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RU Annie Oakley

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Photo by S. Ralston
  • BLM Freezebrand 08605575
  • Bay 3-year-old Filly
  • Mustang # 5575
  • Born Summer 2008
  • Captured from the Bald Mountain HMA, NV on January 7, 2009
  • Will be registered with the Wild Horse and Burro Association
  • Sponsors: Colts Neck Trail Riders
  • Students: Rebecca Diaz and Alexis Wisniewski-Chesson
  • Practicum Student: Rebecca Frieday

March 2011
      We have officially moved the horses from the barn on Ryder's Lane to the Red Barn on College Farm Road. Loading and un-loading Annie from the trailer went very well, with minimal issues. Also, this month we have begun getting the horses ready for Ag. Field Day Horse Show that will take place on Saturday, April 30. Annie now has two additional students working with her. They are learning to groom and handle Annie to prepare her to be judged on grooming and handling the day of the show. With all the work they are putting in, we know she will shine. 

       The last behavior test we did with Annie went very well. As always, she preformed beautifully for Dr. Ralston as well as Rebecca. For the novel object, we introduced the infamous Dust Buster vaccum. Annie behaved VERY well when the machine was turned on and off. She barely even flinched when it was touching her!  Since moving them to the Red Barn, we have been working on getting Annie comfortable with her surroundings. At first, she was very unsure of her new home. However, after my session with Robin, she was definitely more comfortable when approaching new things, such as the wash stall and plastic sacks on the ground.  

        Annie likes working in the round pen best, where we are continuing to work on lunging, trotting, and side stepping with Robin. Rebecca and I have begun lunging her and she has been responding to us very well.  The best thing about the Red Barn is the extra space the pastures provide. Annie loves to run and instigate playtime with the rest of  the fillies. Because one of the research horses (RU Shyanne) is going to foal in the near future, Dr. Ralston decided to separate the geldings from the fillies. While Annie misses the boys, she enjoys the extra space to run!

Written by Alexis Wisniewski-Chesson

February 2011

       Since the last update on Annie, she has progressed greatly. She has begun her new diet along with the other horses in her group, where we are using oats instead of the corn we had been using before. Annie was not a big fan of the corn, but really gobbles down the oats! During spring break the horses will all be moved over to the Red Barn to start the Ag Field Day preparation, and I hope Annie will become settled and comfortable over there quickly!

        The farrier paid another visit to Annie and the other horses on March 7th, and although we have been working more with her feet inside and outside the stall, and she seems quite comfortable, she still gave the farrier a problem. She again had to be tranquilized to have her feet trimmed. We believe that she is having the most problem with the rasping. Alexis and I are going to begin tapping her feet and running the hoof pick over her feet to get her used to the vibrations while we are routinely picking her feet.

        I have been working weekly with trainer Robin Rivello, and together we have begun working on lunging, trotting, and side-stepping with Annie, all of which she is doing beautifully! We began with the side-stepping first, and she quickly caught on to the concept and her stepping became faster as we went along. This is our introduction to turning on the haunches and forehand, because she is beginning to cross her feet. Robin has also begun lunging her lightly in the barn, and last week she was lunged in the roundpen. She did very well, switching from walk to trot then stopping, and reversing. I was very proud! Although I have not started lunging her myself, I hope to be doing so soon. She has also been trotting in hand, and does very well from the left side, but does need some work on the right side, because she (and I!) are not very comfortable from that side quite yet. We are also working on just leading her from her right so she becomes comfortable with that as well.

        Annie has gotten much better with the behavior testing, and is able to stand for a minute without much movement or fidgeting. She also no longer needs someone to hold her when her feet are being touched and lifted. She is no longer as hesitant with the scale, and steps right on. She is still a bit wary of the “scary aisle”, and always has a constant eye on what is going on down there from her stall! She was introduced to the clippers the last novel object test we conducted, and was fine with the vibrations along her body and side of her neck, but did not like when they were close to her face or chin. Overall though, she did well with the test. During one of our sessions we also worked with her using the stool, and had someone stand on it while she walked around it in both directions. The person on the stool also leaned on her and put pressure on her back, and she stood very still for the entire process. Lastly, we introduced Annie to the horse blanket. Although she panicked the first time it was put on her, she did well the second time it was introduced to her. She did panic slightly when she realized it was fully on her, but after a while she was completely fine and actually tried to eat it!

        I know she will continue to progress beautifully and cannot wait to see how she does on Ag Field Day!

