Thursday, December 31, 2009


I finally got to work with my horses today. It has been a couple weeks or so and today I decided I was gonna do it. So late this afternoon I packed myself into my chaps, boots (with extra socks) spurs, scarf and carhart jacket I took the plunge. Thank God for ear muffs for Christmas. I saddled Jake greased his souls and worked him in the pen, then got to ride him for the better part of an hour. He did real well remembering the softness and such we had before our hiatus. He was calm even though the wind picked up a mite and the snow started to swirl off barn roof. He did well and stuff came back to me that I needed to know. I also worked Raven in a similar fashion. She and I were in pretty good sync. I was playing a game with her called 'don't make me use my rein' and it was fun. Playing games is not what you want to do with the Lord, but with horses its okay. I was amazed at how quickly she picked up on softness and feel and how much I needed to remember to get it right with her. But we had fun and the only thing that cold on me was my toes. I have yet to find a pair of insulated boots that will fit in stirrups, without paying $200 for them. I could buy over size stirrups for $40 or $50 but haven't done it yet. I guess I figure I really don't want to ride the horses long enough of hard enough to get them sweated up in this cold, and my feet will get cold long before that happens. In fact, I had to stop doing some of my ground work because I was slipping all over the place. Nevertheless, we got some things remembered and accomplished and made progress without getting to hootin and hollerin. The footing for the horses still isn't the safest when it is slippery, but sometimes you gotta do it anyhow. I had to have a final ride for the year 2009. Hopefully, I get to do it all over again tomorrow.
So long from this neck of the woods.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009


Yesterday I watched a video on evaluating a horse. It had to be the most interesting horsemanship video I have watched in a while. I always evaluate my horses before I work with them. I lunge them at a walk then trot and canter to see if they may be leg sore. And I also pay attention to how they greet me when I come into the barn or paddock. It tells me if they are interested in me that day or would rather avoid me. Now what they do doesn't necessarily impact whether or not they are going to be played with at that time, but it sure reveals their state of mind and causes me to adjust my approach to them. If Raven has a lot of spunk, you know, the head tossing and tail in the air kind of trot or canter. Then I know that she has alot of energy. It affects my gameplan.
But when I watched this video I picked up on several things I can do to better evaluate their physical and mental condition. This will be especially helpful when initially working with a new horse.This is important because if a horse is sore or not feeling well their willingness to pay close attention to me is going to be short. They may be cranky, or seem mad showing it with their ears pinned back, or they might buck or try to kick or bite. Now I don't know about you but when I don't feel well I wouldn't like my grandkids climbing on my back, and kicking and yelling at me either. So I give my horses some slack in this area. Once this past summer I noticed Jake was moving funny when I was riding him, especially in a trot. I discovered one of his hind legs (I forget which one) was a bit puffy so I treated it and stayed off of him until the puffiness went down and he wasn't favoring it. It was akin to a sprained ankle. You have to give it some rest, but a horse needs all four feet, so that is kinda hard to do. I just didn't aggravate it more by not riding him.
The attention to detail regarding the evaluation was good to see too. The instructor went over every inch of that horse with her hands, paying attention to twitching of the skin, swishing of the tail, bob of the head, pinning of ears, moving away etc. All of which are indications of trouble spots. On the horse she was using, he had a bucking and rearing problem. She discovered that he had a sore back, with some vertebrates out of place, and a swollen hind leg. It was apparent that he didn't like to move, because as he followed her (he did that real well) his ears were pinned back like he was in pain. She said that she could see him gritting his teeth and see worry lines above his eyes. That is detail that I will pay alot more attention to myself. I even started a little bit on my horses this morning.
If it is important to do an evaluation, periodically, on a horse, and I would everytime I work with one, it is more important to do a self evaluation on a daily basis. How are you doing today? Feel good? why or why not? Do you hurt? How come? How's your inner peace? Are you anxious, troubled, stressed out,worried, etc.? There is a short saying that goes like this, "No Jesus, no peace. Know Jesus, know peace." That sums it up for me. This season we have been celebrating the birth of Jesus. The message that was announced by the angel that would bring "peace on earth, good will toward men." But do you have that peace? That peace that "passes all understanding" Phil. 4:7. You might check out these other verses as well, Phil. 4:9; Col. 1:20; Col. 3:15; 2 Thess. 3:16 because these all address the issue of peace and the true source of it.
When I am working with my horses or with one who has been brought to me, I want to beat peace with them, but if they are hurting or fearful, they are going to view my attempts to play with them with agitation. I must take that into account in each situation. So it is daily for me personally. If you know Jesus keep focused on Him. If you don't why not put your trust in him then peace will flood your heart, Romans 5:1,2.
God bless and when you are riding stay between the ears.

Friday, December 11, 2009

cold and snow

Thought I would get on here and update anyone who cares to know that the horses are plenty happy not being bothered by me and are left alone to eat, drink and be lazy all they want. The snow and cold has me held back as well as having a cold myself. I did however get out there today while I fed them and just had to hang around them, hear them chew their grain, rub them and smell them. Sometimes, I like to put my face into their hides and smell them and feel the warmth and softness of their hair. Sharon likes that too unless I haven't shaved.:} but the horses don't seem to mind that. One thing to remind you of too is that whenever you are around your horse you are training them. Case in point, I was rubbing Jake on his side, not much pressure at all, but he took it that I wanted him to move over like my leg was on him, and so he moved over. Another case in point is my barn has amassed all these dangly thick as hair cobwebs. So I figured I would get the broom and brush them down. Well I knew going in that Jake might not like that and I hated to interrupt his dinner, but I did anyway. He was not too happy, but I worked at just like I would if I was training him to accept the broom. Which I was. He did fine, but that just goes to show you that you are always training the horse no matter what you are doing. Frankly, I don't think I would like someone cleaning cobwebs over my head if I was trying to eat my dinner either. So I don't blame him. It was just good to get out there with them and spend some time with them. One of my other frustrations too is trying to keep my feet warm when I am riding in the winter. I am trying to find an oversize stirrup so I can wear my Sorrels or else an insulated boot that would fit my stirrups. no luck with either yet, 'cept the Kennetrek that is over 200 bucks. There has to be something out there.
I get to get off and go have a spa treatment.

Monday, December 7, 2009

playing in the cold

Nothing like a bit of cold weather to get your horse sense going! I have been itching to ride for a few days now but haven't had the time due to work on the rental we have, so when I could snatch a few moments this evening I took them. I didnt' want to get Jake all sweaty, just a little fun and workout with the lariat. So I put the halter on and brushed him down and worked him a little on the basic components then unhitched my lariat and swung that around him several times on both sides. He is not ready to rope off of yet. But then I bridled him and just hung on to the coiled rope. He wasn't too comfortable with that so I kept at it. It's one thing to to rub the rope on him while at a standstill, but get his feet moving and that is another story. He decided it was time to move a little faster as I rubbed the rope on his rump and my leg and his neck so I just kept him moving and just controlled where his feet went. This was good practice for me too as I was trying mainly to use my leg and seat to control his direction, but had to use the rein alot. We stopped and backed up and disengaged. I switched sides with the rope and we started again. After a few minutes of moving around I would let him stop and rest. It was quit fun, but if your gonna do it with your horse just be safe. You get the lariat tangled up on him and your in for a rodeo. Anyway I figured that was enough of that so I hung up the rope and rode off. I played with him on leg yields, 1/2 pass, stop and back ups with just my seat and so on. Well I am always looking for something to do so since Raven was minding her own business in the same pen with us I decided I would round pen her from atop ole Jake. The thing you gotta know is that Jake is low man on the totem pole between the two of them so Raven didn't take kindly to me trying to get her to move from atop Jake. And Jake didn't care none for neither. So I had to be on my toes in horse sense. My goal was just to keep Raven moving in the opposite direction she wanted to go and maybe get her to move through to the other paddock. I was trying to not use my rein much and whenever I had to do a movement to get Jake in shape and prepared for that movement first. It was quite fun, moving in a 1/2 pass toward Raven, then swing a shoulder over to go in the direction Raven went. If she loped off we would follow and try to get her headed in the other direction. I know Raven would've rather just been left alone but I was having fun and it gave Jake and me a job to do. I never did get Raven into the other pen we sure did make her move a bunch. I don't think that will do much for Jake's standing with her though. I know there was something going on between them, but I can just hear him making excuses to her that it was all me that was causing the raucus. And if you ask my wife it usually is. LOL
I find that if you give yourself a job to do when you are working with your horse you both get alot more out of it. Come to think of it I bet this works for dogs or kids too.:}
Oh, by the way, you know what? As cold as it was, I didn't even get cold.
Stay between the ears!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

