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!

Friday, September 4, 2009


Yesterday had a good day of training. Felice came but I worked with Haycee myself running her through the dailies and lunging her. She still demonstrates attitude. I got on her and she moved out good then, as usual wanted to trot and then canter without being asked. So this time I let her go but when she wanted to stop I wouldn't let her. Then I asked for transition down and she readily complied. When I asked for a trot she moved up into it without much ado. But when I asked for canter, I tried to time my ask when I could feel her wanted to move faster, then she would go up into it for a few strides then back down without being asked. If I try to keep her going she will just shut down and stop at least at the beginning. I would then keep her moving in a small circle, sometimes just a shoulders over until she would move back to the rail. Then I would get a trot out of her when I asked. But a canter she doesn't like to do. She pitched a fit, however small, when I asked her to canter, the counter clockwise was worse then the clockwise. In fact, a couple times I think was thinking about bucking but she ran into my rein and so didn't. Now I was purposely staying off the bit as much as possible both with stopping and turning or just to hold her from bucking. I also was laying off the leg. She is very hard mouthed and sided. Very dull to both, still. So I am trying to back her off that and rebuild some softness to the feel of the rein and the leg. After about 30 minutes of trotting and trying to get her to canter I let her stop. I was running out of time and I wanted Felice to work with her on the ground to reinforce the things I have been teaching her. She is not as assertive with Haycee as she will need to be but she is starting to get it. She can do all the exercises I have taught her, but still needs a little more intensity in order to get haycee to move away from her when she asks. She did finally get the process of lunging with relation to Haycee moving forward and her own body position and maintaining it. I was proud of her cause I could tell she finally got it. Let me tell you anyone who thinks this stuff is easy hasn't done it. It really does take paying attention to the details of body position, rein or lead pressure etc. and lots of time and repetitions. But she is coming along nicely.
My own two horses are doing well. I worked with both of them yesterday and had the best rides ever on them. I am trying to work at liberty with Raven, not using the rein except when I have to to reinforce my leg and seat. She did well. I got her backing and moving through transitions without much rein, in fact alot of it I didn't have the rein in my hands. She is moving off my leg and seat pretty good. We still have a long way to go, but man am I pleased. I have been training her to kneel as well and she did that with slight pressure on the rein with me just holding her foot with my hand. We are making progress there. I also worked her on the ground after riding and she was so hooked on to me that I could move her shoulders, disengage her hindquarters, leg yield and side pass without any connection to her by a lead rope or rein. I was so thrilled.
Then I went and did similar things on Jake. He responded softer too. He is not far behind Raven in his progress, and I haven't dealt with him nearly as much. I attribute that to the fact that when I started with him I had already learned alot on Raven. We did the same thing with kneeling and he responded well too.
All I can say is that this is when it really gets fun!.
And after riding such a dull horse as Haycee getting on one of my horses is like really fun. It is like hiking with a 5o poind pack for a few miles. It is heavy and tiresome. When you take it off you are so light and almost floaty in feel. That is what it is like to go from a dull horse to a light horse. I love it.
By for now. I have to go feed the horses their lunch.

Thursday, September 3, 2009


spent the time with Felice letting her work with Haycee. She bought a new pad for her endurance saddle and we put it on Haycee. It was way too big. We put her saddle on Haycee, it also doesn't fit. The skirts underneath the fenders are way too long. She said when she would cinch up those skirts would double under. No wonder she had some issues while she rode. So now she needs a different saddle and pad. Also she has a tom thumb snaffle, which I wouldn't recommend because it can be severe. In fact, when people use them they probably have constant pressure on the horses mouth and don't even know it. You can have what appears to be a loose rein and still have pressure on the mouth. I found this out first hand at McNabb's a couple years ago when I was riding one of their horses with one. I thought I had no contact but in fact did. So I don't recommend a Tom thumb unless you really know how to use one. So she is also going to look for a D ring snaffle. Back to the training. Haycee responds pretty good to me, but Felice needs to learn so that is what we worked on yesterday and today to. She will be taking her horse home in the next few days and needs to have a good understanding of 'feel' which she is getting to, and also how to be assertive enough to keep her out of her space. Thus, we have today, maybe tomorrow and then Saturday I think we are going for a trail ride with her boyfriend Mike and his horse Stormie which I started last year.
Well, have good day.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


