Monthly Archives: January 2014

Finding the groove again

I have a feeling that I am going to be very thankful for Count Truckee coming into my life at this moment. When all hell broke loose in my life, I was left with a few horses and the one that I had to ride was Crazy as Can Be. Crazy loved trail riding but the ring stuff wasn’t his thing. I was pretty miserable and not feeling like dealing with his attitude. He wasn’t fun for me to ride and we made the best decision to move him into another job.  He has been hunting with his new owner in Georgia and is doing really well!

I really wanted to bring a horse over that enjoyed ring work because during the winter you don’t get as much opportunity to get out of the ring due to hunting at all of our local trail spots.

The weather has made riding tough and Truckee and I have been experiencing some ups and downs. It would be easy to be frustrated with him but I always remember that basically this horse lived in a field untouched for a year! He is feral in some ways and I have to remember it is an adjustment. One of his issues is that he is a bit attached and it causes him to forget that he has a job to do.

I am often alone on the farm and riding a young green horse alone isn’t wise. I pick my moments to ride when people are around. Sunday he got a nice lunging session with the vienna reins and he was excellent. Monday I brought him out and he was geared up. I could barely hook up the lunge equipment. I had him tacked up intending to ride but it was clear that wasn’t going to be in the cards. He was doing VERY impressive moves that looked like a rodeo horse coming out of the chute. He just wanted to run to the gate and couldn’t focus. Amanda brought her horse out and things went downhill from there. It was clear that Truckee and I needed to have a bit of a pow wow.

I took him over to the small lunge ring and worked on a small circle and he was wild. Absolutely wild not listening to a thing but I just patiently waited him out. Worked on introducing the voice commands and some transitions. Just walking and trotting but getting him to listen. It is a bit of tough love a times when he isn’t listening but he has to learn that I am the boss. I lunged him all over that ring. Then when he was nice and quiet I took him back to the big ring and lunged him all over that ring as well. Just making a point that he will come out and go to work and we won’t continue to play around.

I was bummed when I got rained out the next day..this is the issue because the weather keeps blocking my progress. Wednesday was a gorgeous night so I tacked him up and hoped somebody would show up at the barn but I was sure I was riding anyway. He started out lunging in the big ring very quietly with his vienna reins on. He remembered the transitions. He still is a bit of a bronc at the canter but that is just lack of balance. He was really soft and stretching into the contact. His back was relaxed and his brain was focused. Thankfully, just as I was going to get on Amanda came in so I had her hold him for a second and up I went. I could immediately tell he was relaxed. We walked around for a good 10 min just working on some simple moving off the leg and bending exercises. Wow, what a difference in the way he felt in the contact already!

He felt great at the trot and while a bit fussy when I was asking for him to take a bit of the contact he still felt amazing. He is a lovely mover and just has a great hind leg. He was so rideable and soft in the body. I was just beaming. I had forgotten just how much I LOVED what I do. I mean I know that I love it but I hadn’t been loving it for a while. Even before the drama in my life, I had taken on too much and gotten too busy. It takes the fun out of riding. I have a better plan on moving forward but I just couldn’t stop smiling during this ride on Truckee. I kept thinking to myself that this is why I do this and how rewarding it truly is to work with these horses. I finished up with him and just hung out a bit in the ring while Amanda rode. Truckee and I jumped some jumps in hand and he thought that was pretty cool. Can’t wait to do some jumping this weekend!

I then brought Junior out and had a great ride. I have been riding him a few days a week and having a blast. He is a pretty cool horse 🙂 I mean duh..I trained him and he’s awesome but talk about how nice it is to go from green to made. It’s like all the buttons are installed. Fun stuff!

Truckee and I had a light lunge session yesterday and I hope to get a ride in today. I also know that I am returning to my former self when I found myself buying a horse 🙂 More details to come on that but it is actually a CANTER horse that I retrained and sold. He is 9yrs old and mainly has been a western trail horse but he is the quiet all around type that everybody is looking for and his owner just finds herself focusing on other things in life at the moment. I’m excited about getting him. He should be an easy sale.

I really can’t wait to get more pics and video of Truckee this weekend to show off. The difference is amazing! I now need to clip him..uh my least favorite task.

I have been doing some dating and have been seeing somebody for a bit who is pretty awesome. He came to fix the pipes in the barn during the cold and get the tractor running. He is going with me to go pick up the new horse and while he isn’t a horse person, he knows farm equipment and farms which is pretty cool 🙂 It was fun to hear that he found one of my most attractive qualities to be the passion that I have for what I do. With or without a man in my life, I am just happy. It has taken a while to get back on track but I feel my old self starting to come back in full force. Please hide my checkbook…we all know the old self likes to buy horses at the drop of a hat 🙂

Allie and I also talked about me bringing over Money for Love (the cool grey horse) so I just need to see how much I can fit into my schedule. I am feeling energized but I am going to try to do better at work vs personal life balance. I might hold off one more month just to get through the worst of winter.

The journey has been rough but I find myself constantly smiling and laughing. I laugh more now than I have in a very long time. I can’t wait to get out to the barn to ride. I think that horses have always had the ability to heal if you let them. It took some time for me to find my way back but now every time I work with a horse it truly feels like it is healing me from the inside out.

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Teeth done and lunging started

It’s so important to address the teeth before you really get started. I find it fixes most of the issues that they have in the mouth. You can really tell when a horse needs his teeth done and Truckee had no steering and was just overall fussy so I didn’t want to do much until we got his mouth comfortable . His mouth was pretty rough and he had two baby teeth pulled out. He got a day to recover from his dental work and then his lunging program started.

