Lunging a lazy horse

Lunging is when a horse walks, trots, lopes or gallops around you in a circle; you are in the center of the arena, and they are moving around the inside perimeter.


When lunging a lazy horse, he will usually come to you without being asked but it’s ideal if he comes to you only when he’s told.  Or, he will be slower in his step and less respectful to you or to whoever is lunging him. In that case, you will have to make him go faster and keep him at it longer. He will learn more and will have more respect toward you.  Initially, he will slow down a lot without you asking him to, but he will learn from you the more you do it. 

Here is a bad habit Raleigh has, that I’m trying to change with lunging techniques: when I try to turn him to go the other way, he turns his back toward me. When lunging, all horses are not supposed have their back toward you. They are to turn with their front to the way you want him to go. When a horse shows his hindquarters towards you, that usually means disrespect. Raleigh isn’t trying to be disrespectful, he hasn’t learned lunging very well and doesn’t know he’s not supposed to do that. But he will learn the more lunging he gets. 
(Picture by Noelle Harris)

Marguerite Henry

Marguerite Henry is one of my favorite authors.  So I am going to talk about her. 

She was the youngest of five children and her mother and father where Louis and Anna Breithaupt. When Marguerite was the age of six she had a fever called ‘rheumatic’ fever. She had to stay in bed for six years! During that time, she mostly read books about animals, since she wasn’t allowed to go to school because she might get others sick. She loved reading and also became interested in writing when she got a writing desk for Christmas.

When she was the age of 11, she sold her first book. She was paid $12 (which now would be about $250) for the book she wrote called “Hide-and-Seek in Autumn Leaves” (which I have not read yet). She mostly wrote stories about animals like dogs, cats, birds, foxes (one of my favorite animals) and mules. But what she loved the most was horses! 

When she was older she married Sidney Crocker Henry. During their 64 years of marriage, Marguerite Henry owned many pets, most of which she wrote about and studied. She was looking for a illustrator to illustrate ‘Justin Morgan Had a Horse’ (which is a true and loving book). Marguerite Henry found two illustrators that she knew would be perfect for her books.  One was Will James and the other Wesley Dennis. But when she found out that Will James had passed away, she picked Wesley Dennis. Marguerite Henry and Wesley Dennis did 15 books together! Misty of Chincoteague, Justin Morgon Had a Horse and Brighty of the Grand Canyon, were all made into movies around 1947.

Marguerite Henry finished her last book, Brown Sunshine of Sawdust Valley, just before she died on November 26, 1997 at the age of 95. She died at home in Rancho Santa Fe, San Diego County.  I hope to read all of her books and then start my own story books like hers!    

In the picture below, I drew the horses from several of Marguerite Henry's books.
(Picture by Noelle Harris)

Chincoteague island story

The following story is a summary of what I read in a book written by Marguerite Henry:

Chinicoteague is a small island next to bigger island called Assateague. Both islands are in Virginia, and every year something amazing happens! A long time ago, a Spanish galleon ship was wrecked in a storm. On the galleon were ponies.  Some of the ponies died but the stronger ponies swam to shore. Every human aboard drowned and only those few ponies who swam ashore were saved. After many years they became wild herds that ran free on Chinicoteague Island. And even today they still run free on the very same island. So every year the people who lived on Assateague island would have a huge roundup on Chincoteaugue Island.  They would drive them into the river that ran between Chincoteague and Assateague island. The horses swam from Chincoteague to Assateague where they were put into a huge pen. Then the foals and mothers were separated. Then the foals (after they calmed down) were auctioned off. Thousands of people came to see them swim across the river and some would buy a colt or filly. Then, later, if there were foals not auctioned off, they were sent back to Chincoteague Island with the older ponies. 

(Picture by Noelle Harris)

There was once a pony that nobody could catch and so she always remained free. She was called ‘Phantom’.
One year, a young boy named Paul caught Phantom.  This was his first time as the roundup cowboy. The reason he was able to catch her was because Phantom had a young filly that was later named ‘Misty’ by Paul and his sister. The Phantom had to go slow and easy because she couldn't leave Misty. So Paul captured both Phantom and Misty. Phantom and Misty were bought by Paul and his sister and they took very good care of them.  Phantom was a very prize winning pony! She won many races and was the star of the two islands. But she never seemed happy.  Paul and his sister knew she felt homesick. They set her free back on the island Chincoteague. As for Misty, she was the real pony that was loved by not only the island but many other people in the United States. She seemed to belong on the ranch where Paul and his sister lived with their grandparents. Misty didn’t follow her mother’s dreams of being free but was the happiest pony that ever lived!

When Misty grew up she became (like her mother) a good racer. But one stormy night when she was soon to have a foal, there a huge flood that flooded the whole island. Most of the people had to go to the main land by helicopters. But sadly hundreds of ponies died out of cold, fright and drowning. At least most of the wild horses did. Misty’s ranch was on a high hill but most of it was flooded as well. So the Beebe family (Paul, his sister, and their grandparents) had to move Misty to a dry place. They kept Misty at the house while they went to the mainland to escape the flood. They all knew that Misty might foal while they were gone. When they went back to check on her, she was fine.  She had her foal, which they named Stormy. 

If you want to know more you can read the books by one of my favorite authors, Marguerite Henry. Not all of her books are about Chincoteague island and Misty.  Others are about how some breeds existed (Justin Morgan had a Horse or King of the Wind.) If you want books about Misty, try Misty of Chincoteague, Sea Star Orphan of Chincoteague, Misty’s Twilight or Stormy, Misty’s Foal. If you want to see all of the books she wrote try googling ‘books by Marguerite Henry’. I love them! I have read most of her books and hopefully will read the rest! 

