Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year's Eve ride

This blog has to do double duty today. I had a good ride on Buddy yesterday. I wanted to mainly work on vertical flexion, stop, backup and leg yield with him. So yesterday we did some refining of the ground work, especially leg yields from the ground. He responded pretty well. When I got on his back he was ready to go. We did some work at the walk just working on vertical flexion and moving his shoulders and hips over. He gets better and better. When I asked him to go into a trot he did want to canter, but I backed him down by picking up the outside rein ever so slightly and he trotted. I had to do this a few times before he stayed in a trot. Then when I asked him to canter he went into it immediately and we loped around the arena several times in both directions. I am trying for softness at trot and lope. He didn't quite get there yesterday before it was time to quit. However, at the end I worked on stop and backup several times. It is a lot easier to work on a stop when the horse wants to stop. And so it was.
Today we did a similar thing, only on the ground I worked on half pass against the wall and when he got that consistently I moved him away from the wall and asked. He gave me some good ones. Then I started to ask for some leg yields as I walked beside him by his hip. He really started to give me some good ones. So I thought it a good time to get in the saddle. It was real good. We started with flexion and disengagements then walked off and began to work on lateral flexion with forward and then picked up the rein for vertical flexion. After a few minutes of doing this I started going in a big circle and began to ask for a trot. He started again to go into a canter, to which I picked up a rein to back him to a trot, which he did. So we worked on softness at a trot when he was giving me that pretty good I asked for a canter. He went right into a nice rocking chair lope and we worked on softness at that gait. Then I started to do figure 8's and change leads at a lope. We weren't completely successful at flying lead changes, but it is something to work towards. Then again at the end we started to work on stops and backups. More improvement. I had a fun time on him today. I know one thing about this horse he doesn't have a problem going forward at all. In fact, there were a couple times when I asked him to canter that he almost unseated me because I wasn't ready for how quickly he would respond. I got a good laugh those times.
I also discovered something else about him. His teeth are not right. I know I mentioned this before, but today I felt of his upper molars on the outside of his cheek with my fingers and discovered that his upper jaw is wider than his lower so that there is about 1/8 inch difference. That is why when I pick up a rein he has trouble wanting to give. In fact, when I touched him at the front of his molars he pulled his head away. So it does cause him pain. Thus, everytime I pick up a rein he is in some pain. No wonder there has been some issues. We will have a dentist take care of that for him and then we will see how he responds.
Well I gotta get off here.
Have a happy and safe New Year. I will be back at it on Monday with a lesson.
God bless

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas eve ride

I had a good ride this morning on Buddy. My goal with him is just to get in sync with him. We spent some time on the ground doing various exercises to warm him up and then I got on. He just stands there til I tell him to move off. It is nice that he waits for instructions from me before he takes to doing his own thing. I wanted to work more on his back up and then also on his hips and shoulders over. So we worked on them. His back up is getting better as I pick up a rein and add my seat and leg he is picking it up. We worked on that several times throughout the ride. I also had him following his nose pretty good. I had him trotting but he keeps wanting to go into a canter, although it is a nice lope, I want him to trot so I had to keep backing him off that. I think next time I am going to let him canter until he drops down to a trot then make him canter until I have him go back to a trot. I want to be able to trot him on a loose rein and move up and down the gaits without any resistance. He is not at that point yet, but he is getting there.
Well I gotta get going. One more thing to shop for before the day is done.
Merry Christmas to all.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

in sync

I need to catch up on what has been happening in my horse world.
Monday, I worked with Buddy. I worked him on the ground as I always do. He does good, responds easily and softly to my requests. I got on his back and wanted to just work on his legs becoming mine. So we repetitiously worked on getting his hip to move over and his front end whenever I put my leg on him. I want him to do it with straightness as much as possible to. I also don't want him to speed up when I add my leg. He is making progress, I must say. He is a little heavy on the front end but yields his hindquarters pretty good. And really it is more me being consistent with my cues. I have been reading Xenophon's "On horsemanship" and he writes that a man should start with an agenda of what he wants to accomplish so that he can determine if and when he gets there with his horse. So that is what I am doing with him and with my own horse or any horse I work with. So Buddy has made a lot of progress, but has a long way to go. An hour 2x a week is not much time to get much done. I have him stopping better without using the rein too. My goal with him is to get him to stop raising his head whenever I pick up a rein, but instead to keep it steady, low and yielding to my feel.
I also have had the opportunity to ride Raven over the last two days. The footing is icey and choppy so we haven't been doing any trotting or cantering. Yet, it has afforded me the opportunity to just work on riding in sync with her. I have been practicing moving my arms with her front legs and my hips with her hind legs. By paying real close attention to when she is picking up a foot I can then ask for her to move it over or speed up at the right time. Thus, by being more in sync between my body and her body we are better able to move as one. Right now I can consistently get her to turn either way, stop, backup, yield her hindquarters, move her shoulders, do a circle, turn on the forehand, spin, etc. all without using a rein. Once in a while I have to use a rein to support her as to what I am asking, but what I am doing is trying to refine down the cues with my body and feel so that I can turn her just by looking and so on. So we haven't rode a long time each day, but we have accomplished a bunch in that short time.
Well that is my update for now. I ride Buddy again tomorrow and we will go from there.

Friday, December 17, 2010

running around

This morning I had another session with Buddy. I wanted to try something I had seen and read about regarding really being in harmony with the horse. What it amounted to was moving my body in sync with his as if his feet were mine. That means my hips, legs, arms etc. were moving in unison with him. Thus, if I wanted to speed up his gait I started moving my hips faster as if I was walking faster. If I wanted to turn that meant I looked and turned with my whole body before I picked up a rein. All that sort of stuff to really try to get in sync with him. It works but it takes practice. It all starts on the ground, but alot of people don't believe that. I figure if I am not in sync with him while I am on the ground with a lead or no lead and having him move in whatever direction I want, I am not going to be able to do it on his back. I want that feel so tight between us that if I so much as turn my head one direction he is reading what I want him to do and doing it. Then when I get on his back it will be the same way. When I did get on his back he did real good for me. I noticed last time that everytime I asked him to speed up he wanted to canter so he would throw his head up and start loping. I am not sure why, but I do know he is interpreting my leg cue as speed up, when all it should mean and all I want it to mean is to move his butt or shoulders over. But what do most people do when they want a horse to go? they kick him or squeeze with their legs. So I had the pleasure of working him through that. He did want to lope off but I would turn him into the wall and turn around and ask for a trot again. This went on several times until all I had to do was pick up the outside rein when he slipped into a lope and he would slow to a trot. Then I had t transfer that to being anywhere in the arena not just on the rail or against the wall. It took a while, but he eventually got it better, not perfect but better. I then had him loping around because I asked him to. What do you think he did then? You are right. He wanted to slow down.
Well when my lesson was over, in walks my student to take over.
Chris did a great job. She is a good student and is working on being just as soft with him as I am. She rode him the last portion of her lesson and both of them did good.
I have another lesson with Buddy tomorrow so hopefully we will pick up where we left off today.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


Well it was cold in the fridge again. But better there than outside where the wind was really blowing. I thought the arena might lift off a few times it was blowing so hard.
Buddy was reall good again today. I warmed him up a bit more today because it was so cold. I wanted to make sure that any high energy was under wraps and that he was going to be completely yielded to me. And He was. When I go on him he stood real nice for me while I flexed him. Then we walked off and started to go through the exercises. My goal today was to really try to get the hip and shoulder moving with straightness as much as possible. He was better, but not what I was after. We will just have to keep working at it. I started him trotting around and doing the circle esses and he was getting real soft for me. Then about half way through the lesson he decided all he wanted to do was lope around or walk. He didn't want to trot. So I let him lope some and kept asking him to give me a trot and whenever I picked up the rein he went into a canter that was out of balance with his head lifted high. In hindsight I should have go off and circled him through the transitions then when he was giving them to me good, get back on. I will do that if it happens again. Anyway, he is doing pretty good. He even did good for one of my students who rode just after my session with him.
As for Camina, I got back with her also. She really showed her attitude doing a bit of bucking during the ground work. She probably was just kicking it up a bit because it was cold and she didn't like to have to work. Anyway we worked that out of her. I didn't want to get her all sweated up so I had to be sure to accomplish what I needed to without having to make her work alot. So instead of moving her out real fast, I just kept changing gaits, direction, and exercises on her until I could see her attitude change. Then we slowed down a bit and let her relax more. As it was I did about 30 minutes of ground work on her to see what she remembered and to refresh her memory. Then I got on her and held on. She always wants to take off. Now let me say, I never let her go just after I get on her. I always make her stand there and flex her on both sides. Then I let her move off. Once we do move she always wants to get in a trot, fast, all the way down to the other end of the arena into a corner then turn around and she will trot down to the other corner. I let her do it after I do some disengaging and moving of the shoulders, what amounts to a spin in both directions a few times to make sure I have some directional control. Then I let her go. Pretty soon she doesn't want to keep trotting and make her trot until I am ready to go at a walk. Then we can start to get some things done. This time my goal was to just refresh her memory since it has been a couple weeks since I rode her last.  I also wanted to work on her just going in a nice circle with shape. So that is what we did. I think I just need to keep working on that with her for most of the session next time and really get her moving out nicely on a consistent circle.
Well that is the latest on these two. Have a good one.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Beautiful day

