tag:horsehaven.posthaven.com,2013:/posts Horse Haven 2018-04-19T15:15:52Z Noëlle Harris tag:horsehaven.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1274319 2018-04-18T20:14:23Z 2018-04-19T15:15:52Z Sending Exersice

Goal:

To be able to send the horse through tight, narrow spaces (without moving your feet) at both a walk and trot and have the horse yield and face you, and then go back in the other direction. 

Horses are actually naturally claustrophobic. Some more than others. Wether the horse goes between you and a fence, through a gully, between fences/through gates or just between two close objects. So sending them starting off the fence and making that space smaller and smaller helps get them over their claustrophobic. 

It also teaches them to be lighter in the halter, that halter pressure behind they're ears. They should be able to go in the direction just by me pointing that way. 

And lastly it's also very useful for trailer loading. Being in a big box like thing that moves can be really scary for a horse. 


Teaching this exercise to a new horse that has never done it was a challenge to me. I was teaching a horse named Rose at the time through some of the fundamentals awhile back. Some horses will have a hard time learning certain exercises and sending was one Rose and I had a hard time on. In fact it was very frustrating! She just didn't seem to get what I wanted her to do. But it was also fault too..

From what I can remember I was asking her to step between me and the fence in a space too close too early. I didn't start at a good starting point. I should of took a few steps back and have her go between that. I can definitely remember her being a very claustrophobic horse, very unlike Ruby and Sugar. I don't remember either Ruby or Sugar ever being very claustrophobic. 

My other problem was not adding enough pressure. She would start by going forward but as soon as she realized how small the space was she would back up...and back up, and back up! I followed her like I was supposed to do but didn't add enough pressure. And now that I'm remembering I also think I had way too much loose rope. Which made it harder to reach her and easier for her to back up or try to run off. 

When Shelbi (CA Ambassador) was here I asked her to help me with this after we finished with Ruby and Sugar. It was a hot humid day and there was a lot of dust...and I was so tired and sore...BUT it never felt better! We spent a long time, she having me teach the lesson to Rose while correcting any of my mistakes. I did it over and over and over until I could send Rose 5-8 times without a fault either from her or me. It was so tiring but the next day when I took Rose out to teach her the same lesson I don't think she messed up once! I was so excited about this and a little surprised on how well Rose remembered the lesson the day before! I practiced sending her everywhere! I was just so excited she was finally able to do it I was having fun sending her all over the place. 

Those times when it's feels SO hard and tiring but as soon as I push through that point it's SO worth going through again!

"Sometimes you have to go through some ugly stuff to get to the good stuff" ~Clinton Anderson


Goofy picture from awhile back of me and Rose: 

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Harris Family
tag:horsehaven.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1274093 2018-04-18T02:25:48Z 2018-04-18T02:42:22Z Liberty

This is a video of an amazing work at liberty:

I've always wanted to do liberty work! I also think Sugar would love doing it too!

Liberty is it's own kind of sport in the horse world. It also has a lot to do with trick training, (trick riding is separate). Liberty is all off line tricks, so no halters, no leads. The horse listens to the trainer's commands without having anything connected to the horse. There are a lot of tricks in liberty like bowing, rearing, lying down, leading beside, circling, jumping, Spanish walk, side passing and a lot more. Being able to lead beside well is one of the biggest fundamental parts in liberty. But overall do be able to do liberty there's a lot of fundamental groundwork involved.

I've practiced liberty-ish type of stuff with Sugar. She's actually very quick to learn! Today I spent a little time riding her bare back. But after that I took the bridle off and tied a string around her neck. This is just in case I need to pull on her head if I "lose her". There's an invisible circle around me where as long as Sugar is in that space of the circle she'll listen to me. But if she's outside she'll start walking off or not pay attention to me. My mission is to make that circle bigger! These exercises are a bit of a side project but since they're very useful I'm going to start working more on it. 

I taught her to lead beside me pretty well. She's not pushy at all! I can ask her to trot just by leaning forward, stretch my hand ahead as if i'm pulling on an invisible lead, and if I have to tap her with my stick towards her rump if she doesn't respond. I also encourage her to trot by doing it myself. 

I can stop her easily by stopping myself. A lot of the time as a to let her know ahead of time I'll say "woah". 

I also taught her to back up without having to turn around and face her. I march my arms and lean back a little. That's her cue to back up. If she get's "sticky feet" I'll add pressure by marching with more energy and tapping her legs with my stick. 

I can also back her up when facing her a pretty good distance. I can actually back her out of the invisible circle and still have her backing and not walking off. 

I can yield her hindquarters and forequarters with ease. I can yield her forequarters her with ease from beside her as well. A lot of horses will get pushy when you starting walking in a arc turning into them. Sugar is really good about respecting my space as well as following me.

The only thing I can technically do but not very well is changing sides. I've done this with her before but I need to a lot more work on this as well as more work on her other side. To change sides I look over my shoulder away from her and around to her butt. That's when she switches sides and now she's on my other side. 

And lastly, I can ground tie her. This she does very well in her paddock, arena, hitching posts or obstacle course. But she doesn't do as well anywhere else. A lot of the time she will stand there but I can't do off doing something else without wondering if she'll walk off or stay. 

