A dear friend of mine and her family bought me a Hoofjack a few years ago as a thank you for helping them with their horse’s hooves. I LOVE that thing! It has significantly saved my back over the years working on Billy’s feet. Billy learned to really love it as well!

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Billy loved his Hoofjack.

 

The Hoofjack was too big for the minis so I’ve been just holding their feet. However it is very difficult to be exact when trimming in this manner. Not to mention my back was killing me!! So I finally broke down and bought a miniature horse Hoofjack… It is adorable. I was surprised at how small it is! At first I wondered if it would be useful. But oh boy is it!!

Here it is next to Bonnie to give you a size reference…

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And her hoof in the cradle…

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Just another angle!

Bonnie did quite well with it. She didn’t have too much trouble adapting.

Sky was a little stinker but she quickly came around with some well timed carrot pieces!

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TaDa!!! Our new Miniature Horse Hoofjack!!

 

I’ve started both girls on hill therapy. They are both over weight and need to bump up their exercise a bit. I am still starting them slow and easy because I don’t need any lame ponies. So for now they are trotting each direction for 2 minutes with a 1 minute rest between direction changes and after they are done. This one minute at the end gives me time to make up with Bonnie if she has gotten emotional.

On a side note: I am so so proud of Bonnie! We were gone for 12 days straight when we went to Alaska to visit my best friend Teresa. Then I didn’t make it out to the ponies until the second day we were home. Only to check on their hay and water. I was so tired! But when I re-approached Bonnie was just as easy to catch as she was when I left. And the fly spray continues to be a non issue! Whoot whoot!! Slow and right beats fast and wrong. Every time.

Anyway, hill therapy. Hill therapy is very interesting and can help a horse really learn how to use it’s body. I did it with Billy with awesome results. I’ve changed it up a bit with the girls because I don’t have a hill. To start with I’ll have them trot over a couple of rails, two on each side of the circle. That’s been interesting as they both kind of trip over and trot ON them. So clearly they need to start to pay attention! Then I will move them onto jumping a jump, one on each side of the circle. I’ve started them slow and easy but they will work up 5 minutes each direction trotting or cantering with a 2 minute rest. Hill therapy looks like this:

  • Daily for the first week. By the end of the week I’ll have them up to 5 minutes
  • Then three times a week for the second week.
  • Then weeks 3-6, two times a week!

If you are doing this with a big horse you can’t ride them for this six weeks as they are changing their back muscles. It can make them quite sore and if you ride them you may injure their back or stop the good changes that can happen with this therapy! I don’t ride my minis of course and neither are driving right now. I can still take them for our walks so our schedule won’t change much. If I was driving them I would give them a break from pulling during this six weeks.

Bonnie is doing very well. She backs up beautifully. Her send needs some work as she wants to either freeze out there or come back in, bounding! But I am working on my body language to be sure she totally understands what I’m asking. She wants to be pleasing so if she doesn’t do something I’ve asked then I’ve asked her the wrong question or wasn’t clear.

Sky was interesting today. Last night when we did this she was so responsive and soft on the line. Today she was dragging her feet, breaking down into the walk, tripping all over the rails. I attributed all this to her feeling resistant to what we were doing. She would have rather just stood and ate the hay in the middle. I have hay there for them during our break. They can come in and have a little snack! I don’t want to be giving them lots of treats as they both need to lose some weight. This hay is not their favorite so they kind of munch on it.

I am so excited to see the changes in these girls over the next 6 weeks! This will be so great for Bonnie’s confidence. When I was doing this with Sky on the first direction, Bonnie was loose. When I asked Sky to back up, Bonnie went back so quickly and smoothly! When I stopped asking Sky, Bonnie stopped too. Then when I sent Sky out on the circle, Bonnie just stood there on the edge of it and watched the whole 2 minutes. It was so cute and I was bummed I didn’t get that on video! I think Bonnie will be a great liberty horse as long as I can convince her not to leave me!

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The girls when we were all done with Hill Therapy! I love how they both want to stick with me even after I’ve had them do something they may not really want to do.

As I watch Bonnie go from scared to confident I’ve been thinking about her feelings. Natural horsemanship programs talk a lot about how the horse feels about what we are doing. Are they engaged, connected and responsive or do they feel like we are doing things TO them? That is the question I ask myself every time I DO anything with Bonnie.

Don’t get me wrong. There are times I just have to do something to her so we can get something done. For instance if we are walking and she starts to have a little temper tantrum about the walking, then I will show her that her temper tantrum takes more energy than the walking. If you were watching this exchange I’m sure it would look like I’m doing something to her and not with her. And I know that she feels that way sometimes, but when she finds neutral again she immediately calms, finds relaxation, licks and chews and will even trot out and lead us down the road.

