Friday, May 29, 2009
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
- Craigslist trainers. Just because you can ride a horse AND post an ad, does not mean you're a trainer. Especially at 15.
- Selling your horse for $10,000 and the picture you use is the horse with it's back turned, eating, with a winter coat and muddy hair, and you took the picture lopsided.
- Snobs. I really could care less how much you paid for your horse, saddle, trainer, clothes, truck, trailer. Go 'F' yourself. And YES, that includes Snobby trainers!
- "Rescues" who are actually just animal hoarders.
- Always having an entourage of equally obnoxious, loud, spoiled and snobby as yourself people surrounding the rest of us who want to have fun.
- Prejudice judges. If you LOVE only Arabs, then you shouldn't be judging a damn OPEN breed show.
- Beating up your horse in public of all things! I hate that! I have confronted more people about that crap. OOOOH especially when it's one of those younger riders whose 20K horse in responding perfectly. Spur, jab, rip, yank. UGH!
- Kids running around a barn, horse show, anywhere where a horse could kick it's little brains out and the parent is NOT even paying attention.
- Having so much bling on you and your horse I need to keep my sunglasses on at all times!
Oh and the list goes on LOL! Let me know what I may have forgotten. This is like super fun therapy :)
Sunday, May 24, 2009
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Once I was done riding him the owner was beyond impressed and asked me, "So what should I work on." To which I replied, "Keep your hands LOW." To which SHE replied, "Well the other trainer I take lessons from tells me raise my hands up to get him to lower his head." Sigh, to which I replied, "You're going to have a hell of a hard time with this. You can NOT have 2 trainers telling you what to do. Especially if I'm riding and teaching your horse how to go on MY cues and someone else is just giving you lessons. So you MUST decide what you feel is going to work out for you and your horse."
Ugh... I have no desire to fight it out with another trainer, everyone has their own way of doing things, but when a client is paying me good and in fact BETTER money than she is paying the other trainer, than she deserves to get what she pays for and that is good,sound quality training.
I'll keep you updated... This could get really interesting... OH By the Way... I'm in the blue trunks! LMFAO!!!! ;)
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Sunday, May 17, 2009
Recently as in a week ago I sold one of my paint mares to a family who has a daughter that has cerebral palsy and that was who my mare was for. The girl is 25 and the doctors told her family that riding is the number 1 BEST way for her to build strength in her body!! My mare was so dang mellow, she stopped on a dime was light to aids and was about as bombproof as they come! Some of that was training, most of it was her killer personality! I have a really hard time selling horses as I get super attached to them. I worry about them and that they'll have a great home. In this case I KNOW my mare will be loved and what a great family!!!! They were a match made in heaven! I get updates and the 2 are doing AMAZING!! I guess I sometimes take for granted how well the horses respond to our vibes. Whether we are handicapped or not, they know... And I've never seen anything more beautiful than when the girl wrapped her arms around the neck of my mare and my mare wrapped her head around her...
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
- We (trainers) are not magic. We DO like tired horses, they are our friend!
- We HATE getting bucked off, reared off, bit and kicked. We are not made of stone. We bleed and bruise and break just like everyone else. We WILL do whatever it takes to keep ourselves safe.
- We decent trainers are constantly fixing the mistakes of "wanna be" trainers. For every 1 good trainer there are 100 other "trainers" clogging up craigslist, saying that they can fix your horse in 10 minutes for $15. You get what you pay for folks!
- TIME makes good horses! We do NOT rush our green horses. If they are not ready for the next step, then we wait and fully prepare them for it.
- Our training process consists of an infinite amount of training steps to get our horses to our goal properly. Not just 5 steps and your horse is broke.
- EVERY horse is different what we do with horse A may not work for horse B.
- There are 4 acts of war that warrant severe discipline: Bucking, rearing, kicking and biting will get your horse in BIG trouble with us! Aside from any medical, tack fitting, etc. issues it is NEVER OK for your horse to do these things.
- WE still take lessons from people who are better than us, so that we can keep learning.
- If you pay a trainer to train your horse, you are also paying for their opinion, for you to ask questions and more!
- Our mantra, from John Lyons, to me, to the clinician I saw this weekend believe firmly that Your horse should be RELAXED! That is the key word, RELAXED. Relaxed before you move on to a new step in training, relaxed while working, riding, doing ground work. A relaxed horse is a responsive horse. A horse that will be happy to learn and accept new things.