Bad teeth

Yesterday when I went down to the EQ center I found that Raleigh was gone. I guessed Mrs. Elliott must have taken him to the equine dentist to get his teeth done. (And I was right because Mrs Fenwick came down to feed her horses and she told me that Raleigh was at the dentist). 


I also found out that Raleigh’s teeth were long and that would jab him in his gums. When horses' teeth grow too long, they need to go to the dentist to get them filed. Raleigh needed the filling down badly, because not only did he have long teeth but he had pointy sharp teeth. I wouldn’t be able to ride him because he can’t have a bit in his mouth when he has his teeth in a bad condition like that.
The ‘canine tooth’ was very long and sharp on Raleigh. Raleigh’s canine tooth is a tooth that is a part of a gap in the horses teeth. 
(Picture by Noelle Harris)


The Teeth of a Horse

When a bit goes into a horse’s mouth it’s not between their teeth. There is a space in between the teeth where it’s just the gum. And in between there is where you put the bit to control the horse easier, rather than just the bridle and without the bit.


You can even tell what the age of a horse is by its teeth. 
(Picture by Noelle Harris)

Lena and Peppy would represent the 10 year old teeth in the image above.

For more information on how a bit fits in a horse's mouth, click here: http://www.newrider.com/Starting_Out/Tack/bits.html

The basics of riding

When I first learned to ride, I brushed the horse before I put the saddle and blanket on. I would brush, starting at the head of the horse and then down toward the tail. I brushed the mane and tail. Then I cleaned the horse’s hooves out with a hoof pick.  I put the blanket on, making sure it didn't have more blanket on one side than the other. When I picked the saddle up it was heavy. I made sure all the straps were nice and tight, but not too tight. I then checked the girth (The girth is a strap that goes under the horse and it keeps the saddle in place) and made sure it was tight.

(Picture by Noelle Harris)

 

Next, I led the horse into the arena and lunged him before getting on. (Lunging is when a horse walks, trots, lopes or gallops around you in a circle). Then I put the bridle on and started riding!

Here are some basics when riding:

To stop: pull on the reins

To go: nudge with your foot onto the horse’s sides 

To turn: lift your rein to the right if you want to go to the right and push your left foot into the horse’s sides. Do the opposite if you want to go left.

To back up: pull on the reins and push both of your heels on the side of the horse. 

To slow down: pull on the reins but stop pulling when the horse has gone the speed you want him to go.

To trot:  when walking, give a nudge with your feet until he trots. (Trotting is very bouncy! So be ready!)

  

Riding Raleigh

On Saturday I got to ride Raleigh for the first time! I found out that he doesn’t stop very well when you want him to, and he likes to trot when you didn’t ask him. Also, he doesn’t like to be far away from his paddock.

(Picture took by Noelle Harris)

I have gotten used to every one of his problems and really don’t mind them that much. After riding him for awhile the ‘trotting problem’ wasn’t that bad. In fact it might have been my fault sometimes. Trigger (the horse I was learning how to ride on), was more difficult to get going than Raleigh was. With the slightest nudge or touch with your foot on his sides, Raleigh will walk right away. But I have to give a little harder nudge on Trigger. I can stop Raleigh, but most of the time he doesn’t stop. He stops better when I am not facing the direction of his paddock or the right path to it. Sometimes I have to put him a circle to get him to stop. "Putting him in a circle" means making him walk in a circle.

The trotting problem isn’t too bad. If we’re near the fence of the arena I can pull his head to the fence to make him stop trotting. Or I can put him in a circle if he doesn’t listen when I pull on the reins. 

But other than those problems, he’s the best horse to ride! I don’t mind that much when he fights me. He's not actually ‘fighting’ me; he's doing nothing to hurt me. Sometimes he'll stop if we stray too far from his paddock. Or he will zig zag on the path sometimes. But I just turn him in a circle until he obeys. Once he goes, I like to talk to him the whole way. And I really think he’s a super nice horse! Trigger may be really good at having people ride him but I prefer Raleigh. I like to wrestle with my brothers sometimes so it’s almost fun "fighting" with Raleigh when he doesn’t want to go somewhere.

And I got to ride him a lot on Sunday, as well! Most of the time I rode him out of the arena next to the EQ center where there’s a flat open place that my family calls ‘Parade grounds’.  This whole time I ride without Mrs. Elliot with me. I would even stop by Cole’s paddock to say hi. And stop by Trek’s paddock where Raleigh likes to say hi. Trek is Raleigh’s best friend! And Cole is my best friend but as a horse! If you didn’t read my other posts, Cole is a small fuzzy black mustang I love! He seems young and always joyful! He always greets everyone who goes by. And he gallops and bucks to show his pride and joy! In fact I see and hear other people watch and talk about Cole. But I like to talk to him then rather about him. 

So that is what I have learned from Raleigh and a little talk about one of my favorite horses! I love the different personalities of each horse. 

Trek:
Trek is shy but always has a warm welcome for Raleigh. 

Raleigh:
A kind funny horse who is loving and likes to play with me. And even has a favorite jacket and he likes to nubble the wooden buttons on it (Also my favorite jacket).

Peppy:
A bright, smart horse.

Lena:
A kind-hearted girl who seems to be afraid of nothing.

Cole: 
Lively and joyful and shows his joy to everyone! 

American Quarter horse colors

So far I mostly have been riding Quarter horses. Trigger is a also a Quarter horse! Quarter horses are mostly used for barrel racing or cutting. There the more western kind of horse, there also one of the most popular horse breed in the United States today. But I am going to show you there different colors.  

(Picture by Noelle Harris)

Peppy is a chestnut, Lena a gray, and Raleigh is a dun. They are all Quarter horses! You can find them on the color chart!