Spray Bottle lesson
|November 5, 2014||Posted by Melinda under Uncategorized|
Having neatly escaped a spray bottle lesson on *Sunday night, Monday I went out to the barn with renewed purpose.
No tricks this time little Miss MerryLegs! We shall proceed with the lesson as planned!
Spray bottles are on the short list of things MerryLegs has objected to in the short time we have been together so Sunday night I went out to give her a medicated mash and do the spray bottle thing, only to see her laying down.
I did the logical thing and panicked. OMG MY BABY HORSEY IS DYING. Because, as you might remember the *only* other time I’ve observed her laying down (she’s a sneaky sleeper) was during the first part of the PF crisis where she went from looking fine to not being fine and was down, grunting in pain while I did a physical and frantically called the vet only to be told that we were at the end of the line in terms of managing her in the field and our current diagnostics…yada yada yada.
So you’ll understand if I over-reacted just a *teensy* bit. She did *not* get up when I drove up, or when I walked up to her pen (she’s in a perimeter paddock right now, but you still have to go all the way around and into the ranch in order to get into her pen), so obviously she was dying. By the time I had
leaped over the fencing unlocked and ran through the gate (hey, my pants were new and the top of the fence was pointy) she was calmly standing and looking at me in a puzzled fashion that clearly said “Where is my mash?“.
No longer in the mood for any sort of lessons, I threw mash at her and left.
The plan was to do a spray bottle introduction “Aurora-style“.
Oh sure. There were some small changes.
For example, Aurora’s lesson looked like this.
After all, I was lucky enough to have some moonlight.
(Can I digress for a minute and say that for all our sakes I really really REALLY hope I get a little electronic drawing tablet for christmas so we can stop with the ridiculously hand-cramping inducing pictures drawn with a laptop click and drag touchpad in a “paintbrush” program??????)
Being the lazy sort, we did the lesson in ML’s pen, which is about the size of a small roundpen.
What was ML’s motivation for playing my reindeer games?
1. Mash Mash MASH. That girl does like her mash.
2. And of course *ME*. (so ego-gratifying that one of my animals actually wants to be in my presence. Are you listening Farley/Tess/Connor?)
3. And….her natural curiosity.
The session started with me carrying in her evening bucket of mash while ML tried to bite the top off of my ‘specially purchased empty spray bottle that was tucked under my arm. (Matt, while doing our weekly
date-night grocery shopping: “Why do you need a spray bottle?” Me: “Ummm…stuff. )
Aurora explains the philosophy behind this lesson quite simply and elegantly so I suggest you hop on over and read it over there. Simply put, the annoying and stressful sound of the sprayer stopped when ML did the right thing.
At first the right thing was simple and easy. All she had to do was stop moving and face me. The sound stopped, and she walked over and helped herself to mash.
Then the spraying would only stop when she actually started approached me and my bottle of death.
THEN the spraying would only stop when she approached me AND was close enough to reward herself with mash.
End result? Pony munching mash while I stood by the mash spraying and shaking the spraybottle in a direction that left both of our warm and fuzzy bodies un-sullied by the nasty cold stuff.
Total extent of ML’s “fear-based” response? Walking slowly around in a circle about 15 feet away from me.
Total time? 10 min.
Seriously? Did I end up with the best 2-year-old on the planet or WHAT. (and yes, I’m fully aware that pride goeth before a fall, but can we all agree that I deserve to bask in the awesomeness of my two year old for a while instead of cautioning against excessive optimism?).
I repeated the lesson last night (Tuesday). ML marched over to her mash and I added a bit of tactile stimulation and movement by scratching and petting her with one hand, while moving around her with the spray bottle in my other outstretched arm, spritzing away.
My horse? She’s da bomb.
PS. Farley is most definitely not the bomb right now, being rather unamused about a sunrise trail ride yesterday. So obviously I’m referring to a certain long-legged bay horse, not the short fat old one. Yes Farley, I just called you old. And fat. Redeem yourself soon please.
😀 Filly power! I hope that I can get down to 10 minutes soon, that 2 hour thing was a bit excessive, hahaha
AHHH . thanks for the reminder.. Spray bottle lesson. I need to circle back on that with Otto. (BTW- glad ML was just messin with you with the laying down thing and was perfectly healthy as a horse)
I have introduced the spray bottle thing twice with Otto. Both seemed positive but I have not actually sprayed on him yet (ok I did a little on his hoof but that was by accident and he didn’t care or probably didn’t feel it)
The sun is out. I am going to do that now! or in about an hour.. We have been in torrential rains for days.. passocks are mud bogs and horse moods are sour.. rightfully so
I sorta did spray bottles/fly spray when she was sick but I don’t really count it because it wasn’t a learning experience, she didn’t like it, and I didn’t push it because there were a LOT of things that needed to be done and I could wipe the fly spray on with a cloth, so not a big priority.
Between you and Aurora you guys are keeping me good on baby horse training ideas!!!!
BTW – your tying lesson went REALLY well. Well enough I even trimmed her feet tied which was a big deal. I think playing the “tying game” (where I make her move her feet and remind her her space within the tied rope) each time I tie for awhile will go a long ways towards making her a reliable “tier”.
it still counts! glad to hear the tying lesson went well! That is awesome! Just curious.. how are you doing it alone? My concern is that if a horse pulls back and there isn’t someone at the head to support them, you can get yourself if touble. I always start out with help and then graduate. Maybe you have moved past that part already…
You are now further along than I am..dang! ( weather has not been cooperating)
I did go work on the water bottle some more. I was able to spray both of his shoulers and knees.. no issues.. I left it there.. ended on a positive note and pushed back my urge to get greedy!!