- We LOVE round pens! There small, safe and great for communicated with your horse.
Don't be fooled by gimmicks and fancy products that claim they will fix your horse. TRUST your gut, heart and head. Find a trainer you trust and trust your horse! If you send your horse to a trainer make sure you check up on them and they are healthy, don't look distressed and being trained properly.
We work very hard for our clients and their horses to keep everyone safe, happy and satisfied. When you have a good trainer for you and your horse they are worth their weight in GOLD! :)
Sunday, May 10, 2009
I've lived in the Seattle are almost my whole life, with a brief stint in Houston, TX. When we moved back here we moved into a nice neighborhood and I met some girls who lived near by who took riding lessons at a local barn. This barn happened to be in the back of another housing development right next to me. So I started going there to watch when I was about really little. Soon, I'd have enough of watching and wanted lessons and my parents said "no way!" Why? Well because I was already in ballet, jazz, basketball, soccer, and softball. LOL! They knew I"d just give up riding or lose interest as I always did. Soon I only played soccer and took ballet. It was time! I knew I couldn't convince them to buy me lessons so I just went to the barn and asked the owners if I could do ANYTHING!, Groom, turn in/out, whatever I just wanted to be with the horses. I did that for a awhile and they offered me lessons in return. Pretty soon though, my remaining activities dwindled away and it was all horses all the time. The barn I worked at was also gracious enough to let me work off show clothes as they had a tack shop they owned as well. I was the luckiest girl in the world!
They soon put me in charge of the "pony from hell" Cheerios was her name and she was evil. She would strike, bite, kick, buck, and was not trained very well at all. She mine and all mine for the riding! I took to her and fell in love instantly, I rode her everyday for hours! I couldn't get enough. I eventually began competing her in all of the "A" rated hunter/jumper shows and the day I retired her from me, was the last day of one of our biggest shows and together we took home Reserve GC!!!
From there the head trainer put me in charge of tuning up all of the barn horses and soon I became the asst. trainer. I was riding and training some of the top hunter/jumpers in the area, every weekend was a show. Life was good, for now. I remember talking to him about me training full time some day and he flat out told me "You're not good enough and you'll never be good enough. You don't have the money it takes nor the talent." Ouch...
I left there shortly after and began training at another facility training their Reg. Quarter horses and Paints. One of which I ended up taking back to my old barn for a show and placed 5th out 21 in a hunter class. It was good enough for me! :) We also went to Worlds a couple times as well.
Soon though I craved my own horse and bought my beloved Raven. I moved to a few other facilities and then settled at one that was looking for a full time head trainer. And that was going to be me! I worked hard for them and proved myself and it didn't take them long to assign me the position. Soon I built MY OWN website, coat with my name, clientele, and reputation. I gave lessons and trained some rank, gnarly horses, but it all paid off.
I eventually had too big of an opertation to stay their so I moved again to my current location which is heavenly! I make sure that I am known in the horse world. Last year I took 4 of my best horses to the first Ride for the Cure ride at another local barn and raised over $500 alone. I am always at the local auction buying horses so I can find them better homes. I am always at local events and support other local reuses as well.
I'd love to find my old trainer and tell him how I'm doing, he'd probably drop over dead. I've competed and trained some high level horses, I've trained some nasty horses and saved them from the dinner table, I've trained kids horses, and family horses for people who were just so in need of some guidance. I encourage people to come out and watch me train as I have nothing to hide and they should know that. Too many trainers love to hide things from their clients. I basically took everything I learned from all the clinics and good trainers that I've trained with and put my own spin on it.
As far as my life, I don't have much of one and I like it that way. My friends are people at the barn and other horse people I know. I do have a wonderful boyfriend who completely understands my passion and dedication to the horses. Sometimes I work part/full time if business is slow. I have a great job that way. I've learned so much about this profession and a lot of hidden truths and lies exposed! You DON'T have to be a millionaire although I'm sure it helps. My parents have always been very supportive and crazy proud of me for what I do and what I've become. *Sigh* This is basically the short version I could talk for hours about this topic and all I've learned and done and I am only 27 years old. Feel free to ask more specific questions if you want :) So that's how I got here although the road was bumpy but, I just kept proving myself and asking. IT all started with a question from a little girl "Do you guys need any help?"