Here's a picture of a ground tie session I did with Sugar awhile ago:    (with a halter and lead)

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Harris Family
tag:horsehaven.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1272401 2018-04-13T21:54:08Z 2018-04-13T22:32:16Z Circle Driving

~Circle Driving~

Goal:

"To have the horse trot around beside you in a circle, staying exactly 4 feet away while remaining relaxed, maintaining an arc in his body and keeping slack in the lead rope both in the circle and during changes of direction."

This exercise teaches the horse to bend more in the ribs and softer in the halter. They're also a lot closer to you (4 feet) than they are in lunging. But this exercise is really good for a nervous, reactive horse as well as a pushy horse. 

Pushy horses: Been able to work beside you but respect your space. This also helps have them pay attention to you while working so close to you on the ground.

Softer: Arcing that rib cage and getting softer will also help for when you're in the saddle. Softer circles! 

Lighter in the halter: This helps for when you pull on the halter for the horse not to pull against it but go with your direction. 

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Harris Family
tag:horsehaven.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1271136 2018-04-10T22:03:06Z 2018-04-13T21:11:24Z Preparation Riding/Tack Talk

I'm going back to some of the basics in this post..

For most of it I just had to be taught once and I had it down. In fact I feel like most of what I learn I can make a good habit of doing. But...I better learn the right thing too because I can make a bad habit fast and it's harder to get rid of. 

I'm going to talk about saddling, grooming/care and some of the tack I use.

Grooming/Care: For the grooming I don't usually do a lot if I'm about to ride. The the winter it takes longer to groom because the horses are usually buddy, hoofs caked and tangling mane and tail. In the summer it's very dry here so they really only get dusty (which is very easy to clean compared to mud) and they're hoofs stay clean. I'll do a quick brush down on they're bodies depending on how dirty they are. If I'm in a hurry to start working I won't bother brushing they're manes and tails out. But if I do I brush all the knots out and spray it with this stuff (called Shine-On I think) where it detangles and gives it a shine. I like to use the same spray on their bodies too, to shine it up ;)

I'll clean their hoofs out either every time I ride or every other ride/work with them. Sometimes it just depends how caked they get with pebbles and mud. But like I said it get's caked in the winter and almost always stays clean in the summer. Although in the summer it's very dry so I'll paint they're hoofs with oil so it doesn't crack. Depending on how dry I'll do this once or twice a week. In the winter I don't need too of course since it's wet enough.

I also like to bathe them in the summer usually after a ride or groundwork session. If I bathe them before I ride I have to make sure they're dry enough so the pad and other tack doesn't rub. 

Winter: 

In the winter the nights are colder and I ride mostly in the afternoons so I need to make sure they're dry from sweat before letting them go. Horses can get really sweaty and hot depending on how much you work them even in cold winter. I can do a cool down by riding them at a walk for about 10 minutes before getting off or I could lead them for the same time. When I untack them I'll rub them down as much as I can to dry them off. I'll use a beach towel or straw. After if they're still damp I'll throw a special kind of blanket that helps cool them down and dry them. I don't leave the blanket on, it comes off after awhile. So even though the horse may be very hot and sweaty it's bad for them to be exposed to the cold because they're temperature can change really fast and being wet and sweaty in the cold have bad results. I want to make sure they're dry after I'm done. Horses also like to roll in the mud where they have a they're own homemade coat on to keep them warm. But mud is SO annoying to get off in the winter because any brush hardily works and the best way is to wash it off...and I can't even do that because it's cold out!!

Saddling/Preparing:

When I throw the saddle on the horse's back, I'll put it just where the front cinch will line up with the girth. Not too far forward where it can bother the horse in the shoulders, ,making movement hard and not too far back either. 

I always (and I mean always) tighten the cinch 2-3 times. I make it a habit to tighten it at least twice (never once). Horses like to push they're stomaches out. So even if it feels tight enough after awhile it'll get loose and nothing's worse than having a loose saddle! The saddle can slip under the horse and usually he'll spook...A LOT!

Bridle:

For the bridle there is an old rule for how tight the bridle should be. If you pull back on the bit the mouth will make wrinkles. We judge how tight it is by the wrinkles. The more wrinkles, the tighter it is. The old rule was three wrinkles. But I agree with Clinton, and that is too tight because it's already adding pressure on the mouth when you don't want it. It'll have pressure on the horse's mouth all the time and it will make it that much harder when you want to add pressure. It doesn't help the horse get any lighter or softer in the mouth. It actually teaches the horse to push against the bit.

 The bit should sit on the corner of the horse's mouth. Not any further or it will fall out or hang in a uncomfortable spot. When I pick up on the reins it should add pressure, but when I release it also releases any pressure on the horse's mouth.  

There are also many different types of bits. I use what's called snaffle bits. I use a twisted snaffle which looks basically like this:

 (Either with a D rind or a O ring)
or a smooth snaffle which looks basically like this:
Although this smooth bit has copper lining. We just got a whole bridle set that has the bit with copper lining but I also use the same smooth bit with no copper. (The copper is for a nice taste in the horse's mouth).
The twisted snaffle has more bite to it than the smooth. So sometimes depending on how the horse is behaving I'll use something that has more bite but most of the time I use either one. I always want to ask as lightly as I can to get the lightest results with either bit.