taking it easy

Well the Thanksgiving weekend is over and we are all back at it. I have been trying to get a rental back in shape to rent out in the next few weeks. Heads up to anyone who wants to buy property to let out to others. It is, in my humbles estimation, a money pit. On a lighter note. I have been able to ride a couple times in the last few days. I learned something I think is really valuable in life. Sometimes you have to take it easy. What do I mean. Well, sometimes we can get so caught up in the everyday things that we miss the opportunities/privileges to just relax and take the time to get refreshed. With me in the daily things I do it is just being able to sit with my Bible and a cup of coffee and just read to read. Not to study or examine a passage, but to just enjoy the Words coming out of the mind of God to me.
Now with a horse it is the same way. As a trainer I can get caught up in getting the job done and pushing my way through, and if you know much about horses you know you cannot just push through. Sometimes the best thing you can do is just stop trying to push through some lesson and relax and let the horse be a horse. What that looks like is what I was reminded of on two occassions with both of my horses over this past weekend. First, I took Raven out and worked on freedom/liberty lunging and desensitizing her to a few things. Then I got on her, went across the road to a big field and worked on softness and leg yields, and shape. We probably did this for about 20 minutes or so. Then I just went down the road playing a game with her. The game was to see how far I could go without using a rein. I just wanted to use my seat and legs to guide her direction and foward motion. So I left the rein loose. Oh, I had to use a few times, but you would be surprised at how relaxed we both were when I wasn't pulling on her mouth and I concentrated on my seat position and leg pressure. It was just a nice easy gentle walk a 1/2 mile down the road an back but by the time we got back it like fluid motion we were both relaxed. I only wish we would have had more time to ride.
In the second episode I was working with Jake last evening and went through my same routine of desensitizing and working at liberty with him. I used my lariat to sack him out a bit, 'cause he doesn't like things dragging behind him. I want him to get used to dragging a rope or whatever. But I didn't stay on it very long, only about 5 or 10 minutes. Then I took him out and worked him across the road as I did Raven. Then we went down the road playing the same game of not using the rein unless I had too. Now it didn't go as smoothly with him as it did Raven but by the time we were back it was alot better and we were both relaxed. I also understood more with him the need to be in the right position with my seat and using my leg when he is picking up the corresponding foot in order to get him to move over. For example, If he is drifting to the right and I want to stop that and keep him in the center of the road, I need to block him with my right leg and even push him with it when his right foot is being picked up and his shoulder is dropping. Then I can move that foot over. So I just time my leg pressure for when he is about to pick up the right foot. When he moves his right foot over that forces his left front foot to get out of the way and subsequently he moves over. So I just played that game with and the entire ride was one of relaxation. I wasn't bugging him and we had a good ride. So I learned that often times less is more and you get more done in less time.
So whether you have a horse to work with or not take the time to relax and enjoy the time you have. It might only be 5 minutes to step outside and breathe the fresh air or do something different that you enjoy. But change it up. You might find that you will be more productive the rest of the day.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Haven't been on here in a few days. I had to buy a new computer and have been spending my time getting it set up to my tastes. It's kinda like riding a horse. I don't think I will ever ride another horse, that I am not training of course, that doesn't have an operating system on it. There is nothing like riding, what I call, a push button horse. I don't mean that the horse only goes around on one speed, slow, but that it responds to what I want it to do. That's why I spend so much time putting a foundation on a horse. It takes time on the computer too in order to get it tweaked to my wants. My two horses are really getting soft and responsive to my seat, leg and hands, but they still have alot of 'go' to them. I have been working with them on freedom movement in terms of lunging them without a rd pen. It has been interesting, but they are staying with me. I also have been really desensitizing them, especially Jake. I see it as my job to help them get through their fears. So I have carried around a bag of cans on horseback, after of course they are ok with me putting it all over them on the ground. Also using the whip and cracking it from their back and dragging it behind them. it has been fun. I have missed being out on the trail because of deer season, however, the pen and the field across the street has been getting alot of use of late. The one thing that is working for me is taking the time to work with them, even if it is only when I go up to feed them and asking them to move in certain ways without a lead on them. To me there is nothing like having my horses respond to my requests with the subtlest of cues. If Raven can make Jake stop in his tracks or go in the other direction by a twitch of an ear or slight toss of her head from 50 feet away, that is the kind of communication sensitivity I want with them. And the neat thing is I am getting it. The key? taking the time to work with them almost daily. Now if I could only get the women in my life to respond to the slightest cue, heh! :} I do to her, but I haven't got it with her yet. Hey, I just thought of something. Raven is female and Jake is male. HMM! sounds like the same issue we both have. :}
On another subject, today is thanksgiving so I hope you have a good time with family if you can. Think of seven things you are thankful for and thank God. Thankfulness is an attitude and action that if found throughout Scripture eg. Ps. 50:14, 23; Ps. 69:30; Ps. 95:2; 2 Cor. 4:15; 2 Cor. 9:11,12; Phil. 4:6; Col. 4:2; and finally Revelation 7:12. Now these are just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the emphasis the Bible puts on being thankful. Primarily I am thankful that God sent His Son into the world 2,000 years ago to bare my sins in His own body on the tree, 1 Pet. 2. That He loves me despite who I am, Romans 5:8; that He sustains me, Phil. 1:6; that He is always with me, Matt. 28:20; That I have peace with God and access to Him, Romans 5:1,2; that He has given me a good wife, Prov. 18:22; and that He has given me a fantastic family of children and grandchildren, Ps. 127. Those are just a few of the things I am thankful for today. How about you? Oh, and I am thankful for my horses. :}

Thursday, November 19, 2009


Oh, by the way, some of you have said you have trouble posting comments. I would love to hear from you so I have opened it to you to post a comment. You should be able to just click on the comment tab and write what you want to say. I look forward to hearing from you.

nuther day

Hey, how was the day for you? Anyone in the family get a deer yet? I have been having too much fun with my horses to take the time to hunt. I was out with Jake last night and tonite for an hour or so. He is getting really soft and responsive to me or I am just getting better at it myself. I have really been desensitizing him lately too. I am convinced this is a really good way to avoid a wreck. The other day Lou was riding Jake and we came back into the front yard. Jake had a long vine stuck in his tail and when Lou tried to do a one rein stop Jake saw the vine snake and about had a spastic fit. But Lou got out of it or off him ok. While I was riding him tonite I had my whip which has a long tail on so I can crack it, in my hand just moving around and twirling it cracking it while I was riding. Mind you he really didn't like it first and I had done all this from the ground earlier so I was confident I could get him over his fears. So by the time we were done I could let the tail drag behind me and do just about anything with it while I was riding. That is good. You know alot of us have fears too. Fear of heights, crowds, public speaking, death, etc. But God helps us over these things if we will do as he tells us. 2 Tim. 1:7 reminds us that fear is not from Him, but what is from Him is power, love and self control. That means that instead of becoming immobilized by my fears, like Jake or another horse does, (by the way a horse that stops when you are trying to despook him might just be going internal and shutting down, much the same way a person does when they will no longer leave the house or let anyone touch them) I need to face them and work through them. Case in point, in 2007 when I came off a horse I was training and had 15 stitches in my head I was afraid to get back on him. Obviously didn't want to get hurt more. However, I did get back on him, even that day within about an hour. The fear set in a day later. But now I get on horses all the time. The difference is my education. I have learned alot more about horses and how to work with them. So it has been a blast of late. Sometimes there is still fear, but if there is no fear sometimes I wonder if you are still breathing. Although that might also depend on where you are going after you stop breathing. So just as it is important to help your horse work through his fears, it is also important, moreso, for us to work through our own. And God is in the business of removing our fear of man by getting us to fear Him. But that will be in a later blog.

Monday, November 16, 2009

havin a good day

It has been a good day so far today. God is good all the time. My back is aching from putting a saddle over my electric fence one day last week and it still hurts. I figure I can either sit still in pain or do what I want in pain. So I choose the latter. So this afternoon I worked with my horses. I wanted to work at liberty with them, meaning an invisible round pen. I desensitized Raven to things and then did some exercises with her. Then I just moved her around at liberty, no halter to connect. I was doing this with Domino really well. So I figured I would try it with Raven. It took a few times of having to get her back to me and keep her moving forward, but once she caught on it worked well. We did some transitions and then went for a ride across the road. It being hunting season and all I thought it wouldn't be the wisest to ride in the woods. So we did some work on basic things just using seat and legs. That was alot of fun then it was Jake's turn. I did the same things with him in pen and then it took some time to get him to catch on to liberty but when he did he immediately started lowering his head and licking his lips and doing what I was asking. Then we went across the road too and worked for a few minutes. But my back was limiting what I could do as far as communicating with him with my seat so I stopped and put him up. It was such a nice relaxing time. I just can't believe it so nice in Nov. Well tonite I am going to have Sharon jump on my back and see if we can get it into shape.
have a good one.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Domino 30

Hey, it was a great day to ride. Sunny, mid 50's in the middle of November what more can you ask. Lou and I loaded Domino and Jake about 9:30 am and headed to the trail head a couple miles away. We got there unloaded, tacked up, warmed them up and off we went. Jake was such a fast walker D kept having to trot to keep up. Both being TW's I would have thought they would have been equally gaited, but not so. We kicked up a deer and some hunters setting up camp with their Scotty who Jake took for what he must have thought was a bear. The Scotty was a little chunk of a dog, but its bark and movement through the grass scared the bejeebies out of Jake who decided moving sideways at sonic speed was the appropriate thing to do. fortunately, I knew the dog was there and was ready to stick lick fly strips to his back and disengaged him and commenced to puttin on the chase. Domino, i found out a few seconds later spooked a little but had some staying power. That was the excitement for the ride. We did almost 6 miles according to my good ole Garvin. I would have liked to stay and ride til dark but other chores called. It was alot of fun working with Domino and teaching Lou what to do. He will now be able to work with Domino on a daily basis and I am sure make an even better connection. This new area to ride is miles and miles of trails. So I am looking forward to riding it more.
Gotta get ready and reviewed for tomorrow.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Domino 29

Had a good session today. Lou did well at the components. He took D through the paces of backup, moving the shoulders over and disengagement. He also got him to lunge and even change directions. Then rode him in the pen while I got Jake ready. Then we went down the road. We rode to the power line and then over to my training circle and then back down the road to the power line behind my house and back. All the while D did great. He was able to get him into a canter for several strides and so we had a good ride. Not alot to say then about the session. One more tomorrow and he graduates to go home.