Indoors that is. I am so thankful for an indoor arena. It is like a fridge in their but it is level, dry and works, not windy. It has its drawbacks mind you, but it has many more positives. Anyway, Buddy came through great. I groomed and saddled him, by the way, he was waiting at the gate of his stall for me, uhmmmm! We did some slow warmup into our session. I am learning it is better to move slowly and fluidly into something with him rather than trying to make a big fast splash into things. he is alot calmer this way. He responded real easy with me and was giving me no arguments at all. So we went right into saddle work. My main goal today was to get him to really follow his head. When I pick up a rein he gives me softness and goes in that direction. I had to help him out with my leg some but he took to my feel right off. The arena floor has some kiddie pool size wet spots on it from leads in the roof so I used them as things to go around since I don't trees and bushes in there. This makes for doing figure eights and work on getting him real flexible laterally not just in his head and neck but also in his barrel/ribs and it helps to get his hip tracking to the outside. I just kept this up on these wet spots at a walk then when he was doing that real good we went into a trot doing the same thing. He was coming off my leg real nice. I even got some leg yields that I wasn't asking for per se.
Towards the end of the session I asked for and got a real nice loping canter that was feeling real good to me. I was doing the same thing with him. He is responding to my softness real nice and he is becoming fun to ride. It should be this way with kids too shouldn't it. You want to get  kid to be calm and responsive? get them busy on some good old fashioned work, put away the tv, the computer, nintendo etc. and get them busy doing something outside. Then when they are settled down that is the time to teach em something. Or that is the time to bring em in and let em chill out a while. Horses and kids, I think they are the same thing sometimes. Dogs, now that is another story.
Chris, my student took Buddy in hand and did real well with him today too. She is catching on to handling him from the ground. She rode the last half of the lesson and was using the wet spots in the same way I did. Only thing is she needs to learn her rein management better. But who doesn't. She is doing pretty good for as many rides as she has on him. My desensitizing of Buddy with the whip and flag has paid off today too. Something made a noise, like snow sliding off a roof, while Chris was riding, it made Buddy spook and jumb a bit, but he did it basically in place and she stayed on. Then a little later, just as she was coming back to the end of the arena he went by something that made him jump sideways and stop but she stuck like glue to him and it was nothing. So Buddy had a good session in both ways today.
Well, stay soft, gentle and relaxed and see if you don't have a better outcome today.
til another day.

Monday, December 6, 2010


Had a good session with Buddy today. I am thankful for an indoor arena, especially on a cold, snowy, blustery day like today.
I did my usual ground work with him to warm him up. I have been spending alot of time, in the beginning, desensitizing him to the crack of a whip and a plastic bag. He is doing good with those.
Anyway, my goal today was to just get on him and ride him at a walk and trot on a loose rein and really get him to bend on the circle and to respond to the rein without lifting his head. I also wanted to work on moving his hip and his shoulders over with him being as straight as possible at a standstill. He made little strides that we will build off of. The result of the work today was that when I asked him to stop on a loose rein and back up he did. He also did move his shoulders for me. He is really becoming a nice horse to ride, but the key is to make sure I am only using the rein when I need it and that I am as calm as possible with him. He is really going to make a lot of progess in the weeks ahead.

Friday, December 3, 2010

saddle slip

Buddy did real good today. I got him saddled and started working with him. He was responding real good. Probably the biggest thing that happened with him today was that he stood in one spot with noone around in the arena for probably 20 minutes while worked with another horse. Another student was having problems with getting her horse to stand still so I took the horse and started to work with it, but the saddle wasn't on tight and it slipped to the side and finally under the horse's belly. He didn't take to kindly to that and had a little bit to say about it. He got just a tad worked up but I got him calmed down and took it off of him then resaddled him. I worked him for a few minutes and then gave him back to the student. Well, during this entire time ol' Buddy just stood on the other end of the arena as though he were a statue. He didn't move at all. That is what I like to see. It comes from working a horse and helping them to see how easy it is to just stand there.
Then I took him and and started to work him a bit. He was real relaxed and soft for me. Then my other student came in and she took over. She did very well with him and rode him about 20 minutes and he was relaxed the entire time.

Monday, November 29, 2010

easy rider

I got him figured out. The easier I am on him the more he likes it. Yes, Buddy is like the rest of us. He wants things to be soft and calm and if they are he will be too. I did a little bit of ground work with him. He opted for liberty work. I turned my back and walked away for a second, talking to Felice and when I turned around he was walking down the arena with saddle on, lead rope dragging in tow. So I just walked after him then he wanted to play catch me, not me, but him, so I talked him into catching me and took the lead off and then talked him in to doing things for me without a halter on. He disengaged, moved his shoulders over and stayed with me. However, we had some parlaying to do before we got to that point. It is amazing how fast he can decide it is alot easier for him if he stays next to me and follows my lead than it is to blow me off and walk away from me. For your information this technique works on kids too. Get them busy and they will stay out of trouble and if they want to play around don't try to stop them, just redirect their energy until they have a change of attitude. I digress. Back to Buddy. After a few minutes of this I put the bridle on and got on. We worked on getting him to move his hip and shoulder over with my rein and leg. I would ask for this then let him walk off and start again. He was getting real soft. I asked him to trot and he offered to canter for me. He has a nice canter. He is getting softer everyday. Anyway we had a good session of working on connecting the rein to his feet so that when I pick up a rein he moves the corresponding foot. It won't be long and he will be giving me leg yields and such. I also had him stopping with softness and backing up. Andrea, if you are reading this he is doing real good.

For anyone who is interested in attending a clinic. I am planning a one day clinic for January or February. We have 6-7 persons who said they would come, but we have room for a couple more. If you are interested let me in the comment section or email me @ and I will get back to you.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Saturday's ride

Today work with Buddy and Camina went good. Buddy was real responsive for me. He did most everything I asked of him. Oh, he needs alot of work, but he is getting softer and softer each time I work with him. I had him warmed up and even had him standing still when I cracked my whip. He didn't at first, of course, but after some time I was able to get him to stand quiet.
You know the thing about a horse is that each one has their own personality and own set of issues to deal with. With him it is not getting too intense. I have found that the softer I am with him the softer he is, the easier he gets. If I am not balanced or if I don't let the rein loose some, he lifts his head and gets out of balance. For example, when I stop him and backup if I pull hard on the reins all he wants to do is pull against them. But if I ease up on the rein and get real soft, almost to the point where there is just an ounce of pressure, he relaxes, rounds up and will stop and back. That is completely opposite of what most of us do when we ask the horse to stop. But that is what he understands.
Camina on the other hand, who I rode today too, wants to just go. Thus, for the first 5 or 10 minutes her head is in another place. She only wants to move. So I let her go, but I direct her feet. Then when she has a change of heart, I start working with her on the things she needs to learn. She is doing good for me and is making slow, but sure progress. We get to start again on Monday.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

Finally, I am able to get on here. Since Monday I have not been able to do much with my internet because it was having troubles. So I better catch you up on what is happening.
Buddy did a great job on Monday. He was nice and soft for me. He has a bit of an attitude sometimes, kinda stubborn. He still doesn't like pressure on his left side, that could be his teeth. However, the softer I am with him and if I add a light touch with my inside leg he will shape up and move nicely for me. We had a good 45 minute ride where we did everything from disengaging the hindquarters to just shaping up with collection. I want to get him to really yield well to my leg on his hip or shoulders so we will be working on that in the future. I also want to get him to stop throwing his head up and his nose out front so much. So we will just keep working on things. I didn't have a lesson with my normal client on him this week so I went right to work on Camina.
She did well for me in most of the areas that we go over. She really wanted to go in the beginning again. So I worked her until she was willing to slow down so that we could work on something constructive. When she did I started working hard on her yielding to my leg and giving me some leg yields and side passing. Sometimes you just have to get the horses attention in order to make some progress. Well, you have to have their attention in order to do so. Anyway things seem to be going along nicely with both horses. the progress is just slow and steady.
Hope to ride sometime tomorrow on my own horses. But with family coming over I don't know if that will happen or not.
Looking forward to the the family time and the food.
God bless,
Have a safe and happy thanksgiving.

