Friday, November 28, 2008

You Want My Job?? Go For It!!!!

It's a funny thing when your clients are older than you are and sometimes they may not all take you that seriously! It never really occurred to me except for just recently. I'm no where near a baby, youngin', little girl etc... but, I haven't hit 30 yet either. Soooooo when one of my client's husbands decides to challenge my abilities, knowledge and experience, I'm like OK buddy, let's rock it out! You want to do my F-ing job?!?!?!
It's common with him even though he's only 6 yrs older than me and has only been riding (a DEAD-ASS broke 28 yr old Mare) for LESS than a year. Yet, he feels that horses should dominated upon and that they MUST do exactly what you ask them to!! OK ready for some examples?!?!?

NEVER push your luck!!! His wife's horse was being a bit of a stinker when it came to cantering so I had her on the lunge line and was getting her to canter fabulously, so I told "Macho Husband Man" go ahead and hop up there and just sit there. Don't use the reins, your legs nothing. I just need her to canter with you on her back. OK, so the mare does and we love her up for it! The next time I say "OK, go ahead and add a little bit of leg, so she begins to learn her canter cue." Ge does we're high-fiving, then we decide to push our luck. So, Macho man decides he wants her to canter OFF the lunge line. Well, we haven't quite gotten that far in our raining yet, and as I"m saying NO! He's already trotting around the arena doing the fastest trot I've ever sen. Smack, smack goes the crop... AHHHHHHHHH So then he say to me "you wanna try" and against my better judgement I say sure. Well I didn't really try very hard at ALL. I just kind of let her plug around the arena. Then I immediately got off and gave the mare many hugs, and treats! ALWAYS end where you want to and stick by THAT!! I was pissed at myself for days, for not yanking his ass off that horse when I SAID that she was done.

He always says to me "well come on YOUR the trainer. Miss Badass!" Yeah well let's keep in mind that I'm also a very ALIVE Miss Badass Trainer *snork* I like being alive!! But whatever. Anyway, so I'll tell him "Oh you think this is easy? Breaking a horse for the first time??? It takes patience and some strength to hang on if the poor thing goes a little loopy. I get kicked at, boxed at, bucked off, reared at, ya know...all the crap YOU'RE too much of a chicken 'S' to be around, hence why you pay me!!" Yet he always thinks he knows better and more. LMAO!!!!

Ooooh I have a neat-o little plan for him though!!! So friends of mine aquired this pony. We called her "little B." She was not a nice pony in anyway shape or form. So naturally I'm working her and it just so happens that my friend and her hubby are at my place watching. He keeps saying. "Oh come on it's just a pony! What are you waiting for?!?!" *ooooh headdesk!* OK, OK, it's time to put your money where your mouth is!! So I convince him to come out into the arena and assist me with this pony. All he has to do is just lean his weight over her back. That's it!!! Now keep in mind that I would never put him in a spot where he'd get hurt EVER, he's actually a totally fabulous guy when we're not discussing horses. Ahahahhaah. SO! He is attempting to scramble his way onto this 13.2 hh pony *snickers* and it occurs to me that I"m going to need his wife's help. Both of us "womenfolk" held onto to the pony while he got up there and the pony was NOT a happy camper!! She was squirming and prances and man oh man I have NEVER seen someone fly off a pony and run away that fast in all my life!!!! He decided there after that it was best to leave the breaking and actual TRAINING" of the horse up to me!! PHEW! That's the end of that!!!!!
NOT!! Trailering. He is very stubborn when it comes to how horses should trailer! *Um, Hello!! Remember you've been around horses less than a year!!* Well the barn that his wife boards at has people who only trailer their horses a certain way and that includes no matter WHAT the horse MUST back out of the trailer no matter what the circumstances!! Well, that really doesn't always fly with me and so when we went to go pick up a terrified horse, put it in the trailer, drive it home, he can't get the horse out!! Mwauahahahaaa. So it's like "Hey how do you get this horse out??" "Um... Turn him the hell around and walk him out!" Well even though there was MORE than enough room, he says no way, instead he'd rather keep trying to back the horse up and smack him on the chest! All the while the horse is scared out of his mind. Well this time I've had enough, I grab the horse, flip him around and WALK him out of the trailer as calm as can be! OOOH He was super agitated that I did that, but you know what? As a horse trainer you MUST know EXACTLY when, where, and what the circumstances are if you decide to pick a fight with a horse. And right then... it was not necessary to pick a fight with the old gelding.

By now me and his wife, my actual client, have become very close friends and we have just learned to brush off some of the things he says as absolute bullhonkey!!! I just keep reminding him that if he's so inclined, he can certainly take over for me! *grin* The really funny thing is I always get a "HELL NO!!! Are you CRAZY??" Lmao!!! Yeah you know, I just may be!!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

I Couldn't be More Thankful!!!!

Thanksgiving is tomorrow and I know that a lot of people are thankful for many different reasons. But here is what I'm thankful for.

I'm thankful for that velvety nose that brushes the side of my cheek. That "where are my cookies, candy, carrots, treats, anything!!" look. For teaching me how to not be afraid. For teaching me to love unconditionally. For teaching me to lose and win. For teaching me to live. For the kisses and the hugs. I'm thankful when you try to shake water on me after a bath. I'm thankful for you when you paw or nibble at me and then when I turn around to scold you, you look around as if to say "What? It wasn't me!" I'm thankful for the games we play, that we have bonded and know each other so well. I'm thankful that you make me feel like I'm flying and when you put the wind through our hair. I'm thankful I can sit for hours and just watch you run and play and spend time with you. I'm thankful for ANY color of ribbon we get together. I'm thankful that you have bucked me off for It taught about pride and humility. I'm thankful you've taught me patience and understanding. I'm thankful for the arguments and bad days for they've all taught me valuable lessons. I'm thankful for the good and great days, for those I'll never forget. I'm thankful that I've met you. I'm thankful that I know you. I'm thankful that I have you to love. Most importantly, I'm thankful that you love me right back.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

My Horse is Going to Kill You...

I apparently own the "Intimidator." And he wants you dead, or at least for you to wish you were dead.

OK so my main show horse is a 16hh Arabian Sporthorse and he is the love of my horsey life, however his personality can be compared to that of a bully (or satan). He has impeccable ground manners and is even better under saddle, there isn't a show I can't go to where we don't clean up (for me of course). But he loves to fuck with people LOL!!!! He is a mind-fu*ker. He will do very random insane things that I brush off as him just being him, but to other people he is a spawn of Satan. He's just a Mama's boy, that's all. If someone else leads him out of the trailer he'll jump out of it like he's a Lipizzaner doing a Capriole, announcing to everyone that he's arrived. He walks out like a perfect gentle men for me though... ugh *damn me for spoiling him* He will whinny and scream if you dare to turn your back on him. He will strike and paw at the ground if he's irritated. He'll prance and dance in circles around if he thinks he can get away with it. He's your typically bully. He'll read you like a book and then use it to terrorize you. He smells your fear like a nice patch of fresh clovers. Who said horses were dumb?