Domino 28

Again this record is a day late as I didn't have time yesterday to write this out. I had Lou and D work in the pen while I monitored them. I really want him to have a good grasp of the things that I have worked with D on so that when he goes home on Saturday he will be able to continue with a somme effectiveness. So I had him work on backup, moving the shoulders over and disengage the hindquarters. He is getting better at this with D and while I don't expect him to become flawless yet he is making some good progress and D is responding accordingly. Then I had him work on lunging. You know some people think it is easy to get a horse to go in a circle. But try it. It isn't as easy as it looks. What usually happens is the horse ends up lunging the person on the ground because the person on the ground doesn't understand the importance of body position, body language and where the horses motor is at. I have been taught and I teach that it is like riding a horse from the ground. The lead rope is the rein and to imagine you are in the saddle so your feet and shoulders are pointed in the correct direction. Well it took some time, as it always does, but Lou got it and is much quicker about getting into position and driving the horse forward. Once he got that then it was time to teach the one rein stop, disengagement and backup all in one from the ground. He finally got that once he understood to think of the rope as the rein. We are going to work more on these things today and have one last ride before Saturday's long one.
I had an interesting few moments this am when I went to feed the horses. It is friday the 13th remember. D's door on the stall was shut so I had to open it up, but while I did he shot into the stall and decided to go through the next open door into the hay area. No mind you, that door is barely wide enough for me to walk through without turning sideways and here is a 1200 pound horse squeezing through that door. He got his hips stuck and all I could do is stand there and see what happens. It was like squeezing toothpaste out of the tube, but he popped through, breaking my header board. Unfortunately, the door on the other end was also open and so through that he went don't ya know. Now he was free, no halter, naked as a jaybird to go anywhere he wanted. So I put my horsemanship head on and followed him out there and had to catch him just like I would in the pen and disengage his hindquarters. I grabbed the halter/lead and some grain and commenced to do just that. He skittered away from me a few times but in a few minutes I had the halter on him, tied to a tree while I put the other horses up so that I could bring him through their paddock. I got it all straightened out in about 10 minutes or so. But that is my Friday the 13th story so far. Now I just have to fix the barn a little.
You know I might add, I did some praying as I did this too. All I needed was for him to decide he wanted to go on a tour of the countryside. Anyway all is done. hope you have a good day. Stay tuned for later update about today's session.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Domino 27

Yesterday, the 11th, was the first day that Lou took over with Domino. I decided that since he was going home Saturday and Lou would be working with him it would be better for both if he started to work with him while I monitored it. That way he could connect with D and I could teach him what he needs to know so that he doesn't inadvertantly undo what I have spent 6 weeks trying to put into D. So he saddled him and began the ground work with him, backup, shoulders, disengaging, even lunging. Lou is getting better at it. He finally got it as far as lunging, being in the right position and basically riding him from the ground. It was neat to watch as I could tell he got it. I had him send him around and then do a one rein stop and disengagement and step back from the ground. Then he got on and rode him around a few minutes while I warmed up Jake. Then we went out and around the block through the water and down the power line behind my house and came back up through the woods. Domino did really well. He is a calm, quiet horse at this point. I am pleased with where he is at in his training. He still has a long ways to go to get soft enough to be moving off a leg and getting vertical flexion, but he is making progress. I will work with them today and tomorrow. Then the plan is to have a long ride onsome trails north of here for a couple hours on Saturday morning before taking him home.
It looks to be a beautiful day to ride today as the sun is out and blue sky shining.
For those deer hunters I saw a nice 6 point about 60 feet in back of my house yesterday morn. I could have taken him from my back porch. It was nice to see him calmly walk by. Probably the las time I will see him though.
have a great day.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Domino 26

Tried to get in to work with D early today before Lou got there, but that didn't happen. I really wanted more time on him, but maybe all will be well. I got him saddled and worked him at liberty for a few minutes getting him warmed up. Then had Lou get Jake ready and start to work with him some. After about 15 minutes we got on and rode in the pen. Then we went across the road and then around the block. I actually had a good ride on D. He responded well to me. There were a few times he was real bracey. I decided I was giving him too much slack when he didn't want to follow his nose so I gave him a step or two for it to register then if he didn't respond I put my left leg on him real hard and my right leg on his hip real hard to get him to move. After a few of these he started to follow his nose to the right alot better. While we were going down the road Jake got a little spooky due to kids in the yards and a back hoe being used near the road, But D. handled it without too much bother. We got to the water filled ditch and Jake went across D didn't hardly hesitate and walked right through. On the power line Jake was giving Lou a little trouble. I think he wanted to go faster and Lou was keeping the pressure on holding him back. Anyway D did real good, better than Jake. Then it was the trek through the woods behind my house. All went well there. It was when we got back to the barn that Jake really acted up. He had a vine snagged on his tail and when Lou turned his head to disengage he saw the vine and panicked a little. I told Lou to keep his head straight, stop him and get off quick. I don't think that D would have done that. I still have some holes to plug in Jake's training. Anyway, tomorrow Lou is going to begin working with D and ride him.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Domino 25

Rode with Lou today. I was trying to teach him the things he needs to know to continue with Domino next week. I had him use Jake 'cause he knows it already. So we worked on the components: backup, forward motion on lunge, shoulders and disengagement, lat. flexion. It takes alot of time to get it. I worked Domino demonstrating everything to him while he did it on Jake. Then we rode in the pen a little bit. To top it off we went across the road in an open area and he got used to Jake while I worked Domino. D still has alot braciness especially going to the right. I can stop him with my seat and back him and disengage him ok. Now the odd thing is that from the ground he is lat. soft, and even from saddle at a standstill he is pretty soft, but as soon as you start moving and he doesn't want to follow his nose he is very stiff. So I just hold the rein in position until he actually follows his nose then I release him. But it is not getting as soft as fast as I want him to be. I still do not have vertical flexion yet either. I have five more sessions with him before he goes home. It would be interesting to have him for 60 days and see where he is at. But not the case with him. Anyway today went pretty good all in all. Tomorrow we plan to ride more and actually go around the block over the water and through the woods before we are done.
Til next time.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Domino 24

This was the best yet. When I went in to get him he stood without a problem and faced me. I saddle him and worked on the components, backup, leg yield, shoulders, disengaging, side pass, c pattern exercise. All done very well and smoothly. I then worked on rd pen/ without fence (at liberty or freedom) he did the best yet. He stayed on the circle and moved into transitions nicely. He carried his head low and for the first time carried his head to the inside so I rewarded him by letting him stop. His transitions to walk, trot and canter were good and the downward ones were too. He did good both directions. He faced up each time I asked him too. I can see a change in his attitude today. Then I rode him and my goal was to get him to stay on the circle instead of fading over to the barn like he has been and he stayed soft and on the circle. He stopped with my seat a few times and without much if any rein aid. The transition to trot and back to walk was good and he stopped with my seat from a trot for the first time. He did that a couple times from both directions. His owner was watching the whole time. I then wanted to get a good canter out of him at least 3 or 4 good strides. He gave them too me so I let him stop. Then I showed Lou, his owner some exercises I want him to learn so he can keep up with Domino. Downward pressure; lateral flexion and backup. Monday we will work some more and hopefully he will ride Jake while I ride Domino out on the road. We will see what happens. I have six more rides and session with him before he goes home.
I took the kids for a ride on Jake this morning too. We spotted a wild turkey and that was all. But htey had a good ride. Jake moves a little fast but he did well. The main thing is we were safe. I even put Madi on Domino bareback while I led him around. She reminds me of her momma. She got on Mandy a horse I had just gotten and told her to stay off of until I had time to work with her. Well, before I had gotten home, Angie had already been on her riding around. Madi begged to sit on Domino and thought it would be neat to walk around on him. So I put her on him and walked him around. She did fall off though, bareback is not very stable. Domino didn't do anything and she wasn't afraid and wanted to get back on so she did and I walked her around a bit more. Then we saddle Jake and worked Jake up to the back of the truck. He didn't like it so I had some training to do with him. I had her walk around in the bed of my truck and make noise while I rode Jake back and forth and let him rest at the tail gate. After several times of him resting relaxed, I asked him to get close enough to the truck so Madi could connect with me and get on. Sure enough she did and we rode off. It worked good. Anyway the kids are home and I am waiting for Sharon to get home so we can do something this evening.
Gotta love it.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Domino 23

It was tough but I got r done. Yep! I laid him down. Here is how it went down. I saddled him with no problem then worked on a little on back up, shoulders, disengaging, leg yields, side pass, and sending him on a circle. Mostly that was to warm him up and get him mentally with me. Then I put the single hobble on him and made him to show him he could still move with his leg tied up. When he relaxed I let his leg down. I did the 3x and then put the 22' lead on him too so that I had 2 ropes like long reins on him. That was so that I could pull his head to the right while I stood to the rear on his left and had the left rope to keep him from swinging his butt all the way around to me. I asked him to give to the right and after a few minutes he went down on a knee. I released him then went back at it. He moved arouind alot. He did not want to surrender. So we were both wore out, but after several tries over the course of about 40 minutes he finally collapsed in a heap on his side. I just had to make sure his head stayed to the right and his body laid down to the left otherwise he could break his neck. I made him lay there for a good 15 minutes while I rubbed him all over. He tried to get up 3x but I just laid his head back down and let him relaxed. He took a couple deep breathes and about went to sleep. Finally, I made him get up and shake it off. I took the hobble off of him and the other lead rope and commenced to lunging him, took the lead rope off and lunged him some more. He surrendered faster than he ever has, indicating that by putting his head real low. I asked him to face me and he did. I rubbed him real good then put he bit in his mouth and got on him and flexed him and asked him to move off. He trotted a bit but was quick to slow down. I wasn't asking for transitions now anyhow as I only had about 10 minutes. I wanted to work on lat. softness at the walk getting him to follow his nose. He is getting better but still braces on the right side. I will continue to work on that each day. A couple noticeable changes: 1. he gave to me quicker on the circle by putting his head down. 2. When I walked up to him later after all was done, he turned and faced me. That was huge. I will see what happens tomorrow.
This surrender thing is a big deal. As a side note it is kinda like a kid who does what you want but inside they aren't. And it shows up in attitude. It is like this with us and God too. Your having troubles? Maybe God is trying to get you to surrender to His way. Until you do trouble is what your life is all about. But It is your choice. If this horse would simply trust me life would be alot easier for both of us. If we simply trust the Lord, believe in Him and obey His word, life will be alot easier for you too. See Romans 12:1,2 for more.
Fully surrendered to Him.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Domino 22

