Friday, June 21, 2013


This was day 29 of their training. I used Moon first. I got him saddled with no problems and then moved him around a bit. Put on the bridle and started to circle drive him with the long lines. He made a lot of improvement. There were still some issues, but he settled down much quicker and started to do some turns much better. Then I got on him and rode him with the bit. I wanted to get him really soft. He is still resistant, but is making improvement in that area too. I could only get him into a canter once and then he would not do it. But he would trot and walk and give me those transitions. He did pretty good all in all. So Grand it was decided I would not ride him because of sore withers. So I introduced the bit to him. After saddling and playing with the pad again. He does what I want from the ground without resistance. Anyway, I put the bridle on him and really didn't have a problem with it, though he played with it a lot. I flexed him several times and then put the long lines on and lunged him just with the bit. I didn't start driving him yet but hope to next time.

Thursday, June 20, 2013


Today's sessions were insightful for me. I worked with So Grand first. I again played with some padding to shim up the saddle. Then saddled him. I worked him a bit from the ground first. Then I got on and started to move him around. I wanted to get up to a canter today. I had no problem with the walk or trot going to the right, but to the left still there is resistance. I even got him up to canter once going right, but he immediately bucked. I continued to try to get him to move, but there is much resistance. So when I finally got off and took the saddle off I examined him and am convinced it has to do with the mechanics of the saddle and his back. He such a sway back I have not found a way to shim it high enough so that it does not bother his withers. He was real sensitive there. He will trot and canter without resistance on the ground, but not under saddle. So I have to figure something else out. My dad helped with this dynamic too as he was able to get the horse into a canter by compelling him forward from the fence. Moon did well too. I put the bit in with no problem and started to ground drive him. It wasn't too long and was relaxed enough to start asking for some changes of directions with the rein. We had some mild hiccups, but he soon calmed down and started to offer changes of direction and would even stop for me in a calm manner. So we worked on change of direction using the rein and when he was real calm with them I let him quit.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013


I counted up the days I have been working with these guys and this was day 28. They are not at too bad of a level. I mean I would like to have been further along, but I can only go as fast their confidence level and mine. As long as we are in sync in our confidence we make progress. When I got So Grand out I again played with the saddle pad trying to shim it in a way that will make it more comfortable for him when I ride. I am thinking that his unwillingness to go forward might be because the mechanics of saddle fit with him. So I want to eliminate as many possibilities as I can. Well, I saddled him and put him a liberty for a few minutes and had him follow me around. Then I did some of my gw exercises. Then I got on him. We made some progress in terms of his forward. I can get him to walk and trot pretty easy going to the right, but not so to the left. However, by the time we were done he was going into a trot when I asked and even offering it. In fact, when he offered me a trot and stayed consistent with that we stopped. I flexed him a few times and finished. Thought I would let him think about it that trotting wasn't so bad. Moon went pretty good. I saddled him and moved him around a bit. Then I introduced him to my snaffle bit. He didn't resist taking it at all. I put it on and off a couple times. Then hooked the line to it and flexed and did some YH on both sides. Then started to circle drive him. I put the other line on too so that both lines were being used. He got a little scared but soon he started to settle down and just walk. Then I started to ask for direction changes and at first it was somewhat like a wreck, but he started to catch on. After about 1/2 hour of this he started to move more fluidly into a direction change without going into a fast trot or canter. When he gave me a couple of relaxed changes at the walk in both directions I put him up. So in both cases it went pretty well.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013


