Saturday, January 31, 2009

My 2 horse day

Friday was an absolutely LOVELY day here, and I had my first lesson on Hunter on the schedule. I always feel more comfortable, when riding a new horse for the first time, if I do it under an instructor. My favorite "first ride instructor" of my mentors, in both horses and photography, Virgil Wicks. Hunter has been in tune up training, ( at Virgil's indoor arena where he currently is residing ) and now that is complete it is up to me to help him advance his training. Virgil and I saddled our horses, he took a test ride on Hunter, in my saddle ( I was pushing the limit for a cowboy here ) and then we got on our own mounts and did our riding. At first it seemed like Hunter was a bit "loose" he got used to me, and I relaxed it did not take long for Virgil to put us right to work. We rode lines, circles, turns on the forehand, haunches, shoulder in, shoulder fore, and also worked on relaxing and standing. I knew I was in for it, as I had not been working all physically hard riding Krinkles. She is more advanced in her skills, and has a little better idea of what I want. Hunter and I worked hard for about an hour, and I was off and headed home. I was very pleased how quickly Hunter adapted to me, and me to him. He tries so hard to please, what a gem! and DUMB me! I took my RAC shirt, and a shirt to wear under it, thought I would have Virgil take my pic, but I forgot my camera! I remembered it after I was out the driveway, and did not want to take on the snow covered driveway in our dually PU more than is always an adventure.

I was so inspired by my first ride, I had a quick lunch and saddled my old reliable mare, Krinkle Clown. We followed alot of the same plan, in my second ride of the day, and Tyler was less of a bother, as he was busy playing with his 1/2 sister. I knew my legs would be SORE today, and they, tomorrow we hit it again, same plan and another 2 horse day ;-)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Breakthrough with Legacy

About a year ago, we had a situation here...Legacy had decided that the small animal that was visiting our pasture, was certainly like her favorite cat, and would LOVE to have its back scratched...wrong! it was a porcupine! and Legacy ended up with a nose full of quills.....ouch!

Well, ever since that incident, and the pain involved ( even under sedation ) of pulling out those quills, Legacy has been a bit fussy about having her nose handled. Since she will be going into training soon, I have been slowly working with her, to build her confidence back again...after all, how can she learn about bridles and the bitting process, if no one can get near her nose!

After this first happened, she was even scared to have a halter put on...She remembered the halter was involved in the pain, so, most of last summer, on every herd check that I did ( while they are out on pasture ) I took a halter and quietly haltered her, building back her confidence that there was no pain involved. I also tried to work with her nose, but there just seemed to be a block between Legacy and I, something we could not seem to overcome.

Per my agreement with our trainer, I am to work with Legacy for a month before she heads out in March. Ground work, into to bridle and saddle, teaching her to lunge, all these are things I need to start doing, can I start, if I can not get near her nose?

Faced with a Feb 1 st start date, for my portion of the training prep, I knew I needed to get over this hangup, but every time I tried, I just ended up frustrated, and Legacy was not advancing with this issue.

One day, while surfing RFDTV, I saw that one of the clinic guys was working on a horse with head shy problems...ears, I recorded see if I could learn something that would help our progress....Chris Cox was working with a paint mare, that had serious head shy issues, and as a result, reared, backed up, would throw herself over backwards...could his training in this matter help us? Well, long story short, it certainly DID ! In the past, I always went in with the idea of getting Legacy to accept my hand on her nose, Chris, did the opposite...he went in with the idea, that he would FIRST get the horses mind, then he would approach the trouble spot....and wow ! he made great progress with that paint horse, it was not easy, she pulled all her tricks out of the bag, but....he gave me some really great tips and things that would work for Legacy and I....and it DID work. First I sacked her out...she had always been so easy to work with, and I started the session by getting her mind into what we were doing....I sacked her out, I did a few turns over the forehand and the hindquarters, and then, when I had her thinking about what she was doing, I started gently on her a HUGE reward ( no not food ) of petting for the slightest attempt to handle the situation, and build confidence.

Many folks don't watch trainers of disciplines they are not interested in...Chris is a western trainer, but I certainly learned from him on this occasion. By the end of our session, Legacy was allowing my to stroke and cuddle the right side of her face...the left side will be an issue still, but I only wanted to accomplish this in very small steps....and end for good, her reluctance to have her nose handled...We had some so far, that I left things in a good spot, and as we progress, we will tackle that sensitive left side. I now can worm her again, that had become a problem, and she needs her teeth checked before heading out to the trainers. We are on our way! and I will be blogging about our training progress as we very first HOMEBRED to start under saddle...yeah!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

RAC contest participation

My RAC ( Ride a Curly ) shirt arrived yesterday...I had all but forgotten about getting one, and could not remember which color I had ordered, so I was pleasantly surprised to see "blue" .....The RAC contest ( ride a curly ) has a riding division, ( you record your riding time ) and a ground training division ( you record your time spent on ground work ) and it a great promotional tool for my ranch. I send a great big thanks to Denise Conroy of for the sponorship and management of this is inspiring to me, to be able to compete in this manner, while promoting and enchancing my horses training and skills.