There are also shank bits which I don't use and personally don't like very much. I've used this bit in the past and compared it to a snaffle bit and I don't like it very much but especially for training horses. Snaffle bits encourage lateral flexion; To be able to turn easier where as the shank bits are more straight and forward. Although shank bits can help with vertical flexion and can teach a horse to tuck his head in, it's still harder to soften a horse's whole body. Where as the snaffle bit makes it easier and can do both lateral and vertical. I find that horses can be SO much softer and lighter in my hands. 

Now for the reins..

I use Clinton's reins and overall tack.

These reins are different than the usual reins most people use because they can adjust in length. With what are called slobber straps I can change the length of the reins any time I want instead of having to buy different reins for a different length. They are made out of yachting rope instead of leather. (CA's halters are also made out yachting rope as well). For me I like either rope or leather but I prefer the affect of being able to change the length and have slobber straps which tells the horse I'm picking up on the reins earlier on. This is really helpful to get a horse lighter.                                                                                                                                                                                         But the rope reins does win me over more because it's also easier for me to slide my hands down the reins or lead than it is with leather. 

Slobber straps:      (Funny name for it XD)  

(fuzzy picture of Sugar in my favorite bridle set)

There is a ton of other tack I use but I'll save that for another time..

Before I mount I always do a little groundwork to make sure the horse is using the thinking side of his brain. The last few rides I've only had to do short groundwork sessions. For more than one reason I make sure to do some groundwork even if it's just 5-10 mins. Sometimes it might be an hour, it all depends! I'll do short sessions of groundwork if I've worked the horse a lot for a couple days in a row and I'm wanting to work on something in the saddle. As long as I'm satisfied and the horse is using the thinking side of his brain.
  
When I get in the saddle I make it a rule and habit to always flex the horse's head around while I'm mounting. This is for my safety. If the horse happened to spook or bolt when I'm in the middle of mounting it can get ugly fast, especially if I already have a foot in the stirrup. It also helps the horse to focus on you and not be able to look around and get distracted. It makes it harder for the horse to start walking off when you're trying to get on. 




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Harris Family
tag:horsehaven.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1269705 2018-04-06T21:13:39Z 2018-04-07T15:25:00Z Flexing and Softening

In a lot of Clinton's exercises it all starts from the ground. Whenever I can teach a horse something from the ground first, it will make my job a lot easier in the saddle as well as safer. 

Flexing is where I can pick up on the reins lightly and flex the horse's head to where his nose towards the girth where he is either touching his belly or my leg/foot if I'm in the saddle. It should be light enough to where I can use two fingers on reins with no stiffness. 

I teach this from the ground first before I do it in the saddle. This helps the horse get softer laterally as well as respect. Horses don't have hard mouths, they have hard stiff bodies. I'm working on getting my horse soft throughout his whole body (not just his head). There's five body parts of the horse that the method goes through to soften: Head and neck, poll shoulders, ribcage and hindquarters.          Here's a picture of Sugar and parts of her body:

By teaching flexing it softens the horse's head and neck. A lot of the time a horse's first reaction will be to push against any pressure in the bit. Teaching the flexing teaches him to respect you more when controlling his head and softens his neck. And it's also very useful in spooking situations.. XD


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Harris Family
tag:horsehaven.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1269321 2018-04-05T21:50:21Z 2018-04-13T21:01:05Z How to get a unwilling horse in the water

I've taken both horses (Ruby and Sugar) in the water and swimming. They both loved it but I can tell Sugar loved it the most. Not only did she love it but she definitely had trust in me and didn't lose attention to obey me while being in a different and new environment. 

Probably the biggest reason a horse would try to avoid water would be fear. Fear of it being very deep or just fear of drowning wether or not 3 feet deep or a 100. Because they have monocular vision it makes it very hard to tell deep or far something is. Other spooky reasons like something might be in it that could eat them WHOLE!!!!! Not all of the time but most of the time when introducing a horse to water they'll be a bit reluctant to get in. BUT, they are natural swimmers! And are known to love swimming! Like me ;)

There's an old saying; "you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink". Which is true. But I can teach them to want to be in the water. I can actually change their minds from avoiding water to dying to go in. 

Now if the horse is afraid of the water, which a lot of the time will be the case, I'll prove to him that there's nothing to fear. I've said this a lot in the past but it's basically all it is, make the hard thing look easy the easy thing hard. In this case the dry land is the easy part and the water the hard. So I'll move the horses feet/work her on land and let him rest in the water. In the beginning I'll let him investigate a little the water by himself. If he doesn't go in then I'll keep adding pressure till he does. Then release as soon as he's in. Horses learn from the release of pressure, not pressure itself.

I'll lunge him around to where almost half of the circle will be in the water. But as much as I can and especially in the beginning I'll make it very easy for him to be in the water. Sometimes it takes forever to get a horse comfortably in the water and other times it hardily takes anything to get him in. It all depends on the horse. Every horse is different. When lunging and he's going around on land, if he slows or tries get out of it then I'll add pressure. Because that's where he feels safe but I want him to feel safe in the water too not just on land. So if he stays on land then it just means a lot of sweat and work. Another important part to this is to establish a starting point. A lot of mistakes people make (and I've made) is asking too much in the beginning. Don't expect he'll go right in. Don't ask for him to go to swim where he can't touch right off. If it's a very difficult horse, start smaller. Even if that means two feet have finally stepped in the water-STOP! Take the pressure away and reward him. 