Written by Rebecca Diaz

January 2011

            Annie Oakley has been progressing steadily in the past few weeks. Towards the end of December and the beginning of January, the horses were turned out 24/7 during the winter recess. They were checked on daily by Dr. Ralston and the students, and were brought in twice a week for grooming and to keep their training fresh in their minds.

            After the break, the now 3 year old Annie remains as sweet as ever. She enjoys being groomed, and especially likes being scratched behind the ears. On January 24th the farrier returned to give the horses a much needed trim. Although Annie is usually comfortable with us picking up her feet for a quick cleaning in the stall, she was not very comfortable with farrier holding her feet in different positions for a longer length of time in the barn aisle. Annie was tranquillized so the farrier could finish his job safely.  Since his visit, we have been working with trainer Robin Rivello on holding her feet in the farrier positions and extending her legs. She originally showed minor resistance to having her legs extended, but after realizing how good that stretch felt, she happily gave in.

            The first behavior tests of the new semester were held on January 31st 2011. We are testing the effects of a meal of corn versus the forage based cubes on the horses’ reactivity to cues and stimuli. Dr. Ralston conducted the test which consisted of leading, standing for one minute, picking up all of her feet without being held, walking onto (and standing) on the scale, turning on her haunches and backing up. While Annie was very good at leading, turning on her haunches and backing up, she still needed a student to hold her while Dr. Ralston picked up all of her feet and wasn't a fan of standing still for the whole minute. She was also quite stubborn when attempting to get her on the scale, but with enough coaxing, she finally gave in. During the behavior test, we also conducted a “Novel Object” test to record their reaction to new items in their surroundings. We had a student stand on a stool while we brought each horse up to examine the “object”, then the student proceeded to rub the horse all over. Annie was fearful of the student on the stool and avoiding approaching the student.

            The results of the behavior test show us that Annie is very respectful when leading, and listens when asked to turn and back up but still is quite reactive to strange stimuli. She has, however, shown us great respect when bringing the horses in for the night and letting them out in the morning. I think she has learned “if I mind my handler, I get to my food more quickly.” Annie is a very smart horse, and learns very quickly. We will continue to work on getting her attention for a longer length of time and de-sensitizing her to new objects in her surroundings.  I am very excited to get the rest of the semester to work with her sweet and loving personality and look forward to updating everyone on her progress!

Written by Alexis Wisniewski-Chesson

December 2010

Annie has continued to show progress since her arrival.  She loves attention and will usually come right up to us when catching her in the field or entering her stall.  She enjoys being groomed and will allow us to groom her all over her body as well as brush her mane and tail.  Previously, she was a little touchy about having her feet picked out, however we have been consistently working on it and she has shown significant improvement.  She will now pick up each of her feet on the command “lift” and stands nicely while allowing for her feet to be picked out.  In addition, Annie has also learned to tie and stands politely while tied in her stall. 

Annie is becoming more attentive to her handler.  She is learning to stay with her handler and be more sensitive to cues pertaining to changes in direction, as well as halting right away whenever her handler stops.  Annie has also improved greatly at getting on the scale and is now willing to walk right on when asked to do so!  She is learning the command “over” when she is asked to move.  Trainer Robin Rivello is beginning to work with Annie on side passes as well as turns on the forehand and haunches.  Hopefully Annie will continue to show as much progress in the coming spring semester!

Written by Rebekah Verdieck

November 2010

       RU Annie Oakley ("Star") is an amazing two year old bay filly with the sweetest personality. Born in the Summer of 2008, and captured on January 7, 2009 from Bald Mountain, NV (the same gather as RU Rambling Rose and RU Levi), she came to us a little bit later in our research program. Although she was "the new horse in town", she settled in quickly and began to meet her new friends. So far, she has allowed me and her other student, Rebekah, to touch her all over her body, pick up all of her feet, and use the grooming tools on her. Although she is a sweetheart, she can be a bit pushy, and she does have a bit of a problem paying attention to her handlers. She just loves to stare off into space! This is a problem that we are addressing with help from trainer Robin Rivello, and hope to have her keeping all of her attention on us very soon! She can be a bit touchy with her feet as well (just ask the farrier!), but that is also something we are working on with her as much as possible. She is learning her commands beautifully though.

    We have also begun the behavior tests with the horses, and she did a good job on her first test, and even better on her second. She can back on cue, as well as stand (although she doesn't have this down pat just yet!), and she responds well to whoa and walk on. She does
spook herself from time to time but she composes herself just like a lady quickly! She is truly an amazing, sweet, lovable horse and I cannot wait to see how well she progresses in the future.

Written by Rebecca Diaz

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