Saturday, December 31, 2016

Tanka Bucks a Bunch

The trainer came over today and I showed her what I was doing with Tanka.  Tanka touches anything I ask him to with his nose.  He is learning to push the ball and kick the ball.

She round penned him and got on him for not hustling.

We did the blanket and the saddle.  She got the bridle  on himwith a bit  this time.

She told me to go in the pen, check the girth and start him moving around the pen.

So, I did that.  Tanka goes around a time or two.

Then, all hell broke loose.  Tanka starts bucking like a maniac and seems to be blindly panicking.  I head for the rails and duck through.  He starts to calm down.

It was a WOW moment!

I get back in the pen with him and start him moving again.

The trainer is telling me to push him so that he will get near herself and Hubby who are hanging on the fence.  I'm thinking no way do I want to get that close to the horse.

He was still doing a pretty wild amount of trotting, cantering and hopping around a bit.

He's finally ready to slow down and I use pressure from my hands to stop him near the scary man on the fence.  That would be Hubby.

Then, turn him into the scary man and have him stop.  I did pretty good on that.  We did that for awhile.

I tried to drop the bit out of his mouth nicely but had a hard time.

The saddle was ready to come off.  I loosened the girth, walked to the other side to put up the stirrup.  I'm not sure what happened and neither is the trainer but what ever it was he backed up suddenly, the saddle and blanket flew off into the dirt and I was once again dodging an unhappy horse.

Once calmed down, he had to be reintroduced to the blanket and saddle to rub away the bad experience.

Anyway, it was a good day but a rough day.  Having someone talking at me the whole time and then telling me to do this or that and such is hard for me.  I actually know how to do some of the stuff  she is telling me to do but it seems like I don't when she is talking to me and I am working with the horse.  If that made sense to you.

I am learning a lot.  And I am not meaning that to sound critical.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016


I got home today at 1:30 and decided no time like the present to play with Tanka.
Yes, I got out the pool noodles. He is getting over his fear of moving pool noodles by touching them with his nose, getting stroked by them all over his body and by me moving them low to the ground.
Tanka did pretty good.
We also played with the big ball. I pushed it, he walked over and touched it with his nose. Repeat. Then, I told him kick it and had him walk into it. Repeated that several times.
I also called him over to me without a lead rope. So sweet. We did horsey hugs, walked around the back two acres, rustled the dead branch pile.
I had a magazine out there so I showed him the magazine and then ruffled the papers over his back and sides. Of course, he touched it with his nose.
I showed him various objects like the cones, magazine, ball, pool noodle and then tossed them kind of back and beside him. He did fine. Desensitized with each item after tossing it.
He was looking outside the round pen but I directed his attention back to me, gently. I like to tell him "Pay attention." and before I throw stuff I say "Are you watching?"
I love that horse.


Hawthorne had two earthquakes 5.7's and I felt them last night after midnight.  Hubby slept through them.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Tanka has a major spook

So, I'm walking the horse from the big pen in the back to the night time pen near the house....Tanka and I are doing fine.....the terrier picks up a pool noodle, starts running with it like I have the prize!
Cash comes straight at Tanka and I.... Tanka major spooks and starts running into me....I tell him "Whoa, whoa, whoa, get off me" in a loud voice. and shove him over....I hang onto the rope and Tanka gets off me and circles a bit with his hind end away from me and stops.....
I tell him "That's better." We stand there for a few seconds and then I ask him to back, turn and go on walking to his pen. I tell him he needs to trust me and that it will all be fine as we are walking.
I went and found the pool noodle, brought it back to his pen and desensitized him with it.
Did I handle that okay???? Should I have handled that differently?
Personally, I believe that as we work together more and he starts realizing I am taking good care of him, I'm not going to let anything hurt him and I keep working with him and keep desensitizing him and being a good leader, he will stop spooking like that.
Honestly, I was pretty proud of myself for not feeling the least bit panicky as this was going on.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Wiseguy and Tanka in the big pen