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Harris Family
tag:horsehaven.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1268333 2018-04-03T03:39:25Z 2018-04-03T23:03:50Z How Clinton Teaches

I love the way Clinton Anderson teaches. He has his own way of explaining and puts it in this order:

  1. Goal
  2. Why
  3. Teaching Stage
  4. Handler Mistakes
  5. Horse Problems
  6. Troubleshooting   (optional)
  7. Success Tips       (optional)
  8. Practical Purpose

He has all of this in order but to break it down for most important, it would be Goal, Why and Teaching Stage. 


  • Goal:

Goal. For this he shows what your goal should look like. For example, in a video, he'll bring one of his horses that are already trained and know the method. He'll do the exercise he's about to teach you on this horse. Let's say...yielding the hindquarters (groundwork). He asks, the horse does exactly what he wants; crossing hindquarters while pivoting on his forefeet. He brings in a horse that already knows the exercise to show the audience what the goal should look like. 

Here's an example for the goal on yielding the hindquarters:

"To be able to disengage the horse's hindquarters 360 degrees with minimal pressure. His inside hind foot should cross over his outside foot and he should keep his front feet relatively still."

-Clinton Anderson


  • Why:

Why is exactly what it sounds like. Why? He explains why you would teach this certain exercise. What you and your horse would benefit from it. I used to wonder a lot on why people would do some of the things they did. Like backing for example. Of course I'd want my horse to back a few steps every once in awhile. And even if he's terrible at it, I'm fine with just a few lazy steps. But why teach him to back up so well? The only reason at the time I thought was it looks cool. To be able to have your horse back with speed just by a wiggle of a finger at about 14 feet away! That's cool! And it can be a reason I would teach my horse. But there's more to it than just that..                                         Backing is actually one of the most important lessons you could teach your horse. Clinton said if he had a choice to be able to teach a horse only one exercise, it would be backing. Backing is a huge fundamental part in the horse's training. For one, it teaches respect. (Very good lesson for a pushy horse).

It also helps for when you're in the saddle too. Wether you're backing on the ground work in the saddle. Horses are constantly thinking forward, forward, forward. When do you ever see a horse back up? Hardily ever. In a horse's everyday life, hardily at all. Because they hardily actually need to back up unless they feel trapped and backing is the only way out. So when you teach the horse to back, and I mean to back a lot, it actually helps the horse to start thinking about backing and stopping. It's very helpful for a better stop. You have to stop first before you back up. It helps the horse to think about backing/stopping instead of forward all the time.

"A horse that backs up really well is showing you a lot of respect. The better you can get a horse to back up, the more respectful and responsive he will be in everything else that you ask him to do. A good backup is the foundation of the stop as well as collection. A respectful horse backs up with energy any time you want. A disrespectful horse ignores you and walks toward you with pushy, dominant behavior. If you don't back your horse up, he will get pushier and more disrespectful."

-Clinton Anderson

There's a reason for all of Clinton's exercises why you would teach a horse a certain lesson. In the Fundamentals there's always a fundamental lesson for the horse to learn before he can something more advanced. 


  • Teaching Stage

The teaching stage is all the information on how to teach the horse that exercise. I'll go into this another time...

Starting: Always start with a starting point. People have a tendency to start out big. Backing, they ask for 10 steps in the beginning of the first lesson. It's like asking a kid to read a sentence full of big words when he doesn't even know the alphabet yet. Always ask for 1 or 2 steps in the beginning and reward the slightest try. Build off of that until the horse can back 20 feet with ease. 




Goal, Why and Teaching Stage are the three main subjects.

Handler Mistakes: Handler mistakes are where Clinton shows any habits or things you might not be doing right or to make sure you are doing "this" right. 

Horse Problems: Horse problems are what the horse might do. How he might react in the wrong way and what you should do. 

Practical Purpose: Where you can/should do "this" certain exercise. 


 

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Harris Family
tag:horsehaven.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1267516 2018-04-01T00:06:07Z 2018-04-01T02:07:30Z Street trail ride

Yesterday was a beautiful day! Sunny and almost too hot. But everything looked like spring!

Amber and I decided to go trail riding and this time we took the streets for a change. I usually don't ride the streets, and the three biggest reasons: Afraid if the horses spooked into traffic, pooping in front of someone's driveway, horse (most likely from falling) get's away from me and runs home. 

Those are just my main reason why I don't ride through the streets. I'd like to a lot more to help Sugar get experience it. But at least we were able to yesterday!

It's really important (especially for a trail horse) to change the "scenery". If I just worked with Sugar in the arena only she will do very good in the arena. But only in the arena. Each time a horse is introduced to a new environment they're distracted. Especially a nervous horse. They'll see and hear things they may have never seen and heard before. It can get messy and very difficult if you're not prepared. Never assume a horse will act fine when you bring them to a new place. That's why I try to have Sugar work in as many different environments as possible. A arena is very different than being out on the trails. Riding through a neighborhood is very different than the trails. 

We went over a little bridge that goes over a little piece of the lake. It's so cute to see how curious Sugar can be in new environments! There's just a lot more all around her and a lot closer which can be really frightening but she handled it very well. The day before I worked on redirecting her energy every time she got nervous or spooked that when I did this same trick yesterday she calmed down a lot faster and would take a little more time to think about it before really spooking. I think another issue was there are just a lot of dogs around. When we were going down the street a dog came running out of a house to chase us at the wrong time....just when some cars were about to pass. I really hate it when that happens...

