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.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Camina 8

Had a good work out with her today. I went through the paces with her as before. Today I worked her mostly on the 22' line cause I wanted to control her if she started bucking at the canter and she did. She does fine at walk, trot in both directions, but as soon as I ask her to canter she will take a few strides and then go into a bucking frenzy to which I shut her down by disengaging her. Then I started to work on transitions from walk to trot and back to walk until she was doing that real good. Then I asked her to canter a few strides and slowed to trot before she started to buck. However, I wanted to keep stretching out the length of her canter and she would buck in both directions. She did settle down as we went on, but I am going to try without the saddle next time and see if she still bucks. After about 20 minutes of this I put the bridle on her and ground drove her around the arena changing directions several times and stopping and backing several times. She clearly has to get used to carrying the bit. She did a good job though. Actually, better than I expected. Finally, I got on her back and had her flex and disengage in both directions a few times and quit. I need to start letting her walk out a few steps next time and then disengage her.
I also had an opportunity to ride Jake today and Raven. Both did real good at what I was working on. I didn't want to get them in a sweat I just wanted to work on giving to my leg pressure on the shoulders, bridling up and just all around moving around with slight feel.
Raven I worked on haunches in and side pass. She responds with moving her hips, but I haven't yet got the hips to move over with her shaped in the same direction whether in a side pass or haunches in. I did figure out if I bring her up to the fence and shape her in the direction I want to go and then move her hips over in that direction she is starting to pick up on it. I had her doing it a few steps in each direction then it all imploded. So I walked her off and then came back and tried again. She gave me a few steps in each direction and I quit.
A Good night. But I sure do need more help with this. Hopefully another lesson in the near future.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Camina day 6,7

This will be a condensed version of Thursday and Saturday's sessions. On Thursday I went through all the exercises as normal, I worked on the c-pattern/falling leaf exercise up and down the arena. I also worked on the sending exercise up against the rail. I didn't get a chance to work her like I would have liked. It was a short lesson due to time. However, sometimes having a short, but pointed lesson can be better for the relationship than a long drawn out lesson where too much is covered.
On Saturday I was able to really work her good. She stood for saddling then I started to work on some flexing but could tell she didn't want to stand still and really pay attention, so I moved her feet on the circle and had her changing directions, disengaging, moving her shoulders and follow me with two eyes. After a few of these she was more willing to stand quiet and let me flog her with kindness and work her on disengaging a lot. We went back to flexing on both sides and she is very soft. I took her through the falling leaf and the sending exercise and she was doing that real calm and soft. So I started to slap the stirrup leathers against the saddle on both sides and she was calm with that. So I got on and off her a few times. Then I stayed on and had her disengage and move her shoulders in a circle like that. Remember, I am not using a round pen so I don't want her going to many steps forward as of yet, without bending her. I did both sides. She almost fell while I was doing it to the right. She got her feet tangled up underneath her. But she got her balance and I continued. She then really stiffened up and started resisting strongly. I disengaged her one more time and got off. I began to work her on the ground again, using the tarp which she handled really good. She sniffed it and walked right across it a couple times and I stopped her on it too. Then I decided to take the halter off and
work her at liberty. She followed me for a bit then decided to strike out on her own so I got after her and sent her away. She galloped and bucked down the long wall and turned the corner and I got into position to keep her going and we did this a few times around. I had to run to her and keep her moving or send her in the original direction a few times as I cannot let her stop or make her own direction choice. But I was able to keep her going with only a second or two of break. I had her changing directions and she would buck a little bit then when she decided she needed to rest she lowered her head, looke at me and I let her back in towards me. Then she followed me and I had her going in a circle, switching directions, disengaging her hindquarters, moving her shoulders over, stopping and backing up, without any line at all except that invisible one that is called 'feel' and body language. We stopped after this and she stood to let me remove the saddle.
It was a real good session.
Hear is a picture of me on her rubbing her hindquarters. This is my ride on Saturday.