Today went pretty good. His owner was here to begin a series of sessions with me. I showed him the backup, shoulders over, disengagement. I even had Domino do some leg yields and side passes. Domino is doing good at these things. I got the tarp, umbrella and whip out. He stood calmly for those. I had a bag og pop cans and he did good with them. then I did some rd pen work with him, without the pen of course. He stayed with me on the circle. We did upwards and downwards transitions in both directions and he did good. Then I got on him. I flexed him. As I noted earlier he is bracey on the right, and pretty soft to the left. So I worked the right side. Then I moved him off and worked on lat. flexion at the walk. I am trying to get him to stay on the circle so have to do a lot of correcting with the rein, but I try not to use the rein if I don't have to. I had him transitioning from walk to trot with my seat and back to walk with my seat, even got a few stops with my seat and a little bit of rein. I asked for and got 3 -4 strides in a canter in both directions. When he did that I bent him to a stop and rewarded him with a rest. Then back at the trot with circle esses for lat. flexion. he still is stiff on the right so am working on that. We finished with a good 1 rein stop and backup and then flexing. He was better on the right side then I quit. We will go back at it tomorrow and see if we can get more improvement.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Domino 21

Hey there. The day went ok with him. I got him right away and saddled him. I worked on reviewing things he already knows and just needs refining. Backup, shoulders, disengagment, leg yields which he is getting good at. I even worked on sacking him out just for refining, with the whip, tarp, umbrella. My big idea today was to take him in the rd pe, it is drying out, and really work him on transitions. I did this for a time after I saddled him earlier in the session. So I put him in the rd. pen and worked him in both directions. My intention is not to get him tired or sweaty, but to get him to really look to me for direction. I got on him and just made him give me forward movement without using my rein to direct him. The rails limit where he can go and I just went with him whereever he turned and only directed him with a rein if he stopped at the gate. I want the forward movement at the trot and walk and then after about ten minutes I started to direct him with the rein. I still can't get anything more than a trot from him and I really am after lateral softness, and movement on the circle with our without the rail. I didn't take him on the road because I am backing up and trying to get this from him. I want him to follow his nose wherever I offer him a feel. He does pretty good from the ground, but in the saddle it is another thing. Anyway I have had 15 rides on him and I can stop him and direct him I just want to refine him more. He still has a long way to go. Tomorrow his owner comes to start taking lessons from me so that when he takes Domino home he will be able to continue what I have put on him.
I also got to ride Jake this evening. I rode him on a 3 mile ride I have worked on stopping with my seat and a backup. We also worked on vertical softness, leg yields back and forth across the road at a walk and trot. I just let him stretch out real good. It will be interesting to take him and Domino out together and see how they do. That will probably be next week. When we got back to the yard, I asked him to kneel 2x and he did it without hesitation. This without working on it for a couple weeks.
had a good time with both horses, but it sure is good to go back to power steering.

Monday, November 2, 2009

domino 20

well I wanted to really get some progress today, but it was not to be. I got in the pen and first it took me a few minutes, ie. a few times around the pen, to get him to catch me. Then I saddled him and began to rd pen him in his pen. He did good on his transitions going to the left, but to the right he didn't want to slow down. I worked him about 15 minutes as I wanted to ride most of my time with him. So I got on him and just wanted good forward motion on a loose rein. I don't want to have to direct him too much with the rein because he is so bracey. Nevertheless I still had to use the rein to direct him. I could get a trot but couldn't keep him on the circle like I can from the ground. I worked a lot on lateral flexion at the walk, then the trot. He got into a canter and took a few strides, I let him stop because of that. You know reward the slightest try. After about 20 minutes of this I took him out on the road and moved him around. We went down the road and I got better forward motion, but he doesn't want to pay attention to the rein and follow his nose. So I worked on that going down the road. I had to basically fight him for a half mile 'cause he didn't want to leave. But a few times on the way back he would really step out, but then wouldn't listen to the rein when I wanted to direct him to the side of the road, he would just keep going towards home with his head bent to the side. That is not what I want. I just have to keep working on this with him. He stops ok and disengages alright, he is just stiff on the lateral flexion. I am getting a backup with my seat and a little bit of rein and that is getting better, but I really want more from him regarding the lateral flexion with forward motion. He does ok with lat. flex, at a standstill though. Anyway he is doing ok abut I want more from him. I am thinking of laying him down to see if that will help. I will work him tomorrow and see what happens. His owner is coming on Wed. to watch me work with him and start to learn some of this stuff. I only have 9-10 more rides on him and I hope to really make some more progress.
I road Raven later this evening and it is like night and day on her. I love riding her and the soft responses I get from her, but I gotta remember that Domino doesn't have the time on him that I have on her. I think he could go along ways and I could get him alot better over the next 2 weeks. Anyway gotta go the battery is about dead.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Domino 19

It was a nice day, but windy, which is a good thing because it adds to the distractions. Distractions for a horse can be good because it offers one more opportunity to teach the horse it is best to focus on me despite what is going on around him. So the first thing I did was move him in a circle and work on transitions. He is getting better at the transitions with just subtle moves by me. His canter is still not the best but he transitions well to it he just doesn't want to stay in it. I can get him to go all the way around at least once and even that is getting better. I saddled him and worked on leg yields, c pattern exercise, shoulders and disengagement. He is getting pretty smooth at those. After about 20 min. or so I got on and wanted to just work on forward motion and transitions to trot and canter and staying on the circle. He has quite got that yet. We worked on lat. flexion using circle esses at the walk. He just doesn't like going around the circle with me on his back and keeping the forward motion is hard. If I am on the road he goes pretty good but not in the pen. Anyway I rode for about 30 min on him and then I think he decided to check out and kept fighting me. I worked on backup using my seat and legs a few times. Then I found a good place to quit, flexed him a bunch and stopped. After I took the bit off him I tried to get the halter on so I could take the saddle off. He walked away from me. I think he thought I was going to work him some more. Well, he made me. I couldn't just let him walk off so I had to really get after him 'cause he just wanted to hang around his stall area. Once he started going around the invisible circle again I let him stop and he stood while I took the saddle off. It added about 10 minutes to our time. By the way, this was yesterday about noon when I worked him.
Sharon n I went shopping later and then joined the grandkids for trunk-or-treat at a church in Holland in the evening. That was fun. Afterwards they had cider and hotdogs in the church then we went on a hay ride with them. It was a lot of fun. Madison was an angel, Kaity a fairy, and Zach a fireman, Lilly was Elmo or cookie monster, but she didn't get any candy. I went as guess what? A cowboy, but I forgot my chaps and spurs. :}
hope you all have a great day.

Well gotta get ready for church.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Domino 18

Well we had a great session today. I did the rd pen work without the pen as we did the other day. The transitions went real good he even stayed in the canter longer for me which is great. He stood quiet when I sacked him out with the tarp, umbrella and whip again. A few times he got distracted by a student of mine who was watching, but each time he wandered her direction I got him back until finally he just payed attention to me and stayed on the circle. We did this both directions and he did good. Then while the tarp laid on the ground he was distracted by that a bit and I had to get him over that but again he got his attention on me. This is fun stuff. I saddled him and took him in the yard and rode him around we did some backups with light pressure of seat, leg and rein, some disengagements and tried to get good forward motion and transitions there. He is making improvements everyday. His lateral flexion is better and his leg yield and half pass is catching on too. I need to transfer those two to the saddle yet, but we have plenty of time for that. This was his 13th ride and he is getting better and better. Tomorrow, weather permitting I hope to have an even better session. See ya!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Domino 17

Had a good workout with Domino. I wanted to see what he would do if I just rd penned him without a round pen. So I got my sticks and went to work. First he came right up to me when I went into his pen. So I rubbed on him a bunch. Then we went to work. I moved him in one direction in a circle. Remember I didn't have a circle to keep him in. This would be just body language and trust in me. He got out of it at first but I went after him and got him back on the circle. I just had to keep my body position in the right place. My hip lined up with his and my feet pointed in the same direction as his, just like I was riding him. Once I got that I then started to ask for transitions to walk, cause he was trotting at this time. Then back up to trot. He did that a few times then gave the signs of submission so I pulled his eye and pushed is rear over. He looked at me and I stopped and rubbed him on that side. We then did it again and I wanted to move up to trot and canter. He did it but would only hold the canter for a few strides, but I took it. Then back to walk and pulled his eye and pushed his butt and then rubbed him. Then we did the other side with the same results. I then cracked the whip, he stood, no lead on him at all. Then the flag, same thing. Then the umbrella. He let me do it a little, but then I moved around with it open and he started following me. Then the tarp, same good results. I am surprised though that things out on the road and trail bother him so much. One good thing though, he has been taught to spook in place when something scares him. If he would have ran yesterday when he did a 180 I probably would have come off, but he just turned about and stood while I got reseated. Anyway, we got saddled and went out in the yard and worked on backup, shoulders, disengagement, leg yields which he is making improvements on. The lateral flexion he still braces some, but he is not throwing his head much at all now, which is good. He braces when we are moving forward under saddle, but he is getting softer there. We worked on the one rein stop and disengaging from saddle, moving up and down the road. He is getting used to it, but is certainly not ready for the main thoroughfare yet. I don't know if he will be after his time is up. It will just take time and lots of rides. Anyway the day was good, we ended with a good stop and lateral flexion. End softly is the best way to end anything don't you think?