Here is Tanka and Wiseguy in the big pen together. They got along pretty good with Wiseguy really trying to kick Tanka once when Tanka wouldn't get away from his chosen food pile.
Tanka was trying to bite at Wiseguy on the neck and withers initially and Wiseguy was trying to bite Tanka's front legs.
Because of the huge size difference, I don't think this combo is going to work out.
As for Pony, I am still working with him and I will try magnesium calcium supplement but in the big picture, I don't think he is going to
work in a cart so I will see.
We finally put Tanka and Pony Baloney together in the big pen yesterday. Pony is pretty much a jerk and Tanka is pretty passive. Tanka did kick Pony a few times and there were some good galloping runs from the two of them.
My biggest problem was when I went to get Tanka out and Pony was crowding us. Tanka kind of ran into me worrying about Pony being behind him. I guess I'll make sure I get Pony out first next time.
I've been working with Pony and we are making slow progress. I'd like to get him settled down enough to rehome him. He isn't going to be a good cart horse and I think he would be fine as a companion to another horse, if he was decent about being tied and getting groomed.

Tanka and Pony

We finally put Tanka and Pony Baloney together in the big pen yesterday. Pony is pretty much a jerk and Tanka is pretty passive. Tanka did kick Pony a few times and there were some good galloping runs from the two of them.
My biggest problem was when I went to get Tanka out and Pony was crowding us. Tanka kind of ran into me worrying about Pony being behind him. I guess I'll make sure I get Pony out first next time.
I've been working with Pony and we are making slow progress. I'd like to get him settled down enough to rehome him. He isn't going to be a good cart horse and I think he would be fine as a companion to another horse, if he was decent about being tied and getting groomed.

Friday, December 23, 2016

The smile on my face

Look at the smile on my face.
When I got there, I didn't see any cars so I tied Tanka up to a tree and headed to the door with my note. Tanka was good about standing tied. Something I hadn't tried before.
The trainer popped out the front door and asked if I would like to stay for a bit and work with Tanka on the obstacles.
Tanka was amazing. Going over logs including a telephone pole, walking a narrow curving path lined with bricks and rocks, going through the ditch, backing uphill.
He stepped into the large tire with his front feet. He stepped his front feet out the other side and his back feet were behind the tire. Then I ask him "How are you going to get out of this pickle?" He stepped his hind feet around the tire and gathered himself up.
We did leading into a V of poles set on top of barrels and then backed out several times.
We did the small tire swirl trail and he looked into the center of each and every tire. So funny. He also went over the tires by stepping through them.
Tanka was fascinated by the large 4' across overturned tub. He sniffed that from every angle.
There was a white tub with a couple of items in it and he checked that out thoroughly. I took out a pool noodle and then put it back in. So, Tanka had to check out the stuff in the white barrel again:)
He went underneath a tall tripod of poles from several angles. He doesn't like anything above him so I though he did well.
I showed Tanka the loading ramp that led to the water obstacle. He sniffed it and then volunteered to walk the ramp. Along the ramp and into the water pit [which was dry] with no problems and then out the pit by going over a log. We did that one twice.
He went in and out of several different gates of various materials and leading in and out of several types of fencing.
We saw chickens loose and running around. Didn't seem to bother him.
The trainer brought her horse Brownie out and tied him up on the rail. Tanka was well behaved near Brownie the trainer's horse.
The trainer's other horse is a mare and a paint. It was so funny. She was peeking to watch the action when we were near the barn. When the trainer came back from the tack shed, the mare hid from the trainer and then when the trainer had walked by, up popped the mare's head again to take another look at Tanka. Made me laugh. Didn't want to get caught flirting with the new guy:)
You never know what will worry a horse. Tanka was afraid of the small front yard with the cinder blocks and the porch...go figure. He did successfully go in and out of the gate and the yard area.
Tanka has a lot of curiosity which the trainer says is a great trait for a trail horse.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Obstacles at Karen's house

Fearless at obstacles.

