Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Oh You Know It!!!!!!

Happy new Years to All of you and your families, both fourlegged or two!!! Stay safe and I'll see you on the Flipside in 2009!!!!

Is It Even Worth It???

An acquaintance of mine took in a 9 year old paint mare. Everything seemed fine at first. then as it has begun to turn out, the mare want EVERYBODY dead.

Now I've worked with horses who've had bad manners, kicked, reared, etc... but this mare will buck you off then turn around and charge you. It doesn't matter if she's bareback, with a saddle, in a hackamore or bridle. She hates your guts... So where do you turn at this point?? I knew a gal who had a similarly aggressive horse and she made it "disappear" to Canada. Now obviously we want to save as many of these poor souls as possible, but when do you just call a spade a spade??? When is it time to call the vet out and have the horse "go away." Is that fair? Are you sure some magical horse trainer can't fix it??? No, sorry. Sometimes there is just NO coming back.

My friend is now very stressed out as she can never re home this mare and the mare is becoming more and more aggressive as the days go on, even to other horses...

Sometimes their personality or bad life experiences they've had are way too much to ever come out of. The best thing to do in that case is to put it down. Even in good faith or if you explain yourself til your blue you can't usually re home them. We are a lawsuit-crazy world and it's just not worth it to travel down that road.

Keep in mind that what I'm talking about is a truly DEADLY horse that is out for BLOOD. There are 2 different types of criminals as there are horses. You have the one that is stealing Snicker bars from 7-11 and the homicidal maniac who will get the death penalty or life in prison. Same thing with horses...

Is it worth it?? To me? No F-ing way...There are 100 good horses who need homes versus the 1 who is a homicidal killer waiting to happen...

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

On a Scale of 1-10, Oh What the Hell You're Just Damn Dumb!

Maybe, just maybe it's the way the horse is laying, though I doubt it, but why on earth is it's hip bone that popped out??? Now in the (poorly written) ad, she does say that at the trainer's he wasn't fed and it's taken them 3 months to fatten him up... um... can I see a picture of him "fat" then??? PEOPLE PLEASE!! When advertising, please slooooow down, have someone edit your ad, and do not try to sell an emaciated horse for $1200.00 Thanks... ALSO! Check on your damn horses! I wouldn't trust anyone enough to just drop my horse off for training with someone I did not know very well and just ASSUME everything would be peachy! I REQUIRE people to come out and visit their horses when I have them in training!! Plus I take pics of them when they first arrive at my farm. I wouldn't dare get caught up in that "Oh the trainer starved my horse" bullshit...

I know a LOT of people and other trainers and so on and so forth. I happen to know some VERY good pony trainers as well. Ponies can be a wee bit tricky as you need a rider/trainer who is proportionate to said pony. Especially if you are selling said pony for $5500.00 Um... yeah. the picture sucks, the woman is way too damn big for the pony and even if you ARE too big, I can let that go, but when you're big, gawky AND you look like a fat, floppy, fish atop that pony. Yeah I have a major issue with that. Ponies conformation, also looks a little sub par, though it could be because he has an additional 200lbs on his back. Watch the video on the sales page of her website. Which also has a few snags in it... here is an excerpt from the FRONT Page of her website...

"Whispering Ridge Welsh is located in South Eastern, North Dakota, USA. We are a small stud dedicated to the promotion and breeding of Welsh Sec. A, B & C with true Welsh conformation and movement to excel in riding, driving, and showing in hand."
A small stud huh? OK, neat!! Now there are some good, cute pics of ponies with good little riders on them. THAT is the type of photo I would expect to see, when you breed, own and sell "CHAMPIONS" Lmao! That has truly made my day!!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Back to the Daily Grind...

Wow! It has been one hell of a past few days or even past weeks for me. With all the crazy snow the PNW has had, to Christmas, to my own birthday on the 27th (Christmas Baby). Now it's just getting back to the routine of things... I hope you all received the gifts you were hoping for and got to spend some good Q.T. with your family and ponies!!!!

Since I've been frolicking in the abyss that is my crazy life for the past few days, lets recap some things that have been going on...
Abundant amount of snow+roof = Oh Shit... Thank god these people had the foresight to TRY and clear the snow off their roof and also get their horse OUT of the barn in case the roof did collapse, which it did.

Then we have this Gem who has been angering Craigslisters for the past few days all over the country. This was also just recently mentioned on Fug's blog. Just put the damn filly down already!!

Well, we are expected to get more snow and ooooh flooding now!!! It is winter time so please keep your horses and hay dry! Keep your hay supplied so if your power goes out, or you get flooded in or snowed in, you have enough supplies not to stress. Have a dry spot for your horses to go, and have an evacuation plan ie: a safe place to take your horses, the roads to take, etc... Mother nature has no mercy for our ill-planning. Be safe! And for most of you, enjoy your Holiday Vacation!!!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Wishes

Ahhhhhhh welcome to Christmas Eve my friends...or the holidays. Whichever. Here is my Christmas/Holiday wish list of things to do or that should be done or just whatever I feel like...hahahaa

1. No more stupid people with horses. Or any animal for that matter. Quit breeding your crap! We have enough horses that need homes, without your Heinz 57, pwetty colored horsey running around...

2. Quit trying to train your horse to do things that are sooooo kyoootie (rearing for example). It's dumb and it may hurt someone.
Namely a trainer who is trying to fix the garbage you've done.

3. Just because you may have or think you have a bazllion dollar horse, does not mean you are better than anyone else so cut the damn attitude.

4. FEED YOUR HORSES!!! Give them the proper maintenance and care.

5. Ahhhhh trail ride more often...

6. Hug your horse!!!

7. Treat yourself and your pony to something nice!! A Gift from yourself to yourself....
8. Go to a show, or try something different.

9. Treat yourself to a clinic of your favorite trainer.

10. Have a wonderful Christmas!!! Holiday!!!! Etc...

Love you guys!!!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


I'm sorry, but this is a July 2007 colt. Up for stud... soooooo he is a year and a half old, hasn't proven himself at all, and is still a baby. BUT! For $600.00 YOU can breed your mare to him...

C'mon people REALLY!?!?! This is beyond making my damn head hurt... we have no clue what in the hell your little colt is capable of, or what he'll look like 100% until he's done growing. The only thing we can go off of is his pedigree. And oh my! Can that be deceiving...

So, let me get this straight. You "MUST" rehome your 31 yo horse???? Oh, but don't worry, they say he has many years and miles left on him... *HEADDESK* I'm so sure... What the ad should really say is;

"Hi. I'm an asshat who would like to un-burden myself of this old nag of a horse. See while we've used and abused this poor guy, he is no longer of use to us anymore. So come get him for free and like I give a shit what you do with him after that..."

Yes, I'd say that sounds a bit more accurate...

