Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Too Hot for Much, or How I learned to Quit Worrying and Love the Ceiling Fans in the Barn

Whew, sweaty horses and all they were doing is eating!

Tonight I'm going to play with the hose but last night I thought that a spray bottle of water would be a good instrument of coolness. It seems I still haven't broken through the "I don't wannas" with Sunrise. It does not seem to be a matter of fear or excitement anymore. She just doesn't like having that spray touch her.

Anyhow, Cayleigh was first to catch me. I spent some friendly time in the paddock with carrot stick and halter just getting along with the herd. Cayleigh and Sun both spent a lot more time looking at me tonight that lately but I wasn't interesting enough to draw them to me.

It was hot and I was only going to halter up a volunteer, if I got one. Well, I thought, no such luck after about 20 minutes (no one would stand still with me at their shoulder)  so I went up to get the water spray  which I had deposited on an upturned water troff just the other side of the gate. I turn around and look back at the gate and Hmmm, is that Cayleigh looking awfully interested in being with me? Cool. I walk slowly to the gate and stand just inside in my, come get me pose. Leg cocked, carrot stick on the ground my wrist crossed waiting on the end of the carrot stick. Cayleigh walked, with many pauses for grass or to kill an annoying fly, but I could see the intent to come to me in her body. I just waited, stamping at flies and doing an all over body wiggle to keep it interesting. She caught me and let me /*shush shush shush*/ spray water all over her. I again asked to halter her, something I recently saw in the Savvy Vault on a DVD from 2003, and backed off as soon as she leaned away from me. One more try and she put her nose in the halter, curved from zone three.

I brough her inside without much plan except to give her some relief from bugs. I've always disliked the ceiling fans in the barn as they tend to blow dust around if you are doing anything. Well, Cayleigh was sweaty all over her shoulders and her entire butt. Those fans not only evaporated the water I sprayed but cooled her off enough to stop sweating noticeably! For those concerned she was sweating again by the time I left and has plenty of fresh water in her paddock. She stood like a champ for the fly spray, ground tied. Even got a nice udder rub! I'm glad she did because her tail went from swishing all the time to maybe every 30s, it was especially noticeable when I put her back with the other two. A little relief goes a long way.

Sunrise was happy to come out of the paddock too. Less graceful than Cayleigh she couldn't hold her nose, but did put it in the halter for me, what a good girl! I brought her in to stand under the fans and got out the water bottle and fly spray. Tonight I started the usual way, advancing until  the smallest reaction then retreating. That worked quickly as we have done this plenty. As soon as the smallest drop touched her she gets annoyed and moves. I've tackled this in two ways, making moving uncomfortable, either with a rope wiggle or 20 more paces than she wants to make. Polite, passive and persistent but I'm not going to force the issue as much as I would like to get some fly spray on her for her own comfort. My idea has not become her idea. I can spray my hand beside her (zone 3) and rub it on and that'll have to do for the sensitive areas for now. She even enjoyed a ground tied udder rub!

Back outside, we spotted some Turkey's in the far field. Boy, id that get a really big.... no it didn't. I think I saw an ear flick, but it is hard to be sure. It was too hot to get excited!

10 comments:

  1. Thank you for sharing! What a great way to spend some undemanding fun time with your horses. when it's hot, it's easy for them to enjoy a cool down.
    Keep up the good play!

    Petra Christensen
    1Star Parelli Junior Instructor

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  2. Wow, our horses share so many similarities! Cricket did the "I hate fly spray" thing for about 6 years. We are just now getting to the point of standing tied and accepting fly spray. Ugh! Sometimes they make you work for it!

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  3. Thank you Petra. It certainly is. I've taken a fair amount of liberty with UDT and let it include walking through their pasture right on by to explore the back field or just sitting watching them munch the plentiful grass.

    Lisa, 6 years! Wow. Any things that seemed to work better for you?

