Thursday, December 24, 2009

Happy Holidays!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Happy Holidays to all of you and yours!!!!! I'll see you after the New Year!!!!!!!!!! May you all be safe, happy and full of horse hair!!!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Twos or Threes????

One of my general rules as a trainer (and this is just personal preference) is I do not break horses that are under 3. But, allow me to specify. I will sit on a 2 and half yr old. I may Even walk them around the whole entire arena, but as far as trotting, loping, long rides or anything more intense than walking a large circle, it is all saved up for the 3 yr olds.

This is something that I find is always on heavy debate. Some people are OK, with breaking a 2 yr old, I am not. Too me they are still too young, their brains and attention span are not quite there yet. Their knees and joints to young and fragile, their backs not muscled up or strong enough to support too much riding. Again this is all MY preference.

The other side of the story is that racehorses can be broke anywhere from 18 months to 2 yrs. As well as some futurity horses. Some of them seem to do fine with it. A lot of those horses may also retire young as well to be a farm Stud or Broodmare.

So what's the verdict here??? Are we 2 or 3?????

Monday, December 7, 2009

Ritter Me This

The text below is from Dr. Ritter's yahoo list "ClassicalDressage"The question:what IS a good rider? One that looks good? There are plenty of good looking riders who are not effective.

One that is effective? Maybe they don't look so good though? What about riders who can take a ruined horse and make it better but is still only average.... is that a good rider? What about riders who can influence the horse with calm, assertiveness... are they good?

Guess the question is -- are they easy to spot? Can you go to a show or demo and say right away -- that's a good rider?

Dr. Ritter's response:That's a good question. I think the answer is somewhat personal. To some extent, it's a matter of your own quality standards and of what's important to you. To some extent, it's relative to the rider's age, experience, physical limitations, etc., because somebody can be riding very well, considering where s/he came from or how little instruction s/he has had, but in absolute terms, this person may not be a very advanced rider. Some riders are very good with certain types of horses or with solving certain types of problems, without necessarily being an Olympic calibre rider. On the other hand, somebody can be a very successful competitor at the upper levels, without being a good horseman and without being what I personally would consider a good rider.

I personally think that a good rider has to have a variety of skills. A good rider and good trainer are synonymous to me. Somebody who can taxi a made horse around a test without training the horse to that level may be a skilled technician, but s/he is no Rider.A good rider must have a good seat, i.e. effective, supple, balanced, strong when necessary, and pleasant to watch. Part of a good seat is good timing and coordination of the aids.A good rider has to have good intuition, good feel, equestrian tact, and an understanding of the horse's psychology. That's an absolutely indispensable skill.A good rider is a thinking rider. The rider has to have a certain academic understanding of the subject in order to be able to diagnose correctly, i.e s/he must be able to identify where a problem originates, and to choose the right course of action based on this diagnosis.A good rider is creative and can think of several solutions to every problem.A good rider can find individual solutions for each situation and is not limited by "what the books say", because every horse has his "own book" that the trainer has to write.A good rider should be able to train any breed and any personality type, although every rider has preferences, of course.A good rider has to be able to know how much is fair to expect of any given horse on any given day. S/he has to know when to demand a little more, when to be content with the effort the horse is making, when to change the subject or the tactic, when to reward, when to reprimand, when to ignore something the horse did, and when to quit.A good rider needs to know and respect the limitations of the horse in order not to demand anything the horse is unable to deliver.A good rider has to be able to choose a methodology that is time effective, so that it doesn't take 100 years to get to GP, but that also preserves the horse's physical and mental soundness. A good rider has to be able to make a little improvement in the horse every day, so that the horse feels and looks better at the end of the lesson than at the beginning, and so that there is a visible improvement from week to week, month to month, although there will always be little ups and downs from one day to the next.A good rider develops the horse's musculature and makes him safe, dependable and enjoyable to ride.A good rider is his/her own toughest critic and has self discipline.A good rider recognizes and fights the urge to give in to his/her ego. That's something that every rider is faced with. No exceptions.A good rider perseveres in spite of inevitable setbacks and disappointments.A good rider is always sensitive to the horse's needs.A good rider rides for the horse, not for the audience and does not use the horse as a vehicle for self-aggrandizement. In other words, a good rider does not exploit the horse's talent and generosity.A good rider puts the horse's well being above everything else.A good rider is always trying to learn and improve his/her own riding and understanding.This is a high standard, and there is probably nobody who can live up to it all the time, but these are the things that I look for in a good rider, and they are goals we should all strive for ourselves. Many riders may be good in some of these areas, but bad in others. The best riders combine many of these qualities in themselves, but nobody's perfect.Notice that I don't place that much emphasis on movements, because somebody may be able to ride all kinds of tricks without fulfilling many of the other points in my list, which I consider much more important. And you can find riders who may not be able to ride very advanced movements, but who score very high in many of the areas that really count.

Written by Dr. Ritter

Monday, November 30, 2009

Laying Down on the Job

So living here in wonderful Seattle means that in the winter time blankets and rain sheets are a must!!! So I pulled out my Paint mare to take her for a spin and got her all brushed really nice and tacked up, then we head to the arena. I do my normal groundwork with her so she can let a bit of steam off and then I get on and proceed to do some walking flexing, circles, side passing, just little things to turn on her thinker.

Well at the moment her thinker was somewhere else. We were walking a nice circle and she lowered her head nicely, I figured she was stretching down or sniffing some horsie calling cards. She had her head all the way down and without she just laid down. Just like that, no warning. No pawing or circling, just laid her big 'ol booty down. It really took me a second to think about what I was supposed to do LOL. I'd seen horses lay down before with riders on their back, but have never been one of them. My mare laid down on her right side so I kicked out my right foot and dove/clambered over her and got the hell out her way. She attempted to roll, but with the saddle found it too difficult and once I had my wits about me I chased her up off the ground and sent her off to work. After a few minutes when I was done laughing hysterically, I proceeded to mount my horse and try this whole silly riding thing again....

It was truly a humorous and un-nerving experience all at the same time. I promised my mare that tomorrow I would let her roll FIRST, before I tacked her up and rode her. I guess with her winter fur, the moisture and her blanket she was a little itchy and needed a good scratching, just preferably not with me on her back.... I feel I can now say I've been through 99% of horse craziness. Bucking, rearing, bolting, falling and now laying down on the job....

I know some of you out there have your own stories of something silly a horse has done to you!!!!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Trust Me It's Just You

I love when people tell me that their horse misbehaves, or bucks or bites ONLY them. These are the horses that I work with and then I have my advanced students work with so that I can evaluate if it's the horse's issue or the owner's. Nine times out of ten it's the owner. The horse will usually not misbehave if you really make it do what you're asking and gain it's respect. I worked TWO horses today with that same deal

The first one is a well broke mare and the owner couldn't get her to lunge and then once under saddle couldn't get her to move out. So I worked with her for 10 minutes then we were soon loping around the arena. The owner gets so frustrated as to why she can't make her horse obey her and I tell her the same thing every time. STAY CONSISTENT and DO NOT TAKE NO FOR AN ANSWER!!!! If you want her to move make her move, if you want her to lunge, do not give up until she does what you've asked of her, only then can she rest and get praise.

The second one is a more timid owner with her first horse, same idea she had to make her horse lunge around her, but she wanted me to do it first. So I showed her what to do and how nicely her horse was responding, the I had her take over and her horse was ALL over her. I showed her again and again, but it was something she couldn't grasp. It's OK to tap your horse on the rump with a carrot stick if you need too!!!

Our horses are not made of glass, they will not break or get hurt the way I train (I can't speak for every trainer), but the tasks I have them complete and will have my advanced students have the horse complete will not harm the horse in anyway. It can be MORE frustrating to an owner when they see that their horse goes better for someone else, but it's because when it's your own "sweet, precious, baby horsie" you have trouble making them behave. Some owners just can't bear to discipline their horse. BUT Respect for YOU as the owner and the herd leader is IMPERATIVE to the safety of you and your horse. Sometimes that means your horse may need a spanking, sometimes your horse may need to sweat and sometimes you may need to push a little bit harder, but in the end the rewards will be 100 times greater and you'll both be able to enjoy each other's time and company.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Warning: Stupidity May Cause These Side Effects...