I'm truly beginning to think that people are becoming more and more brain dead in this industry... and I'm a little more than concerned. What. Tell me What is going to take to get through to some of these people. Who looks at a yearling and says "OK, let's breed 'em" or trying to get rid of a 31 yo??? When these people actually take a step back and look at the big picture, does this look like something a "normal" person would do?? And what's the market for yearling studs and 31 yo run down horses?? NOT GOOD! So please PULL your damn head OUT of your ass and pay attention to reality. YOU are an idiot and should have zippo, zilch, nada, nothing to do with horses EVER in your life... Here's the sad thing. Lame ads like these are becoming more and more common...

Sunday, December 21, 2008

And now I lay you down to Sleep...

I know that with the holidays upon us, that this is going to be a tough one to swallow. But death sleeps for no one...I know this because my family and myself have been involved in the funeral/cemetery industry for years. But life and death happen...

When we own animals, any animal, we play God. WE decide when they eat, where they sleep, and when they die. Today I received an email from a very dear friend of mine... and this was one of the paragraphs in it...

"All the pukes who keep an animal live, even though it's suffering, for the sake of the human, not the animal, need to be on the asshat bus stop route. I put down a sweet little pony, who was great with the kids, and the kids loved her, because she was in constant pain. Manageable, sure, but only with medication. She was never going to be pain-free, and that, my friend, just ain't fair. People who put themselves before their animals need the asshat beatings! She hurt, got a shot, and went to sleep. Done, no more pain. Prolonging her suffering for the sake of my, what, sadness? guilt? (selfish guilt, as in, the loss of the kids' pony).. not wanting to make a difficult decision? That's all about me, not about her."

Those are VERY strong words from a woman who is PASSIONATE about her beloved animals. And to that I say I'm sorry for your loss, but thank you for your decision. I find a lot of people, when faced with choice of life or death always want to choose life. Sometimes for their own selfish reasons. But we need to understand that no matter how badly you don't want to let go of your pet, that No amount of painkillers, surgery's or "miracle treatments" are worth it their pain. We need to be brave and loyal to our horses as they always were for us...

You know what? Being a trainer, I've seen way too many horses lose their lives. Sometimes, I have to make the call. And I cuss and throw things and scream. Never while anyone is around... but I do it. When I have to make that call the first thing that ALWAYS runs through my mind is "What the Fuck gives ME the right to take this animals life??" I am NOT God. Why? Why should I have this much control over this animal to say whether it lives or dies. Well boys and girls, it's a MUST if you own an animal. It is NOT optional. Being in pain, or drugged up for the rest of it's life so YOU can still USE the animal... is CRUEL... it's no quality of life that's for sure. So yes, I'm sorry but someday you will have to make that call. And you need to know that it will be the right choice. As hard as it may seem at the time, your animal will thank you.

When it comes time for to lay your beloved down to sleep. ALWAYS remember and NEVER forget! That is the greatest gift you can give them. Especially when it ends so peacefully...

This is from the Thanksgiving blog I wrote, and it rings so very true.
"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."

Friday, December 19, 2008

Holiday Horses! Come and Get 'Em

Hello all!!! I've been blasted with snow at my place and have been out the horses, keeping them toasty and warm. With all this winter weather and the fact that Christmas is only 6 days away it reminds me of all the people who try just that extra inch to push their horses your way.
Well with the market being the way it is people are trying to push their horses off left and right. But nothing compared to when winter and the holidays hit. Everyone thinks that they have the perfect Christmas gift and that ALL little girls out there who dream of Santa bringing them a pony should have theirs.

How many ads out there do you see that say "Perfect Christmas Pony" or "Will hold 'til Christmas" ?

Now I've actually helped people out who are in a crunch to get their horses or ponies trained for Christmas. Some the owners have managed to sell, some not even close. With the market being the way it is do people really think that we as consumers are capable of taking on YOUR horse that you suddenly MUST REHOME?? Come on now.

Hey I'm all for if you have the means to afford a horse for the holidays, but the advertising that I see sometimes boggles my mind. Like "Oh I was wanting to buy a horse this spring, but now that it say CHRISTMAS HORSE I must have it NOW for sure!!!" And people think this works?? *snort* You know what else works? Quit breeding your garbage that you can't afford to train or feed or take care of!!

Sorry folks, it's just another of my crazy rants, but sometimes I just can't help myself. Go to craigslist and type in any holiday word. Christmas, holiday, whatever and see the amount of ads that pop up! WOW!!! Let me tell you, some of the people of the horse world are true marketing geniuses. *eyeroll* C'mon I know that there are some things that drive you guys nuts too! LOL!!!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Whatever You Say Princess...

If I had a nickel for every horse owner who thought that their horse was a princess, I'd be not only a millionaire, but a billionaire. I understand that you really would like to think that you're horse walks on water and that it should be held up in an Ivory stall with jewels encrusted on every square in of it, but we are not in Rome, you are not Caligula and your horse is NOT Incitatus. Don't get it yet?? Here you go. There, you get a history lesson today. Moving on now...

NOT your Horse--------------------->

I was asked by a lady to work with her 3 yr old BLM mustang... She was beyond pretty. Long mane, sweet face, grullo in color. Just WOW! So the owner wanted 60 days on her so when I went to go pick her up I sat down with the lady and we chatted about her horse. Nothing unusual about that right? Don't I wish.

She proceeds to tell me how "special" her horse is and how it's the MOST gorgeous thing that has ever graced this earth and what I a privilege I have to get to work with her (??????) OK, whatever, so that's all pretty normal, people love their horses and that is GREAT! But then she starts telling me that she has the mentality of a 1.5 yr old and that if she doesn't want to do something then she doesn't have too, she LOOOOOVES to snuggle (invade your space and knock you over) but it's soooooooo precious... OK, at this point I have made it my mission to just pack up this mare and get out of here. So the owner and I finish our conversation she signs the paper work. She wants 60 days on her and wants her to be able to clip, bathe, stand, get used to fly sprays, lead, pick up her feet and trailer. Wait. What?!?! Why is it that clients REFUSE or seem to FORGET to tell me this shit BEFORE I go out there to pick up the horse. She doesn't trailer??? Well jeepers had I known that BEFOREHAND I would have brought an extra person... *headdesk* Finally the owner tells me to be "oh so gentle" with her baby and that she's such a princess. Then the owner literally says "I can't watch you load her, I must go inside." WTF?!? WOW! OK, sure just go... Luckily I've learned that those mustangs are really not that stupid! I had grain, mare wants grain, grain goes in trailer, as does horse. *Phew*

Mare is safely at home, with me now. And let me tell you, she acts just like a prissy little princess. She doesn't want to get her hooves wet, she is ill mannered, she will strike and kick at you, but remember be oh so gentle for she may break. This particular mare happens to be made of glass you know.*Barf*

It takes me a mere half hour of watching her in the round pen that she has dominance issues. As in she's dominant and you're not. Oh My!! Well here is one of my theories when I work with ANY horse. Nothing that I do to a horse (within reason) will ever even come CLOSE to what alpha mare in the wild would do to them... What does this mean? Well if a horse kicks me and I haul off smacking it in the rump with a lead rope or the palm of my hand, that is NOTHING compared to what Alpha mare would do to a sassy horse. Now if I haul off on a horse with a chain or metal crowbar than yes I will do more damage, but that's not the point. NOW, how I train, I will NEVER get close to hurting a horse like Alpha mare will. Oh and here's a little secret to make your life easier. IF you happen to have an alpha mare sometimes turning out a sassy youngster who treats you like crap, will do eliminate some of the hard work for you. If Alpha mare teaches some discipline and respect and who's top bitch then the proverbial ice has now been cracked and YOU can now wedge your way in there...

