Category Archives: Lacey

Clinic & Photo Update: Lacey

Here’s an update from Terry, who rode Lacey in the recent Joel Conner clinic:

Lacey did wonderful in this past Joel Conner clinic! She was forward and willing and kept a good attitude for most of the workshops. She is still young and at 4 there is just only so much arena time you can take in a day so I was mindful to take breaks and to put her away on a good note and not make her work past what she could handle. Since the clinic there have been some great changes in her and we are having a lot of fun. She is very connected to me and tends to be respectful once she knows you. Since she still tries to be naughty some times, we are only having the barn managers or volunteer riders handle her. This has made a big difference and she is leading better and more respectful to her handlers. Baby has to try right? I am really pleased with how far she has come and excited to hit the trails more with her this summer!

Lacey Plays Soccer!

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Lacey is All Grown Up

An update from Terry who has been working with Lacey:

We have been working hard in the arena over the last few weeks and Lacey is improving every day! She has been doing a lot better with things touching her hind end. While she still might squeal and kick out from time to time, it has improved a great deal. I can now get the rope tossed over most of the time without a reaction. She is good about grooming, bathing and tacking up. However still needs to be watched because she will still try to bite or kick from time to time. She is my little work-in-progress but she does have a very sweet side to her. She loves to rub her lips on anything soft she can find, like the saddle pad after I take it off of her. She is so mature, I sometimes forget she is just 4.5 years old. She has a very playful side too! We have been playing with the yoga ball in the arena and she loves to chase it and kick it. We have a little soccer pony on our hands for sure!

Yesterday was our first ride into the large outdoor arena, followed by a short little trail ride. She did fantastically outside and was forward and comfortable. Heading up our driveway to the trailhead, she looked at a few things but was brave and kept moving. She was perfect over the bridge for the first time and I was able to stay on a nice relaxed rein the entire time. We saw out first bike on the trail and she reacted but I yielded her hind around as he came towards us and then asked Lacey to follow him as he rode away. This gave her confidence because it made her feel she had made the bike move away from her. I was very pleased at her response. I bet she would be great with cows!

We have some homework to do and lots more miles to cross before she is beginner ready but she is progressing well and a ton of fun to work with. One thing I hope to get help from Joel Conner this weekend at Lacey’s first riding clinic is addressing her reaction and behavior as other horses approach or pass her. With all the other horses in the arena, I will really need to work on correcting her aggressive behavior, and keep her listening to me and not worrying about the other horses. This will be a very important lesson if she every goes to a show or if someone passes us on the trails.

Lacey is not ready for just anyone to come jump on and ride her but would be a great project horse for someone who can see her potential and is willing to put the time into training her. She is very special and I know is going to be a fantastic riding partner in the future. Not to mention that she is cute as a button and loves snuggles!

Lacey: Training Update

Lacey, Lacey… Lacey… Where do I begin? To love horses you really have to accept everything about them. They have good and bad days; they have personalities and little quirks just like us. I think I will write this report like my teacher did in my parent-teacher conferences… like an Oreo cookie the good, the challenges and then some more good.

Miss Lacey went to Joel’s to get started a few months ago. She did very well turned out with the other mares and the saddle work was typical for a green horse. She is a little “cold backed” so even with months of saddle work; she is a little tight to start each session but nothing a little groundwork in the beginning doesn’t fix.

There are two issues we are having with her: food aggression and extreme sensitivity to things touching her rump or flank area. Joel called me halfway through Lacey’s training, concerned that he just wasn’t seeing changes in these two areas. She had done well accepting a rider and being taken into all the gaits. However, if any thing or anyone touched her hind end, she would squeal and kick out, and if he approached her while she was eating her grain, she would strike and bite at him. He worked at it for a long time and never saw the sort of lasting change that he hoped for. In the end, he and I decided that there was nothing more he could do for her and that that hopefully, with some more time and continued work at SAFE, she will get better.

To rule out any health issues, we had her checked out by Dr. Fleck, who performed a pelvic ultrasound. Everything looked normal. He is having us try some hormones to see if balancing out her cycles could help with her sensitivity in her hindquarters. She is on a 10-day trial of Regumate to see if it makes a difference. We are glad there was nothing found in the ultrasound that was causing her pain. It is always good to rule out underlining medical issues and I am grateful that SAFE takes the time to do this for our horses.

