Saturday, December 31, 2011

Last day of the year ride

I worked both horse today. It was beautiful. I love my large area to ride in. The space makes the exercises easier to work on. I even had my dog helping with the training. He must have traveled three times the distance the horses did. It was mainly reviewing of cruising and bending. We even chased the dog making like he was a cow. It was great. HoPecully there will be lots more time to ride in the area.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

ground work

I had a few minutes this evening. I have been clearing the area behind my house and now have a large open area. I burned a brush pile and decided to get Raven and work on Lunging stage 3 and backing angles among other things. So I brought her back and worked alot on lunging stage 3 on long line. It went well except that she didn't want to stay in a lope for me. She doing real well though, starting off fast and staying in gait until I ask for something different. She doesn't come up to me fast like I want, but I think that is because I haven't kept her going long enough and taught her how good it is to hurry up and get next to me when I give her the chance. This is the way it should be with me and the Lord. When I am wore out with life's issues I should crave getting close to Him in prayer and reading of the Word to be refreshed and get a breather. That is what I am giving the horse at those times. She is making fast improvements though. I also worked on her backup and Oh my, is that ever getting good in terms of hustling her feet. We even have room now to back 30 to 40 feet and then make a 90 degree turn.  I did some side passing and side passing toward me. Another obstacle was that my dog was out there with us trying to help out. He was a good distraction, but she kept most of her attention on me. I had to tell him several times to get away from her hind feet. I don't want him to get kicked, but he just might have to to learn his lesson. When it happens hopefully, it won't hurt him too much. I also did some driving on the long line and leg yields. It was quite a workout for her and was very profitable I think. I am going to enjoy having a larger area to work with the horses in. No I can really get some things done with them. I just have to get the area graded better and get the little shin killer stumps out of the way. Hopefully, I will get another chance tomorrow. We'll see.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Good ride

Worked with Raven today. I had her doing the lunge for respect 3 on long line going real good. Ten x around with no faults. Also worked on backing angles and lo and behold she was backing faster than she ever has. She also did good on those. We must have done gw for half an hour then I got on. We rode back to my clearing and worked on several exec uses there. That too was a great session. I am going to like having the larger area. I think I will get more accomplished. Plus I can set up an obstacle course for them. I was already getting her sweated up and I did not want that with it being cold. The last thing I need is a sick horse. I really worked her on backing and saw great improvement.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

time with Jake

I got out with Jake yesterday for an hour. He did real good. I know most of the issues are me when it comes to something not working. I first got to a slow start, nice and relaxed with him. I find that if I don't just jump quickly into working with the horses, but take the time to just walk up and rub them all over they get more relaxed and are more willing to stay with me. After I got him ready we did a bunch of ground work, working on lunging for respect stage 3 on long line. I used a snow bank as an obstacle that seemed to put an added challenge into the mix, but he handled it smoothly. I also worked on the out/back exercise, Parelli calls the YO YO. I am trying to get real subtle about the cues with this one. It is simply asking him to back up to the end of my 25' line and then on cue come back to me. We also worked on backing circles.
When I got on him we worked through too many of the exercises to mention. I was merely trying to refine myself as to the cues, body, hand and leg positions so as to be subtle again in asking for a move. Both my horses do alot better than I do. I want to get real in tune with them so there is that close soft connection between me and them, whether I am riding or just around them on the ground.
It is the same kind of connection the Lord wants of me with Him. That I would know his mind and do it. It's called walking with Him. The struggle is to do His will as I am asking the horse to do my will. The parallels are so close. It takes getting to know the Lord and the horse. Read your Bible and read your horse.

Thursday, December 8, 2011


The last two days I have taken advantage of the weather to work with the horses. It was cold, but at least no snow. Fortunately I also have a gravel rode to work in so that I do not have to work in the mud, though the horses don't like the gravel much. I have been working on the advanced level exercises with Raven and kind of backtraking with Jake because I haven't had the time to work with him much lately. The groundwork has been fun for me as I have not always had the time to saddle up and ride. By the time I get through the ground exercises I have used up about a half hour of my time but it sure helps with geting a tighter connection with them. I am trying to refine my connection with them both so that it appears that they are merely doing what I am thinking. It takes lots of tries and failures but I am constantly reminded to back off and slow down and quit asking for so much in the beginning. I think that is good for me to remember in all areas of life. Take it easier more relaxed and see if the outcome is not better and quicker. I certainly applies to the way I do anything, whether driving riding or just talking with my wife. As with her if there is a problem it is almost always my fault and that is the truth. It might be that I am asking wrong or sitting in the saddle wrong so that it confuses the horse. Maybe I am asking her to go forward but she is backing up. It is because of me. You know this probably works for dancing with Sharon too. :) Anyway, most of the time when I work with the horses I am trying really to change me and refine me and correct me. But I gotta hand it to my horses and wife they put up with me and teach me a lot. Fortunately they do not run the other way when I come around, at least not far. :) They are good teachers to say the least. Hope tomorrow is another god day to ride.

Monday, December 5, 2011

gettin' to ride

No, it hasn't been since Thanksgiving that I rode last. However, I haven't been on the horse for the last week. Just too busy getting other things done. Until today, that is. I was able to work some time in with Raven this evening. I worked her on stage three lunging with a long line. She did better than I expected. She got up into a trot right away and stayed there until I slowed her. She only faltered one time an we just kept going at that. We did the c-pattern and sending with long line too and she did real good. In the riding portion I am pleased with our level of advancement. I am really trying to refine what she knows so that the cues are almost unnoticeable and my hands are real still and soft too.My main problem has always been asking for too much too soon, but today and lately I have just been getting a little bit. I could tell after about a half hour of concentrated riding she was tired of the intensity so we simply took it easy and quit on a soft note. All in all, it was a good session, more positive than negative. And it was cold. Winter is getting here.

Friday, November 25, 2011

thanksgiving ride

I had a good time with Raven yesterday morning. I worked with her on backing circles and backing angles. We also worked on lunging for respect stage 3 on 14' lead and then on a long line. Which she did real good at. Then we did some work on c pattern with long line. She got better as we progressed. Then when we rode I worked on bridle bending and then serpentine and then we moved up to backing circles. I did a little work with her on leads, getting her to move into a canter on the correct lead. She does good at this too. By the time we were done we were both spent. It was a good time with her. Later today I hope to ride with the grandkids and have some fun with them on horse back.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Moving on up with Jake

thought I would take a break and just let you know what was happening on the Jake front. He and I had a good workout yesterday. He is doing real good at the lunging stage three. I think I might move up to the 25 foot lead and see how he does. I worked on the bridle bending with him and then the serpentine which incorporates the bridle bending. We also got going on the cruising. He is movin' up in the levels. These are all mixed up in terms of the levels Clinton Anderson uses, but Jake is taking it all in stride and I am mastering these moves better myself in terms of learning the details of hand seat and leg positions so as to get the most out of the session. So for almost an hour each time we are making good progress toward getting more advanced in our horsemanship with feel.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Personal clinic

Well it was Saturday and I wanted to have my own clinic. I had intended to go to one but do to truck issues i decided not to go. instead I had my own with Raven and Jake. So I spent about an hour with each of them. Both are at the advanced level, but always need refining of the previous exercises. I worked with Jake on bridle bending, serpentine, lunging stage 3. It is amazing the kind of results you can have when you work consistently for a couple days in a row. Jake is softer than he has ever been. Raven is doing well at all of her work. The lunging stage 3 is getting real good, so is two tracking. We will continue to Progress through. I am thankful for the good weather to ride.

Friday, November 18, 2011

advanced with Raven

Ok, I started to work through the advanced level with Raven the other day. We just worked on Lunging for respect stafge 3 which is using a 14' lead having the horse back away and then send them left or right. My feet stay still and the horse needs to move around me without stopping or breaking gait until I ask them to do either and then draw them back in. This incorporates other exercises: out back, yield hindquarters and forequarters, sending. Raven has done this before so it wasn't that big of a deal. She did try to stop a few times 'cause I don't move she thinks she can stop. So I had to send her off again each time. But she got it. I worked her a second day as well. It worked in great because I had only a little time and didn't need to saddle her. When we are done there will be another 32 exercises to add to her field of knowledge. All 3 levels include more than 90 exercises so that is alot of things to do with your horse.
Many of he advanced exercises she has already done, but just needs to refine better so we are off to a good finish or start here. If the weather will cooperate and not get the footing too chopped up it will be good.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Winter riding

Suggestion for me next time. Wear gloves. I am having a hard time typing this 'cause my hands are in that state of cold and warm where they don't work so good. Thank God for chaps and jackets. They kept me warm and dry for the most part. It was really snowing for a while there. I took Raven out and worked her from the ground a few minutes to warm her up. I wanted to work on three exercises: bending with softness, serpentine and roll backs. So I spent about 15 minutes on each one. She started out a little resistant but  I stuck with it and finally she yielded and gave me the soft feel I was looking for. The serpentine was the best one though. She really got soft for me moving back and forth like a slithering snake across the road. I had her so soft that basically only had to add a feathery soft touch to get her to change shape and direction with a little bit of leg to support her. Then the roll backs. Those she does pretty good. I didn't have a fence to use, so just went back and forth on the road. By this time I was a little damp and chilled so I didn't spend as much time on it as I would have liked. All in all though, the time was well spent and we accomplished much.
til next time.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

It's raining, drats!