So after working with this little precious for a few days we are stating to have some very, very good breakthroughs in our communication. Folks, I can not stress enough how great a round pen or small arena is for this!!! This little mare after round penning her, chasing her away, making her switch directions, working on ground work with her the whole 9 yards is really starting to come around and see that things WILL be done my way. She really was smart as a whip. Once I had her broke to ride and her ground training and respect issues were all squared away, she absorbed the lessons I taught her like a giant sponge! She made some amazing progress in 60 days!

OK, let's move on to the moral of this oh so interesting story. You do not own a god damn Princess My Little Pony. If you did want me to train a 5 inch plastic pony with glitter in her hair, then I would be much obliged. I wouldn't get the bloody noses, the fat lips, the pulled muscles and joints, the bumps or bruises. HOWEVER, since this is NOT the case, ever, please here me loud and clear. Your horse will NOT break. I and most GOOD trainers will never scar, hurt, mangle, or terrorize your little baby. I love my horses to DEATH, but they still know who reigns top bitch in that barn. If you have the desire to get trampled and walked all over by your horse than that's fine, just do not call us to come fix it and then tell us to be oh so sweet and gentle when you have an 800-1300 lb "Baby" trying to butcher me.

TRUST ME! You will not hurt your horse's feelings, or scar them for life, or ruin them forever, or ANYTHING BAD if you dish out a bit of discipline. As a matter of FACT, you receive the greatest reaction of all. RESPECT from your horse. Once you have gained/earned their respect, you will be PARTNERS for LIFE!!!!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Something for Nothing and Nothing for Something...

A. The Market sucks
B. Too many grade, untrained, broken down horses
C. No money to support said horses.
I can Haz for $200.00???----------------------->

So, a lot of people as you can see by your local craigslist or dreamhorse ad, are in desperate need to rid themselves of their horses. Horses that either, they bred, bought cuz it's perty, or oh my holy hell who knows!! So then WHY is it that is these people are desperate to rid themselves of these" burdens" are they so retarded??? Here's an example:
OK, now, in who's F-ing lifetime would pay 4K for this horse... mmmmm not me. As a matter of fact I feel as though my intelligence has been insulted... BOYS AND GIRLS! DO NOT spend all of this money on a horse that is so far from worth it. It's not reg. not 100% trained well, OK, 4K worth of training and it's 13 yrs old!

It's funny because a lot of people contact me for horses. "Do you have a perfect, kid-safe pretty, easy keeper, that will win all the time?? Oh and I'd like to buy that for $800" I'm sorry wha...?

What was that? You're an idiot? Oh OK I'm glad we understand each other now. It always goes BOTH ways!! Either people have a horse that is ugly, lame, broodmare only, grade, old, blah blah, that they need 80 bazillion dollars for, because he's sooooooooooo worth it. OR you have some LOOKING for EVERYTHING in a horse and want to pay, mmmmm 50 bucks...
You can Haz for $40,000---------------------->

You know who can be the biggest culprits out all of them?? Trainers! HA! It's true. Trainers, think they are all knowing and all wonderful that they can turn horse poop into diamonds!! WOW!! I"d love to meet that person. I've got A LOT of crap and I could use some damn diamonds! You never hear anyone say "you're full of Diamonds." Now do you? Nope it's ALWAYS, "YOU are full of SHIT!" And for good justifiable reasons...

People ALWAYS want SOMETHING for NOTHING! Amazing, immaculate horse = $50 and of course NOTHING for SOMETHING crappy, horse non broke, bad conformation = $10,000!
Buyer AND seller beware! KNOW your market. Google names and farms, call your vet, farrier, friend, anyone NON-biased to the horse you're looking at. Consider age, soundness, feet, what the horse has done. A 20 yr old horse who spent 10 yrs on the track and 8 doing Grand Prix Jumping is NOT going to BODE well for you!!! Oh and of course Back yard breeders! STOP IT YOU ASS HATS!!! We have ENOUGH to choose from. THANKS!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Winter Fun!

So this weekend the Seattle area got blasted with snow, not a very common occurrence for us. It's roughly 18-24 degrees and Brrrrrr cold, so now what?? First things first. Winter care of your horse is a bit more demanding then that of summer (OK, that's a big Duh, but I had to say it.) So let's start off here.

Winter Care for the ones you love.
More HAY!!! Eating more hay will keep your horse warmer and help maintain their weight. The act of eating the hay helps warm up their systems. Don't bump up grain, bump up hay. Even if it's just a filler hay. I give my horses free choice filler hay and then they get their alfalfa for breakfast and dinner.

Horses have long fluffy coats for a reason. Let them grow!!! OR blanket them with a toasty warm cover. I have a Thoroughbred who doesn't grow much of a coat and so he needs that added warmth.
Give them a hot mash once a week. It's a nice treat for them and they'll appreciate it!

Horses don't drink as much water in the winter, so make sure they ARE getting what they need with your assistance. Water down grain with warm water. Warm up their water bucket, or add salt to their food.

I'm sure I've missed a bunch of stuff, but really I could go on and on...

What's more beautiful and peaceful then a winter's ride?? Not a thing.

HOOVES! No hooves, no horse. If it's icy out make sure your horses hooves are either shod properly to handle the ice and snow. Or trimmed properly so they don't slip, ship or crack. If they get packed with snow and ice, clean them out and put a bit of Vaseline in them. It will stop the ice form sticking. I've also heard of PAM non stick spray too, but have never used it.

Avoid to steep of hills. They can be too tricky to maneuver when slick.

Take it slow at first, allow them a lot of time to warm up AND COOL DOWN!
Know you're terrain. Stick to familiar areas on the trails. Places you know pretty well.

Bring water for yourself to drink and let your horse take breaks.

Dress WARM and if your horse has little coat or is used to a blanket then ride with a quarter sheet.

Stay safe, tell people WHERE you're going and take your cell. A Winter wonderland can be confusing when it's nothing but white.
It's a lot harder to work in the winter air, keep this in mind for your horse!!!