So none of this ever occurred to me until my own boyfriend, his friends, and a lot of my clients and their spouses told me they couldn't believe I handled him, that he was crazy and would for surely murder me. Well to me he's just my baby, and you know like a TYPICAL CHILD, he never pulls his bullshit when Mom's around. Although I have seen it. Honestly with or without me around he will be a perfect gentleman IF you stand up to him. But try telling non-horsey people that. "Stand up to HIM?!?!?! You're crazy!!!" No, no, no it's just showing him you're the boss and that although he's adorable he needs to listen and behave. Once you gain his semi-respect (or tolerance at least) he'll be a nice sweet little boy with his cute brown eyes and sweet face looking at you oh so lovingly. Oh my God don't fall for it!!!! He's a user, he just wants your cookies!!!

Now I know we all have or have had that ONE (or two, or five, oh crap) horse that will do no wrong in the eyes of his mother. The horse that is without question positively angelic for us. *sigh* Oh and how we fawn over them. We'll give them everything we've got. They're like giant leeches sucking the life and money out of us. But we wouldn't trade it for ANYTHING!!

They show and perform for us perfectly (mostly) and do nothing but make us smile. And for that we may look the other way when their child/spoiled like behavior comes pouring out like a broken dam.

OMG!!! Now that I think about it he probably is freakin crazy, but I love him and am wrapped around his pretty gray hoof. His very spoiled hoof *wait a minute* the horse who loves to terrify the innocent and weak *holy shit*. Having him is like being a woman in an abusive relationship "But I love him and he loves me!!!!" Oh to hell with it, I think they're right. I think he is the Devil's Horse!!! *grin*

Monday, November 24, 2008

Oh Sh*t, This Can't Be Good...

There isn't a horseback rider out there that has not experienced that expression!! As riders we get bucked, ran away with and much more!! However there are SOME things we can do to help keep us safe!!

For years we as riders have been told that while riding if our horse bolts that we should pull back on the reins. Uh... yeah, that sounds great on paper, but in real life, not so much. So therefore we introduce the one rein stop. Horse bucking? Bolting? Rearing? Crank that head to your knee! The one rein stop is one of the best tools we have as riders, because for the most part it allows us to disengage the horses hindquarter, therefore we have shut their entire body down. I say for the most part because some horses will still give their best efforts in getting out of the one rein stop, but not likely.

OK so this is how it works... horse bolts, or rears or who knows, (let's say you're right handed) you place your left hand down on the pommel of the saddle for leverage, then you slide your right down the rein as far as you can safely go. Then you heave-ho to the right, pulling your right arm straight back!! Never up, or never straight down far down, just back!! Some riders will also wrap their pulling rein around the saddle horn for extra leverage and support. You also MUST make sure that you've shortened that right rein enough to make an impact and force that horse to crank it's head. So, Heels down, left hand stationed and make that pony kiss your knee!

OK, things to keep in mind if you're going to apply the one rein stop. Do NOT do it in a double bridle, or a severely rank bit. So not use this a punishment tool. It is a SAFETY Tool!! Oh and also do NOT try to break your horses neck.

We've also all been in the position that stopping may not be an option, so we decide it's time to bail and do it fast! So now we come to the emergency dismount. Horse doing something unsafe, you can't stay on, running towards something dangerous? Dismount immediately!

Trust me, I emergency dismount without a second thought if I begin to feel unsafe. So, here we go. Pop your feet out of those stirrups grab your horse's neck and swing yourself down while pushing yourself as far away from your horse as possible!! The so-called "experts" say you should be able to land on feet, but I say who gives a crap just get the hell out of harms way and fast!! I ALWAYS teach my students how to take a fall and when to recognize a good time to bail. Instead of grabbing your horse around the neck you can also just push of their withers almost like a vaulting type of dismount. Just always remember to push yourself AWAY from the horse! If you can land on your feet, good for you, if not, then try to roll away. The idea is, is that you don't want to do anything that jars your body too much, so that you break or sprain a body part. And you also want to make sure you can get as far away as you can from thundering, scared, pissed off horse hooves.

Safety has ALWAYS come first for me and my students and my horses. We do everything in our power to stay as safe as possible, but sometimes life does not always play out that way so it's best to be prepared. And NEVER try to be a bad ass. If you need bail or one rein stop then DO IT with out a second thought. Never try to hang on because your "too cool" to fall, or you've never fallen. You won't feel like such a bad ass as a corpse or a quadriplegic either.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Death By Hanging

That should be their punishment. They must think it's super fun to not breathe. Almost like that trend of "self-strangulation" So close to death then they (sometimes) cut themselves free. Wow what a rush! Yeah, not for your horse asshole!

The Rollkur- it has made a lot of waves recently! But why??? Let me explain; Rollkur or over-bending your horse is causing them damage to their entire body. Over-bending inflicts acute pain, chronic pain and nerve pain (neuralgia). Its victims exhibit fear(because they can't fucking breathe) and mental stress (because they can't fucking breathe). In addition, by locking-up the neck, a horse is partially asphyxiated, unable to see properly and unbalanced. Over-bending increases the likelihood of accidents for both horse and rider. In the long-term, the practice probably causes permanent structural damage to many parts of the body, including the trachea, lungs and spine. Without question, it injures the bars of the mouth, teeth and skull. Boy that sounds fun!

The over-bent position of the head is the end result of a training regime based on persistent bit pressure without release, coupled with the horse's understandable efforts to evade the bit. Evasion of the bit is not a vice. It is a horse's way of avoiding pain. In the absence of release from the rider, the over-bending method trains a horse to provide its own release. Initial pressure results in initial flexion. Persistent pressure results in increasing degrees of flexion, until finally the horse's chin is on its chest and has nowhere else to go. The pain of the bit may have been temporarily avoided at each stage, only to become permanent at the final stage and be accompanied by neck and back pain.

You know when a horse has nowhere to go they'll panic and try to find a way out to safety they'll flip over, fall down, or collapse and let me tell you that I hope they kill you when they do.

OK, now when I see these "Trends" I often wonder:

A-Who came up with this lame ass idea?
B- Who thinks this actually looks good??
C- Who thinks this actually is helping you (your horse) in the long run or at all??

I found this off a website that is highly against the Rollkur. It's quite interesting, this is what they found as far as people trying to rationalize the Rollkur

Rationalization for over-bending (Hey TX here, rationalizing? They are douche' bags let's read on)

Three reasons are voiced, though there may be additional unspoken arguments

1. Proponents of the over-bending method of training for dressage maintain that they are suppling the horse's neck and 'rounding' the back(and breaking it). In practice, what I suggest they are doing - albeit unintentionally(oh it's intentional) - is soring their horse's mouth. Rather than suppling the neck and making it flexible, lithe and relaxed, over-bending is more likely to produce muscle strain, skeletal damage and joint injury. 'Rounding of the back,' achieved by dropping the head and pulling on the nuchal and supraspinous ligaments, is not 'collection,' which is only achieved after years of athletic training. True collection is the result of the patient development of a horse's overall fitness and, in particular, fitness of its back and abdominal muscles. The objective of such training is to enable a horse that is naturally balanced at liberty, to remain balanced (i.e. 'collected') when (unnaturally) carrying the weight of a rider. As a sore mouth, a stiff spine, and the imbalance of over-bending are not helpful preliminaries to athletic performance, a secondary purpose of this article is to explore what it is about over-bending that explains its promotion as a training technique.

