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.