One of the things that really gets me as a horse trainer is other trainers allowing their green, inexperienced students to do certain things and use certain equipment. Not only is dangerous, irresponsible and extremely STUPID, but it can wind up with someone or a horse getting hurt. Now, as a horse trainer, when I see these things I have to turn a blind eye to it. It's not my place to get involved or say anything, although damn I'd like too sometimes LOL.

Draw Reins~ not only do I try not to use them, but I'll be damned if I EVER would let a student of mine use them. You can very easily get your horse to flip over on you if you use them incorrectly.

Spurs~ Prince of Wales spurs or blunt ended spurs, hmmmm that's debatable, but spurs with an actual rowel, no way, never. Inexperienced legs can grip on a horse's side at any moment and if they're wearing spurs then OFF you go. Improper usage of spurs can lead to bloody sides and sores. They can make a horse dead sided and 99% of the time when a greenie rider wears spurs their horse takes off and then the rider falls off or they rip on the horses mouth and get upset or scared because the horse"bolted." Noooooo, the horse did what you told it too.

High Ported/Shanked bits~ Nope, wouldn't happen. Inexperienced hands with a bit like this is asking for disaster. Bloody mouth, rearing, evading the bit, hard mouthed, all products of inexperience. All products of disaster.

Whips~ Most bats or crops won't do too much, but longer whips and dressage whips if not used properly may lead to your horse bucking, bolting, diving to the side, they can leave welts and more. Emotions can play a big role too, you get peeved at your horse and haul off and crack him a good one *head shake.* Ugh, what more do I really need to say?

What a lot of people don't quite understand is that it takes time and patience to learn the proper ways to CAREFULLY use certain pieces of equipment. You don't just begin using spurs because you like the way they sound or you think you're a cowboy cause you're not, you're a poser who is endangering yourself, others and your horse. Time and patience... Always remember that you have to learn to crawl before you can walk and that's OK. We ALL started there. None of us popped out of the womb wearing spurs on our heels or a crop in our hands. Once you've learned how to properly and safely use certain tools, they can become extreme valuable, but do your time and your research first.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


Ahhhh as a trainer I get to meet all different types of people and especially with older people they all say the same thing!!! "I remember when I was younger I used to ride ANYTHING! With no tack, helmet or bridle, no boots, just flip flops and shorts. But, now I'm terrified." Even when I've solidly trained a horse or have students ride one of my broke horses they feel the same way, still nervous.

So at what age or milestone does that mental block set in??? Is it because you feel you don't "bounce" as well? I don't bounce well and hate coming of too LOL!!! Is it when you get married and have children? Is it when you're 40???? When do we stop taking risks that we used too?? Even though now we have helmets that are amazingly tough and correct and body protectors...

More importantly how do we overcome it???? People who have had horses in the past and are re-riders seem to have the biggest issue. No one's asking you to gallop in an open field bareback in a halter like you used to when you were a teen, just to simply get on a nice solid horse and ride around in a secure soft arena. Yet it terrifies people, even people who may have never even really had a bad riding experience...

For me I always suggest a lot of ground work exercises, leading and lunging exercises. Maybe even riding a nice horse on a lunge line while an instructor or friend is helping you. Little things that build that confidence back up.

So ANY idea why certain people can mentally block themselves from something they so desperately desire??? Is it just in our nature? Our genetic makeup? Our survival instincts kicking in???? That once we hit a certain point in our life we start to become more fearful ?? This one is a puzzler....

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Personality Plus

So a friend of mine and I were talking the other day about a horses training issues vs. personality quirks. Example: an Arabian mare I have in training is snotty, feisty, and pins her and curls her lips almost all the time. While she never bites or kicks or even threatens to do so, the owner just knows that this is her mare's personality. Another example: When I cinch up my Show gelding he will pop up and do mini rears in the cross ties, even though I have always tightened his cinch gently and slowly, but once you let him pitch his fit he is the Golden Boy!! A Perfect angel!! So where is the line between personality and training?

Well, it's a fine line and here it is. A personality quirk is something that just IS you're horse. Something like the specific way he may toss his head while playing or even stomp a foot of impatience. A training quirk is when you're horse is doing something dangerous, like nipping or kicking out, striking etc. A personality quirk is also something that you can accept as being a part of your horse, where as a training issue is something that you can not accept and that is fixable.

Sometimes it can't be fixed though and the horse's personality traits are too strong. My friend used to own a mare a long time ago who threw the most beautiful foals and was a wonderful mother, but she was sinfully mean and would literally try to kill a person who came anywhere near her. After many many trainers and thousands upon thousands of dollars the mare had to be put down. The mare was just a sour angry mare it WAS her personality, there was NO changing it...

So what are some quirks your horses have? What can you or can't you deal with???

Monday, October 26, 2009

Think Light

I have the pleasure of working with a beautiful Arabian mare. She's talented and smart, cranky and lazy, but an all around good girl. She's been stared several times, but never finished or really left in consistent training, so we have started from almost scratch....

Her lope to the left is really coming along nicely, her lope to the right is a bit harder for her go into and instead of running her into it, I am going backwards... Well, sort of. We are working on TONS of trot to halt to back to trot transitions. TONS of them before I ask her for the canter. Why is that??? To rock her back on her haunches. And it works beautifully!! I make sure she goes from a nice working trot to a smooth halt, then 2 or 3 steps of backing, then a halt, then she needs to trot off. This exercise really gets the horse thinking light on the forehand and has them more rocked back on their haunches. Sooooo after several of these I then ask the mare for a lope going to the right and BAM! She picks it up like gold!!!!

A lot of people forget simple exercises that really can fine tune a horses gaits and transitions. I even showed the owner a before and after. Before was me just asking for the lope with zero preparation. The mare had a rough time in the canter departure. Then I did my exercise for about 7-10 minutes and then asked her to lope, pretty soon she was departing from a walk. Once I had her brain thinking light on the forehand, the rest was a breeze.... It was a fabulous ride tonight....


OK, We are back up and running and there will be a brand spanky new post for up tomorrow!!!

Monday, October 19, 2009


My Computer is down so I'll be posting as soon as the booger is working again.....

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Dun Spookin'

So a reader sent me an email about her horse spooking and bolting only at one end of her arena, even though both ends look IDENTICAL! So here was my reply to her.

"OK, so when a horse is "spooking" at something you need to address why? Sometimes it's simply because they can LOL. Since this seems to be your horse's issue this is what you need to do. First off lunge him down in that area right next to the end he spooks at. If on the ground he is fine and it's simply when you are mounted then what you want to do is make the situation harder than it is. Example: He bolts you stop him and back him all the way back up to where he first took off. Or if he takes off pull him into the wall he is spooking at and do circle after circle walking hm as close to the wall as possible. The idea is to always make the WRONG thing HARD for them and the right thing easy. He'll soon learn that it is becoming wayyyy too much effort in his part to keep bolting. Another option and this is a REALLY good one is if he bolts, KEEP him running. HARD!!! Make his lungs do the talking. Run run run run run him around your arena until he is huffing and puffing. Again Wrong thing hard. Then finally when you ask him to walk stop him at the end he spooks at and see if he'll walk calmly by.... Let me know how it goes for you. Keep me updated :) Sorry for the delayed response LOL!!! "

Today's lesson happens to be one of my FAVORITE motto's... Always Make the WRONG thing hard and RIGHT thing easy...

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Confidence is Key

When you're a horse person who has lost confidence in your ability what are you supposed to do? Well, it just so happens I am currently working with a lady who lost hers... Her horse started kicking out and charging on the lunge line. She was terrified. Every time her horse did that she had him put away immediately. So I went out there and did a wee bit of butt kicking and then showed her EXACTLY how I did it.... Her fear was that once I left her horse would start up the tude again on the lunge. So I have her doing simple things with her horse that she can not fail at. Walking, backing, grooming, tying. Picking up his feet. Just some basic ground control.

The idea is, is when a person loses their confidence to make it so they can not be set up to fail. By doing some simple things that she feels she can handle appropriately, she is slowly starting to regain her confidence back... And that's what it takes, slow simple steps, without the fear of the big "FAIL" clouding her head. It's been several days and while I'm going back out there twice a week for awhile for lessons, her confidence is happily on it's way back up :)

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Horses and Heartbreak

You can't fight the inevitable, even when it's at it's most painful... Last night we had to put down the barn owner's mare. She was 28 yrs old. Most likely she had some sort of kidney or liver failure, with a bit of colic. After 7 hours of walking, 2 buckets of water and mineral oil and many injections, it was time... She was panting and sweating and we all knew she needed rest.

