Monday, June 29, 2009

Head Banger's Ball!

Horse accidents are the worst, especially when you have such a great summer or show season ahead of you... I'm sure we've all been there, a horse tosses us into a barrel, jump, wall, dirt, (insert more objects here), but what's WORSE is when it really isn't the horse caused so much as horse operator error. Example, A friend of mine was getting into the saddle and her horse acted up so she pushed and jumped off. Well when she landed on her right leg she landed kind of funny, her ankle twisted and then her knee just popped out ICK! Now, she may have torn some muscles. She couldn't eve get back up to reprimand her horse, which is oh so frustrating. I've done it too, that's how I broke my ankle, I jumped off a horse and landed wrong.

It doesn't even make for a good injury, battle wound story LOL! Things I've also done to hurt myself; tripped on a bucket, a pothole, slid in mud and on rocks. I've tripped over my horse's hooves, my tack, I've gotten tangled up in lunge lines, lead ropes, oh boy how the list could go on...

I'm sure you all have a few good stories to share as well!!! Ahhhh Stupid accidents, but us horse people know how to make it look good! LMAO!!!!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Penny Pincher!

So horses, by nature, are not cheap to own. And in this economy it pays to be frugal!! SO let's talk about some awesome ways to save MONEY! Here are a few things I do, or have done recently.

I bought a beautiful Circle Y Show saddle off Craigslist for $200. It was scuffed and scratched up. Then for less than $10 I re-dyed it black. It looks AMAZING! Circle Y, look like it just came out of the factory for $210.

I never buy Sand Clear, I buy the Wal Mart version of Metamucil. It's 100% Psyllium, the same thing in the $30 tub of Sand Clear.

FIND your local grain warehouse. Ours is called Xcel Feeds and is a supplier and manufacturer of grain. SO for $14 I can an 80lb bag of beet pulp. Instead of $13 for a 40lb bag at the local feed store.

I extend my grain and enhance the fat content by getting a bag of rolled corn and mixing it 50/50 with my other more "expensive" grain. I use Purina Omolene. (YIKES it's pricey!)

Get a SCALE! Weigh out what you are feeding to prevent waste!

Shop your DOLLAR STORE! Things like garlic or paprika powder for a buck. Mixing spoon, buckets, towels, sponges, hair brushes. All for a dollar!

Shop tack sales and HAGGLE for the best prices. Go to your local tack auctions too!

So what other things do you guys like to do when money is tight? Your Tips and tricks for saving the almighty dollar?

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Blow Up...

Here's your hypothetical question for the month. YOU own a horse that is GORGEOUS! This is the horse you have waited for your WHOLE LIFE!! Your dream horse. Has impeccable ground manners. Is bred to the HILT! Has training that is beyond words, BUT, your horse has a problem... She SOMETIMES rears. She will only rear when you mount. If you get past that part riding her is amazing! It's not all the time, but sometimes thar she will blow. Saddle fit, health problems, teeth, sore back, ALL of this has been ruled out. She just decides she doesn't want to work.

OR... What if they are a bucker??? A Kicker or a biter???

You see we run into problems as riders and trainers of these awesome horses that MOST people would just say "Get rid of them." BUT, you wouldn't necessarily give up on a bad child either would you??? So, how would you handle it if your beloved horse had a bad habit, but was perfect in every other way????

My friends, the ball is in your court... What would you do? Especially when you know deep down inside there is an awesome horse in there...

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Leave It To The The Race Track...

So a lady who boards at the same barn as me works down at the local horse track here, Emerald Downs. And her and I were just chatting as usual and she told me that apparently the new trend for race horses and their trainers is, get this, DRAW REINS! The trainers and exercise riders use them on the horses to supposedly "keep them slow." WHAT?!?! What kind of trainers are these??? Do they not know how draw reins work?? If that racehorse figures out how to touch chin to chest, those riders will not have a frickin PRAYER in stopping those horses, let alone slowing them down. Or hmmmm, they could damage the horses' windpipe Rollkur style, or the horse could rear and flip itself over.... I've never had more of a headdesk conversation in quite awhile lol!! THANKFULLY the lady at the barn was with me on this and we spent a good half hour talking about the disasters waiting to happen! I just can NOT fathom using draw reins on a race horse of all stupid things...