I thought I would write a little of what has been happening since the last post. I have still been working with Raven, moving her toward the advanced level. She is doing well, because I am learning little subtle details like lifting the outside rein just a little bit will make a difference in moving their butt over, or just holding the outside rein to stop forward motion on a side pass. These little details are what makes the difference between being successful in the manuever or not. Also, I found that if I grit my teeth, which I am known to habitually do, my whole body will be tense and thus that is what the horse feels, from my teeth right through my hands and seat. So I need to be more slack-jawed in order to accomplish softness. I have learned to also talk myself through a move out loud, the horse thinks I am talking to them, but it helps to stay focused on what move I am trying to get. So we have been making good progress. The horses are getting better and the rides more enjoyable for all of us.
I would have liked to ride today, but with the rain as it is I think I will give them a break and let them lounge in the barn for the day.
I watched a flick called, "buck" about Buck Branaman. Wow, is all I can say about that movie. I do have one beef with it though. They claim, Ray Hunt, Tom Dorrance are the ones who started this 'natural horsemanship' stuff. Not so, This is nothing new. John Rarey was known for this in the 1800's as was Jesse Beery.  In fact, the US Calvary used this method in training their troopers and horses, see a book titled "The U.S. Calvary Horse, General William H. Carter, Lyons Press, 2003. The first edition was published in 1895. They have been instrumental, though, in repopularizing the method.
I only wish I could get more of it in me so that I could be a better horseman for my horses and students.

Monday, October 17, 2011


Some people do not ride when it is windy. I like to anyway. I think it is a great time to test my horsemanship. I just have to keep the horses attention on me by moving his feet frontwards,backwards, left and right. So I did. I rode both horses today. That was fun. I took Jake first and worked him through all his paces. He did real good.
Then I got out Raven and worked her for a half an hour. That was all that was needed in order to accomplish what I wanted too. I have few more steps to get her through before taking on the advanced level. If I canvet some good time on her this week maybe next will be the start.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

beautiful fall

No, I didn't fall. It is beautiful with the leaves and all though. I haven't been working with the horses much because of time and such, but this week I have been able to work with Raven on saturday and yesterday. I got out with her yesterday and just worked on her backup from the ground. My goal was to get her to back with energy and keep pace with my movement as I walked toward her. I need to remember that I can't expect her to go as fast backwards as I go forwards though. I want to be able to back her in any direction and turn her in any direction without her stopping her feet, by using just my body language. She does pretty good now. I can turn circles and squares etc. They are not the most perfect, but they'll do. The purpose of getting a horse to back with energy in any direction is really to have control of their feet. It builds feel and connection too. By the way, this is an advanced exercise to boot. After about 20 minutes of this she was sweating bullets and I had put my back out again. And I didn't even ride her. Oh, well. Hopefully, I will get out again with her before the nasty weather hits this week.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


You know when you are seemingly run down and just not feeling like doing anything. It is time to get on your horse. Yeah. I did tonite and it was like I was recharging my battery. It felt good to be in the saddle again after over a week of not riding. I gave a few lessons, but no riding for me. So tonite after my work was done I saddled up Raven, did a little ground work, with the power line trimmers using their machinery as a distractant. We went through our routine and finally I got on and boy when I did it was like slipping into my lazy-boy chair after a long day. It felt so comfortable up there. She was relaxed and we worked together as one doing all sorts of moves including just walking around doing nothing in particular. We did work on the bending exercise and also lots of rein exercises to work on connecting the rein to her feet. I also worked her on roll backs along the fence and bending along the fence. She is so responisve to me. I just have to pick up a rein practically to get her to collect up. She is such a joy to ride. But I know this makes her better too. Peter Campbell said at his clinic that you shouldn't ride for yourself, but to help the horse. Well, I rode for both tonite and it feels good. I gotta stop letting other things get in the way of my riding. So do you need to be refreshed? get on your horse or whatever gives you pleasure and helps to releave the stress of the day, sans-drugs, alcohol, etc. do something productive.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

One hour ride

I had the opportunity to ride this afternoon for an hour. That was enough, but not quite. We were on a roll when I had to quit. But sometimes that is the best time to quit. Then we can start off on the good foot which he will remember. I did a few GW exercises to warm her up. It was only about 15 minutes and then we started to ride. It started off real good right from the start. We did the bending exercises then also with vertical flexion. We did the exercises where you tip the nose to the fence and then when she swings her butt over you back up. We also worked on the the cruising lesson which she did real good, also staying on the fence with light touch of the rein. I had her also turning on the forehand. I wanted to work on roll backs off the fence. We did a few at the walk then several at the trot. We did a few sidepasses, some shoulder in/out or leg yields as they are otherwise known. My hour ran out to quickly but we stopped and backed up with a gentleness that was nice.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

What Level are you?

Ok, today was test day for Raven to see what Level she is at. OR I am at. So I set the timer, as I wanted to see how long it took to go through both levels of GW.  We went through all the levels of fundamentals, except the round penning one. She would do that with or without a round pen. These included desensitizing to stick, lead, yielding hindquarters stage 1 & 2, backing up (four methods), yielding the forequarters, lunge for respect stage 1 & 2, flexing head and neck (4methods), sending, circle driving, leading beside and finally, fundamental desensitizing (3 Methods).
then we went on to Intermediate level GW: which is changing sides, run up and rub, desensitize to plastic bag, slap and tap, changing eyes, touch and rub:nose, poll, shoulders, out back exercise, Cpattern, throw to a stop, sidepassing on the fence (she doesn't need fence), leading behind, circle driving transitions, line driving, circle driving transitions on long line, bridle bending: forward around, yield hindquarters, forequarters and backup.
That took us about 40 minutes.
Then we went through all the riding in fundamentals, there are 14 exercises there and she knows them all. That was about 10 minutes, then on to the intermediate riding, and did vertical flexion at walk, yield and bend, yield hindquarters on fence, sidepass, rollbacks on fence state one, vertical flexion at trot, shoulder in/out, yield hindquarters and bring front end through, bending with vertical, sidepass from standstill, draw to a walk, there are several others that we did not have time to get through or even start to do today. I simply ran out of time. IT took a little over an hour to go through all of this. But I think with a little more work we are ready for advanced. Yeah!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Making Progress

Yesterday I was able to get with Raven and work out some things with her. We breezed through many of the GW exercises and seeing as they build off of one another and have components of the earlier ones I do not have to keep going over the fundamental exercises. Therefore, we spent our time on the intermediate ones, namely: sidepassing, bridlebending, out back, leading behind, touch and rub. She is progressing in these very well. Then when I rode her we spent out time on bending and yielding. We did couple trips around the fence doing the yield the hindquarters and back up. I didn't do the cloverleaf, which she needs work on going to the left, because we ran out of time. However, she is doing real well.  I think next time I will work on rollbacks, shoulder in/out when I ride.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Beautiful day to ride

I was able to get out with my horses this afternoon and have a great time. I took Raven through all the exercises I could except for line driving and she did great. I spent the last 30 minutes practicing some of the stuff from Peter Campbell's clinic. The main one of course was the tip the horses head and the butt steps over then backs up. This is good for getting lightness in the horse and a better backup. I walked around the arena tipped the nose out the hindquarters stepped over and backed up. We did this in both directions around the arena 3x stopping about every 20 feet and by the time I was done, I just had to pick up the rein with light fingers and she would step the butt over and back up with slack in the rein. That was nice. That exercise is also in CA's material. We also worked on the cloverleaf at a walk, trot and canter in both directions. She did well but going to the left she didn't like to stay on the leaf pattern and wantd to speed up and and not follow her nose. If the area would have been bigger it would have worked better for me but that is just something I will have to work on, going to the left with her.
Then I got to help Jacob along, though we only did about 30 minutes of ground work. He did not like the 'run up and rub' exercise. But that was real good for him, because he is spooky of those things. He and Raven do well at leading behind and staying with me whether going forward or back. He moved through the GW exercises real good in both the fundamental and intermediate exercises. He can do almost all of the Intermediate exercises. Actually, after thinking about it, there are only two that we never did: the run up and rub, and bridle bending. He may not be perfect at all of them, but he would rate a C or B in them, at the least. I noticed he still favors the right rear leg though so I have to take it easy with him. All we have to do now is get through the riding parts of each level and we are on to the Advanced level with both Raven and Jacob. Hopefully, within the next month we will be working on that level.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


Ok, I haven't had time to work my horses since friday and I am itching to get to it. Especially, since I went to a Peter Campbell horsemanship clinic on Saturday. So I will just let you know what I picked up on. First, Peter is a first rate horseman. After 43,000 horses, per his own count, you would think he had picked up on some things. He knows more in one hand than I will ever know.
Second, if  you watch and listen you will gain knowledge, eg. whenever you tip a horses head to the side and he steps his hindquarters over, he will take a step back, naturally. That was huge for me as that is one of the exercises every horseman should know.
Third, I need to take time to help the horse work through his issues rather than give up on him when things get a little dusty. So often people quit when it gets scarey because they don't want to get hurt. I am guilty. However, that is the wrong thing to do. I should simply get his feet moving with direction until he calms down and learns. That might take an hour or two to do. But it will pay dividends. I think that is true with people and kids too.
fourth, I should ride my horse to see what I can do for him, not for what he can do for me. I need to help him through things to expand and better my horse.
fifth, I should not have a conversation with my horse, but a discussion and make sure he understands my point of view. It is not open to his opinion.
sixth, Make sure his feet are between my hands and legs, the rein should be connected to his feet. When I pick up a rein, with one finger it should mean something to him so that he moves his foot where I want it.
seventh, If he has left mentally he has left physically, vice versa.
eigth, he should back up with life in his feet. To get that I step his hindquarters over and step him back and then make him reach further with that front foot.

There was a lot I had reinforced in my tool bag. It was well worth the trip to Big Rapids. Now if I can just get the time to get out there with Raven and Jacob.