Friday, November 19, 2010

It's Friday

Had another good morning with Buddy. He didn't need that much of a warmup to see where he was at mentally. He was with me right off the bat. So I got mounted and started working him at the walk. He was getting real relaxed and soft. He was actually beginning to carry his head real low, almost as if he was doing a western pleasure class. Once I got him to where he was real soft laterally and following his nose real good, then I asked for a trot and he went right into it. So we just started all over at the trot until he was real soft. He even cantered for me a couple times with no problem, just a nice soft lope. We worked on some disengaging and moving his shoulders over. I want to start him on really giving to my leg pressure and knowing exactly what the rein means. I think he is going to do real good. He is nice to ride, but he still gets his head up and resists on the left rein so we still have some work to do with him. I think he needs his teeth floated 'cause he really is mouthing the bit. I look foward to working him again.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

another day

I worked with Buddy yesterday. This was the first chance I got to record it. I warmed him up and then decided to flag him out. He did real good. He did spook some so I let him move sideways on a circle, that makes it difficult for him. I want him to stand relaxed with the plastic bag being waved intensely around him. He did pretty good. Then I got on him and worked him at the walk. We worked alot at his giving me his left side. He hardens up on that side so that was the side that was worked the most. He made improvement on that side though so that was good. I find that he is a good horse, but is kind of like one of those high energy people that are easily excited. If I increase my energy in an exercise, if I cross that 'gray line' to where it is too much for him to handle then he will just seek to get out of there. But if I increase it just a little, but not too much he is able to deal with that. So it is just learning where that line is. I had him trotting on a loose rein and would just pick it up when I wanted something like to yield his head or turn or something like that. His stop is getting better, but his back up needs work, to how I am asking him to stop. Nevertheless, he is coming along nicely.
Camina, was a gem yesterday too. I worked about 15 minutes on the ground and sensed no fiestiness from her. I got on her and went through my paces with her. She did well. We then just worked on moving the hips and shoulders over at the walk and trot. By the time I was finished I picked up the rein at the buckle (meaning at the middle of the rein when it is completely loose) she collected for me and when I sat down to a stop, she immediately stopped and started to back up. I quit the lesson right there. That was the best stop she has ever given me to this point.
Well, gotta get back to work.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Buddy and Camina

Since, my last post on Monday I have rode my own horses two days this week. That has been real refreshing for me. I needed to work them and they needed the work.
Today, though I got to work on Buddy. I got him responding real well through the various exercises. I then took the halter off him and worked him at liberty. He wanted to stay right with me most of the time and when he did start to walk off I just pulled his eye to me by changing my angle on him and inviting him back to me. We played like this for a little while then I go on him. For the last 15 or 20 minutes we worked on softness at the walk and trot. I had him disengage several times. He needs work on the backup for sure. He also doesn't like the left side messed with. He is real resistant on that side. I found that he has a quick gas pedal and is real touchy about things. The softer and lighter I can be on directing him or stopping him the better he is. If I get to strong he just resists the more. So going in a circle I just lightly pick up a rein and wait til he bends then let the rein go. That goes for any of the exercises I have been doing with him. Later, Chris, one of my students worked with him and rode him. She did real good with him too.
Then I worked with Camina. She does real good on the ground, though she showed her attitude when I asked her to trot. So I just kept up the transitions until she would give me a trot without throwing her head and she was relaxed in doing so. I got on her and she wanted to go so I kept disengaging her hindend and moving her shoulders over and repeating that several times in each direction then I let her trot out. The kicker is this, I let her trot like she waned too, then I wouldn't let her walk until I wanted her too. So we played around with this for a while. She is getting real soft for me and starting to hold the collection at the walk real good and some at the trot. We wrapped up with some nice relaxed stops and backups.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Laying down on the Job

Well, I did it. I laid Camina down. Here's how. I first did my usual warmup with her for about 10 minutes just to make sure she was soft and submissive. Then I put my padded hobble on her left front foot and started picking it up and then letting it down. Then I started to hold it up by taking a wrap on the saddle horn. Then when she was ok with that I asked her to backup, but before I knew it she was laying down and struggling to get back up. Because I couldn't get her head I couldn't hold her down so she got back up. That was after only about 5 minutes. Then we did the same thing again, only for 50 more minutes she would move forward and relax and I would let her foot down and then pick it back up. She reared, fell down a time a two, moved pretty rapidly forward, sat on her hauches and subsequently stepped on my right foot with her hind leg as she was trying to get back up. This kind of thing went on where she would relax and I would release her foot then pick it back up again. Finally, though she kneeled down and laid down and I was able to hold her there. But it was 55 minutes that wasn't for the faint of heart. I made her stay laying down while I rubbed her all over and moved her legs, sat on her rump etc. She was sweating heavily as was I, but it was successful. I let her relax there for about 10 minutes or so, then got her up and had her walk around. I put the bridle on her and mounted up and started working with her. I've been told that you have about a 30 minute window to accomplish something with them after this type of event. I was just after more submission and softness. What I got was a horse that finally cantered for me more than she did before. Laying a horse down is a way to gain respect and trust from a horse because it teaches them I can take there feet away from them whenever I want. It was a huge thing though to finally get her to canter. I also got alot more softness at the walk and trot than I had gotten before.
Now Buddy on the other hand, was a different story. I had thought I might lay him down too, but for sake of time I chose to warm him up and then work him at liberty. For lack of a round pen I can't do what I would normally do to get a horse to really hook on to me so I had to use the arena instead, as a large rectangular pen. I made sure I was getting the walk trot canter transitions first and had his eye on me while I was lungeing him. Then I took the halter off and sent him off. We had some hiccups. I would have him cantering and he would run to the end of the arena so I had to run to keep him moving. But I didn't have to do a lot of running. I finally got him hooked on to the idea a smaller circle is a lot less running for him. I switched directions on him and had him turn with his eyes toward me. I did everything I would do in a round pen with him. He finally kept his eye on me in one direction so I moved to the other direction and kept working that side. In the end he did hook on to me. It had taken a good 30 minutes of cantering for him to finally give in, but he did. Then I worked another 10 minutes or so just disengaging him and moving his shoulders all at liberty. He stuck with me. I walked him around for the rest of our time just to cool him down, 'cause he hasn't worked that hard since I have been with him.
Here are some pics.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Finish the last post

Ok, where was I? Oh, yes, I was talking about how soft Camina was getting. I had her walking and trotting alot making transitions and really working hard at maintaining her softness with vertical collection. She is holding it longer. Whereas, she would only hold it for a second before, now she is holding it for 2-3 strides and even longer. I had her moving her haunches in, even doing some actual side-passing with her. She is starting to do some leg yields pretty good without too much bend in her. She is doing pretty good all in all, for the amount of time I am able to put on her. I look forward to riding her some more on Monday.

Friday, November 5, 2010


Boy was I glad that I had an indoor arena to work in this morning.
I had the opportunity to work with Buddy. I got him saddled and started to warm him up with my usual exercises of circling, flexion, disengaging the hindquarters and moving his shoulders. He did all of them very well. We are refining them better. I also had him move sideways and do the falling leaf exercise. Then I put the bridle on and got on. I went to get up on the right side and he spooked sideways so I just stepped off and let him move. I had control of him with the rein so when he calmed down in a second or two I started back up again and bounced around on the stirrup and then when he was nice and calm I got on him. We flexed a bit. He is stiff on the left side so we did that one alot. Then I moved him off and worked on him just following his nose. I was picking up the rein real soft and using my leg to reinforce the direction if needed. After he was doing this consistent and disengaging to a stop ok I asked for a trot on a loose rein and then would pick it up and ask for a slight bend to the inside and I released as soon as he gave it to me. I noticed that he lifts his head up in the air alot, probably because he has had this done so much in the wrong way tha the thinks that is the way out, but I just hold it til he lowers his head and is soft. So we went back and forth at a walk and a trot for about 30 minutes. He is real resistant to the left and pretty good to the right. So I know what I have to work on. I just want him trotting and walking until I get him real good at this then I will ask for a canter from him. But that will take some time. Right now he feels like a green colt to me.

Camina, on the other hand did real good for me today. After my usual warmup with her I got on and she wanted to really take off at a trot, so I brought her back down with some disengagements and shoulders over. We moved out at a fast walk and worked on some of the exercises like serpentine for a few minutes, then when I was ready I let her trot as fast as she wanted to and we worked on connecting the reins to her feet by flexing and bending her so that she disengaged then moved her shoulders. She was moving off my leg pretty good so then I went to asking for collection and she was real soft at that. I gotta go now so will finish this later tonite.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

great day to ride

I had a splendid opportunity to ride a little bit this evening. I was waiting for Sharon to get home so we could go vote and decided to ride. I only had about 45 minutes per horse but that just forced me to ride focused and specific. So I got Raven out first and warmed her up then started just refining the rein connection to her feet even more. I wanted her straight but still yielding her hip or shoulder when I asked. I kept working at it, having to go back to the baby steps of the beginning by asking for one step and so on. But she did real well. Toward the end I think I could have taken the bridle off and worked with her, because I wasn't using it for the most part anyway. There is something about getting on a horse that responds willingly to my leg or seat after riding horses that don't respond that way.
I got Jake out too and went through some of the same exercises. He isn't ready for bridleless yet, but he is getting better. They are both a pleasure to ride, I only wish I had more time to spend on them and really work on some things with them.
But hopefullly tomorrow afternoon I will get some time to ride them again.

Monday, November 1, 2010

new start

Ok, I have a new start to talk about today.
First, though, Camina did pretty good today. I had her doing everything I needed to have her do. She is still making improvements on the ground and under saddle. I had her moving off my leg better today. I decided to test if it was my saddle that was making it hard for her to canter so I circled her and worked on upwards and downwards transitions without the saddle. She went into trot well and even the canter without too much resistance but she didn't want to stay in the canter very long. I tried both directions working on the transitions of gait until I was satisfied that she wasn't resisting me. Nevertheless, she still didn't want to keep cantering unless I kept asking her to keep going. Then I put the saddle on and did it again and the same result, not much resistance at all to go into the canter, but not staying in it for very many strides. Well when I got on her back she was nice and soft and yielding to the rein and leg. She offered to trot right away and even offered to canter for a few strides then quit. I kept going from walk to trot back to walk and then to trot then began to ask again for the canter. She gave it to me a couple times, but then only for a stride or two. The trot was no problem. I even asked her for collection which she began to offer me. We worked on a few leg yields before our time ran out.

