is fabulously thick and will be glorious once its grown again πŸ™‚

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bella stretched her legs this afternoon too when Mark rode Stormy nearby in the field. She has lovely gaits and I can see why she was a broodmare for a couple of years, her babies must have been lovely.

 

 

 

 

Sat 13th JulyΒ 

Lovely sunny day for Mark and I to hang out with the herd. We’re taking things very slowly with Bella so that she learns to trust us and finds confidence in our routines, it must be weird for her to have been taken from all she knows to a place and people she’s never met before SO first in my mind is for her to find relaxation in the small basic’s we do, things like feeding, haltering, grooming, fly spraying etc. Once she’s used to those things then we can start with more training.

Today it was lovely to see her curious enough to follow Mark about as he did things in her part of the field, working at liberty with these small things allows her to know she can move away if she feels she needs to and to come to us if she feels she can πŸ™‚

 

< Following Mark

 

Watching Mark >

 

 

 

< Bella’s beautiful soft eye

 

Loving her grub >

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday 14th July

Today’s session started with Bella moving away when I asked to halter her….no problem as she is allowed her opinion and it allowed us to have a conversation. That conversation consisted of me following her inΒ  a ‘neutral’ way (ie. not pushing her or driving her, just following and her leading). When she got to an open area she turned her head and put her ear towards me, I stopped, lowered my eyes and rested so that she could think about her next move. She didn’t move SO I walked forward but giving her a wide berth and took my focus onto a barrel on it’s side. When I reached the barrel I sat down and thought about anything other than Bella. She stood for a while and then came over to me, this is the curiosity I want to encourage, that gives her the confidence to come to me and to know I’m okay to be around πŸ™‚

I started off by allowing her to smell my hand, then I stood up and stroked her neck/shoulder and started walking off with my hand at her nose. She followed me in a lovely Stick 2 Me (S2M) at Liberty. I then stroked her neck again and haltered herΒ  and we managed some nice halt/walk breath transitions together πŸ™‚

 

< Liberty S2M

 

Haltered S2M >

 

Next we repeated the haltering process…on/off/on/off with me asking for relaxation, head down and towards me to halter. I used +R treat training to help her know she’s doing well.

 

After a nice session we took one electric fence away from Storm and Bella, now they are about 8′ away from each other, can see and smell each other more. This is the start of their relationship….they were curious about each other but not prancing about nor running away. We will make sure Bella is ready to be friends with Storm before we let them loose together, it has to be on her terms, when she’s confident and happy about being with him.

 

 

Thurs 18th July

Managed to get out with Bella today. Mark did a quick flare trim on her hooves as they were quite bad. Wil do a proper trim next week but today we wanted to make sure she was ok being trimmed and ok putting each for up on the stand. She did really well. After the trim I decided to just start with a couple of basic HS moved to see how she reacts/responds to things.

Here is what I did:

1) Familiarisation: hands all over, patting and moving around her with some energy (much better than when she first arrived)

2) Feel: moved her hq’s and fh away (good on hq’s, sticky on fh but only because she didn’t understand the first time, second time much easier…learns quickly)

3) Focus: moved hq’s 180′ (easy and fluid-nice)

I look forward to having more play sessions but have to remind myself that she is a real beginner so slow and gentle is the way ahead and to not do too much at once. Mark talked to the original breeder of Bella this morning, be owned her from birth to about 7yrs old. She was bred with and gave him 2-3 foals. The last owner, who we purchased her from, also took 2 foals from her so I am treating her like a youngster to keep her confidence and earn her trust.

 

Mon 22nd July

Mark moved the horses fences closer today so that instead of being 8′ apart they are now only a couple of feet apart πŸ™‚

 

Tues 23rd July

Today our two Shires went in together. They’ve had enough time to get used to each other and recently touch noses and they’re both wanting to be in together SO we opened up Bella’s fencing and let them get to know each other more.

At first Bella went and checked out Storm’s bachelor pad and Storm checked out Bella’s area which was very interesting, then slowly they started interacting and it was really nice to watch. They respected each other’s space, no pushing or rushing, no biting, kicking, running, bolting or legs in the air…phew πŸ˜‰

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wed 24th July

Today was our 2nd small play session. Keeping all of the games short and sweet so she has time to understand things and is happy to come back and do more next time. we did the same as on the 18th but managed to do 2 steps on each if the games this time and added the beginnings of wiggling the rope for a backup and a soft draw towards.

 

 

< Familiarisation

Moving hq’s >

 

 

 

< Move forehand

Move forehand >

 

 

 

< Move fh towards

Wiggle to halt/backup >

 

 

 

 

< Move hq’s

Head down >

 

 

 

 

Fri 26th July

3rd session today, all going well and building up the time we play now.

Mark is also riding Stormy daily (when he can) to get him fit and Bella is keeping him company which is great to see.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sat 27th July

Another nice session with Bella, after dinner time today πŸ™‚ We did same as before, more steps and more lightness which is fab, I also added her first 1/2 circle through a gateway. We also managed to film our ‘Lesson 1’ which I have put up on the Category to the right called “Bella’s Lesson Video’s” πŸ™‚

Storm and Bella are really starting to enjoy each other more now with lots of mutual grooming going on….

 

 

Sun 28th July

Well we’ve had Bella 2 1/2 weeks now… Such a short time but it feels like she’s been a part of our lives for a long time she’s fitted in so well.

SO…Today was our 5th session and we practised our basics on our FIRST Agility session. It was a lot of fun and it was great to see Bella understanding what we were doing and it was helped by us watching Storm do his session first…. He learned by watching our horses Holly and Tara at the time and now it’s his turn to teach.

Here are some pics of her first Agility session….

 

< squeeze through narrow gap

Walk over large tube >

 

 

 

 

 

 

< walk under arch

Walk over tarpaulin >

 

 

 

 

< Fig 8

Fig 8 >

 

 

 

 

 

< 2 feet on pedestal

Walk over poles >

 

 

 

 

 

< Feet on/in hulahoop

Weave through cones >

 

 

 

 

 

< End where we began at the narrow gap πŸ™‚

Me with our 2 beauties Bella and Storm >

 

 

  • Shelley – HorseSavvy