We cannot thank Shiloh’s foster mom Brittney enough for the work and care she is putting into this lovely mare. Here’s Shiloh’s training diary for the past several weeks. As you can see, with consistent handling, our girl is making amazing progress!

Friday 6/1
Hand grazed then groomed her in the wash rack and just hung out as she chomped calmly on an apple in the wash rack.

Today I was reviewing milestones of everyday things I think all horses should be able to do calmly and here are some things checked-off of the list and items we’ll be working on this month:

Milestones Achieved:
Stand completely still and don’t walk away from mounting block until told.
Stand still in cross-ties.
Stand still when spraying water all over horse
Walk-Trot-Walk transitions
Halt and stand still with mounted rider
Walk breaks in arena on the buckle
Pat horse on croup while mounted
Open gate while mounted
Rider able to switch whip at trot
Hack around property
While mounted, adjust stirrup leathers and girth.
Hand graze calmly

Upcoming Milestones:
Trot-Canter transitions without running
Take coat off while mounted
Clippers for fetlocks, muzzle, bridle path, and ears
Wear brush boots
Trail ride (I’m going to take her to Bridle Trails with my friend’s trusty trail horse)
Full bubble bath in the wash rack
Fly Spray (she has no issues with me spraying water, but adversely reacts to the smell)
Grooming spray for tail (she has no issues with me spraying water, but adversely reacts to the smell of Mane & Canter)

Thursday 5/31
Ok, Shiloh has the message and has stood at the mounting block without moving for numerous rides!

I didn’t lunge her before hand and she was pretty good at the walk and trot and I was able to sit on her back at the trot both directions for half a circle. When I asked for the left canter lead, she had a little bit of an ‘tude about it and kicked out at my right leg. After realizing I was going to keep asking until she was calm, she let out a big huge sigh and we had some successful left lead canter departs. Going to the right, she was disunited in the front, so I kept setting her up and then asking and then praised her for being such a good girl with NO ‘tude!

Another note is that at the walk, I patted her on her croup and she got overly excited about it, so I made a point of rubbing her flank and croup during all of our walk breaks going both directions. She quickly settled into it and thought nothing of her good girl pat on the rump at the end of our ride.

Also, I think all horses must behave when opening gates, which she has passed with flying colors, since opening the arena gate means we get to hack around the property. She loves to go on her hack around the property after the arena work. We also rode in the outdoor arena at the walk and she was a super good girl. My plan this weekend is to warm her up in the indoor, then do a few trot circles in the outdoor arena.

Wednesday 5/30
Lunged, rode, wash rack.
Shiloh was perfectly STILL at the mounting block and doesn’t move forward until I ask her to start walking.
Shiloh had difficulty picking up the right canter lead to the right, but was willing to go back to the trot as I set her up again in the corner a few times until we go the correct lead going to the right.

Tuesday 5/29

Monday 5/28
Shiloh was perfectly STILL at the mounting block and doesn’t move forward until I ask her to start walking. Rode her without lungeing, so I’d have enough horse to canter under saddle. She was able to pick up the correct lead both directions, but she is un-balanced and wanted to turn into the circle. My plans were to canter her straight down the long side of the arena, but she kept turning herself. I was able to get her to go long on the left lead canter, but limited success on the right lead, where she’d just turn herself onto a circle. Overall, I was pleased with her attitude and we’ll continue to work on it.

Sunday 5/27
Lunged in side reins, didn’t ride her. Wash rack, then hand grazing. Noted that her canter looks good in the round pen with side reins and I’ll try and canter her under saddle tomorrow.

Saturday 5/26
Lunged and rode Shiloh. Shiloh showed how green she is after having too many days off from being ridden. She wanted nothing to do with steering, let along trying to go onto the bit. So we went back to the basics. I prefer to give 1-day off, with at most no more than 2-days off in a row.

Friday 5/25/12
Lunged Shiloh in side reins.

5/22/12 to 5/24/12
I had a stomach bug and didn’t go to work, so Shiloh had three days off.

Monday 5/21/12
Her day off, so put her in the round pen free lunged her.

Sunday 5/20/12
Lunged and rode Shiloh. I was also able to spray her entire body in the wash rack. I don’t yet feel she is confident enough in the wash rack, so I don’t cross-tie her, but instead hold the lead rope. When I can get a helper, I’ll shampoo her and give her a thorough bath, in the meantime, I am working on desensitizing her to the sounds of the water spraying in the wash rack and just standing calmly.

Saturday 5/19/12
Lunged and rode Shiloh. There were 4 other horses in the arena with us and Shiloh behaved as a grown-up horse and was not disturbed as they trotted past us. I did do a lot of walking, to get her settled into the atmosphere of a full and busy arena. Then I picked up some trot both directions, then let her walk again to take in the busy environment. Did a little more trot and then called it good and rode her outside. I was very pleased with her behavior! She impressed the fellow boarders with how far she has come and how relaxed she was with all of the horses in the ring with her.

Another day of being able to successfully spray her entire body in the wash rack.

Friday 5/18/12
Shiloh’s day off, so hand grazed her and worked on standing still in the wash rack. I was able to spray her entire body.

Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday 5/15-5/17/12
Lunged and noticed her canter is much more balanced in side reins in the round pen. I think in a week or so, I’ll start to ask for her to canter under saddle. Every day worked standing in the wash rack as I sprayed her legs. I am taking my time with her, because it is a scary, noisy, and slippery wash rack. She was so scared on the first day I walked her in there, she was shaking so bad it was inching her forward. She is settling into it each day and gaining more confidence. My philosophy is to take the time it takes, so in the end it will take less time as she trusts me and gains confidence faster each time I introduce her to something new.

Monday 5/14/12
Her day off, we just hand grazed.

Sunday 5/13/12
My husband was able to come out today and video our ride. We’ve been working on standing very still at the mounting block and it is paying off and she is getting close to not moving an inch.

Under saddle, Shiloh showed how brave and sensible she was as a horse was walking on the pavement outside. She was startled by the sound, but overall kept her cool and didn’t get to distracted by it. Since someone had already put out trot poles, I took advantage of them and steered her towards them and she bravely trotted over them for the first time, which was captured on video of how she handles a new situation.

Afterwards, she was rewarded by hacking around the arena all by herself and no big horse to guide her.

Since I had my husband as a helper, I led Shiloh into the wash rack and had my husband just spray water around but not at her. I let her snort and sniff until she decided to just put her head directly into the water.

Saturday 5/12/12
Shiloh was lunged and then ridden today. She was a super good girl under saddle and I was able to consistently keep her on the bit, so introduced more walk to trot to walk transitions. She was so good, that we followed a fellow boarder outside and rode around the outside! After our ride, we again hung out in the wash rack and she was calm enough as I sprayed water at the walls, that I tested out spraying the water closer to her muzzle and she bravely put her head right into the spraying water. After a lot of good girl pats, we headed out to hand graze

Friday 5/11/12
Shiloh got the day off from being under saddle. We did work on walking into the scary wash rack and I let her sniff around and snort as I sprayed water around, but not directly at her.