We had a minor meltdown yesterday with lateral lungeing. I am not sure I will post about it for a bit but little Otto decided to do his best Hi Ho Silver impressions multiple times until he successfully had my number (scared the crap out of me in fact). I just could not get any leverage on him to pull him sideways one way or the other.. however, I am lucky,. I have a hubby who is a amn good horseman and he had us back in business in no time..
Note: edited this comment since it was WAY too long and detailed and just got to the point of your question.
From tying her previously (hard tying and then sitting in a lawn chair watching her) I knew that even though when she hit the end of the rope the first couple times she would pull back HARD, she would actually release to pressure and do better once doing so. IDEALLY we would have done your little magic lesson BEFORE hard tying her for the first time to make sure she understood the whole tied thing well….but ah well. The assumptions we make and the asses we turn into….
So, I did a modification to what you described and basically did the flagging and the head control from in front of her on the other side of a hitching rail. We did a practice session without the rail, and then went over to the rail and took a couple of wraps and practiced moving feet.
wouldn’t reccomend it to a horse that really had a problem tying or was really reactive or had never tied before…but in this case it went really well. Siginficant difference post-lesson in how relaxed she was about being tied.
I wasn’t going to write about it extensively on the blog because I do feel like I made some modifications that I wouldn’t necessarily be comfortable telling someone to do on their own horse. But I think the general concept – ‘teach your horse it’s OK to move their feet while tied and set up the situation where they bump into the halter’ – is a solid idea. I just don’t necessarily like the idea of someone reading how I’m having to do it and saying “that must be a GREAT idea”, when your way (2 people) is so much safer and ideal.
Naughty little Otto! Ummm…is lateral lunging the same as sending them in a circle around you on a lunge line, or is it some sort of fancier thing? Glad you had that back up! So far ML hasn’t thrown something at me that has really scared me but I’m just waiting for the day where it happens and I recruit help in the form of some local friends, some of which are horse trainers and I have my list to actually back her when time.
thanks for the explanation of your approach. I think it’s the sign of a good horseperson when you learn to modify things for the situation at hand..but yeah, you get the hesitation I also have of telling people how to do it.. It can be situational and I could never really explain how to help them should they get themselves in trouble.. which can easily happen. I have done it alone from the front, on the opposite side of the fence, post, corral panel or whatever the case might be. However, I take a little different approach. When I do that, I actually don’t do it from eye level with the horse. In my case, my round pen in 12 ft metal corral panels. I start so I am above their head so I climb up to the top rail of my 5 foot coral panel and then work them back and forth , side to side. It has the added benefit of teaching them to move over near a fence so I can mounts from a railing, wall, stump, whatever later on.. It also gets them used to seeing someone above them in a new unfamiliar place. (also good when later climbing on their back and they suddenly see something up above them)
Yes, Naughty Otto.. We’ll get through it..
So lateral lungeing isn’t really fancy.I am sure you might have googled it by now but it is a concept I learned from some of the natural horsemanship trainers I have worked with in the past. It is a little challenging to learn and I only say this because I watch my husband who trains for the public and he is constantly having to explain it and demonstrate it.
Here’s the deal. I hate lungeing a horse in the traditional sense because what happens 90% of the time when a horse is out there running around on the end of the line?? More times than not, they are counter bent and not paying a whole lot of attention to you..they are just running around. In some horses, all this does is amp them up.
Lateral lungeing is lungeing only your are keeping them mentally engaged. You are also in alot closer (halter lead line length) It consists of movign in one direction, and changing directions in such a way that they have to stop, step over with the hind quarter , rock back onto the hindquarter so they can step through with the front end and then move forward in the other direction. In addition as they move around, you can teach them to travel on the bend and step under themselves CORRECTLY as they go..
Crystal clear, right???
So you essentially are teaching the horse how to bend, how to release the hindquarter, how to step over with the front end, and in order to accomplish all that correctly, they have rock back onto the haunches.. capiche??
It’s hard to explain and even seeing it done can be a bit of a challenge to figure out but one of the great things is that I find it useful in preparing them mentally for your ride or just keeping them mentally with you during a stressful situation. I really don’t want my horses fleeing the scene mentally. Like at a show or an endurance ride when there is alot going on??? .I can ask my horse to lateral lunge and keep them from getting amped up. It’s like a home base.
MI don’t know if any of this makes any sense.. the best I can tell you is to go watch a Harry Whitney or Buck Horsemanship clinic.. That is where I learned it.. and it’s proven to be one of the best ground work exercises to have in my toolbox.
I’ve been climbing on the edge of the roundpen above her for all the reasons you just listed but never connected the dots of how similar they were!
The lateral lunging makes sense. I’ll look up some videos but it sounds like what I do as a transition to more formal ground driving.
Haven’t done anything with ml that involves really asking her to move since she got sick – end of a short line yet, asking for movement in a roundpen or longer sustained on a longer line….noStill haven’t decided when it’s the right time. I guess go with my gut since that has served me well yet. So many of the lessons I want to do I need to be able to make her move if I need to.
Best illustrations ever – I was giggling so hard. I hope you get a tablet ‘coz I’d love to see more of these!
And yes, go ML! Copper took a lot longer to get used to spray bottles. He doesn’t like the feeling of the spray hitting his skin. 😛
bonita of A Riding Habit
Well, it may be a WHOLE different story when we get to the touching the skin part! I know I HATE it, so I have a lot of sympathy for a horse. I wouldn’t want to get sprayed with stuff either.
Sorry for the long post! wow.. didn’t mean to go on so long~!