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???