Morning Work (10)

I have mentioned before about a young mustang pony I've been dying to work with. Her name is Spirit and she is about 3 or 4 years old. Had very little training and ridden hardly ever so this will be my kind of challenge. She is also smaller so I thought she would make a great first green horse to work with. But now that I've been working with horses a lot I don't care too much about the size.

Spirit's secret nickname (don't tell her owners!) is Snickers. I'll call her that for now on because it suits her better! XD

I was going to work with Snickers today but her owner forgot to leave a key for me so I have to wait again. I am so glad it's all planned out though! She's a pretty green horse from what I heard so I can't wait to see if I can make a difference! 

I've been asked to work with Rose and work on especially the flexing the neck. She can do it really good on the ground and okay in the saddle. One of the biggest problems is that she keeps walking off right away so I'll be working on that the next time. Yesterday we did a lot of flexing and today we were going to do more but she had something bothering one of her eyes. Rose kept tossing her head and I noticed her eye was very watery and hardly opened. I ended up taking the saddle off and putting her away after cleaning her eye as much as I could. I didn't have anything at the moment to put on but I told her owner. 

I did however take Sugar out. I worked on lunging for respect, backing, yielding and sending for the ground work. Then I worked a lot on teaching her how to rate my seat under saddle. I also did fallow the fence, a little cruising and softening her turns. At the very end I rode her out and went down a street for a little way at a walk. She get's scared of objects, sounds and feels trapped so getting her on a little calm ride was very pleasant. One of the best things about riding on a street is the *click click click* of the hoofs. I think I might end every session like that because I know it will calm her down. 

About That Day (9)

The past two days I didn't ride/work or see the horses because we had company for the 4th of July. But the day before they came I worked both horses from early morning till a little past noon (besides cleaning stalls). I haven't worked Ruby as much as Sugar partly because she had a shoulder issue. That day her health was fine and I did a lot of ground work;


Lunging for respect stage 1 and 2

Backing (most methods)


Circle driving

and a little of yielding hindquarters and forequarters.

Starting the lunging with Ruby I did after desensitizing her and saddling her. I knew she would have a little bit of an attitude because she hasn't been worked recently. I've noticed that lunging for respect stage 2 is where she (or any horse who already knows it) would show the most kinks. She did buck a little when I asked her to change directions. This is almost the only time she would toss her head, kick or buck (Ruby isn't dangerous :P).

I rode her as well. She does her stops much better than Sugar does and rates my seat okay. But she doesn't keep her gait the same steady pace as Sugar does. She often slows or speeds and most often takes a gait down. So I need to work with her on that.  

Sugar I did the same training. Except with her I did a little more. I love Sugar's long smooth gaits and she never changes it, slows down or speeds up unless I ask her. She doesn't stop very well and that is probably on the top list of things I need to work with her on. I also did the obstacle course with her too. As far as fear goes Sugar is doing amazing. I still need to work on my lining up with jumps or obstacles and when to keep my feet still. 

For fun and for training (but mostly for fun) I stood on the horses. I also can lay down on them and jump or slip off them from any side of their body. This helps the horses with trust and desensitizing. Whipping the ground and walking around the horses while they stood there is also great desensitizing. I just need a bull whip now! Man can those things make noise! 

Summer Heat! (8)

It's so hot now these days! I've been gone camping last week so I recently got back to blazing hot weather. It's 112 degrees that week and this week. I didn't get to hang out with the horses since I was gone camping but now since I'm back I'm ready to go! 

The early mornings are the coolest times of the day so that's when I'll go down to ride for the first time since I came back from camping (it seems like weeks since I rode, but only about 4 days). 

While I was gone the girls got new shoes AND water misters! I went down to clean the paddock and say hello to the horses the other day and got to stand under the nice cool misters with the horses. It definitely makes a difference! I didn't even mind when I saw that Sugar rolled after she got wet and ruined the perfectly clean horse I made her into a couple of days ago. 