Ok, I need to catch up with what is going on with these Arabs. Friday I wanted to continue to work with So Grand and really develop that connection with him. I put the saddle on and let him stand free a few minutes then I started to move around and he followed me all over. I did some more liberty work with him and then put the halter back on him. We went over all the ground work as a review, then I got on him. He has really sticky feet, so I kept working on getting him to go forward. He does pretty good going to the right, he even offers to trot for me. However, going to the left is another story. He keeps wanting to stop. On the ground he doesn't seem to have trouble going forward, though there is some slight resistance at times. It just shows up when I am in the saddle. Somehow my being in the saddle magnifies his resistance. Anyway, I was able to get some trotting out of him. I have been having him go short distances then stopping for a rest. Then I stretch out the distance, more laps and let him stop. He does show improvement. Moon is doing good. I am trying to get him used to my side pull. It has a different feel than a rope halter. So I have been putting the long lines on him and flexing him with that and then moving him forward. The whole thing with the pressure coming from the saddle is taking him some getting used to. He is unsure of everything when I have two lines on him. But he will get better. Monday, 6/17 I got So Grand out and saddle him up. I took some time to play with the pad and the extra pad I sue trying to get the saddle to fit his back better. Right now the pressure point on him is right behind his shoulder blades. My suspicion is that his forward problem is connected to the fit of the saddle. He is so hollowed out in the back that it is almost like he is sway backed. An examination of his withers shows that he has not carried himself balanced, but high headed, even though it looks like he is balanced. So that could be an issue too. I want to make it as comfortable as possible for him to carry a rider. Anyway, after playing with the pad, I saddle him up and worked him from the ground, then rode him for 1/2 an hour working on going forward, bending laterally, even starting to get some breaking at the poll. When I took the saddle off the pressure point was more wide spread, but still forward behind the shoulder blade. I am going to try something else next time. Moon had a good session too. I saddled him and did some liberty work with him too. I then hooked up the side pull and long line. I flexed him and YH. Then lunged him. Then I put the line back through the saddle ring as though I was riding him. I drove him this way for a few minutes then switched sides and did the same thing. He doesn't like the right side as much as the left. I then hooked both sides up and drove him in a circling fashion just looking for him to drop his head and relax. I noticed that the side pull is rubbing his nose kinda rough so I am going to try the snaffle bit and see what kind of response I get from that next time. Back to the session though, He would move up to a trot or canter no problem. It is like he is scared though and I am wanting him to relax more and start carrying his head lower and respond to the rein in a more yielding fashion. I am trying to help both these horses relax enough to eliminate the resistance that runs through them.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013


Moon had an exciting time of it. I drove him with one rein both sides using a side pull. It took him some getting used to. It puts the pressure up on his nose from the sides not from under his jaw. Then when I thought he was comfortable with that I put the other rein on. It always gets exciting at this point because the line gets in his legs and under his tail. But he did normal, lots of running in fear but he would settle down and come to me for support. We did both sides and then tried changing sides. It finally worked out. I picked a good spot to quit. Then took him for a walk outside sans the saddle. I did some sending exercise by tail gate of my truck because he was kinda concerned about it. I put him up after he settled down. I think I had the best session with him yet. And it came after such a disaster yesterday. Just goes to show you that they are very forgiving. Yesterday was definitely all me. I wanted to have a good connection with him today and not have any resistance from him. I brought him into the rd pen and put the pad on him. He moved some, but I just put it on anyway and he stopped. Then I grabbed the saddle and he moved a step, stopped and I put it on him. He started to take off but I got him back and finished cinching up. Then I took the halter off and let him go on his own for about ten minutes. Then I walked up to him sans halter and he started to follow me. Hmmm! I thought. I wonder how much he will follow me. So I started walking all over and he followed me and when I stopped he came up to me and I just rubbed him on the face and ears, all over his body. Then I would walk off again and he followed. Anytime he got ahead of me or started to move further from me I would change direction and get him back. So I spent the entire time just having him follow me all over and every time I stopped I would rub on him and practice placing his head low and bent toward me. I picked up and cleaned all four feet without him leaning on me. I walked around and he followed me. This was incredible to me, because he would not follow me before except for a step or two. So today was huge. I was tempted to ride him but I thought, "No, I am not going to ruin this." I wanted to let him know that just because the saddle is on doesn't mean he is going to get worked. So today he didn't even break a sweat. He just followed me all over. I felt like I had a real good connection with him. I then put the halter back on and flexed him with the softest feel ever from both sides. I even had him YH with the most softness ever. It was real good. So when I took the saddle off we walked outside and I just led him around. We came to the trailer and he was some concerned about it, so I did the sending exercise between me and the trailer until I was satisfied he was ok with it. Then I put him up for the day. I am still struck by how together we were today. I hope I can get that again tomorrow.