Friday, May 8, 2009
Smurfette: Nice job with your horse! When teaching the flying lead change put a ground pole out in the middle of the arena and make canter figure eights over it. 90% of the time the horse will see the pole and switch it's leads over it. If you have to, make going over the pole over exaggerated at first. Meaning, make your turn sharper when going over it so your horse anticipates the change in direction. If that doesn't work make a small cross rail out of 2 poles and jump standards, something maybe 6 inches off the ground. Then use the same ideas. Watch how you ride too, A lot of riders will try to throw their weight to the side they want the horse to switch to, which makes it almost impossible for the horse to do the change. Ride light and balanced in your saddle so your horse has the freedom to pick up his shoulders.
WolfandTerriers: When practicing over the jumps stay light in your seat and don't lean forward. Don't try to "help" your horse by over jumping for her, meaning when a rider throws them self out of the saddle to "help." Stay balanced and drive her forward with your legs. IF you feel her start to balk, sit in the saddle and squeeze with your seat and legs, grab mane and sail over that jump! A lot of jumping mishaps occur when a horse or rider are too green to really know what they're doing LOL. Also riders who get to "brave" and push their horse over fences they're not ready for. When you get to the course walk her around the jumps and let her see them and when you warm up make sure she is focused on you, attentive to your aids and riding forward and balanced. Sounds like you're going to have a blast! Good luck let me know how it goes!!
Thursday, May 7, 2009
Long Island Five: Ahhh a horse that will not lunge! Here are a few things I would do. FIRST if he isn't afraid of the whip, try poking him with the other end of the whip on his shoulder or behind his shoulder OR find something he is afraid of. Tie a plastic bag on the end of if that will get him to move out. Then start him on his lead rope, it's small and keeps you at close range for prodding him LOL! If that still doesn't work take 2 lunge lines and hook them to either side of the halter, almost like ground driving, and then stand where you would as if you lunging normally. SO what it will look like is one line coming straight from his halter to you, and another line going behind his rump and back legs coming back to you so you're making kind of a 'V' with the lines. Let's say he's facing left. Then he goes to turn into you you can pull on the right line to re-straighten him back out. Also the rope behind the rump MAY encourage him WANT to go forward LOL!!! Also keep your longe whip on hand to get him moving. Last resort, free lunge him for a couple days in an enclosed area, just get him used to the idea that when you say go, he needs to go!!!
Texasnascarcowgirl: GROUND DRIVE HER! Practice backing when you're on the ground, but still using the same techniques. Soft hands, no see sawing, just some direct pressure. The truth is, is that backing is hard for horses and semi-un natural. They position their bodies different and have to use different muscles in order to back up. If you have no issues with the saddle fit or her teeth and it's just her, then backing up MAY have been a punishment for her in a previous life. So ground drive her in her tack and ask for baby steps. When you apply pressure to the bit and ask her to back even if she moves a little, stop and praise her. One step is GOOD for the first couple days. Then ask for 2 and so on. Let her see that backing isn't that scary and that she's still a good girl! If she starts tossing her head or trying to evade what you're asking put a simple running martingale on her when you're working. Next once you get on her keep the same ideas, soft hands when she moves release the pressure, praise her do something else, then come back to her backing lesson, repetition and praise will fix her up nicely!!