The owner had owned this mare for 22 years. She was her everything. She was there before the kids, the husband, she was her best friend. 14 years ago the mare gave birth to a filly who 8 months later succumbed to colic and died. It was said that even though she was pregnant again, she never got over the loss of her filly... She had a colt a few months later who now has become one of Western Washington's fasted patterned horses in his division. No one can touch him and his Dam was no different. A few years ago, while on the beach the her owner was riding her and her husband was on her current speed horse. They decided to go for a run and before he knew it he was eating sand being kicked up from the mare and her beloved friend. She never slowed down and taught countless children and adults how to ride. She was a one of a kind mare. The kind of horse you can only dream to have...

When it was time, we walked her to where she would be buried and he son screamed out for her, the horses all looked somber and it was a clear chilly night. Every star in the sky was visible and the moon light up the pasture. The vet injected her and she laid down with all the grace she'd had while she was alive. We said our goodbye's and left with red eyes and broken hearts... Death is funny that way. Though we try to be brave when we put our beloved, trusted friends out of their pain, the pain suddenly consumes us instead.

Last night at 11:45 she finally joined her filly in Heaven. Today was a gorgeous fall day with a beautiful sunset and we laid her to rest behind her pasture. She's always been the Matriarch of the farm and always will be. We'll always feel comforted knowing she's looking over us, running through lush green fields with her darling filly and feeling no pain...

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Fight For It...

Oh fun fun... It was another auction Sunday and it was PACKED!! There were a lot of horses, some really nice and some that were beyond sickly, starved. Here's the deal... My biggest pet peeve of the whole darn thing...CLEAN up your damn horses!!!! Do not bring them to the auction dirty, filthy, with 4 inches more hoof than they should have and STARVED!!! You are not doing your horse any justice by not riding it in either, or at least put a saddle on it. You want to sell your horse, I get that and you probably want to make a buck on it too. So get off your fat, lazy asses even a week prior to the auction and do some work with your horse. Get a saddle on it, give it a bath and a nice hoof trim. Yeah cause know how hard it is to pick a brush for crying out loud. Give these horses a FIGHTING CHANCE to get a god home for god's sake!!!! People are oh so worried about slaughter and the kill buyers. Well hey, they are just doing their job, as nasty as it may be, but it is more the horse OWNER'S fault than anything for bringing their rag tag, dirty, gangly, un trained (Let's halter break the horse's people!), horses to the auction... Makes me SICK!!! Ugh... End Rant...

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Yes, Horses Are Smart

So I acquired a new client who will be starting with me soon, but first she needed me to come out and evaluate her horse. A BEEFY monster of an animal. He was a stallion until 2 years has been broke and ridden a lot, but one day the current owner loosened the saddle after a ride and the saddle slipped under his belly causing an insane blow up. Ever since then the horse will blow up once the saddle is on OR one the rider has gotten on.
So I went out today and we took him to the round pen and tacked him up and it was good, no blow ups, so I took the saddle off and re tacked him and we were good, no blow ups. So I put one foot in the stirrup and hung off him and no blow ups. I was impressed at first. So I repeat that a few times and then I start to get obnoxious, kicking out my legs and hanging off his side (If he started bucking I didn't want to actually be in the saddle) and sure enough he goes to blow up. So I push back, grab the lunge whip and chase his little honey buns around the round pen until he stopped bucking and was gasping for air.

Once I asked him to whoa I brought him back into the middle of the round pen and we started over with no problems. I was swinging off his sides and kicking out my legs, just as I did before he blew and you know he just stood there. Why? The owner was baffled... Why the sudden attitude adjustment?? Because when he bucked with her or around her she stopped him and put him away. There was no repercussion, with me it was that he was going to be gasping for air. John Lyons put it best when he says that a horse may not listen to you, but he will listen to his lungs. And when the lungs start burning they'll do anything to not have to run around like ever again. And you know what, it works almost everytime. Bucking=running til I say he's done.

I Told her everytime he bucked no matter what, if he was in that round pen, to chase his buns around and around and then start back over rom where he started bucking. If she stayed on top of this for about a week straight she'd probably never have another problem like that again. Horses are very smart. His saddle fits perfectly, she's a good rider, it's just that he got away with being a stinker beasue he got scared once and then learned it meant no work. Not anymore buddy LOL!! Not anymore....

Monday, September 28, 2009

I Was Unaware of This...

So I have a big gorgeous TB gelding. He is by Affirmed. Yes, THAT Affirmed. He is a floaty gorgeous mover and gets looks where ever he goes. A Great show horse and loves to jump. Recently he's been plagued by awful abscesses that wouldn't go away, my farrier thought everything looked OK. So I continue to soak and soak and treat and treat his little feet. Everyday. I thought about putting shoes on him thinking that would help, I contacted my vet, but nothing, no one had any answers.

So one of my good friends came out a few days ago and looked at how TB was walking and she said to me just as plain and simply as could be.... "He has Laminitis and needs to get to a stall ASAP." Laminitis??? That's freaking on it's way to being FOUNDER!!! How can a normal horse of 10 years of age be foundering?? He isn't over weight, isn't on lush pasture, What the hell????

Well, I'd never dealt with a foundering horse before. EVER. So little did I know that there are SOOOO many different kinds of founder and laminits. I took Big Boy up to my friends house where he could be monitored 24/7 and in a HUGE stall... Easily a 20x20. Her very good friend who is a natural barefoot trimmer came and confirmed that he does have laminitis. She put pads and an equi cast on both front feet and instantly he began to feel better.... So obviously I wanted to know what on earth could have caused him to get laminitis and she simply said...."Anything. He more than likely had a metabolic upset and it threw his feet into a tailspin." Thankfully, They are taking AMAZING care of him and he just eats happily and can finally relax. His hooves are growing new sole and he gets turned out 3 times a day for a little at a time. His mood has dramatically improved and he is truly happy now!!!

Who on Earth would have thought???? Certainly not me.... It terrified me even as they were telling me "It'll be OK, he will recover, we caught it in time!" Ugh, talk about some stress.... While he is recovering beautifully and I am ever so grateful for the help of my friends, it worries me to think that I'd missed that and that he could have really gotten some serious damage done to his hooves and legs. It was my "Oh Shit!!" Moment of the year!!!! So has anything like this ever happened to you??? And always know that even if your vet and farrier are out of ideas, a friend may hit it on the noggin for FREE!!! LOL

Thursday, September 24, 2009


Well it's the start of Fall time and it's cooler and starts to get darker soon so a lot of people put there horses away for the Winter... Giving them the Winter off to let their horses relax, mostly because we feel it's too darn cold to get our butts out and riding. Winter time can be a great time for hacking around and just actually riding for fun... Not thinking about anything in particular just exercising and riding around.

The best and easiest way to get through the bad weather, is to plan events with other barn friends. Plan a jumper night, or a game day. Do mini clinics where you all ride and have your peers critic each other and help each other out. Have a broomstick polo game or go to some Winter schooling shows.

Just because the weather is turning doesn't mean we have to stop having fun!!! So get warm and get out there. What actvities do you enjoy in the arena???

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Honesty is the Best Policy

I came across this dream horse ad and WHOA... The owner seems a wee bit upset!!! Horse bucks and kids ruined him.... Hmmm that is quite to the point and I respect that immensely, but how do you stop it before it gets to that point??? Before someone "ruins" your horse??? He's a young gelding at 7 and already ruined???? What would you say if someone was riding your horse the way you didn't like???? Are you the shy type who would just blow it off or say would you say something??? Me, I'd say something... I've spent too much time on my horses to let them get trashed...

Here is the ad... I copied and pasted it for privacy

Small Companion Horse
Olympia, Washington 98507
Date Foaled:
14.0 hh
700 pounds
Other Coloror Markings:
brown and black
Temperament:1=Very Calm...10=Very High-Spirited
May Trade:
Reg. Assn:

Reg. Number:

For Lease:
For Sale:
Asking Price:
$1 (US)
Horse Skills or Potential:

Small appy gelding. Eight years old. Bucks. Very sweet but not honest. Would make a nice companion horse to another horse or maybe a pack horse. He is wonderful to ride as long as your mind is on him. When you take your mind off he knows and bucks like a bucking bronc. Free to good home. He is a sweetheart. Beginner riders have ruined him.