Day one with Buddy
Next, I worked Buddy, he is a 13 yr old Qtr Horse. I decided to work him like a young colt, so I got him saddled and then circled him working on upwards and downward transitions until they were nice and soft. We changed directions several times with not objections. Then I worked on disengagements with softness and shoulders over. He did pretty good at this. I worked in a few disengagements followed by a shoulders over and walked off. I disensitized him to my whip, even cracking it a bunch of times. I sacked him out some with a bag and stick. I flexed him alot from both sides did some falling leaf's up and down the arena. Then I put the bridle on him and noticed a distinct change in flexing him, especially on the left side. There was alot of resistance, but we kept working on it. I tested out whether or not he would disengage with the rein and move his shoulders. I was satisfied I would have control of him in the saddle so I got on and flexed several more times on each side, still with the resistance. Then I started to ask him to walk forward, disengage and move his shoulders, walk forward then repeat. but there was still the resistance. I want to have control of that hip and the shoulders and he is not giving them up willingly all the time. In fact, I would say not ever 50% of the time. So we have to work on this alot more. It is no wonder Andrea and Greg have had some trouble with him. I have my work cut out for me. I have some concerns about letting others ride him, because of that resistance, that and the fact I will only be working him 2x a week. Nevertheless, I will keep my eye on him as others are working with him. Hopefully, we can back him out of that resistance.

Saturday, October 30, 2010


Yesterday I had a good session with Camina. I worked her a little on ground stuff while another student of mine was working on her ground school with Buddy. It worked pretty good 'cause I showed her how to do movements using Camina and then she did it with Buddy. So we had an hour lesson there. Then I did a little more intense stuff with Camina for a few minutes then got on her. She is responding pretty good. She did buck once when I slapped her on the rump with my saddle strings in order to get her to move faster. I was trying to get her into a canter. She did get into one. I had her canter almost entire circle in the right lead then let her stop and rest as reward for that. It was her first time in the canter for that length of time. Then I asked several more times for it. She would get into it for a couple strides and then back down to a trot. I am not sure what is going on with her but I feel like that is the next step for her to get her to consistently go into a canter when asked without resistance. I had her leg yielding several steps in both directions moving sideways so that is improving. We worked hard at trotting and walking and having smooth transitions there. Now we are on to a good start regarding cantering too. I hope this next week to get some good canters and begin to move the hips and shoulders independently so as to begin more consistent work on leg yields, side passing, 1/2 passing etc. So til next time Adios.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

worked with Camina

Had a good day working Camina this morning. I got her saddled and warmed her up with the usual exercises only now I am expecting alot more and much more fluid in movement through transitions. She did go though we have a ways to go.
My plan today was to see where she was at regarding connecting the reins to her feet at a walk and trot and then start asking for a canter. She seemed to go backwards a little bit which is common for a horse. It is also probably because I am not able to work her everyday so it has been a couple days since I last worked with her. Thus, there is a certain amount of time needed for refreshing her memory before we can move on to refining things better. It went pretty good for the most part. I was able to get her to canter at least 1/2 the length of the arena one time and then in bits and spurts the rest of the time. She does it without fuss from the ground so we will keep working at it in the saddle. I also got some sidepassing out of her too. I just have to keep getting that hip and the shoulders to move when I want them too.
We will continue to make progress.

Monday, October 25, 2010

warm day

It is a beautiful day out there today. This morning I had a chance to work with Camina. She did really well I thought. She is making progress. She kicked out a few times when I was making her move her shoulders to the right, but she soon settled down and started giving me her feet when I picked up a rein. I worked on transitions with her going from walk to trot and back to trot. She did okay at it, needs more work. She is not bothered so much with the bit either. I had her stopping and backing and moving her shoulders. I worked some on keeping her straight while moving her hip and shoulders. I also worked her moving forward with shape and softness. I got a few leg yields too. Next time I am planning to work on getting her to canter and then also start working on moving off my leg for leg yields and side passing. Well, I gotta get back to work on other things. I will keep you updated in a few days.

Thursday, October 21, 2010


Well, I thought I would let you know what is going on today. I was able to work with Camina today. It was a good day. She was responsive, but not as light as she was on Monday. I did some ground work with her to work on the lightness with her. I really upped the specificity of demand on her though. That is what might have made her a little more resistant. For example, where I was getting a disengagement from her wih one or two or three steps with softness I would let her up. But now I want a 360 degree with her inside front foot planted and I want it smooth or fluid not all jumpy. I also want it with softness. I didn't get it today. But that is where we are heading. The same with moving the shoulders and so on. I am upping my demands. When I got on her back she was doing pretty good. I needed to do some refreshing of her mind for her, of course. She actually wanted to trot right off so I let her, but when she wanted to slow down, I didn't let her. I pushed her to keep trotting. Then we went to work on getting those feet connected to the rein much better doing it at a walk and a trot. She wasn't as good as Monday, but she has had two days off. I will work with her again on Saturday and see where we can get her.
On another note, I get the opportunity to work with Buddy, the horse I use for a school horse for my students. What I mean is, that he needs alot more work to get him where he needs to be so his owner, Andrea, wants me to work with him and ride him as if I was starting him. So basically, I am going to go back to the basics with him and start all over with him, myself. I will still use him with my students, but I will be putting alot more time with him. I am sure we can get him much better.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Camina again

Things just keep getting better with her. She is softer than ever. I did my usual warmup with her and she responded well. I got on her and she again did very well, making improvements every time I get on her. I decided to increase the speed with which I am asking her for things. So we got into a trot just to see if she would stay on the circle and respond to the rein and leg cues. We worked on this transition a few times and I think she did well. I am sure we will continue to make improvements. I had stopped her and let her stand until she moved than over corrected her and let her stand again until she did the same thing and I over corrected her and then let her stand again. This time she didn't move for long enough. So I asked her to move off and I think she figures it was quitting time because she started to resist me and then I had to keep after her until she gave me softness again. It only took a few more minutes and she was soft again so I quit then. It was a good ride and next time we will do more trotting working on the true softness, resistance free riding.

Saturday, October 16, 2010


Wondering about the title? Just you try coming up with something unique when you are talking about a similar topic.  Anyway, I am even more impressed then I was yesterday. Today, I worked with Camina warming her up and her softness was fantastic on the lead line. Then I tried a different bit, one that has copper mouth pieces. She accepted this real well. If she didn't do any better with this I was going to try a sidepull bridle. As it was I didn't need to. I had her doing real well on moving every part of her body with softness. Oh, there were a few times when there was some resistance, but not much and I just added my leg and she followed through. I can get her to move her shoulders and her hips while she is straight and not bent. She is getting off my leg/ie. moving away from my leg pressure and is giving me real good stops and back ups with collection and softness. I even tried her doing leg yields and those were ok. We will start doing them more and more.
I also had the opportunity this afternoon to ride both Raven and Jake. They both did well. I don't think I can remember having so much fun riding horses as I am having at this stage of my horsemanship. There is nothing like having this kind of control and connection over the feet of a horse. There is nothing like it in my book.

Friday, October 15, 2010


All I can say is wow. Things are much better than they were even yesterday with her. I worked her from the ground a few minutes to see how soft and responsive she was then I got on her after a bit of a review with the stirrup and rein. What a change even since yesterday. I probably worked her about 30 minutes under saddle just picking up a rein softly and then adding my leg. She kicked out a few times but by the time we were done she was really getting soft and moving her shoulders and hips. She was tracking well. Her stops are even better and with collection though my hands are soft and quiet on her. Oh, she reverts back to resistance once in a while, but she is tons better even since yesterday and especially from Monday. Now I have only been doing this at the walk because I want this 100% before I go to the trot and work it out. My next step is to go back to the circle and see if she will stay on it. I expect a bit of blowing out one way or the other but hopefully it will be much better. I also started doing the serpentine with her and lo and behold she was collecting up with shape and following her nose nicely. Tomorrow should be even better.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Friday, Saturday, Monday, Thursday

Ok, I better fill you in on what has been happening around here with Camina. Friday and Saturday I had good workouts with her. The usual stuff getting her warmed up and riding her around the arena attempting to get her to follow her nose even when she doesn't want too.
My big idea for Saturday was to introduce spurs to her because she really isn't getting off my leg when I ask her too. So I began by introducing them from the ground moving her shoulder and hips by using the spur where it would be if I was on her back. Then when I was comfortable with knowing that she probably wouldn't buck if I touched her with one I got on her and began to apply them as needed. She still really wasn't getting off my leg like I wanted her too.
Now we come to Monday. I did my ground work with her and things seemed to go well. I got on her back and started to work with her and it was the same old thing. There was added pressure because the farrier was there and horses were coming in and out and he was doing his work. But she responded ok paying attention to me. Nevertheless, she still was being stubbornly resistance to my leg and rein etc. Towards the end of the session though we had what I would call a mini breakthrough. A horse distracted her and she whinned and when she did that I started disengaging her hindquarters then when I felt her shoulder begin to move I pushed it through and we just played move the hip move the shoulder move the hip move the shoulder game to the right, then back to the left. When I finished with that she was alot softer. I backed her up with softness and then quit her.
Later that evening I called Jaime, my instructor and asked him about the situation and through my conversation with him I picked up on some things to try. So I tried them first on my horses on Monday and Tuesday evening and they worked. What was it? It was getting the reins connected to the feet by doing more of what I did with Camina at the end of Monday's session.
So I was eager to try it on Camina today. I got her saddled and then I wanted to test her to see how soft she was with the lead. Could I have float in the line when I did the falling leaf or disengagement? I did. I could move her all over with float in the line using the lead and halter. So why can't I with the bridle and rein? I first used the stirrup rythmically on her elbow to get her to move her shoulder then on her side where I would put my heal to move her hip. When I could move that pretty good on one side from the ground I switched sides and did the same thing. Then I added the bridle and did it over again only asking for movement with the rein then if needed, and she did, I added the stirrup in the appropriate place. When she was doing that pretty good I got on her and started moving her around looking for softness, but movement of the feet in whatever direction I asked. If she didn't give it too me I bent her more and then added my heel/spur in the appropriate place and released when she gave me what she wanted. I worked at this about 10 to 15 minutes and was off to a good start. She is moving better with the rein and off my leg too. There were a few times when I was bumping her elbow that she kicked out and didn't like it but she moved her shoulder like I asked. Before I was done she was moving everything much better. I am excited to work with her tomorrow and see where we can get too.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Friday's drill