Look at the smile on my face.

Horsey hugs.

Fearless on obstacles. However, on the way to my friend's house, there are llamas. Boy oh boy, he did not like llamas. It took us several minutes to get past that section of the road. Tanka was blowing snot and had his tail up like an Arabian. We did it though. We got through that section and had a great time at my trainer's house. We went the back way home so I wouldn't have to do the llamas again:)

Wednesday, December 21, 2016


 Little Wiseguy and Pony Baloney.

 Obie, Taffy, Brownie and Rosie the goats with Cash the Rat Terrier.

My handsome new horse, Tanka.

Can you tell how furry the critters are in these photos?

They are tucking into dinner as the place goes dark before 5pm.  I am so glad the days will start getting longer starting tomorrow!

Everyone is a furball except little Cash the Rat Terrier:) I am so glad the days will be getting longer starting tomorrow. Here it is not even 5:00pm and it is getting dark.
Small training sessions are all I can manage right now because it is cold. I have been working with Tanka on the way to and from his pen to the round pen where he can hang out and eat hay and watch the cars go by. We do a little backing, fore and aft [move front, move back end] , played a bit with the ball and walking nicely on the lead.
I did find out he is nervous about having someone follow us when he is leading so something new to work at. I also have been popping up onto the rail from different angles so that he is getting used to the fact that I grow taller. He is much less afraid than the first couple of days and is starting to think it is normal.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Wiseguy and I at Lake Lahontan

This is adorable15 year old, 31 inch Wiseguy and I at the Lake nearby. We did our first group drives this year and it really was a lot of fun.
When I first bought Wiseguy [with the help of a trainer, mind you] he was trained to drive a cart. Really he was green broke, afraid of almost everything in the real world including, trash cans, dogs and rattling trailers.
He also bucked and reared when on the lead. He would spook terribly.
A small horse and a big challenge for my first horse at 52 years of age.
I walked him all over the neighborhood, had Hubby drive by us with a trailer hooked up to his truck, walked him where he could safely see dogs behind fences and other strange critters like pigs, goats and llamas.
I got him into the cart and then back out for another month when certain issues presented like not wanting to hold still after the "Whoa". I talked online with the mini horse group. They were wonderful and had fantastic suggestions.
I really enforced the no rearing on the lead. That was ridiculous and I was having it.
We've had a few adventures like the time a rabbit ran out of the sagebrush right under his front feet. That little horse , in one jump, turned 90 degrees but he stopped, we both pulled it together and off we went down the road.
This year group drives and we actually went through water in the cart. Another time, he did literally jump over a mud puddle with me in the cart:) I hung on and we both survived.
A number of people in the neighborhood have seen us on the road. I like to wave at the neighbors like Queen Elizabeth as we trot along.
I can honestly say that we are a wonderful team and that Wiseguy and I both like getting out on the road. He is still a bit spicy but we know each other and we do well together. It has been a wonderful four years together.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Tag, you're it

Adorable....yesterday I put little Wiseguy the mini and Pony Baloney out in their big pen and Pony was running by Wiseguy who would then shake his mane and run after Pony. Tag, you're it! So cute.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Walking near dogs.