Monday, September 21, 2009

You're a BIT of an idiot

So I came across an article that at first started off really nice and informative and then just went south FAST!!!! Here are some excerpts that I found to be extremely disturbing....

"However, sometime during the training process, a horse will need to be lightened up even more. Especially the older horses that are being tuned up or re-trained.So to get the job done, I’ll go to a twisted-wire snaffle. Either the regular or the thin twisted-wire.
These twisted-wire bits have some “bite” to them and will convince even an older, hard mouthed horse to respond and lighten up."
Um, NO BUDDY!!! You can get a horse light without a double twisted wire thank you!!!

He says running martingales don't work so instead "If you want to try a piece of equipment that DOES HELP a horse learn to give to your hands, supple-up and flex at the poll… use a German martingale" Again I'm going to have to say a big fat no thanks.... Um... Why is it other trainers can get their horses to flex without the use of this crap??

Oh here's a gem... "Another bit that I sometimes use to lighten a horse up is a “draw” or “gag” bit. On some horses this bit works great. The reason is because it works on different pressure points than a regular snaffle bit." I've already headdesked so many times at this point my skull is bleeding....

"Most horses, I’ll ride with the 8” shanks. The super sensitive ones, I’ll ride with the 7” shanks." OK, is this a joke now??? Is someone just screwing with me???? 8 INCHES???? That is NOT necessary!!! "The correction bit will get a horse responding well" Uhhhh, yeah have you seen them??? They have ports so high they'll tickle you're horses brain...

Oh and for the love of hell... "I’ll use a curb chain with this bit that has more bite to it than the usual one that I use. Usually, a dog-chain curb works well." Oh yes, cause that's what you need to give the bit MORE F-ing Bite.... Yes these were ALL from the same article...

With so much info on the web, it's hard to choose what is good and what isn't?? Well, to solve any dilemmas I'll put it to you this way... Trust your gut, if you don't like it, don't use it, ask a professional or several professionals, get some opinions and GIMMICKS, stronger bits, or training aids will NEVER replace good solid training in the first place.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Top 10

This was sent to me via an email and I thought it was too good not too share!!!! Enjoy!

10. Drop a heavy steel object on your foot. Don't pick it up right away. Shout, "Get off, Stupid, GET OFF!"

9. Leap out of a moving vehicle and practice "relaxing into the fall." Roll lithely into a ball and spring to your feet.

8. Learn to grab your checkbook out of your purse and write out a $1000 check without even looking down.

7. Jog long distances carrying a halter and a carrot. Go ahead and tell the neighbors what you are doing - they might as well know now.

6. Affix a pair of reins to a moving freight train and practice pulling to a halt. Smile as if you are having fun.

5. Hone your fibbing skills: "See, moving hay bales is FUN!" and "No, really, I'm glad your lucky performance and multimillion dollar horse won the blue ribbon. I am just thankful that my hard work and actual ability won me second place."

4. Convince yourself that being bucked off 7 times makes you a "REAL RIDER"

3. Borrow the US Army's slogan: Be All That You Can Be -- bitten, thrown, kicked, slimed, trampled, frozen...

2. Lie face down in a puddle of mud in your most expensive riding clothes and repeat to yourself, "This is a learning experience, this is a learning experience, this is ......."

1. The number one exercise to become a better equestrian is MARRY MONEY !

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Break Down...

So we ALL know that craigslist and dreamhorse are FLOODED with cheap/free horses. We all also know that it is due to people have no jobs... Or are cutting back on "hobbies." But is it unreasonable to think that horses can be affordable???? Let's play the breakdown game... These are AVERAGES for the PNW area... You own 1 horse. This is your cost.
  1. Board $250 x 12 = $3,000
  2. Hay $70 (a ton usually last 3-4 months) x 12 = $840
  3. Grain $30 (2 Bags) x 12 = $360
  4. Hoof trim $35 ( $60 for front shoes or $100 for 4) x 6 = $210
  5. Wormer $7 x 6 = $42
  6. Teeth Float $120
  7. Vaccinations $80 x 2 = $160

Your Grand Total is $4732 a year. It comes out to roughly $394 per month. All averaged out. NOW here is where it gets super fun!!!! A lot of people offer boarding for CHEAP!!! Pasture board for $100, so that cuts your boarding costs and HAY cost if the pasture is decent. If your horse is an easy keeper than you can get good, nice local hay for $3.50 a bale. You buy wormer in bulk it can be as low as $2.99 per tube. Split farm calls and vet costs. Buy Vaccines in bulk and split cost between barn. Don't feed grain. So let's try this again.

  1. Board $100 x 12 = 1200
  2. Hay $21 (local) x 12 $252 or $35(Alfalfa/timothy/orchard) x 12 = $420
  3. Wormer $2.99 x 6 = 17.94
  4. Vaccinations $35 x 2 = $70
  5. Trim $35 x 6 = $210
  6. Teeth float $100

Now you're at roughly $2017.94(with hay) or $168.16 per month or $1849.94(with local hay) or $154.16 per month.... I'm sure there are even MORE costs that can be carefully finagled so long as your horse is and REMAINS healthy. So... A measly $168.16. Huh... And we have all these abandoned, starving horses. I understand that people have bills and families and other responsibilities, but our animals are our responsibility too... Pretty sad.... Pretty Sad when you actually break it down...

Monday, September 14, 2009

Body Movin' We Be Body Movin'

So my APHA mare, is ULTRA light and sensitive.... To a fault.... While I had the greatest weekend with her trail riding, I learned a valuable lesson on said trails. She sucks at staying straight and you know what? That's my fault... She has no shoes on so I tired to keep her in the middle of the trail which had grass and soft dirt, but she wouldn't stay on it or stay straight. I realized that I'd lost control of her body.

So today, I worked her in the arena and to the left she goes great, stay on the rail, flexes really nice to the inside, respects my leg. To the right, she's a train wreck. She bulges HORRIBLY!!! She cranes her neck to the rail and swings her body out, only at the trot though. So I bring her back to some body moving basics at the walk. Circles, serpentines, then I start walking her and turning her towards the rail for the turn on the forehand. Then I start on some roll backs and things are going smooth...

I, then put her back on the rail and OVER emphasize her bending towards the inside. I want to see her right eye the whole time down the rail while her body stays straight. If she thinks about turning to the inside the she gets my inside leg tapping on her ribs, to push that gut back over. Why do I do that??? Because she bulges to the inside of the arena, so if I discipline her by making her almost making her "bulge" to the outside, or towards the rail, then walking straight with her ears, shoulders and hips in a line will be glorious release. She's so sensitive and light, that it doesn't take much now to keep her straight.

Now we do the same exercises at the trot, rollbacks, turns on the forehand, circles, serpentines. She still is bulging at the trot so I repeat the same exercise. I put her on the rail and turn her head to the inside so I can see her right eye, while keeping my inside leg on her as block from her turning in... Soon enough we are trotting up and down the rail in straight lines.

Your own leg and hand control is essential in teaching a horse body control... Every horse, be it a show horse, jumper, western pleasure, trail horse, cutting, dressage, etc... MUST have fluid, consistent body control and movements. Tomorrow we'll begin in shoulders in/out, haunches in/out and leg yielding for more body control.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Sooooo.... What The Hell is This???

It's a horse, a mutt horse, that has it's own breed... It's called the Blazer horse. And yes, it confuses me.... here is a link so you can learn all about it. It's mostly a QH Morgan X. At least that's what I got out of this site so far... The requirements of the breed are pretty similar to AQHA. Except it's not an AQHA horse, it's a Blazer....

I wonder with horse people sometimes, I mean don't get me wrong every breed started from somewhere and is a mix of many breeds, but do registries like this just pop up so you can pretend to have a registered horse? For example, The American Warmblood, it's sort of a breed, mostly just a mutt though....

What do you think of breed registries like this? Do they hinder or help? Do they encourage more backyard cross breeding, or give everyone a chance to have a registered horse???

Sunday, September 6, 2009

I Would Go To War With Him...