She did spook a bit but not too bad. However she did run out a few feet into the street. Thankfully we don't have really narrow roads and there'll be empty lots in between a lot of the houses. That's about really the only scary incident we had. 

We rode to Amber's house where we drank ice water and ate donuts! Then we rode to a little park next to her house that's near the Sacramento river. 


After that we rode around the lake to beach where we rode into the water. I've actually never taken Sugar in the water before. I have had her wade in water maybe up to her knees but never actually taken her in for a swim. I had left her halter and lead on so I could do some groundwork by and in the water with her. But I didn't need to introduce and groundwork into the water. She LOVED it! 
Normally when I take a horse to the water more or less for the first time, I'll do some groundwork instead of going straight into the water. Horses can't tell how deep the water is. So a lot of the time a horse will try to avoid water, even a puddle. And when they're in the water they might get nervous especially getting deeper. BUT they are natural born swimmers! So you don't have to teach them to swim! And in fact, horses in general LOVE swimming! And I can tell Sugar LOVES swimming! She had no hesitation and probably would of swam across the lake! She wasn't over excited either. She just walked in and was very light in my hands and feet. I took my boots off and in my bare-feet she was VERY light. Amber and I thought about unsaddling and getting completely wet but we decided to do that a different day. Although we ended up very wet anyway! 

The way I introduce Sugar to a new object or in this case, water, I use Clinton's method. I'll make the water look easy to be in and where ever she wants to go/the land look hard. What I mean by this is I work her out of the water first. Then when I send her in I relax and not hurry her. If she wants to investigate, that's awesome! She can sniff and even play with it before fully stepping in. But each time I want her to go further and further. When she's on land she has to work again. When she's in the water she get's to rest. 
In Sugar's case however I didn't need to do this really at all. She had no problem walking right in the water. Some horses will be nervous about it at the beginning and some will take right to it. Every horse is different.
When I took Ruby swimming she seemed to love it too but was pretty hard to handle. And seemed picky some days as if that day she didn't care for a swim where as Sugar was very responsive to me obeyed on point. Ruby does need a lot more work but Sugar is my main horse. She's younger, more willing and a bigger challenge!
Ruby is more Gail's horse. 
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Harris Family
tag:horsehaven.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1267219 2018-03-31T02:48:04Z 2018-03-31T14:20:37Z Horse pics

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Harris Family
tag:horsehaven.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1267132 2018-03-30T21:05:08Z 2018-03-30T22:19:34Z Spook Alert

Yesterday, when I was working on Sugar's stops and practicing rollbacks, I was riding her past the lake. There was a guy there fishing and he was just getting back into his pickup when both of his dogs saw us and took off towards Sugar. I know that the dogs wouldn't hurt her, they're always more excited than anything else and even if they did get close enough they would probably be the ones hurt. I'd be next. But besides that...

I'm so glad I know how to take control of her even when there are dogs chasing her because that's very terrifying for her. I flex her neck around which basically puts her in a bind. She did move around run a little but overall wasn't as terrified as I thought she'd be. She calmed down right away when I gave her neck back and just stood there with not a care in the world. I think she might of been a little more scared of the man yelling and chasing after his dogs but Sugar only ran a few strides before she calmed down and when he got his dogs back I released her. This all took about 10 seconds. 

I'm so proud of how well Sugar does. When she does spook at something I redirect her energy and start moving her feet. When we stop it's that much easier to stay calm. And when she does actually get scared of something she'll just perk up a little or she does freak out and runs a few yards but then calms down very fast. It's usually something unexpected or far off where she can't make out what it is. I do however might need to put more desensitizing in with different objects and things that makes sounds. I skip desensitizing quite often recently because she hardily if at all needs it. But I want to keep it up and introduce her to new things.  

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Harris Family
tag:horsehaven.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1266812 2018-03-30T04:12:30Z 2018-03-30T15:51:19Z More Advanced Training

I really wanted to have Sugar do rollbacks. And if you don't know, rollbacks are very common in reining horses or cow horses but are also taught for other uses too. A rollback is where you are riding at any gait (usually at a canter), stop, horse pivots on his hindquarters while forequarters do more or less a 180 and head off in the opposite direction or maybe a right angle. Might be a little hard to picture so here's a gif: 

I've watched Clinton show how to teach horses do this. Although I think I need to do more of my "homework" and make sure Sugar knows how to stop better. Her stop is really messy and that's if she stops off my seat..
But today I worked on her stopping, backing, spinning/yielding forequarters and then towards the end I practiced a little rollback stuff along the fence. She actually backs up with energy but sometimes at the beginning when I ask her she get's "sticky feet". I didn't work in the arena this time. I did all this out in a field instead. For the rollbacks, to help her move her forequarters around instead of just going forward and turning, I used a fence to block her from walking forward. I didn't have enough space at that fence to canter her in circles so I went along fences practicing rollbacks going back and forth. This actually helped her slow down especially if when we were going in the direction of her paddock. She figured out we were just going to do more rollbacks again instead of going straight home so she slowed her pace to a easy canter or trot. (I did a little on cantering and more on trotting because I still needed to get her stopping down).