Sunday, June 21, 2009

I'm Seething With Jealousy!!!

I wish, as a trainer and breeder that I could have such rockin' horses! I wish my site was this awesome too! *HEAD DESK* Their stallions are wretched and it appears that the foals they produce are just as bad. They're a conformation nightmare. They're cow hocked, their cannon bones are super vertical, it just looks likes such a mess. And WHY if you have paints are you taking pics of ALL of them standing parked out like a saddlebreds???? Do I hear the gelding bus coming??? I wish...

Ahhh I just ran across this site and thought it was way too good not to share. And yet we still wonder why there are so many unwanted horses out there, when "gems" like these are being bred hand over fist, polluting our already OVER populated horse market with more butt ugly horses that we don't need and that we can't find homes for...

Thursday, June 18, 2009

I'm In Bed!!!!

When training any horse, I will work and school them ANYWHERE on the property. The horse needs to understand that no matter where we are the same rules still apply. BUT, I have a no fly zone too. That is their stall or pasture or wherever they sleep/rest.
What does that mean? It means that your horse, just like us, needs a sanctuary of peace where they can relax without me schooling them more. Being in a tiny box stall and attempting to school your horse can lead to dangerous consequences as well. I will groom, pick feet, or just spend time with the horse in it's stall, but saddling, discipline and arguments are not going to happen.

I know several trainers who actually will tie up a horse in their stall after a workout, which is fine too, it's a quiet place for the horse to be able to absorb the lessons of the earlier day, cool down, and relax.

Let's quickly jump to the other side briefly. IF your horse acts like a little snot in their stall, then you do need to reinforce the need for good behaviour. But, again only use as much reinforcement as necessary.

The point is, is that you do not want their "home" to become a place they dread. Horses, as we all know are sensitive enough without us making it worse. Horses who become too stressed, worrying about who is coming down the aisle way, may not eat or drink, they could get ulcers or who knows what else!!! It's their home, so save the schooling and the lessons for somewhere else.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

HOW To Lay Down On The Job

So in conjunction with my other post I figured I should share with you the HOW TO of laying as horse down. OK, here are the things you'll need... A Western saddle, a rope halter and leadrope and a lariat or soft rope. Now on to how...
  1. Saddle them up in a WESTERN SADDLE and their rope halter. Also you can tie the stirrups up over the saddle so your horse does not get it's hooves through them.
  2. Have your horse step one of their feet through the loop of the lariat, for example we'll use the left leg. Then cinch it up around the fetlock area of their leg. HENCE why you should a soft rope or lariat.
  3. Have your horse lift up it's left leg as if the hoof is going to touch the cinch and put the rope around the horn so it works as a pully system and you can hold their leg up. Do NOT wrap the rope or tie it to the horn, at first your horse may pull and get confused so you want to be able to quickly release the rope and let their leg down if your horse panics.
  4. OK, with their left leg in the air, take your lead rope around the horn from the RIGHT SIDE and again use the horn for leverage. Slowly pull your horse's head to the right and they will slowly go down. They may sniff the ground or "BOW" first. Every time your horse does, STOP, RELEASE and PRAISE them.
  5. Add a little bit more pull onto the halter after they figure out the "BOW" part and they will slowly lay down. Release the pressure on the leg rope and while still holding their head, get down by them and LOVE them ALL OVER!!!!!!! Let them know how awesome they are. Then let them get up and love them some more!!!!!

That's it... it should be smooth and relaxed. My horse at first tried to fight it a bit, but I kept at it and after about 15 minutes she was down flat. This is something that even though it's NEAT it should never be down more than a couple times a week at the very MOST!!!! Have fun and send me PICS!!!!!!!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Laying Down On The Job...