Monday, August 9, 2010


I think this was the 5th day I worked with Camina, the Andalusian. She is doing really good. The first thing I did was saddle her, she stood fine for that. Then I took her through the paces of flexion, backup, disengaging, moving the shoulders etc. I worked alot on flexion and disengaging because that will help when I start riding her. We kept going back and forth through various exercises with frequent stops and relaxation times for her. I flogged her with kindness with the lead rope, slapped the stirrups around her to desensitize her to that. When I was doing that I was also moving her sideways on a circle. This showed her she could still move when something scarey was going on but that when she relaxed the scarey thing stopped. So we did that several times from both sides. Then I flagged her out sideways on a circle and that is when she came unglued for a few minutes. She bucked and bucked and then I wouldn't let her stop until I was ready for her to stop. Then I disengaged her and let quit and rest. Then we went back at it in the same fashion and she didn't try to buck again. Needless to say, this made me a litte leary of getting on her back today. It also made me do a few more exercises to check for calmness and control of her feet before I got on. Yes, I did get on her back several times on and off from both sides and bumping her on the butt and sides with my feet as I did so. She was just fine. Then I had her hooked on to me and following my leadership all over the arena from the ground. I threw the lead over the saddle and I had her disengaging, backing, stopping, moving her shoulders all without any connection to her. She just followed my feel. Then I sat on her and moved around and got her to take a few steps in a circle disengaging her hindquarters. That is where we ended. It seemed like a good stopping point and time run out.
So this was really her first ride.  Thursday we should make even more progress.

Saturday, August 7, 2010


I mentioned in an earlier post that I was starting a 4 yr old Andalusian filly. She is a real looker if you ask me. I have handled 5 times in the last month. But really gotten serious with her in the last week or so. So for the last 4 times I have been able to work with her with the intention of actually starting her under saddle. Her name is Camina.
Let me bring you up to date on her. I don't have a round pen where she is at, but there is a 60 x 140 foot indoor arena. So I have been working her on a rope halter and 12' lead as well as a 22' line. She has breezed through her giving to pressure exercises, lateral and vertical flexion as well as disengaging the hindquarters and moving her shoulders. I have been able to do the c-pattern exercise utilizing the sending, disengaging and moving her shoulders and she is doing well, responding with a calmness. I have circled her and got her to the point where it was time to flank her out. So the last time I worked with her I did that to see if she has any issues with tightness around her girth, barrel or belly. She bucked a little bit. Today I went through the routine of the daily nine- to refresh your memory they are: giving to downward pressure, lateral and vertical flexion, backup, disengaging hindquarters, moving the shoulders, stop, backup, and forward motion. I then use various combinations of them to get fluid motion from her. After that I got on her using the Jeffries method (laying on her back and rubbing her all over). I moved her around circle doing transitions of gait, direction. I even had her doing a leg yield in both directions. Next, I flanked her out again. She was giving to the pressure on her flanks. She bucked ever so slightly, as if she were trying to get a horse fly off her hip and when she quit I released the pressure. I was really pulling on her with my whole body weight too. So she was definitely feeling it. Finally, I brought out my saddle and worked through getting her saddled. I slapped the fenders around and the stirrups and swung partway up on her and even got my leg all the way over. That is when I thought it was a good time to quit. You know the addage, 'quit while you are ahead' is a good thing to remember with horses too. So that is what I did. She was relaxed and yielding to me. I work again with her on Monday. I am only getting 3 days a week with her and no round pen so I am really having to up my horsemanship skills too. Which is good for me. Well I will finish this out. til next time.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


That is how I would describe today's workout. You get a better lesson, faster progress the softer you can be or I can be. We did not have alot of time so wanted to just work with her as soft as I can and still get the desired result. I want it to be as if I am moving my feet when I move hers. I did a little ground work and then got in the saddle. I made it a game to see how subtle I could be and get her to do the desired move whether it was a backup, turn or change of gait. It worked rather well. What I really wanted to work on was getting her hips to move over real easy like. So we did a great amount of that with forward motion. I worked both sides and got her hips freed up real good then had to quit for sake of time. But it was a real good session as far as I was concerned.

Monday, August 2, 2010


It has been a good day for riding. I gave a lesson this morning and worked a sharp looking four yr old Andalusian. It was fun to be back at it. Then this afternoon I worked with Jake and Raven. I wanted to work with Jake on balancing him with collection at the walk, trot and canter. So we worked real hard at it. I had him doing all sorts of other things too, but mainly trying to set him up to canter with balance. We didn't get it to that point, but we still made progress.
With Raven I wanted to work on getting soft quickly so we could work on moving her hips and shoulders. We have such a feel with each other and are making good progress. When I finished I had her taking a specific number of steps forward and back even to the point where not a step more or less. It was fun having that connection. So much so that it was as if her feet were my feet. That was a good finish.