I am planning on swimming with them too since it's getting hotter. Unfortunately the spot Amber and I picked doesn't have any shade at all...   We might find another place that's equally good but with shade there or at least near by. It get's to be a desert out here!

Trail rides will be fun too! There are some trails I'm not interested enough to go on because of how hot the sun gets on the trail. I like ones with lots of shade or near the water. I'm glad we have our rivers, lakes, pools, and creeks (ponds and streams are usually dried out if they're seasonal). 

I've been talking so much about the heat, but one partly good thing comes out of it. Horses are more lazy in the summertime heat so trail rides are going to be easier to train them on. Although I wouldn't get to gallop them as much...

Adventuring (7)

Yesterday I rode Sugar along with a friend (Amber) and her horse, Athena. Gail and I are trying to get both Ruby and Sugar out on the trail more. Last Sunday I rode with Amber and Gail on a really cool trail! 

My last ride with Sugar yesterday was interesting. I came down a little late so I fed Ruby and took Sugar and saddled her. I didn't do groundwork because I was already late. Then Amber and I rode out together to my grandma's house by going through the hills and woods. It was a shorter ride because I didn't have time for a longer ride. 

Sugar had been eating alfalfa and in general had some energy in her. I did some work on the trail with her but not enough as I should have. Especially since she's very new to trail riding. We were almost to my grandma's house, in between two steep hills behind my grandparents' house where it meets up to the main street. I was have Sugar go in circles before taking her around a gate when a neighbor's dogs started barking. In general Sugar is fine with dogs but she was in a jumpy mind and the sound of the dogs and couldn't see them spooked her. She felt trapped between the hills and decided to the crazy thing of running up the steepest park of the hill (which I didn't know she could do). She scared me to death, I was so surprised and was afraid of her slipping and rolling down the hill. She did slip a lot on her knees but I turned her back down and was able to make it to the bottom without any of us falling or getting injured. I then got off her and started moving her feet back, forward, left and right. I did mostly sending and backing. I worked her on the ground around the gate, up the little hill, onto the main street where it was even scarier for her because of all the houses, people, cars, sounds ect. She's never been or showed signs of been scared of vehicles of any kind and as I worked her down the street the results were amazing. She calmed down very fast and was had her focus on me. Only at the starting did she keep trying to run into my space ( I had her back out of my space immediately). I did the sending exercise down the street with ease and the best part of it was that there were dogs barking on all sides and she didn't care a bit about them. When we got to our grandparents I let her rest and desensitized her. I loved how it all turned out! 

Sugar only spooked slightly when she saw some children come running out to play. I want her to get used to that. Children especially she get's scared of because they are always coming out of the middle of no where and are usually yelling or on fast bikes that make Sugar jump. I'm glad they're there! She needs to get used to that, being a arena horse her whole life. 

Only Three Days With Shelbi (6)

So I had three days with Shelbi to work with her on the horses. Sadly she is now gone...;(

The first day we worked on the obstacle course, ground work and trail riding. The second day we did ground work, obstacle course and instead of trail riding we had fun finding obstacles to ride the horses on around the EQ center. And we found a lot! It was like a playground that I never knew was there! We rode them up and down ditches and mounds, around trees, around scary objects like metal junk and giant trash dumpsters and lastly out into my favorite field to ride in. In the field we worked on stops, backing, cruising (all gaits), yielding and more. 

The last day we did the obstacle course again and practiced some of the same things we did the day before. We also went trail riding and worked them on the trails. We rode by the water side to look for a good place for another day to work the horses in. 

I'll talk a little more about the obstacle course.  

Shelbi is back! (5)

Shelbi is back! 

Shelbi (Clinton Anderson Ambassador) came out for a few days and I'm so happy to work with her again! She's helping with the horses for three days and today was the first day. Our goal (Gail's and mine) was to get the girls to be trail horses, but the delay was mostly of our not  knowing how to fix and teach the horses as well as some problems the horses had. 