2. Another reason advanced in support of over-bending is to produce a horse with 'brilliance,' 'expression' and 'drama.'(Pain is dramatic after all) Such an aim is in direct contravention of the FEI Guidelines that call for a calm horse but apparently this is not what the judges are rewarding. It seems that 'spookiness' is considered to add drama to a performance and is a quality favored by judges. If this is what is required to win, then causing pain and/or the fear of pain by soring a horse's mouth is, I agree, a most effective way to make a horse 'spooky.' Over-bending will undoubtedly make a horse nervous and apprehensive far more successfully than it will supple a horse's neck. An over-bent horse is frightened to stretch out its neck, as it has learnt that this will result in a severe pain in the mouth. A pain in the neck is the lesser of two evils. But a frightened, nervous and anxious horse (often unfairly labeled as 'highly-strung') is insecure, unstable, and unsafe to ride. The pain of a bit in the mouth or the fear of such pain rings an alarm bell in the brain. Why riders should want to do this is mystifying unless it is to satisfy a sadly misjudged and faulty standard of performance.

3. A third reason stated is that because horse breeders in the last decade have succeeded in producing such large and powerful horses, new and more powerful methods are required for their control. (It's because they suck ass at riding, they should go back to their S & M chambers) This argument, born of a misunderstanding of horse behavior and the belief that greater pain equates with greater control, is no more valid today than it was in medieval times when it was thought that in order to control the big warhorses that had been bred, larger and fiercer curb bits were needed. Over-bending has a long history. It is repeatedly illustrated on the Bayeux tapestry, embroidered c.1080. But successful communication between horse and rider comes from cooperation not coercion. We should be seeking methods of communication, not control. The smallest of horses cannot be controlled by a rider's force or by conditions that are incompatible with equine exercise physiology and psychology.

4. An unstated reason that may be connected with the one above is that 30 minutes of warm-up exercise in the over-bent position will cause fatigue and render some horses easier to control in the arena (Again you suck ass at riding).

That is truly torture like I've never seen! Now it IS against FEI rules, and also the racing and jumping industry is trying to put the kibosh on it, but it's a tricky thing to regulate when people school like this at home for hours... Trust me when I tell you that there is a VERY special place in Hell for you. And I hope you burn well there...

Thursday, November 20, 2008

When to Say ENOUGH!!!!

Horse abuse and cruelty is something that we are all ridiculously aware of. We see the pictures and videos. Read the papers and the web. But what about when you see in front of your face?

When I was first getting into riding I remember there was these "fancy" western pleasure trainers at the barn and they always had the best trained horses, but it wasn't until I got older that I realized "at what expense?" Their horses ALWAYS were ridden in spurs and ALWAYS had bloody sides. Their mouths were swollen and sometimes you could see the cuts in them. They would ride those horses on hot summer days for 5-6 hours as 2 yr olds. They had to make to AQHA World's you know.

I remember a girl riding her 3 yr old paint in a horse show once and she had draw reins on him so tight he had no WHERE to go, but up and over. I've seen "bad" horses getting beaten for making a simple mistake. Faces being pulled on with razor sharp bits in their mouth. Kicked, punched, slapped in eyes, worked under injury, ugh, and way too much more.
But when do you say enough is enough?

As I got older and became an actual trainer, I realized that I wasn't afraid of these people anymore. I didn't and don't care how good they are or think they are. I am very well respected for getting my job done and getting it done HUMANELY! I've been to shows where everyone will stop, jaws dropped when they see some who has the audacity in PUBLIC to whip, beat, spur, hit their horse and more. Most of the people will turn their backs and cluck about it, but very few will buck up and take action. "Well it's none of our business, it's not our horses, blah blah blah." So they'd rather wait til the horse is dead. You know it's like those kids who do things to cry out for help and everyone turns a blind eye to them until it's to late.
As a trainer and person I am very easy going and mellow for the most part. At shows I will start out not knowing many people, but by the end I'll be friends with everyone. I enjoy what I do and I am a SERIOUS social butterfly. I love talking and laughing and sharing and congratulating people I've never even met! I'm loud and out going and you can usually hear me coming from miles away!! But I have a dark side too. I'm extremely aggressive when it comes to things I'm passionate about. My type 'A' Dominant personality comes ripping through when I see something I don't agree with. Like Abuse. Sometimes, it's just not enough to let "fate" or "karma" run its course. Sometimes you take it into your own hands.

I've gotten into knock-down, drag out fights with people over it. I've been applauded when I've gone after people for being cruel to their horses. I've had my ENTIRE show bill paid for by the staff for putting someone in their place! When it comes to cruelty to animals I've developed a ZERO TOLERANCE POLICY! I know a lot of people actually who are becoming less shy when it comes to telling someone they're being dick faces to their horses. I've seen judges throw people out of shows for it! And I LOVE IT! I relish in their humiliation , and just HOPE that they've learned some sort of lesson. And if they have haven't, well I'm sure we'll run into each other again someday.
Sometimes sitting idly by and letting the "authorities" or the horse rescues, or the show staff, or the judges or whomever, handle the abuse situations is NOT optional. Donating your money and then walking away is not always the answer. We all applaud your efforts for the horses who've been saved, but what about helping the ones who haven't? Sometimes you have to swallow your fear and say "fuck it." And stand up for exactly what you believe in!! Even if it means getting up in someones face from time to time. Do I think I'm a bad ass? No, not really, I'm not that tough, but I will speak up for those who can not speak for themselves. You may not always get through to people or even win the battle, but as the war rages on against abuse, we can start to turn the tables.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

But, That Dark Box is Going to EAT ME!!!!!!!!!

I promise you it will NOT eat you!!!! Yeah try telling that to a horse! It's funny because one of the biggest issues I see in horses is trailering. It's enclosed, dark, and makes weird noises, and then it MOVES!!!

I've seen so many people try to force their horses in a trailer by way of lip chains, whips leaving welts, butt ropes, 4 grown ass men pulling on a horse's face with chains and and one behind it with a whip literally trying to drag the horse in. I've seen horse's with bloody faces, swollen eyes, broken teeth, welts, swollen legs... UGH!!! So how do you get a horse into a trailer???