Have you ever had a situation in which you wonder if the way you are doing something is ever going to work? Well, I have sorta had that with Camina. She knows to be soft, but yet persists in resisting me. She is really pulling against herself, but she doesn't seem to get it, or does she. Today I didn't let up on working her and making her know that I will not let up on pressure until she gives me what I want. So I walked her on the lunge than started her to trotting. We put ten minutes into this in both directions. I just kept her doing transitions and expecting the changes now not when she wants to.  Then I put her on the long line using the reins and bit as a martingale and running the line up through the reins and down to the bit. This gave the feel of contact on the bit but also let me use the long line as a rein as if I was on her back asking her to give to pessure.  This seemed to work pretty good. I had her walk, trot and canter and transition back down several times. Then switched sides and did the same thing. The last 15 minutes I rode her doing similar things. This time I got her to give me a canter 3-4 times and at least 4 strides, which was very good. I wrapped her session up with walking and working on disengagement and moving her shoulder over.  Finally, quitting when she gave me a stop and back up of at least 4 steps without using the rein. Wow. That was a huge stop. 
Looking forward to better things tomorrow.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

I'm back

Well my hiatus is over. I am back giving lessons and working with Camina. I decided to take a little bit different track with her today. I know that she is really reluctant to trust me totally, ie. she is a bit recalcitrant. Hence, my plan today was to work her on the ground, back to the basics with the intensity raised a notch. I am simply not going to allow for her not to pay attention to me or respond quickly to my cues. She knows what I want but wants to do it when she is good and ready. So, today she got schooled. I lunged her some to warm her up, then went right into disengagements, moving the shoulders, backing up. All of this was with life in her feet, meaning I did not permit her to be sluggish or slow about it. It had to be with some pep in her step. We even went sideways down the wall all the way around the arena some of it at a jog. We did that in both directions with her head to the wall and then again with her butt to the wall. It was a really fast paced 10 minutes. Then I put the long line on her with the bridle and commenced to lunge her on the circle. I moved her up to a trot and kept her there until I could see some signs of relaxing: licking and chewing, lowering her head, her head carriage to the inside, ear cocked to the inside and so on. Then I started to ask for transitions to a canter. She bucked several times but finally settled down. I wanted to have her transitions be smooth from trot to canter and back to trot, then to a walk and so on. We kept this up for a good 20 minutes or so. Then did the same thing going in the other direction. So for about 40 minutes she did not stop at all. I kept her feet moving and switching gaits. Then I took the long line off and again went back to more in hand work and had her stopping and backing with pep, and half passing down the wall and then walking off. I wanted her to stay at my pace so had to put some life in her feet while I was leading her around. But she finally got the hint and would stay with me. My overall estimation of her and of this days lesson is that she is a long way from completely giving me her heart and trusting me. She is holding back and it might take a lot longer session to cross that threshold. So we will see.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Taking care of my own

Monday was the last day til next week for me to work with Camina. But Monday and today I had the opportunity to work with my own. It so nice to get on a push button horse after being on one you have to keep driving. I have got Jake to where I can climb the fence and get on him and ride him to the fence and get off. I am also working on teaching him to kneel. Then Madi will be able to get on anywhere we are at without me having to give her a lift. He is getting so soft too. I am able to move him with just my legs and seat pretty much. I have some tasks to work on before he could be ridden bridleless, but he is getting there. Probably the biggest thing for him is balance through collection. So we are working on it.
Raven on the other hand is such a dream to ride. I could have ridden bridleless today, but there are some things that still need to be refined. She sometimes misinterprets my cues with my leg and seat so it is nice to have the bridle to help her get the right idea. If I didn't I would just have to ride through it and start again. For example, I was asking for her shoulders to move over and she immediately disengaged her hip so I picked up the rein and helped her correct that that so she would move her shoulder. I probably had my leg a tad too far back behind the girth instead of just ahead of it. I was asking her to go into a right lead canter from a walk and she interpreted that as disengaging so I just followed through on the disengaging and asked again and she did it. We did some counter cantering too. We also worked more on collection and moving her hip and shoulders while she is straight at a stand still. She is getting better at haunches in for me, but there again she sometimes interprets that as a side pass so I have to drive her forward without losing her hip over. We just did a lot of refining tonite and had fun.
Well, I gotta get off here for now. I probably won't be on here until next week now because of some travelling. See ya then.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Camina 31

Well, this was not a good session. If it could have been harder I don't know how. She had an attitude that would not yield the entire time I was on her. I did my usual ground work, but not the liberty work. All seemed to go ok on the ground. However, I knew that did not transfer to the saddle. My first clue was that she would not stand still after I got on her. I kept having to disengage her. I did this so much I just started to move her shoulders too. Disengage, move shoulder for several turns in both directions. Then I let her straighten out. She would not soften for me so I moved
her into trot. 45 minutes or so later she still was not getting soft. It was a constant resistance. I knew this was hiding in her somewhere because of her sticky footed personality. I guess I just didn't push her enough to make it come out sooner. Anyway, I kept at her until I felt her let down a little bit and let her walk and then she gave me softness on the bit. So I walked to cool her down for a few minutes while working on softness. I quit her when she gave me softness on a backup with no resistance.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Camina 30

well today I saw a side of Camina I knew was there and told you would come out at some point. What caused her to come out? The end door on the arena was open with just a gate across it. That's what. I did some ground work with her especially down on that end because I knew that dynamic would or could change everything. So I did as I usually did just working on several things to warm her up. I took her to that end and lunged her and she could not keep her eyes off that open doorway with that world out there. All was going well so I took off her halter to work her at liberty. Well when I did that it all broke loose. She raced around there totally ignoring me. I kept her running and changing directions. I thought I was really in trouble when she ran at the gate and ran into it. I thought she was going to jump it. So from then on I had to let off the pressure a little until she got by it. Well she ran around and around. She bucked a few times but I finally got her to settle down and hook on to me and then I got on her.
We rode around for a while but she was really resistant. We went through the exercises to get softness and things just didn't seem to click, but I kept working at it. Toward the end I finally got some softness from her on two occassions and then picked that as a time to quit.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Camina 29

Today was a mirror image of yesterday almost. I didn't ground work her as much. I did some side passing down the wall, some leg yields with her and had her lunge at a trot around me. That all took about 15 minutes. Then I got on and started working the circle esses and picking up contact on the bit. Then we trotted doing the same things. We picked up an extended trot for a while as I was trying to get her to canter. She got spooked at something and for the first time I experienced what she would do when she was spooking and she doesn't spook in place. Instead, she kinda jumped sideways and started to take off, but I disengaged her and let her keep right on going. We came back to that spot until she was no longer afraid of it. We had a good ride and she is responding more and more to my leg. She also is easier to keep going forward. I never did get her into a canter, but I am not in a big hurry about that anyway. Her trot is a nice to sit.  We just kept working on softness exercises at the trot. I can't believe I have been working her almost 30 days now. She is doing very well as far as I can tell. She will just keep improving.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Camina 28

Today went well. I don't get the chance to work with her everyday, but when I get a day like today with her and things just pick up where we left off on Saturday, that is good. It is just more of the same, remember I said that it takes 3-400 repetitions for a horse to get a cue, well I am probably on about 150 or 200 with her giving to the bit, and today she was much better. I do notice with her that things will probably come to a head, a turning point in a day or two, because she is starting to show signs that I am getting to the edge of herself. I have had to do that a few times over the course of her training and I feel we are at that point now. Today when I was asking her to keep trotting even though she didn't want to go on she showed her heart to me. That is, she is willing to go so far and then wants to quit on me. When I ask her to continue she pitches a mini fit.  I suspect we will be at one tomorrow with this giving to the bit thing. It is almost like she is ok with things as long as she wants to do it, but when she has other plans then she throws in the towel and resists me. I see this in forward motion, giving to my legs as well as in the reins when I ask her to go in one direction. Resistance shows up all over the place, but she is not a real snot about it. What I am waiting for is that time when she will be a real snot at which point I have to win or we both lose. Well tomorrow is another day.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Camina 27