It seemed to me that So Grand was going to have a good session when I got him out. But he wouldn't stand to let me put the pad on him, so I made him run again. I took the halter off him and made him run for ten laps then changed directions and did ten more laps. Then I had him do five laps in the same way and then down to 2 1/2 laps then one lap then had him changing several times. I only let him slow down when he dropped back to the trot and I couldn't get him to go back into it easily. He was so out of air he couldn't do it anymore. When I let him stop I let him stand for ten minutes. Then I got the pad out again and he stood ok. Then the saddle and he wanted to move, so I kept the pressure on and he stopped and let me saddle him. Then I moved him around at a walk and trot going through everything. The thing I wanted most was that he would flex at a stand still and YH when I lifted the rein and put pressure where my leg would go. I don't want him getting stuck again. However, I have to admit that I let it get into a fight. Would flex but keep YH when I wanted him to stand still. So I kept him flexed waiting for him to stop and be soft. This went on and on, til finally he gave up and just leaned on the halter and tried to take it away from me. I really yanked on the lead and, well, it wasn't pretty. I had let it degenerate to the point where we were not working together and he became more resistant, which in hindsight was entirely my fault. When I realized that he was having trouble with what I was asking I should have rewarded the slightest try and built off of that. But I didn't and it just fell apart from there. I just stopped and went to having him move out and back up and send him forward, YH and YF and backup and send. We did this all around the arena a few times then I stopped and let him rest and went back to flexing on the other side. He was real soft then to the side I had trouble on and he was better. Anyway, we worked through it. Then I got on him and wanted to get a good walk and trot out of him. He was still blowing quite a bit though so I knew I couldn't ask for much from him. I wanted some soft YH and one rein stops, some flexing, etc. I had about a ten minute ride on him. Then took the saddle off and walked him around the rd pen, then outdoors around the barn all the while just asking him to follow without resistance. I did some sending throughout and when I put him up he was more relaxed. Although when I took the halter off and was trying to rub his face and ears his resistance came out again. I had to move him around in his stall just to put his halter back on. Hopefully things will be better next time. Moon was real good to work with. I got him saddled and moved him around a bit to see where his mind was ate. Then I started to drive him with one rein. He did pretty good. Then I did the other side. I only did one side at a time and that took up our time. Next is to begin to drive with two reins.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Starting to Drive

My plan for Moon was to drive him today. While I was putting the halter on I found another hole in my training. It was that he should hold his head in the position I want his head while I put on and take off the halter. I want his head low and flexed softly to whatever side I am on. Since he would not do that, I decided to work on that first. I finally got him to be without resistance on either side. It took much repositioning of his head, but he finally would leave it in position consistently for the count of five. I went on to saddling him and working a bit of GW with him then put the long line on him using a ring on the girth buckle to pass it through to the halter. It took a few tries and the use of my lead for support for him to finally get relaxed. Then I took the lead off and just used the long line. He would sometimes turn the wrong way, get tangled in the line and scare. But he came to me to get him out of it. It wasn't long and we got it on both sides. So I took them off and went back to playing with his head. I found I have to be more of a stickler to do things all the way and right rather than sloughing off a bit. Then I put him up. On the other hand So Grand, the resistant, showed up today. I could tell in the stall. When I brought him in the rd pen he wouldn't let me get the halter off so I had to really move him around. Then took it off. I let him stand looking at me for a few minutes. Then walked up to him and he decided to go. So I let him move up to a canter for about 10 laps then switched sides for 10 more than started switching every lap or so, even some half laps or quarter laps. This went on for twenty minutes. Then he started to go to a trot. I bumped him to a canter and did this til I thought he was going to shut down. The sand in here is pretty deep and wet. He's been resting now for seven minutes and still has not caught his breath. I waited another couple minutes. Put the halter on. Put the saddle on and he stood there with no problem. Then I moved him around circling YH YF a few times both sides. Then got on. The last ten minutes or so I rode him around. Had to get after him a time or two to keep moving his feet, but the more I wouldn't tolerate sticky feet the better he became in responding to my cues. I wasn't about to let him get stuck and frustrated somewhere and then buck. Now I did do one rein stops and let him stand some. But it was when I asked, not when he wanted. Sometimes we coincided. When I thought it was a good time I got off and flexed him took the saddle off and walked him around. Once he had an attitude change it went well.