Wazzoo: Sounds like you have a heck of a nice horse so congrats!! It sounds like working with him is the same as me working with Acacia. OK, so here's the easy way first. Try brushing him while he's doing something relaxing like grazing, or eating hay or grain. He's relaxed and eating so give it a shot, if that's a no go then we move on the the harder way LOL!! So, to keep yourself and him safe get an "arm" extension. ie: a longe whip, he may be terrified at first, but he WILL get over it LOL! All you are trying to teach him is that whatever you touch him with WILL NOT KILL HIM! You MAY have to tie him up if he's just way too freaked, you do NOT want him to think that running or getting away from you is OK. Tie him to a solid pole or something he can't get hurt on and tie his nose as close to the pole as possible, you don't want him to move away from it like he has been. Let him smell everything you touch him with first and then start at the neck and shoulder, then stroke his back and his rump down to his legs. Once he's fine with that use something shorter like a dressage whip and touch him and love him with it. Next bring a brush to him and let him smell it then try to touch his face or neck with it, if he's way too much of a nervous horse to attempt the touch right away then let him smell it and then walk away. Soon he's going to realize that A. whatever you have in your hand is merely an extension. And B. That you are not trying to kill him. Which they all think at first. Keep praising him and don't be surprised if he tries to get away and pulls with all his might. It's OK, let him regroup and try again. Small steps, lots of praise. He will learn he isn't going to be able to run away more either, which will benefit you when he's broke to ride LOL! If you're stroking his neck with a brush, but he doesn't want you touching his back, that's OK, brush his neck for a couple days and then move on to the back. Do this with EVERYTHING he needs to get used to! Brushes, hoof picks, blankets, clippers, you name it! Pretty soon he'll be able to be brushed and introduced to new things without being tied up at all! :) That's how Acacia started and now she's amazing! OH and when you go to try picking up his back feet don't use your hands at first, tie him and then take a second lead rope and put it behind that leg under his fetlock and gently pull up, so you need to be facing his rump and have ahold of either side of the rope. If he strike out or kicks you want him to do that with the rope and not your face or hands or arms!!
Jillian: Herd bound horses are hard to break of that habit, but the best thing that could've been done would have been to isolate her so she couldn't see anyone. Typically that's not something I'd ever suggest as horses are very social animals, but if she was hurting herself than that's the way to go.
OK, the little bucking horse, this could be tricky because if the he gets angry because kids used to lean on his face then that is definitely what you don't want to do! However, I trained a haflinger that had the same problem, she'd buck when cantering and this is how I fixed it. Assuming you're using a snaffle, use 2 pairs of reins attached to the bit, one set preferably nylon. Ride in a western saddle and then tie up the nylon reins semi tight and hook them over the horn of the saddle, lunge him first and see if he bucks when you ask him to canter all tacked up. The idea is, is when he goes to throw his down to buck he's going to pop HIMSELF in the mouth and learn was kind of a dumb idea and that he did it to himself because you're on the ground!! When you ride him keep it the same. So if he goes to buck he'll pop himself. You want the reins tied up semi tight because you don't want him to be able to get his head down, but you don't want his head cranked up either so he's uncomfortable. If this is not possible, due to lack of tools then do this. When you ask for the canter hold your outside rein up high. say shoulder height. If you're going to the right, bend your left elbow up to your shoulder and hold the rein there with light contact. It'll produce the same idea, if he goes to throw his head down, your arm should brace against that and again he'll have to keep his head up. When you ride him stay relaxed and walk and trot on loose rein for the first couple rides so maybe he'll get the idea that you're not one of those riders who want to lay on his face.
Ponykins: Ahhhh mares, Picky little creatures aren't they LOL?? You pretty much nailed it. She's in foal and feeling protective and hormonal. Mares in foal are concerned about a few things, eating, staying safe, protecting their unborn. If the mare feels like her position, food, baby is being threatened by another, even if she's not, she may FEEL that way, she'll attack. She knows her job is to eat and keep that baby healthy and she'll do it no matter what the cost. Your little filly could just be curious about her, yet that's enough to drive the pregnant mare bananas. You did a good thing by separating them!!! It'll keep them all safe and happier!