So while I was in Sacramento, one of the things I really wanted to do was to pick the brains of some of the other trainers. I saw a couple of the trainers have their horses lay down. I've always found that a neat trick, but beyond that never thought too much about it. So one woman trainer, who I became close friends also had her horse lay down, so I had to ask why?

What is the ACTUAL point of it? What was her reasoning? She told me that getting a horse to softly lay down is an ultimate trusting gesture. The horse has 2 defense mechanisms, it's legs and teeth and when it lays down it has sacrificed the use of both of those things. So her thoughts are that if a horse doesn't trust her enough to lay down quietly, calmly and relaxed, then why would she dare get on it??? Makes more sense to me than just having them lay down as a "trick pony."

I found that to be a decent answer... Not that I'm going to lay down every horse I train or ride, but that could be a way of your horse showing you where you stand LOL!!! She also told me it is NOT something you ask the horse everyday, more like once a week or every couple weeks. So of course I had to try it on Sole' and she nailed it... I was so stinking ecstatic!!! It was just a neat thing to see up close with one of my horses LOL!

So what are your thoughts on laying a horse down. Remember I'm talking about gently and softly laying the horse down, not hobbling it and pushing it over...

Monday, June 15, 2009

Home at Last

Check Acacia's blog :):):)

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

To Sacramento

Tomorrow I leave with Acacia to go to the Mustang Challenge. Check out her blog. She is an amazing girl! I'll write when I return!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Getting What You Want

So I was riding one of my training horses and one of the problems his owner has with him is his lope departure. It's choppy and hurried and just unpleasant. So I was working him today and one of the excersices I use to keep a horse entertained is to do rollbacks, stopping and backing, figure eights, basically anything to keep their minds fresh and keep them on their toes. So I do this so the horse NEVER can anticipate what I'm going to ask and get anxious, which is what this gelding is doing with his rider.

So, I start by roundpenning them for just a couple minutes and I establish that when I cue on the ground, now means now. Every transition must be done with a second or two. I reverse them go the other way and I keep changing things up every minute or so they keep thinking. If I establish the now means now mentality on the ground then being in the saddle and asking for nice transitions should make your life easier.

So I ask him for a nice jog and he's round and supple then I halt him and do my roll backs, and then I halt him again and ask him to walk off, after a step or two I ask for the lope with a kiss and my outside leg. He scrambles at first like he always does, so I let him canter off and then halt him and do it again and again and again. Before you know it, I had him halted he took a half of a walk step, I cued and he NAILED IT! Consistency and his lungs were excellent tools for this lessons. He was tired and couldn't rest til he got it right, hence the lungs. By me being consistent and CLEAR in my cues he learned what I was asking for and did it like PRO!!!
That's the thing about training horses, it takes TIME and consistency. Sometimes you feel like you've done an exercise so many times you feel like you may want to hurl *snork*, BUT, those TWO ideals will get you what you what 99% of the time. TIME and CONSISTENCY! Don't feel like you have to rush, time MAKES horses!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

I'm FLYING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I found an ad on dreamhorse and it sent me to youtube to see the videos of this horse. The horse is a nice warmblood, BUT, watch this video of it jumping. Going over EVERY jump for the whole minute and half or so, it flips it's tail STRAIGHT into the air! There have only been a few circumstances where I have seen a horse react like this.
  1. It's nervous. Maybe it is jumping higher than it feels comfortable.
  2. It's anxious.
  3. Or it could have had it's little behind beat to high hell for refusing.

Either way, the video was cracking me up! However, it's important to know that horses use their bodies to the best of their abilities to express their feelings. Tail ringing is a huge sign of agitation, nervousness, being spurred or whipped a few too many times. But, flipping the tail straight up? Judges do and will look at that sort of thing as a negative, so let's hope he is a jumper and not a hunter horse. Aside from the very horsey ILLEGAL tail blocking, there isn't much you can do to fix a tail like that...