However there are many more times that I can help her through an issue by listening to how she is feeling and then waiting. Every single time I wait she will calm down and I can continue on. That did not happen at first! She gave me very few green lights. I started to get frustrated and knew that wasn’t going to help either one of us so I contacted my favorite Parelli Instructor and in so doing found out that we had actually moved forward by leaps and bounds! It’s funny how things can look so different when you are standing in the middle of it all. Obviously she had made changes and so had I… I just couldn’t see them until I made a video!

Today I gave the girls a bath. This was Bonnie’s second bath with me. Her first bath was all drama, running around in circles, snorting and striking at the water, spreading her legs wide and trying to leap away, sometimes leaping on ME! I would wait and give her time to think, but as soon as the water came near again she was on the move! That day I did not get frustrated and just took my time, but didn’t feel that we made any head way by the end. She did not get on board with my idea at all! Today everything was different! She stood quietly… not always calmly but she was actively searching for that calm feeling. She did not try to run away, she did not walk on me, she did not leap around. She. was. awesome. I swear I nearly burst with pride for her! She let me spray and spray her, I sprayed her legs, her belly, her girly area, her back, her butt, high up on her neck by her face and her chest. Everything. She took it all in stride.

As I was bathing her I was thinking about how I’m sure she has had other baths in her life, before me. But the difference between those baths and the two she has had with me is that I was thinking about her feelings the whole time. I was trying to help her find peace and calmness within the bath. I was rewarding every try and every time she was calm. When you go about these simple tasks with that in mind it’s amazing how the horse will change and how much faster you can get through these simple tasks!! It’s so much easier to help a horse find calmness than to argue with them every time you need to give them a bath. Or spray them with fly spray. By the way. She stands perfectly every time I spray her with fly spray. I can spray her legs, her belly, her back, her neck… every where!!

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I had to put this one in! I love Sky’s face!!! She is always putting her nose up by my cheek so I can kiss it. Adorable.

Today was worming day. I don’t like to worm very often, but both Captain Planet and Zorro have been vigorously rubbing their butts on the fences. They have permanent “blue butt” from the fence grease staining their bums. I am going to give baths today or tomorrow as well, but started with worming.

My main goal (besides getting the wormer INTO the ponies) was to walk away without having hurt any feelings or made anyone mad.

I waited until they were done with their feed. They each have their own feed area since they all eat at different speeds. Captain Planet thinks all the feed should be his as does Sky, so it’s just easier on everyone if they have their space.

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I went in with a halter and the wormer and one at a time, went down the line and wormed them! Captain Planet wasn’t too excited for me to put the wormer in his mouth, but he didn’t do much to avoid it. I just waited for him to settle and then slipped it into the corner of his mouth. He just stood there and allowed it so I squeezed some into him and then spent some time rubbing his forehead. He was calm when I took his halter off and stood to watch me worm Zorro.

Zorro didn’t want the plastic wormer to touch his mouth at first, but then when he found it didn’t hurt him, he put it into his mouth all by himself! So funny! I just squeezed the wormer in and he was calm as could be. He didn’t toss his head or anything. I scratched his itchy spots and let him go to move onto Bonnie.

Bonnie was a different story as expected. She needs tons and tons of friendly game to be confident with everything. So I went nice and slow, did lots of calm breathing and gave her lots of time to think. I would rub the wormer tube on her muzzle and when she could be quiet and not pull away or try to dodge it, I would remove the tube and wait for her to think about it. Then I moved onto putting my finger into her mouth, which she did NOT like at first, but quickly settled and let me just lay my finger in the corner of her mouth. Once she could handle that then I put the wormer tube in there and just let it sit there. She had figured out the answer was to be quiet so I removed the tube and let her process. Next I put the tube in her mouth and squeezed the wormer in! She made yucky faces, but didn’t pull away or even leave me when I took her halter off. I spent some time just standing by her and letting her process and think things over. She doesn’t love touching so I didn’t think that was the time to try to pet or scratch her itchies. When I went in to worm Sky, Bonnie stayed right by the fence and didn’t leave.

As I was working with Sky and the wormer tube I realized that I had forgotten to close the gate out to the pasture and the boys had gone back out to eat. Oops! Bonnie continued to stay by the fence and watch me with Sky. Sky has been wormed lots of times in her life and she played around with me a bit, but quickly settled down so I could slide the tube into the corner of her mouth. She took the wormer no problem and then I sat and scratched and scratched her tummy which is always itchy. She thoroughly enjoyed that!

I figured this was going to be a perfect indicator of how the boys felt about being wormed. I was going to have to catch them in the 10 acre pasture! I walked out and approached Zorro. He turned his head to me and let me slip the halter on, no problem! I took him back into the dry lot and then went back out for Captain. He turned and faced me, then walked straight up to me and put his head in the halter. I would say that was a successful interaction!!