Well, there are several HUMANE ways of training a horse to do it. First is going to be the most obvious. Your horse should trust you enough to walk, stop, back and turn whenever you do, therefore he should follow you right into the trailer right?? NOPE! Not always. The best I've found to get a horse used to a trailer are parking the trailer in the horse's pasture (if you can) with the doors open, for a few days and start feeding them near it, getting closer and closer to the trailer every time until you are feeding them out of the trailer. They'll balk at first, but eventually even the most stubborn horse will realize where the chow is and cave.

Another way that works is teaching the horse that it is more UNcomfortable to fight me then to just get in the trailer. Example; I work with this Haflinger mare who wanted nothing to do with the trailer even though she'd been in it before. So she would walk up to it just fine then stop and no amount of pulling was going to get her in(DUH!) So I would wrap the lead rope around one of the steel bars for leverage and so my hand wouldn't get torn to hell and I'd wait, then every time she took a step closer I'd take out the slack of the rope and tighten it up again. She could ONLY go forward and if she tried to go back she couldn't. I wouldn't let her and neither would my lead rope. So she would pull and stand there leaning all the way back on her halter (Thank god for strong halters) and finally she pop right back and take another step forward. She learned that it was way more comfortable to just step up then to lean back. I had no chain on her, no butt rope no whips no nothing. I merely was just using her own weight against her. It only took about 15 minutes and she finally hopped in the trailer where she was greeted with cookies, carrots and A LOT of praise!!

I've even had to create little barricades and actually run horses up into trailers, which I hate, but *sigh* it does work. Giving them nowhere to go but in. I've had to do it on a colt and filly that weren't even halter broke, yet the owner really wanted them in training! UGH!

I'm not opposed to using a butt rope for encouragement if it is used properly! It makes a nice little barricade and bum pusher upper for the horse without me physically being behind it. Whips are the same way for a little tap. TAP! Just to remind the horse to move forward. Not hitting, beating or any of that crap, just a little tap to say hey I'm back here please go forward. If your horse won't you're going to have to go back to some basics.

A Trailer ride should not be some big traumatic experience for you or your horse! Never tie a horse to the inside of a trailer with a chain (which I've seen) keep the crowding down to a minimum! The less people you can get away with the better! Lots of goodies, treats, fresh hay and a clean floor will make the trailering experience much more appealing too!! No beating, no blood, and no pain or you are going to get a horse that will never set foot anywhere NEAR a trailer! And always remember the rules of Murphy's Law, the day you're running late your horse will decide that's the day he doesn't want to get in the trailer! LOL!!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

How Much More Can the Human Body Take?!?!?

As any horse rider knows, it is inevitable and predictable that we are going to hit the dirt. Especially when backing a horse for the first few times, a sour horse, green horses, *sigh* every horse! LOL! So I've often wondered just knowing what I've gone through, when is enough, Enough?

I've been thrown into jumps at full speed, ran over, boxed at, had my hands crushed, ankle broken, body sore, gushing blood, kicked, bit and more I can't think of right now I'm sure. Yet I wouldn't change it for anything! Yet how much can I take?? I remember this time when I was trying to stop a horse from breaking out of a gate and was standing to his side pushing his head over to the direction I wanted him to go. HE was a headstrong Bastard! He just turned his head straight again and mowed me down. Head slammed into the concrete, it's POURING down rain, my cell phone got shattered, I looked up and saw hooves flying over my face. I got up, caught him and then we practiced being a good boy for quite along time as I was BEYOND livid!

I've had horses get up in the rear and literally start boxing with their front hooves at my face. Slammed into walls, ugh I get sore even thinking about it. Yet we push ourselves forward. I truly believe that we as horse back riders and most humans in general, can handle A LOT of bodily damage for something we love! Hahaha! I'm thoroughly convinced that we are gluttons for punishment!

When it's not a physical beating we're taking and it makes a switch over to a mental beating that's a tough pill to swallow! Your brain definitely plays a huge part in your confidence, and fear levels. When one goes up the other goes down no matter which way you look at it.

I knew a lady who took her VERY green schizo horse out on a trail ride (against the advice of EVERYONE in the stable) and came to a small river crossing. Well her horse didn't want to go across so her horse did a crow hop and the lady plopped off right INTO the river! Well when she fell the horse pulled it's head back and "pulled" on her arm a bit, so she was sore. She didn't get trampled, kicked nothing! Just dumped in a river! YET, since then she has been terrified to get back on! I have a student who had her horse rear up and fall right on her, yet she got right back on. I know even when my ankle was broke, I still had lessons to give and horses to work so I just rode without my left stirrup. LOL!!

We spend a lot of time getting ourselves into physical shape for horse back riding to the point that when we do get a thrashing we don't quite feels as damaged. Our "Battle Wounds" so to speak. But what about mentally exercising ourselves for the sake of our psychological health??
I'm thinking what a lot of riders really need is mental, confidence building exercises. Riding good, yet still semi-challenging horses is a great confidence builder. Riding on the lunge line is a good confidence builder as is having your trainer/friend/riding buddy in the arena with you.

BUT, the number 1 top MOST important thing about riding is actually PAIRING up the horse and rider so that they SUIT each other's abilities! So many people get these confidence shattering green, psycho-but I got it cuz it's sooooo perty, way out of their league horses. And with the horse market as bad as it is right now, it's becoming more and more prevalent to see a green, newbie rider with a FREE green, newbie, NOT Trained horse.

As far as my students, one of the first things I like to do when I give lessons is teach people how to fall off a horse safely. I understand it doesn't always work out perfectly like in a lesson, but still. Eating dirt and then getting back on is sometimes the most devastating thing on earth! Your eyes are farther from the ground then your feet, so you trick yourself into believing you are on the Empire State Building! But when you do get back on that beloved horse of yours it is the best feeling EVER! Of course that's after the initial adrenaline rush of terror finally turning into euphoria, but hey To-MAY-toe, To-MAH-toe.

It really speaks for itself when you finally accomplish something you've always wanted too, like jumping your first fence, penning your first cow, or turning your first barrel. But it says more when you get dumped that first couple times, dust yourself off and hop back on!


Monday, November 17, 2008

I Hate my job!!!!!

We as horse riders enjoy certain disciplines, be it trail riding, dressage, jumping, barrels, team penning whatever. But what happens when what you love, isn't quite what your partner had in mind??

OK now check out this picture. This is a horse than is totally un-enthused about his job. This is a 5 yr old Reg. Qtr Horse for sale for $10,000. He was first trained in dressage and apparently did very well at it. Now, here his ears are set in an annoyed position, he's jumping lazily, and hie eye expression screams "I need more fun!" or "Kill me now!" Now he could have a more interested expression if say the jump was set a bit higher, or he wasn't jumping at all but sticking with his dressage. This also could be why they're selling him too, the girl may want to jump, and obviously, he doesn't!

NOW, some horses, are lazy bums. I have had a few of those where they are just un-enthused about a lot of different things. For some other horses, it's merely trial and error. Finding a happy medium between what you are interested in and what your horse is interested in. It's very important to observe the expressions and actions of your horse whilst asking him to perform a certain task. And just because your horse doesn't "like" to run fast, doesn't mean you can't gallop him every now and then.