Friday, September 9, 2011

The big test

Everyone has to take a test once in a while, Even me. I gave myself a test to see what we could accomplish in what amount of time. So we stared from Round penning, only I did it at liberty, no lead and no fence. I first got her walking with me in a circle then up to a trot. I got four laps then turned her in and went the other way. Only I started at the trot and lost her. She ran to the other end of the pen. I go her back after two or three attempts, took her around at the walk then up to trot and then yielded hindquarters, shoulders and a backup. That was a combination of almost all the fundamentals gw and we did it at liberty. I had to help her with being consistent at giving me two eyes. She protects her left side. Then we went to intermediate and did all but the line driving. this took about 30 minutes. Then I rode her and boy did she do great at flexion and softness in bending at walk and trot. did I mention I did all that without using the rein. It was all leg and seat. We even did some of the other exercises, yielding HQ and FQ turning, etc. all with just my leg. Oh, also stop and backup. We did the sidepassing and half passing, only didn't use a fence. We also worked on haunches in, bending with vertical flexion, draw to a walk. I did all this and then quit her and it was under an hour. Wow. I had a great time and made good progress. Now comes some line driving and getting some of the other riding exercises in order.
I Think I passed the test, even if I am the one who made up all the questions. HaHa.

just a second

The other day I was dying, not literally you understand, to get out and work with Raven. I am slavingly trying to get through all the intermediate exercises so I can move on to the advanced ones. However, I only had a second, ie. 20 minutes or so. So I got the halter out checked the exercises I, specifically, wanted to work on and went to work. I set my timer and started up. While it was fast and furious it was also very productive. We were able to move through the exercises 1-12 in that amount of time and that is doing each exercise 3-5 times on both sides with good movement and mini-breaks in between. The last three I haven't had time to work on yet, they are 14. Line driving, I have done this before, just not lately, not even in the last year with her; 15. circle driving transitions on the long line; 16. bridle bending: forward around/yield the hindquarters/yield the shoulder/backup; I haven't seen how he does this last one, but I think it is sending her forward, getting a good, soft yielding of hindquarters fluidly moving through to a yield the shoulder, then fluidly moving to a backup without stopping in between moves. She does this just fine.
So in 20 minutes we got all this accomplished. If you stay specific and on task you can get alot done in a short amount of time. Try it in anything you do and see if that is not right.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Tuesday's work

I got Raven out and worked with her yesterday. We already know the fundamentals GW and as those same components are used in the upper level exercises I decided to just reinforce backing up and leading beside. Then we moved on to the intermediate level of GW and went through 1-11 of the exercises all of these she does pretty good. I don't have time to explain them all now but they go from changing sides of the horse without moving your own feet and doing it with softness to sidepassing on the fence (which she does without the fence. I even sidepass toward me), leading behind which is me at one end of the lead and the horse on the other end and I walk away from her. She should stay right with me and match my gait, walk, run/trot, etc without me having to pull on the lead rope. She should even back up when I back up. The last one I worked on was turn and go, which is where I stand next to her head, flip the lead over her head and rump around her hocks and ask her to turn in the direction of the pressure which means she will turn away from me following her nose and then swing around in front of me to the same position she was in when we started. It took about 45- and hour to do all of these then we started riding. I always flex alot at the beginning then we worked on bending and transitions from a walk to trot to walk. Then vertical flexion at standstill and walk then a trot. I then worked on yielding the hindquarters and forequarters. We did a few haunches in and out and leg yields with softness also yielding hindquarters and bringing front end through which is the million dollar move of Dennis Reis. Then worked on bending with vertical softness too. We sidepassed and half passed from a standstill without the fence which is exercise #15 (actually his is on the fence) and we did the draw to a walk transitions which is #17 and the last one on his list in the intermediate course. I finished up with flexion and we were done. This took about an hour and a half. It is easy to put alot of time in when you are following this plan but it is necessary to get where I want to go in my horsemanship. There are other exercises that I need to work on with her that we haven't done yet, but I think it will be in a week or so and we will be in the advanced level. Some advanced we already know. I also need to bring Jacob up to speed on these things as well. I am waiting until his foot is good and healed though.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Working with Raven.

Had a good time Raven yesterday. I started with quick review of foundations gw. Then went on to intermediate. 1. Changing sides- which is simply standing by her head slipping your hand under her chin and bringing her head around so that she changes sides without you moving your feet. 2. Run up and rub - standing at end of lead and running up to her head letting the lead slide through hand. She is supposed stand still when you do this. It took her several tries over two days but I could do while waving vigorously a stick and bag at her and she stood still. The point is to get her to do this withvarious tools from different directions moving to her side. 3. Desensitizing to plastic bags. She does well. 4. Slap and tap where I rythmically slap her all over her body and she stands still. She did that good. There were a few more we worked through. Out of the 16 gw exercises we know all of them. I think. We also did riding :'bending which she is getting good at. She does ok at vertical. And she yields the hindqtrs, foreqtrs, leg yields, side and half passes, so we know most of the 17 riding exercises. Out of the 60 exercises in the levels she knows 55 of them for sure. We have a good head start.

Friday, September 2, 2011


Well I got started on the intermediate lessons with Raven today. It was only the groundwork stuff but I wanted to make sure I don't miss anything in the foundations. So we went through all the foundations 14 exercises for Ground work (GW) then I wanted to work on the bending and transitions in bending. She knows the rest of the riding portion real well. She did a splendid job at the bending at the walk, then we bumped up to a trot and she did real well at this too. I found the key is to keep the forward motion and not let her resort to stop and just moving her shoulders over. But we worked on this for a little over 10 minutes but I had to quit 'cause other things were scheduled.
I am anxious to move her on to the other lessons to see what I have missed. I will let you know what the GW exercises are in the next post.

Thursday, September 1, 2011


finally get a chance to work with my horses and it is too hot. I was going to go to a Sermon on the Mount ministries service tonite in 3 Rivers but I think I will just stay home and watch some videos on intermediate lessons.

Monday, August 29, 2011


I had to shelf the idea of working with Jacob for a time. He is a little sore in his right hind foot. So I substituted my other horse a Morgan named Raven. She is alot farther along than Jacob is. In fact, the other day we cruised through the foundations GW exercises and started the riding exercises. I only had time to work her on the bending at a walk though.

Today I went through the GW again and then started working through all the riding exercises. I doubled up on the cruising, fence and diagonal as she does real good at these. I then began the bending at a trot down to a walk. We were on the gravel road so we would just move out straight after bending to a walk. We probably worked on this for 20 minutes or so. Then things began to fall apart. She kept wanting to stop and move her shoulders through. She knows that real well, but I kept trying to drive her through that and keep moving. When we finished I just flexed her on each side several times and quit. The ferrier was here. Good ride though.

Saturday, August 27, 2011


Had a good day with Jacob yesterday. I went through all the foundation exercises to make sure he was good to go on. I didn't ride him as much as I wanted to because he is kinda puffy on his right hind foot. That foot has given him some troubles before. His pastern is swollen a bit so I put some medication on it to get the swelling down. I hope it goes away for him. I want to begin to work him again on Monday with the Intermediate exercises. I also found that he had a few vertebrate out so I really massaged the muscles around it. I also discovered his neck is really unbalanced, thick muscled on the left and somewhat atrophied on the right side. I started really massaging him there and he just put his head down and was like 'ah' that feels good. So that was the extent of our workout yesterday. Just getting a feel for those sorts of things in my horse helps me to understand him better. I know when my neck is out it is hard for me to do certain moves and he pain sometimes is prohibitive of any movement. So he and Raven are going to benefit from that knowledge on my part. 
have a great day.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

One more time

we are almost there. We went through all the exercises for the foundations lessons and he did real good at them. I used a pad Lisa loaned me on Jake instead of a saddle when I rode him this time. I went through the riding exercises all but the cruising/fence and diagonals. He did good at them. He has such a thin top line it was like sitting on the edge of a 1x4 so while I could feel him real good it was not real comfortable. I don't think it would be for him either as it centralizes my weight on one spot on his spine. I can feel just as well with a saddle as far as knowing where his feet are at. And I think the saddle is better for him because as narrow as his top line is it spreads out the weight over a much larger area. But we did do the exercises just with the pad on him.
I am open to trying new things if it will help me become better at feeling the horses movements and his being able to feel my cues so that we move as one.
It was interesting.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

riding in the rain

Last night, I worked with Jake and really pushed beyond things that he has been doing. His backup, his flexion with softness his feel with me is really great at this time. I took him down the road and worked on cruising, and just going straight without alot of babysitting from me and he did just fine. We worked at the trot and canter and his softness is even better. I think he is ready for the intermediate. He does know alot of those exercises, but we are going to keep with this until the end of the week and start with the intermediate lessons next week. I got caught in a thunderstorm about a mile from the house so we hurried back and didn't even have time to put him up properly as the lightning was getting a little close. Today should be a bit different hopefully.