Afterwards, when I was cleaning the dry lot, Bonnie was hanging out by me and the wheelbarrow. When I offered to scratch her chest, which she likes sometimes, she soaked it all up happily! Whoot whoot!! I would say the worming went over just fine.

Success!

And after, they all laid down in the manure pile for their morning nap….

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Over the last two weeks I’ve been using Young Living Essential Oils and the Masterson Method on Sky to help with her soreness and hormone issues. At first she wasn’t so sure and let me know in no uncertain terms. She made me laugh as she stomped around, pawing my leg, as I bent over to drop the oils on her back, shoulders and poll. She pushed into me, trying to boss me with her shoulder. Her ears weren’t pinned, but she had a mad look on her face. That didn’t last long as the oils started to work their magic.

Sky's Oil Regiment
Sky’s oil regiment.

I started by putting Clary Sage (helps with Estrogen) on her sacrum. I rubbed that in and then moved onto Clarity ( Clarity™ blends Basil, Rosemary, Peppermint, and other essential oils for an aroma that invites a sense of clarity and alertness) along her spine. Then I applied Rosemary (this is great to help balance emotions) to her poll and sacrum, finishing by putting Elemi (great for grounding emotions) on her right shoulder. As the oils began to work she started to yawn, lick and chew, lower her head, soften her eyes, yawn some more and then stretch her head and neck downward. Once she was doing this I began to work on her Meridians using the Masterson Method. I found many many hot spots along her neck, shoulders and mid back. She had lots of heat right where her spine is out of alignment. I worked on that spot for a little while.

Once I felt she was done I asked her to stretch her front legs, but only as far as she wanted to. I asked about pulling her tail for a nice spinal stretch but she said no. Everything is too tight for that yet!

I got a hold of my Aunt Sara to come help me do a Raindrop Technique on Sky. When she got here and did some muscle testing we discovered that Sky wasn’t ready for a full on Raindrop and instead was asking for some very interesting oils. She applied Lavender (great for balancing emotions, also relaxing), Progessence Plus (helps with the hormone Progesterone), Peppermint (this creates a warm tingling when applied to the skin, making it a favorite for massage, helps with inflammation)and Abundance (used for emotional support in this instance) to start. Sky tested for large amounts of Stress Away (to create a feeling of peace) on her spine, her shoulders and her lady parts. This oil made her yawn and yawn and shake her head. She was really blissing out after this oil was applied. And she smelled so great! I have a new favorite oil… Stress Away!!

After having all these oils applied, Aunt Sara asked her to stretch her front legs, which Sky really got into. She did not want to stretch her hinds and thought about doing the tail pull but changed her mind… still too tight!

I applied some more oils on her a couple of days later. More Elemi and some Clary Sage. She didn’t test for any of the other oils I have on hand. I did some more Masterson Method Meridian work which she really enjoyed. She fell asleep while I worked on her. Perfect! After this she stretched and stretched her front legs. She kept handing me one leg and then the other.

Sky is becoming her old self again through the use of essential oils and bodywork.

About 3 days after the last session Sky and Bonnie both came into screaming heat. I immediately separated them from Zorro, the little stud colt and made them each their own pen.

Sky decided that she really LOVES Bonnie and stands as close to her as she can. When they are out grazing, Sky grazes as close to Bonnie as she can. She wants to be touching her all the time and wants to eat the same grass as Bonnie. Poor Bonnie is a bit annoyed by all this attention, but is being sweet. I am amazed at the change in Sky over these last two weeks. She is her sweet, kind self. She meets me at the gate and wants me to pet her and scratch her itches. She is always giving me little horse kisses and making this face…

Sky's bliss face...
Sky’s bliss face…

I have a call into my favorite body worker, Heidi Chretien, who is hoping to come out this week. I can’t wait to have our follow up with Bonnie Fogg to see how Sky is feeling after all this!

What I’m about to share with you may turn some of you away from my blog, but it may help some others so I’m pressed to share.

I’m known as the “Hippie Horse Chick” up here where I live in southwestern Montana. I was born and raised in Montana and spent many years being a cowgirl, riding colts, rodeoing, barrel racing and roping. I’ve definitely done my share of cowgirl type of activities, but noticed as I got older that being a cowgirl didn’t define me. The old ranchers that live around me shake their heads at me when they spot me doing something “weird”. And I’m often spotted doing weird things! But I continue to march to the beat of my own drum and work at not letting what others think of me effect me. It’s an ongoing battle, but I would rather be my own weird self and be ME than try to be anyone else.