I am writing this after a trip to chicago for a funeral and now I am just relaxing. I decided I need to relay what I did with Camina on Saturday, though. We did the normal routine in the beginning and then I have been working her on getting her to 1/2 pass down the wall so we went all the way both directions. I also had her doing some figure 8's at liberty and trotting a circle around me. She is getting better and better at these exercises which is simply showing that she is responding more tightly to my leadeship. I got on her and worked on the circle esses again. She is getting softer and coming into my hands better. Then I trotted her for about 20 minutes working on the same things. Just when I was getting ready to quit some visitors came in and it all fell apart. She was distracted and wouldn't respond very well to my cues so we had to work harder for about 10 or 15 minutes longer. I had to at least get her paying attention to me before I quit. In hindsight, because she is so inquisitive, I should have let her go up and see the visitors for a second and then had her go back to work. That might not have worked either, but next time it will be worth a shot. I won't get another time with her until Thursday, but I sure do like working with her.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Camina 26

I had a good ride with Camina today. I did some ground work with her. This is getting shorter and shorter so that I can have more time in the saddle. She side passed down the wall, both directions the length of the wall. That was real good. I had her trotting around me at liberty pretty good. So I decided she was warmed up enough and got on her. Today she really started to come into my hand. She is getting real soft and responding to the bit nicely. I trotted her and then she really started to get soft. We just basically worked on this for the duration of the ride. I bumped her up to a lope and got a few strides out of her before she slowed down. I tried two more times to get a canter but both times she stumbled in her back feet. It was like her hind end was disconnected from her front end. I think she wasn't balanced and that I didn't ask on the correct foot. Anyway, we will try tomorrow again if the situation and her attitude permits it.. I was real happy with her softness and willingness today to go forward.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

two things

I have two things to write about today.
One, yesterday I rode Raven bridleless again. I did the same thing as before I warmed her up with a bridle handy if I needed it. Then I moved the gate, and went into the round and tied the gate without getting off, even taking the bridle off without getting off. Pretty good, huh? Anyway, I rode at the walk for a few minutes doing turns and stops etc. Then moved up to the trot and did similar things. Then up to a canter. I changed it up quite a bit. One caution I discovered is that sometimes just moving off the seat or leg can backfire a bit. She was doing good at moving her hip over with my leg, but then began to interpret it as go forward faster, so I had to keep slowing her down. I will probably go back to reinforcing/teaching this again with the bridle. Nevertheless, I just used a combination of inside leg and outside leg on the shoulder to get her to bend and move the hip over. I am after doing a spin without the bridle and a lot of bend in the neck. This is where getting real clear on what I want her to do is crucial. It is akin to Sharon taking my face in her hands, making me look at her eyes while she gives me the shopping list or some other really important set of instructions for fear that I will miss something and louse up the plan. Let me tell you, it has happened. You men know what I am talking about. Lately, though I have had to do that with her, especially if she has her IPhone in her hands.
On to the second thing.
I worked with Camina today. It was session #25.
I worked her from the ground getting a really good lunging session from her. I had her side passing down the wall really good too. Then I got on her and worked on getting her face in my hands, ie. a slight bend in her neck to the inside so I can see the corner of her eye. She was walking kinda lackadaisical so I pushed her up to a trot. But I had to really keep after her. I tell you this is one lazy horse. Anyway, I then decided to use a saddle string to spur her on and that did the trick. I had the best long trot on her yet. She just went for me and really started to respond to my leg and rein. She just needs to be told to up the energy a bit and she will do it. I probably trotted her a good 25 minutes, finally getting her to stay on the wall  no matter which direction we were going and to follow he nose real soft like. I walked her for the last 5 or 10 minutes to cool her down. Again, though, she has a really nice trot and is coming along real good.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


There comes a time in every horseman's life when they pass a milestone. It may be starting his first colt or accomplishing a leg yield or true side pass. Yesterday was one of mine. It has been about 3 years in coming. I rode Raven bridleless. Yes, I did. I have been riding her with a bridle over the last month or so, but not using the rein unless I absolutely had too. If you recall I had been trying to learn to do a hauches in on her. I just wasn't getting it. So I decided to go back to some basics and just started to ask for one stepover of her hindquarters with my leg only. Then two and so on all the way around and in both directions, I did the same with her shoulders. Then I started doing it with her straight, but with a little shape to her. When she could do that then I started to ask without a rein until she would disengage or move her shoulders or side pass without me holding the reins. I started just laying the reins over the saddle horn and asking for turns, stops, walk, trot, canter and stops from those gaits without using the rein. Well this past week I have been able to walk her forward and disengage her hindquarters just using my leg and seat. Oh, I would go back to the rein to reinforce things at times, but as much as possible I would leave the rein alone.
Yesterday, I started riding her with the bridle doing the things described above and was getting such results that I decided to take her in the round pen where it would be a little safer for both of us and take the bridle off. I got on her and had the stick in one hand to help if needed. I asked her to move off, let me tell you it is a different feeling with no reins in your hand or on her head to grab hold of as a security. But I just acted the same way I was and used my seat and leg to direct her movements. I made sure that I could stop her with my seat, and change directions and back up with her before I went to a trot and did the same thing with her. Then I went to a canter and worked through the same things. Then I started changing it up going from a walk to trot, stopping, turning, backing, back to walk or trot up to a canter back to a walk and so on for the next 20 minutes or so. That was so cool. I plan to review and do some more today. I will probable do this in the round pen a few times before I go out to the bigger paddock but I will make it out there too. Oh, by the way, I have been getting some haunches in too. She is better on the right than the left, but that will get better too.
I also had an opportunity to ride Jake and that went well. I have to get him to the point where he will move better off my seat and legs too. I also have to get him situated so that he will let a rider mount or dismount from the fence, because my 8 yr old granddaughter is riding now and it will be easier for her to get on and off. I think I will also teach him to kneel so that she can get on that way too. So I have some work cut out for me.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Camina 23,24

I know you have been wondering what happened. Nothing, really. Saturday we had an uneventful ride. Everything went as planned, just keeping up the work on the basics to get her to where she will flex and collect up at the the walk so we are working on exercises that will help with that. We trotted quite a bit and she never acted up at all.
Monday we did a similar routine. Just simply refining what she already knows and trying to get more from her. So I was really working on trying to get her soft and collected. She is not even close yet. We were able to work on some leg yields because she was trying to fall in at the shoulder anyway and that fits right into teaching leg yields. I also worked on getting her to move her hindquarters off my leg so we worked on that a bunch. The fact is any of of these movements take time and 100's of repetitions for the horse to learn it. Each day there is a little more progress. Sometimes we go backwards but then when we come back the cue and the move is even stronger. Hence, the word 'training.' Have a good un!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Camina 22

I know this is getting to be so old hat, but we didn't have alot of dust today. She did very well for me. We, of course, went through all the exercises on the ground I normally do. I had her side passing again, but much better, down the wall in both directions. I had her leg yielding and disengaging  360 degrees while driving her at the drive line (saddle). I lunged her at liberty again and she was staying with me much better than yesterday even and that was pretty good. The last part of our session was riding her. I did a lot of transitions, change of direction and gait. We worked alot on an exercise called the circle ess. The intention is to get her laterally soft moving forward and following her nose, but works into vertical softness/collection. We trotted quite a bit too. I did try to get her to canter but to no avail. Maybe tomorrow. She is young and still feels like she doesn't have her feet quite under her. This pops up particularly when I try to disengage her hindquarters or move her shoulders over. It is as if her feet are stuck in the ground somehow, but her body moves its weight and then she seems to almost fall over. Its kinda like when you lean to far to one side and you have to move your feet to keep from falling. This is just one more fun thing to work on with her. She's young, willing and able to do this. So we will continue to work on it. I did notice today that though the other horses were talking she didn't offer to but in. Hmm!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Camina 21

Had to take a break from my studies to record what happened today with her. She is just about predictable and that is a good thing in my book. But I never take that for granted.  After all, they are a living, breathing, animal that operates on instinct. Anyway, I worked on the lead to just warm her up and she was nice and shaped on the circle she was walking and then trotting. Her eye and ear was on me and I could tell she was bent as she was supposed to be. I moved her over to the wall. Well, first I began to drive her walking next to the saddle with just the lead and had her doing disengagements 360 degrees and then leg yielding. Then I took her to the wall and had her side passing a few steps down the wall. I took the halter off and had her working at liberty with me. She took to this much faster than yesterday. She did go down the arena, but I could tell she wasn't leaving me and just kept up the trot and repeatedly looked at me. We did some figure eights to change directions and sides and some complete circles at the trot. Then I let her stop and catch me. We played this game a few minutes. Then I put the bridle on and got on. She stood while I flexed her and then we moved off at the walk. We are still working on following her nose and yielding to the bit or finding contact on the bit. There was some talking going on between the horses outside and she decided she needed to horn in on the conversation. Don't you just hate it when someone interrupts you? So I put her feet to work. I disengaged her in place 5-6 times in a complete circle with her front foot planted. Then we went the other direction. Then I let her walk out of it. That was my way of saying she had no business talking out of turn like that. Well the talking was still going on among the others so I got her trotting so that she wouldn't be tempted to speak up again. You know, if you keep a kid busy they won't have time to get in trouble or be bad. Just a thought. We must have trotted for 15 minutes or so. That was the most she had ever done and she did very well. She wanted to stop or slow down a few times, but I figure I am leading her so we will quit when I say. During this trot I let her go straight down the wall and had her cross the middle, go in a large circle, change directions and so on. When it was time to slow down I cooled her down with some turns against the wall at a walk to teach her to turn on the forehand, doing what is called a roll back. She backed pretty good for me today too. We still have a long way to go, but we are making progress.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Camina 20