Friday, June 5, 2009

Simple Horse, Simple Care

A Little off topic today, but important just the same. With summer here horse care can change just a little bit than what you do in the winter. Ahhhh everyone waits for summer, the riding, the horses can stay in their pastures 24/7, no stall mucking. BUT, there is an added responsibility in addition to the summer heat. Flies, water, pasture care, etc. Let's try and hit them all. Summer time doesn't mean lazy horse care time, it can be a serious health hazard to your little pony friends.

  • Flies, lice, ticks, bees, wasps, you name it. Fly spray those babies! Put fly masks or sheets on if your horse is sensitive. Check over your horse for any other intruders as well.
  • Sunscreen, horses with white eyes or faces get burned BAD! Take care of them when the sun is blazing. They make spray on sunscreen, but I use a baby sunscreen formula for sensitive skin, it works wonders!

  • Check your fences or if you board NEVER put your horse out in an unsafe or barb wired pasture. You are ASKING for vet bills!!!

  • Clean your pastures. It's hot out I know, but cleaning up your pasture and trying to help keep it manure free will do wonders! Less flies and bugs, in the winter it won't all turn to a muddy poop mess, and your pasture can regrow. If you can't pick it up then try to at least spread it around, get it out of the piles.

  • Clean and ALWAYS check your water buckets. It's been so hot here that our horses have been needing water EVERY OTHER DAY! They can't go without water, and dirty water is bad horse parenting.

  • Clip your horses if they still have a long coat. Summer popped out of nowhere here and my horses still had a long coat and my Arab was rubbing his face RAW! He was hot, itchy, sweaty and miserable. So I clipped him immediately!
  • Stay on top of your worming schedule! When the horses are out on the summer pastures getting worms can be much more prevalent. I usually use a powerpack wormer at the end of summer just to kill all those little buggers.

  • Psyllium. Horses are out, eating off the ground, they can be susceptible to sand colic or sand in the belly. Go to Walmart and get non-flavored Metamucil. It's 100% Psyllium husk and about 200x's cheaper than SandClear with the exact same ingredients.

  • Check on your horse's weight OFTEN. Some OK, MOST horse can not live on pasture alone. Hard keepers will fall fast without their usual supplements, salts, minerals and vitamins. Pasture can mean feeding less hay, but just always be aware of how your horse looks. Shiny coat, healthy weight, etc.
  • FEET! Check their hooves before and after every ride. (That should be a given, but you never know.) Heat can dry out and crack a horses hooves, keep them moisturized and healthy, IF you trail ride a lot check with your farrier and see if you need shoes.

  • Watch out for heat stroke, exhaustion and other heat related problems. A Lot of shows happen in the summer and you and your horse need to physically fit and prepared. Take a lot of breaks, cool your horse down with cool water, never cold, let them take frequent rests and let them drink as often as you can. Try not to work them in the hottest part of the day if possible.

  • Get your spring/summer vaccinations taken care of.

  • If possible supply them with a pasture with some form of shade. My pasture doesn't have much shade so I added a lean to cover to give them some relief.

  • Check legs and bodies often, My horses are NOTORIOUS for romping through the pastures and then getting a swollen leg, or a scrape on their side from a tree, or bush.
That's all I can muster up for now! What tips and guidelines do you or have you followed when the summer heat rolls in? How do you keep your babies happy and healthy?

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Wild Horse Racing?

This is one hell of a rodeo sport if you ask me. I couldn't even imagine doing this to Acacia when I first got her. Here watch the video, then come back.
A LARGE part of me finds this really disgusting, BUT, there is a part of it that is hilarious! These horses kick the bloody hell of these "macho" guys. The men get drug around and slammed into, it's truly a refreshing scene actually. Unfortunately it still never seems to end well for the poor horses. They never really say what happens to them after the race. 10 wild horses and a team of 3 men see who can tack up and ride a wild horse to the finish line first. It's really just a big fat mess. So why as humans do we find degrading animals and trying to overpower and dominate so appealing???

Well one answer is ignorance. Some people pull out the God card. "Well God put us here to be the rulers of this planet as the dominant species. We are the superior beings" Yeah, and we're doing a fine job aren't we? Let's ask the Ozone or the Endangered species list.