Ruby's problem;

Ruby in her past years was a trail horse and as far as obstacles and spooky things she's fine. She's not scared of anything on the trail and mostly has no problem staying at a walk. But she's VERY barn sour and buddy sour. It's hard to get her to leave the paddock/barn area where she knows the other horses and rest/food is. Her past owner always trailered her up and trail rides somewhere else so she had no barn to run back to. 

Sugar's problem;

Sugar is almost the opposite from Ruby. She doesn't have too much of a barn sour issue but she's never been a trail horse herself. Her past owner had her as a arena horse. So her problem was mostly spooky things on the trail and staying at a nice clam walk. But what I've noticed with her was that she actually likes being outside the arena much more! As do I

What we worked on;

This wasn't a private lesson with me, Shelbi was to train the horse she rode and I do the other one. She helped me of course but it wasn't focused on getting on me. We saddled them first, I took Ruby and Shelbi took Sugar. I asked about the obstacle course, so after a little of the ground work we went to work them though the obstacles. 

Debbie and Gary were out to go trail riding with their horses so we ended up on the trail with them. The whole time we worked the girls on the trail. Sometimes I had Ruby trot to encourage her but for most of the ride she didn't like being in the front because she likes being near and behind the others. She also learned she couldn't go back so if we were ever too far behind she quickly caught up, not wanting to be left behind. 

Sugar was doing pretty good too. She was curious about everything but willing to go. Shelbi had her working a lot of the time, going in circles, backing, stopping, trotting and loping. 

Sugar's First (short) Trail Ride (4)

Yesterday I rode Sugar and went for a short trail ride nearby. We (Gail and me) are hopefully going to take the horses out on a trail ride with the other equestrians soon. 

I feel like Sugar does better outside the arena than in and I love taking her out in the open fields to run around. I took her out yesterday to run around a little and than we went on a trail that I take when I go to the EQ center. I have very good control over her and she's been getting lighter in the reins for sure! She can go sharp turns and bends without a lot of pressure. I still need to get her rate my seat better like Ruby does really well. 

Anyway, on the trail Sugar sometimes brakes into a trot so I shut her down and let her know that was mistake. She likes to go go go, so I have to stop her when she does something without me asking her to. Ruby in her past life was a trail horse but Sugar isn't. I expected Sugar to be scared by a lot of things but she was pretty good about it all. The first spooky object we came to (a chunk of concrete) she put her nose down to investigate and than jumped back. So I moved her feet around it until we ended calmly and not a care in the world standing on it. The second spooky object we came to was park of a car hood. I expected her to spook at this and she did a little but not as much as I thought she would. I kept her feet moving around it and rested her on the car piece. I remember seeing Mrs. Fenwick with her horse Peppy riding by that and Peppy spooked a lot more than Sugar did. 

I didn't go too far with Sugar because I was by myself and didn't have a phone to call if anything bad happened so I turned back. But I felt very confident with Sugar's first-ish trail ride and could of made it to my grandma's house a hill over. But like I said I wasn't allowed to go far by myself with a horse who's hardly been on a trail ride before. 

Dentist/Vet (3)

Today Ruby and Sugar were scheduled for their vaccinations so I was to meet the vet at the stables. Jessie (the neighboring horse) and Ruby got their teeth floated as well, that was interesting to watch. 

The vet had his assistant with him (and his adorable dog!!) while they gave the shots and teeth.

 For giving the shots the vet showed me how there needed to be someone holding the horse while he gave the shot either from the neck or rump. He'd check the horse all over and also to see how the horse reacted from the different positions he walked around the horse. If the horse was nervous or tensed up when he walked behind him/her than he'd know the horse wouldn't like the needle and have a higher chance of striking or kicking. 

Floating the horses' teeth was more interesting. Both horses got anesthetic before the vet worked on their teeth. I have to admit though, it was pretty funny to see them looking drunk and staggering around, but also sad and pitiful. 

