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.