Wednesday, December 31, 2008

We took Brego and Strider out to ride and do exercises (with Brego's refitted saddle, which makes for a nice ride!!).  We went to the field above Carl's place, and practiced one-rein stopping and slowing.  We also worked on getting him to speed control and got him into his gait a bit.  I noticed how jerky he is, and kind of uncoordinated, and made a comment to Tim.  Tim said that it takes a while for the horse to learn to carry his rider, and perhaps Brego has not been given that kind of practice.   Tim gave suggestions to help keep him collected when in his gait, so he will even out and not be so jerky.  We'll work on that.  We also practiced going up and down the hill slowly.  Downhill, it was two steps forward, stop, then one step back, all the way down.  Tim explained later that we should teach him that pattern even on a flat surface, and everytime we experience something new or potentially scary (water, etc.) we should just go back to that pattern, to teach him not to bolt through it, or down the hill, but to go slowly and carefully.  It was good just to be out and working on these things in a safe, controlled environment, without other horses around.

Monday, December 29, 2008

We were both feeling sick after our weekend bout with a flu bug, but went to spend some time with Brego in the round pen.  Tim did some speed control circling and some walking with Brego on the lead rope, then let Brego off the line.  This turned into a "Join Up" session, which was incredible to watch.  Tim tried his "invisible rope" with Brego.  At first, Brego began to walk beside Tim as he should, but suddenly bolted off.  Clearly, Brego did not want to follow Tim, and wanted to challenge him.  Brego ran round and round the pen in a huff, not looking at Tim.  He would turn and go the other way occasionally, but not look at Tim.  He got himself quite sweaty as he worked out his defiance and challenged Tim's leadership.  When he finally looked at Tim, Tim smiled and gave him the chance to come towards him.  He began to, but ran off again.  This happened a couple of times.  Tim would only smile if Brego looked at him eye-to-eye.  At one point he turned his butt to Tim again, only slightly.  I didn't even notice it, but Tim did, so Tim sent him off again.  Tim said that Brego can throw a hissy fit as much as he wants, and keep being uncomfortable by running, or he can look at Tim to find comfort there and be able to relax with Tim as the leader.  (Make the wrong thing hard (uncomfortable) and the right thing easy (comfortable).  Finally Brego softened, looked at Tim and came to him.  Then he followed Tim around the pen as if to say Tim could be the leader.  I think this whole thing took about 20 minutes, and Brego was sure sweaty.  It was very, very interesting to observe this, and especially since I just recently viewed a video of Monty Roberts using his Join Up technique.  Brego acted very similar to the horse in the video.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Christmas vacation, December 17-27
We went to California for the holidays and had a good time, but couldn't wait to get home!  We wanted to see the "kids" (horses), and I especially wanted to see my Brego.  It was a long trip, but good to see family and my dad in the rest home, during what is presumably his last days on this earth.  We spent a couple of days at Lake Tahoe with friends, and even went for a sleigh ride at Camp Richardson...wouldn't you know, we just couldn't stay away from horses.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Early in the morning before leaving for California (5 am), I went out to say goodbye to the horses and found that Strider and Brego were sharing a hay pile!  What a surprise and a relief!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

I worked with Brego a bit more, and enjoyed watching his progress.  Little by little he does the seven games better, but it will still be some time to get the kinks worked out.  I enjoy getting him to walk alongside, stop & backup on cue and look forward to the day he will do this on an "invisible rope".  I am learning to give more consistent cues and to release more quickly as soon as he responds, and I know this is important.  It's just hard to observe his actions and remember all the things I should be doing, while trying to manage the rope and stick and use them correctly.  I know I just need practice, but at times it's frustrating.

