Saturday, January 31, 2009
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 are....so, tomorrow we hit it again, same plan and another 2 horse day ;-)
Here is an "after" picture of AhD and his bubblehead owner.
Friday, January 30, 2009
There's more pictures posted over in my blog, but I don't want to make a monster post with all of them here.
Anyway, I had a lot of fun just hanging out with Sage in the pasture, and he followed me around quite eagerly the whole time I was doing my photoshoot. He seems bored without a 'job' but he's also 100% sound right now, and has been cantering beautifully around the pasture, which is a sight to see! Time will tell whether he is sound from two months off from being ridden, his recent weight loss, or what. I'm going to start riding him for 15-20 minutes soon and see how he does just carrying me at a walk. We'll get this boy sound yet!!
Hope everyone else is having a great time out in the snow or sun! I love reading everyone's posts and seeing all the pictures.
Thursday, January 29, 2009
Due to the big snowstorm yesterday, I was able to leave work early and hit the trail with AhD in the afternoon. I was very happy to be out, but AhD was definitely not. He just could not believe that we were out in ANOTHER snowstorm, and that, yes, I DID want him to trudge through deep snow AGAIN. He was very pissy about the whole thing.
About a half mile into our stop-start zig-zag ride, we scared up a deer. Much different results than our last snowstorm ride, when we stopped stock still while I ooohed and aaahhed over the beautiful animal bounding away before us as I caressed AhD's shoulder. This time, it was US that who were bounding away, leaping and careening back up the trail (yep, you guessed it, in the direction of the barn). I attempted several one-reined stops to no avail, partially because I had to pull so hard on my cute lil' hell-bent horsie's head that that the o-ring broken snaffle bit just slid right through his gaping mouth. Did I mention before that he is no dummy? I will be re-thinking THAT bitting arrangement.
Well, anyway, thanks to God for the deep snow putting the slo-mo on my pony's gyrations, I was successful in keeping my seat and eventually regaining control. We turned in a few circles and slowly made our way back down past the scary deer area and into the woods.
During the balance of the ride, AhD continued to be keyed-up.
You may think that I'd be as cranky as my pony about this ride, but I'm not. Actually, it was a very successful ride. I kept my wits, kept my seat, and kept my horse on task. BEST OF ALL, I KEPT MY NERVE. Halleluiah! Can't wait to hit the trails again this weekend.
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
January 1, 1969 - Jack Kent Cooke, owner of NHL's Lost Angeles Kings, fines each player $100 for "NOT" arguing with the referee. [How's that for competition rule changes!? I don't think we should institute that with the RAC Competition, but I suppose if it was determined to be beneficial for promoting the breed we might have to consider it. So long as we discuss the details in detail *before* utilizing it, otherwise nothing worthwhile will make it through the now mandatory arguments.]
May 16, 1969 - The birthday of the current oldest living horse in Missouri, Mr. Kid Bars. [I want to know what they have been feeding him! I can only hope my ponies live to a ripe old age, and at that rate our comparing them to real children is beginning to hold weight! Finally, a good excuse for my arguments!]
1969 is also the year that *Q.T. was born, a daughter of *Curly Q.
I wasn't personally around to experience 1969 but have heard that it involved the Beatles, Vietnam War, a guitar battle between Jimi Hendrix and Petere Townsend, John Madden took over as head coach of the Oakland Raiders, Paul McCartney got married and construction began on Walt Disney World... and that was only in the first 5 months!
I wonder if my year of RAC will be as exciting as 1969?
(btw, needless to say, I removed the date from being listed on my blog for the RAC posts. I figured what humors me might just confuse the general public. ha ha)
Erica K. Frei
Awareness In Riding
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
I was not going to do the Ride With Me on Sunday because it was so cold out. Then I read Denise's post on CurlyHaven. She is so inspiring, that I put on three layers of clothes and headed out to the barn! There was something exciting about knowing others were out there riding their curlies. I was late - I didn't go out until Denise got back, but, I figured others were probably running late too!
Mocha met me in the barn, but I really wanted to ride Billy. Mocha is kind of in a "training mode" and I knew I would not be able to stay in the cold too long.
So, on went Billy's saddle and bridle and off we went. We just rode on our property because the snowmobiles are out everywhere. We rode around the paddock for a few minutes then we headed out into the woods.
It was a great ride and did so much to lift my spirit! These COLD, dark, winter days are starting to take a toll on my well-being!!! Geez, cannot wait for spring! I am actually looking forward to mud and even bugs sound wonderful at this point!
Here are a couple pictures I snapped. The blonde dog is Dude. He was absolutely freezing, but just refused to stay out of the deep snow. He is such a great trail dog! My other trail dog, Chloe (a JRT), was in the house. She definitely would not have been able to handle the cold!