Monday, October 26, 2009

Domino 16

Had a good ride today. My paddock is so muddy right now when I went out to get him I decided I would work him in the front yard. He caught me right away and put the halter on did some flexing right there. He still throws his head a little but is getting lots better. I saddled him and took him in the front yard. Then I sacked him out with the tarp and umbrella, lunged him a few minutes then got on him. We started down the road just asking for some flexion both directions. I am trying to get him to follow his nose. He is a bit spooky at things. A squirrel made him jump and then later something must have moved in the woods because he did a 180 and almost lost me but I was thrown forward and grabbed around his neck. I took him about a 1/2 mile down the road and then caught a powerline to a place I call the circle where I take the other horses to work with them. I just wanted to ride to that and walk around the circle a few times in each direction then walk back. We did circle esses all the way out. The best way to keep a horse from being scared that I know is to keep their feet busy and the circle esses works their lateral flexion and softness and teaches them to follow their nose which is a huge aid if you get into trouble. Anyway, he decided he wanted to head back home and just kept fighting me and really bracing so I was running out of time anyway, hence we started back. He wantet to go fast so I would let him as long he followed his nose and would go in circles on the way back down the powerline. We got to the road and he settled down. However, I did make him disengage both directions a few times so that he knows I can control his feet. This is the problem with a lot of domesticated horses they don't get out into the world and see that things don't have to scare them. THe only world they know is their back yard. So going down the road or out on a trail can be a big deal if you don't introduce it slowly and not over load them. I think I had him out there too long and that is why he was acting up. On the road again we did several stops and back ups, some circle esses, even some leg yields which I think he is going to pick up rather quickly. He still needs a lot of work on softness though and stop bracing on lateral flexion. We got back and I made him work a little bit so as to show him that getting back doesn't necessarily mean rest. Flexed him some more and got off and put him up.
Little by little I think he will improve.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

domino 15

Half way there. Yep! only 15 more sessions with him and he will be solid gold for the owner. Not!!! He came to me quick today. I didn't work with him yesterday because I wasn't feeling too good. I still am not the best, but I can't get too far behind on this guy. As it is it looks like around Nov. 15th when he will be going home. Anyway, I got him saddled no problem and moved him on the lunge line. He moved out freely. Did some transitions of speed and direction then I worked on some leg yields on the rail and slightly off the rail. He did pretty good. Then took him out and worked him out in the yard, the pen is too muddy, worked him a little and flexed him. He likes to throw his head up when I flex him on the left. I am not sure what that is all about, but he is telling me he doesn't like it. So I am working on being real clear and soft and release on the slightest give. He is getting better. Then for 45 min. I rode him around working on lat flexion and transitions. We went down the road without too much hastle. I just used his own energy to make him move. For example, if he wanted to turn to the right towards home I just asked him to keep on turning with real light pressure on the rein and did a 360 and kept going in the original direction. So whichever direction he turned I just overcorrected him and kept moving. We did this for about a half mile down the road. Then a friend stopped to talk to me about the death of his son, which he wants me to do the funeral this week. (he was killed last night while working on his car. He was underneath it and the jack failed, he was 30 years old.) So I got off and chatted with him and his wife and prayed with them. Shawn Pensinger is the man's name, so say a prayer for the family.
It was also good training for Domino to stand patient. After that was done I remounted and we did the same thing back, just trying to get softness laterally and transitions to trot and then walk. We went through some big puddles of water which make for good obstacles. He is learning to trust me. I flexed him when we got back that was it. He did real good. I have noticed that he can be a bit jumpy, but he didn't act like he needed to get back home any time soon and he didnt' whinny as he has before when Raven or Jake did. Otherwise I would put him to work. So it was a good ride ending on a good note.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Domino 14

He bucked!
Yeah, not at first but at the end when I wanted to quit him. Here is how it went. I went out to put halter on him. He hardly moved off at all, so he came to me pretty soon. We got the saddle in place and I moved him around on the lunge wanting to have him arc his body on the circle. He has yet to do that lateral softness yet. We did probably 8 or 10 circles each direction then I put the bit on him and got on and moved him around doing the same thing but he didn't really want to move so I took him out in the road. There we worked on lateral flexion at the walk doing lots of circles in the road and going up and down the road in front of my place. Then I trotted him and walked him and just worked on transitions for a while. I have yet to have him in a good canter. Anyway, we worked on various exercises trying to get the lateral softness I want, and he is doing pretty good now then I started to desensitize him to various noises, feeling the leather saddle strings on his side and flank, me slapping my chaps. Well he would just take off at this so I decided to take him in the rd pen and try it so I could just let him go without having to pull too much on the rein. Anyway when we got in there and I got back on, we walked off and I slapped my chaps. Thats when he tried to buck. He did put his butt in the air, but I just kept him moving and wouldn't let him get his head down, I kept it bent a little and kept slapping and such. Then he just settled down and kept moving. He doesn't like to go to the left and stay on the rail so I have to work on that a lot more. All in all, he has made some progress. We got down the road farther than we have yet. I am staying off my hands unless I have to use them to direct him. He is getting softer laterally and is starting to get a backup with my seat and legs and a little bit of hand. Can't wait to ride him tomorrow, rain or shine and see what he does and where we can get too.
I want to make too much progress too fast, this is only probably his 9 or 10th ride so I have to keep that in mind.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Domino 13

Maybe its the curse of the 13 I don't know, but today's session didn't go that well. He is hooking on to me really good now. Every now and then I have to get him back but it doesn't take much but a shift of my body language when he is looking at me. I worked him on leg yields, he does them pretty good and just reviewed the others. I rode him in the pen for just a few minutes then took him on the road. He didn't want to leave, which is pretty much a given for any horse. But I wanted to get him moving out better on the trot. Haven't had him in a canter yet. But I probably rode him for an hour at the trot working on lateral softness and following his nose. But he got really stiff and when we were trotting back to the home grounds, we were just in front and down the road a couple hundred feet or so, I could turn his head but his body wouldn't follow. So I had to really work on that a lot just doing circle esses. When I did let him get back to the yard I made him work a lot and then took him back down the road and let him rest, and repeated that a couple times. Then he didn't have such a hard time leaving his friends. He does like to balk alot so I just made him disengage and go in small circles then let him out of it. At the end of the session he was going down the road better. However, I can see that I have alot to do with him yet. It is a good thing I have 17 more sessions with him before he goes home. The weather is supposed to get colder and rainier over the next couple days so that will make things interesting.
I also did alot of lateral flexion on him because he seems to be getting bracier. So we will see what happens.
Til next time.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Domino 12

Hey, what a day. It was so nice to work outside this afternoon with him. His owner Lou wanted to see the progress so he came over and I put Domino through everything that I have taught him. He didn't want to be caught but it didn't take long at all and he walked up to me. He still protects his right side, but we will work on that. I saddled him and started working on the different components, backup, shoulders over, disengagement, leg yield (which he is doing pretty good at), stop. I flagged him out and tarped him out and had him walk over the tarp. He is getting calm. I cracked the whip and he did real good. Then I rode him around asking for trot, softness laterally and so on. Then I took him out on the road and for the first time rode him out there. He did good. I can see that he doesn't want to go too far from the others though. I will need to work on that. I did several exercises out there. We had some cars go by and a semi came up to us and put his air brakes on. Domino handled all that pretty good. I will be working him a little in the round pen and the rest out on the road from here on out. For having about 14 hours of work on him he is doing real good. But he does have a long way to go before he goes home.
Well gotta go get ready for the rest of my day.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Domino 11

Today was a good day to work with Domino. It was sunny and cool. Nevertheless, Domino didn't think so. I got out there about 4pm and had everything set. He didn't really want to work so before I even had the halter on him we had to play a little bit in his pen. I just did the same thing I would have in the rd pen. Finally, I walked up to him. I did this a few times before I actually put the halter on him and went in the rd pen. However, when I started to saddle him he wanted no part of it and walked off. So we had to play some more. Finally, I got him saddled and decided I have to make him realize that it is a place of rest to be with me and hard work to be away from me so I had to round pen him. My pen is not so muddy now so I really worked him, for almost an hour. I really did not want to get him all sweaty, but he gave me no choice. During that time I tried several times to turn him into me and give me both eyes but he didn't want to cooperate. I trotted and cantered him most of the time. He never did carry his head to the inside, but did lower his head and lick his lips so I would let him rest. Then during one of those times I started to desensitize him more to the whip cracking. He wanted to move off so we worked some more. In the end he was huffing and puffing and standing next to me and following me better than he has yet. I put the bit on him, flexed him and then got on. We rode about a 1/2 hour transitions from walk to trot, flexing, one rein stops, disengaging, etc. I also worked on circle esses to get softness vertically. Then after more flexing I got off. I got the tarp out and sacked him out with that some more and then my weedeater. Finally we were done. I had intended to take him down the road, but just didn't have the time. I think I worked with him about 2 hours today. I had fun and didn't want to quit. He will have tomorrow off and then I will see if there are any changes come Monday.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Domino 10