Well Haycee did pretty good today. It was the first time I worked with her for just an hour. We went through the dailies and then lunged her to see what her attitude was regarding transitions. She did good. So I rode her. She moved out at the walk real good and at a good pace. Then she wanted to trot and canter so this time I let her move out because she has sticky feet. But this time when she wanted to stop I wouldn't let her. Then when I decided to I let her slow to a walk. Then we just worked on walk to trot to walk. She was doing good. We did this about 20 minutes or so then because she was doing good I asked for a canter. It took a bit but she gave me a few strides then slowed down and I accepted that. At least she was giving it to me without pitching a fit. So we did this in both directions. By the way, I didn't use my legs to get her to move either. I just used kissing to her. After another 10 minutes I stopped her and flexed and then got off. I flagged her out and used a tarp to desensitize her to them and she stood relaxed for both of them. She is in some respects rock solid and in others she has attitude. Her canter feels different to me. Maybe she hasn't done alot of cantering with someone on her back, because from the ground it looks real smooth. I also have concluded that I don't think she is really trying to buck. I think she is trying to find her balance. So I could be impeding that or my saddle. Anyway when I work her today I will consider those things.
On a side note. Sharon and I went and watched Sara and Brook skydive last night. that was cool. It was his 30th bday. So Sara surprised him. He wasn't expecting it so had to work it out mentally. He was a little nervous, not wet shorts kind of but almost. It was funny, but of course I wasn't the one going up. Anyway it was interesting and looked like fun. But don't know if I want to do that.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


I did work Haycee Saturday. What was to be just an easy workout turned out to be a 2 hour session. It started good. She was responding to the ground lessons and we were moving smoothly from one exercise to the next. I had intended to see how she would do on her transitions and then move on to some desensitizing exercises. I really didn't want her to get into sweat. But she had other plans. I lunged her and the transitions were going good. So I decided to get on her and work on transitions. It was fine from walk to trot. But when I asked her for a canter she was like a stone wall. Nothing I did could get her to move. Then she would just stop. So I would use my crop and finally get her to sluggishly walk off, then go to a trot, reluctantly. After doing this for about 3o minutes and only getting a few strides in a canter or not. I got off of her and lunged her through those transitions from trot to canter and back to trot until she was going without resistance and calm. I worked on that for probably another 20 minutes. Then I worked briefly on the dailies that she knows and walked her around the arena stopping every so often to make sure she was keeping the bubble between us and also moving with the pressure, keeping slack in the lead as I led her off. Then I quit. We were both sweaty when I we were finished.

Now, yesterday which would have been t21, I got her saddled and moved quickly through the dailies she knows and then moved on to lunge her. She did the transitions pretty good, no resistance per se. However, when I got on her she walked a little faster and then wanted to immediately go into a trot without being asked. So I bent her down, then when she decided to trot again I wouldn't let her slow down, then she went into a canter, kinda bucky, but not like she was trying to get me off and of course I had one rein so I could bend her down whenever she tried. Now the problem wasn't her sticky feet, but her wanting to move faster before I asked her. I had only planned on riding about 1o minutes just enough to go through a few transitions in either direction, not even intending to get a canter out of her. But she changed my agenda and I couldn't stop riding her now until she was soft and calm in the walk and trot. So for another 2o minutes or so we worked on getting her responding to me without resistance. Whenever she started trotting or cantering before I asked her I picked up one rein and either bent her to a walk or just slowed her down. In hindsight as I have thought about it overnight, I wonder if I should have just kept her going and moving out real good, because she has had sticky feet. Anyway, when I started to sense her change I just had her walk around calmly then when she gave me that I stopped and flexed her for a few minutes. She is still not real soft, but is getting better each day. Then it was Felice' turn. She went through the dailies and did well. She has some refining to do but that will come with practice. I then showed her how to lunge her. She did that a few times and then we quit. It was getting dark.
Thus, my estimation is that we kinda went backwards on some things, but on others she is doing good. I think she is a horse that needs to be ridden by someone who will be on their toes and not let her get away with making her own decisions on anything.
So long for today.