Don't forget the back to school giveaway!If you haven't already entered, you can toss your name in the hat by adding our fundraising widget (top left) to your blog, page, or forehead (still kidding), follow us here and like us on Facebook (top right), or tweet your favorite post. Donations count for two entries ('cause we need 'em :o) Drawing will be on Friday, August 26 and the winner will be announced on that weekend's post. A special thank you to "The Old Geezer" <--not my choice of words) for getting us to 100 followers - Woo! Definitely worth checking out (love "The Green Thing" post). In case anyone is wondering, I did not finish my office before school started, but I did get a little closer. Meh :oP We still have to construct my ginormous craft table; it's going to [hopefully] be a masterpiece. I'll letcha know. *grin*
Sarabear has had some trouble recently with her eyes. They were kind of goopy, puffy,and very watery and even with the fly sprays the gnats were making her crazy. She started rubbing her eyes on the wood around the stalls which was, in turn, causing me to develop a nervous twitch in my own eye. I just knew she was going to poke her eye out, get a splinter, or something. Eeek. We decided to try a fly mask, although I admit I had some doubts as to whether or not she'd actually wear it. Sara had been sent to a very abusive trainer early in life - not by us - for the halter show ring; she's an Anglo-Arab. Whatever he did, and that's all I know is it was a male trainer, caused her to be extremely head shy and she is still very afraid of having her ears touched. We're working on it :o)
Instead of starting with the mask right away, I let her see it first and then just hung it on the stall and put her halter on because I wanted to start with success (above photo). Then I took the halter back off and asked Sara if we could try the fly mask (after we gave it a good snuffle or two of course):
This is where a real relationship is invaluable. You can see that we are "outside", so Sara is free to leave. This means there is absolutely no pressure on her, other than what she is willing to accept. The other girls are still in their stalls (this was right after supper) so there is no one to bother us. In addition to the greed factor [treats], the horses genuinely seem to want my attention and approval, which just blows me away with stuff like this. When I lifted the mask to put it on, Sara said she wasn't ready (Photo below L) by raising her head high [fear] and flicking her ears back and forth [uncertainty]. I dropped it back down so she could think about it a bit more (below R).
Right here is often the point where horses and humans part company (at least for me). The internal urge to just "show" her it's no big thing by putting it on is huge and I have to fight it every stinkin' time. We just want to go ahead and do it so they will see that it's not a bad thing at all. Horses don't work that way, though. It's a thousand times better in the long run to let them decide on their own when they are ready, and they really will tell you provided you have good communication going between you (you'll see it with Rina further down). In reality, it takes far less time to drop it down and give Sara another minute than it would to chase her head around anyway (or worse, cause her to stress to escalate to the point she leaves). That extra minute was all she needed - what a good girl Sarabear. You stylin' it now sistafriend! *laugh*
Since DD was available for a bit to shoot a few more pictures after Sara, I was curious to see how the other girls would react to the mask; they were still in their stalls. I asked Rina if she wanted to try it on...She gave it a good sniff (below L), then said "nuh-uh" by pulling her head back partway into her stall (R):
I'll add that I am sure I could have gone into her stall and gotten her to put it on, but I opted to go with the flow and move on to Taya (you'll see why in a minute ;o)
Bella had about the same reaction as Taya - ummm...ok - What a good girl!
Now, here's the part that really fascinates me. After I let everyone out, guess who came marching back up to me and wanted to try on the fly mask? Yep, it was Rina. Is that cool or what? Horses are just too awesome for words sometimes (and yes, I was so tickled with her request and willingness to put the mask on that I let out a happy little whoop and clapped for her...forgot I wasn't at elementary school [work] just then. HaHa. Silly me, I know. ;oD
Miscreant Max and I have started our home school lessons; otherwise we couldn't have played around for the camera here - he would have broken my nose for sure. It took me two solid weeks before I was able to give him a reward. Not kidding. Sometimes you need a magnifying glass and an awful lot of time to find that one positive thing. He'd do something that mostly passed for "good" (Max has a sliding scale ;o) and then immediately do something completely obnoxious and render me unable to give him a reward. It was making me crazed.
We have had several chats about broken stall boards (one of umpteen patches visible in the photos), picking fights, spatial relationships, (you can see in the photo above he's not much on that stuff) crawling under fences, climbing up the stall wall (literally), general obnoxiousness, attentiveness, and just trying to behave a little better overall. Max has come to the conclusion that being a good boy is not nearly as awful as he thought it was going to be, so he is going to try his very very bestest to do it more often and stay out of trouble...
Have a blessed week everyone, and a wonderful back to school experience this year! Kids too ;o)