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...