This was from last night. I had a chance to get over there and work with her for an hour. She is doing very well. I worked her on the lead line for about 20 minutes going through all the exercises she knows. Then I took her over to the wall and had her doing side passes down the wall in both directions until she would do them for a few steps. Then I did the falling leaf with her. I put the bridle on her and worked her at liberty instead of on a lunge line. I thought that because she was sticking right with me on the lead that she would stick with me at liberty. Such was not the case. She had a few times where I had to get her out of a corner, but after a few trips back and forth down the length of the arena she came around and started to circle keeping her eye on me. We switched directions doing some figure 8's in both directions. She was in a sweat, as was I. I put the driving reins on her and drove her around the arena for a few minutes to get her more responsive to the reins. The last 20 minutes I rode her around just asking with my legs and rein to go in a circle. Anytime she wanted to blow me off and go her own direction I just blocked her with my leg and rein or did a disengagement until she got back on track. She moved out the best for me this time than any other time so that is a good thing. Tomorrow is another day to work with her, looking forward to it.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

camina 19

I have decided that Camina is a left brain introvert, according to Parelli's horsinality scale. She is calm, yet a bit stubborn, and pushy, lazy (almost disinterested) and easily bored. I have mentioned that when I flex her too much it is like she says, "enough already." So now I only stay with something 2-3 times when she gets it right and then move to something else. We also found out she is 15.1 hands, approx. 960 lbs., that is, according to the tape.
Anyway, our session went really well. I won't bore you with the saddling, but from here on out, unless I say something, she stands for it. jShe is also taking and carrying the bit nicely. I worked her on the lead line a few minutes, driving her and asking and getting a few steps in a leg yield on both sides. I side-passed her without the wall on both sides. She is real soft in all of this. Then I worked her at liberty with the bit in her mouth and apart from leaving 3 -4 times for a short period she stayed right with me at a walk and a trot. Then it was time to ride her. I am still working on getting her to follow her nose, we have some issues there, but I took advantage of them and had her doing 1/2 passes or leg yields. I even had her moving her shoulders on the circle, like a tear drop exercise I do. We trotted a little bit, but she seems to be still trying to learn to carry me. I had her backing with collection when I would do a one rein stop or even stopping with my seat. So she is doing very well for this stage of her training.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Camina 18

It was another good session with her today. She is standing to be saddled like an old mare that has had it done a thousand. I briefly lunged her at a walk then flexed a few times. I did the falling leaf with her and had her doing the squeeze game against the wall. Then I had her doing leg yields down the wall, well actually I started driving her with the lead line walking beside her hip and asking for a leg yield and she gave me some then just walked straight. Then we switched sides and did the same thing. She does better on the left side than the right but that will be worked on. then I started moving her down the wall in a 1/2 pass. She actually did pretty good, giving me a few steps in each direction.
Then I put the bridle on her and the lunge line and worked her about 10 minutes. I shortened the rein so that she would start seeking contact on the bit. But I didn't have it short enough. She didn't really seek it. Though she is carrying the bit a lot better and not fighting me to put it in her mouth. Afterwards, I took the line off of her and worked her at liberty, circling her, disengaging her hindquarters, moving her shoulders, etc. She was sticking right with me. The last 20 minutes I rode her around just working on getting her to follow her nose, changing directions, going in large circles asking her to flex a little. We did some stops, disengagements, even moving the shoulders some. She kept wanting to go to the area where we come into the arena. That is where people have given her treats and there are some interesting things there. So I would let her go there and then make her turn, disengage, back up and so on and then go back to the middle of the arena, stop and rest. Then go back at it. I got her into some real good trotting on a circle and even down the wall. She is stopping well. She does have a tendency to want to go out her shoulder, especially if we are near the entrance, instead of following her nose, but we get it worked out and soon she will be moving out easy and following her nose. We stopped after a did some good disengagements and one rein stops.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Camina 17

Another good session with her today. I got her saddled as usual and then started to work her on circles. She is getting to the place where she carries her head to the inside, puts her ear on me, lowers her head and moves in a steady trot alot quicker now. I read in Dietz's book on horsemanship about using the bit on the lunge to help the horse with head carriage, so today I tried it and connected the line directly to the bit. She responded real well to that and is carrying the bit much better. I lunged for 5 minutes in each direction working on those items mentioned above then I ground drove her for a few minutes, did some leg yields, turns on the forehand using the wall to help and even did some disengagements. I wanted to spend more time riding today so we did ground work for 30 minutes and then I got in the saddle and walked her around the arena. She is moving out alot better. We did some large circles and some disengagements and one rein stops. She seemed real comfortable with that so I took her up to a trot and worked on that for the rest of our time. I would ask her to trot and get four or five strides then back to a walk or disengagement and one rein stop. Then off we went again. I did this in both directions several times. She still seems to be having trouble carrying me. It is as if she doesn't know what to do with her feet sometimes, primarily during a transition like change of direction or disengagement. But no matter, she is coming along nicely. The thing I like about her is that she is relaxed through it all. Now that can be deceiving because I have seen her explode into a buck, she did that today when my alarm went off while I was lunging her. I think it was more that it startled her than attitude. So I know she can buck I just don't want her to while I am riding her. Working with her has been good.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Camina 16

I had a real good session with her today. She took the saddle nicely, then we worked on flexing. I found that she doesn't need to be flexed overly much. She, in a sense, says, 'enough already, let's move on.' So that is what we did. I flexed only a couple times each side today and moved on. Then we did some disengaging from the drive line (where I am walking next to the saddle and then disengaging a 360 degrees and then moving forward). We did this a couple times in each direction. I then put her on the long line and circled her 10 minutes in each direction working for an overall softness and carriage and frame. She moved into canter and back to trot and walk nice and easy. Then I ground drove her about 10 minutes working on stopping and direction change, backup, disengaging. In the bit I was looking for a softness to my hands on the rein so that she would yield fluidly to my direction through my hands. She is doing much better on the bit. The last 10 minutes of our session I road her around the arena just getting her to move forward and doing direction changes and disengaging. I flexed her again the start and finish of the ride. It was so hot in the arena today that we were both pretty sweaty by the time we were done. I look forward to our next session.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Camina 15

Just back about an hour ago from Cheerio. I had a good session with Camina. She acted up slightly while I was getting ready to saddle her. So I just corrected her to get her to stand. After saddling I moved her on a circle at a walk for a few minutes then went to flexing her which she does really good. After 5 times, though, she gets bored and needs to change it up so I do the other side. Same thing, after 5 x it's like, 'come on enough already' so we move on. Then I did the falling leaf down the arena and back. This time I used her web halter and light lunge line and put her on a 50' circle at a trot. I had to keep moving her shoulder out, because she kept falling in toward the middle but she finally settled into a nice easy trot. A few times she acted up so she got to canter until she settled down. But today, no bucking at all. I was trying to get her to keep her ear on me all the way around and not fall toward the middle. I also wanted her head carried lower. I then got her going in the other direction and did the same thing. I moved her from a trot to canter a few times and back down and she was nice and relaxed doing that. I know that I did this about 20 minutes with her. I had 15 minutes left to ground drive her so that is what we finished with. She is accepting the bit more and is responding real light to flexing with the rein. Then we started off and again went through stops, turns, backups, leg yields disengaging on a circle and even moving the shoulders. For this I use the wall and have her do a roll back, sort of. Because she is so close to the wall she has to set back on her butt and lift her front end to swing her legs around to get by the wall. Hence, that works real good to help her with this so I can be real light on the bit.
So I brought her back to the beginning and practiced taking the bridle on and off with her head low and calm. Then we quit.