Tanka and I walked out into the big wide world today. I did a good job of leading him IMHO. We went the "dog way" today.
Tanka is a bit spooky about dogs. I knew the dogs on the corner to the left are behind fencing. I also knew the next dogs on the right are chained up.
As soon as a dog barked, Tanka was head up and stopped. I let him look towards the noise. Then I asked him to walk forwards.
He did get just a bit jumpy with the first dogs.
With the second dogs, he started getting on top of me. I insisted that he stay out of my space.
We stopped several times facing the danger. We made it all the way to the end of the block. Tanka did get kind of hyper vigilante a few times. I insisted that he stay off the top of me. "Give me some space buddy."
On the way back I asked him to yield the fore and the hind a couple of times. I also let him sniff and touch some mail boxes.
When we got much of the way back, a pitbull ran out from their home and that was scary for Tanka. He spooked a little. The fence was holding him, then another pitbull showed up and Tanka spooked again. I insisted that Tanka stay off me and turned him to look at the threat.
I asked him to move on and we did pretty good. Then, another surprise, a man came out from behind a shed to get his dog.
Tanka spooked a little again. I stood and talked to the man and thanked him for always keeping his dogs locked up. He has seen Wiseguy and me on the road in our cart:)
I told him the new horse was Tanka. He says "That horse is doing so good standing here looking relaxed right now. And I can see that horse is really into you." Made me smile.
Tanka and I took off again towards home and one of the dogs followed along the fence and Tanka had one more little spook.
I thought I handled the whole thing well and I didn't look jumpy. Kind of proud of that. We stopped near the neighbors dogs on the corner. Tanka reached out to gently nip my coat "No, bad horse". Backed him up a few steps. I think he was saying "Don't stand near those dogs."
At the corner a couple of cars went by and Tanka was not worried about the cars. Totally nice.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Small victory

Small victories are sweet!
Been working on Tanka picking his rear feet up without falling over on top of me. Today, we had success.
I got the rope on his back foot on his "good" side and I said foot. He picked it up and I said "Hold it". So, he couldn't put his foot down right away because I held on to that rope. Then, did it again "Hold it, hold it". Did it again "Hold it, hold it, hold it."
By golly, he did pretty good.
Went to the "bad" side. Asked him to "foot" then said "hold it" and he started leaning way over and looking like he was going to fall but, I was in a safe angle, and I hung in there and said "Hold it' and for just the briefest moment he held that foot up. Then I lowered the foot and made sure I wasn't getting stepped on:) He kind of fell over onto his foot.
Did it again "Foot" "Hold it, hold it" Yep, he looked a little unbalanced but he was figuring out he better hold it together cause I wasn't giving that foot back right away. By the third time he was doing better "Hold it, hold it, hold it"
By golly, I think he's getting the idea to hold that foot up and balance himself. So, the separate command for "Hold it" seems to have helped.
I got the idea for a separate command from "Whoa" Whoa does mean stop but "Stand" means hold still buddy. I had to teach Wiseguy "Stand" because he would Whoa but then he would jiggle around in the traces instead of standing still.
Why not a separate command "foot" pick up your foot. "Hold it" keep your foot up buddy.
I also have had him walking over some logs since he has to use those back leg muscles and coordination to lift one leg at a time over the log. Can't hurt and might have helped.
Yeah, kind of a small victory in a way but I am so happy to have gotten some real progress on this issue and having done this safely. I'm sure I will have to practice with him some more but I feel great at this point.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Tanka goes outside the fence

It is amazing how much satisfaction I get from learning with my new horse. Tanka is a wonderful fellow.
Tanka really does seem like he is unbalanced when I pick up his rear feet. I decided that for my safety, I would try using the lead rope on his back foot to pick up the foot and encourage him to hold it up longer. That way I am no wear near his foot when he leans over my way and puts his foot down. I encouraged him to pick his foot up "foot, foot" then held it up for a few seconds at a time. I also worked on making sure he is well positioned for balance. I think he did better by the end of our session yesterday. I need him to hold up his foot and not lean on me or towards me in any way.
We did a few little things in the round pen.
I took Tanka down the driveway and had him help me open the gate. We stood at the street as a car went by. He was curious about the different textures under his feet like asphalt, gravel, sand and hard packed playa. We went by a dark spot of mud and water but I didn't ask him to go through it.
I let him stop and look around several times. I took him on the quiet side street of sand and playa. I went about a quarter of a mile and then turned around. On the way back we stopped at the neighbor's house and let him sniff and touch some wood pallets and a swivel chair. He was very curious to see new things. I swiveled the chair and he touched it with his nose. Very cute.
Another car was coming but the horse did fine with the loud truck going by.
As we were going towards my gate, the neighbor dogs barked. He was just a bit startled so I turned him around and we went and looked at the dogs behind the fence from about 100 feet away. He was curious. Another dog started barking at another neighbor's house and he looked but, over all, he was very calm.
Back into the yard where he helped me close the gate and then a challenging walk through the side area that had him waiting for me to go out front on single tracks and then coming back to side by side.
Our first adventure into the real world went smoothly. I love working with Tanka. I know it doesn't seem like much but I feel like we are getting to know one another through our working together. Next time, the side road with the dogs!