Monday, August 22, 2011


boy did I have a great time with Jake this afternoon. He is so attentive to me now. The exercises I have been doing with him have worked wonders. I mean, I could get a backup, but now I get a backup in four different ways and it is a high energy backup. I also am geting the best flexion and softness I have ever got with him. It is amazing what consistent practice can do with a horse. I am going to work with him on these foundation exercises until the end of the week and then move on to see what we can do in the intermediate phase. As I said before I know he knows most of these exercises but It will be interesting to take him further. Anyway I can't wait to work with him tomorrow.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Continuing with Jake

I forgot to post yesterday about Jacob so I will just include that with today's post, seeing as I did the same things. Jacob is getting real good at all the exercises. We went out both days and did the cruising and fence exercises and today he was much better, more relaxed and going in a straight line down the road. I even had him cantering. Today we did much more cantering and went farther (about 4 miles). We are almost ready to move on to the intermediate course which after looking over I already know he knows several of those exercises. I am real happy with what I am learning myself. I found there are some holes in my lessons, probably due to paying attention to Dennis Reis or Ken Mcnabb, they have different exercises as well. But combining them to some degree works well. I know we are making good progress.
If Jacob didn't know any of this stuff it would probably take a good week of hour and a half sessions to get him to start understanding the groundwork and another couple weeks to get him through the entire fundamentals course. And then it would take some time more of consistent daily work to get him real good at all the exercises.
Right now I am finding that when I try to back him up he wants to move off sideways so I have to keep his two eyes on me. Whenever he takes his eyes off me I just bump his head back. I usually ask him to move his butt first then if he still doesn't I bump his head. I also do alot of rubbing with the stick between his eyes. So today he has been much better at giving me two eyes. The other issue I have had with him is that he was kinda stiff on lateral flexion. Then I started using my thumb in front of the cinch when I asked him to flex, I would add the thumb and he would bend around. I have done that so much on both sides that he has made much improvement, to the point where I don't have to use the thumb as much. That translates to my foot when I am in he saddle with him. So on the way back I worked alot on lateral and vertical flexion and leg yields, even started getting haunches in and some sidepassing. Can't wait for the next session.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

back at it

Finally, got to get back with Jake tonite. I was able to work with him for a couple hours tonite. He is really doing well on the exercises in the course. We just worked on refining things. I took him out cruising and it wasn't long he settled into a nice slow rythmic trot for 15 minutes or so and didn't waver. I let him rest then we turned around and started back and this time I bumped him up to a canter. He settled in for a while then broke gait. I bumped him back up and let him run out most of the way back. I already see lots of improvement and responsiveness to me even though I haven't worked with him since saturday. I am excited for tomorrow to see what more progress we can make. The thing I really like about this is the emphasis on not babysitting the horse by constantly kicking him up to the gait I want. The has been to let him make the mistake then correct him and let  him be responsible for keeping the gait, whether in the round pen or out on the road. It also makes the cue to go faster even more effective. It works the same with the rein. I did the fencing exercise by using the edge of the road and whenever he drifted where I didn't want him to go I just picked up a rein and added my leg to move him over. It wasn't long before he moving straight instead of staggering like a drunk.
Another good session. This was day four.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Day 3 of Jacob's refresher

Had a good time with him today. I have just been going through all the exercises of the foundations course. He is doing well. I have seen some things I need tweaked in me: eg. the way I ask for turns in round pen, circling better with him and leading better. I use the counting 1-2-3-4 and then increasing pressure, just to name a few of the things I am doing a little different. I also did something he calls 'cruising' with Jacob which gets him to rate his own gait, no nagging by me. Oh, I also am getting better at letting him make the mistake and then correcting him rather than nagging him. He is responsible to keep trotting until I tell him to slow or speed up. So I let him drop to a walk before I correct him. Today we went 3 miles after all the ground exercises almost all at the trot. I will tell you he settled right down and stayed primarily in the middle of the road. That is also combining the 'fence' exercise. He is responsible to go in a straight line and not wander all over. But again, I let him make the mistake and then correct him back to the middle. Clinton uses a fence, but since I don't have one long enough I used the center of the road. I guarantee by the time we got back, he was relaxed. Oh, by the way, that cruising is done on a loose rein (at the buckle/center of the rein). I just free handed him, no hands unless he needed correcting. I wouldn't do that with every horse though. It was a good workout for both of us.
Lisa, there is a leading exercise I will show you next time that I want you to do with Ceasar, after saddling, but before you do the sending or lunge for respect exercises with him. This might help prevent his humpiness.

Friday, August 12, 2011

No worries

yea I did it. I invested in Downunderhorsemanship series to see where I am at in my own horsemanship journey and to see where my horses are at. For the last two days I have been taking Jacob through the Fundamental series. There are 2-3 gaps, but we are well past that stage of the game. However, I have went back to square one and progressed through it to the end of the ground work. There was only one exercise I had not done, and that was circle driving where you lead the horse beside you, place your stick on his whithers and have him trot a circle around you until he relaxes. We did that and will continue to do that. It helps with flexion and softness. He also needs more work on flexing. As far as the riding exercises he does 12 of the 14 exercises and the two we have not worked on Cruising (riding a trot/canter on a loose rein expecting him to maintain gait) and then follow the fence(where he follows the perimeter of the fence on a loose rein so I don't have to use a rein). Those will be easy to work with him on. So, needless to say, I am pleased that he is so far along. My plan is to implement this with Raven too, but she is farther than Jake so I don't have to think about her that much with this. I will work on the fundamentals for five days and then move to the intermediate to see where we are at in that level. I wanted to start there but it pays (and already has) to go back to the beginning so that you don't miss anything or wonder what he is talking about later on down the line. He might mention something in the later lessons that if I did not have the beginning of the course I might not know what he is talking about. But anyway, It is fun and going good. Jacob is a good student.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Riding again

It has been a busy week. Sharon & I were at Beaver Island for 2 days, got home on Wednesday night. Then I had to get caught up on things on Thursday and Friday. Friday I had a lesson at Cheerios with 11 yr old Elly. She did real good on Buddy. I got a chance to drive a mini in a mini surrey. I want one of each. But today, I got a chance to ride, even if it was for only an hour. I had to try out Mike's repairs on my saddle. Thank You Mike. It all went well. Raven and I know a lot so I have been just trying to refine and better what we have. But I want to learn a sliding stop so I watched a video about it and went to work. I have to have a good stop and back up at the walk with just my seat, if possible. So I worked on that quite a bit today. I did it at the walk. I still want to do it more. She has to be real collected and round and then I sit deep in the saddle, take my legs off her sides and exhale. She stops n backs up. When I have this real good then I move to the trot. We still have to go to that level. I got bored and needed to check my back woods so we went for a trail ride. Flies were real bad though. We got back after about 1/2 an hour and then practiced kneeling a few times. Then I finished her and put her up. It was a good ride. It gets no better except to do more exercises with precision and lightness. I also want to learn the flying lead change.
So I have some things to work on.
I could use another horse to train too. If anyone knows of one.

Friday, July 8, 2011


the last two days I had the opportunity to mess around with my horses. I rode Raven yesterday and had her doing real well. I am working on her kneeling so I can get on her from there. Not that she is tall or anything, but it is kinda fun. I worked on that today too. I also wanted to work on her leg yielding toward me and she is getting real good at that. Then when I got on her I wanted to just refine the things she already knows and get them better. It is alot fun to ride her when she is so responsive to my feel.
Jake is getting like that too. I rode him today for just a bit. I worked mostly on ground school stuff, refining those things he knows. I also started to work on leg yield toward me. He is gonna take some work.
I had a lesson with Buddy at cheerios today too. So I really had some good time with horses today. gotta go the honey is home.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


I had a chance to ride Raven today. I have a different saddle, cause mine is in the shop for repairs. :{ Anyway, I got her saddled, a dream as always. She is just so soft with it all. I went through my exercises with her on the ground. I do the usual, disengaging, moving shoulders, back up and lunging. I also have her leg yielding toward me and away from me. She does real good at this because I have worked so much with her. I got on her and moved her around a bit in the pen, doing leg yields, side passes and haunches in kinda stuff. She is a dream to ride for me. Then we went for a ride down the road. I had a great time cantering her for about a mile. It was a real rocking chair soft, rythmic kind of canter. It is fun when she is balanced in a collected state. Then we just trotted and walked the rest of the 3 miles we went. I worked on keeping my upper body relaxed and soft as I was using my seat bones to move with her movements. I practiced speeding her up and slowing her down with my seat. She does better at speeding up than slowing down, especially if we are heading in the direction of home. It was just a real good ride. I got her back, unsaddled her, brushed her and then she went and rolled in the dirt. Ah, yeah! Thank you Lord for letting me have the time to ride.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

In between

I thought I woud let you, who are interested, know that Ceasar went home on Sunday. I will be having lessons with him and Lisa in the future and will let you know how things are going. For now I am in between horses, thought I am going to be working my own for a while. Gotta keep improving. I also have a horse that may be coming to me in the middle of the month for some work on manners. We shall see what happens there.
Until then, keep checking back. I might just post some happenings around here with my own philosophy and tips as well as with Raven and Jake.
Have a great day.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Day 35

This looks like the final time I ride with C until he goes home. Had a good time on him. He is so soft to ride, even when he is being willful about not going somewhere. I took him out of the pen and road down the road with him. I had him doing circles in the yard. He would drift toward the other horses but I drove him through it and got back on the circle. We went down the road doing leg yields in both directions. The tracks in the road look like I was riding a drunk horse, but I know better. I had him doing circles around the trees in a field down the road. They make for good training obstacles. Then I brought him back and let him grass for five minutes after I untacked him.
Lisa is getting a good horse back that will give her lots of pleasure as she learns to feel of him and him of her as they build their relationship.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Day 34

Seems like I am always a day late on these things. But I worked with C yesterday and had a good time on him. We did our normal routine then saddled and I rode in the round pen for a few minutes then we went out to the front yard and did  some more ground work going down the road and back. I worked him to go over a puddle and after a few tries he walked through like it was nothing. Then I got on him. Trainers say that whatever percentage of response and obedience you have your horse at in the pen they will have about half that outside of it. Well, when I got on him and started taking him in circles he just wanted to migrate back to the other horses in pen so I had to keep after him to follow his nose and listen to my direction. He got better with time. I took him down the road and worked him using the various exercises. We trotted a little with softness and was just starting to work on going around trees with softness when Lisa arrived for her lesson on him.
So I trotted him back and we switched gears for her lesson. She did a great job on him. I think they are going to have a real good connection because of her passion to want to ride with feel and not just get on and go. So she is taking the time to ride him bareback to help her get the feel of his movement and his foot falls and really begin to understand what softness is. Her desire to learn will help him too.
He did good and so did Lisa.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

day 33

Had a good session yesterday. I played with him outside the pen and saddled him. He did get somewhat humpy, but not much. That was because I didn't take the time I did before to work him through everything. It wasn't anything to be real concerned about though. He settled right down and we worked on refining and making more fluid and smooth the exercises he knows. I got on his back and his forward was real good. I wanted to work on his leg yielding and sidepassing in this session. So we did. I also did alot of trotting with him trying to keep him in a soft shape. It is just going to take time and consisency and he will develop more muscling in his neck. I have two more days with him and then he is going home.
The plan today is to work him again and then have a lesson with Lisa on him. I think I might ride him down the road and work him today. We will see.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Day 32

Yesterday as a good session in the morning. After our usual warmup we got saddled and did some more warmup, actually, trying to refine sidepassing and leg yields from the ground. Then I got on him and got some good forward from him without asking for anything else. I wanted to work on his collection at the gaits so I got him soft and away we went. We did lots of figure 8's with softness and changing shape then started to canter. We cantered alot probably 15 minutes all together, just trying to get him to be soft and collect for me. Then we went to working on sidepassing on the rail. He is getting pretty good at this, though initially he is dull. It is a matter of my position and cue being very specific. We also started to work more on his leg yields.
Later in the day Lisa came and worked with him and had a good session with him. This is important for her so that she can continue what has been started with him.
Today will be more of the same, just trying to refine him and get better at all the movements which translates to more confidence and safety on the trail.