Had such a BLAST on this trail ride!! I got a call on Saturday from a student of mine and she asked if I wanted to go on a trail ride before it started down pouring. YEAH NO PROBLEM!!! So I grab the Avenging Uni (AU) and she tacks up her Appy and away we go!!!! So we are going through the woods and her Appy comes across a hooded sweatshirt lying on the ground and he snorts and sniffs and AU starts snorting too although he doesn't know why LOL!! So Appy man freaks and spins, AU freaks and spins and they both try to run away. They get about 4 steps and we stop them and we are dying laughing, so we get them back up to the hoodie they sniff it and start eating grass around it... So we move about 5 feet and Appy turns around and starts snorting again, this time at a mud puddle. UGH, they are acting so retarded LMAO!!! Totally feeding off eachother. Oh and they've been on this trail a hundred times!!!
So me and my friend are talking and with all the snorting and ridiculous actions our horses are giving us I say to her, "You know they used to use Arabs as War horses. I don't think I'd take AU into a damn war." I mean we all know of Marengo right?

So we continue on and all is good until Appy man starts snorting again, so I urge AU into the front and while he is a bit tense he is being pretty faithful and of course we must make fun of Appy man for the Arab being braver!! ;). We get through that part of the trail and there is an open part so we go ahead and lope for a bit and suddenly Appy man ducks into the bushes, shying away from a damn branch on the trail LOL! Oh man, I swear at this point our horses have tried to dump us no less than 7 times.... So I halt AU and again we are dying laughing again!!!

We continue some more on the trail and we get to another AWESOME field and decide to lope again. So we get going and all is well, we get to the end of the field and Appy slows down and I realize that I only have one rein. My other rein broke and we are full steam ahead.... So I sit on my ass, gently pull on my one rein, as if I had 2, and say "Whoa." And like a champ, AU stops. Like a gentleman. We are like one when we ride, him and I. Even though he can be a total goofball, I would go to war with him...

Thursday, September 3, 2009

A-D Barn Style

So I received an email today from a woman wanting to have her horse trained and shown English Pleasure. Not a problem. A Can DO! But, then towards the bottom of the email she was stating how she wanted the facilities to be a certain way, style, basically borderline high maintenance, which made me think of this.... In a horse persons life there are certain barns, facilities, that I am now going to put into a classification system.

The A+. This is the premier facility. Has anywhere from 50 to 80+ boarders. This is the place that is $800+ for boarding ONLY. These facilities are more dedicated to one specific discipline. Dressage, Hunter/Jumper. They have 20 workers, their barn floors could be EATEN off of.Their stalls are 15x20 with sold iron bars and metal so the horses can not crib away at the stall. The horses get turned out for maybe a few hours a day and the pastures have beautiful loafing sheds. The stalls and pastures are cleaned and picked several times a day. Brand new equipment. Premium hay and grains, feeding 3-4 times a day. Their pastures and fencing are primo and in brand new condition. This is a place where the horses don't really get to be horses because the pasture may get torn up, or the $150,000 horse may throw one of his $300 shoes. This place has EVERYTHING! Hot walkers, maybe a track, trails, just to the NINES!!! This is a place that we all dream of owning. Rolling lush fields, white fences, immaculate arenas, yes ARENAS, more than one. All Olympic sized. Ahhh very drool worthy!!!! Most of us will never board here.

The A. A Nice facility. Has around 30-60 boarders. Hard to know everybody. Also more specified to one discipline. Western pleasure, dressage, H/J. It looks a little older, may have some scuffs or marks in the wood, but they keep it nice. Pressure washed, nice pastures, probably running about $400-$500 for boarding. A decent covered arena, good sized. Good hay, a few workers a clean nice place. The horses get turned out for maybe a half day to a full day (MAYBE). The horses could be turned out in small groups of 2 or 3. Has some tack lockers, hot cold wash rack, grooming stall. Good equipment, property is kept up on, nicely.

The B. A Working Facility. Around $250-$350 for board. A nice covered, tilled arena, round pen, 12x12 stalls, offers both full or partial care. Usually has 15-30 boarders, more of a close knit friends type of place. Nice hay. Trails. Hot/cold washrack, cross ties, a shared tackroom. Smaller sized pastures, but nice. More set up for breaking and training horses. Well kept, decent equipment. this is a bit more diverse. Western pleasure, reining, cows, jumping, gaming, etc. These are nice places and happy horses. This is where 80% of us end up.

The C. A Small Facility. Typically $150-$250 for board. This has a few stalls, nicely kept, an arena, not covered, a few pieces of equipment. You supply your own hay. Self care or partial care. Has on 2-3 boarders. It probably has one or two pastures that the horses share. Nice quiet down home place.

The D. A Homeowner's facility. A piece of property, maybe a stall or two in someone's back yard. $100-$200 for board. Probably self care, maybe partial. Has only only 2-3 boarders. You supply your own hay, the horses run together in the pastures. May or may not have stalls. No arena.

I have experienced every single one of these places except for the A+. And in fact as a trainer, I worked my way up from a D, to where I am now, HAPPILY at a B. I LOVE IT!!! I think it is the perfect place for what I do. Now there is NOTHING wrong with any of these places, it's all personal preference... So Where are you now??? And where would you dream to be????

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Who On Earth Would Use This????????

I think we all know what War Bridles are... If you don't it is a rope bridle that works by wrapping the rope and tying a knot on the underside of a horse's chin. The pressure is ALL put onto the lower jaw... Yeah not fun....But it gets worse!!!

There is another bridle that some people use as a method of restraint and yes some still ride in it, and it's called the "Bonaparte" or "Cherokee" Bridle... It works by not only having the rope wrapped around the lower jaw for pressure, BUT ALSO puts pressure on both the top and bottom gums of the horse!!!! YEEEEEIKES! They say it can be used for really "rank" horses and stallions that need to be taught a lesson *Gulp* Or for horses receiving medical treatment... Um.. OK, When the rope or reins are pulled it immediately puts pressure on the gums, lower jaw and poll of your horse... I swear I am really unsure of who could, in good conscious, use this. Light hands, soft hands, this is devastation waiting no no ASKING to happen....

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Bad For Business???

So a close friend of mine (a Male) has an on again off again relationship, with a girl who works at his barn. They are both younger, around 20 or so, and they have the type of relationship that is very typical for that time on your life. They are infatuated with each other, but fight ALL the time, which wouldn't be a huge deal EXCEPT that he works and trains horses and deals with clients all day long. Again, it shouldn't be a problem, but here we go... She gets jealous if any other clients are women, doesn't matter how old or young they are. She always wants to go out and party and not work and not let him work or give lessons, she makes snarky comments to the women clients, you can hear her in the background, if you're on the phone with him, yelling about "Get off the phone! Who is that? What's SHE want?"

So a friend of mine who is a client of his, had to have a come to Jesus meeting with him. His GF's meddling in his training was becoming quite distracting to the client, the girl tried to put my friend on a horse that hadn't been ridden in 2 months to see if she could scare her... He was basically getting drug down by her and it was showing to everyone, especially his clients.... She FLIPPED out at the show we were at, because he was helping his students and not paying her any attention. She also hangs all over him when he is in the middle of a conversation with someone other than her. So when is it enough? When you can't even concentrate on your clients???

Trust me, it is HARD to find a balance in training and relationships. Horses take up a good part of your life even when you're not a trainer!!! But when someone actually starts to jeopardize your career because of immaturity, there has to be a line to draw somewhere right??? Ahhh for those of you who think there is no drama or excitement in horses, it is nothing BUT Drama LOL!!! Our advice to him was to figure out what was important to him. Money making clients? Or a GF (sort of) who makes his life difficult. If he wants both, great, but keep her far far AWAY! Not a good idea to mix business with pleasure... Not at all... *Head shaking* Ahhh Venting is good...

Friday, August 28, 2009

Answer TIME!!!!!!!!!!!

