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.