This post is about a “weird” thing I did that no one can see and I wouldn’t have to tell anyone except my Handsome Hubby (He saw the charge on my PayPal account when he was snooping! Otherwise I wouldn’t have told him!! LOL) and my mom, who also happens to be a bit of a “hippie” and believes in this stuff too. But I find this to be so HELPFUL that I figured I should share it and maybe someone that is struggling to help their horse can get some answers, without all the guessing that we have to do because horses can’t speak to us… or can they?

My little mare Sky has been behaving so strangely. We’ve had her since she was a yearling and she is now about 13, so I feel I have a good baseline for her behavior and can safely say she is behaving strangely. She is MAD. So mad that I can barely do anything with her. She likes to be brushed but not for long and she stomps off, she has been making trimming her feet difficult, something she has always been a very good girl about! She walks around with her ears pinned often. She stands and stares out into the distance and whinnies. When I catch her she STOMPS her feet as she walks. Sometimes she is easy to catch and other times she will just storm off before I can get the halter on her. Again, not behavior that is normal for her. She is always the Alpha mare in a herd, but has always been a very sweet and easy going mare for us. We showed her in as many classes as we could, drove her many miles and she was one of our main parade ponies. So this behavior had me puzzled.

I worried that she was missing her pasture mate Amber. I wondered if she would be happier going back to Mom’s and hanging out, just being a pasture pet again. I wondered if she wanted to be a mommy again… not that I need more foals, but if she wanted to I would consider it! But how could I ask her these things? I would sit and commune with her as well as I could, but she just seemed to be giving me the middle finger. If you own a mare, I’m sure you can relate!

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Grumpy mare!

I was thinking about ways I could help her and wanted to narrow a few things down so I called my mom to talk about contacting my favorite animal communicator, Bonnie Fogg. Mom was all for it and also felt a certain amount of relief to get some answers. I called and made my appointment, tickled because Bonnie remembered me even though it’s been about 9 years since I have called her! (And now I’m wondering why I never called her to get some help with Billy!!)

Here is how the session went… be prepared. Horses do NOT think like people!!

First, Bonnie does a body scan. She is checking for any aches and pains that may be causing discomfort. It’s not possible to help a horse emotionally if they are struggling physically.

Sky has

  • discomfort on her right top teeth, a small ridge that I need to get floated before we drive!
  • Sore back… from the middle of her back all the way back to her tail. This is VERY sore and has been for awhile. Because her back is sore and she has vertebrae out her—->
    • hips are sore
    • her right hind is sore AND her left hind
    • her left shoulder and right shoulder are sore
    • her neck is sore as well!

So… pretty much her WHOLE body is hurting! We know when one thing is out in the body it will really effect the rest of the body, but it’s always a surprise to remember just how true this is!

Because she is so sore she is angry. She is PISSED. She wants to kill all the animals and the humans that she sees. And honestly I understand. When I’m sore and hurting I too want to kill people.

Oh and she has PMS. So it’s multiplied but 1000!!

I asked if she missed her mare girlfriend at mom’s. She said she does miss her but not for the reason you may think! She misses bossing her around and fighting with her. She misses creating CHAOS in the herd. Captain Planet is too easy going and a push over and that makes her MAD. Oh my gosh!!! I laughed so hard at that!! Here I thought she was sad because Amber was her girlfriend and we just ripped them apart. But no. She’s mad because she can’t fight with someone! I told Bonnie that she could tell Sky she is creating a lot of chaos with ME so at least she is accomplishing that. And no wonder she’s been fighting with me!

I had noticed that for the first time since Sky came to my house she DIDN’T stare off into the distance and whinny yesterday. I wondered if it was because of the new mare? Bonnie said yes! Sky is hoping that the new mare will prove to be a good combatant. I said I didn’t know if I wanted to inflict that on the new mare! LOL! Of course they will work it all out and who am I to say the new mare doesn’t also thrive on fighting? Maybe it’s a mare thing!

I asked if Sky wants to drive or maybe have another baby. When Bonnie showed her a harness, Sky came back with a picture of herself IN the harness. She does want to drive, but not until we get her all put back together. I have a call into my favorite body worker Heidi Chretien so we can align Sky’s vertebrae. My aunt is coming on Tuesday and we will do a Raindrop Technique on her to help her body AND her hormones. And until then I will be doing a couple of Redneck Raindrops on her to help bring her some comfort right now. Last night I put some Ortho Sport on her front feet and her spine, hoping to give her some temporary relief right away. We’ve been getting some rain this morning, but I am heading out to work on her after I push publish on this!

I hope this blog can help some of you that are struggling with your horse. (We’ve also used Bonnie to help us with one of my mom’s dogs that was giving her trouble. The change in that dog was instantaneous. It was amazing!) If you feel like your horse is trying to tell you something and you can’t hear, please give Bonnie Fogg a call and set up a session! You won’t regret it and it’s totally affordable. Tell her “Hi” from me when you call!