Monday, December 15, 2008

By this time we were making plans to leave home on Wednesday, so we needed to feed them in the same area to make it easier for the Burns.  Tim put out four piles of hay in the paddock area and shut the gate, so Cody couldn’t ban Brego to the outside.  As expected, they played “musical” hay piles a bit, rotating who ate where, but Brego was able to eat without being run off.  We were relieved to know that we could leave home and they would be ok.  Generally, Strider was at one pile, Cody & Apache at another, and Brego at another, but they kept moving from one pile to the next, playing musical hay piles.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Now that we knew Brego could drink, we needed to be sure the herd could all get along while we were gone for the holidays and to see my dad and family.  We let them all run together.  There were no apparent problems with Brego getting along with the rest of the horses.  At times Brego could be seen grazing right next to Strider, and they seemed to get along fine.  At times Cody would run Brego off, but nothing serious—just a reminder of who’s boss.  I got a video of one of the times Cody ran him off...go Brego!!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Brent came out to look at Apache, to consider buying him for his wife, Kim.   We saddled up Apache, Strider and Brego, to ride along the lake with Brent.  I wanted to try Strider while Tim rode Brego, to see how Brego would react to new things before I got on.  Besides, I've never ridden Strider outside our pasture before and I wanted to give him a go.  (It was fine, and there sure is a different view from way up there!)  

Brego was great!  He walked right by the scary objects (picnic tables, garbage cans, tarps on the ground, etc.) and didn’t flinch.  He walked along nicely without a hitch.  Before we came back, we switched horses and I rode Brego quite comfortably.  A nice trail horse he will be, and he had no problems keeping up with Strider.

Aside from that, we were still very concerned about Brego not drinking.  The weather was going to get very, very cold, and with little water in him, we knew he had to drink.  He'd been drinking from a puddle under the roof, and eating snow, and that could have provided enough water so he wasn't desperate enough to learn to use the post, but the puddle and snow finally dried up, so we knew he should learn soon.  He just wasn't pushing down the paddle, no matter how often I urged him to "push it, push it".  We wanted to bring all the horses together into the paddock so they could be under the lean-to in the wind and cold, but also wanted to keep Brego isolated there so he would be forced to figure out the drinking post.  We knew we needed to leave home soon for California, and needed to know Brego was drinking and that the herd would get along while we were gone.

For me there was a bit of a spiritual battle going on regarding trust.  Can I trust God to urge Brego to use the post?  Can I trust Tim’s methods to teach Brego by keeping him from all other water sources?  I thought he needed water, and I was worried.  I knew that we had to get him to drink from the post and that certainly Tim was right in depriving him of other water sources, but it was hard to watch Brego’s thirst and inability to figure out the post.

The cold wind had begun to come in, and Tim was out in the barn, in the dark, to observe what Brego was doing around the post.  I reheated some chili and cornbread, took it out to the barn where we ate it, watched and waited.  We prayed for Brego to drink, and wondered just what God had in mind.  Certainly He loves His creatures and could suggest to them how to use the drinking post!  Would He?  Can He make Brego drink?  Does He care?  Tim reminded me how difficult it is to watch a child struggle and to trust God with a child.  Having never experienced this, it was a new lesson for me in trusting God with my "children".

We went into the house and eventually began to get ready for bed.  Tim was in bed when he heard the pipes begin to shake.  He ran down to the basement (in his underwear) to feel the pipes, and sure enough someone was going to town on the drinking post.  Tim quickly threw on some clothes and ran out there, and sure enough, Brego was drinking from the post!!!  He was chewing on the back side and pumping it with his lower teeth, but at least he had managed to discover how to make the water come up.  What a relief!  Now we could sleep comfortably, no longer listening to the pipes.

Friday, December 12, 2008

As the days went on, we were concerned that Brego hadn’t learned to use the drinking post. I was getting worried about him not drinking. Brego would look at me, look at the post, look at me, look at the post. Clearly he wanted me to push the paddle for him. Once he even grabbed my sleeve to pull my hand over to the paddle. We were especially concerned that he learn to drink, because we needed to leave soon for California to see my dad & mom, because Dad was in the hospital. We didn’t want to leave home until we knew Brego was drinking ok and getting along with the herd. We needed to keep him separate so he'd drink from the post, while giving water to the others in the stock tub outside of the paddock. Tim had to go out and break the ice daily. At times we kept Brego with his new buddy, Apache, and at other times he was alone in the paddock with just the drinking post, so if we heard the pipes creak in the house we would know it was him at the post.