cyber ride

It is always fun to do something as a group, and last Sunday the first Curly Cyber Ride was held. Participants from all over the United States, saddled up and went on their cyber ride. It is really kind of cool if you think about it, folks from all over, saddling up to go for a ride at the same time. It was somewhat brutally cold here, we had a nice stiff wind to help chill down our 20 degree temps and a lovely snowfall was coming down steadily. Krinkle and I did time in our indoor arena, watching the snowfall, while her colt, Tyler, did laps around us. I look forward to the next cyber ride, and am hoping it is a little more enjoyable weather for us humans.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Hunter pic

Here is a pic of Nicole on Hunter, they are having a fun canter across the snow covered field at the training barn.

getting down to work

This is the time of year that we do lots of prep for spring....Fences are repaired,foaling, rebreeding, spring breeding schedules are planned, and all our prep work, that keeps us a healthy herd is done. Hoof trims, vaccinations, any special tests need ( for example....stallion's EVA testing ) all this is done when most folks are still staying inside by the warm fire...but not here at Creekside.....Breeding/raising/training horses is a year round job...In the evenings, I sit thumbing through the winter tack catalog sales, looking for the best overall prices on supplies for the year, wormers, show supplies, things that need replaced...all are gone over with a fine tooth comb to get the best deal for my dollar. Last week, my friend/mentor/farrier was over to trim hooves...and Mike happened to be handy....with a few short lessons, and some serious help, Mike actually trimmed Izzy's feet. Well, one front, one get the week we will be practicing on Hunter...he is due to come home from the trainers. Mike had expressed interest in doing hooves for a while now, but it actually all came together this time....I LOVE it !

Thursday, January 15, 2009

tack room day

You know when it comes...that day you walk in your tack room, and things seem to be awry! Today I spent cleaning and sorting tack. My first job was our bridle always seemed like I could not find the right style bridle, with the right bit on, I pulled all my bridles into the house, got out all my cleaning supplies and took inventory of what bridles I had, which bits I had and cleaned them all up, and put the clean/not so often ones used in a clean bridle bag. I also found I was a bit short on the rein inventory, so when I do my annual order of horse supplies ( wormer, tack room needs, etc ) I will include at least one new set of reins. I clean my tack often, but in the winter time, I like to haul it all in the house, for a deep, deep, cleaning. The chore of sorting my tack room is not quite done, I will order my annual supply after that is done, but at least I can find a bridle and proper bit when I need it now!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

winter riding

It is SO inspiring to see all of us, out there, riding our horses, in a time of year that many folks would curl up by the fireplace and watch the embers burn. I have been riding my mare "Krinkle Clown" . She is my first choice of ride for RAC this year. Having foaled in September, she is ready now for a little work, and some dedicated on improvement for both of us. In an earlier accident, our arena mounting block is in need of a little repair. My body is not as flexible as it once was, and I decided rather than pull my mount off her feet, trying to get on, I would get on the easy way...from the fence! ( solid fence mind you ). I have taught this technique to many of my horses, it is a fast, easy way to mount, especially on our horses that tend to be a little "round"....Working with Krinkles has taught me alot of patience. She is a chestnut, a true red head, and at times can have a bit of a red head temper ( or maybe its her appy lineage? ) . I had no idea how long this task would take, but I know it is a great task for my horses to learn, so I took the time. It started off , when I would tap her on the hip, to move the hip over, she swished her tail, kicked out, fussed and carried on. She tends to fuss before slowing her mind down to actually think! I continued my work, and in about 20 minutes, I had her close enough to the fence to safely get on. A lot of rewarding was done, when ever she would attempt to understand what I wanted.
Yesterday, our task was done in just a few minutes....we also did alot of trot sessions, to work her baby belly, ( and mine ).....As soon as it is somewhat dry ( we still have lots and lots of slushy snow around ) we will head outside. Tyler, her colt, runs free in the arena with us, but today he will go in the stall instead, and I also will pony him outside haltered and minding his manners.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Hunter under saddle

For the past 5 weeks, Hunter has been in training with Nicole at This week I went and did some video of the two of them working. Nicole has advanced Hunter from a laid back guy, into a laid back guy that understands cues and direction. He has become very responsive under saddle, yet, still has his kind, quiet, unflappable attitude. He will make an excellent mount for a variety of riders. Here are video links to YouTube video I just posted of Hunter and Nicole, and a pic from the trail ride she did that day,


Wednesday, January 7, 2009

I am not new at this!

Hi folks, seeing my few blogs here may bring to the conclusion that I just starting blogging this year...but no, I have been blogging regularly for quite a while now. See my old blog at

If this does not come through as a live link, you know the drill, just cut and paste in your browser, and visit my old blog as well as this new and technically improved one!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

snow much fun!

Well I could no longer stand it! Too much lovely sunshine and too much nice white snow..I had to turn HeartBreaker out into the open pasture and let him romp in the snow, and take a few snow pics. Snow here is tough, we never seem to have good lighting, but today the sun was just here is one shot, probably my favorite of the day. He was just having a blast as shown here, I could hardly keep the camera on him. We had a great time, I got some awesome shots, and I enjoyed watching him play, he is so athletic and such a fun guy to be around.

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Hi all, this is a test! I am changing my blog from blogdrive to here for a variety of is a test!