Monday, June 20, 2011


Yesterday we had a good session. Again there was no bucking. He is still sensitive but allowed me to saddle and ride him. We rode outside the pen and did all the exercises that we are working on and he is getting better. So we went through everything we have been doing only trying to get it better.
He is offering me a canter with softness which is also good.
After I had worked him an hour or so, Lisa came and had a lesson with him. She did a great job with him too. So he had two hours of hands on working with him and he didn't pitch a fit at all. He needs compulsion at times to get him to go forward, but all in all he did great for her.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

day 30

Ok, it finally happened. NO bucking at all, not even a hint of it. When I got started with him I moved him around outside the pen, just going through the exercises. After about 10 minutes of lungeing and such we went in the pen and just took it easy. Then I saddled him and started moving him around. We walked and disengaged and did the falling leaf, real easy and soft. Then I got on him and worked him out. I started out soft at a walk, then a trot, and guess what, He offered a canter with collection. I gave him a big rest. Then we did it 3 more times and switched directions and the same thing. He offered a canter with collection and balance. Then we worked on sidepassing and counterturns. The rest of our time was working on those things. We started slow and easy and ended relaxed. This is what I have been working for with him. It was all good.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Day 29

Yes, this is the second post today.
I wanted to get the ride in before all the rain. I wasn't successful. It didn't rain hard, but enough that I put my rain jacket on.
To start with he wasn't the most eager to workout today. He didn't want to stand and be brushed. Can't say as I blame him. I didn't really want to work in the rain either, besides it was lunch time.
Well, I made him move around doing all the exercises with him for about 15 minutes, then asked if he would like to stand while I brushed him. He didn't have a problem with that. I went ahead and saddled him too. He didn't like that. I ended up stirring up some dust, his choice, not mine. However, we got some good work done sidepassing down the rail, leg yielding across the pen, falling leaf around the pen, lots of intense backups. It was a good workout and he changed his mind about wanting to get all tied up in a knot.
Then I got on him. He did real good. He is getting real soft. I still have some work to do getting the reins connected to the feet, but we are getting there. We walked with softness and then trotted both directions maintaining softness through the transitions. Then I started to work on leg yields. It took some time to get it going to the right, but going to the left he is much better. Then we went back to going forward and even got into cantering with softness. He did it pretty good for only the second day. I wanted to work on sidepassing or 1/2 passing down the rail so we worked on that in both directions til he would give me a couple steps then we worked on going forward a bit. Did some backups and then went back to the rail for side pass. When he gave me some good steps about 8' then we quit.
good session rain and all.

Day 28

Had a good workout with Ceasar last night. I have been working alot on the groundwork getting things more refined for him, so we have been doing sidepasses and leg yields and lots of backups with energy and disengagements with softness. Then I saddle him and do the same thing again and if he gets antsy with it I just sidepass him around the arena. Oh, he humps up a bit but I keep it up until he settles down, then we walk off. I disengage with as much softness as possible and then gradually work into sending him off. If he gets too fast, I softy disengage and start again until he will move off at a walk. He is getting alot better.
I got on him and started out flexing him then moved off at a walk on a loose rein. I wanted to work on his softness again, especially at a canter, but I needed to warmup to that. So first we got him real soft at a walk, then moved up to a trot and got him real soft. Then I switched gears and worked on disengaging with softness. Then started to work on counter turns/moving his shoulders over. I also wanted to work on his back up. Then we went back to forward with softness at a walk then trot then up to a canter trying to maintain that softness. It, of course broke down at the canter because he doesn't know how to carry himself balanced. But once we got up into a canter I continued the rein effect until he gave me softness. He finally did if for one stride. I brought him to a walk and stop and let him rest as a reward. Then we tried again. This time it didn't take near as long and after a few more tries he was willingly seeking that softness. So when I got it for a four or five strides we had a good long rest and tried in the other lead. Going in the right lead seemed to be a bit easier for him  get it. So we didn't have to work as long at it.
We ended up quitting on his note. After a cool down of walking and working on counterturns we were done.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Day 27

Last night I had a good session with Ceasar. He is making progress. I am trying to help him get over his saddling issues. He stands to saddle and get on now. That is good. What I do after that is just keep disengaging him softly, and moving his shoulders and gradually sending him out. He starts to get humpy and I move him sideways around the arena, or what we call 1/2 passing away from me. He is getting real good at this. I do that because it is hard for him to move like that and it calms him down so that when I ask him to go forward he won't be so tempted to take off fast and buck. He I also want to do this because it is a good ground exercise to control his movements. It works to calm him down.
I began the session today with just moving him around going through all the exercises he knows and working on getting them better. I want them all to be soft and with energy. So we worked for 1/2 an hour on the ground, got him saddled and the rest of the time in the saddle.
Mounted I wanted to work on softness at the walk, maintaining softness through the transition to a trot. He carries his head high and his back is hollowed out, ie. u-shaped. So we want him collected/soft and his back in an upside down u-shape, rounded. This is the balanced way to move, like an athlete lifting weights with proper form.
Thus, we got him soft at the walk, then the trot. He is carrying himself better at this. I then broke off from that and started to work on getting the reins better connected to his feet, so that when I lift the rein in a certain way a particular foot moves in the correct direction, for say, a disengagement. We did this on both sides the went back to moving out in a walk trot walk sequence trying to hold shape and softness. He did well. I got him in a good canter and started to try to get him soft, but he has carried himself so long all hollowed out, try as I did, I couldn't get him to be soft. It is going to take alot more work at this gait to get that. So we will keep working on this from walk and trot and then move to a canter. He will get it, but it is going to take some time and to retrain his brain and muscle memory. The one thing I do like about him is that he always goes into the correct lead.
Positive things are going on with him. I have good forward movement, he willingly gives me softness, he disengages, is starting to learn the counterturn, has a pretty good stop and backup. We still have to work on 1/2 pass and leg yield, although we have done some work on that.
He still has the issue of not liking the saddle, but we have figured out it is a back and girth issue, not an obstinate, stubborn attitude issue.
Til next time.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Day 26

I am writing this on Sunday morning. I rode him yesterday, but time didn't permit the log. Have the grandkids now.
I got him ready and had to move him around a bit, but he settled down quickly and let me saddle him. I did about 40 minutes of ground work with him working on everything. I spent alot of time moving him in a sidepass along the rail, all the way around the pen, because he wanted to play his game. So I just made him move sideways. He does that pretty good. I really want his back up good to so we worked that. I also want his disengagements really soft so we worked on that. Then I got on him and wanted to get good forward movement. I only had to use my crop a few times and then it was no longer a problem to get him to go forward. I also wanted to work on collection at walk and trot. We spent most of our time on that. I rode him about 40 minutes too. I worked on getting his butt to move over too, getting therein connected to his feet. He is getting better and better at that. We also worked on getting his shoulders to move over.
So, we were getting forward, flexion, disengagement, vertical flexion, backup, worked a little on leg yields, counterturns/moving his shoulders. We are not at half pass yet, but we are getting there. And of course his stop.
I had him cantering a lot too, but I want that softness in him instead of his head high and out of balance. I may or may not get this by the time he goes home.
It was a good time with him.

Friday, June 10, 2011

day 25

Had a good ride with Ceasar today. He had been worked by Lisa earlier in the day and that went well according to her. I had him following me all over and then put the halter on and rubbed him a bit and put the saddle on him. I didn't flank him out at all and he was good with it all. I then calmly moved him around at a walk. As long as he stayed next to me he was fine. I gradually moved him out farther from me and that is when he starts to get nervous. But we worked through things. He just thinks, for some reason, that I want him to move fast when he gets out on the circle. It may be that he is afraid or something, so we just brought it back in and did some sideways on the circle to get him to calm down. I spent the last 30 minutes riding him. He is getting buttery soft. It is amazing what a short piece of hose used gently on on his butt will do to get him to go forward faster. I didn't have to use it much and that was just a little rub. Then we were really able to work on collection at the walk and trot. I even had him working on leg yields and counter turns. We will build off of this from here on out.