When we're about to (attempt) a rollback, I'll say "woah", sit/lean back, open my inside rein and put pressure with my outside leg near her girth. Usually when I turn I use my inside leg/spur to round her turn but with rollbacks I'm actually asking her to move her front end over. I do have a habit of doing the wrong leg at the wrong time which will teach her wrong but at least I know what to do! More or less since I haven't actually taught a horse that yet. I also want to learn how to sidepass:

But overall I'm not very experienced yet and neither are the horses. I also need to make sure that they know what I can teach them now/the Fundamentals. I don't want to start jumping ahead and not be prepared for it.. :)
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tag:horsehaven.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1263967 2018-03-22T00:19:37Z 2018-03-22T01:53:43Z Chill, loose rein, no problem

Most people, when going out on a trail ride, like to stay at a nice peaceful walk and if with friends, chat the whole time. So most people don't like a horse that hurries... breaking into a trot, zig zagging on the path and just making for an uncomfortable time. I not only want the horses be able to walk easily and calmly, but to also trot and canter when want to, on a loose rein and a slower, steady pace. They're not in a hurry to go anywhere. I want to feel like we could walk, trot or canter for miles with no sweat. The paces shouldn't change to fast and hurry. 

Either on the way out or on the way back, horses like to hurry right away, more often the hot blooded or younger horses. Or there's the horse who does have a nice steady, easy walk but they could be the lazy ones that have a hard time picking up a pace any faster than a walk. These horses are usually the cold-blooded or/and older horses. With Sugar, she's got more of the first problem. Hurry, hurry, hurry.

In the past she would always wanted to trot off right away. Especially in the beginning she was very excited and nervous because of being out on the trail and not in the arena. I've worked a lot on her spooking and just exploring new trails where there are always obstacles and new objects she needs to learn to go through, over, around, and just be next to without having a heart attack. 

But besides being spooked (which now she hardily ever does at all), I needed to teach her not to hurry. I teach her while I'm teaching her everything else on the trails. Because hurrying from place to place doesn't necessarily mean the horse is nervous. It can mean that, but it also can mean the horse is ready to be "done" with the ride. When they're like this, they don't pay attention to you a lot of the time. 

I work with this problem by moving the horses' feet. If they want to trot, I'm actually going to let them trot! But I'm going to make it "my" idea. I'll trot them in circles and just move they're feet around until it's just not really fun anymore for them. Then I'll walk them again and if they try to trot again I'll bend them around and move their feet around. This is to make it feel like what they want to do is work. Then back to a easy straight line walk, no work. I'm making the walk feel so easy until that's what the horse really wants. Sometimes it takes a lot of bending and trotting around and sometimes it takes once before he settles down to an easy walk. But the more I work with the horse the faster I get the results until the horse doesn't even dream of hurrying off because he knows it's just mean more work again. 

I can use this same technique if the horse is in a hurry to go to a certain place, like to the other horses or back to the barn. I'll work that horse around the barn and make it easy to walk away and rest where wanted to go. This helps with buddy/barn-sourness. 

Another thing I can do, is when I ask the horse to trot or canter down the trail it might be uncomfortably too fast. So I'll pick a tree out and circle that tree a few times, working his feet, then trot or canter off again. But I won't go far until I circle another tree. Depending on how much of a hurry he's in, I'll circle that tree a lot or maybe 2 times before heading off to another tree. It slows the horse down because he'll realize that each time we come to our destination he has to work again. He'll get a slower and easier pace. I can build off of that by making my distance between trees greater. So instead of just a few strides and another "work zone tree", it might be 10  seconds, then 30 seconds, then a minute or two, staying at a nice steady pace. Then I could canter down the path with no problem. The only time I would work him again would be if he quickened his pace without me asking him or I might circle a tree once in awhile down the road. And the longer I walk, trot, canter, the better. He'll have more mileage under his feet and both of us will enjoy the ride SO much more!  

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Harris Family
tag:horsehaven.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1263624 2018-03-20T20:42:16Z 2018-03-30T15:54:12Z Trail Ride Training

Sugar has been really showing how good of a trail horse she is! 

Yesterday I worked with her; climbing hills, herding cattle, working on different gaits (including galloping). We were pretty far out in the hills for a few hours. I was with my friend Amber and her horse Athena.


We climbed a steep hills which really helped Sugar. I've noticed a lot though, that she hates walking in mud or water/puddles. She's actually okay it's a stream but mud and small puddles she tries to avoid. She's not terrified but she'll most likely jump over one if she can't avoid it from me. So my new small goal is now to have her get muddy! 
When I introduce something new to Sugar, I start usually with groundwork depending on what it is and how well she is with it already. So for the puddles I don't actually need to do groundwork although that would help a lot too. She does walk through them but more times out of not she will avoid them. Most of the puddles we encounter are on the trail anyway so I don't want to bring my handy stick out there. So if I do do groundwork, I'll leave the halter on and send her back and forth through the puddle. It's not as good as having a handy stick with me but she's good enough at the ground work to know how and to respect me. I'll make the puddle look easy and everywhere or anywhere else she wants to go looks hard until she wants to go into the puddle. 
So basically I work her a lot outside the puddle and then when I send her into the puddle I make it easy for her. And of course for the first few times she'll avoid them but not too long she'll gladly go into the puddle. The next day I might ask her to go into the same puddle and she might avoid it even though the day before we worked on it. But each time it get's easier and easier until it's not a problem at all for her to walk into the water or mud. 
I can use the same technic in the saddle. I work her outside; moving her feet in circles forwards, backwards, left and right. Then I have her walk in the puddle and try to make it as easy as possible. If she stops, the better. I'll rest her in the puddle! She'll find that the rest is in the puddle and there's nothing to fear. Horse have a hard time with water because they can't tell how deep it is. That's why most horses will act like a puddle could be a 100 feet deep. It's my job to prove to them that there's nothing scary, trust me and teach them to obey me if they want to chose a different way out. 

