Thursday, May 8, 2008


Just a quick shot of the goofy boy. Sorry for the disapearing tail...

Both horses are doing well. The day before I got sick, I had washed Mira's fly mask, and during the day that I was so sick that the kids fed the horses, I forgot to ask them to put it back on her. After that one day, she got a mild case of pinkeye. Argh. What was really frustrating about it was that I had JUST started them back on the Thorvin kelp a couple days before, after them being off it for weeks due to me running out. So, it's possible that if she had been on it the whole time that she would not have gotten it. Regardless, it cleared up very quickly with terramycin. Of course, she only had it in her right eye, which caused me some worry about if I had the right diagnosis or not. But she was not acting in any pain at all, so I was pretty confident it was not a reinjury.

Anyway, she has always loved her fly mask, and will turn her head to help me get it on. If she doesn't have it on and you hold it up, she'll walk across the pasture to get you to put it on. Andolu, on the other hand... Well, he thinks fly masks spoil the fun and at first he kept taking his off as soon as I would put it on. I left it off for a couple weeks and then tried it again, and I think the intervening time with the flies has convinced him it really is a help, because now he will often leave it on until dark!

Sadly, however, he did manage to destroy his fly sheet. Not sure how, because I never saw him being mean to it. Oh well. I got him one first, as I was sure that whatever he did to his, he would do double to Mira's, so I guess we'll table that idea for now.

Suggestion time:

The 3-year-old boy that is riding here once a week is a very active child. He loves the horses but the newness has worn off enough that he is hard to keep occupied on one thing at a time. He'll brush the horse 4 strokes and then want to give it a treat. He'll want to ride and then get down and lead it. There is only so much pulling him back and convincing him to finish something before he'll get sour from so much correction...

I am thinking about making a chart with skills like "Leading horse up road," "Clipping lead on halter," and things like that, and giving him a sticker each time he learns something thoroughly. That way if he knows he's earning something he might be better motivated to focus. Do you guys have any suggestions? Lists of skills, other games, anything useful for toddlers? Part of the point is for him to learn that "boring" stuff can be fun, but I don't want him to think horses are all about routine. Thanks in advance for any suggestions!



Lori Schmidt (LoriProPhoto) said...

Hi L I am playing catchup again, and have been reglecting my blog a bit too but hope to improve on that. I have enjoyed going over your older posts about the grazing issues, I have one of those but it is impossible to remedy unless I have far less horses. I have 5 acres and 16 horses!!!!! So as you can imagine my "field" is a desert but we are starting to get a bit of rain and as long as I keep them off of it while it is really wet I get little islands of something trying to sprout LOL

My oe filly has a white face and two blue eyes and she loves her flymask. Never had a problem putting it on her. I just worry if they can see clearly at night with them or not or should I take it off at night?

Great catching up.


kelly said...

Being a true A.D.D. adult that teaches A.D.D. children (and horses for that matter) I think the chart is a great idea. I would suggest creating a chart with a score/reward system of some sort. The exercises (brushing, leading, halter) need to be short! Then after finishing a task the child gets one star/point whatever and the horse gets one treat. You make the whole lesson a game of sorts. Most children have a difficult time staying interested at that age so make it as engaging as possible.

Rising Rainbow said...

I'm glad that you've recovered from your bout with the flu. I can't even imagine that Mira likes her fly mask. I thought all horses hated those things. I know mine do. lol

Original L said...

Hi Lori! I understand about the desert... Our place is really dry and dusty all summer. As far as fly masks, check under Mira's every day, but I leave it on overnight so the early morning flies don't bother her. She doesn't have a problem with it.

Kelly - Thanks! That gives me a good place to start.

RR - Yeah, Mira's different in a lot of ways, I guess. You really can call her over by holding a fly mask out!

onthebit said...

hahaha...This 3 year old boy is so in my area of expertise. I agree that a chart is a good thign but you have to start out slow with little expectations. For example you should start off with currying the horse for one week. Then add curry and hard brush the next. Keep adding one brush a week and then make is groom Mira. You need to make the things on the sticker chart small enough so that he can do them if he wants to, but hard enough so he has to work on it. Make sure you stay consistent about the sitckers giving. If one week he doesn't brush legs and you give him a sticker and the next week he does the same and you don't you have basiclly killed the power of the behavior modification chart :P. I would also make the rewards small and often for a 3 year old. Maybe get a bunch of plastic horses from the dollar store (or whatever he likes) and every 2 stickers give him one at first. Once he has two stickers down bump it up to 3, etc. Always make sure you expline what he needs to get the sticker and also give the stickers right after the event and reenforce what he did right. For example week one he currys Mira you bring the chart over and say, "I am really proud of you for currying Mira's whole body. Mira is glad too and since you listen to directions and did the whole currying you get a sticker". As for games I wrote up a bunch on my blog so just search games next time you visit and they should pop up. I just want to warn you though that at 3 in a theraputic center the kid is not usualy allowed to learn to ride yet. They just get Hippotherapy (physical therapy on horseback) because 3 year old are known for there short attnetion span and still have a hard time with controling there own bodies. Most centers start teaching to ride at 4-5 depending on the maturity level of the kid and there physical limitations or needs. I hope the cart works...I am not joking when I say start with just 3 things this week and add 2 a week until you have all the desired behaviors. I know it takes a long time but it is the best way to do me. Good luck and have fun!

photogchic said...

The little kids out at our barn get distracted easy too. When I help them groom the ponies, I just talk about how much the horse loves what we are doing to him and just give a lot of encouragement about whatever task they are on. Fun stuff!

Original L said...

Belated thanks for all the great suggestions! I will keep you guys updated on how it goes!