And just look at that gorgeous Curly horse - what a handsome boy! hahahahaha!!! We all think "our" Curly is the best looking, don't we?
Think Spring everyone!
Laura in Michigan
Hello everyone, I just received my beautiful pink RAC tee shirt! I will proudly wear it everywhere. It fits perfectly! Even over long johns which I'm wearing today. It's so cold here in North Texas that even the Llamas have come into the barn for a bit of warmth (and their cousins live in the high altitude Andes)
Denise - KUDOS - for being a great cheerleader for all Curlies! Thank you!
Angie and the Golden Curls in Texas
Monday, January 26, 2009
At the last minute, Robyn (Caryn's sister and a good friend of mine from HS days) decided to join Caryn (Good friend of mine from HS days and also my brother's other half, she owns Star and Zypher here) and I for the ride today. So, Robyn rode Epona (as she is my surest riding horse here), while Caryn rode Star and I rode Lyra.
When we started out it had just stopped flurrying lightly, later on it started sprinkling, but then stopped completely. Was fairly chilly, but nice, about 34F or so. I don't really consider myself to be a horse trainer, as I've done all of Epona and Lyra's saddle training myself though, it brings me enormous joy to be able to share them with other people and be able to go out and ride together.
We went for a very short "trail" ride and came back early; for more on that feel free to read my blog or go to Curly Haven's message board.
After that I worked Epona, Lyra, and Star in the field here some.
In the field I worked with Epona, Lyra, and Star on some trotting, some bending, and some canter. I know it doesn't show here, but I was pretty much grinning from ear to ear the whole time. I just love getting to ride my own ponies and do things with them. Until recently none of my horses were cantering under saddle, so this was particularly wonderful for me. Made me feel like a little kid. Next step is getting everyone else comfortable riding at a more advanced level so we can all trot and canter and do more advanced things; all in good time though, and really, all of it is fun for me. :-)
The last picture here is of Epona doing an extended trot, when I see pictures of what she is doing under me while I ride her, I am always amazed, she has incredible movement!
Brandon and I watched some Dressage clips from the Olympics last night. Every time I see some of the more advanced riders riding the extended trot, sitting to it, I am always amazed. Last night I said, wow, I wish I could actually do that rather than immediately going into posting trot. Brandon said "You can do that, just do it." Granted while riding Epona I was in the western saddle (love that thing btw, it's an old working cow/roping saddle, doesn't move on the horse's back at all and built to pull down a house) but I sat her extended trot, as well as Star's, very exciting for me! So I am glowing and ridiculously happy!!
Then today, I got to take Rhys out, he was pouting about being left behind yesterday. We did a bunch of speed and length of stride transitions, I was trying to just use my seat to accomplish all of this. I also did a lot of riding in two-point, my legs are going to be killing me tomorrow!! I had a really great time though!! I think Rhys did also and of course the dogs enjoyed getting out as well. All in all a good day.
Hope this finds everyone well.
Saturday, January 24, 2009
It makes me think about one of my favorite mentors, who would say that riding cannot be based on what it looks like from the outside, because it is all a feeling. How can you judge the relationship someone has with their husband/wife based on the external actions they make with each other? You cannot for the same reason you cannot quantify the chemistry two people may have between each other as friends, family members, or spouses unless you are one of them. Or, as my mom and Life Coach would say, stop comparing your insides to their outsides!
Which then leads me off a tangent circling back around to the Curlies again. We all know that wonderful feeling that we have when in the company with our Curly horses, and while unfamiliar onlookers may be confused and befuddled, we know the feeling. We know the addiction to Curlies! ha ha
And perhaps that is one of the keys to helping promote this wonderful breed, to pass along the feeling rather than the description. We are such an open and inviting group of equestrians and I think it quite rare to hear of someone not being asked to come and visit and see our great Curlies in person. We are naturals at helping bring people closer to the feeling aspect of a relationship with the Curlies.
I hear that the cold weather is coming again for a short stint but I already have my gear out to be cleaned and prepped for a busy spring and lots of time logged for the RAC!
Erica K. Frei
Awareness In Riding
Get a copy of my book "Centered Self, Centered Horse : A Simple Guide to Horsemanship" online today!