Above all have fun! Winter time is NO reason to stop riding! In fact it makes for a nice change of pace, so enjoy!!!

I know that those of you who are more used to the snow have some great tips as well! Please share as we Seattle-folk don't harbor too much snow very often!

Friday, December 12, 2008

It's Friday, I'll do what I Want!

It's kind of rainy and gloomy around here today in the PNW, but it's Friday, I'm excited and ready to go for another slammed busy weekend!!!

So for everyones Fab Friday here are a few people that just leave me speechless!

Windy Oak Farm, I like your facility, I think you have some decent horses, but for the love of GOD get rid of whomever is jumping your damn horses. If that's your trainer, Lisa, then holy moly parents grab your kids and run far, far away from there. She is just a TRAIN WRECK of a rider. I understand that everyone gets thrown off balance every now and then and so photos can be slightly misleading, but EVERY PHOTO this lady is in looks the same. Stirrups wayyyy too long, heels jacked up into the horse's flank and laying totally on the horses neck. Wowzers!! Here's the DreamHorse Ad~

Here's some more styling pics of wonder trainer...

I'd be a liar if I said I knew a lot about barrel racing, but this girl just looks way off in the saddle, I've seen normal barrel racing but have yet to see a rider look like this in the saddle. Look, we all know how I feel about using lame pictures for your ad. SO STOP IT!!!

Cute horse, OK rider, but what the hell is she looking at? Now as a jumper myself, it is a fact that you are ALWAYS supposed to be looking towards the next jump. Planning ahead, making your next move, but damn. Either she's REALLY planning ahead, or it's Linda Blair on horseback...

How about a few updates now?? So Diamond, the 2 yr QH mare that my clients hubby bought has settled in nicely!! And she's as cute as could be! She's a trooper and very accepting of new things. *phew*
<-----------Lil Diamond!

The mare I have in training right now, Reign, that I got from the bitch from hell, is doing considerably better. She has brakes now and is understanding what it means to be relaxed under saddle! She'll turn out just fine.
Everyone have a great weekend! Go out and hug your ponies!!! Give 'em a big Ol Moochie from me!!!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

You're Not That Special

Watch this video... it's less than 2 minutes long, then come right back.
Did you notice anything about the horses in the video? How they were playing and how they were moving?? How they were rearing, doing rollbacks, piaffes, canter pirouettes, side passing, all on their own???

When we train horses we aren't really teaching them anything that they don't already know. We as trainers just need to find the right way to ask them to do it. It's us trying to figure out how to get them to extend the trot, roll back, and more in a way that they understand.

The basic principal of dressage is merely this: Asking the horse to perform movements that they do naturally, show casing their natural talents. Dressage is so amazing because these trainers have asked their horses all the right questions, and in return have gotten all the right answers. They have figured out HOW to communicate with horse appropriately to get the desired performance. Same thing with reiners. They are the dressage of the western world. Their horse knows how to tuck their butt under themselves and slide, watch a young horse run around a pen and come up to a gate and have to quickly stop. Same thing.

There really is no such thing as "advanced" movements for a horse. They're already in the horses head. Watch your horses play in the field. Running around you'll see them do everything that Anky does on her Grand Prix horse.

When working with horses, what really makes a great trainer or rider is someone who CAN and WILL take the time to find the correct method of communication between them and their horse. Every horse is different so for every horse you'll use the same principals, but tweaked slightly to accommodate the individual horse.

Horses, whether you are watching them in the wild, in a field or while riding are amazingly smart animals, but they each have their own way of learning and own special communication techniques that they require in order for us to be able to bring out the best in each other.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Action = Consequence = Positive OR Negative Associations

When training a horse especially a horse that is starting as a blank slate, the rule of thumb is that for every action you perform toward YOUR horse, the horse will give YOU a consequence that is relative. Be it a positive consequence or a NEGATIVE. This is an important concept to understand because it supports the psychological side of your horse and horse training. It's very Pavlovian. You ring the proverbial bell and you "dog" begins to drool.

So let's apply these thoughts to horses. Example: Pat on the neck + treat = reward of good behavior. Good behavior = positive reinforcer

Hitting to the face + hard whipping to the body = understanding that human is bad.
Human beating on horse = negative reinforcer

Tap of a crop/whip to enhance aids + ceasing when action is completed = Positive discipline. I tap the whip behind my leg, then stop tapping when horse moves = association of action and consequence.

It's all about thinking ahead. When training you MUST think about what type of CONSEQUENCE that your ACTION is going to have. If your horse is rearing and you yank him back down to earth and scold him, he will begin to associate rearing with getting in trouble. Alpha mares in the wild understand these concepts and apply them to running their herd, which is the same thing we need to do (in a constructive manner.) If your horse decides to take off running with you and you discipline him by making him keep going until YOU tell him to stop and he's pooped out, he will now realize that the consequence of bolting is running my tail off!! If your horse completes a 3 foot jump when he's only been schooling 2'6 and you stop and praise him and pat him and stop working. He learns that the consequence of what he did was a GOOD THING! The stopping work and pats are your actions and him jumping a 3 foot fence next time is his positive consequence. Now if someone goes on smacking their horse in the face as their action, then the horses consequence is going to be that he is now head shy. It's simply a GAME OF ASSOCIATIONS!!!! Hit to the face hurts = horse moving head away.

Honestly, training or schooling a horse can end up many different ways. While yes, the cowboy who beats his horse into submission and uses force and fear may get to the same goal that I do, but, I will have a horse who is more willing, relaxed, and not in fear of me. We'll be a team. I will have a horse willing to learn and trying to understand what I'm asking. I will teach him by using the appropriate discipline, training techniques and actions, so that I may in turn receive the consequence that I'm desiring. Forceful and aggressive methods can turn on people as well. While the rough and tough cowboy may think his horse is being dominated upon, the horse may in turn get aggressive and dangerous as well. And honestly who do think will come out on top in the game of strength?? Also, ALWAYS be aware that a LACK of communication is NO reason for you or a trainer or whatever to get pissed at a horse and to react harshly towards them. Horses can only go as far as we can teach them. And there is no excuse for blaming the horse, or taking out our aggressions or frustrations out on them, when it's ALWAYS going to be operator ERROR!! If your horse isn't performing what you want, then you need to ask yourself, "How am I asking my horse?" Proper and clear communication, along with a basic understanding of action vs. consequence is CRUCIAL when working with horses!!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Proud New Papa

Some clients of mine went horse hunting this weekend to look for roughly a 2-2.5 yr old horse. Something that hasn't had much done with it, something that my clients husband could work with for the next year while it grows. Ready for the irony??? So when my client went horse hunting for herself, her dear dear husband gave her the silent treatment for 3 weeks. *snork* Which according to her was a blessing in disguise. Her husband couldn't understand what she wanted a damn "hay burner" for. Well now he has come around immensely to the point where he'd like me to help him work with a young horse to call his own.
So, we end up coming across a lady that I've known for a while and she happens to be selling her 2 yr old QH mare. Oh and a pretty thing she is! Big chest, great conformation, nice hind end, good strong legs, sweet face, just a damn beauty! So we talk with the lady and she has to get rid of her little mare. Her and her husband both lost their jobs and one horse had to go and that horse was Diamond."