Crashedintoblack: First off, get the mare all tacked up like normal, but leave the halter on, use a long lead rope or a lunge line and practice ponying her. Basically, you or someone else rides a well mannered calm horse and you with lead rope in hand make the mare go wherever you go. You do this without a rider for the first couple times so no one gets hurt if she does happen to freak out. Pony her to places that normally make her scared, with her in your hand YOU have control, the owner can even walk beside with a crop in hand to just tap her along if she tries to back away or run from you. You don't want to get pulled off your horse either!! Then do this with a rider on, pony her to all the normal spots, but have the owner giving the cues. You're just holding onto the lead rope for extra protection!. ALSO it sounds like the mare may have some underlying training issues she's trying to avoid. Have the owner practice doing simple things such as halting and walking forward. With a crop in hand if the mare tries to back up the owner needs to smack her HARD, right behind the owners leg. The crop is used to reinforce the leg aids, not to abuse the horse, but you need to get your point across. Also if you're somewhere safe such as an arena and she starts backing up then make it your idea, back her up and keep backing until she never wants to back up again!! Stay relaxed and drive her forward if she dares to back up without you asking for it. Again a lot of reassurance and praise will be needed :)
Sterling: I've known too many horses that were trained that way, with the head held up too high, OK, so here you go, use a running martingale and full cheek snaffle. This martingale isn't as restricting as most others, and will encourage instead of force his head to go down. The full cheek I like because I think you'll need to start doing a lot of circles. Keep his nose slightly to the inside and your hands low, keep good contact on the reins and when he goes to drop his head relax your hold on him if he picks up his head, then again tighten up your contact, putting just enough pressure on his mouth that he'll want to get away from it and drop his head. Lots of circles and drive him forward using your outside leg and use your inside leg to keep the circle nice and round. Keep your hands low and soft, even play with his mouth a bit using a very SOFT jiggle of the reins. Circles will be your answer in getting that head down. Once you take the running martingale off, keep to the circles to get him to relax his head and drop it. Soon it'll be no big deal to him!!
Golightly: Backing is always a challenge LOL!!!! And yes no more RAIN!!! A lot of shows call for backing, so a nice straight, collected back is required to learn.
Heather: My gelding is the same way, he thinks he's mister macho stud horse and he tries to scare off all the others. One thing that I have learned about herd animals and dominant ones at that is if when they are all out in the herd together and you see the gelding chasing the pony, then you go after the gelding and chase him away. The other horses will see that and say "Hey, he isn't so tough anymore! Mom scared him away!" Do that a couple times and should at least help. Your pony will be fine and I understand your worry, however it's all apart of the fitting in and dominance process. Soon your pony will just say "Hey buddy, you can be the boss, but I'm done running!" It can be a waiting game for a bit though...
Clara: Glad to hear your horse is doing better! OK, place ground poles out in the arena to lope over. It will force your horse to pick up his front end and lean back on his rump. Also YES circles are good, if when he 4 beats and you ask him to move out of it he goes faster then pick up your inside rein almost like you're holding him and then when he slows down release the pressure. If he still tries to go to fast keep a hold of that rein and make your circles smaller. Not only will that teach him to get back into frame, but it will stop him from cantering instead of loping. Use a running martingale to remind him where his frame is too. Ride in the round pen if you can and set poles out in there to lope over. In time he will get the muscle back. Walk him up and down hills if possible, even a small hill will make a huge difference. Circles, lots of jogging and trotting will build up some nice muscle and stamina too. If he still won't slow down then ask him to gallop for awhile and then bring him back to lope, if he 4 beats push him out again so he gets tired of galloping and realizes proper loping isn't so bad!! He knows what he's supposed to do, it just may take a little bit of time to get him physically back to where he was. Sounds like your doing good though!!!
PHEW!! That was a long one! If I left anything out, you're confused or need more help or understanding let me know, sometimes I think it's hard to describe certain things as well as I think I do!! LMAO!!
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
Saturday, May 2, 2009
- The bit she was using was way to big, thick and fat for the dainty TB mouth.
- The bit was WAY to harsh to be used by a green rider on a green horse.
- I ALWAYS try to revert back to a simple full cheek snaffle. When a horse is a strong and likes to pull I try to use LESS bit and not something harsher, meaner and more damaging! Using a harsher bit is NOT a replacement for good training!!!
- The draw reins were used briefly and in light hands, just to get the mare's brain understanding that round, soft and supple is what we're looking for. Just so when she popped her head up too high I was able to bring it back down gently.
Now the horse is riding in her happy snaffle, light and responsive. No more pulling, bolting or head flipping. The draw reins are no becoming more and more scarce. Weaning her off of them while she learns to support her own frame. Lots of circles and changes of gait to also keep her attentive and willing.
Meaner and angrier training methods or tack is never going to be even CLOSE to a replacement of good training. The problems will always still be lurking. Even if you watch PRO cow horse competitions or reining or show jumping the bits they use may be a tad more aggressive, but for the most part they are in the hands of VERY soft experienced riders.
When training or deciding on which of the three BILLION different bits you could choose from LESS IS ALWAYS MORE and the owner couldn't be more THRILLED with how her horse is riding now!! :)