Friday, January 23, 2009
"I took him down the road, and we walked and gaited for quite a ways. We met our usual traffic, which is how Sunny earned yet another gold star. The same car we had seen pass on another road came up behind us, and I stopped Sunny like I normally do, and one of the two guys in it yelled, "very cool, I love it!" Sunny pinned his ears back, which is quite unusual for him- normally he loves it when people come by in a vehicle, bike, or on foot and stop to praise him. He'll prance and hold his head high- he's a very smart horse and knows it's all for him. It made me uneasy that he didn't do that this time. I waved and said thanks and we kept going. When we turned around and came back, I saw the same car parked on a cross roads pointing at us. At this point the conversation started in my head, between the rational and the paranoid (don't ask me which is which) "maybe they want to take a picture". "um, why didn't they just ask to when they had a chance for a closeup?" .. "I don't recognize them, maybe they're not from around here and lost." "yeah right." ... this happened in about the space of five seconds. Actually, it was Sunny who alerted me, because he stopped and stared in their direction when we made the turn. The car engine started, and I told Sunny, OK boy, let's go home! I didn't have to tell him twice, he leaped forward into a smooth canter and would have gone faster if I'd let him. About halfway down the road I asked him to slow, and he fought me a bit, probably because I was still super tense. This made me a little more scared, I thought, "he's never done this before, what if I can't stop him, I only have a lead rope, what if the knot comes undone, what if I slip from this pad at high speed on the road here..." a few more strides and I convinced him to slow to a gait, and then, peeking around behind me, I changed my route so the "creepy guys" didn't know where I lived. All in all I was being pretty paranoid, and everything was almost certainly fine, but I'm so glad to have another confirmation that I can trust my horse. I shuddered to think what would have happened if I was riding Koko. He's a sweetheart, but if I get tense, he gets flighty, and in the open like that he probably really would have run off. He just does that because he's super sensitive and is trying to please, but that sensitivity can backfire if I'm not careful, and I don't think I was doing a good job of hiding my nervousness from Sunny today!"
Winter riding for me is always the best....I spend time tuning and advancing my horses training, so all will go well later on, out on the trail...Krinkles ( Krinkle Clown) and I have been winter partners for 2 years now, and I am SO pleased with how far we have come. Much of our progress has been due to a change ( and real understanding about saddle fit ) in tack....I also see a more much willing attitude on her part, to think first, then react. Our arena time is just plain fun for me, and she used to hate the arena, and the work involved, now we both enjoy it. We will contiue our work, from gait transitions to lots of lateral exercises until the weather has a hint of spring in it..then we will head outside. I could not resist having one of those "rider's view" shots here though. There never seems to be any one around, when riding at home...so, my version of Krinkles and me, enjoy!
Thursday, January 22, 2009
I feel ok saying it was a gorgeous day because for the most part our weather has been nasty this month. Yes, below zero is nasty to me, all right??
I took Sunny out for a bareback ride and he was a perfect gentleman. I did the same thing Angie did with the halter and lead... but I had a little better luck, which was good, since we were out on the roads and doing some cantering! Being a teenager automatically makes everyone assume I'll be stupid so I guess it's ok to prove them right once in awhile.
I also did some groundwork with Smokey, we had a ball! He's a great horse. I put the bareback pad on him and worked the cinch up so it was tight, and he was completely cool with it. He wanted to know what I was doing every once in awhile though- I believe he thought I was nuts, especially when I began jumping and putting a little weight on it, but was too polite to tell me so.
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
First, I promise not to give the predicted temperatures in North Texas for tomorrow. My sweet sister who lives in North Carolina, where it is snowing today, was shocked when I told her our temps today were in the 70's.
Taking advantaged of this wonderful and rare sunshine this past weekend, Warrior Mead Berndt "Lakota" and I headed out for a ride. Normally, I ride English but have decided to invested in Western Tack for my husband to use when riding. After getting the new western saddle on I put on a western shank bit and bridle but Lakota was not very pleased with it. Neither was I and not wanting him to be uncomfortable I decided to just use a halter and lead rope tied as a rein. Yes, I should have known better - especially at my age!
Well, soon as I mounted I realized the saddle was too large for me and the stirrups way too long. (Yes, I should have checked them before I mounted.) So in a very "unlady" like position I tried to shorten them but in doing so the lead rope came undone and off we go, legs dangling and me half in the saddle. Through the barn and around the paddock we went - yes I think it would be called an extended trot.
All I could do was hold on to that beautiful flaxen mane and worry about his tripping on the lead rope. Lakota was a perfect gentleman! I calmly spoke to him (as calmly as I could) and he came to a smooth transition and stopped gently after a few laps around the barn. I dismounted and we shared a big smile and chuckle. He really is a smart and intuitive horse with a huge heart. I love him more each day. Oh, yes, I'm using my English tack from now on!
