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.