Camina 14

I thought I had better get this posted before I go in for another workout with her. Yesterday, we had a good session. She had an attitude of disrespect that had to be worked through even as I saddled her. That was solved by making her move her feet backwards. Then I started to flex her laterally, bu there was some tightness in her so I decided to have her do circles and then do the falling leaf exercise up and down the arena 2x. Then we went back to lateral flexion and she was much better. She is really light when I ask her for this.
Next, we went to the lunge line and had her move out in transitions from walk to trot. However, her energy spilled over and she wanted to canter and buck so I made her canter and wouldn't let her stop for several laps then when she relaxed a little a I brought her down to a trot. She must have trotted for 10 to 15 minutes before she was consistently in a nice cadence with her head starting to lower and her ear and head cocked toward me. I slowed her to a walk and changed directions and moved her up to a trot again going to the right. She moved much sooner into nice cadence. I asked her to canter and there was no buck at all so we slowed to a trot again. I did this transition a couple times and each time she was relaxed. I didn't trot her near as long in this direction because she relaxed much quicker. However, I am not so sure that just lunging her for this length of time really does alot of good except get her into better shape. The purpose of it is to get her to learn to stay on the same track of the circle with body framed on the arch of the circle and her hip a little to the outside. Having thought about the purpose of it maybe it is a good idea. This is one of tasks that I will do under saddle too. I think today I will try it with a different lunge line and halter and see what kind of result I get.
Anyway, back to our workout. At this point we had been working about 50 minutes or so. I wanted to bridle her and ground drive her again. She is getting much better about carrying the bit and the ground driving worked out great. I asked her to do several direction changes which she followed lightly for the most part. She actually moved out with much more energy.  I used the wall a couple times when we were stopped against it to have her turn into the wall and mover her shoulders over which she did very naturally, without much contact on the rein. I had her leg yielding several times to the left, which she does nicely. However, going to the right doesn't work out as well. After doing this several times and going around the arena with several stops, we quit for the day.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Camina 13

Today was interesting with her. I got her saddled, knowing it would be a little different as her friend, Buddy, was in the arena being worked too. I thought this was a good idea since she needs to have those other kinds of stimulation while being worked herself. We started with flexing but she was paying more attention to Buddy than me so I had her work on circles and then had her do the falling leaf exercise, moved into leg yields away from me on the wall and then into disengaging and moving her shoulders over, etc. After about 20 minutes of this I put her on the long line and had her begin to circle me. I wanted her to get into a steady rythmic trot with her head carried down and to the inside. However, it was at about this time Buddy left the arena and things fell apart from their for a while. She didn't like that Buddy left and when I asked her to keep at the trot on the circle she decided to pitch a fit and start bucking, to which, I kept her moving faster until she settled down. I debated about whether to disengage her and stop the bucking but I thought it would be better to make her go faster and show her that bucking is going to get her anywhere. She settled into a nice canter but it was too fast and not relaxed at all, but I made her keep it up for about 5 minutes, then asked her to trot and see if that would settle her down some more. However, one of the horses whinnied and she started her bucking fit again, but this time it was only a couple of times and she went to cantering again. So I just kept her at it. Then I let her slow to a trot. I was looking for her to relax and her cadence to be consistent so we did this for a good while. When she finally settled down I slowed her to a stop and let her rest for a second then sent her in the other direction doing the same thing. She went into a canter but it was not relaxed at all so I kept that up til she settled down then asked her to trot and do the same thing. She finally lowered her head and started carrying it more to the inside which makes her more balanced because it makes her lift the inside shoulder and she will stay on the circle more. When she did this, and she was in a good sweat, I changed things by putting the bridle on her and long reins and ground drove around for about 10 minutes. She did really well at this changing in directions with slight feel on the rein and even had her stopping consistently and leg yielding to the left. She had a hard time going to the right on a leg yield but we did get one or two steps periodically. At the end I stood in place and had her leg yield in a half circle to the left and then quit. I didn't ride her today as she was in a different frame of mind, so the sense of self preservation ruled over stupidity and we called it a day. But we still had a very good workout that began calm and ended calm with some rough spots in between.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Back to Raven

I had a beautiful afternoon to work with Raven. We started just doing some review of my tasks from Reis. We did ground and rd pen tasks at the mentor (3) and Horsemans (4) levels. She remembered quite a bit as did I. We have some work to do with ground driving but that will quickly shape up as I work with her more. Then I worked under saddle with her just trying to use my legs/seat and no rein for direction changes and stops. That worked pretty good. I started to pick up collection on her and work on holding it out. I think we worked on things close to an hour and then we went down the road and trail by my house. She collected up real easy and I had her doing circles and stops and leg yields and so on. She did real well.
It was a good afternoon with her.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Camina 12

Today was not unlike the other days. Camina was calm and receptive to my 'feel'. She was saddled and went right to work on flexion which is like not even ounces of pressure to get her flex. Then I had her disengaging and moving her shoulders with no problem. Then I took her down the wall and did it.
I had had her lunging lightly down the arena and then did the falling leaf on the way back. I put the long line on her and worked on walk>trot>canter transitions in both directions. She is following my feel pretty good. She will improve with time. Then I had her on the long reins and ground drove her. She is still mouthing the bit alot  but it is getting better. I just use real light pressure on the rein to get her to change direction and to stop and back up. All of this took maybe 45 minutes. Then I got on her and flexed her and had her walking around quite a bit then would disengage her. I started introducing moving her shoulders over too as soon as I disengage her. She did it a couple times going to the left, but not to the right. We will continue to work on that. I want her to be able to do the disengaging and moving her shoulders over, stop and back up at the walk real consistent before I ask her to trot. She sometimes acts like she doesn't know where her feet are and gets them a little tangled up, especially with me on her back. But she did well today, as usual.
I was able to work Raven a bit today too. I wanted to really work on leg control so after working her on the ground I got on and just walked her around with no rein contact. I let it hang over my saddle horn, crossed my arms and just used my legs to direct her movement. She is responding nicely to that. Then I would stop and back her using my seat and legs, daring her to make me use a rein. I had to a couple times, but after 20 minutes or so she was doing much better. Then I had her trot doing the same thing and then canter. I could direct her and stop her and back up without using the rein most of the time. In fact, I only had to use the rein to stop and back her once or twice in the beginning. I also have been working on collection and then moving the hips into the bend to do a true side pass. So I have used the rail to stop the forward motion. We worked on this in both directions several times and then walked off and then came back to the rail and worked on it again. I am able to 2-3 steps moving into the bend with collection so we quit with that. Hopefully, we will build off of that. My goal is to get her to do a haunches in with forward motion so I am starting with the side pass exercise. The other way I have been shown doesn't seem to work for me and I am sure it is some little detail I am not including. Anyway, we were both calm when we finished and had a good ride.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

camina 11

It was another good day at Cheerio with Camina. She had a lot of distractions this morning with people watching. But we got right to work on the saddling and flexing. We then did some more warmup with lunging at a walk and switching directions. I took her over to the wall and did the sending exercise several times then we walked the rail and worked on disengaging and sending. After a few minutes of this we did the c-pattern/falling leaf exercise down the middle of the arena. I put the long line on her and had her doing walk, trot transitions in both directions. Then we moved up to canter. What I am looking for in her is a softness in her transitions from walk>trot>canter and back down. My goal wasn't to get her tired out but to have her really paying attention to me to see what I will ask her next. She did very well at this. So we got the bridle on her and had her flex laterally then put the long reins on her and ground drove her around the arena. She is not mouthing the bit nearly as much as she did yesterday. She is carrying it much better. We did some starts and stops and direction changes all around. This went well so I took the long reins off her and got on. I flexed her first and then had her move off at a walk then would bend her to a stop and disengagement. We did this in both directions. She did very well and is getting better at carrying me. I was pleased. She has a calmness about her that seems to show that she is mentally handling things well. I rode her around the arena and stopped her several times then dismounted and quit for the day.

Friday, August 20, 2010


This was day 10 in our journey together. I saddled her right off and then put her through her paces. She was real calm and soft during all the flexing and such. I then did some warmup exercises just circling her at a walk in both directions. Then I strted disengaging and moving her shoulders. We went over to the wall and did the sending exercise then I walked her down the wall disengaging and moving her shoulders as we went. I went down by a tractor that is in the arena, she has shown some anxiousness around it so we did the sending exercise there for a while. Then brought her into the middle and did some walk trot tansitions on a circle. Then put the long line on her and did the same thing. When she was real calm transitioning from walk to trot and back to walk in both directions then I asked for canter. She did this no bucking at all and was really paying attention to me for upward and downward transitions. So I put the long reins on her with the bit and ground drove her all around the arena. She still is getting used to the bit so I just let her walk and was real careful not to pull too much on the rein to get a direction change or stop and back up. But she was doing that real good so I figured I would stop and flex her on both sides. Then I donned my helmet and got on her. I just let her stand and flexed her on both sides and then asked her to walk off. She did take a few steps forward then I bent her to a stop and then asked her to go again. I repeated this a couple times on both sides and firgured that was enough for today. She was calm and relaxed and I was too. Begin soft and calm and end the same way is the way I want to work through this.

Figured it out

This was day 9 in Camina's training. My main goal today was to figure out why she was bucking everytime I asked her to canter on the long line. I first warmed her up with the daily exercises then I walked her around the arena and did a disengagement and moving shoulders over and walked off a few steps then repeated that all the way around. Then we did it in the other direction. This is what I will do when I am on her back and get her to start moving out. This will give her and Me confidence that I can control her feet when I am on her back. I don't have a round pen here so I don't want her going on a straight away bucking. I am also helping her work on softness laterally and vertically. When I did the disengaging exercise described above I had slack in the rein most of the time. She did well. I then did some sending exercises at spots in the arena she was spooked at. Then I put her on the long line and circled her at a walk. I began to transition her to trot and back to walk then to trot. (She doesn't have a saddle on at this point) I then asked her for a canter and she tossed her head a bit but no bucking, though she humped her back a little. I did this in both directions, of course. Then I put the saddle on without the flank cinch. Again she didn't like going into a canter but didn't buck. Then I put the flank cinch on and snugged it around her. When I asked her to canter I could tell she was going to buck and she did. I shut her down by disengaging her. Then I loosened the cinch a notch and asked her to canter and no bucking at all. So the issue was the flank cinch being too tight for her. After that I had her canter, trot, walk, walk, trot, canter a couple times in both directions. I put the bit in her mouth and then ground drove her around the arena doing lots of changing of directions and stopping and backing. then we quit. I flexed her a few times on each side and that was it for the day.