Monday, July 26, 2010

Once again

(I had to edit this. I posted this on mobile phone and fingers just don't hit the keys right.)
I had a lot of work ahead of me with these guys tonite. First I had to get the stalls cleaned out and then trim Ravens feet. Only after that did I have chance to ride.
So,that said, I started with Raven. She is a nice ride. I only had a short time so we did a short warmup on the ground. Then in the saddle we worked on getting good softness so that I could get her to move shoulders and hindend in a side pass. We did several other things before we had to quit so I could work with Jake. With Jake I did some ground work and then did some saddle work with him. I wanted to work with him on loping. He just seems to have a hard time cantering. I think it is because he is out of balance. I kept trying to get him collected up to balance him. We worked on this for the rest of our time. All in all both sessions were really good. We accomplished alot in the short time we had. I was just glad to get the time

Monday, July 19, 2010


Wow is all I can say. There is nothing like moving with feel jsut me and the horse. There is something about that connection. I have it a little bit with Jake. He has some issues in terms of fear that I am going to help him get through. I had him moving on the line with a big float in it and he was moving with my feel. I got on him and moved him through his paces. He is rather braced on lateral flexion and that needs to get worked out. The odd thing is that he is soft from the saddle on vertical though. He has a real trouble with his feet regarding loping in either lead. So I started to work on that just getting him to canter in the correct lead for a few strides then let him back down to a trot and back up to canter in the correct lead. I think this is going to be a huge issue to work on. We did leg yields and bending laterally with forward movement and get him to wrap his body around my inside leg. Then I pulled out my rope and desensitized him to that in several ways. He did pretty good with that. More work needed but it looks promising. I am just glad to be able to have the time to work with him.
Then it was Raven's turn. I actually think she has been jealous that I have not paid attention to her lately. In fact, when I was done with Jake she was standing right behind him like she was saying, "now it is my turn." So I spent some time grooming her and getting her saddled. I really wanted to see how soft I could be and get the right result. So we started with disengaging, shoulders and back up. Oh, how soft. . I actually went back to some really advanced stuff, like moving in a leg yield away and toward me and she did. It needs a little more refinement but it worked. Then I got on her back and it all was still there. Like riding a bike. I had her so soft and flexed on the circle and we did some trotting and cantering. I even practiced roping off her back. At the end I wanted to see how easy it was to move her hind end to work towards that elusive haunches in. Then we did alot of sidepassing along the rail in both directions and then some turns on the forehand. She is real responsive. I hated to put her up, but my time was up. Hopefully, more tomorrow or at least the next few days.
I can't wait.

Friday, July 16, 2010


Had a good workout with Jake last evening. My rd pen is muddy so we just worked in the big pen. I was refining his leg yield and sides passing moving across the arena sideways. He is real soft for the most part, although he doesn't like to flex laterally for me. I warmed him up and got his attention on me then we began to move in unison better. I wanted to sack him out too so I went for the bag with cans and the flag and went at it with him. He still doesn't like that stuff but will settle down after a few minutes. I brought the tarp out too. He did well with this finally able to walk smoothly over it, even standing on it. Then Raven decided to come out of the stall and find out what all the fun was about so she began to shake the bag and pull on the tarp. That didn't make Jake too happy as he was already thinking they were out to get him. I mounted him and boy is he soft in the face. I love that softness that allows me to move his body parts much easier. We did leg yields and moved his shoulders and so on. We even got to trying to herd Raven around, but Jake didn't want any part of that so I had to force him. He was concerned about getting kicked, and so was I, but I moved Raven with a wave of the hand. Then every now and then we would come rest at the tarp still spreadout in a bunch on the ground. I had him walking over it too. I worked a bit on transitions of gait with him. His feet seem to be so discombobulated, especially when trying to get him to canter. It is like he doesn't know where his feet are and what they are to doing. I see him loping around the arena without anyone on his back with no problem. It leads me to believe it might be me that is the problem here. But not sure. Anyway, we worked about an hour and that was enough for both of us as hot as it was. So we quit. I want to work Raven and get her caught up to, but for the time.
til next time.