Now Some horses were just trained improperly and made to hate their job due to too much stress, being over-worked, being harshly trained, etc. and unfortunately it could take you a bit of time to try and sweeten up his end of the deal so he and you can enjoy it!

I train a horse who HATES to be in the arena and she just LOVES the trails. She will be absolutely perfect on the trails, and a stinker in the arena. But when it's raining she MUST be ridden in the arena, so it's up to me to try and alleviate her distress at being worked at something she doesn't like and make it tolerable for her.

Like I said, just because your horse doesn't want to be a Grand Prix jumper, or a dressage horse, or a speed event horse, does not mean that you can't still dabble in those other disciplines for fun! Just be aware to not FORCE your horse into something that they aren't willing to do safely! There is, however a difference in protesting because he's a green horse and he's confused, and protesting because you're taking a dressage horse and asking him chase cows!

It's also not only for your horses happiness, but for yours and his safety, as a horse who is disinterested can become very lazy and careless about his job. Get distracted and make some pretty serious errors. It's also VERY important that while training a horse in a certain discipline that you allow them breaks in between so they don't get burnt out. Remember always put yourself in your partners shoes and think OUTSIDE the box!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Protecting our Wild!!!

I found this article in the Seattle Times and it is seriously calling out for ALL horse lovers to unite! The BLM is trying to propose euthanasia or unrestricted sales of ALL Wild horses and Burros!!!


Horse advocates decry government euthanasia option
A stampede of opposition is growing over a proposal by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management to kill or allow unrestricted sale of wild horses captured from western public land because of budget constraints.
By
SANDRA CHEREB
Associated Press Writer
RENO, Nev. —
A stampede of opposition is growing over a proposal by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management to kill or allow unrestricted sale of wild horses captured from western public land because of budget constraints.
Tens of thousands of horse advocates have voiced outrage at the idea of slaughtering what many revere as romantic symbols of the American West.
"Most Americans view these horses as the greatest symbols of our American freedom," said Ross Potter of Phoenix.
"If we kill them now without exhausting all other possibilities, we are telling the world that we have no respect for our own heritage," he said in a recent letter to the BLM. "I don't think that is an image we can afford to project."
The BLM's nine-member National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board is scheduled to consider the proposal at a meeting Monday in Reno.
About 33,000 wild horses roam the open range in 10 Western states. The BLM has set a target "appropriate management level" of horses at 27,000.
Many critics say inept bureau management created the problem that has led to nearly as many horses being kept in long-term corrals as remain on the range.
Karen Sussman, president of the International Society for the Protection of Mustangs and Burros, said the BLM has never considered the health of herds when conducting roundups.
She and others say large-scale roundups upset a herd's social hierarchy, leading to unchecked breeding that threatens their gene pool and accelerates population growth.
"They are mandated by law to protect these horses for American citizens. They have not done that," she said.
"And now, on the backs of these horses that should never have been removed, they want to kill them."
Critics also argue that, when it comes to public land, wild horses get short shrift to the benefit of livestock and wildlife. They claim that since 1971 about 20 million acres originally designated as herd areas have been withdrawn from that use. They say reopening those areas to horses would alleviate the need for boarding.
"While forage and water are rarely an issue for the established livestock and big game interests, these same resources are almost always portrayed as being too little for the relatively tiny members of our nation's remaining wild horses and burros - who are too often scapegoated for ecological destruction caused ultimately by man," wrote Craig Downer, a wild horse ecologist.
A report issued last week by the Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress, said the BLM needs to consider euthanizing horses or selling them to reduce spiraling costs of keeping them in long-term holding pens.
Wild horses and burros are protected under federal law. Most captured horses are placed for adoption, but those deemed too old or otherwise unadoptable are sent to long-term holding facilities - some for 15 to 20 years.
The BLM says demand for horses has declined, and the cost of caring for geriatric equines is devouring its budget.
The GAO report said costs of caring for wild horses likely will account for 74 percent of the program's overall budget this year, or more than $27 million. That percentage will climb, it said, unless alternatives are found.
Continuing current practices would require a budget of $58 million next year, escalating to $77 million in 2012, the BLM estimated.
The BLM already has authority to use euthanasia for horse management but has been reluctant to do for fear of public backlash.
"We have a responsibility to balance the budget, so we are going to have to make some tough choices," BLM Deputy Director Henri Bisson said when the proposal was first aired in June.
"We don't want to do this at the last minute. So we need to have a conversation with horse advocates and try to share the pain a little bit so people understand that if we have to make those tough changes it's not because we want to," he said.
---
On the Net:
Bureau of Land Management: http://www.blm.gov/
Society for Protection of Mustangs and Burros: http://www/ispmb.org/

VERY Close to my Heart...

2 things in this world that I really, really love. Horses, and kids and people in need. Combine the 2 and this is what you get. The world's most willing people on the world's best horses. Ever since I got into horse back riding and teaching this is one of the dreams I've had of accomplishing. The Therapeutic riding program... What's better than this???
Horses are just amazingly gentle, large animals that allow people with disabilities to regain their balance, strength, and make them feel as though they have legs. The horse and rider in this case truly depend on each other.

Here are some fabulous riding facilities that I've researched, that provide such a great service.

http://www.narha.org/






http://www.lovelane.org/benefits.html From this Site I copied and pasted the Benefits of therapeutic riding and who it helps.


Benefits of Therapeutic Riding

Therapeutic riding and hippotherapy are based on the beneficial movement of the horse. The three-dimensional, rhythmical motion of a horse stimulates and works the muscles of the rider. The input to a rider of the horse's gait is almost identical to the human gait. This three-dimensional, rhythmical motion thus stimulates and works muscles of the rider and provides normal sensory-motor input of “walking” to the rider. In addition, exercises and tasks that would be dreary or considered a “chore” in traditional therapy settings become fun and game-like if they are part of a riding therapy session.
Forming a partnership with a thousand pound animal can offer a tremendous sense of freedom and independence to a disabled individual, and can promote feelings of trust and self-worth. In fact, there a numerous case histories and increasing numbers of research articles that have documented disabled riders gaining the ability to walk, nonverbal clients speaking their first words, emotionally disabled children gaining the ability to trust again or to interact with others, and children with learning disabilities showing improvements in school, all due to their participation in therapeutic riding programs.