The vet showed me different files he used for the teeth. Jessie's teeth were pretty sharp and the vet showed us (Jessie's owner and me) where they rubbed and jabbed on her mouth from chewing. Jessie doesn't work in any way and is more of a pet so she hasn't had a bit in her mouth for I don't know how long. She's 14 years old and had something wrong in her leg in the past to where she couldn't carry a rider. It sounds like she's only had her teeth floated once which was a bad experience (past vet wasn't a good vet). But since Jessie only uses her teeth for mostly chewing and not in riding with a bit, it wasn't too bad. But some of her teeth were long a sharp! 

Ruby's teeth weren't as bad. She was very funny to watch though! After taking the anesthetic I watched Ruby to see how fast it would kick in. It was pretty fast! She started slowing down, dragging her feet and hanging her head. She could hardly walk and even standing looked like a lot of work. The funniest part was where she had her hind legs crossed and when she as led out she looked like she came out of a bar! Sugar was also funny prancing around in her paddock trying to figure out what we were doing with her pal.

While a few other horses got their vaccinations I groomed Ruby how was still half asleep and hosed Sugar down. After feeding the horses Ruby started waking up and walking around (thanks to some help of bossy Sugar). 

The vet said to give the horses a day off tomorrow so I won't be able to work them. I'm also doing lighter/less work on Ruby because she needs to gain more weight. Sugar on the other hand I have the day after tomorrow! I also have Rose the new horse I'm working so at least I won't be bored without Ruby ;)

Rose's Second Training (2)

Today I started with round penning Rose but only for a short while because she did it very well. The only thing I didn't like was she would come off the fence too much. 

I did desensitizing (rope and stick), backing (all methods), flexing from side to side, yielding the hindquarters (stage 1), lunging for respect stage 1 and a little of stage 2. 

She does backing very well expect for keeping straight. She seems to back a little sideways with her left hindquarter sticking out. 

Yielding the hindquarters she isn't the best on. She would try to back up which I was more or less able to fix in the end. And wouldn't keep her anchor foot still very well, I'd say that was pretty hard to get that foot to stay planted. 

Flexing from side to side;      Rose is lighter on one side more than she is on the other. Her bad side I'll be working especially on next time. 

Rose's Training (1)

Yesterday I got to work Rose for the first time. 

When I approached her to put the halter on, I acted like I didn't really care as if I was going to get to her or not. If I ran/walked straight to her or any horse like a predator would it's very likely the horse will be frightened off or run off anyway because the horse knows you want him (probably to work). I've learned this from Clinton, it's especially how to approach a horse I basically don't know.

I desensitized her with the rope and she did pretty well. Cody (her paddock mate) got in the way once in awhile, lol.

I took her to the round pen and desensitized her with the stick and string. I backed her up to see how well she did on that, and I think she did pretty good! I yielded her hindquarters, and I'd say it wasn't the best yield but it wasn't the worst either. I also flexed her neck from side to side. She didn't understand at first when I asked her and backed up or tried to turn around but she got the idea quickly and I was able to flex both sides pretty well. I wanted to see if she could lunge on the lunge line and found she was pretty bad with that. I also could see she had a lot of energy so I round penned her before doing anything else. 

She bolted off as soon as I asked her to move her feet and didn't save her energy with a nice slower lope but instead she was using her reactive side and started wearing herself out faster. I let her go a few times around and then asked her to turn. She didn't turn into the fence but she did hesitate but turned the right way. After that I kept changing her directions and she slowed down a lot and listening much better. After awhile of this I made sure to get in three to five really good turns before letting her come in. I let her rest for about six minutes in the middle with me and then we moved on. She was pretty tired and sweaty from the round penning so I didn't do too much on her after that. She was also nice, calm and listening to me. 

I yielded her hindquarters which is something we need to work on more. I backed her and then tried lunging her with the rope again. She's ether never done it or hasn't for a long time so I had to teach her. I had her going at a nice slow trot and working a little on lunging for respect stage 1. 

Rose is already a really well trained horse so she wasn't that hard at all. Just a few things she doesn't know like the yielding, lunging, flexing, sending ect. Backing she wasn't too bad at but it was a little lazy.