Thursday, February 3, 2011

Stroll around the grounds until you feel at home

We have ice here after our storm on Tuesday and Wednesday, but I hate to complain because it is nothing like the snow my blogger friends got in the Midwest.  The horses have managed very well outside, although I did get Pie and Sovey's indoor stalls ready just in case. 

Our training days have been calm and uneventful, which is good.  Before Foggy came, I had started the very initial steps of clicker using targeting with Pie and Sovey.  I used a small, orange cone and they both caught on quickly.  After Foggy got here, I stopped mainly because of the weather causing time constraints, but also because I didn't want to overload the big Pie-Pie's brain.  I am aware that Foggy's arrival is causing some consternation in that quarter.  I use the word "aware" because I observe Pie's furrowed brow as he processes this new addition, but I am not attaching worry (yet) to my thoughts.  Pie has a HUGE heart, but he does bully humans and horses slightly when confused.  After some time, though, he is always open and loving.  It just takes him a little longer and I thought it best to delay clicker for a few days.  Tomorrow, I might try to begin again with all three horses.   

Sovey is having zero trouble with Foggy's presence.  I do not know if Sovereign and Foggy were stabled together at their breeding farm in Ocala.  They were born one year apart (almost to the day) and it is possible they were on the farm at the same time.  Their breeder has passed away, sadly,  but I did talk to his daughter, Sharon, who kindly commented on my blog when Foggy arrived.  I will ask her if they were ever together. 

After my ride on Monday, Sovey accidentally "bumped into" Foggy.  Foggy was out in a pasture near where I was hand-grazing Sovey.  Sovey pulled me over there at a weak moment and what I saw caused me to bust out bawling.  They started exchanging breath, which I expected, but then they started "rolling" their heads all over each other and both had their eyes shut.  I never saw anything like it.  Neither squealed or whinnied or said anything.  Then, they simultaneously put their noses under the other's mane and kept it there and again shut their eyes.  It was very moving.

Today, I walked Foggy all over the driveway and found some grass for him to nibble.  My mother drove up with two carrots and Foggy carefully stuck his head in her car window and daintily tried a carrot.  My carrots in the barn have been frozen (duh) and he hasn't been interested.  This was his first spoiling from Grandma Carrot and I think he has decided that he could get used to this life. 

Foggy is doing wonderfully learning to walk on the lead and hand-graze.  I mentioned that on my last post and I didn't mean to sound like I am some grand horse trainer "teaching" Foggy how to graze and lead.  Of course, these horses know how to do most things when they arrive.  It does take some time, though, to get them to walk at my pace, and graze calmly and stand for grooming and tacking up, etc.  In other words, do these things safely - daily.  Sovereign and Foggy both were raced.  I always say that Sovereign is unflappable because he stood in that starting gate with all its bells and whistles and adrenaline 26 times! Pie never raced at all, which is why he is the greenest of the green about most things.  He obviously was ridden and must have had a few track workouts (I honestly can't picture that no matter how hard I try) but he has put all of that WAY out of his sweet, big head.  Foggy raced 13 times, I believe, so he is somewhere in the middle.  He has the kindness of Pie and the mental quickness of his brother.  I am finding out that this is a winning combination. 


  1. So glad Foggy is settling in so well - he sounds like a real sweetie!

  2. I agree with the walking around until you feel at home. Foggy will do a whole lot better if he's not rushed.

    Good job.


  3. Wow, I can only imagine Sovey and Foggy's sweet interaction. Made me tear up, and I wasn't even there. You're boys are sweet!

    I haven't worked with a clicker, but have seen it used and find it interesting. Glad things are going so well. Love hearing about your horses!

  4. I'm telling you... maybe it's the elephant thing! :) I almost got teary just reading it... I know how special it feels when my sweet mare comes up to me (almost daily) and blows a greeting into my face, combined with a hair nuzzle... good stuff! They KNOW they're kin folk! I'm convinced. Too stinkin' cute!

  5. I teared up too when reading that sweet description of Foggy and Sovey. nice post

  6. I think you were meant to have these two and bring them back together, it's obvious from that meeting that they remember each other!

    I don't know if you've heard this, but Alex recommends allocating only 10 clicks to each session when you first start clicker training, use "bite size bits" to keep it interesting while not ramping the excitement level too high. It's also important when you first start targeting to not move the target too much until they really understand it. Eventually you can move the target all over the place but if you do that too soon the horse just gets confused and frustrated.

  7. Oh my - what a beautiful moment you witnessed. *magical* Thanks for sharing :)

  8. Thanks everyone for sharing in this special moment with me! I do think Sovereign and Foggy sense their connection. Now I just have to figure out how to make Pie feel included too.

    smazourek - Thanks, I will make sure I keep it to 10 or less clicks per session and not move it too much. Pie is easy because he takes longer to get things. The other two will be the ones who need the click limit. They are quick.

  9. Oh such wonderful "Brotherly Love", it made me cry! Special, special firsts and Foggy is really going to get the hang of them as Forever His!
    Loved this Jules!

  10. I love how they connected in breathing, quiet calmness. My sister once said, this summer, while observing how horse's smell each other "I wish we did that as people" It's sweet and intimate.
    Laz raced 49 times (sad) and spooks when he hears things that I think sound like gates opening to a race. I am sure he didnt enjoy that job.
    I've been thinking of doing come clicker training...maybe with the PONY!!! :)

  11. I love the image of Sovey and Foggy together--so incredibly sweet! These horses, they really are like people. I'm sure they remember each other, or if they weren't together, then they somehow feel that connection.

    Foggy sounds like such a great horse--I think you were meant to be together :)

  12. Thanks for the horse treat recommendation. I ordered Jackson some of those Start to Finish licorice ones. They sound yummy!

  13. well, I can tell you I would have busted put bawling too if I had seen those two horses, eyes closed, rubbing their heads all over each other. I practically start crying when I am just walking around in the ring and Lilly is so patient and kind, that if I saw that display, I would have come UNDONE. We are lucky, so lucky.


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