It was love at first sight! LOL! My clients husband is head over heels for this little girl! He even took a half day off work yesterday so he could walk her around the property in the day light and get her acclimated! He's totally smitten!! *hee hee* It's just so damn cute!!

Anyway, I myself would like to see Diamond, and how she is and moves, and her personality so I go up there yesterday and they're grooming her while she eats, but there is a slight struggle with the tail. It's a wee bit crusty. *yuckers* So I suggest taking her over to the wash rack and filling up a bucket with warm water to dunk her tail in and soften the dirt. Well this method proves to be too much effort, so me being the way I am I just "Hey, if she were mine, I'd turn on the hose and try to wash her tail." When working with any horse I will always go as far as they will allow me too. And the horse will let you know when enough is enough. So why the hell not see how she does with water and the hose???

She doesn't flinch! *everyone's eyes bug* She takes a step or two forward and back, but only because she is trying to see what we're doing. She took it like an old pro and I know for a fact that the previous owners never did any of this stuff with her. She's just a good little girl!! We hosed off her legs and just washed her tail nice and clean. See when training a horse to do anything, I NEVER react to them, if they're nervous I put them where they need to be and continue what I'm doing. If they don't get a reaction from me, then they quickly realize that whatever I'm doing must not be that big of deal.

OK, anyway, once we got her back to the stall to finish brushing her out the owner, proud little father that he is, wants to know what he can work on with her. Round penning, ground manners, blanketing, clipping, holding her feet up, sacking her out (my way) and oh so much more! They can go into the arena together and "play" and bond. Oh just way to much fun stuff when you own a sweet little 2 yr old filly with eyes that will melt your heart. This is going to be the experience of a life time for him. And the rewards are greater than anything. A forever friend trained and worked with to suit his personality and his filly's. I'm sure you can guess who'll be doing most of the actual training ;) but even still, the rewards outweigh the risks 1 million to 1 in the eyes of a proud new papa.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Shady Business...

Liars, thieves, cheaters, abusers, ugh. Horse people get a bad rep from time to time (often) and why is that??? Because it feels that most are just out to make a buck no matter what it takes!! And that is the honest truth. Now OBVIOUSLY we are not ALL like that but the ones who are just out for themselves? Oooooohh drives me crazy. It's so dirty! And do I have an example? Oh you bet I do!!

What you're told you're getting--------------------------->

I have a friend who runs her own rescue program in Port Orchard and she was contacted by a woman in Issaquah who had a TB Mare she needed gone. OK, now my friend in Port Orchard rescues horses that are capable of being retrained and leased out to 4-H kids whose parents can't afford to buy a horse and she leases them out for DIRT CHEAP!!! So anyway the lady in Issaquah, Wendy, tells my friend that this mare has free jumped 4'6 and has schooled at 3foot under saddle and is professionally trained in dressage and bleh blah, bleh. So my friend who knows NOTHING about English riding, goes out there to visit and see this mare. Wendy rides her and my friend rides her and all seems OK except her brakes are really less than par, but we can fix that. So my friend calls me and asks me to go pick her up which is no problem. Well as usual my schedule gets all goofed around and it goes from me picking her up Tuesday to Friday, then back to Thursday. OK I will get her Thursday for SURE! Well my friend calls Wendy and Wendy begins to completely bitch her out and disrespect her, telling her that she wants this mare gone and shE should just call the canner and she needs to get her head on straight because she's too ignorant and OMFG!!! So I am 100% prepared for this lady to be a complete bitchface when I go there to get the mare. So My friend tells me don't forget the paperwork and back over that bitch when you have the horse LMAO!

What you ACTUALLY GET---------->

So I get there with a couple of my students and we pick up the mare and I am putting off this air of confidence because I really do not want to go rounds with this damn woman. Well it seems to work and Wendy is being very polite and nice until we load the mare. The she says to me "Oh the mare is almost too big for your trailer. Especially since it's just a QUARTER HORSE trailer." WHOA! WTF?!?!? Well the trailer belongs to the people who were with me that night and I swear I had to hold back my laughter form how bitchy and stuck-up this woman was and also how pissy she was getting because we weren't falling for her nonsense. She also tells me that she once had this mare sold for $7500, but for some reason the deal fell through *snork* (yeah F-ing right!) Whatever... She owns a 2.5 million farm in Issaquah and another huge mansion on Mercer Island, good for her, I don't care. It really loses all of it's appeal when you're just a flaming BITCH!!
Well we are getting ready to leave and I ask for the papers and Wendy tells me "Oh she doesn't come with papers and I told your friend that." OK whatever let's just go. So we get her to my place as I'm going to put 30 days on her of jumper training and I let her settle in for a day and decide to work her the next. I lunge her and free lunge her over some jumps. The mare had NEVER jumped a day in her LIFE! I could barely get her over a 2'3 JUMP!!! She has terrible conformation, her back is way too long her rump is way higher that her wither and you can tell that she was severely trained on the forehand. So I ground drive this mare and guess how far she drops her nose?? ALL THE WAY behind the vertical. Someone (Wendy) taught her the Rollkur. No wonder her brakes are sub par. So I get on her and she's OK. Nothing to write home about though *sigh*. I'll keep you all updated on how the training of this fab mare continues to go. *headdesk* she's a pretty thing though don't get me wrong cute face, but that's about it.

Moral of this story? I really should have backed over this bitch with the trailer! *j/k* (maybe) Any who... you know it's not a big deal to me how much training a horse has had just tell the damn truth! This mare is now going to take me who knows how long to get ready, because I have to full blown re-train this mare, when all I thought I was doing was just giving her a tune-up! Shady liars!! Only out for themselves... need a serious reality check! too many people get screwed over this way. People are way too anxious to rid themselves of horses that they'll to you it can jump to the moon and back. When looking take someone you trust and always trust your gut. I myself will sometimes send pics or have my farrier look at horses just for a second and different outlook and opinion. Do not get screwed, but don't worry too much either... these shady slime bags ALWAYS get what's coming to them!!! *smirk*

Saturday, December 6, 2008

And 1,2,3, and 1,2,3

So for some people, OK MOST people those of us who have horses typically work in an office or have some crappy job that tides us over each week from paycheck to paycheck so we can party with our ponies. Now I typically train full time, but every now and then I need some sort of residual income. *sigh* So when that time comes I like other am stuck in an office for a few dreaded hours. Now most people, if you're like me have zero time for anything else. Everything in my life takes a back seat to my horses, which includes a gym membership. So I have come up with some basic office exercises to keep me in shape whilst wasting my life behind a desk.