Physically, equine-assisted therapy takes disabled riders through complex series of movements, which consciously and unconsciously use all the body's muscles. The horse rhythmically and naturally moves the body in a manner similar to the human gait, improving posture, balance and muscle control. In addition, horseback riding produces a rare opportunity for disabled individuals to enjoy the outdoors free of wheelchairs or crutches.
Cognitively, equine-assisted therapy helps to “ground the nervous system” and facilitates higher cognitive function; improves sensory integration, verbal processing, etc.
Emotionally, equine-assisted therapy provides the opportunity for riders to bond with the horse, instructor, and volunteers, which assists in the development of trust. It is also effective in calming emotive outbursts and reinforcing appropriate behaviors. Contact with the horses and horsemanship training provides a non-competitive setting for learning. New abilities, self-discipline, improved concentration and risk taking build self-confidence.
Socially, equine-assisted therapy nurtures a positive self-image. Disabled riders often experience independence in an unique way; they are able to control a 1,000 pound animal! They also develop an awareness of being part of a team. All riders have the ability to learn skills and participate in a recognized sport. All riders grow in self-esteem, which they take back into their own worlds.

Benefits consistently cited by riders and their families, therapists and doctors include:
increased range of motion and muscle tone;
improved gross and fine motor skills, balance, posture and coordination;
increased concentration, spatial awareness/orientation, self-awareness and self-discipline;
increased cognitive skills;
increased speech and language;
increased independence and confidence;
increased self-esteem due to the acquisition of skill in a recognized sport

Our students include children and young adults who have a variety of special needs, including:
Autism
Cerebral Palsy
Developmental Delay
Spinal Cord Injury
Head Injury
Stroke

Down syndrome
Pervasive Developmental Delay
Attention Deficit Disorder
Vision/Hearing Impairment
Muscular Dystrophy
Multiple Sclerosis

I've volunteered and continue to volunteer at Riding facilities like these. The feelings are indescribable, and to be able to do something like this for others, and what could honestly be better? And NO ONE appreciates it more than they do.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Horse to Human-Horse to Human! I am BORED!!!!!

There are some horses out there in the world who will go in circles for you for hours and hours on end. And then there is the Horse who will eventually get so bored with your lack of creativity and prove it to you in the form of a buck, balk, kick out, or paw. Wouldn't it be nice if our horses came with a damn manual!! LOL!!! Well since they don't that means it's our job to figure these brilliant creatures out ourselves! However it's only as difficult as WE make it. Remember CLARITY and CREATIVITY are the Key!

The Bored horse=trainer/rider step up your game and your brain!

You know it's funny I seem to run into these horses more and more, or maybe it's that I'm just more tuned into their reactions now. It used to be for your lesson you rode your horse around the arena, changed directions and then got off and were done. Now I feel as though is we mentally step outside the training box and really put ourselves where our horses are, we can see how dull and droll that would really be.

Think of the horse as a young child. Hungry and very eager to learn, but gets bored easily. So it's up to us to mix our lessons up while still aiming at the same goal. Here's an example; let's say you want to start teaching your horse to move off your leg pressure. So instead of just practicing it in a bare bones arena with your leg pressing into the horses side, make games of it, give the horse something to think about in away that associates your lesson with some "new." Use barrels, cones, ground poles, go out on the trail and have the horse move away from bushes, trees, whatever. Make the lesson fun and interesting. This will also prevent YOU from getting bored as well.

I've also noticed that when you do actually keep your horse active and thinking, that they're more inclined to actually RETAIN the lessons you are teaching. Horses DO appreciate some form of routine, but they appreciate jazzed up riding sessions more! It clears their mind, refreshes them, and doesn't make them arena sour. With horses it's really important to keep everything in a positive light so they don't start to dread work time. Plus you can school a horse anywhere you choose, trails, round pen, arena, new arena and more.

It's so important for us to really put ourselves in the horses aluminum shoes for a minute, especially when trying to come up with NEW training ideas. Some horses can really sassy when bored and start to react negatively to your riding, then we punish them and they get angrier and more frustrated and so and so forth. It's a fight that could've totally been avoided. Others ways to retain the horse interest is do something WAY off base for them. Western pleasure horse? Teach them to jump small cross rails. Jumper? Teach them to pole bend. Strictly for fun!!

Always keep your horse guessing. What is your next move going to be! Keep it fun, safe, and positive. Think outside of that proverbial box is also good for trainers who may be faced with a "problem" horse. You know, one that doesn't necessarily react to "normal" training methods, so you need to come up with another way to approach the lesson, while still reaching the same goal. Example; You have a horse that counter bends, well instead of continuously kicking him and reining him to get him to properly bend in to the center of the arena, Set up a barrel so that the horse has something to physically and VISUALLY bend AROUND! Props are a great and very fun tool to use while riding and schooling your horse.

Keep it interesting, keep it fun and if you get stumped for ideas, then talk it over with other horse riders. Some of my BEST training methods are from me exploring the ideas of different riders, and trainers, and tweaking them to suit my type of riding and training style. You'll really notice a difference in your horse's attitude and retention of his lessons when you start to think OUTSIDE that rectangle arena!!!!

So what are some fun, interesting things you do to keep your horse all psyched for ride time??

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Champagne taste with Beer money? It's a DO!!!

So with the economy the way it is and some horse owners in desperate need to rid themselves of some of their horses, what does that mean for the rest of us?? Well it means that the once priced $20,000 horses are now selling for $5-$10,000. It means that if we search hard enough we can find some very nice horses at rock bottom prices!

http://www.dreamhorse.com/show_horse.php?form_horse_id=1323042 This little mare is a 2001 model already proven in the show ring for $600!


What about this guy? $2,000 and he is drop dead gorgeous!!!http://www.dreamhorse.com/show_horse.php?form_horse_id=1323832





Cute little paint for $2,000. Has a lot of miles on her. http://www.dreamhorse.com/show_horse.php?form_horse_id=1322980


Here's a 1993 paint mare that would be PERFECT for a beginner wanting to show in the circuit! $1,800 for this one. http://www.dreamhorse.com/show_horse.php?form_horse_id=1322980

There are some VERY nice horses out there for sale now and it's a great time if you can afford it or want another horse to capitalize on the low prices and high quality stock for sale.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Canter-less Wonder

When people tell me that horse back riding isn't hard, I'm not sure if I should laugh or slap them. I mean we are working with an animal with it's own brain, feelings, moods, EVERYTHING! If you've schooled beautiful for weeks before a show and the day of the show your horse bucks, well, he just felt like it that day ugh *head shake* I know I've been there! So when a mare I have in training just does NOT want to canter. Then what on earth am I up against?

So this horse is impeccable in the round pen and when lunging. Will walk, trot, canter both ways beautiful on voice commands alone. However, under saddle, it is a whole different story. Now she rides the horse in a treeless saddle and stays on top of getting her regular adjustments, so pain issues? Not even a chance.

OK so the owner has had just about everybody try and get on her horse to make her canter. They've used spurs, crops, kissing, clucking, kicking, voice commands, everything. The only thing that mare will do is trot just about as fast as humanely possible! She trots so fast she could compete in races! LOL! OR she'll buck.

So enter me. I observe, I get on, I kick, squeeze and kiss. Nothing. *sigh* OK, so we take her out on a trail ride with other horses and have them canter ahead of her so she'll canter to keep up. Nope just power trots. OK new plan!!!! Let's take her to a hill. She'll have to canter up a hill. We pick a pretty decent incline and the first time she merely trots up it. The second time we go we get 3 canter steps! Wahoooooo! A small victory, but a victory never the less.

