Tuesday, April 20, 2010

What's happened to Kinsey?

Besides all the photos of her and Abby, I really have not mentioned too much about Kinsey lately. I have been giving Kinsey an unfair shake. My attitude has been an absolute Negative Nelly when it comes to her.

"Oh look Kinsey is afraid of a brush." "Guess what Kinsey doesn't want to be caught." "Oh great, yet another thing Kinsey is afraid of!" I could check off the number of things that Kinsey has done to disappointment me. I won't though.

I need to stop saying to myself, complete with eye roll, "Purchasing this horse was a huge mistake." It may sound very callous of me to think of her that way. I made a mistake. I should have followed my gut and not purchased Kinsey, but alas I didn't. After weighing my options, at the time, I though that selling Abby and buying a horse more suitable for me would be the best choice. Although Abby is still here and Kinsey is not what I would call suitable at this point. The fact of the matter is that I just have to get over that part.

I have been working with Kinsey on and off. Something else would frustrate me about her and confirm yet again why buying her was a mistake. She has never liked to be caught but she was getting worse. Well why should she want to be caught when I had such a bad attitude. Not that I was anything but kind to her, but I think she knew how I felt. She could feel my frustrations, even though I tried to hide it. Kinsey is a very sensitive horse.

I have been thinking about Kinsey's attitude. She act like what I would think a horse that was in a Clint Anderson demo probably acts like. You know the demos right, he takes a completely untrained horse, chases it around for two hours and when the horse is so tired it can't move he stands on the horses back cracks a whip declaring that the horse is trained. Yes I did watch him do that on a video once, made me sick. Anyway that is what Kinsey acts like. She knows what she is supposed to do, but scared shiftless when you ask her to.
Well what do I keep saying? Has anyone been paying attention? Be positive!

After Midwest Horse Fair and listening to some suggestions by Tommy Garland, I decided to start over with her. Tommy talked about doing the same activity for 7 days. His point being that you can't do some of these activities too much, for example: teaching "whoa" on verbal command. Not only does it make sure that the horse knows the command well, but it also build the horse's confidence. He made a few comments about how the horse looked calm and wasn't sweating bullets either . . . unlike some training methods. He didn't actually say, "unlike some training methods," but it was clearly implied.

Another clinician, from Harmony Horsemanship, as well as Tommy discussed how a horse gains confidence as they learn a new obstacle. Such obstacles as ground polos, bridges, the big ball, etc. help the horse to become desensitize to various objects. Linda Tellington Jones also mentions building a playground for the horse with some of these same obstacles for the very same reasons. Of course as the horse does things successfully, it is going to gain more confidence. A half pass, leg yield, spin, sliding stop, it really doesn't matter to the horse. You don't need to use a big ball, bridges, or other things like that, but it makes it fun for the trainer. And isn't that why I have horses? To have fun with them?

So most of my energy has been focused on Kinsey and Abby the past few days. I take Kinsey out, she is getting much better about being caught. Then I groom her and work some TTouch into the routine. She hates to be touched around her poll. I tried to see if my Australian stock saddle fit her and she was really upset by that so I have gone back to just a saddle pad and getting her used to that. Then we practice "whoa" in a rope halter. She is so sensitive I have a really soft rope halter, thick and with no knots. She basically knew what I was asking even on the first day, but she did it with head up, and at breakneck speed. Now we are fine tuning and allowing her to be more calm while doing it. We even started moving on to pole work. Finally I end with clicker training, a little hand grazing and grooming. She really like to get treats and she needs to be touched a lot.

I have been looking for what Kinsey does right:
+She picks up her feet really well to be picked out.
+She knows a lot of commands and cues already.
+Kinsey picks things up quickly and really thinks.
+She is not afraid of water or being hosed down.
+She is a very sensitive horse that tries.
+Kinsey is not afraid of fly spray.
+ And she has such a sweet face!

Just like I need to build on my positives I will need to build on Kinsey's. I don't know if I will ride Kinsey. I am going to be more positive and maybe if things go well, I will. I think I want to wait to send her to training until I have her more confident on the ground. So that is what is up with Kinsey.


  1. I have really been meaning to try to do with Page what you just did with Kinsey...make a list of positives. It seems that when I think of Page my mind goes so quickly to bolting and I forget everything else. I need to step back and think of all the things she does well! Great idea!

  2. As my father always says "Attitude is everything". I can be a negative Nancy as well, my husband is always catching me doing it. I like your idea of focusing on the positive! As the professional animal trainers say don't think about what you don't want your horse to do focus on what you DO want. Out of curiosity what are you doing with the clicker training right now? Teaching your horse to touch and then follow a target can be really useful. You can use it to have them touch "scary" objects, load on to a trailer etc etc. It is how I taught my pony to free lunge and also how I corrected some unwanted behaviors on the lead.
    I think you are headed in a great direction with Kinsey. Don't fret about the big picture (to ride or not to ride) and just focus on what you guys can to do together now. One step at a time! :)

  3. List of positives is great - focus on what the horse can do (not what they can't) and build from there!

  4. I agree, there are some things you can never do enough of, like woahing.

  5. Funny, after reading this post about changing your focus to the positives of this horse, I see under your post a comment "Thank you so much for your positive comments." So much of the time we want want and need to hear is what our horses want and need to hear too. Makes sense that focusing on the positives would be good for both of you.

  6. Story: It makes me so happy to know that my experiences are helping someone else!

    Golden: I like your father's quote! Kinsey is learning to touch. She is doing well. I will start following a target once she is really good with the cone. I really want her to start targeting things she is afraid of like white plastic bags. Actually anything white. The girl is racist and hates anything white. . . maybe that is my problem. lol

    Kate: Well said!

    Sydney: I agree, having a voice controlled is handy.

    Rising Rainbow: I have been doing really well with having a positive outlook, Kinsey has been a test, or at least pop quiz. She was supposed to be the answer and now. . . not so much. :)

    Thank you everyone for your comments. They really help stay focused and keep me motivated.

  7. Oh my word I am soooo far behind on reading your blog!! I have 250 blog posts in my Google Reader so I'm struggling to catch up lol. I'll skip ahead to yours tonight after work because I wanna know what's going on with Kinsey but I won't let myself read the posts out of order (my OCD kicking in) lol!

    By the way Tractor Supply is where I got those rings. You should get them. I love them! Have no complaints about them and as you can see Chrome loves them too. I've had them out in the pasture for months and he's never injured himself with them or damaged them in any way. He is fond of standing by the barn and bashing them against it to make it bang really loud though (which can leave dents in the tin) lol. Silly colt. :) They are great cheap entertainment in my opinion (for me and Chrome!!). :)

  8. I think you are definitely going in the right direction with Kinsey. Focus on the positive things and it will all work out. Behaviors take time and patience to learn. I'm sure once she knows how much you really like her she will try even harder and be a happy and well adjusted partner for you.

  9. I know what you mean about the negative attitude. After Aslan killed my chicken I got the same attitude toward him. I felt like everything I had to do to him was such an inconvenience for me and I kept saying how it was such a mistake to buy him because he was supposed to prevent chickens from being killed, not eat them! When I realized what I was doing I still felt bitter and started avoiding him. Then it hit me. Aslan is a puppy!!!!!! I was not being fair! So I started working on something easy (sit for hi dinner) and he's doing great. He doesn't jump on me anymore either. I just don't know what to do about the chickens . . .

    I'm glad you realized what you were doing with Kinsey and that you're taking the steps to fix it. Thinking positive is so important and I need a reminder frequently! I can't wait to here more about how you're doing together and what you're working on. :)


Thank you so much for your positive comments. I love you hear from you!