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  4. I also have trouble with JB using flyspray on him. I am following David Lichman's advice by asking him to lower his head to withers or below level. Then I will spray (you might use water so you're not having to waste expensive flyspray). I release when he leaves his head down and has not tension in his neck. I use a sprayer that is under pressure (by pumping it up) so I can use continues spray until he relaxes. This is the key! If you spray your horse and he has still tension in his body when you stop, you taught him it's ok to be tense! Put some time aside for this task, so you are not in a hurry and you can take the time it takes (remember Pat Parelli says it never takes longer than 2 days). Being a working student at the Parelli Campus I have little time on hand. I found that it's those little things like picking up feet and using flyspray with excellence that are making a biiiiiig difference :-)

    Keep up the good play!

    Petra Christensen
    1Star Parelli Junior Instructor

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  5. You know, I had a concern that all I was doing was getting her more tense. I've seen what I call the "keep applying pressure" method several times in the Parelli material but I have trouble reconciling that with Linda's comments on thresholds. It could be that I've not been pushing at the right time. So if you meet resistance, push, if you mean fear, retreat?

    So, just to make sure I understand, friendly/porcupine, whatever is needed until head down and relaxed. Start spraying, say at the whithers, don't let her move around but encourage standing and lowered head with porcupine or whatever seems appropriate and release the pressure then. I've a pump action spray do you see that as being a problem?

    Also, for Pat's saying, two days actually means 48 hours right? I'd say I've spent about 5-6 and have had good progress regarding the noise and action of the pump. Actually, she was really good with it pretty quick(30 min), retreat is a wonderful thing.

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  6. What's worked for me is to pet or stroke the spot I want to spray, a moment before I spray her. And, I try to spray along the length of her body, rather than pointing the spray bottle perpendicular to her. It seemed to take the pressure off, and within a couple of weeks she was okay with the spray bottle.

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  7. Cricket would walk in circles when I tried to spray her. I treated it like confidence and allowed her to move her feet, stopping the rhythmic spraying when she stood still. Did this for MONTHS. Even at liberty, she'd walk small circles around me - so I figured I'd taught her this is what I wanted. Time to change tactics.

    Next strategy - backing. When she moved her feet, I kept up the spray but asked her to back. Not mean or mad, but with "you can move your feet, but I get to tell you where." When she relaxed into the back-up, I'd release.

    I've since figured out that Cricket just doesn't like the sensation of the mist on her body. There's little I can do about that - she doesn't like it and I doubt she ever will (I feel this way about tomatos). She has learned to tolerate fly spray. We have a routine - I'll shake the bottle, allow her to sniff it, she knows what's coming and she stands for it. I could spray her from now until Kingdom come and I don't know if she'd ever "accept" it. She's not high headed or wide-eyed, she just has this "get it over with" attitude and I don't have a problem with that.

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  8. Lisa, Yes, I agree, some things we just might have to be happy with a "I tolerate it" instead of total acceptance...

    PeterC
    The idea to lower your horse's head is that this will release endorphins which will help calm your horse so that tension will leave the body. Basically you are addressing the emotional and mental state thru the body. Of course, you want to be over a fear reaction, and be more in a "I tolerate it" phase. Then gently encourage your horse to lower the head, start spraying and continue to ask for "lower your head" if your horse lifts its head again. JB originally resisted over several minutes while I kept gentle pressure on the halter. I rewarded every slightest try and now I am to the point where I can sit next to him, ask him to put his head down and spray his chest, front feet etc at liberty. The shoulder would be a good place to start. With JB it also was the sensation of the mist on his body, not the noise or anything like that....

    Hope that helps!

    Petra Christensen
    1Star Parelli Junior Instructor

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  9. Yep, that is what my plan was for last night pretty much. It didn't work out. Something about Sun, besides the fact that she was trying to get the gelding to breed her, told me not to work with her. So I played the catching game, walked up to her with the halter, scratched the heck out of her sweaty spots with it, then just walked away. Tonight perhaps if the rain is torrential. I'm impressed you'd come and comment on my blog by the way, Petra. Thank you for your advice.

    You other guys I'm not so surprised about but I value your input just as much, so thanks to you too!

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  10. Thank you! I think the very best thing you can do is follow your intuition. Good for you - and your horse!

    Petra Christensen
    1Star Parelli Junior Instructor

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