A few times during this week Tim began introducing Brego to the rest of the herd, first to Cody in the back pasture, with Stider & Apache out front. There were times that Cody would chase Brego off or keep him away from Strider & Apache, and there were some scenes of Brego throwing out his hind legs to kick at Cody, but little contact and no injuries. Cody would stand his ground, and Brego could take care of himself. They were still eating separately with Strider and Cody eating in the back pasture, Brego and Apache in the paddock.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Brego had his teeth floated.  This was a new experience for me.  He was sedated and stood in a rack to hold his neck up.  A contraption was put in his mouth to keep it open while Sunny ground his teeth down.  Guess it’s like going to the dentist.  Again, an interesting new experience.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Tyler came to pull Brego’s shoes.  When I mentioned that his name was Brego, Tyler asked about the spaghetti sauce!  Oh, no, here we go!'s not Prego!

Monday, December 8, 2008

It’s official!  Brego is ours!  Jack and the brand inspector both came and did the transfer, we paid Jack, and it’s a done deal.  The first horse registered in my name.  Brego is a special horse and we will love him, but we’ll always remember Tahoma and the special gift she was from Tim to me earlier in our relationship.  I won't forget that, and Tim's love as he trained her, thinking of me in my absence.


I had Tim take a picture of me behind Brego, to show his height compared to me.  He's a good, short horse for me.  Keeping in mind I'm only 5' tall I need to be able to mount him more easily. I will work on being able to mount him from ground level.

Now that Brego is ours, it's time to begin teaching him to use our drinking post.  Tim began as he has with all his other horses, by leading him to the post, pushing the paddle and giving him one drink of water in the morning, and another in the evening, removing all other water sources to teach him to seek it out.  Tim says the horse will get thirsty enough that he’ll figure it out in a couple of days.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Tim put Brego in the front pasture with Apache today, to begin introducing him to the herd, one at a time--the easiest one first.  Tim expected that Brego would bump Apache to the bottom, and he did, without much effort.  Apache didn’t put up much of a fight, and does his little squeal when Brego gets too close.  They are getting along just fine.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Brego is His Name-O

Still trying to think of a good a name, I had began to consider the name “Brego”.  Brego was the horse in the Lord of the Rings movies that Aragorn had once set free in the barn, because his owner had been killed, and he had seen too much of war.  Later on, when Aragorn lay injured by the stream, Brego found him, nudged him awake, kneeled down for Aragorn to get up on him, and took him to safety.  Aragorn rode Brego throughout the rest of the movies.  (This incident and the horse never appear in the books, only in the screenplay.)  Boss looks almost identical to the horse in the movie (but about 2 hands shorter), and I liked the romantic nature of the story, so BREGO it is.  Apparently, "Brego" is an archaic english word for "prince, ruler or king".  Tim made fun of the name at first, thinking it sounds like spaghetti sauce…he was calling him “meatball” or “spaghetti” while I was still making a decision about the name. But, once I decided on it, Tim respectfully began calling him Brego as well.  Tim warned me that I had better be ready to explain the name to people who wouldn’t recognize it.  I knew, and didn’t mind.  (Since then, I've learned to ask the person first whether they’ve seen the Lord of the Rings movies.  If not, the explanation gets shortened to “it was the name of a horse in the movie”.)  There is some information about the horse in the movie HERE.

We're doing more groundwork with Brego, and my attachment to him continues to grow.  He follows me around on my heels, and I love it.  I need to be more careful about not letting him into my bubble!  We both took turns working with him, and he continues to learn quickly.  At one point Tim let Brego into the front pasture alone, for the first time.  He ran across, so excited to run, he held his tail high and his mane flew, it was a beautiful sight.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

We had an appointment for a vet check.  Sunny (Dr. Geiser) came and said he’s in great shape!  I was surprised at how long it took and how thorough the checkup was.  While talking with Sunny, Tim mentioned how mouthy he is, and thought we could name him “Boca”, meaning mouth in Spanish.  Now there’s an idea.  We were sad to hear from Sunny that she would only be working in the clinic another three weeks.  We will miss her.  We called Jack to confirm our decision to buy Bossman, and arranged to have the brand inspector meet with us and Jack the following Monday.