Texasnascarcowgirl, and Others wondering about Herdbound issues.~ This is probably one of the tougher of the horse problems that we all have to deal with from time to time. So here we go. A horse is naturally a herd bound animal so you are technically fighting against nature when training a horse to be OK, with going away from the herd. It is also a LONG training process so be prepared. First off, your horse needs to be able to look at you as a herd leader so when you separate him from his actual horse buddy he is OK with it. This can be established by groundwork. Lots of lunging for respect and leading practice, backing and stopping when you stop etc... Practice this in his PASTURE with the other horse there. Make him focus on you with both eyes and ears, don't let his head wander or bend away from you. Make him work so darn hard in his pasture that leaving it and his buddy will actually be a release... Take him out and then give him a bit of grain or some carrots, then walk him around away from the pasture. Every time he diverts his attention AWAY from you and back to home, make him WORK... Herdbound issues require a lot of patience and leadership on your behalf. Also if it's possible try to switch your horses around every couple days so they don't get attached to one single buddy. You can also use a string of hotline to divide the pasture so they can see each other, but not be in together. And Yes Tash, I'll be more than happy to come out and work your herdbound pony :)

Smazourek~ First off, a rubber bit or gentle snaffle. Bit the horse up and the ground drive them, gently pulling them to the right or left. For example if you're teaching your horse to go right then pull on the right "rein" and do not release the pressure until the horse gives to the bit and turns to the right. Asking for the stop s the same thing say WHOA and apply equal pressure to both reins, don't release until the horse has come to a complete stop. You can also use split reins and stand beside your horse and practice the same idea. Stand beside him by the wither area say on his left and have your right hand over his back or saddle holding the right rein and your left hand holding the left. Basically "ride" him from the ground. Walk along side of him and work the reins. Control your hands softly and quietly and release when your horse gives to the commands.

Cierarosaline~ These are 2 relatively easy fixes :) For the drifter set up a vertical at a comfortable height and then take 2 more ground poles and set the ends on the vertical and set the other ends on the ground, have it come together in an almost pseudo "V" shape, this will make a visual for your horse to follow. He MUST go straight to the jump this way. Also practice lots of flatwork and teach him to listen to your legs. Do a lot of haunches in, out, Shoulder in, out, side passing etc... That when we he starts to drift to the left you should be able to use your left leg to push him back over. I even made a nifty (horrible) Drawing of how to set up the jump.

For the squirmy one, take him back down to a comfortable height and and practice trotting over it then halting afterwards. Keep the trot slow and controlled and relaxed. If he gets anxious then halt him and make him wait. Then walk him up to the fence, turn around and repeat. Halting is good because it teaches the horse not to ASSUME, To relax and to LISTEN carefully to you. Do this a lot at the trot, than the canter. For your flatwork, practice a lot of half halting. Your horse needs to be calm and quiet when approaching fences, if he is squirmy and drifts from side to side, set up the same grid ad work him through it. Also lots of body control exercises :) AS far as liniment I LOVE Absorbine GEL. I think it sticks to them better. I apply it to the legs, shoulders, neck, back and rump muscles.

Paigely~ First off Ground work Respect :) Lunging, making her switch directions, stopping, backing all that fun jazz. NOW, here is a NEAT trick I learned from my horse as on trail rides he likes to slam my knee into stuff. Pull their nose around. So if your horse is trying to rub you off on the left then pull her head to the left. She won't smack her own head and she'll bulge her body to the right a bit thus protecting your legs. Also for arena work keep her in the middle of the arena off the rail. If she tries to drift to the rail push her back over towards the middle or on the ground work her right next to the rail so close that she may rub into it. Make the rail a "Holy Crap I have to work too hard when 'm on the rail." Place. :) And yes, I'm going to make another awesome picture!! HOLY CRAP I Suck at drawing with paint LOL....

Tash~ Get a saddle pad with some grippy rubber material on the bottom. Also I use girths with the same type of grippy neoprene material. So I'm gripping in both places top and bottom. A breast collar may also help a little, but the sticky pads are the BEST!! I use one and I love it! My Arab is SUPER round and slippery and when I use this pad my saddle does not MOVE and it's a treeless!!! :) They sell them at Del's for about $45

Spotmesomecolor~ I actually have an Appy in training right now that had similiar issues. He's 6 now and has finally bulked up to his normal adult size. If your horse a high in the wither area than try to find a saddle that is a bit higher in the Gullet area. Horse go through different growth spurts in different areas until they finally level off at around 6 (depending on the breed). Keep using the gel pads to keep her comfortable and also if you have a tack shop that allows you to actually haul your horse there, then get a pro saddle fit. Doesn't mean that you have to BUY, just try on some saddles to see what will work best for your mare. Then it's on to craigslist!! Also bring your own saddle and have them look at how that fits her as well... Get a couple of opinions too. If you can't haul her anywhere then use the coat hanger trick. Take a coat hanger and bend it to the shape of your horses wither and shoulder area. Then trace the shape onto a piece of cardboard, cut it out and take it to some tack shops... She has probably gotten a bit more narrow due to the fact that your exercising all the baby fat away now, she will build back muscle and fill out so don't worry. Right now, just keep her comfy and try to find a saddle that provides a good fit... :):):)

If some of my answers aren't clear enough feel free to email me... Sometimes I think way faster than I type LOL! And Good Luck to all of you! Tash Let me know when you want me to come out! :) Again I apologize for my horrible drawings that were done on Paint LMAO!! I'm not an artist hahahaha!!!!!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Q & A Time!!!!!!!

I think it's that time again... So Lock and Load...Everyone has until 11 PM Tomorrow to post their questions, then I'll answer them in order... WOOHOOO!!!!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Weighed Down

I have a lot of "Non Horsey" people ask me this question; "How much weight can a horse carry???" So I found this totally AWESOME article that answers just this question. Some people think that being bigger is a bad thing, BUT being too waif like can also create problems, the horse can ignore you or attempt to walk all over you cause of strength and light weight. We have a nice gal at our barn who is so light and thin that her horse sometimes blows right through her commands and ignores her. So it does go both ways. I personally get a little thrown off by this question (that is code for annoyed) only because ANYONE can enjoy horses, big, small, tall, whatever. I just have to remind myself that non horsey people are not as gifted and brilliant as us horsey people and that they can be a little ignorant :P

Courtesy of

"When asking the question, "how much weight can a horse carry?" you often hear a response similar to "it depends on the breed of the horse, its conditioning and conformation, how far and how long you will be traveling, the horse's bone structure, the type of weight the horse will carry (for example live [rider] or dead weight [gear]), weight distribution" and so on. So with this sound advice from your fellow horsemen, surely you now have a much better idea of how much weight your horse can carry. No? Of course not. Though your colleagues are correct in stating all the above factors, you are still left in the dark without any guideline on how much weight a horse can carry. Can my horse only carry 80 pounds, or is he capable of carrying 300 pounds?

Fortunately some very smart horsemen over the years have come up with a few methods for us to calculate a starting point to help determine how much weight a horse can carry. One very simple guide is to take the horse's weight and divide by six to give you the total weight, including rider and tack, the horse can carry. Given this, a 1200 pound horse could carry up to 200 pounds.

Another quick and popular method is to use the 20% rule. You take 20% of your horse's body weight and the result is the amount of total weight your horse can carry. For example, a 1,000 pound horse should easily carry 200 pounds of rider and tack. The 20% rule typically applies to competitive or otherwise "hard" riding. For pleasure riding, many use a 30% rule, so this 1,000 pound horse could carry 300 pounds for shorter pleasure rides.
Measuring a horse's cannon bone is used by some in determining the approximate weight a horse can carry. A measurement is taken around the circumference of the foreleg, just below the knee. Add together the weight of the horse plus the rider and tack, and divide this sum by the cannon bone circumference measurement. Then divide that result by two. A number between 75 and 85 is good. If the number is over 85, you probably need a larger horse. Using this method, I measure the circumference of the horse's cannon bone and get 7.5 inches. The body weight of the horse is 1,150 pounds and the rider and gear weigh 235 pounds for a total combined weight of 1,350 pounds. Divide 1,350 (total combined weight) by 7.5 (cannon bone) and I get roughly 185. Divide 185 in half and my final resulting number is 93. Using this calculating method, I either need to lighten my gear or get a larger horse to get the number down to around 85.
Some horse and rider guidelines where carrying weight is concerned:
Pick a horse with bigger cannon bones, wider loins, shorter back
Avoid using heaving saddles and only carry necessary gear
Make sure the horse is conditioned for the type of riding you doing
Keep proper riding posture and balance
Give the horse a break on longer rides - get off a while and let your horse rest
Avoid riding in areas where footing is not desirable - such as mud, deep sand, asphalt
Avoid letting the horse trot or canter
The maximum weight a horse can safely carry does vary by the breed of the horse and how hard it's worked. There is no absolute rule about how much weight a horse can carry, but generally speaking the lighter-framed the horse the less he can carry. A well conditioned horse or a stout horse can generally carry more. Some breeds are bred to carry heavier weights like the Quarter Horse, Arabian or Icelandic Pony. Riders with good balance also make weight load less of a problem."

