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.