Tuesday, July 30, 2013

catching on

Yesterday and today were really good days for So Grand and Moon regarding driving. I started to desensitize every chance I get, like I do during the gw exercises. It seems to calm them down and the are willing to stand more. They are great at anticipating me wanting them to move off. Anyway, they made great improvements. So Grand is starting to catch on to being vertically soft with forward movement. I've been driving him just as if I was riding him. So I was doing circle esses around the obstacles I am using as cones. That has helped. CA calls these bending exercises. Only I am doing them while driving the horse. Once this caught on with me it caught on with him. I also found something else out. So Grand will turn by my body position without the use of reins. That was fun. That tells me that if my body position is in one place and my hands telling him something else he gets confused. So I have to pay closer attention to my body position. Moon did well too. I have him getting softer laterally on the circle and just driving him. He is also starting to pick up the softness I am after. I also started to ask him for some leg yields on the fence. He gave me a few in each direction, but he is trying to figure it out. I think it goes back to my body position. So tomorrow I will be paying attention to that with both these guys. I have also been doing the stretching exercises with them. They really seem to like it and stand still for me even offering me their feet as if to say, don't forget this one. They both are real nice horses once you get to know them. Moon has issues with his neck and lateral flexion to the left. So Grand has issues with his back and withers. But they really are nice horses.

Friday, July 26, 2013


Well the last five days I have been driving these guys. They are doing pretty good. I have been doing the stretching and trying to help them strengthen and raise their backs. They really seem to like it. You should see them lick and chew and sigh when I am circling their shoulders or hip and then stretching their legs. They get so relaxed. It is time to go to work then. They don't like that part.:( Anyway, the last two days or since I last blogged, I have been doing some desensitizing before I start because they have been a bit jumpy when I put the line over their butt. But now they just stand when I do that and wait for me to tell them to move. Moon is still real stiff on the left side, but today He seemed to be improved, though he still drops his shoulder in and when he is trotting it is like a motorcyclist leaning into the turn. But anyway I am working on that. He is getting softer in the face going forward. Huge improvements there. He is responding to the bit much better too. I am driving him around balls, logs and such in the pen. So Grand is doing well at this too. He is soft laterally and getting better when forward into the bit. I would say that they are both doing very well, considering. And I hope to be riding them in the next week providing So Grand has his back issues resolved. I don't want him in pain as I ride. That is not fair to him nor safe for me. I have some shims to help with that.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013


I got started with the Arabs on Monday after a week long break due to the heat. I did some research on how to help So Grand with his sway back issues and found some exercises to do as well as how to better shim my saddle. So Monday and Tuesday I began my time with them doing the stretching to help lift their backs. Moon doesn't have it so bad. But I will tell you that they both by the time I did on Tuesday were like they were enjoying it. They were letting me move their feet and legs and stretch them out as well as massage their spine and withers without being to touchy. Then when I was done stretching them I saddled and started to ground drive them again. They are both doing pretty good with a little bit of review. Moon is still real stiff on the left side, but I just keep working him more. Short of a chiropractor looking at him I am at a loss as to what to do about that. They soon settle down with the driving. By the end of the week I hope to have made up the lost week see about moving on to more advanced driving.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

In the moment

Today was much better. It often happens this way with horses. One day it seems that it is a disaster, but you keep working on it. The next day it is as if yesterday never happened. It goes to show you that horses don't think about yesterday or tomorrow. They are in the moment. So today when I got So Grand out he was real good. He was soft on the one indirect rein on both sides. So I went to one indirect rein and one direct rein, except for a little hiccup he handled it nicely. I was even starting to get some vertical softness from him. I started asking of that at the standstill then with him still soft I asked him to move off. He did fine both sides so I went to both direct reins. He got a little excited about this, but not too much. I let him trot around then back to a walk and asked for a change of direction. We did several of these and several stops. By the time we were finished he was giving me a lot more softness. Moon was much the same. I went through the same process. He is real stiff laterally, almost like he is locked up on the poll, but after several minutes of trotting around and taking him off balance he started to be soft. Then I went to the one indirect and direct rein and he got a little excited but nothing major. My equipment held up this time instead of breaking so we were soon graduating to two direct reins. Had him changing directions at the walk and then the trot, along with several stops with softness. So today was not like yesterday at all. Hopefully, tomorrow will be even better.

A step back

Well this day didn't go as planned. I have been driving these horses for a few days now and it seems that everything went out the window with them. It was as if they had never been driven before. Moon has a tough time with lateral flexion which is essential to vertical flexion and that is essential to get where I want them to go with responding to the bit and rein. Plus, I had trouble with my tools breaking. First it was the ring breaking then it was the leather breaking. Then he was getting all spooked because of the line on his hocks. I just methodically and calmly kept working at things with him. I was finally able to get him relaxed at both the walk and trot. So Grand had similar things happen, though he did better than Moon. He is laterally soft and becoming more vertically soft. I am wanting him to be soft vertically at the walk and trot and then the canter. I hope to be able to get further along with these guys when I work with them next.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013


I thought I better catch you up on what has been going on with the Arabs. After attending the Dan James clinic I started driving them. They have been coming along nicely though not as fast as I had hoped. It takes some getting used to for a horse to have lines around their legs and to be giving to the bit. But it is happening. I am seeing them starting to soften laterally and vertically both at a standstill and on the move. I am looking for them to be consistently soft before I move on to the next level. I am working them outdoors, weather permitting, and the footing is solid which gives me a bigger area to work in than the round pen. When I am confident they have it going well then we will move to the larger arena and then finally to the field or road/trail. Then back to riding them again. I need to figure something out for So Grand as he is need of drastic padding due to his sway back. I have been working my horse in the same with driving her and then doing some riding.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013


Worked inside today due to the rain. But when I am first line driving a round pen is a good thing. I got So Grand out and put the saddle on him. He didn't like it so I had to rearrange padding and that was better. Then I put the bit in his mouth. He didn't have much issue with it. Then I put the long line on one side and drove him around. He handled it pretty good. Then switched sides and did the same things. By the time we were finished he was carrying his head inside with nice lateral flexion which is just what I wanted. He was following his nose pretty good. Moon had a few issues. I did the same thing with him and he did fine with one rein. Then I put the other rein on and he got scared with the line around his butt. But he soon got over that and after getting a walk trot canter I changed directions on him for the same thing. I am looking for lateral flexion on both these horses and eventually vertical softness and that they follow their nose. So both did pretty good today.

Monday, July 1, 2013


I got started with the Arabs again. I got Moon out and used the outdoor paddock but it was quite slippery so I couldn't do what I was going to do. I instead did some gw with him and really got some good results. He is really stiff on the left side. So I really worked that side on the lunge and with flexing and got him pretty soft on that side. So I was able to review all the exercises with him. So Grand was the same situation. I reviewed all the gw exercises and he did really good. I will be ready to start ground driving him tomorrow. I also worked my horse Raven today. I have been ground driving her all last week after the clinic I went to and would ride her. I rode her today after some brief driving. I have a really good connection with her and can ride her without the reins. After I was finished I laid her down. It took about 3 times but she finally went down for me. I have been working up to that all last week having her kneel for me. When she laid down I let her stay there for about 15 minutes until she completely relaxed. Then I gave it a few more minutes and asked her to get up.