Thursday, July 15, 2010


I finally got back in the saddle. I have been so busy with planting and landscaping that since I took Joey home I haven't been able to ride at all. So yesterday I worked with Jake. He was a little headshy with the spray bottle but we worked through that. Then I wanted to work with my lariat around him and he didn't like that either, but we worked through that too. I first got him listening to me by moving him around, we did our usual ground work and tried to refine the leg yields and side passing. I just mainly wanted him tuned into me. Then I sacked him out with the rope and tossed a few loops around him and over him. I looped it on the saddle horn and played jump rope in front of him swinging it over and around his head. I even put it around his butt and had him give to pressure there and swing his butt around. I led him by the saddle horn with the rope too. Then I got on him and boy is he soft. We did some leg yields, counterturns and such. I dragged the rope around, swung it around him and tossed it in front of him, let it drag around his legs. He did pretty good. I want to get him ready for my granddaughter to learn to ride on him. So I really got to get him desensitized and giving to the softest pressure.
We had about an hour and a half to work and I thought he did real well for not having to do anything for the last two months.
Well it is time to get back at it. Adios!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Not a lot

Not a lot going on today, what with Joey gone and all. I had hoped to spend some time on one or both of mine, but not gonna happen. I had to get crackin' on my study for Sunday, then off to Sara's to figure out why her dog fence is not working. We pulled the entire thing up, found one break in the line and still doesn't work. It looked like it had been hit by lightning so might have to replace the entire wire, about 900'. Then it was off to Jackson's western store to spend my gift card that has been burning a hole in my pocket. Finally, back home and it was 8pm. Now here I am lettin' you know all this stuff. Hope you all had a great day, 'cause you won't get a do over.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


Well Joey is finally at home. I took him there earlier this afternoon. When I got there he was ready to go. I warmed him up a bit and saddled him. He only needed a little bit of reminder that I was the leader not him.  It was Judy/fred, Kathryn/tootsie and me and Joey. We rode through the woods about 20 minutes and we were walking down the path to the beach on Lake Michigan. Judy must have clout with the neighbors. Surprisingly, we only saw three others on the beach. We walked 1/2 mile or so down the beach and then went into the water. Joey has done this before, not me. Let me tell you it was fun and wet. I think Joey really liked it. We went into his belly or so and he just wanted to splash. Needless to say he didn't want to get out. Then it was back up on the mainland and down the road. Lots of obstacles what with leaf blowers and weed whackers going all around us. But Joey and the other two horses were solid. We got to a certain point on the trail where they like to canter so we did. Joey was last and at a certain point, which I found out later, was the exact point where he likes to buck when they canter, he most certainly intended to, but I put a stop to that before it got started. Then he settled down into it. It was a canter very far, but as hot as it was it was probably enough. Anyway we all made it back. It was a great ride. She has a nice trail riding area that is for sure. Thanks again Kathryn and Judy for a good ride. Thanks Kathryn for letting me work with your horse for the last 30 days.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Joey Day 30

This is it.  We had our last session today. I spent the first few minutes warming him up. Did a little bit of liberty work with him. He did good. Then I got saddled and started down the road. My plan was to get him to cross the ditch with water in it. So we got down there while doing circles and some exercises that create a softness in him. When we got to the ditch I asked him to go through and he didn't, but I had a plan. I got off and used my mecate lead and had him circle me and disengage etc. Then I led him to the ditch and finally after several tries he went across. I brought him back and let him relax and then did it again. Finally, I got on him and he went right across. We did that a few times and then we went down the power line to a pond I know of and I asked him to go into the pond. We did that and then headed back to the pen. We had a good ride and I put him up for the day. tomorrow he goes home. The plan is to ride him there for a little while to see how he is then to turn him over to his owner.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Joey day 29

Met with Kathryn today to work with Joey. This was her last of 2 lessons that come with Joey's training. I got out there early and worked with Joey a little bit. I had about 15 minutes to warm him up, going through the daily seven. I also sidepassed him around the arena real good. Then when Kathryn arrived she took him in hand, saddled and started to work with him. We went through the backup, disengagement and moving the shoulders over on the ground. She practiced this for about 25 minutes or so. I might add she did a good job. Then in the saddle I had her walking around and practicing the one rein stop a few times. Then she got him in a trot and later a lope in the right lead. By that time we were out of time. They both did very well and I am sure will develop and even closer relationship. I have one more ride on him tomorrow and then I take him home on Wednesday. The plan is for me to ride him to the beach because there he will be in a different environment and will probably act a little different. He may need the reminder that nothing changed, I or Kathryn will still be the leader. We will see what happens. Anyway a good day of training.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Joey Day 28