The squat: I stand behind my office chair so I can rest my hands on it, keeping my back straight I go up and down as many times as I can until I feel as though I may never be able to walk again.

Desk-ups: I do push ups against my desk a lot of them!!! I also will use the arm of my chair to push my self up and back down, great for the triceps!

Stairs: Well what can I say, I use stairs whenever possible.

Crunchies: When no one is looking it's crunch time.
Always stretch and remember there is no shame in just marrying some rich old guy to support your horse habit, so you can just nix the whole JOB thing or playing the lotto!! LMAO!!! Have a great weekend.

Friday, December 5, 2008

The Young & the Horses, All My Horses, Days of Our Horses.

Horse Profession = Soap Opera Drama. There is gossip and scandal and the hero and the villain and love, and DRAMA!!!! Got to loves me some drama. *head slamming to desk*

So last fall I was asked to get a Kiger Mustang stallion (Brody) ready for the annual stallion parade. The lady who owned him also had another stallion (Fireman) in training with someone else, who she really wasn't overly fond of. She got stuck with the other trainer due already having paid her before she found me and had been fooled by all the "promises" the trainer had made. The owner had to make an appt. to even SEE HER horse, she was NOT allowed to ride him unless she was taking a PAYING lesson with the trainer. Fishy, fishy...

**OK, side note here, if someone won't let me come see my horse w/o an appt. than what in the hell are they doing to my horse that they don't want me to see?!?!?!? F-That...**

So I'm getting the Brody ready and minding my own business and the owner is often at my barn because well, I LOVE people coming by (for the most part) and she's so distressed about Fireman and she finds out the "trainer" is 24 yrs old and her husband was a big wig in the army and he was around 42 and really controlling and he's the one calling all the shots, and the trainer PROMISED her that she would ride Fireman in the parade, but then her husband said she couldn't (WTF???) blah, blah, blah. Now I'm going to be honest here. I DON'T CARE!! It's not my business, not my horse, not my problem. Oh, but it soon became my problem...
So the day comes and I'm down at the Stallion Parade with the owner and all her horses and their "get" and the owner is supposed to ride Fireman into his part of the Parade. Well here's the problem, stupid ass trainer lady never let her ride her horse so she had NO clue how he was going to be and Fireman is a bit highstrung anyway. So I'm like OK, OK, let me take fireman and work out his kinks and get him settled down enough for you to ride him. Well now while I'm getting him ready guess who shows up with an Appy stallion that she's going to be riding in the parade?? Oh yes, little missy prissy pants and her fab husband... Now I really have no personal issue at this time except that she lied and was really weird. It just makes the rest of look bad, that's all. Anyway so I start to lunge F.M. and hmmmm he doesn't lunge, OK, no problem, I'll round pen him, well he doesn't do that either. So forget I'll just get on him I guess. So I do and he is shaking like a leaf. Does NOT know how to rein and the speed he has is "I'm terrified so I'm going to go really fast, or buck." I'm going to go ahead and brush it off as he's scared. No big. So I take him back to the owner and I tell her that I think I have most of the kinks worked out, but honestly I'm NOT OK with her riding him in to the arena and that I'll do it. She sighs this heavy breath of relief, jumps practically into my arms and is repeatedly thanking me as she was way too scared to do it. So I get on him and we head to the arena and I go in and he is a BALL of Dynamite! I kept him as calm as possible, but I could feel the tension in him. He is doing great, responding to me as best as he can, our song is over, we trot to the center of the arena and as I go to dismount the audience is clapping wildly (he was a beautiful horse) F.M. Goes Straight into the air. I hang on and maybe the audience thought I was doing a Zorro, I cranked his nose around and was off him in a flash. I waved and made my leave and then it hit me. That F**king Dumb B**ch would have gotten the owner seriously hurt or killed. Fireman was NOT broke or safe enough for ANYONE other than a GOOD trainer to work with. He was even MORE tense about being worked with and worse off than before she even sent him to training. And the trainer made no mention of any of this to the owner. What was her reaction going to be when the owner busted her skull open?? "Um, *hair twirl* he never did that me?!" Yeah, that's because you NEVER WORKED WITH HIM!!! Now I had an issue. It is OUR damn job as trainers to make these horse as safe as possible for people to ride and we ask a lot of money to do it and this bitch...ohhhhh this bitch...

Now I'm out for blood. The other trainer was in the arena with the Appy stud and when she finished I was right there waiting. I asked her if she'd seen F.M. go and she said "Oh yeah, he looked amazing." Well that's about the time I lost it. I called her ass out in front of everybody. The fact of what an F-ed up trainer she is, she had no morals, no heart, she's a liar and could've gotten someone KILLED! On and On and On. Well the judges of this "parade" are not stupid, they could tell I was having some issues with F.M. while I was in there, so they ended up kicking her out and I made damned sure she refunded ALL the supposed training that she did on F.M. to the owner, and I come to think of it... I haven't heard from her since... no ads, no shows, no nothing. Good, she was a damn waste of flesh anyway. Gossip and news in the horseworld spreads like wildfire which can help you or hurt you...

To begin with, it was never my problem. However, I am FIERCELY loyal to my clients, as they are to me. But, if you choose to use multiple trainers that's fine. I will NEVER discourage the use of another trainer, second opinion, whatever. But I take it immensely personal when you represent yourself as a trainer and then pull shit like that could've seriously hurt someone, see then I'm forced to hurt you...

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Would You Like Some Common Sense with That????

No? No common sense for you? OK well, no big. *headdesk*

You know, I'm really starting to think that it should be mandatory to have a licence in order to own a horse. As any true horse person knows, you are going to come in contact with some people who own a horse, but are just way too stupid to own one. "Why Trainer X, have you encountered one of theses people???" YES! Yes I have, lately it seems to be more often than not. Why don't people understand that purchasing a horse does NOT mean that you automatically "know something" about horses. Horses aren't gerbils for God's sake. Or goldfish. Horses require a hair more intelligence in their ownership.

"OK, let's go down the list. I have a bridle, saddle, carrots, a brush, common sense. Wait, where in the hell is my common sense? Hmmm I wonder if my local feed store has any in stock, I'm fresh out." *snort*

Example time!!!!! Yay!!! *confetti*

Example #1. A ladies horse at one of my barns kicks it's legs through the tongue and groove stall, ripping the flesh and some meat right off her back legs. So, the owner is called and told "hey you need to come down here, check out your horse perhaps get a bandage on it, call a vet." The owner's response? "Oh she'll be fine for awhile, I need to take a shower before I head up there." Whaaaaaaaaaat?!?! I thought they were joking when they told me that story. But sadly it was confirmed when the owner herself told me. Needless to say she got quite an earful from me.