Friday, June 7, 2013


Yes, I titled this 'holes' there are holes in my training with So Grand. I discovered that today. I got him saddled, but he didn't want to. He didn't hold out long. I had really moved him around flowing from YH to YF to sending to back up and so on not real fast, but so that he didn't get a chance to stop until I went to saddle him. Then He decided to move some more. I shut him down and put the saddle on then took halter off and made him move more going through the same things at liberty. No bucking or anything. My goal was to ride him a few minutes then to drive him with long lines. So considering what happened yesterday and not wanting a repeat performance I was making darn sure that he would not get locked up when moving his butt over. However, every now and then he would get stuck and instead of moving with just pressure from the stirrup I would actually have to slap him on the hip to get him to move. Well, I want immediate movement as soon as I pickup the rein and add my leg, I want that hind leg to move over. I figure if I can't get it on the ground 100% I am not going to get it from his back. So I worked some more. Then went to make a rein out of the lead, and he wouldn't stand still so I took that as, "I am not ready to be ridden yet." So I really started to move his feet and when I finally stopped he was real soft and yielding. Then I started to play with throwing the lead over his head so I could have him do the turn and go where he bends away from me and follows his nose around. Well he didn't like that lead around his hind end and so we worked on that for a good while. Like I said, I want to ground drive him, but if he can't accept the lead around his butt like that he sure isn't gonna like the long line around it. So I worked on that from both sides until he was soft following his nose around like that. By the time we were done he was huffing and puffing and relaxing with his head down. I figured that was a good place to stop and let him think on it over the weekend. Moon was just like I thought he would be today. It didn't take much to gather him up and saddle him. I moved him around a little to see where his mind was, but he showed me he was with me. So I got on him and rode him around. Got into a canter in both directions a couple times. We did one rein stops and backups a step. We did YH and then when he was set just right I asked for YF and he worked right into it. Then we did this at the trot. I banged and scratched the wall, the fence anything to help him. He would actually go back to what I just hit as to see what it was. He was a real pleasure to ride today.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