Things went good today. I worked with him earlier at lunch 'cause I wanted to brush his mane. He wouldn't let me so I just kept moving him and finally he decided he would let me. Well when I went to get him for class he didn't cause me any trouble really. I saddled him and moved him in the round pen with my whip popper while my body was turned off. After about 10 laps he finally stopped and faced me. I quit popping. Then started this again. He moved but with each time he stopped sooner. After about 3-4 tries I could pop the whip all around him and he would just keep facing me and stand there. I worked on the basic exercises for a few minutes then took him out on the road, even down by the church at the busy highway and did the c pattern, leg yield, lunge, etc. I went through them all. He did pretty good and was quite relaxed when we got back in the pen. Then I put the bit on him and let him wear that for a few minutes, flexed him and got on. I rode about 20 minutes going through the transitions and that worked out real good. He is getting better and better. He seems to be pretty quiet. Probably in the next two rides I will be riding him on the road during each session.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Domino 9

I had a little trouble catching him in the pen to begin with. He still had not really hooked on to me yet. So when I did get him haltered and in the round pen, I got him saddled. This time I used the rear cinch, which sometimes makes a horse buck. But this didn't seem to bother him. Then I worked him a little with lunging and backup, etc. to see what he would do. After he didn't explode I took the halter off and let him go. Then we got to work on transitions walk trot canter and back down. He did pretty good and is getting better. I looked for the signs of submission in him and when he began to show some, like lowering his head, an ear toward me then I pushed his butt away and drew his eye toward me and let him rest. I worked on changing directions with inside and outside turns then again pushed his butt and drew his eye toward me and let him rest. I then began to draw him towards me and lo and behold his front end broke loose and he followed me. I did this one more time to make sure he was following.
Next I backed him out of the arena and we went for a walk down the road while I did the c pattern exercise, backup, leg yields and just plain stood and rested. I wanted to see how he reacts to traffic and new things on the road. He did a good job. We probably worked on that for 15 minutes then went back in the round pen. This time I rode him for most of the rest of the time we had. I got him going into his gait, and boy does he have a smooth one. I can see why people like a TW. My own TW doesn't have this smooth of a gait. Anyway, I worked on one rein stop and disengagement. He is a bit stiff on lateral flexion from the saddle. From the ground he is soft, but it is different for the horse from the saddle. So we worked on that every chance I got. Then after about 20 minutes or so, I got off and worked more on desensitizing. I popped the whip and he stood fine, also the flagging stick no problem. I even got my blue tarp out and he handled that good. Finally, I worked on sending him over it and in short order he was doing that. In the next session I plan to introduce the bit and ride a lot more even go on the road and do some exercises from the ground. We will see what he does.
That's all for yesterdays workout.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Domino 8

I worked with him over lunch today. I got him in the rd. pen and saddled him. He stands good for that. Then I worked on the backup, disengaging, shoulders, lateral flexion etc. like usual. He is steadily improving. Then I sent him around the pen without halter and worked on the transitions. He does real good at upwards and downwards transitions. He doesn't like the wet muddy spots but he still goes through. I wanted him to hook on and he did. Whenever he stops and faces me he likes to protect his right side by always giving me he left eye. But I let him rest with me on his right. I sacked him out a bit more with whip cracking and stick and string. He stood real quiet. I can't do enough desensitizing. Then I put the halter back on and mounted him. He gave me forward motion real easy, walking pretty fast. He didn't like to give me a trot though. I think because of the mud, he slipped once today without me on his back, he didn't really want to go through that. He would give me a few steps though. It could also be saddle fit or the fact that he is not used to carrying someone. But he did real good. I ran out of time so got off and worked on squeeze game and leg yields. Again, he is getting lots better. He is almost ready to be taken out on the road. Maybe by Friday or Monday of next week we will be going down the road. Before I do it horseback though I will be doing all these exercises out on the road from the ground in the areas we will be going. Nothing wrong with making as sure as possible about safety. Mine and His.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Domino 7

Had to good workout with him today before the funeral I had. I worked him on all the foundational components as before then saddled him. He stands good for that. Then moved him around the rd. pen in order to check transitions walk trot canter and back down. He did good. I was trying to get him to hook on to me and really buy into my leadership. He hadn't done that yet. So I really worked at with him. Finally his front end broke free when I would let him stop and face me. When I moved off side to side from him I wanted his eyes on me but also to start moving his front feet toward me following me. Finally after several tries he began to follow. I let him stop and I got on him from both sides. Then my farrier arrived to trim Jake so Domino got a 1/2 hour break or so. Then I we got back to work but he didn't want to let me put the halter back on him. So I moved him around the pen a few times and finally he hooked back on and I haltered him. I really wanted to do more sacking out with items. I used my whip that pops, flagged him out more and then had a plastic feed bag I shook and rubbed all over him. He stands pretty good and is getting alot better. My time was up so I flexed him laterally a few more times, unsaddled brushed him and backed him through the gate and quit. He did fine.
The weather held for the funeral too. I hope it doesn't rain for a while so I can really get some use out the round pen. From here on out I will be riding Domino every time I work with him.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Domino 6

Sorry about that. Hey, does anyone read this blog. Just wondering cuz I never get any responses to let me know if there is life out there. Anyway per chance there is life out there here is the latest on Domino.
This occured yesterday about 3pm.
My rd pen is basically all mud and water, but we worked anyway. Just more of the same working on lateral flexion, disengaging, moving his shoulders over, backup, downward pressure. He is making improvements everyday. He is getting sharper and quicker on his responses. I am working hard on desensitizing him so I got the flag out and did that until he relaxed. Then I got my whip out that pops when I crack it just right. He didn't like that so I just kept at it until he stood relaxed when I did it from either side. I did the Jeffries method again, no problem. Then I got the saddle out and he stood to let me put that on him. He is so fat that when I cinched him up he had rolls of fat on both sides of the girth. I worked on the c-pattern exercise and the squeeze exercise and he does that smoothly. He didn't like it when I flapped the stirrups so I kept at it on the one side until he relaxed then did it some more until he was ok with it. On the other side he was not nearly as touchy. Then I went ahead and got part way on and petted him all over flapping the offside stirrup. I did this from both sides making sure he was relaxed with that. Then I swung my leg over and moved all over him. Finally, I asked him to move off disengaging the hindquarters and then got off. I did this from both sides and by that time my hour was up so I flexed him and desensitized him and quit.
We are making progress here. I plan to ride him more with forward movement tomorrow and see how he does.
Well that is all for today.

Domino 6

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Domino 5

Had a smooth training session with Domino. I worked with him on the backup, disengaging and lateral flexion which he is real soft at. I then used the Jeffries method from both sides which he stood real calm for. Then I decided to flag him out with the stick and string and stick and plastic bag. He stood pretty good for the stick and string. He is making improvement there. The bag is another story. He moved quite bit. I found his ticklish spot right behind is elbow where the girth goes. I also found out that he will leg yield in a circle really good. By the time I was done with the flagging out he was standing calm. I then worked on the c pattern exercise changing directions several times until that was almost to the point of being feather lite. Then while lunging him I was paying attention to his carrying his head to the inside and calm, not high. He is so responsive that I could raise and lower his head to the position I wanted just by raising my driving arm. Another thing I noticed is that he already carries his head with some collection depending on the speed and my body position. That is real good. I didn't put a saddle on him. That will be tomorrow and I didn't rd pen him, just didn't have time. I did do what is called the squeeze game where he goes between me and the fence at a distance then with every pass back and forth where he has to go forward, disengage the hind quarters and move his shoulders over then goes back between me and the fence the space gets narrower with each time. He did real good. Then I also worked on leg yields with him and he does pretty good at that. Tomorrow will be more tests for him. more flaggin out and desensitizing. Then I mght get on him. He seems calm with the Jeffries method. So we will see.
If you think of it pray for the Dean Arnold family (they come to our church off and on) as they lost a 3 year old boy in a house fire last night. His five yr old sister has severe burns on parts of her body and is in the Hospital at this time. Fortunately the family as more family right next door so they have a place to stay, but their home is a total loss.
Sharon said it is time to eat so gotta go.
God bless

Domino 4

This was yesterdays result, but didn't have time to record it with Church last night.
Anyway, my rd pen is all wet in one section under water, but decided to work him in the pen anyway. He walks trots and trots walks no problem with must asking with body language. I worked on trying to get him to hook on to me. When I asked him he would give me both eyes and follow me, but wouldn't quite unlock his front end and follow me as much as I want. He protects his right side, giving me his left eye almost all the time. I worked on all the other components: lateral flexion, disengaging, backup, forward movement, shoulders, downward give to pressure at the poll. He is getting better and better each time. He is real soft on lateral flexion. I also worked on the Jeffries method of getting on his back bareback and just laying along his spine and rubbing him all over. He stood real good for that. I also am working hard on desensitizing him to the lead rope and stick and string. I want to flag him out real good and work on leg yields. I have done this a little bit a couple days ago. He didn't do too bad. He seems to be working out real good. I will introduce the saddle today and see how he takes accepts that. I also need to work on some other exercises like the c pattern exercise where I lunge him and then ask him to change directions a whole lot, making him turn on the hind quarters. It will be interesting to see how he turns out.
It was a nice day to work with him too. I worked with Raven for about 30 minutes as well. We worked on backing with my seat and legs and also stopping with my seat. She is getting better. We also worked on roll backs and what I call a counterbend backup on a circle.
The harmony that I want between me and my horses is such that I want it to almost be my thinking about what to do and the horse yields and accepts my leadership. That is the way I want it between me and the Lord too. But that cannot come if I don't spend time on the relationship with Him by reading and studying, praying, making sure I have a relationship with Him in the first place through faith in Jesus Christ.
I learned last night at prayer meeting there is a young man, mid 20's who just found out that he doesn't have long to live and the docs are amazed that he is still alive, and surgery is not possible. So what do you think he did? He went home and is working on his relationship with the Lord. Nothing like news like that to get your priorities straight. Truth is we all have an expiration date. He just has benefit of knowing more acutely when his is. What about us? Where are our priorities?