Example #2. "My semi-hardkeeper t-bred is a bit light in the weight department so I need her to gain weight. So what I think I'll do is leave her in her stall for 2 weeks straight, then feed her 8 flakes of alfalfa a day, plus cob, and oats. she's gaining weight but boy does she seem tense??"

Example #3. "I know nothing about horses, but own so what I'm going to do is take the advice of 14 different people, plus books and try to apply it ALL to my horse."

Example #4 LAST NIGHT!!! *chuckle* I was giving lessons and a woman came out with her horse who is about to jump out of her skin, and the woman says, "hee hee I haven't ridden my 'YOUNG, HOT' horse in 5 weeks." So I tell the lady, well if I were you, I would lunge her first. Make sure she gets some of that excess energy out. The horse was seriously about to burst into flames she was so hot and tense. The super intelligent response I receive?? "Oh no John Lyons doesn't lunge his horses, so neither do I." Whaaaaaaaaaaa???? OK?!?! My reply? "I can guarantee you that he ROUND PENS them first." Nope sorry she's not interested. Well you know I don't really know if he lunges or not, but I can guarantee that YOU are NO FUCKING JOHN LYONS! If he doesn't want to lunge/round pen his horses that's fine because HE CAN RIDE! OR he'll have an assistant get on a hyper horse! *Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh* OK, calm down. So the woman gets on her horse and gee guess what happens? With in 5 minutes she's in the dirt! Big shocker there! So now what's her solution?? She's going to CHASE the ever loving hell out of her horse around the entire 80x140 arena. Boy, that's really teaching the horse something you twit. It's been brought up to her before to round pen her horse, but she says the round pen is too small for her horse to run in and that she can't go full speed. *snork what?* It's a 60ft round pen! And she doesn't need to go full speed!!

You would honestly think that being able to ride and enjoy a more willing and sane horse with not quite so much energy would be more appealing. Riding so you could progress and learn something. Relax and enjoy yourself. But that shows you what I know! *head shaking*

I'm really beginning to think that for every competent horse person that there are 3 asshats. 3-1? Oh my those poor, poor horses. On the other hand maybe this is Darwinism at it's best? Weeding out the dumb? Hmmmm I like the sound of that.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Put up or Shut up!

As a student taking lessons I for the most part always trusted my trainers. I always got to watch them ride their horses and I would sit in awe and absorb everything I could. If there was ever a question on if I felt safe or confident enough to do something, then my trainers would actually SHOW me. That worked out great as I am more of a visual learner anyway. I always figured, well if my trainer could do, and he asks me to do it, then why the hell not?!?!?!?

I kind of adopted that as one of mantras. I will NEVER ask a student to do something that I myself, won't, can't am to scared to do.
This all came into play after I met a student who was a bit older than me and she told me that her instructor was having her do these terrifying jump combos, and she kept screwing them up. She didn't feel advanced enough or confident enough. She was having trouble understanding what is was that she was doing wrong, let alone what she doing period!!! So one day before her lesson she asked her instructor to show her how to actually do the combo. Well her instructor skirted around the subject, told her to get ready and get into the arena. So it came time to do the jump and again she said, "I really want to see YOU do this combo so that I can understand it better. Can you please, please show me." Well the instructor grabbed ANOTHER student, threw her up on the horse and made the other student do it instead. Hmmmm that doesn't seem too fair now does it? When you are paying for a PROFESSIONAL to school you and teach you and they charge you an arm and a leg, don't you think you see some proof in the pudding? Well as it turned out that particular student actually NEVER saw the instructor EVER ride!! Her "assistant" would always ride. Now I happen to know the instructor that she was referring too and even knew a couple other people who had ridden with her and there was NEVER a reason for her not to ride or show her students. She wasn't hurt, disabled, old, fat, skinny, NOTHING!! Now as it actually turns out when the instructor was younger, apparently she took a spill in a 3'6 hunter over fences class. That's it. Nothing hurt but her pride. So why does this seem to be a pet peeve of mine???

Well as a trainer/instructor there is a definite level of trust that you have to have with your students and vice versa. I get nervous over some things and when I do I just have to pull that confidence back out and do it. OR I will re-evaluate the situation. So if I, as a trainer don't feel comfortable with something why would I throw my students under the bus? I don't want them hurt or scared away from riding?? If I ask them to do something that they're sketchy on I will either A. find out why. What are their concerns? What are they feeling? or B. Show them. If it's a training issue like they're not ready or prepared to safely accomplish the task then that as a trainer is my fault. But if they're anxious, nervous or just excited, but are capable enough riders to accomplish said task, then if they need me to, I'll show them.

I am fully well aware that there are some fabulous trainers out there who MAY be incapable of doing this and that's fine too. Maybe they do have an injury, or can't do certain things for some reason, and actually those trainers are the damn BEST at explaining how to actual perform the task. And there maybe some students who just want to see the trainer ride, well I'm not going to be getting get up and down off a horse 20 times in one lesson, but I will do whatever I can to make sure that my lessons are being taught and understood clearly. Sometimes you won't be able to get your trainer on your horse because it's something that YOU need to learn to handle, and I do that as well, but there is no reason that you can't watch your trainer ride some other time. Find out when they ride and if they mind a small inquiring audience. You can also watch another more advanced rider take a lesson as well and see how the trainer is then too. You'll learn a lot by watching others ride. As a trainer my (our) mission should be (is) to keep everyone safe, learning, and having fun. Again some trainers may NOT be able to physically show you, don't hold that against them (make sure that it's genuine and they're not just being scaredy-pusses). BUT, for the most part they/we really need to put up or SHUT UP!!!

But, She's sooooooooooo Beautiful!!!!!!

So one of my clients boards at a stable with another woman who is probably as crazy as the days are long. She is an older RE-Rider. She used to ride as a kid, however, never took formal lessons or learned about horse care, or anything for that matter except how to get on a horse, kick it and hang on. And that's exactly what she does, flopping all over the saddle arms waving like she's going to take off into flight. It's not even funny it's down right scary. OK so what type of horse does an absolutely GREENIE GREEN rider acquire??? Well what else, but an off the track T-bred(OTTB).

Ah yes the Thoroughbred. Classic in it's beauty, graceful in it's movements, a talented animal that knows no bounds, hyper-active, strong-willed, hot-temperament, nothing but energy and strength wrapped up in a bay skin... OK WHOA! Stop for just a damn minute!!!! *slap, slap* Hello wake up call!!! An OTTB for a Green rider??? How on earth did this happen??

