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.