Wednesday, September 29, 2010

We leave for Tennessee in three weeks!! Choco knows his stuff pretty well. Now it is just practice, practice, practice!

The nights are getting a little chilly. Choco now sleeps in his "jammies."

Practice, practice, practice!

A long, cool drink after practice, practice, practice!

Now for grooming, grooming, grooming! Isn't he handsome?

Have to keep those feet clean!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

As a Mustang Representative, part of my job is to do presentations about mustangs to different groups: adult and children. For the adult group I went to a retirement home and, aside from some technical difficulties, it went really well. Several in the audience had horses and horse stories, so after the presentation we swapped stories. They were a very sweet group and a great group for me to practice on!

For the kid groups we contacted our friends who are teachers to see if they would be interested in having me come talk to their classes. I ended up doing the first, third, and fifth grades at one school, and 45 kids from exceptional ed classes at another school! I'm also going to do it for our homeschool group next week.

The kids were so sweet, listened very well, and had very good questions. I made a power point of pictures throughout Choco's training so they could see some of the stuff we are doing. It was really fun, and by the end of it a few kids wanted to adopt mustangs! (ha ha it worked!)
The exceptional ed group was awesome. Thanks to Mr. Cohn, Choco got to go see the kids. They got to see him do some work and some tricks! Choco was on his best behavior for the kids. He stood quietly while I talked to them for a few minutes and then he did his tricks perfectly. After that we had time for questions. The kids loved it, I loved it, and I think Choco kind of liked it too. I was a little worried that somebody might see a horse outside and then the whole school would want to watch!

Choco at school!

Mr. Cohn thank you so much for driving Choco!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Today is day 60! It seems like it's been so much longer but at the same time it's going so fast. Choco is doing so well and we are working on ideas for the finals (if we make it). I will have 3 1/2 minutes to show off Choco's best tricks. We can use music, props, and costumes in our routine. The arena we will be performing in is really big so we will have to move fast to cover all of it. Mr. Cohn has been has been making us run around the arena to build up stamina.

One of the things I want to use is the pedestal. I'm working on getting Choco to get on it quickly without tripping over his own feet. We teach the pedestal by working a horse and then letting them rest on it. The first few times Choco needed help with his feet but he can get on it by himself now. So every day after he has worked hard I bring him to the pedestal and he gets to rest. Sometimes I'll bring my brushes out and clean him up while he is standing there. He learned that as long as he is up there he doesn't have to work. Sometimes if I'm working him near the pedestal he will try to pull me toward it! He is so smart.

Poor Choco has to put up with tail braiding practice. I'm getting better. Kind of...

Saturday, September 4, 2010

We are half way through the competition! It's amazing to see the change in the horses. At the beginning100 days seemed so short but now it feels like it's taking forever to get to the Makeover. I'm getting excited about the show and we are trying to get ideas together for the finals (assuming we make it that far!)

Choco has not been giving me an easy time these last few days. I'm having a hard time figuring out what is his stubbornness or my inexperience. But one little pony will never be enough to 'out stubborn' me. There is one really good thing about working with Choco; there won't be many training tricks I don't know by the end of this!

I've been trying to work with some other horses so they can teach me more about how to handle Choco. If Choco is being rude, I need to work the really pushy horse that tries to walk on me. I've been working a very sensitive horse to remind myself how responsive a horse can and should be. It is amazing how much different horses can teach you. Actualy, a horse gets most of the credit for teaching me ground work! This mare is very smart and she already knew what to do, so if I did something wrong she would shoot me a nasty look. Nobody gives the Evil Eye like a horse!

The 2010 statistics are in for wild horse and burro populations! The total population of free roaming horses and burros is 38,365. That does not include the 34,592 that are in holding facilities.
(August 2010, BLM website) Mississippi has the only facility east of the Mississippi River in Piney Woods. They can maintain a herd of 100 horses and burros.

Here is a list of states with holding facilities:
Nevada, Arizona, California, Oregon, Wyoming, Nebraska, Colorado, Wisconsin, Idaho, Oklahoma, Kansas, Utah, South Dakota, and Iowa (contract facility).

Here are some wild horses and burros. I found it interesting that the BLM has a hard time meeting the demand for burros.