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Domino 3

I decided to beat the rain today and work with Domino this morning before I went to the jail. The footing was good in the round pen. So thats what we did for an hour. Now when working in the round pen the idea is not get the horse all sweated up and tired. I wanted to show him that I could move his feet in any direction and work on getting him to walk trot canter by my body position etc. It didn't take all that long to get him to move up and down into these gaits. But then I wanted him to face up to me/give me both eyes. That took a tad longer but when I was done with him he was hooked on to me and following me around. You know what? that made his other moves that much softer. He is feather soft on lateral flexion and disengaging, even his shoulders seemed to unlock better and his back up got better. It is amazing what a little moving of the feet will do to get a horses mind on you instead of other things. Worked on a hour with him on all these things and quit. IT was good. he has a long ways to go, but he is making progress. Now my problem is going to be all this rain. The footing in my paddock and round pen is all mud and slippery. I am praying that it will let up so that I can work with him tomorrow.
Well have a good day and stay dry.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Domino 2

Hello all,

I had a good session with Domino today. We worked an hour, after I worked catching him and haltering him. For a horse that has supposedly been ridden and taught to dance (somewhat to music), whatever that means, this is a horse that is not soft. He was real stiff on the right side. I worked a bunch on lateral flexion and got him pretty soft on both sides. I had to lunge him and switch directions for about 10 min. though because he didn't want to stand while I flexed him. A horse will move when you first teach lateral flexion because he is trying to figure out what I want, but on the right side he moved all over. So after I lunged him he settled down. Part of his movement might have been I wasn't real clear what I was asking of him. On the left side he did real good. I also worked on desensitizing him to the lead rope and the stick. We worked on downward pressure and back up. I also got him disengaging real good. He needs to get a lot better before I get on him but it is progressing. I got his shoulders to move over, yet I need to work on getting him to plant his hind foot and just move his shoulder so we will keep working on that. As a last exercise I cleaned out his feet. He did ok at that too. Before I knew it my hour was up. I am going to restrict myself to only an hour in order to see how far I can get this horse in just 30 hours of training. So far he is making progress. My goal is to be riding him by Monday of next week.
As a side note, just two praises. I went up to Cannonsburg for a horsemanship class on Saturday. Raven did excellent and I learned much.
Praise #1 - A couple weekends ago I went to a Dennis Reis clinic. My instructor has all but one of his endorsements. I would have liked to have bought his tape series, but Jaime has taught me much of that so I decided not to. Well Christine, the lady who owns the riding stable in Cannonsburg had his entire course and loaned them to me for as long as I need them. She thinks I will come back and say thanks for saving me a thousand bucks, because she and Jaime think I know most of what is on the tapes. We will see.
Praise #2- If any of you know what it is like to jacknife a trailer going to down the freeway you know my relief. I was on my way back from Cannonsburg pulling at 12' stock trailer with Raven in it. We were on I-196 coming out of GR going west up the hill and around the curves after you cross the river at 131, when I think Raven shifted her weight. That pushed the back end of my truck to my right, I took my foot off the gas ( I was only going about 40-45mph, because the road was wet) and steered into the left lane hoping the car I saw in my rear view a second before this was not beside me. I had to go into that lane or would have completely lost it. Anyway, after that split second scare I checked my rear view and saw a line of cars in both lanes waiting for what I will do next. I then checked my pants, everything was ok there. Whew! I pulled over into the right lane and continued on, slow and easy the rest of the way home. I'm sure the other cars were glad to get my me. I am also sure that my angel was watching out for me. I am just glad to be able to celebrate Sharon's birthday with her today.
God is in control!

Friday, October 2, 2009

New horse

Well for those of you who are following this, today (friday) was the first day of working with Domino a Tennessee Walker. He's 7 years old and black and white. He has had training before and been ridden. The owner just wants me to get him road safe for him. That can be a huge task. My round pen is pretty much a mud hole right now so I have to work off the lead line in his section of ground. I need to get him soft to feel so I worked on him putting his head down. I was told by his owner that he was trained last year and that he saw the horse and rider dancing to music like the spanish do. But I am inclined that if that is true he wasn't soft. He was very stiff and rigid in the neck today, but we got that worked out. He didn't know how to back off of me either. So we worked on that. At first it took a lot of energy to get him going back, but after we were done he will back as I move towards him. We will continue to refine that. We also worked on moving his shoulders and disengaging his hindquarters. He does both when I ask him. Of course none of this is flawless. There are many rough edges and we just have to keep smoothing them out. I desensitized him to the lead rope, jumping around and making quick moves towards him. I discovered I can't do enough of the desensitizing. Another practice I have is that I will work on an exercise til the horse is getting it then walk him around or let him stand without being bothered for a few minutes then move on to something else or to the other side. I keep changing it up for the horse and me. I need to work on lateral flexion next and refine the others then move on to lungeing and more desensitization.
I am going to Cannonsburg today to work with Jaime and Raven. Pleasantly, it is in an nice big indoor arena. So I am looking forward to that.
Until next time.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


Well, I just came in from working with Raven. Had to try out the new stuff I learned at the Reis clinic. I go to those to pick up little tidbits of info that have to do with the details that make things work or not work. For example, not using the rein unless you have to. So tonite I worked mostly on stopping Raven with my seat not using a rein at all and not using collection as a way to balance her. After umpteen tries where I had to just lift the rein slightly and using the fence as an added incentive to stop we started to make progress. So that now she is beginning to listen to my seat, when I quit riding she begins to stop. The incentive for her is she doesn't have to back up as far or as fast. I really tried hard to not use the rein much at all. It was just a calm ride. At the end of which I worked on getting her to kneel. She did well and is almost ready to start getting on her when she kneels. I still have to stretch the time she is down enough in order to put my foot in the stirrup and swing my leg over before she gets up. She is not there yet, but she will be. Tonite we even did some moving of Jake around from horseback.
I am praying and thinking about getting into doing sermons on the mount at different churches and places. I am going to meet with Chad Coppess of Paradise Ranch, who does this now, in October to discuss this. I will probably attend some of his sort of as an apprentice and there are a couple of churches that might give me an opportunity to do so.
As far as I know I still have the horse coming on Thursday to begin to work with.
gotta move on for now.

Thursday, September 24, 2009


Had a good day riding yesterday. I am more and more pleased with my progress and the horses progress everyday. They both are responding some much better to soft pressure. The one thing I have trouble with is when something is distracting Raven so much that she will not listen to my cues. She hasn't learned to trust me totally when she is distracted by something that she is afraid of. Now she doesn't run off or anything. However, case in point, I was riding at the circle and things were going good, she was bridled up easily, shaped in the direction I needed her to be and she would move to a canter or down to a walk no problem. But then something caught her ear off in the woods. And she immediately became stiff, almost immoveable. I tried to keep her attention on me to no avail. So I let her just watch in the direction she was bothered. I knew something was there, though I could not see it. Finally, a man came out into the powerline and into our line of sight. Then I walked her up to him and chatted with him for about 1/2 hour. It those kind of things that really test if the horse is given over to the rider or not. It shows me that she will listen to me and follow me as long as nothing she thinks is more important comes along. I guess that is like a lot of people too. They are ok with following the Lord, the Bible, until something comes along that they think is too hard for God or is unexlainable, or just doesn't fit their idea of what it means to follow the Lord, then they are off in their own little world. Forget the fact that God knows a bit more than them or that He is working a larger plan than they have. Prov. 3:5,6 reminds us to "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not unto thine own understanding; In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He will direct thy paths." If only Raven would memorize Scripture and learn to trust me in that way. If only I would do that with God 100% of the time. O things would be easier. Well we finished the ride and it was really good. She is responding well to my seat and leg pressure.
Jake also did well. To start with, (I know that you are not supposed to start a sentence with a preposition) I had him kneel 4 x before he would stay down long enough for me to get my foot in the stirrup and get on. I an ovation from a group of headstart kids and their teachers across the way when I did this. He is getting real soft and easy to get into his gait. He will down right move out. We did a crash course in softening and leg yields and such. We didn't have alot of time. But again he is also doing well. I need to ride these guys as much as possible before the 1st because then I will be concentrating on Domino the Tennessee Walker that is coming for me to work with. Then I won't have near as much time.
Well I gotta alot going on today so I bid you Adieu.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

What a good day. I go to ride Jake a bit tonite among other things. He is getting really soft and to top it off I am learning how to keep him in his gait. I had him in it for at least a mile tonite and then some more at different intervals. He responds real well to the bit and to my seat. He actually will stop on a dime if I have him bridled up, when I sit down in the saddle. I also have been working on teaching him to kneel. Well he will do to that alright. But now I want to teach him to stayd down long enough so that I can mount him and then have him stand up. Tonite, I kneeled hime 4 times and finally had time to put my foot in the stirrup before he got up so I think I am going to start mounting him this way most of the time. I want him to get used to it. he has such a willing heart. He can be a bit spooky about things, I took off my hat and waved it around him and he didn't like it so I kept it up til he settled down. Thing is, I have done that before and he had no trouble with it. All in all he is getting to be a pleasure to ride. He was moving so fast tonite I think Raven would have had to canter to keep up. I need to work with him alot on this getting into his gait because next week I have a Tennessee Walker coming that is a 7yr old gelding. The owner has had him to a trainer before but I guess he just wants more done with him. He also has an Appaloosa that he wants me to work with after this one. So it looks like I have my next two months booked for training horses. Neither one of these are starting them, it is just that he wants me to ride them alot and get them good an broke as much as I can in 30 days. Sounds like fun.