Um...because she's perty. I'm serious, that was the explanation that was given to us one day when we asked her why. This mare is a typey bay thoroughbred with a star. Uh like THOSE aren't a dime a dozen??? Anyway so this mare very obviously rules the roost in this case. She kicks at the woman and bites her, bucks and rears, won't stand to save her life. When the woman is riding her she has one gait. Gallop to the left. Well, now technically the mare is doing what she's supposed to because she hasn't been taught anything different. But, this woman has been dumped into a river, tossed from side to side, and then has the gall to put her 7 yr old daughter on this mare!!! *head slamming to desk*

So, one day I was approached to help her out and the maybe teach the mare some manners. So I did what I always do when first working with someone and a new horse. I sit back and observe them in their natural habitat. I want to see everything that they do, everything that happens, every kick out and tail swish. I want to see what habits have already been formed and what they consider "normal behavior." *Gulp* And it wasn't pretty at all.

The mare kicks at the woman while she's brushing her and she giggles and says what is she doing??? Hee Hee. So I tell her to use a softer brush on that sensitive little T-bred skin and see what happens. Well it's better, but when I step in to brush the mare and she kicked at me she got her tummy swatted by the palm of my hand. And the funny thing is she never tried to kick out again. Hmmmmmm.

OK, let's skip straight ahead to ride time. Um well, what more do I say? She gallops to the left. Wildy may I add. So I start having this woman go straight back to the basics of a mellow, under control walk and trot. No cantering for a long, long time. Well this goes on for a couple weeks and then one day she says to me "can you get on her, she's just not listening." So I do and I relax my body into the saddle, relax my hands and ask the mare to trot forward, slowing her down with my posting and body every time she goes to fast. So I work with her for an hour and the woman is just saying how beautiful her mare is and how perfect she looks, and blech. So again, I instruct the woman on what to practice on every day. Well I'm still getting a very hyper active, not at all controlled horse like the one that I had 2 days ago. Why? Why is this happening to me? The mare quit listening and her ground manners reverted back to her old snotty self. So as I'm talking with the barn owner and some other people the answer to my questions slaps me in the face. "It's because she's pretty." What? WTF does that mean? Well little miss mare and her oh so genius owner have come to some sort of sadistic agreement that as long as she's pwetty, she can do what she wants. So, huh? I know I know! Crazy right?? So, during our lesson I'm teaching her some new things and the woman is telling me how I ride her so much better and how well she behaves for me, but frankly she's just much prettier galloping blindly to the left. I know you all think I'm joking about this, but I'm as serious as a heart attack! This woman truly believes that beauty supersedes any form of training, or SAFETY!!! She's always telling people "I know you want to ride my mare, she's soooooo bootyfull!!" So after my eyes were done bulging out of my head and I'd regained some sort of composure, we decided to part our separate ways. There is no helping someone who wishes not to be helped. You think this story is over don't you??
Well I still train and give lessons at this barn so I see the woman often and we're on good terms *cough psycho cough* well come on she kind of is... OK so I hear through the magical horse barn grape vine (which at ANY barn always runs like wildfire!!) that the woman has been hurt numerous times and things have gone from bad to worse *really?? That was possible??* And that she's going to send the mare to training. Now at this time everyone in the barn is telling her that she REALLY REALLY needs to just get a new horse, one that more fits her abilities (or lack there of). But Oh, no this is the horse for her. So it finally dawns on me. What good is training going to do for this mare, when it's really the owner that needs training??? How do you get through to someone who is so blind to their own horse?? I mean I understand a person loving their horse, and OTTB can truly become some of the best damn horses under the right training, experience and riding. But, as of now here we sit. Just waiting for the dynamite to go off. Now even though I do not train her anymore doesn't mean I still don't worry, it's a train wreck on it's way, and the woman should know better, she's a nurse for heaven's sake!!! But I suppose you could say even I have learned an incredibly valuable lesson from this... Nothing else matters when your horse is PERTY!!! *sigh, head shake* Whatever...

Monday, December 1, 2008

It's like we're Married!?!?!?!?

Ahhh yes. Marriage. A commitment that's supposed to last forever. A union between 2 people or a person and their horse. WAIT! WHAT!?!?!?! OK, OK I'm seriously kidding about marrying your horse, but sometimes it CAN feel that way. It's a hell of a commitment. So in order to carry on with this life long commitment of give and take (mostly give I swear ask my bank account), there must be some bonding time. Bonding? With your horse? Uh, yeah, it's a must! Your horse does not want to be worked 24/7 with no cuddle time. Confused yet? It's OK allow me to explain.
SO! I get a fair amount of people who tell me that their once "perfect" horse has suddenly begun to act up and what is going on and blah, blah, blah. Well all work and no play make pony pones a dull(angry) boy. It is YOUR job to make sure that your horse understands that he shouldn't dread every time you show your face at his stall. Well how? By special bonding time! You bond with people? Then yes you can bond with your horse! How? Easy!!!

Play games in the arena with your best bud. Tag, chase, just walk around. Oh and do this safely by the way. Don't get trampled please. Also take your horse out for some nice hand grazing. Or let them go out and roll and get dirty and buck and play and be horses. Grab a book or magazine and a chair and sit out in their pasture while they graze. Your horse needs to understand that you have nothing but the best intentions for them and the only way they'll understand that is through horse-speak. Meaning; playing, relaxing, grazing, getting groomed in the sunshine, find your horses sweet spot, take them for a walk in hand, stand in their stall and groom or pet them while they chow down. Get a ball you both can kick or stomp at. It will do wonders for your relationship as well as their mental health and stress levels. It's like the posting I did about arena sour horses. They CRAVE a change of scenery and something that does not require them to be tacked up worked every day. Even when you give them a day off and let your full care barn handle everything, you're not doing anything that is productive for you or your horse. You need to be there with them and have them learn that you are not all strict business ALL the time, that you have this fun, relaxed, playful side too. You will NOT believe the amount of good this will do for you and your horse. I tend to get a lot of people who look at me as if I'd just grown a tail or something, but then again they'll never have what I have with my horses. My horses are happy to work with me. Happy to do as I ask, because they know that we'll have some fun later too! They show better, and they trust me and I trust them. I know their every move and thought. I just know them inside and out and make I strict point of doing that with all my horses. It keeps me safe and happy, and it keeps them safe and happy. We have less arguments, no lack of communication, we're less stressed, etc. It's EXACTLY like bonding with another human being!!! You'll get the same results! Just remember to keep your games safe and start with things that are more controlled. You don't want to run around in an arena and play with a horse that may accidently play to rough at first, or no know how, or might get scared. I play with my show horse in the arena and we chase each other around and other people will watch and say "Oh my God! He's going to run into you, trample you, kick you, bleh." Nope, not a chance, I stay a safe distance and have a crop for the just in case. Plus I've been around him long enough to know the goofy things he's going to do. LOL!!!
A strong bonded relationship with your horse is something money could never buy. It just takes a bit of time, and I think you'll have just as much fun as your equine friend, if not a little more.