Really? Arabs were made for heavy weight??? Hmmmm I'm a little questionable on that one, but still a great article...

Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Avenging Unicorn

I have to say I LOVE showing and being at shows. It is my FAVORITE!!! So this past weekend Me and 8 other people went to the S.A.F.E. Show in Graham, WA. S.A.F.E is a local rescue that puts on a benefit show every year and they are always very well organized, fun, and a great experience for everyone involved!!! PLUS a lot of other local rescues bring horses too and it's amazing to see these horses who were once considered "throw aways" Show and compete. It's so fun too because it's like a big party where we get to see old friends, meet new ones and have a BALL!!!!!

So anyway, my horse was acting like a COMPLETE Jack. He decided right in front of the judge to launch himself into the air and buck, He pretty much did a Capriole, only he's not a Lipizzaner, hmmmmm someone should tell him! LMAO. So one of my fellow competitors and friend gave him the new nickname of the "Avenging Unicorn." HAHAHAHAHA Ugh... Poor Raven. BUT here is the best part, let's go down the list.

My student Tammy and her Appy horse, who I've been training and giving lessons too, placed 1st in an Equitation class and a 2nd in a Pleasure class. WOOHOO Her and her sister got very teary eyed, they couldn't believe it. We were all jumping and screaming for her!!! Here's a pic of Tammy on her Appy.

Maddie my 9 yr old student and her 28 yr old appy mare named Cutie placed 4ths and 5ths in almost every class. It was her first performance show ever! It was a great experience for her and not bad for a first show!!!!!

S&D's horse Sugar ROCKED it at the barrels and Cal Stake class cleaning up with a 2nd and 3rd with our friend Chance riding. Even Little Diamond competed in the in hand trails course!!!

And here's my horse, The Avenging Unicorn himself LMAO!! HA!!! Thanks Cowgirly!!

All in all it was amazing and I could NOT be happier and more proud of everyone!!! They all worked VERY hard for this show and it really paid off! Even the Avenging Unicorn got some love and treats yesterday LOL!! Congrats to every one who attended the show!!!! it was a HUGE success!!!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Stretched Thin

EEK, this is going to be one hell of a weekend. Tomorrow I have to drive out to Ocean Shores which is about 2.5 hours away to go to a wedding at 1. Then ZIP back to the barn to get my students, my training horses and my own self and horse ready for the show on Saturday. There are a couple of "Show Virgins" going WOOHOO, so it makes things a BIT more stressful. I haven't even cleaned my own tack or figured out what I'm doing I've been so slammed this week with lessons and training. *Sigh* So the trailer will packed up tomorrow night with tack, horses will be scrubbed, last minute lessons and training tweaks will be done, then Saturday all I need to do is hook up, load up and GO!!!!! Will let you know how it goes :)

What's it like when you get ready for a show??? Are you a planner or procrastinator???

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


One piece of equipment that is tough to work with out is a curb strap/chain, but understanding it is just as important. So What's the deal? Seems simple enough right??

Well let's start with how to use it. On a Snaffle bit, people use them for 2 reasons. The first is to stabilize the snaffle. What it does is holds the rings stationary and securely so you get a more clear connection from the your hands to the bit, it helps because it can keep the snaffle pieces moving around distracting the horse. It also helps the snaffle to not slide through the horses mouth in case of a one rein stop.

The next is the more obvious and that is on a shanked bit, kimberwicke, pelham so forth. So the purpose of these bridles and bits is a 3 way pressure system. The bit itself is your direct pressure, when you pull back on the reins it applies pressure to the chin where the curb strap is and to the top of the poll as well. These can either be GREAT bridles and training equipment or nightmares in the wrong hands, but that's besides the point currently.

Sooooo how tight you attach the strap is a major part on how the whole set will function. Too tight and your horse is visibly uncomfortable and there is NO release of the pressure on their chin. Too loose and your not getting any pressure whats-so-ever. You really want to be able to fit 2 fingers in between the strap and their chin comfortably for proper placement and use. Remember when using to be gentle and allow he pressure to release once the horse has responded to your cues. Under the chin is a sensitive area for our 4 legged buddies so be careful and have fun!!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Ahhhh Monday Funday

Busy Busy weekend. Went to Wenatchee to watch a horse show, did some last minute shopping for some upcoming shows, getting the truck and trailer ready. Working horses and giving lessons, geez I'm beat... The weather is nice again, it rained for a bit, which was well needed! How was your weekends?

Thursday, August 13, 2009


Ahhhh so much you can do with one... Do you realize just HOW much training you can accomplish by using the corner of your arena??? No? Well, then let's get started. First off do you know why corners are so useful? Because they are solid! They have no give. They are 2 pieces of a wall that meet to create a delicious 90 degree angle and your horse has nowhere to go, but where you want him too... OK, now how and what to do with it.
#1. Teach the turn on the forehand. Put your horse parallel to the wall with his nose in the corner, use your outside leg to apply pressure to his ribs and to "push him over." Take ahold of a little outside rein to help guide him as well. While applying pressure of your outside leg, DO keep a touch of inside leg on him so he doesn't think to back up. The idea is to get him to move his body around his front end so he is parallel to the other wall now, but with his nose still in the corner.
#2. Teach the turn on the hindquarter. Again Parallel to the wall on this time with his butt in the corner. Use outside leg as pressure to move his body, again you can use a little rein to guide him if he needs help. This time however use both reins and keep your inside leg off him, so he doesn't think to move forward. Again he should move his body around his hindquarter and be parallel to the other wall, butt in corner.

#3. Use your corners to create and teach a bend. Going deep into the corners will force your horse to bend lest he wants to smack his face into it. Apply your inside leg and a touch of inside rein during the bend, so your horse learns these cues to bend. If he starts to bulge into the corner hold him with your outside leg a little. This will help in executing nearly perfect circles later on.

#4. Teach a horse to back up or back up straight. Again, nose in the corner and parallel to the wall, apply equal rein pressure and squeezing with your calves ask him to back, using the wall as guidance to keep him straight. He he begins to turn his hind end push him back over to the wall with your inside aids and try again.

You would be amazed how much you can accomplish by using the corner of your arena. So many exercises and tools right at your disposal.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Keep Rollin'

I'm beat tonight. I was up early this morning helping a close friend of mine. She runs a small rescue operation and she found an AMAZING home for one of her horses. An older Saddlebred mare. The mare had been run through the auction several times, was beat into a trailer and severely abused all around. My friend got her, rehabbed her and I trailered her to paradise! The family she went too were some of the nicest people I'd ever met. They were thrilled to have their new horse friend home. They immediately started grooming her and loving on her and invited me to stay for dinner. OH so awesome people! The only bad part was the roughly 200 mile round trip drive for me LOL! I sincerely wish there were more kind people like them, to adopt such a wonderful horse and To my friend, A job well done, She will be forever happy in her new home!!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Colt 45

"Colt Starting" "Colt Training" Why is it always colt. Trainers train colts apparently. Even big name trainers start colts. Hmmmm This is just one of those terms that drives me MAD! According to this is the actual Definition of a colt. "A young MALE horse A Male horse not over the age of 4." So what is with using that term to generalize ALL horses. Are you tougher if you are a colt starter? Better if you're a colt starter??? LMAO
"Hi, I have a mare I need to get trained." "OK, no problem we'll start yer colt." HA *snork* "Um, I have a mare." "Yeah I know we'll get yer colt started right for ya."

It's just one of these bizarre terms that I also find very misleading. Especially with training, but it has even been leaking into selling horses as well. COLTS FOR SALE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Come on Colts have balls. Mares and geldings don't. There is your anatomy lesson of the day. It would be just as easy to say "Horse starting and breaking." LOL. It's just one of those things that makes me chuckle and shake my head... Oh the terms we use in the horse world. That's a good as guildings, a pair of rains or lounging your horse.... I thought I would hit 2 birds with one stone today. Make you smile and rant. HA!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Other Woman

So there is this really nice gal who is a beginner rider at the barn I'm at. She's about 25 and loves horses, so she has decided to full care lease one of the horses on the property. He's a nice gelding, very arena broke, safe and sane. So all in all the girl pays for everything on him ONLY to find out the horse's owner has also partially leased him to another woman!