I got off and rubbed him down and he was real relaxed with me. The way I like it.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Day 24

Yeah! We had a hot, but great session today. I flanked him out and did all the preliminary things I have been doing. The saddling went fine. I started disengaging him both sides and slowly started working in going forward at a walk and then bringing him back to me with a disengagement. Eventually I started to move forward more with him and then sending him out and bringing him back at a walk. We did both sides. His right side is the one he usually has trouble with. It got a little dusty, but no bucking. I shut him down as far as going fast when I sent him out so that he immediately slowed to a walk. When he did get a little fast was during the falling leaf exercise, but I slowed him down to just baby steps breaking down each move so that it was calm and relaxed. This all took about 30 minutes, then I go on him and rode for about 25 minutes. I wantd to work on connecting the reins to his feet, softness and then started to work on a counter turn with him. He gave me a couple pretty good ones on both sides.  I moved him into a trot to work on softness at that gait for just a couple times around in each direction. Then we quit and I rubbed on him on his withers and girth area and he didn't seem bothered either place. We are making good progress.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Day 23

Today was basically a repeat of yesterday only I could tell he didn't want to deal with me today. It was really hot. I have to say though, he came around to my way of thinking real fast. I didn't want to get him all worked up because of the heat. Anyway I did the flanking out and such. I put the saddle on and he did his usual, but I kept shutting him down and tying to get him to calm down. I think he still doesn't know how to go on the circle slow. He seems to think he has to go fast. I got him to slow down though. I got on and rode for a good while, just working on soft and forward in his movement. I am starting to teach him what my legs mean so he was getting confused, but that will come with time and consistency. I quit him and then spent alot of time rubbing in the girth area and behind his withers. He didn't like some of that at first but he soon relaxed and gave a big sigh. I know that he has a lot of sensitivity in the girth area so we just have to help him work through this. I am confident he will. It was a good session for us both.

Day 22

I thought I better get this written before I forget. Yesterday was a good day with Ceasar. He came up to me like He should be, even though I had the halter in my hand. The first time was when the farrier was here to trim his feet. He did good with that.
Later on when I worked with him, He came right up to me and I rubbed on him and brushed him then put the halter on him. I moved him around a bit just slow work with him. We went through our exercises. He is getting much softer so that I can have a good float in the line when I ask for disengagement  or whatever. I checked out his girth area, he is touchy there even with my hand. I got the lariat out and flanked him out with that. I can get it real tight on his girth, flank and belly he just will follow me around. I am getting so I can lead him from those three areas. However, I really would like him to shift his weight towards me more. I drove him forward and he would just turn towards me and stop if I stopped and then I would release. I did get him to move forward with it on his belly and really put all my weight into it then he humped up 4x, not really big bucks, but kicking back with both barrells. He stopped and I released. Did it again and he humped 2x, then again and 1x and again and he didn't hump up at all. So I stopped there with the flanking out. Then I put the saddle on him and he moved a couple times, but that could be because he thought I was moving. Once I got him cinched up, I did alot of soft disengaging and moving his shoulders, slow and easy. Then gradually asked him to move forward and off from me at a walk. He did begin to take off, I shut him down and kept on asking. He settled down after not too long a time. When I could get him to move off at a walk in both directions and then move up to a trot or canter and back, and it was smoother, then I let him rest. he needs lots of reassuring rests between the steps once I get what I am after. Then I got on him and he moved off better than ever. Offered to trot for me and even got him up into a canter in the left lead. That was great. I finished the last few minutes just working on softness. He is getting real soft and balanced. For him that is key. He needs to learn to move balanced and round because he has always moved out of balance and hollowed out, which is clearly noticeable in his neck and musculature. So I am asking him to use muscles that have not been really worked. Thus this is taking some time. But he will turn out to be a good horse, I am sure.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Day 21

Had a real good session with Ceasar yesterday. I have learned to start slow and go slow with him as calm, cool and relaxed as possible. He was right with me from the beginning, which is real good. I put the halter on and played with him a bit, didn't even have him real worked up lungeing or anything like that. Just disengagements and moving the shoulders, back up, all real gentle and soft. I tested him around the girth with the lead line, then got my lariat out and worked that over him. All was still real relaxed. Then I put the lariat around his girth and flanked him out. He rung his tail once or twice but then settled down nicely. I was leading him by the girth, putting as much pressure as I possibly could on that girth. I repeated the process at his flank and then the belly. Each time just wanting him to find the rest by yielding to the pressure. He did real good. All was relaxed with him. Then I put the pad and saddle on and he stood for that ok. After I got the saddle on him I didn't want to just send him off, so I did some real soft disengagements and then sent him off at first next to me then a little farther. He did get tied up in knots wanting to go fast, but I just shut him down and kept working at it from both directions until he would move off at a walk. He tried to buck some, but I shut him down and made him go back into a walk each time. What I found really worked good was to move him sideways down the rail. So everytime he started to get knotted up, I just moved him sideways. This made it hard for him to move in the way he wanted and helped to change his mind. When he did I asked him to go forward at a walk. If he busted up again we just repeated the process. It worked pretty good. When he was doing this pretty good I got on him and just worked on getting him real soft. We had about 15 minutes of this and boy was he doing good. We worked on stopping and backing with softness as well as moving off with softness.
I should note too that as I was checking him out at the beginning of the session, I was looking over his withers and running my hand over them and about the 13th or 14 vertebrated he is out pretty good. So I rubbed this and rubbed this until he stopped swishing his tail and twitching. I did this several times. I didn't want to put the saddle on when I knew he may have been hurting right where the saddle sits. Anyway it all worked out real good. It is just those little things that might be effecting how he handles the pressure of the saddle.
Great session all in all.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Day 20

Still trying to solve the bucking and saddling issue. But first I should mention that when I went to feed them this morning, guess who was looking a little sheepish, with head hanging low, hose tangled around his feet, a bale of hay strewn in his stall, the door open, the grain bin lid off and the manure fork in his stall? Yes, it was Ceasar. He was caught red handed. I put him in the pen with bucket of water and checked him later to see if his system was still working. It was.
I met with him at 11 this morning for our session.
I started off real slow and easy. He caught me and I put the halter on him and just played with him a few minutes, not getting his excitement up any. Then I got the lariat out and commenced to sacking him out with that. Then about 20 minutes into our session I put around his girth and commenced to flank him out. I discovered earlier just with my hand putting pressure on his girth that he was somewhat sensitive there. So I kept that up till he relaxed. I did that with the lead rope also. Now it was lariat time. My goal is for him to find the rest place by standing and facing me even though there is alot of pressure on the girth. So first I did this at the place where the cinch would be. He moved off and after some time he would stop and get release. Then I started to lead him by the girth, teaching him that release comes when he yields to the pressure. Then I moved it back to where the flank cinch would go and went through the same process. Then at his belly. Here he did some bucking, but he soon settled down and I could put lots of pressure on him, pulling with all my weight and he would just stand there, then come towards me. When I could move him off and he still would not buck but would slow down and face me, I quit. I will try this tomorrow too.
Then I put the saddle on and before he could run I off I just kept disengaging him with softness and then asked him to move off. When he offered to go fast and maybe buck I shut him down by disengaging him and then sending him again. Soon he was able to go off without bucking, but he still took off like a shot. So we worked on moving off slowly. I didn't ride him today, we ran out of time and I wanted him to see that we won't always ride when I work with him. This was a baby backwards step to hopefully fill in some holes in his training. I am just trying to help him understand that it is going to be alright. We ended on a relaxed note. So I believe the session was real productive. We will do the same tomorrow only I will move through it a bit faster and also ride him, hopefully.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

bareback riding

did a great job working with Ceasar this afternoon. She is learning the steps and exercises needed for her to communicate well with him. Ceasar seemed to be relaxed with it all too. I had other plans for him which would have lit up his world, but I think this is actually better for him. I have learned with exercising in myself that it is good to have a relaxed day of training. You are able to come back much better the next day. So today, Lisa, schooled him, under my tutelage of course, he he! She took him through all the exercises and worked on refining herself a little more. Then she got on him and rode him for a good 30 minutes or so just getting the feel of his movement under her. She worked on the disengagement and backup, as well as getting him soft and following his nose. She also worked on learning footfalls so that she could cue him at the right time when it is easiest for him to move a particular foot. Eg. If she was asking him to speed up she could ask the outside hind foot to speed up just when it is starting to be picked up and stretched forward. Or if she wanted to move his hip over she could again ask the inside hind foot to move over just as it is being picked up. It is kinda like you when you want to move your foot you have to take the weight off of it then move it. The same thing with the horse. So asking at the right time is crucial to communicating with the horse. Lisa is on her way to gaining that knowledge. Getting a horse to move like this is so much fun. When she was finished, he stood there about half asleep. Now that is relaxed.
Tomorrow, I suspect will be a different story.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

day 19

Ok, today I tried something new. I got in the pen and as low key as possible let him catch me, put the halter on him and pad and saddle, doing the same as yesterday. Today when I sent him off he went to bucking just briefly. I sent him faster and then changed directions on him. then I got on him and rode him around. I wanted to work on softness so that is what we did, lots of circle esses and then asking for the vertical softness. He got real soft at the walk. then we moved up to trot and worked on it til he was good and soft there. Then I got off and took him out to the front yard to get him ready to go down the road. So we worked out there doing the same things. I had to fight with him some 'cause he wanted to eat grass, but I kept him moving and giving softness to me. He got real good. Even better at the backup with softness. I led him down the road about 100 yards and worked on the way there and back just doing stops, the falling leaf exercise, etc. Then took the saddle off and let him eat some tall grass for 6 or 7 minutes and then quit him.
Tomorrow we are trying something new but old. I will tell you what happens tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