Monday, December 12, 2016

Didn't want to but I did it anyway

Did I want to get anything done today? Kind of didn't but...I got off my behind, took Tanka out to the round pen and did some little things with him.
I had chores like burning the brush in the new big pen and cleaning the horse pens and some housework.
I went back out later and worked a bit more with Tanka. The wind came up a bit but I went down the driveway and back with him. I didn't take him out to the road since the wind was coming up but I will take him out there tomorrow.
Pony Baloney made some real progress. Very exciting. The last desensitizing session felt like a disaster but this time, it went well. I took a towel out with me to the round pen. I hung the towel on the fence and then had Pony walk/trot around the pen. He tried stopping and turning when I didn't ask him to so I made sure corrected him.
I clipped his lead on and then I got the towel and showed it to him. When he reached for it with his nose, I took it away. Eventually I rubbed it down his neck onto his back. Did both sides. Then, fluffed the towel onto him from various sides and angles, making sure when I saw small changes that I stopped and took the towel away. I also let him move his feet. Eventually I had the towel on his back and walking around with me leading him.
I also took Pony down the scary driveway. He did pretty good. Eventually, Pony is going to be a good horse. I just know it.

Sunday, December 11, 2016


The pogonip is rolling in this morning,  28 degrees and getting foggier by the minute.  Hopefully, it will all burn off and we will get the 52 degrees promised by the weather report.

Freezing fog this morning. We call it pogonip. Of course I was worried about my babies being cold but they actually look fine. 28 degrees and foggy but the sun is trying to peek through now and it is supposed to be 52 degrees today. I'm going to the neighbor's house about 1pm to meet her old lady horse friends and watch how they handle their horses. Fun.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Pony Baloney and Obie the Goat

Pony is stomping his foot at Obie and Obie is stomping his foot at Pony.  So funny.  Obie butts the fence and Pony stomps and shakes his head.  They run a long the fence line and turn and do it the other way.  Pony and Obie have always liked each other and I think that is cute and funny.

They speak different languages but they still manage to play!

Training with Tanka

A training update on Tanka.
I have worked with Tanka just a little bit for the last week due to schedule and weather. Then on Thursday I had a chance to work with him and it went so-so. Not sure why but figured "Hey, at least I am out there trying."
The trainer came on Friday [yesterday] and I so enjoyed it.
I brushed him and worked on his mane a bit. Picked up his front feet and half cleaned them out. Picked up his rear feet. I call that progress.
He was on the lead line and I asked him to walk out on the lead line although not right next to me which has been confusing for him. I want him to move away from me sideways and then ask him to walk while on the rope. I upped the pressure by twirling the end of the rope behind his drive line and he got a bit reactive but then slowed to a walk. Did that several times in each direction. I think he is getting the concept.
Then, the trainer arrived.
First, I worked with Tanka on the lead line. We got started and I mentioned the whip scaring him recently so we worked on that. I pet him the whip until he made a change. Change doesn't seem to mean cocking a leg or chewing necessarily. He flicked an ear forward or started his lips quivering. Pet the other side.
Then, walking with the whip in front tapping the ground from side to side. Then, swirling the whip toward the front half. See a change, other side. Then, swirling the whip in a circle more towards the rear [not real close to horse] This got him a little reactive and moving but I went with him. He calmed down. Then, did the other side. Back to petting.
I have a large play ball and she says "Kick it with your foot gently and say push it" We did that and had the horse follow it. After awhile, Tanka was nibbling it while I said "Push it" and he almost started pushing it. We used it as a tool to gently kick up against his front legs and that did not bother him.
Did some free lunging. Got the horse to walk, trot and canter. Whoa was awesome. He turned to face me and then I would point, say "Turn" "Walk" and he did so good. Trainer said excellent job at being a clear leader:)
Finally, she got the bridle out and started putting it near his face taking it away, then up his face taking it away, then a rope in his mouth and the bridle going further up. Let the horse spit out the rope with a little help. Then, messing with his ears in preparation for the bridle going on. More rope in the mouth like a bit. Let him chew on it and then take it out by helping him bring it down and then letting him spit it out. Eventually, bridle on with rope in mouth like bit.
Tanka did really well. The trainer said that Tanka was so connected and paying attention to me.