So tonight me and S&D are chatting with the girl and she gets visibly upset saying she feels she's been taken advantage of and she doesn't feel this kind of lease is fair, she shouldn't have to share the horse when she is paying for a FULL Care lease. And you know what? SHE'S Right!! The owner is getting too greedy and has completely screwed this girl over. The owner didn't even tell the girl that she had also leased the horse to someone else. She found out by coming up to ride and saw the other woman riding her horse. Then she found out the horse's owner had offered the other woman the horse to BUY right out from underneath the leaser...

So we told her if she didn't want to lease that horse and continue to get played that she could ride our horses in exchange for some help around the stable. She was extremely grateful for our help and generosity, but frankly I hate seeing people get treated so unfairly. I'm sure the owner thought she could get away with it because the girl is new to the whole horse thing. Totally unacceptable ...

Please people be aware and if you lease out a horse or are leasing a horse, get everything in writing and have a VERY clear understanding as to what you're getting into. There are more owners now BEGGING for people to ride their horses, that you should never feel taken advantage of or ripped off....

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Blood Bath

Oh wow, I've been slammed this past week!! Horse shows, training, yeeks!!! I'm exhausted! But, being a horse show you hear a lot of people talking about their registered horses, papers and BLOODLINES. and it's made me come to the conclusion, that while yes, bloodlines CAN be important, sometimes they really just don't mean squat! Let's take the Quarter horse, when people tell me "Oh my horse goes back to Doc Bar, or Three Bars." I'd like to say WHO CARES! Find me a QH that doesn't!!! Or when you horse has Doc Bar in it 4 times, YEESH, inbred much??

Yet, a lot of people put a ton of importance into the bloodlines of their horses. I've seen some BUTT ugly, worthless nags, that people think are the greatest horse on earth just because it has "So and So Big Name Horse" in it's blood. Newsflash! You can't ride blood. Just like you can't ride pretty, papers, or color. It has to just be about the horse... Besides That fancy blood isn't going to do you ANY good if you can't use the horse for what you bought it for!!!

When I look at a horse the first few things I want to see is, soundness, temperament and conformation. You can buy a $200 cross bred horse that's quintessentially perfect for you, or $15,000 for a horse that has Mr. Awesome in it's blood, but is a complete train wreck!!

Now, bloodlines are important to know in the case of diseases like HYPP or HERDA, but mostly look at the HORSE first, blood second....

Of course, there are some exceptions to this rule, there always is... BUT, since we're on the subject what are some of your favorite lines?? Whose blood would you want in your horse if you could pick???

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Horses and Whores

So, I may get yelled at for this post, but I could care less. It's 103 degrees in SEATTLE, It has never been this hot we have broken several records today with the heat and I am CRANKY LOL. So moving on... To me, personally, I take riding very seriously, I am a pretty well known trainer in the area and I bust my back to get to get there and keep it that way. So when I see stupid people come into the horse world and try to use their lame ass celeb status, it irritated the crap out of me. Case and point. Katie Price.

She's a former topless model and I'm OK with that, she's a newbie in Dressage and riding in general and I'm OK with that, but now she has come out with her own equestrian clothing for both horse and rider and I want to slap her in the mouth for it. It's TRASH! It does not represent the class and etiquette that makes horses, especially DRESSAGE, what it should be. PLUS in the horse world, Katy is a big, fat NOBODY!!! She has done NOTHING great or even remotely impressive. In this video of her riding, it is sub par and it is what I would expect a beginner rider to look like. Her legs aren't stable, nor is her hands and arms.

The poor pony in the picture also looks as though it wants to kill itself. Just look at it's eyes! This whole thing is just useless garbage that needs to be burned. If I buy something name brand it will have the name Pessoa, George Morris, Clinton Anderson, or John Lyons attached to it. Not some stupid Porno celeb that has done NOTHING for the horse community except make it look skanky and cheap! So here's a thought Katie, good for you for getting into horse's, but how about we concentrate on learning how to ride BETTER and get off the stupid clothing line that is as useless and pathetic as if it were done by Pam Anderson herself.

It's such trash that I would like to scream at her at the top of my lungs. And in fact, it seems I'm not the only one... Look her up on google "Katy Price Horse." People in the horse world are not thrilled and rightly so. If this is the new wave of horse riders and clothing and tack, then I'm out of here, I'm getting into showing bunnies!!!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

I'd Die Without You....

So, I went on a trail ride with one of the gals from the barn the other day and we were discussing our horses and how I told her that Raven is my Horse Soulmate, He is my life and everything to me. He's crazy and fun and loyal and every time I ride or work him I get a big grin on my face. I can't help it he makes me laugh... We read each other and know what the other is thinking or about to do. I can not work him for a week or two and then jump on him and go. And it's not because he is a solid, bombproof horse, my god he's an Arab Sporthorse, it's just because we know each other, I trust my life with him and I know he feels the same.

So the gal I went with told me the same thing, that her horse was her Soulmate. She wasn't looking to buy a horse when she found him and neither was I when i found Raven, but when you feel that connection its like you know in an instant that you can't live with out them... She'd gone through a few horses before she found him and they clicked instantly.

People told me that Raven would kill me, that he acted stud-like (He's a Gelding), that "OMG HE'S AN ARAB!!!!!!!!!!" Never mattered to me, I knew from the moment I laid EYES on that horse that he and I would be together forever.... This is a pic of me and my guy...

What horse is or was your soulmate? What would you look for if you trying to find the ONE????

Monday, July 27, 2009


It has been hot hot hot here in Seattle! I almost think I've been magically transported to Arizona it's so dang hot. Never the less the training must go on. Although when it gets this roasty toasty I am forced into doing one of two things. First I can ride at night, I'm a huge nightowl so o big for me, or I can train on the trail. OOOOOH just as fun! So what can you do on a trail as far as training goes???

Well, I do a lot of leg work on the trails, side passing around solid obstacles that my knee could potentially crack into if not done properly. Hill work, desensitizing, work in water and streams. Stepping over logs. Working on all three gaits PROPERLY even though there is a lack of arena walls. Ahhhh it's a nice thing!! It breaks the monotony of the arena and gets us out in the wide open. It's great for the horses as well, it gives them something else to concentrate on and see new things. So What do you like to do on the trails???

Oh and here is something I just thought was funny, from AHAHAHA It's so cute!!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Rock My World!!

Oh man AWESOME DAY!!! So I had an Appt with the animal communicator today and it went sooooo well! She hit all the horses spot on!! So here is what they had to say. KEEP in mind she had NO WAY of knowing anything about my horses as I've never spoken with her.

Jag~ Wants to show and be center of attention, calls me his Mom. Sometimes feels misunderstood. Is very teenager like, but SUPER SMART! He knows he's strong and loves running around the arena. He wants to jump. He said one of my saddle pads is too itchy for him and he likes my lighter English saddle.

Raven~ Knows we are soul mates, knows he's my number 1, hates the fly mask and chiropractor. He talked of a scar he has on his leg. He loves where he is now. He likes having the show saddle on. He loves his alfalfa and cookies. Raven has always done this one weird thing. He grabs the back of my coat or hoodie and holds it in his mouth, he doesn't like letting go either, he just sits there with my coat in his mouth not moving. So I did ask her what that meant to him and she it meant I was his!! Awwwwww I LOVE my Raven!!

Sole'~ Thinks she is a princess and wants to show in very pretty tack. She spoke of a scratch she had on her neck that I was putting cream on. She is a total lovebug. She loves when we work with the radio on. She loves her Berry Goods!

Louie~ Wants to feel more special. He will bulk up with more work. Wants to be called King Louie. Likes kids. Feels like second fiddle and low man on the totem pole. He is happy, just wants more attention.

It was such an amazing experience, one that I will do again!!! She really got my horses right on. You can tell that she connects to the horses as well, because of the look on the horse's face. How they look and act with their body, they lick and chew and shake their heads and almost "act" out their thoughts.It's AMAZING!!!!!