18th day

Had a good time with Ceasar today. I tried a different saddle and different approach. I got in the pen with him and he started to walk away, but I caught his eye and pulled him toward me. Then I got the halter and he started to walk away, but I pulled his eye again and he came towards me. I kept walking away from him and he stuck with me, so I put the halter on him. I walked with him some and then sent him around me and had to work at getting him to slow down to a walk, but after a while he would go off at a walk. Lisa if you go to parelli's horsenality I think he is a left brain introvert predominately. Anyway, I introduced the pad again and worked through that. Then the different saddle, on and off, on and off a few times. I cinched him up and sent him off. He didn't really buck, just went off at canter. I slowed him down and worked with him on these things til he would calm down. I then got on him and rode for the last 30 minutes. He gave me what I was after, walk trot canter. Then I just started working on softness at the walk. I discovered one of the things when he canters is that he is not balanced at all. I could tell because he would make a sucking wind noise every other step. That's why I went back to working on softness. If I can get him balanced at the walk and trot then I can work on getting him balanced at the canter. Which will make it easier for both of us. so that is what we will work on tomorrow.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Day 17

I get to write this a second time.
I worked with Ceasar today and decided that I would try a different tact.
Instead of just going up to him in the pen, I ignored him. It wasn't long before he was coming up to me and so I would disengage him and move his shoulders and just keep ignoring him. I would rub him all over then walk away. He would follow me. Then I picked up the halter and he started to move away, but I just ignored him as before and soon he was back with me again. But I just rubbed him and acted like I didn't want the halter on him. We played this catch me game a while longer and then I put it on him. He was willing. I did the same thing with the pad. The saddle I put on him and he stood there then I took it off and walked away. Finally I put it on him and started to cinch him up and then took it off. I put it back on and cinched him up and then walked around. He did hump up some like always and so I just moved him around and then he settled down. I didn't drive him today, I just put the bridle on and flexed him some then got on him. He moved off so I disengaged him to a stop and made him wait til I wanted him to move. When we did go he gave me a good walk and I just played the circle ess game with him. We then moved up to a trot and he for the first time kept it up good for me, even having his ears pointed forward and up instead of back like usual. We changed directions several times. Then I asked for a canter in the right lead and he gave it to me without much discussion and we kept it up for two laps. Then I slowed him, stopped, backed up and let him rest. We did the same thing in the left lead, but I hindered him by not asking on the correct foot. I was off so it was hard for him to give me what I wanted. Finally, after a few tries I got him into it and he kept it up for a lap. We stopped and rested. Then we went to a trot and through this process for a while longer. I stopped and got off then mounted on the other side. He didn't seem to like that we weren't done. But he went along and then I did stop. I know that sometimes the problem is not him, but me, ie. the canter. However I still wonder if saddle fit, back problems or something like that is causing him to want to buck everytime I saddle him. I think I will try a different saddle too. Anyway it was a good session.

Friday, May 27, 2011

down the road

This is day 16 for him.
He only took 2 minutes to catch me today. I think He must be real sensitive, because if I stand up and have him move around me he keeps moving, but if I squat down he will come sooner. So today, I did both. I squated down and then when he came to me I stood up and he moved off. I remained standing and just let him move around me and like I said the whole thing only took 2 minutes and he hooked to me. I walked around daring him to leave and when He wouldn't I put the halter on and down the road we went. I did lots of he falling leaf as we moved down the road. Cars and busses went by they didn't seem to bother him any. A dog came out at us, but we kept after the dog and kept right on moving. We turned around at the first corner and came back.
Back in the round pen he let me saddle him, only tried to move once. After that was done I walked him around careful to not get run over if he started his bucking. Then when I sent him out on the circle he humped up a few times. We did the falling leaf and then he settled down.
I then got the bridle on him and the long reins and ground drove him for several minutes. He did get a bit frisky with that, but nothing that was too bad. We did several direction changes, some leg yields, backups and stops. Then I got on him and had a good ride on him. I rode him around changing directions and going from walk>trot>walk several times and actually kept him in a good trot for several minutes changing directions and staying in the trot.
Then I asked for canter and he gave it to me. He threw his legs back a few times, but then straightened out. He gave me a canter all he way around and I gave him a big rest in the middle. Then I did it in the other direction until he gave me a good canter all the way around and gave him another big rest.
I did several disengagements with stops and backups then we quit for the day.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

day 15

The storms kept me out of yesterdays session, but today we got back at it.
I put him in the pen got everything set up to start and again he didn't want to catch me. So he ran around for 4 minutes, I timed him, before he decided I was a good person to be around. He is catching me faster. Then instead of putting the halter on him I just kept walking away from him and changing directions daring him to leave me. When I was satisfied that he wanted to be with me I put the halter on him. I sacked him out as before with the saddle and pad so that he wouldn't keep moving off. Putting it on and off gets heavy though. Finally, I cinched him up and then moved him and he wanted to run again, but I just kept him doing the falling leaf. I bet we did that 50x or more before he settled down and wanted to walk through it. Then he blew it again wanting to go fast.  But it didn't take him long on this second go round for him to settle down. Then I hobbled the stirrups and put the driving reins on him and ground drove him several times around the pen, changing directions and stopping and so on. He did real well, nice and calm. The rein on his back leg didn't bother him at all. The last 15 minutes I rode him with reins and bit. He did just fine. We worked on his backup with driving him and from his back. He rounds up nicely. I still don't have a real willing partner like I want. So we have some work to do. I plan to take him down the road tomorrow on the ground, do some ground driving and ride him again. He's a puzzle, that horse, that's for sure.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


I gotta make this short, but I will finish later if I have to.
I am still trying to learn this horse. I had to run him just a bit when I went to put the halter on him. And then did some work with him with that on before I presented the pad. He accepted it.  I did it just as if I needed to sack him out in the beginning. I am finding that I may have assumed too much and went a bit too fast for him. Anyway, I got him used to the pad and then did the same with the saddle. ON and off, that bugger is heavy. Finally, I cinched him and he didn't offer to move. I moved him a bit up close after saddling, I don't want him bucking. Then I played with him doing the falling leaf and lungeing him. After about 30 minutes of this kind of work out, with lots of rests for him (I also put the bridle on him) I got on him. This time forward motion was real good. He moved right out at a walk and when I asked for a trot, it was nice and easy. We practiced walk>trot>walk several times in both directions and I let him rest. Then we went back to work only this time he was doing so well I decided to ask for a canter, and guess what? no fighting me. I asked on the correct foot for the correct lead and he gave it to me. Yippee! I am learning to have him take just baby steps in everything I do first before I ask for more and he is ok with that. Anyway a great ride with not a lot of testiness on his part. It was fun and good.
I think I got it all.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Day 13

Ceasar got a lot of attention today. Lisa came over and got a lesson on him to improve his ground manners with her. There is a belief among horseman that a horse isn't halter broke unless you can put any of his four feet wherever and whenever you want. That means he moves his hip, his shoulder (without crowding you), you can back him up or go forward with slack in the line, just doing all this with 'feel'. So we worked on those things. And since she was going to take him on a walk down the road, we also went over how to do the 'falling leaf' or C-pattern exercise. That is where you put he moving the shoulders, disengagement and send cue all together in one fluid move back and forth in front of you as you move forward yourself. This improves balance, feel, control of the horse. So after a good lesson she took Ceasar out for a stroll down the road, about a 2 mile walk round trip.
Later in the afternoon, after I did some round pen management (shoveling dirt that had been pushed out under the fence, back in the pen and smoothing that out).
Then It was my turn to have some fun with him.
I put the halter on and moved him around some going through some exercises then asked him to stand for the saddle pad. He wanted none of that. So guess what. I lunged him for several minutes changing directions repeatedly and then asked again. He still wouldn't stand so I, intensely, with lots of energy, did the falling leaf with him. Then I asked if he would like to stand for the pad. He agreed that might be a good idea. However, I didn't just put it on him. I rubbed him with it, sacked him out real good with it as if he had never seen it before. When he stood calm I left it on him and the took it off again. Put it back on and went and got the saddle. I let him sniff it and get a good look at it. Then I swung it on his back and let it set there. Now today, I used my breast collar and flank cinch. So I got it all hooked up, he stood for it all. Then I moved him off, he immediately went into a buck and then lined out pretty good. I lunged him, changing directions several times and doing the falling leaf again until he calmed down. Then I put that bridle on him. He went to chewing on the bit alot, but once he got moving the bit didn't seem to bother him. I moved him forward as if I was ground driving him and got him settled down to where he would walk with me good and stop with me and back up. We did it in both directions. I then did some flexing with him. Now in all of this I wasn't using the rein, I still have the halter on him and he is just carrying the bit. I got on him and flexed him and had him move off. We did some walk trot walk and stopping. I am not using my feet or legs to get forward motion, but I speed up my seat, kisss to him and spank him to get him moving. He wants to drag his feet. So we got alot better forward motion out of him. I was coming to the place where I wanted to quit so we were going to the right and I moved him to the center, but he sort a threw a tantrum so I moved him off and up to a trot. We criss crossed the pen and at one point he really went to buck a time or two so I just drove him through it and kept at the trot., both directions again and when I thought he had settled down and got his attitude right I quit him. I think it was a good session all in all. The buck was just attitude and he pushed through it. I just have to get him to stand to be saddled. So I have to convince him that it is a good idea for him to stand. We will see how long this takes. Tomorrow is another day.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Day 12

Well this morning I needed to do some backtracking to fill some holes in his training. You see he doesn't want to hook on to me as he should be by now. If I go in the pen and try to get his attention and catch me he just blows me off. That is why he won't stand still to be saddled and would be the root of other issues. So this morning I decided to really round pen him so long that he will hunt for me. So that is what we did. I didn't even attempt to brush or saddle him. As soon as in entered the pen and asked him to stand with me for a moment he decided it was time to get away. So I let him and then wouldn't let him stop. 7 minutes later he asks for a parlay and I let him come to me and rest. I didn't do anything for 2 minutes. Then started to just brush him with the stick and he took off again. Well this kind of dance went on for another 30 minutes, back and forth. He would come to me on his own or when I asked him and rest then I would send him off or he would leave on his own. I had to make sure that I wasn't giving him an inadvertent cue to leave. There can be no misunderstandings about what I mean with him. Towards the end I could catch his eye with a snap of my fingers and my body leaning like I am asking for a disengagement and he would come to me and stand. I did that several times just to make sure it wasn't a fluke. I want to be able to catch his eye and pull him to me, even from across the arena. So I made sure of this then we quit. I might add that during this entire process we did work on back up and disengagement and moving his shoulders without a lead. He was so hooked to me that his eyes were glued to me no matter where I went. He stuck with me. If he even acted like he wanted to depart I would try to bring him back and if not then make him keep going for a lap or two or maybe a half of a lap and then do my cue to draw and pull his eye and he would respond. By the time we quit he was spent, there is no doubt. I didn't bother saddling him. I think that would not have been fair to him and I didn't ride him. He has two days off to recuperate and think about our conversation and on Monday we will start again.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Day 11