4th ride

Someone once made the comment to me that the 4th ride is often where you find out if the horse is going to buck or not. For some reason I was thinking about that as I was working with So Grand today. He is the only one of the two that has shown he will buck so I was thinking about that today. I saddled him and moved him around some and see how he moved out willingly or not. He was relaxed and doing real good. My plan was to do that and ride for a few minutes and then do some long line driving using either a snaffle or side pull whichever I found to work best. Well I got on him, flexed him and moved him out at the walk and then we trotted some doing some one rein stops and YH, YF and move out. But the longer we rode the stickier he got. Like he didn't want to bend and untrack his hind feet. I would ask softly then increase the pressure, to the point of having to use my saddle strings to get him to untrack. Well, one time, and I am not sure if he was confused or just his inner self coming out, but he just started bucking. Not going anywhere, I would have rather he did then it would have been easier to ride. But he just went up and down, I of course had a good hold of him and kept trying to untrack him and move him forward. It was going through my mind at the time that he could come over backwards or buck even harder if I didn't get him untracked so I kept at it. I was thinking of a horse Buck Brannaman had that gave him fits and the problem was that he got stuck and had to be untracked (that is what he calls YH). So once I got control of him and couldn't get him untracked from the saddle, rather than wait for another exciting episode of bronco Jeff I got off and went to work getting him to untrack from the ground. I mean I had him moving fast and hard, but I also wanted his face to be soft, not stiff. I wanted him moving willingly, but to get there I really went after him and if he didn't give me immediate movement in is hind feet I would up the intensity greatly then release when he moved. I did this several times from both sides until he was satisfactorily untracking with my bend in the rein with softness and the use of my stirrup against his barrel. I figured I gotta get this real good because I was getting back on and if I didn't get if good from the ground, it wouldn't work from his back. So up I went and immediately started to untrack him and then move him out a walk first then it was trotting several laps and untracking then back to a trot and repeat then switch sides. For about 25 minutes that what we did. I knew this was in him because every now and then when I work him he, for whatever reason would, frustration or just showing he is asserting leadership, he would throw his head and pitch a mini fit. But I would just make him move faster. So with this guy I am just going to have to be on my toes and watch him. Oh, he did give me a sign that he was going to buck. He squirted out a horsey fart and went to it. Fortunately, I was able to hang on. I did lose a stirrup and almost came off, but because I was hanging on I stayed put. Although, jarred my insides a little bit. Well now, Moon was another animal altogether. He didn't really want to play with me today. He kept going out into his paddock. But that was ok, he came back to his stall and I picked up where we left off brushing him. I got him to the arena and put the saddle on him and took the halter off and didn't do much. I was giving him the choice to stay with me or leave. And when he did leave I moved him around at liberty working through a trot to a canter and back in both directions. When he was sufficiently relaxed I put the halter back on and stepped on him, flexed him a few times and walked off. We did the same thing we had been doing. Remember, I am still thinking this is ride # four. So I am daring him. In fact, I am acting like a drunk trying to do anything that might spook him. But nothing. We moved up to the trot doing some bending YH and really getting that good and then asking for YF and moving off. Well at the trot I noticed that he would get a little close to the door so when I saw my chance I let my foot bang against it and he went faster. Then it was almost like he could read my mind and he would purposely get close to it so I could bang it and I did and finally it was no matter to him so we went in the other direction doing the same thing. Then it was the hydrant with the round cat house over it. Last year when I bumped that on another horse named Robbie he went into a bucking fit, but I hung on and never had another problem with him. Anyway, when I bumped it this time it was not really an issue. One huge benefit was that I was able to get him up to a good loping canter a couple times. We did this some more and he was doing so good at everything I was asking I decided to stop him and walk and then flex and get off. The driving will be another day. I also took the saddle off and let him stand next to me for about 10 minutes. He was impatiently pawing, but I ignored it and when I was ready I put him up. I am still not sure what made So Grand buck like that, but when I took the saddle off, I noticed that even with my CSI pad there was a dry circle of say 4" right behind the shoulders. He has about a four inch sway to his back. So it may have been the saddle fit too. Tomorrow I am going to put a shim under there and see what that might do.

third ride

Moon was real good today. I got him saddled up and took the halter off and sacked him out with all my toys and he did real good. I had him going over the tarp in different places in the rd pen. It was kind of magical to me, because I barely had to move in order to get him to YH and YF and move forward across the tarp and repeat. It was as if he could read my mind about what I wanted him to do. Then I put the halter back on and flexed him and did what is called 'bridle bending' where I do circle driving but using the halter as a bridle I bend him on the circle and then YH and back up. He did excellent on both sides. I got on him and away we went riding around the arena doing one rein stops and circles. I would bend him to the inside a few times and then to the outside and switch directions. I got him into some good trotting. I could only get a short canter out of him. But at least we got some. I will try for more when I work with him today. So Grand didn't want to be saddled. So it took a minute to do so. Then I took the halter off. Now one thing I did differently was to put the flank cinch on the second hole not the third as before. So he wasn't snugged up on the belly as tight. So when I moved him off he didn't offer to buck. I got the toys out and we went to work. I ended up putting the halter back on him because he needed the support. I was trying to approach him with the noise bag in a very soft way, but he would not stay. So after several combinations of tries I decided to help him out. It was what he needed. As soon as I put the halter on he stayed no problem. I could even throw the bag up on him with its noise and he didn't move. He could've but he didn't. The tarp I had to work with him on to go over it. I keep putting it in different places and have to work through them as if it is something new to him. But he eventually got it. Then I had him crossing the tarp in the middle of the arena and then crossing the bag stretched out with the noise bag so he would cross one take a few steps and cross the other. He eventually got it. When he was nice and relaxed doing that I made up my reins and got on him. We walked and trotted around as before and tried to get a canter out of him, but to no avail yet. He will get it though. I know once I go to their paddock a canter won't be a problem. It is just to wet and slippery yet from all the rain. My next step is going to be driving them to put a directional control on them. So we will see what happens today. Callie went home yesterday. I am sure he is a much happier horse being back with his buddies. Thanks to Kathryn his owner for letting me ride him for 3 weeks.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013


