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.