As far as the food aggression, there is probably always going to be something there and whoever is around her will need to be mindful. When she is in her stall eating and you enter her space, she will pin her ears. If you let her, she will try to bite or strike at you. The best way to change this behavior is to “move her feet” and change the leadership dynamic. I don’t get angry with her, I just simple ask her to move away from her food dish. She will then drop the aggression and look to me to find out what I need her to do. She becomes much more docile. I can then touch her and then invite her back to her hay. This is something that will get easier over time, but right now, someone who is timid or not sure what to do with this type of behavior should not be around her when she is eating.

There is a lot of heart and sweetness in this mare’s eyes. Working with mares in general is a special thing. They are smart and deserve respect. She is making progress and is definitely a one-woman horse. Her size makes her attractive to kids, but unfortunately she is too young and too green to go to a family with small children. She tends to like a soft approach where there is a lot of kindness behind the requests but also clarity as to what being asked. I also think she is very brave and gets along well as the lead mare in the herd. I am excited to see how she is on the trails so we will hopefully be out there a lot this summer. Lacey is my special project, and I hope that we can start showing her to potential adopters later this year.

Training Update: Jessel and Lacey

jessel_Lacey_11_11_2016_01Jessel and Lacey made their way over to Ellensburg to start working with Joel Conner. They are both doing well and I checked in with Joel this week to see how the girls are doing. The plan is to give Lacey 90 days of professional training and let Jessel winter over with Joel. He’s going to lightly start her under saddle and keep her exposed to professional, consistent handling to ensure she is learning the best manners possible.

Here is what Joel had to say about the two girls:

“JWOW (aka Jessel) is doing really good she’s been wonderful to saddle and ride. She is acting a little bit bothered by the road behind her so we’re getting her over that.  Also she is learning how to move away from you when she’s tied up and not kick.

Ol Snooki (aka Lacey) is getting better every day. She is learning how to stay on the wall and walk trot lope.  We are also working with her on making sure that she doesn’t kick when she’s tied up.  We’re working with her with the rope and the mighty fart noise!”

So a little explanation might be needed here…Joel always comes up with nicknames for the horses and this time we just had to share! Snooki and JWOW are quite a pair and the names are just as fun as these two young mares! Also the “mighty fart noise” is something interesting that we found out about Lacey when we started to work with her here at SAFE. She absolutely hates it if you make a kiss sound or “fart noise”. She becomes quite agitated, tossing her head and overreacting! We work on getting her used to it here but Joel is still having to work on getting her to relax about. It.s pretty funny but also a bit puzzling…why would she react to a noise this way but be okay with a tarp hanging off her back? Silly ponies! Sometimes you have to just scratch your head, smile, and tell her she’s going to be alright and a noise will not hurt her.

Both of these horses were my training projects while they were here at SAFE and I grew to love their personalities. They both have a very sweet side but before we could see that sweet side, they needed to learn to respect their handler. I am very excited to see the work Joel is doing with them and thrilled to have such good report cards coming in. I miss seeing them at the barn but know this is an important time in their lives and trust Joel’s skills 100%. It is amazing to be able to work with such a gifted and heartfelt trainer, I know the girls are going to turnout to be wonderful riding horses!

Here are some photos of them at Joel’s:

 

Brave Lacey!

Lacey has been doing a lot of ground work in preparation for starting her under saddle training. Today she got to face off against the scary tarp…and she did great!!!

This is a terrible Halloween costume!
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Lacey shows the tarp who’s boss
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Saddling Session at the Joel Conner Clinic

Sunday morning, three young redheads were saddled up and worked in the roundpen at the start of the clinic. This included Jessel (who met the saddle for the first time at yesterday’s clinic), Sophie, and Lacey. Here are photos from this session:

Lacey: New Photos

Sweet baby Lacey! She is a doll and we are enjoying getting to know her. She is already a volunteer favorite! Here are a few photos that Jessica Farren took on our 3 week from intake.