Moon went first. I saddled him and then worked him at liberty again. Started with tarp. In one part of arena it was no problem. But when I moved it to the other side by the wall he did not like that. But after a few minutes he did it was not a problem. Then I sacked him out with bags. I put halter back on and backed him up. Went through changing sides and turn and go with him. I didn't ride today because I forgot my boots and only had tennis shoes on. I don't like to ride like that. To Unsafe especially on a green horse. So Grand offered a different take on things. I saddled him and he got rather excited, not really bucking, but because I had the tarp and bags laying around the arena I think that added dimension stirred him up a bit. He soon settled down thought with several direction changes. Then I just started sending him around the obstacles (bags and tarp). I ended up really just working to get him to calmly go over each of those things at a calm walk. That took some doing. The tarp was not that hard, but the black back and noisy bag were different. After we got through those things then I flexed him and did a lot of YH and YF, changing sides, stirrup driving with him. I found that with him if I work him hard for about ten minutes flowing from one exercise to another he becomes a different horse. He will follow me, even seek to be with me wherever I move to. So we did have a very valuable lesson today. Callie, got his last ride by me. We went down the road at a better pace than we have. It was still a walk, but faster. I found with him that he is easily distracted and so I need to keep his attention on me by asking for softness or bending, etc. I don't let him go for very long before asking for something or he will be going his own direction. He definitely has equine A.D.D. We went around the block and came back the power line. We did a little cantering, but mostly walk or trot. He is a good horse, just needs a little greasing up in certain areas.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Second ride

this is what happened yesterday 6/3 I started with Moon. Saddled him right off. Then took halter off moved him off. I let him go around a few times changed directions and so on. I got my bag out and desensitized to the bag, noise bag, and tarp. Then I laid the tarp out and asked him to go over it using the sending exercise at liberty. It only took a few minutes and he was going over. It was fast at first, but then he slowed down to a walk and even offered to go over the last two times. So I quit there. It was a pretty sight to see him at liberty offer a YH then YF and move forward. Several times after he crossed I let him rest and he walked up to me and garnered a rub on his face. Then I flexed him, stirrup drove him and then got on. I hooked up my lead into reins, got in the saddle, took a deep breath trying to relax and asked for YH and YF and a step. We kept doing this to the left and worked our way up to walking around the pen and then to a trot. He did real good this direction. The other direction is the one he has trouble with. But it wasn't much. We worked up to walking all around then to a trot. That is where he got worried but I bent him around and slowed him to a walk. Then back up to trot. We rode for 15 minutes. It was good for both of us. I dismounted flexed him and took off the saddle. Then did some GW to finish off. So Grand was much the same. I had to move him around the pen before I saddled him. And then took the halter off. I let him move off to see what he would do at liberty with the saddle. He didn't disappoint me. He bucked slightly and cantered around several times. I changed directions a couple times and he settled down. Then I brought the bag out and at liberty sacked him out to all three. The tarp was much more difficult for him this time. He kept wanting to cut between me and the tarp. I just kept asking him and after several attempts, maybe about 10 minutes he was walking over the tarp in either direction. I moved the tarp to the other side of the pen and asked again. It bothered him some, but he started going over it at a walk soon enough. I then put the halter on him and rigged up the rein. I got on and off a couple times and flexed him. Then I got on him and had him YH and YF to the left we just kept playing with that til he cold go all around the pen at a walk. Then we went up to a trot. It was hard to get him into a trot, but when he did it for me a couple times we switched sides and ran through the same tasks. I quit him at that point and unsaddled him and walked him around a few minutes. We rode about 20 minutes. Callie had it easy. I just took him down the road. We mostly had a relaxing ride. He just needs to have his mind occupied with whatever the rider wants. He is so curious, always looking to the right or left, but then he drifts in that direction too. So I just keep flexing or softening him and working on YH or YF, and backing up. He did real good.