Friday, December 9, 2016


There really is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a person. A strange thing about my new horse Tanka is the feeling of peace I carry around with me much of the time since I got him. It really is strange. I got better at my fears with Wiseguy, more determined with Nevada, more compassionate with Pony Baloney but Tanka has brought me peace.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

A touch of winter

Good morning. It snowed just a bit last night and all three horses are diving right in to the most important part of life....eating.
Wiseguy is the little guy in the front. Pony Baloney is the 45" pintaloosa pony and way in the back is my handsome red Tanka.
The three sided shelter is up. I know that Tanka went in there last night since all the hay is gone that we put in the feeder inside the new shelter. I won't be able to paint it until spring.

Sunrises are one of the reasons to live in the desert. The quiet was immense since everyone was inside trying to stay warm all over the neighborhood.

Finally, love the view from my back porch.

Monday, December 5, 2016

First time for me to saddle Tanka

This is my handsome Tanka doing so good. Only his second time with a saddle on and the first time with me! The trainer came over and we had Tanka crossing a tarp. 

I picked up his right foot and the booger tried to nip my back pocket. The trainer caught him and said "No" and corrected him. I have a plan to prevent that when I am out there by myself. If I wrap the rope around the panel right, he will run into his own pressure! I did pick up all four feet.

Tanka is so wonderful to work with. I got so lucky buying this horse.

Tanka sniffed the blanket and the saddle. I rubbed him with the blanket on both sides. Then, I got the blanket on him from both sides.

We took a break so the horse could think about what we just did. Eventually Tanka started chewing his lips.

The trainer thought he was willing so we showed him the saddle and slid it onto his back. I did that several times and from each side.

The trainer said he is so willing to learn, let's do the cinch and put a little off and on pressure. Then, we cinched it. Then we really cinched. Eventually we walked around with the saddle on. We did some 

Wednesday, November 30, 2016


First, Pony Baloney is still a challenge. However, I do feel like we are making progress. I think Pony and I need to spend some quality time and I will make that happen. He is improving but this is going to take some time and some effort. He was a nervous wreck yesterday but I tried to end on a good note.
Next, Tanka the wonder horse is doing good. The trainer/neighbor told me to start taking him out to the mail box so he has a job. We did that yesterday and it went pretty smoothly. He put his nose down to the asphalt to see what the road was made of. So cute. I had Hubby operate the gate so that we wouldn't have to but today, I will be opening the big driveway gate with Tanka.
The family came to see Tanka and MIL and FIL were taken back to when they had a sheep ranch. Very sweet. They were impressed with Tanka being so stout.
Trainer is suggesting that I start putting things near the round pen like a tarp, plastic bags, different things he might see on the trail. I can do that starting this today. I also have a giant ball he could play with. There are some pool noodles in the shed that I could get out.
The trainer also wants to put his blanket and his saddle [just a cheap saddle to practice with that she has loaned me] on the rail when she comes over tomorrow so he can come up to it and sniff it on his own terms.
She thinks he will be ready to ride before I know it:) We shall see. I need to get a hold of my friend to see what saddles she has for sale and see if any are suitable. She sold one recently for $175 which is doable.