I think with a horse like him lunging will be important. He is very confident when you are on him but on the ground he tends to lack respect and focus. Ground work will help me establish some boundaries, establish trust and teach him how to use his body correctly without worrying so much.

Truckee is ultra smart! He picks everything up super quick. I had only lunged him once before but he remembered everything. I had a surcingle on him with vienna reins. I attached them very long to start just to let him get used to them. Then as we went along I gradually shortened them until there was still some room but enough for slight contact. Right now I just want him to get a feel of contact without feeling restricted. He is so smart that he was picking it up very quickly.

This horse is pure athlete! He moves across the ground so light with barely any effort. I just really love the look of him. I love the way his neck comes out of his shoulder and he is going to be super fancy. I just know this guy is going to be special. He is a wee bit athletic…hence the lunging yesterday since the weather hasn’t been kind to us. He can do some very interesting airs above ground so hopefully we keep that to a minimum under tack 🙂

I find on these really athletic horses it’s important to be able to ride them over their back into some contact because it will keep you in the tack. So I’m going to spend some good time installing those buttons along with the riding. He’s not spooky but having him able to be ridden into the contact will allow you to ride his body and help him relax. I think it also tends to give them a place to go when they are being naughty. Nothing worse than a horse with its head in the air being really naughty. I want to be able to bend them and get them over the back so that I can ride out the silly stuff! Now he might continue to be perfect but these tools are good regardless.

He is a bit thin right now. I think just the moving him to a different barn and all that stuff took a bit of a toll. He will come around here shortly. He is so sweet and he loves treats! I’m enjoying my time with him.

Weather delay

Okay, so who else is grumpy and eating everything in the house??? I had lost a bunch of weight..damn this weather 🙂

So Truckee was coming right along. It’s fun when you can get videos to compare so I happen to have one of his first ride and 3rd ride.

Amanda did his first ride since I was about as sick as can be and could barely see straight. We thought he would be a bit nervous because at this point he was still very nervous in the barn. I brought him out and walked him around the ring and he just casually glanced at everything. I lunged him for a few minutes just to let him get used to all the tack and gauge his reaction. He was forward but behaved. He still doesn’t really know how to lunge so I have work to do there.

I attached a regular lead rope to him and walked him to the mounting block. Amanda slowly climbed up and just got him comfortable but he was very relaxed. We both were quite happy since we have dealt with several in the past few months that were absolutely horrid about the mounting block and neither of us felt like dealing with another one in the middle of winter. She put her foot in the stirrup and just laid over him a bit. He was very relaxed so she swung lightly into the saddle. I walked her around a few laps and he was very relaxed. He is much more relaxed with somebody in the saddle than he is on the ground. I always like these types! They generally have good work ethic.

Now keep in mind this horse has been sitting in the field for a year just being a horse so it was a lot to throw at him but he was excellent. Steering..well that is questionable 🙂 I had a little bit of a feeling the canter might prove to be exciting. I always tend to do the riding myself on these horses that I think might be a bit hot because it’s hard not to panic when they shoot off into the canter and I had a feeling he would. Yep, he leapt into the canter and for a minute or so he was getting around the ring at a pretty good clip. I’m trying to talk to her a bit about just giving and taking on the reins so she doesn’t hold and just keeps breathing. She said she was scared and could hear I was slightly worried. Ha, I was a wee bit worried he might take off take off faster but he didn’t. Then he came back to a nice canter. She handled it well. She has come a long way in her riding and I’m thankful for her help!

I rode him several times as well and this is the last ride we have on video. He needs his teeth done and is quite fussy about being asked for steering and regulation of his pace. I asked him not to fly into the canter and he thinks that is silly. You can see that canter is a bit of a work in progress but it is a darn nice canter in there. He did well in the ring with other horses. He happily goes right over ground poles and a small little x-rail.

This past week we haven’t been able to ride due to the frozen tundra. I’m worried about his feet bruising up on this hard ground but not much we can do about it. I will be back to work with him today with some lunging. I want to get him a bit more confident on the ground and start to introduce some side reins.

I also plan on clipping him here sometime soon. He is going to be a lovely event horse! I love his feel and natural balance. I am excited to get back to work with him.

 

Horses on the farm

I love love the trips out to the farm. We pulled in the drive and the first horse we could see was our only grey horse named Money for Love. Love is a very cool older stakes horse out of the popular stallion Not for Love. You just look at Love and he speaks of class. He ran a bunch of races (upward of 70) and made over $100k. He has clean legs, big bone, nice feet and just a conformation that leads you to believe it is not a shock he held up so well to racing.

We walked into the other field and I had to stand there for a minute trying to sort out who was who. Pat, the awesome farm owner, came out and helped me 🙂 Hey, they are all various shades of bay.

Sweeter than Fudge and Mr. P.B. were familiar to me and they started mugging us. They were playing with the camera bag and just being goons.

Mr. P.B.- unraced (owner didn’t pay bills) and totally clean.

Sweeter than Fudge also unraced and a 4yr. Had a tiny tiny tendon strain as a 2yr and has just been sitting. He is next on the list! Poor guy is bored.

Just Bearable didn’t want to be caught for his pics. He is such a lovely guy. He was actually the one I intended to take home but I was sick and trying to catch him wasn’t high on my list of things I felt like doing.

Yesterday’s Story is one of the newer arrivals and he arrived in thin shape. His trainer was very upfront that he was just going to need some R&R. He is gaining but it takes time.

This guy was also a new arrival and he is very cool. Big boy with big bone! He looks like he will be ready come spring. His name is Stormy Horizon.

I ended up with Count Truckee. Very athletic!