Some people are sick A-holes too and do it just because they can, some do it for show, or for the ultimate Macho-ness.

You know, domesticated or not, sometimes you have to just wonder what goes through the poor horses mind. I try to train as gentle as possible, but sometimes I still wonder how traumatizing it really could be to a horse. To go through what we put them through. And you know they still continue to love and trust us. THAT to me is one hell of an amazing creature. Forgiving and peaceful, gentle and kind. Horses do so much for us and have for all of our human existence, and that's something we shouldn't forget or take for granted. Go out and hug your ponies, if you don't have one, then hug your other animals :):):):) Or I'll give my ponies hugs for you!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Hunter VS. HUS

So my last post about the WP horse brought up quite a discussion. One I want to open up more. OK, by trade and training I am a Throughbred, Warmblood loving 'A' rated hunter jumper gal. I grew up in that world and I love it! I still do. People would say to me "What's up cowgirl?" or "Oh you're a cowgirl then?" HELL NO! I'm an ENGLISH hunter rider.

Me, personally I like my hunters to be hunters and my western horses to be western horses. The classic look of a nice TB under saddle is breathtaking to me. The horses have a nice head, elegant carriage and cadence. They drive from their hind quarters, oh it's just gorgeous.
BUT, WP riders want a piece of it too and AQHA/APHA offer that, it just looks different. Doesn't mean there is anything wrong with it, it's just not what 'A' system riders are used to. That long and low frame and head. A Very flat kneed trot, no animation at all. They all still ride on a loose rein, not collected at all, well maybe that IS collected to them. They want a piece of the hunter world, but they do it the AQHA way, which is a western horse in english tack.

SO! Here is my question to you. Let's put them head to head. Which do you like better and why? OR, why don't you like one or the other.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Pleasure Me

My titles probably worry you guys sometimes don't they?? LOL!!!! So I have a new Tri Color Buckskin Paint mare that is my new western pleasure horse. She has only ever had 5 rides on her so basically I get to start her from scratch, and I love it!!! Let's discuss some Western Pleasure Do's and don't shall we!?!? Also some techniques I use to obtain a nice WP horse.

Ahhh the don'ts are fun! These are things that will get you marked down in a show ring, yet I see people do it ALL the damn time! Then they wonder why they don't place!

  • NO MORE Peanut rolling! The judges have started asking for an extended jog, which peanut rollers can't do because they'll kick themselves in the face.

  • Shuffling, no more lazy sloppy walk, jog or lope.

  • The 4 beat is OUT! Cadence and forward momentum is what the judges want to see!!!

  • No more behind the vertical!

  • Judges do NOT like the spur stop. Don't do it!

  • Do not "check" your horse in the mouth using both reins! The judges can see it in the horse's face if it's been checked or is anticipating a check. The horse ends up behind the vertical and looks nervous or agitated!

Here are a couple dos!!!

  • Lope naturally, a nice 3 beat lope.

  • When training a horse to stay slow, do circles or do a one rein check, typically to the outside. If you check your horse in the mouth with one rein to the outside it will slow or stop. It can not brace on your hands and reins like it could if you were doing it with both reins. So check it to the outside and they'll learn to slow down without any nasty side effects.

  • The horse carries it's head slightly in front of the vertical now and with the poll almost horizontal to the withers.

  • The horse is relaxed and showing cadence.

  • Keep a relaxed slack rein, but not too terribly slack or it looks sloppy.
To see other riders dos watch 2008 AQHA/APHA worlds shows. That will give you a good idea of current "trends" and what judges look for. Make your transitions smooth and practice a lot! Your horse should always stay relaxed and in frame between transitions. To stop and back up apply a slight pressure on your horse's mouth by lifting your hands a bit, sit deep in your seat, take your legs off and say whoa. Soon you won't need the verbal part.
And of course HAVE FUN!!!!!!!!!! Have more tips??? You know I love 'em!!!!