Sharon is canning tomatoes tonite and enjoying dancing with the stars.
I guess I will go watch a bit.

Monday, September 21, 2009


glad to have some rain finally. It was dry as toast in this neck of the woods. It was so dry I had to stop working the horses in my round pen because it was literally a powder bowl. The dust would choke you right out of there. However, the was kind of a blessing because it forced me to look for some other place to work with them. I did find a place I call the 'circle' it is on a power line about 1/2 to 3/4 of a mile from home. It gives me an opportunity during the ride there to warm up the horses, do some exercises with them that get them to be tuned to me even amid all the distractions of going down the road with cars passing, dogs barking, bags blowing, etc. It also gives me places, once I get on the power line to work on stopping with my seat, sidepassing next to a log, keeping their attention though there is grass stirrup high all over that they want to munch on. I also work on flexion with various exercises so that when I get to the circle, which I made by tracking with the horse dozens of times so that there is a distinct circle worn in the grass, but no dust. It also very peaceful there and the horses seem to like it and are getting used to going there.
Yesterday Sharon and I went on a nice ride. I am teaching her little by little how to be with Jake, flexing, getting her seat in the saddle so that she will have a comfortable ride. She seems to enjoy it. We have rode twice in the last week. That has to be a record for some time now, 'cause she doesn't usually ride. THe horses went nicely too. I was able to easily get Raven bridled up and do leg yields back and forth across the road. I didn't really work with Raven alot I just stayed out of her mouth unless I had to use a rein for something. We just had a nice hour long ride. The funny thing is that the more I ride these horses the less they go fast. They will walk fast, but even on the way back, and they knew were heading back, they didn't really get moving fast and almost out of control like they use to do. I think now they are thinking, 'I better not go faster than he is telling me because I don't know when I will be able to stop or slow down.' We have all seen Amish horses standing harnessed to a wagon in a field just standing there with no one around. Why don't they just run off? Because they have learned to rest when they get an opportunity. They don't know when they will get another rest. The same is starting to occur to my horses. That is a good thing. I think that is a good lesson for us all to learn. We need to take the time to rest when we can. Life can get so busy and we don't know the future anymore than the horse does so when given an opportunity to sit down and relax with family or out on the porch or just take a power nap do it. It is good for the mind, body and soul. That is the purpose of the sabbath rest that God gave us from Creation. Work six days and rest the seventh. It was given for us and our benefit to get back in tune with God and our own bodies and spirit to relax, debrief about the week, plan for the week ahead. Just like an instrument has to be retuned every so often so God has given us an opportunity to retune to Him and to all around us. To put things back into perspective. My horses need the retuning before every ride and I need it everyday and so do you. So before you step out the door each day take time to retune to the Lord, to take the time to relax and breathe deeply, exhale completely then go at the day.
take time to relax today because you don't know what is ahead.

Friday, September 18, 2009


I love to be right up next to the action at a rodeo or horse clinic. I like to be able to see everything that I can. Don't you?
This is just a thought that crossed my mind while driving back from Holland this evening. I heard Chip Ingram speaking about perspective and he referenced Ps. 73:16, 17 " But when I thought how to understand this, it seemed to me a wearisome task, until I went into the sanctuary of God; then I discerned their end." Life sometimes gets you down. But when you enter the court of God you get a different prespective of your circumstances. You get God's perspective.
Sharon and I like to get as close to the action at a rodeo or concert as we can. We like to see the expression on the faces of the performers. We once sat in the balcony, 3rd level, way in the back of the auditorium at a 'Lord of the Dance' concert. We could hear fine, but we couldn't see to enjoy the concert. We needed binoculars and even then it would not have been good. It would have been much better to be up close.
Celebrities puchase courtside seats at a Basketball game because it changes your perspective on the game making it more enjoyable.
The same is true with life. To the most out of it you need to get courtside with God. This verse tells us about Asaph's experience when he got courtside with God and it changed his perspective on people who are wicked and seem to prosper. It will change your perspective too. But what does getting courtside with God look like in real life?
You get courtside with God when you hear about the death of someone you knew and it forces you to think about and change the way you think about your own life.
When a close friend died several years ago it changed my perspective about what was important to me.
You get courtside with God when you have one of those close encounters with tragedy and you realize that your family is the most important part of your life. It is more important than working a few extra hours and instead attending your daughters recital.
You get courtside with God when you attend a wedding and hear and watch two people commit their lives to each other no strings attached.
You get courtside with God when you look up into a clear night sky and realize how big the universe is and how small you are and wonder how God could stoop to your level and want anything to do with you. But He did and He sent His Son to die for your sins so that you could get courtside with Him.
Getting courtside with God is seeing what He sees, hearing what He hears, and thinking what He thinks.
The disciples had courtside experiences with God every time Jesus performed a miracle, taught a lesson, settled an argument or washed their feet.
Read Ps. 73 for yourself and if you are down or discouraged thinking that life has given you a raw deal, get courtside with God. Sit next to Him for a while and like Asaph you will begin to understand God's perspective a little and it will change you.
The heavens are a perfect place to begin.
See you courtside!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

out and about

Hi there.
had a busy last few days. We have went to the Allegan fair twice. Once on Friday for the rodeo. They have the best one in the area and this years didn't disappoint. THere were a couple of bull rides that lasted well over the 8 seconds 'cause the guy couldn't get his hand out of the rigging. We walked around afterwards and enjoyed some of the sights and smells and sounds. We went again last night for dollar night. We were going to eat the fair food, scrumptious, but had subway instead and then got some treats while were there. We had to have the staple Elephant ear with cinnamon. And then the good ole fries.
Tonite we got home from work and went on a six mile horse ride after supper. It was fun and relaxing. I have been working alot with the horses since Haycee left. I talked with her owner this evening and got the scoop on how she is doing. I guess things aren't the greatest. She has gotten some rides in but she seems real nervous Felice said. So I don't know what to with that but get on em and ride. When there are alot of distractions for a horse that gets nervous it just means you gotta get their attention by making their feet move backwards forwards sideways, anything but up, right? Well it will just take some work for them. I hope they will take lessons from me in the future so we can get them going in the right direction.
Well, gotta get ready for bed, long day tomorrow.

Thursday, September 10, 2009


Well for those who are interested Haycee left on Tuesday evening after a good training session both with me and then later with Felice. My estimation of this horse is that if Felice will keep up the lessons and use a bit more assertiveness Haycee might just turn out to be a solid horse for her. If she doesn't then Haycee will just revert back to her old pushy self. No fun to be around or ride. So as for me I am back to riding my own horses and what fun. It is like getting into a luxury car everytime I ride now. Both are making good progress in terms of lightness and betting away from using the rein so much and just using my legs and seat. The work at liberty rather than in hand is going good too. I can move both without lead rope from ground and get them to flow into movement whether it be disengaging, sidepass or leg yield or just moving the shoulders over. There really is nothing like having this kind of connection with my horse that it is almost like she can read my mind. I'm loving it.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


I counted them up, this is the last day of my training with Haycee and Felice, as far as I know. I have learned alot with this horse. We had a good session on saturday and Monday with Felice riding Haycee and becoming much more confident on the ground and in the saddle. But it was the ground work that provided the foundation for her confidence in the saddle. We didn't go for a trail ride on Saturday because it was better to just let her ride in the round pen. She did so for a good hour, working on forward motion and one rein stop and disengagement. Then yesterday she really got the idea of lunging Haycee and getting more assertive with her. Haycee acted up, even trying to kick her because she was asking for her to move into a walk from a stop. This was after working with her for a little while. So Felice really got after her and guess what? Haycee started responding more willingly and faster to her cues. This also taught Felice how to lunge better. Then when she got on her back things went better too. She was able to move her and disengage her better than before and even keep her going when she wanted to stop or slow down. Felice is becoming a better rider and Haycee a better horse. Why, because of the discipline of working regularly with her and because of more assertiveness on Felice' part. As she learns to make her cues mean something, she will be able to back off from the intensity of them.
You know it is the same in our walk with the Lord or when we are trying to mentor another believer or children. You have to make your cue mean something by enforcing it with a proportionate 'bite' in order to be able to be softer later on. The Lord loves those He chastens the Bible says. So also if we love our neighbor or child it might mean that we have to hold them accountable to some discipline, like bible reading, cleaning the room, etc. Just everyday obedience. If a rider doesn't make it easy for his horse to obey him then things could get out of hand and even dangerous. But this has to be done in a process sort of way. To me it being a servant to whomever, as the Lord demonstrated and in a sense earning the respect that leads to their obedience. That is whether you are speaking of children or a horse. You can't really strong arm a horse and the reality is that you cannot strong arm a child or another person to get a willign response of obedience. it takes a meek hand, one that is strong yet gentle. Strong when needed, because the gentle hand doesn't work. But use a gentle, soft touch at the start and let the horse or child tell you by their actions if a stronger hand is needed. Then go back to the soft touch. This horse I have been working with has needed a strong hand, but I notice everyday after I use a strong hand once or twice on her she is very quick to respond to a softer feel. I think that is how the Lord works with us. You might read Leviticus 26:14-46 to find out for yourself.
As I have learned sometimes you have to get harder with your cue in order to get softer later on. But I have also learned that it usually happens rapidly.
I will let you know in my next blog about Haycee. She will be going home a different horse than when she came that is for sure.
See ya!