Sugar has been doing SO well climbing hills! She stills needs some work with ditches however but besides that she's a natural! I'll always have her going up and down hills to have her slow her pace (especially downhill). But even downhill she goes well walking and only when she wants to get back home faster will she really start trotting. 

In the past Sugar was terrified of deer and cattle. I mean she used to get REALLY worked up about them! They could be far off and she's in the round pen, but she'll be snorting, tail high and racing around. NOW she's practically touching (if only they didn't run off). I have her chase them and honestly she now seems really excited cows around that I actually have to stop her!

From a arena horse who's never been out on the trails before in her life to a becoming best trail partner ever! I really think she enjoys the trails a lot more than the arena. If we're in the arena I feel like she get's bored after awhile of work on certain things that I have to keep changing it up. But when we're on the trails we're always exploring and just the excitement of it or calmly and lazily walking down a familiar old trail never get's old with the two of us!

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Harris Family
tag:horsehaven.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1262948 2018-03-19T03:38:16Z 2018-03-19T03:38:16Z Prince and Princess

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tag:horsehaven.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1262182 2018-03-16T23:49:51Z 2018-03-18T00:06:34Z Rain

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tag:horsehaven.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1261786 2018-03-15T20:10:08Z 2018-03-18T00:21:11Z Jumping

I've wanted to start doing a little jumping (western style) with the two horses. I'll start with groundwork, jumping over obstacles and small jumps (logs mostly). 

I'm going to start with Sugar. Sugar has a very good body type, more athletic than Ruby but she doesn't pick up her feet enough. I want to teach her to concentrate on where she puts her feet. In the beginning working with her she used to slip quite a bit. She'd get her feet tangled up and can trip on nothing when cantering. Since then she's a lot better! I think especially those hills and ditches I've had her go through definitely helped her a lot. 

I don't have a lot of things to set up for the horses to jump. The obstacle course there is very small and overall....pretty bad in my opinion. I want to set up my own obstacle course in a bigger space and more jumps. If I did it would have to be pretty "natural" looking because it wouldn't be on my property of course but somewhere near enough and where I'm aloud to ride anyway. So I might clear something and set up logs and branches for jumps. 

Yesterday I set up a jump in the paddock and had her jump over it for a little while. I didn't have a lot of time to spend down there so I mostly cleaned the paddocks, ground-worked Sugar and spent the last minuets loving on her with hugs and rubs. 

I haven't been down to the barn for awhile, one of the reasons was because it's been raining a lot. Can't wait for summer...

I think Ruby might like or be better at jumping than Sugar. But in general Sugar is more willing to do what I tell her, younger, and at the moment better on most things because she's been trained more. 

This is Ruby from awhile ago when we went to Nevada:

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tag:horsehaven.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1251081 2018-02-22T02:11:54Z 2018-02-22T18:14:42Z Jogging with Sugar

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tag:horsehaven.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1249338 2018-02-18T03:58:47Z 2018-02-19T05:48:38Z Dancer

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tag:horsehaven.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1246676 2018-02-12T19:09:17Z 2018-02-12T21:24:47Z A Morning At Starbucks

Sketching Strangers..

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tag:horsehaven.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1244772 2018-02-09T01:16:11Z 2018-02-09T01:16:12Z Spooking and Falling

Last Saturday I got a few horse-people/friends at the EQ to go on a trail ride. Gail wanted to ride Sugar this time and I was to ride Ruby for a change. I'm glad because I wanted Gail to feel how much more comfortable Sugar was on the trails since I've been taking her out so much. 

We (Gail and I) rode with a girl named Amber, another woman, Kate, and her 9 year old son, Jason. (Jason rode double with his mom). Gail is trying to get more confidant riding again. She's been tight about curtain things, so what happens in our ride I thought she would be too scared to get back on the horse again.

We were all riding in a group going down the trail and into the woods. Kate's horse (Tater) has been acting fidgety but other than that it was all calm and easy ride. Even Ruby who has a huge buddy and barn sour issue, plus haven't been taking out on the trails or worked as much as Sugar has, was doing pretty good! We're starting to go up and down hills in the woods when we come to two bulls chilling off to the side. No problem just passing them. But Tater started acting up and before we knew it he started spooking! Now. Sugar hasn't been in groups for awhile now. She's been a arena horse her whole life and I've been started her as a trail horse. So she was very spooky at the beginning. When I'm trail riding alone or with just Amber, and when Sugar spooks I have no problem controlling her. She hardily spooks on trail rides now and when she does she tries her best to stay still and wait for me to show her it's nothing to be afraid of. 