Yesterday at 12:30 I got to work with Joey again. It is getting kinda neat. When he knows I am coming to get him he stepped out of his stall like he was eager to go do something with me. Alot of people have to chase their horses down 'cause when they see them coming with halter in hand they do not want to go. So Joey and I have a great relationship. This time the plan was to get him outside the pen and work with him. I did my usual groundwork warmup with some added exercises like sidepassing. Then we got out and started to work some circles and softening up. I took him down a trail into the woods, which he was a bit skittish about, but we went anyway. He is constantly on the lookout for boogey men. None found though. He worked through those issues. I think now it is just trail riding that needs to be done to get him out from under his sheltered life into the real world. But this is trail riding with a twist: not just rein in hand going down the trail, but a working trail ride doing the exercises as we go. So for the last rides with me that is what we are going to do.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Joey Day 27

I had him going pretty good today. We did the sidepass across the arena worked on the same exercises. Also, I got the lariat out and we played with the rope for a while. He was real quiet with it for the most part. Then I took him out in the world. I am still trying to get him to stay on the circle without him fading in or or not wanting to stay on it. It just ain't happenin' yet. So I had to take him out back and have a talk with him, if you know what I mean. When we got back I just cantered him down the road for a 1/2 mile and then we went further down the road. But by this time my time was almost up and still had to get some hay before my date with Sharon. So I tried to work on going across the ditch with water to no avail, partly 'cause I wasn't willing to devote the time to it today. So instead we just did a lot of stepping the shoulders over, stopping and backing. Then we walked back nice and easy like. Some dogs came out at us barking and tearing around. Good practice for him. He didn't even flinch. Then on the way back home we did some work on getting the softness without a turn, just moving forward. When we got back I bridled him up and we did some work on following his nose with collection. Anyway, the lesson ended with both of us calm and a little sweaty.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Joey Day 26

Joey did real good today. So did his owner. Yes, she came today and worked with Joey. She backed him up, learned to disengage the hindquarters, move his shoulders, the million dollar move and to circle him in both directions, transition from walk to trot and back down. Joey was impressive in his responsiveness to her, reading her like a book. Then we put her saddle on to see how that worked out for her. She prefers English, but had a western saddle to use. Then after we fitted that we put her shank curb bit in his mouth. She got on, Joey was real calm and soft over all, and he stood for her to mount. Then, as I always do, she flexed him both sides.  Now it was time to move and so starting at a walk she worked on disengaging the hindquarters from the saddle and even got some shoulders over or turns on the forehand. Over all, Kathryn was a great student and Joey a great teacher. Cheers to both of them. I have a few more rides on him and one more lesson for her before he goes home next week. I don't even have to go back and fix anything. Good job.

Joey Day 25

This won't be a long blog. Yesterday, Kathryn, Joey's owner, and Judy, our friend, came over to watch me work with Joey. They wanted to see how he is coming along. So I got him tacked up and immediately took the halter off him and worked him at liberty for a few minutes. Initially, he wanted to run around and act like an idiot, not wanting to stay by me. So I let him run around knowing that he likes to stand around more than he likes to run around. He did. It only took a few laps and he waws following me. So I did some disengagements, million dollar move (moving the shoulder, thus changing sides on him). He really does this pretty good. I got the whip out and cracked that around him for more desensitizing. Then I showe them how he ground drives really well. Someone might ask, "Why ground drive a horse?" Well, glad you asked. It is helps the horse to get used to people and things behind him, so it is partly desensitizing him. It also helps to develop 'feel' for the horse with the rein. In actuality, it is like riding him from the ground. I can teach a horse to stop and back, and turn, etc. from the ground. Thus, putting a handle on him before I ever get on. Now I didn't do this with Joey in that order. Nevertheless, it helps to develop that relationship more. Then I got on him and rode him around, asking for softness. We disengaged, moved the shoulders with softness, walked, trot and canter in both directions. He likes to lope in the right lead and is rocking chair smooth. Worked on some stops and backups too. Judy wanted to test me so she had me drop the reins and ask for a walk, trot without using them. No problem. But then she asked for a walk, so far so good. But when she asked me to ask for a stop, no cigar here. He slowed, but not a stop. Needs work. But it was fun. The most important thing to me over the entire lesson was the fact that he was soft the whole time. He never once got in a tizzy about anything. There was an overall softness in him from start to finish. And that is the way I like it. They both said, that he was usually rather antsy in his demeanor when they would ride. So that is a plus for me. Anyway, it was a good ride.