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Groundhog Day
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Groundhog Day

Hey Y'all! It's been a long time since I've updated or anything. I have had a knee scope and am on my way to recovery and rehab. Hopefully, I'll be fully operational within the month if I can get P.T. started. Before I had surgery (and continuing on even afterwards), I have been working with Cookie on staying out of the stall until I tell her it's okay to go in. She was beginning to get really pushy as my knee was getting more painful to walk around on. My lack of movement was enabling her pushiness, and I couldn't have that, so I began correcting the problem as best as I could.

I don't know if anyone else has experienced this with their horse in any training where every day the first week is like a brand new day and you haven't been working on anything. The second week comes along, and for the first few days, it's Groundhog Day and then the next day BINGO! They get it! You get so excited. The following day or days, the groundhog is back and again that next day WOOHOO! They get it. Well, Cookie has been doing just that. The first week was torture for me, and that's okay. I expected it. I tweaked my antics a bit and by the end of that first week things were going pretty well.

Here's what I've been doing; I feed 3 times a day now. Beginning with breakfast, I load a hay net, grab my driving whip, and walk out to her stall. I give her the "Whoa" command, wait for her to stop completely, and then begin to walk into her stall. If she follows, I push her out and away, wait for her to stop and begin into the stall again. The first few days we did a lot of out and away. Some days she wouldn't stand still for anything, so we walked in a circle in both directions then stopped. We walked again, and then stopped. When she was standing still, I headed for the stall. When I got inside where she couldn't see me, I would wait a few moments to see if she was still standing where I left her, or if she had walked up to just outside of the door. If she stayed where she was, I would hang the hay net and on my way out of the door, I look at her, say "whoa" and begin taking steps away from the door without looking at her directly. If she stayed still, I would give the command “Load" and point to the stall. Anytime she moved closer to the stall before I hung the net, I would walk out with the net over my shoulder and allow her to walk up and look in to see there wasn't any hay in there. Then, I would start the whole process over.

In the second week, she was getting the hang of it, though she tested me every single time. I was prepared for it and didn't hang the net until she stood still. Some days were better than others. Some were extremely trying. The week before surgery, which would be the 3rd week, I figured she had it down. The same steps, same commands with ultimate testing, almost as if we had just started this little lesson. The reason I have been working with her on this in the first place was due to the fact that I knew ahead of time that I wouldn't be able to move as fast after surgery for at least a week, and I didn't want her to just walk all over me or anyone else, when they or I went to feed. She needs to learn patience and to listen to the commands given instead of just doing what she wants. 

After surgery, we had a few groundhog days and a few good days. The 2nd week post surgery was Groundhog Day all over again. Believe me when I say it was maddening. She was acting as if she hadn't been fed in a month. She was being pushy and nasty towards me and towards everyone else who walked out there with food. She gets more than enough feed, so I knew that wasn't the issue. Still, I insist on good behavior, listening skills and patience. When she would push me, I pushed back twice as hard this time. We went around and around and around, and she stood still no matter where I was out there. When I asked her to move, she moved, and when I asked her to Whoa, she stood still. Now we're up to date with this past week. She still tests me; however, she isn't pushy or nasty. She doesn't like to wait for anything, but she's figuring out that she doesn't get her way if she doesn't wait for a command of some kind.

I really hope this Groundhog Day is over, and I'll know when I go out to feed her dinner. I expect to be tested. That's what horses do. They test us in some way every day. I know she's bored and I'm sure she's lonely, so when my leg gets stronger and I can walk better, we'll go back out for our walks and even go for rides in the mornings when it's cool. Getting back to some form of normal will go a long way for her and me, and I'm praying this Groundhog Day is over because it's been a long month of it.

Thank you for checking out my blogs. 

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  1. arabobsession
    My mare was vicious when I first got her, and would charge me when I entered with foood and would try bite and kick. I read an article on "horse problems australia" on how to work on the problem. I followed what they said, an I use the phrase "step away". My mare is one of those clingy horses, so whilst she won't move away she does stop and turn her head away and won't come forward to eat until told she can. It has made feed time far more enjoyable
    1. Rene Wright
      Rene Wright
      That's great! You found what works. Cookie can be clingy at times too, trying to enter my personal space uninvited. She's getting there though. Learning comes more slowly for her. Each horse has their own way and timing. :)

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