BUT. Gail was riding her and Sugar was in a group this time. Gail was getting nervous and I know Sugar could feel it. So as soon as Tater spooked, she didn't didn't think twice and spun around while dumping Gail out of the saddle. At the beginning of seeing the bulls we were just about to pass them when Tater spooked. Neither Sugar nor Ruby cared a bit about them. But it didn't matter to Sugar and she took off running back home with Gail on the ground. Ruby spooked from Sugar's spook and spun around too. Gail was right in front of her and I thought Ruby was going to run over Gail. But before I could turn her around again she spun around anyway and now I was out of the saddle too. I was most of the way out anyway and I didn't want to get caught in anything so I fell all the way out while holding on to her reins so she couldn't run away. Amber took off to catch Sugar. It all happened so fast but nobody got hurt. 

I thought it would shake Gail up to where she wasn't going to continue the ride. But it didn't! She was shaken up a little but she was mostly glad she didn't hit a tree or a rock. She actually landed perfectly on a bunch of the softest grass around! 

We decided that I would leave Ruby and Jason with Gail and ride double with Kate on Tater. I've actually never ridden double (at least not in the saddle really). It was pretty fun! The only feeling I didn't like was that I wasn't in control of anything. Fun just the same!

We rode back and found Amber leading Sugar. Sugar was very willing to come back thankfully. It might of been harder if it was Ruby who ran off. I got on Sugar and we all rode back to where we left the others. We each got back on the same horses we started out on and continued the rest of the trail with almost no problem. 

Along the way the hills get steeper. And I could tell it was hard for Gail. But she did great! And I knew Sugar was very good with hills! Ruby not so much so I'm glad she has Sugar.

Going out I put Ruby in the lead because she always wants to be so close to the other horses. On the way back I put her hind everyone and some cases pretty far behind when she started acting up by trying to catch up the others. I would make her move her feet each time she broke into a trot until she realized that catching up the others would only mean more work. And for Ruby...she hates work!

That's pretty much all that happened. I don't think I've ever fallen from the saddle before. I have bareback. I've never gotten any injuries and I think I'm pretty good at staying on considering the many times I stayed on while the beast under me spooks at something ridiculous. The spooking with Sugar has been getting fewer and fewer. She used to be really afraid of cattle and deer. When we ride we always run into wild animals a lot. She's used to them more now. With cattle it's easier though. I could work her near them without having the problem of them running away. I also like her to follow them and now actually herd them at a slow pace to boost her confidence. She's doing amazing! I can't wait for this summer!!

I also want to introduce her to swimming. I swam with Ruby a couple of times last summer and it was so much fun!!

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Harris Family
tag:horsehaven.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1244273 2018-02-08T04:00:30Z 2018-02-08T06:43:06Z Spooking

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Harris Family
tag:horsehaven.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1239050 2018-01-28T01:38:37Z 2018-01-28T13:16:51Z Drawing Faces

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Harris Family
tag:horsehaven.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1232141 2018-01-14T23:29:48Z 2018-01-15T18:58:02Z German Shepherd sketches


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Harris Family
tag:horsehaven.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1224962 2018-01-02T05:25:10Z 2018-01-18T04:35:06Z The Greatest Showman Art

From a movie

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Harris Family
tag:horsehaven.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1211999 2017-12-06T05:18:31Z 2017-12-06T20:53:52Z Peppy and Lena

Commissioned 

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tag:horsehaven.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1206195 2017-11-19T16:21:12Z 2017-11-19T16:33:48Z Art

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Harris Family
tag:horsehaven.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1205813 2017-11-17T02:49:52Z 2017-11-19T05:08:35Z Foggy Woods

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Harris Family
tag:horsehaven.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1204364 2017-11-10T02:39:49Z 2017-11-14T19:27:03Z Princess Frog (art)

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tag:horsehaven.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1203765 2017-11-06T23:21:13Z 2017-11-07T04:42:19Z Cruising Lesson Outside

Lately almost all my training and riding have been outside the arena. This is because, they either been trained enough and don't actually need to be in the arena or their training is now set up outside the arena. Like for instance; trail riding and the obstacle course. Even if I'm doing simple riding exercises I still like to take the horses out to a field where there would be distractions so I could work on both. They're trained enough now to where almost any distraction/spook is very easily handled. But everything had to start in the arena.

The cruising lesson (I've talked about many times before) is really important to me. It definitely helped me get comfortable when I was a beginner rider. When I was really starting out I had a hard time cantering. I've trotted so much that became a piece of cake! But since the horses I started out on hadn't had many miles under their feet my confidence was lost when the horse, instead of taking off at a nice easy lope would usually tear into a gallop. But since I've done the cruising lessons many times it's amazing how easy, gentile and long a horse can go without stopping till you tell them. 

Sugar has an amazing lope! It also seems like she can go on forever unless I tell her to stop. I've been working the lesson outside the arena in a favorite field of mine. I like the field because there's hardly any squirrel holes, there's roads almost surrounding it so there's cars going by often enough, there's a whole set up with a park, lake, community pool, club building and more. Having her able to listen calmly to me instead of all distractions around her is really nice. Especially a horse like Sugar (reactive and used-to-be arena horse only).


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Harris Family
tag:horsehaven.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1203173 2017-11-04T05:20:02Z 2017-11-14T19:27:12Z Dancer

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