So we're jazzed and ready to try this in the arena! No canter, no nothing. OK, OK now what. So I begin to wonder, MAYBE this mare isn't even broke to canter, maybe she doesn't understand what we're asking. Maybe her previous owners didn't let her canter, or taught her in a distressful or painful way.

Well if ANY horse won't go forward then there is obviously a lack of communication some where. So we MUST for the sake of horse and rider, slow down and go to the beginning as if starting a green horse. So I begin to have the owner do some basic exercises with her horse. We start to work on when the she tightens her leg around her horse, I want to see a forward reaction. So we have begun to work on extension and collection at the walk and trot. As well as impulsion and circle exercises. I even have her ride her horse bareback so she can really FEEL her horses movements beneath her. Or I have her ride in a saddle, but with her eyes closed for a minute or two at a time, so she has to depend on the feel and not what she sees. It's honestly back to basics with this one.

It's almost like retraining both parties. The owner must now learn to recognize a true forward movement as well as using a lot of seat and leg aids. Nothing artificial. No crop, no spurs. Just basic leg on belly communication. And the horse must learn that the aids mean forward.

If there is no medical problems as to why a horse won't do something. Then it is ALWAYS a communication issue. So we work, work away at tuning the horse and rider up to their responsiveness to each other, and someday they'll be cantering off into the sunset together.

But for now, while we've seen major improvements in the horse's willingness and responsiveness to the rider's leg aids to move her forward, we must still stick to what works for them. The horse isn't bucking anymore and it seems that she really is beginning to understand our actions. As we have understood hers. We are now getting a calm nice canter out of her although it's still in little spurts. Baby steps, always baby steps! But a canter step forward is ALWAYS better than any buck backwards!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

War Huh?! OK Bring it!!!

State declares war on horses

By SANDRA POSSINGUEST COLUMNIST, SEATTLE TIMES

Little known to most people, the state has decided to declare war on horses and agriculture.
Since 1968, the Department of Revenue has recognized that agricultural property kept rural and maintained for horse pasturing and boarding qualifies as "commercial agricultural."
Now, suddenly and arbitrarily, the state threatens to rescind this designation, which would force the sale and development of much protected agricultural land and the loss of previously rural lifestyles and opportunities.
It isn't clear why the state is moving at this time to reinterpret what has been a settled matter for literally decades; namely, that horse boarding and pasturage warrants inclusion as "commercial agricultural."
Perhaps it is simple lust for increased revenue at a time of economic downturn. But decimating Washington's horse farms would greatly injure the state's economy at an already delicate time; moreover, forcing the sale and development of agricultural land goes counter to the expressed desire of the people of Washington to maintain rural character while preserving natural habitats.
Whatever its underlying motivation, the Department of Revenue now claims that "commercial agricultural" designation requires sale of a tangible product, and that horse boarding is recreational, not agricultural. However, thousands of acres in Washington are maintained in rural agricultural condition because horse facilities provide a commercial "equine" product, just as free-range cattle herds provide a "dairy" product.
In addition, state law RCW 7.48.310 clearly defines "farm products" as "livestock, including breeding, grazing and recreational equine use." To get around that obstacle, the Department of Revenue has decreed that breeding and grazing both must occur -- thereby implicitly approving the equivalent of equine "puppy mills" while punishing responsible horse people who seek to limit the overproduction of animals.
Even more absurd, the department also maintains that caring for horses does not constitute animal husbandry and -- incredible -- that horses are not livestock. It would be paradoxical if officials adopted such a narrow, double-speak interpretation of the law that it acted against history and the expressed desire of the people of Washington, not to mention common sense.
In a letter to state Rep. Christine Rolfes, D-Bainbridge Island, Cindi Holmstrom, director of the Department of Revenue, said interested parties would be given "the opportunity to provide input regarding the definition of commercial agricultural purposes" at a meeting at 10 a.m. Nov. 13 in the General Administration Auditorium, Olympia, 210 11th Ave. S.W. I encourage all interested parties to attend.
But be warned: In her letter to Rolfes, Holmstrom went on to note, "Our goal is to clearly identify activities that are agricultural in nature, such as raising and selling pigs, while excluding activities that are not agricultural, such as boarding horses and providing riding lessons." It sounds like her mind is made up.
Lewis Carroll's account of the trial of the Knave of Hearts is infamous for the Queen's dictum, "Sentence first, verdict afterward." That is: Impose punishment right away, without worrying about guilt or innocence.
In its war against horse boarding, pasturing and the commercial agricultural practices that support it, the Department of Revenue seems poised to enter a kind of dystopian Wonderland. Like the Red Queen, the department is eager to impose sentence; don't bother them with logic, history, clear dictionary definitions, the obvious intent of state tax policies or the facts.
Sandra Possin lives in Seattle; SaveWashingtonHorseFarms.org.


STATE OF WASHINGTON
DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE
Property Tax Division
P O Box 47471 ¨ Olympia, Washington 98504-7471 ¨ (360) 570-5900 ¨ Fax (360) 586-7602
October 15, 2008

TO: Interested Parties
FROM: Brad Flaherty, Assistant Director
Property Tax Division

SUBJECT: STAKEHOLDER MEETING TO REVIEW OPEN SPACE TAXATION
ACT DEFINITION (WAC 458-30-200)

The Department of Revenue wants to acknowledge recent concerns and confusion about the
definition of “commercial agricultural purposes” as defined in WAC 458-30-200 and is
beginning a stakeholder process to consider changes to the rule.

Definition to be reviewed

The Legislature enacted chapter 84.34 RCW, the Open Space Taxation Act, in 1970, and the
Department adopted rules (chapter 458-30 WAC) to implement and administer this program in
1971. In 1988, the original rules were repealed and new rules adopted, including WAC 458-30-
200, which defines “commercial agricultural purposes,” in pertinent part, as the:
(i) Raising, harvesting, and selling lawful crops;
(ii) Feeding, breeding, managing, and selling of livestock, poultry, fur-bearing
animals, or honey bees, or any products thereof;
(iii) Dairying or selling of dairy products;
(iv) Animal husbandry;
(v) Aquaculture;
(vi) Horticulture; or
(vii) Participating in a government-funded crop reduction or acreage set-aside
program.

Except for the inclusion of the cultivation of Christmas trees and certain short-rotation
hardwoods, the definition of “commercial agricultural purposes” has remained virtually
unchanged since at least 1988. It is time to give the definition a thorough review to make sure it
makes sense in light of current agricultural practices and other current use provisions.

Specific issues to be addressed

We are aware of two specific issues that need to be covered. Persons who purchase calves or
piglets in the Spring, raise them over the Summer, and sell them in the late Fall want this activity
to be included in the definition of “commercial agricultural purposes.” The eligibility of horse
boarding also needs to be addressed. You may know of other issues we need to consider.