Alright, about the session today? Interesting. I went to put the saddle pad on him and he wanted to move. So I let him move and just kept him at it. We went round and round about this a few times and finally, he stood while I put the pad on him. Then I put the saddle on and he stood. Mind you I don't have a halter and lead on him. I wanted him to be willing to stay, not captive. Anyway, I almost got him cinched up and he decided to leave. During the ensuing ruckus the saddle was dragged against the fence and a fence rail was broken off. I got him settled down and gathered the scattered tack and put the halter on him. I commenced to make him move alot, doing what is called the falling leaf exercise which is sending him back and forth. Then I let him rest and put the saddle on him. Interestingly, he stood still for this. When that was on him I again did alot of intense movement with him and checked for flexing easily and then got on him. I probably rode him about 30 minutes trying to get some good forward motion. He, as I found out yesterday goes soft nicely. I moved him up to a trot and back to a walk and back to a trot several times in both directions. Then I wanted to see if I could get a canter out of him. It started with just a stride or two, but going to the left we worked up to going half way around the pen. I let him stop frequently to reward the canter. Then we went to the right. This is his hard side. He gave me a trot ok and easily drops to a walk or a stop. I asked for a canter and he gave me a stride. We rested. Then moved to a trot and then asked for a canter again. He pitched a little fit, tried to buck but I kept him moving forward. He gave me a canter and I let him stop. I then got another canter about 5-6 strides and Let him stop and rest. We quit on that note.
I still have to go back and get is attention on me quicker in the round pen. He should give me both eyes when I start working with him, but he doesn't do that. He still has to play in the round pen before He finally comes to me. I got to work this out better, because his is foundational. I want him to willingly be with me, rather than just be captive. So fortunately we have some things to work on.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Day 11

I am learning this horse. We had the best session yet, though it didn't start that way. I went through his carrot exercise, which he always does well. Then tried to saddle him and he wouldn't stand still so off the saddle slid and away we went. I made him move something fierce. By the time we were done He stood for me to put the saddle on. I moved him a little more, He didn't buck at all. I did some flexing and disengagements with him and then got on. The first 13 minutes were tough because he made them tough with the saddling and all, but after I got on him he moved off good. My goal here was to ride about 30 minutes and get some good forward movement. He moves real good when I am not on his back, but then it is like he is moving through concrete. It is like he has sticky feet. I have been letting him get away with it for a time because I want to make sure I have softness and flexion and a good one rein stop. However, it is time to put the gas on now. So today we got the gas working. Like I said, he didn't want to go into a trot and stay there, so I had to get after him a time or two. When I got a good trot all the way around I would let him rest for a couple minutes. I didn't want to just keep driving him. So we repeated this several times and gradually increased the distance until he would just keep at the trot til I let him stop. Now mind you, I didn't just keep him going. I only had him trot around 2 or 3 times then let him stop. He was good going to the left, but he really didn't like going to the right, probably because of his shoulder, but he moves fine without me on his back. All it really took was to drive him through his little temper tantrum, 2 x and then he didn't do it again. I rewarded him with rest of course.
In addition, when we were resting I would flex him. Some times he thought he would move off. My response was to either disengage him to a stop and continue flexing or to make him move even faster around he pen. Then ask him to stop and let him rest. He needs to learn patience.
A great benefit to all of this is that he is really soft. He will collect up nicely, with shape. He will stop with my seat and no rein and even give me a collected backup. He is going to be a joy to ride once we get him through his personality disorder of wanting his own way. He thinks he should stop when he wants to. Not a chance.
One other thing I am learning about him is that there is a time to be soft and he responds well. But there is a time when soft doesn't work and He needs to big stick, but once he realizes it, you won't have to go back there again.
I can't wait to ride him tomorrow and see how he is.
Anyway, Good day!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Day 10

This was a good session tonite. I did his exercise and then brushed him and saddled him. He did improve on the standing to be saddled a little bit. He didn't buck, though he did move right out pretty fast. I moved him around the pen some and waited for him to start asking to be near me. Then I did some exercises with the halter on him. He is doing pretty good. I spent about 30 minutes on his back tonite just working on forward motion. He really has sticky feet, which is not a good thing. I want him to willingly move out. I gotta say one thing though. He is really soft. I had him shaped and collected at the walk several times. He disengages easily and I even got some leg yields out of him. He responds to my cue to walk from a trot real easy and then to a stop. The problem is he doesn't want to go without alot of coaxing him to move out. He has a nice trot if I can keep him in it. He does better going to the left than the right. That might be because of that shoulde injury he had. He got to a point where I was asking for a trot going to the right and he tried to buck, and then kick out and then to rear a little, but I kept driving him forward and when he settled down I let him go down to a walk. He is starting to slow down and stop with my seat cue. So that is an advantage with this type of horse. I flexed him alot and he is getting soft. His vertical softness is even better. That is what I finished with. He is also touchy about touching his groin area so I worked on that some as well.
Everyday he is making improvements that is what I am looking for.

Day 9

I should come up with better titles, but I am not that creative, sorry!
Yesterday was a good training day. It wasn't a dust bowl. It wasn't blistering hot. And Lisa was there to witness his training.
I started by doing his back exercises with a carrot. He loves them and will almost bend over backwards for them. LOL
Then I brushed him and saddled him. He didn't really want to be saddled. He kept moving a bit and I would have to bump him to a stop and continue saddling. Plus, he was telling me he didn't like it by swishing his tail some. But I got him saddled and he then started to come into me, but I shewed him away and he went at  canter again. It is like he thinks I want him to take off fast all the time. I don't think he really tried to buck. I let him go round a few times and changed directions then took the halter off and worked him til he decided to come to me for rest. He did it the first time and I let him rest for a minute, but then the second time I let him rest for a good while. I worked in disengaging him and moving his shoulders. Which he does pretty good. I cracked the whip and he moved off so I kept that up until he decided to ask to come to me and when he did (after several laps in both directions) I let him in and quit cracking the whip. Then I cracked it and he stood. I took the saddle off again and a few minutes later I put it back on.  He stood this time without any swishing of the tail.
I did some flexing and some turns on center, then I got on him and let him move off. I asked for disengagements and he did them well, only a little bit of pressure and some leg on him. The right side is more difficult for him because of an old shoulder injury that is painful for him, maybe. Anyway, if I bend him too far there he doesn't like it. He tried to bite my boot. Then I discovered if I don't bend so far and add just a little leg he disengages really soft. I even got some vertical softness from him on both sides. We did a few leg yields, not perfect of course, but he did them. We monkeyed around working on these things and getting forward motion from him then I got off. I got on again and he didn't like that but I stayed on him until he calmed down then got off again. I took the saddle off and put it back on again, then started exercises to prepare him for ground driving. I finished with working on his backup and I think some flexion.
It was a good session for him.
I learned that with him I can be softer for flexion than what I have been, but he still has issues with some pain, maybe in his shoulder which will have to be considered in his training.  We will see how it goes later.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Day 8

Had a good session with Ceasar yesterday afternoon.
I started with his exercises to stretch his back out. He sure will stretch for those carrots. What will you and I stretch for? Hmm! Anyway, I digress.
I put the halter on, brushed him down and put the saddle on. I could tell he wanted to move off, he was also twitching his tail, which is a sure sign of agitation, unless there are lots of flies bugging him. But I think I was the only thing bugging him then.
Once I got the saddle on him, without the flank cinch, I moved him off and as long as he was with me he was fine, But as soon as I moved him off he decided he needed to buck some. It wasn't an all out buck, but one that was 'I don't like this and I would like it off me' kinda buck. He soon settled down and we got to work. I removed the halter, deciding to work on his 'hooking' on to me better. He doesn't carry his head to the inside like I want, it is like he is looking for a way out, so I kept him moving. I want him to look to me for a place of rest. Instead of escaping away from me he needs to escape to me and find peace next to me. It probably took 15 minutes and dozens of direction changes but he finally looked toward me and came right to me. I let him rest about 5 minutes. Then I took the saddle off and moved around without it on and put it back on him. He didn't offer to buck this time, but still wouldn't stand as still as I want. I moved him off again to see if he would 'hook' on again and it wasn't long before he sought me out. This time the rest was a little shorter, and we did the disengagement and moving of shoulders over and the backup with energy. He is making good improvements on these.  I wanted him to walk beside me and keep his attention on me all the time in both directions. I pulled his eye (disengagement) and pushed his eye (moving shoulders) several times. All of this without the halter. I took the saddle off again and then put it back on. He was a little better. He didn't buck at all so I put the halter back on and flexed him on both sides and disengaged using the lead line, did several turns on center in both directions so as to have some directional control and then got on him. The last 15 minutes I rode him around letting him take a few steps then disengaging his hindquarters. I did this in both directions gradually increasing his forward steps until we were going all the way around the pen and could change directions and bend to a stop. We did this all at a walk. In the next session we will do move up to a trot and probably introduce the bit and ground driving. I got on and off a few times and then quit with some good lateral flexion.
Good ride though.