First stakeholder meeting scheduled

Our initial stakeholder meeting to consider possible rule changes will be held at 1025 Union
Avenue SE, Olympia, WA 98504, 4th Floor Executive Conference Room, on Thursday,
November 13, from 10:00 a.m. to noon. We invite you and others you may know who have an
interest in clarifying this rule to join us in a discussion. Space is limited so please confirm your
attendance by responding to the e-mail address below. Based on the issues raised and interest
shown at this meeting, additional meetings may be planned, including meetings throughout the
state as appropriate.

Additional questions

If you have any additional questions or would like more information about the meeting, please
contact Marilou Rickert in the Department’s Interpretations and Technical Advice Division at
(360) 570-6115 or by e-mail at
MarilouR@DOR.WA.GOV.


Well Bring it on Then!!!!

Booty Booty Booty Booty Rockin' Everywhere

Twice a week I work with this massively muscular quarter horse mare named Sugar. She is a VERY well trained mare. When she wants to be. Sugar was trained to neck rein, do roll backs, side pass, everything! However she was also trained to be a "peanut-pusher" Ugh! What's the problem with the peanut-pusher? They are usually VERY heavy on the forehand. In fact most western pleasure judges and trainers, frown on the peanut-pusher look. Now Sugar has the look and body type of a foundation quarter horse. She is a big, stout, short-legged mare, so for her to be so dependent on her forehand really takes away from her training, it makes her lazy and sloppy and it tends to throw her owner off balance. So how do we get the military tank to rock back on that booty?

First and foremost we need to be assured that there is no underlying medical reason why the horse is so heavy on the front, even though being heavy on the forehand is a VERY common occurrence in horses. Then we need to strengthen our OWN riding position in order to help our horse. Always stay nice and tall in the saddle, with you legs light on the sides, never grip with your thigh, use your calf. And make sure that YOU are properly balance in the saddle, before we ask your horse to re-balance itself.

Well, there are a several ways to encourage a horse, no matter what the discipline, to engage their hind quarters. The easiest? Transitions, transitions, transitions. Halt to trot, to walk to trot to lope to halt to back to on and on and on. Practicing transitions will force your horse to utilize it's hind end more, because you are constantly switching the gaits. Soon the horse will begin to anticipate your transpositions, and will therefore stay back on it's rump in preparation for your next move.

Also, circles, ahhhhhh you can never go wrong with a nice circle. Now if you are doing the circles properly, your horse will also be forced to engage his hind end. Be Careful not to mistake a bent in neck and nose as a properly bent horse. You need his body to be wrapping around your inside leg. This pic is a great example of that.

One other tip I give riders, is to bring their hands up a bit, only a few inches up off the neck, and shorten their reins a bit to give them a bit more contact with the horse's mouth. Almost as if you could imagine, lightly lifting your horse up off his front end. Sit deep in the saddle, breathe deeply, and push with your seat and thighs. Do NOT try to PULL your horse up by it's mouth! You will end up with a hollow-backed animal and not a properly engaged animal. Stay light on the mouth and ask for a bit of collection and impulsion.

Speed control. When walking, trotting or cantering, extend and collect the speed of the gaits. Collected walk, medium walk, extended walk. This will also help to add impulsion, which will again get that pony of yours on her rump!
Can we say Ground poles!!!! ANYBODY, no matter what discipline you prefer, can benefit from the proper use of ground poles. Walk, trot and lope over these bad boys and your horse will be rockin' that booty!!
Hills, you and your horse can walk up and down a hill. Start with a gradual incline and then work up to more.

Last but not least, roll backs and turns on the haunches. These are impossible to do without the hind quarter engaged.
Sometimes horses just get bored with their same old routine, so mixing up their workouts will also keep them interested and fresh enough to want to learn and make them more willing to accept new things.

Monday, November 10, 2008

It's a matter of Preference

When I get a horse that is coming into training, there are some basics that I want to know. Is it up to date on everything? Has the horse ever experienced any lameness? And what do you feed it? That's all I want to know. Seriously that's it!
The last barn I trained out of the owner would always tell the my clients, "She doesn't want to know ANYTHING about the horses training."
Now you can tell me she's "broke", or she doesn't clip, or she is bad with her feet. Those things I'm fine with. But I do not want to know anything about what the horse has done under saddle. Now why is that??

It's because I want to start every horse from ground zero. I want to experiment and test the waters and give the horse the benefit of the doubt! I don't want to know that your horse may buck or rear, all that will do is keep my mind concentrating on when she's going to buck, instead of me concentrating on actual training. I start every horse as if this is their first time being saddled, bridled, lunged, and more. Why? Sometimes, horse people LIE! Plus if I do it this way, then I know I'm taking every precaution in mine and the horses safety. I ground drive EVERY HORSE I have in training. I want to KNOW without a doubt that your horse, turns and has brakes! Then I go through the motions of first backing the horse as if it's his first time *and it may be* and then I mount up and go from there. If the horse really is what the owner said it was, then this process will go much faster. But if the horse isn't then I will know in advance what I'm up against. Most horses will give me tell tale signs of what their mommies and daddies have already done with them, and that is terrific! Some won't and that's OK too. If someone is hell-bent telling me that their horse is broke, then I tell them that THEY need to get on it first. Usually that helps me to weed out the liars from the honest.

What this really is for me is more of an evaluation. If I go through ALL the basics with your horse, then I'm also able to find any gaps in his/her training. So that way you really are getting your moneys worth in training, plus a very happy owner and horse! :)

Now while it's not always a fool-proof method, as sometimes your beloved horse just really needs to get that buck out LOL, it really does make my job a hell of a lot easier.


So my question would be, what methods do/would you use when first meeting a potential mount, training horse, etc?


You put that on Dreamhorse?

GOOOD MORNING!!!!! Happy Monday *ugh* So Dreamhorse is an EXCELLENT site for advertising your horse, tack, trailer, etc. But as of today I have seen it ALL!!! These are actually pictures taken from ads off Dreamhorse. I about split my sides open!!


You really couldn't have waited the 2 extra seconds before she got on this horse to take the pic??? Now they are advertising this horse as DEAD BROKE!! Hmmmmm kinda makes you wonder???


I hate these pictures on general principle that I think they are lame and irresponsible. Now I'll give you the fact they are both wearing helmets. I'll give you the fact that they actually are TRYING to prove that this old mare is dead broke and kid safe. But what I don't get is the reins on the ground... Now I've dropped my reins on the ground before, because I'll be "right back" and it always seemed to end up disastrous. I also know that dropping the reins is sometime a cue for ground tying. But in this case, if that sweet little mare got off balance and had to take a step forward or to the side, she'd step right on those dang reins...
YES!!! THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT YOU THINK IT IS!!! ROFLMAO!!!!! This is an actual picture that I found on Dreamhorse this fine morning. HE'S PEEING!! This right here is the epitome of great advertising!! *sides ache laughing to hard*