Angie and big warm hearted Lakota
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Heartdancing is one of my winter ground training projects. I started with clicker-type training, as he is a sensitive colt, movement oriented, and a bit leery after his weaning. Instead of a click, I used a simple "good boy" command, and he picked up on it remarkably quick. We have had just a few short sessions (3)working together - one in the round pen - and I have never had a colt "hook on" so solidly. Yesterday I was moving half the herd to another pasture, and needed to move him from his pen to the corral. I felt confident, and decided to just lead him, though he had never been led out in the open, and had only had a lead on once before. We left his pen, went through the first gate, turned to close it (he's doing just great!), past our Fjord's pen (not a problem), across to the corral, and through the gate (we are there - and not a single bobble or pull against the lead), and as I reached to pull the corral gate shut, it fell off it's top hinge! HA! That scared both of us!!! While I was putting the gate back together, Heartdancing was trying to figure out why the "scarey" lead was now dragging on the ground beside him. I left him to think about it(he was latched in the corral), as I had some other horses tied, and thought it would be a good chance for him to desensitize himself to a dragging lead - not the way I would have chosen to do it - but sometimes you just work with the moment.
It was about an hour before I got everyone moved, and I had been watching him in the corral, and noting how he had adjusted to the dragging lead. It was time to move him back. We first did some leading around the corral, for practice, and the lead was literally just draped over my finger.......Heartdancing was just so hooked on to me, that it took no pressure from the rope to guide him - forward, backward, left, right - he was doing great! So we ventured out through the crashing gate (now repaired, and not at all scary, according to my little man), back past the Fjord's pen (suprised our little hound that was sleeping in the hay), back through the second gate - turn to close it.......he did great! I was impressed, as he is not the typical "lazy" Curly that we so often see, but boy does he have potential to make a fabulous gentleman! And last but not least - I decided to do some more leading exercises in the barn pen - across logs, around trees, over poles - still leading with just one finger on the lead.......then it happened - the 11 Curlies and 4 ridiculous Chincoteague ponies that I had just moved out to the pasture behind the barn, all came galloping up to the pens - six guns a blazin'!!! My instant reaction was - get ready - he's gonna bolt, and run to the fence for a visit with his herd mates. Nope. He didn't. He never did. We kept both leading, and standing still, and he never once offered to leave my side the whole while they were running back and forth along the fence lines, whinnying and carrying on like mustangs. Did I say yet that this colt is hooked on? His training is just starting, and he is impressive. Not the beginner's horse yet, but he sure makes you feel like a good trainer! Colt's like Heartdancing are such fun to work with - and his retention has been most impressive - as there has always been at least 3 days between his sessions. Cool! I can't wait till the next one!
I have to leave for work in a moment, but got to get out with Lyra for a little over an hour. We started off working on some lightness exercises on the ground. Then we we worked on some mounted exercises on bending and trot/walk, trot/canter, canter/trot, trot/walk transitions. Lyra is great moving in a circle to the right, however she is very stiff bending to the left. I'm not sure if it stems from having her left hind stifle lock when she is out of shape or if it is just how one sided she is naturally, or what, but we did a lot of circles to the left today, still a little dizzy. Then we went out for a nice little trail ride (emphasis on little, about a mile), I worked on my core muscles going in two point most of the way. Lyra is still standing at the gate begging for an early dinner, which is not happening. I had a good time, I think she mostly had a good time also and I am looking forward to a repeat tomorrow. Her canter is incredible comfortable btw. :-)
I snuck in a little time with my gal today. I had two ideas of what I wanted to do. First I thought we would work on temperature taking. Lakota is quite resistant to the, ummm, intrusion. So I thought that would be a good ground exercise to work on, that wouldn't entail too much movement with the poor footing.
Well, color me surprised, but we were finished with that exercise in less than 10 minutes! Lakota was quite excited to see me come out to the paddock at a non-feed time, and she nickered to me. Then when I came out of the door with her halter in my hand, and my fanny-pack of treats, I got a really big nicker, because she knew then that we would be having some fun! She strolled right on over and stuffed her nose in the halter as fast as she could.
Then I wanted to take a walk in the yard. Lakota hasn't been out of the paddock since late August or early September. So before I take her out to ride, I wanted to re-walk the yard a bit so she gets re-familiarzed with things. Historically, she can get a little snorty when things are new. But not so today! She strolled right down the hill. She stopped a few times to stare and blow, but she remembered the exercises we worked on last summer. I allow her to stop and look, and then she gets a treat for relaxing her head/neck and coming back to me. So I waited for her to do so a few times and she got her reward. Then I ask her to come back to me a little sooner than she offers, by just lightly jiggling the lead. Most times all I have to do is touch it and she comes right back, but for bigger scary things it can take a bit of a larger jiggle. She's a pretty sensitive girl, so my effort is always to not over-do it with her. She is a less-is-more kinda gal.
Then one of the dogs noticed we were out, and came charging over to the fence barking. She looked but that was it. She offered to circle around me down near the garden, she remembered that in the summer we worked on my asking her to move calmly and listen to me in strange areas of the yard. So as we headed down to the garden, she offered to circle a couple of times. I did discourage this, because there is about 6 inches of snow on top of about 2 inches of ice, and its a hillside, so not a good idea.
But we did head back up to the flat area in front of the equipment barn, and she again offered to circle for me, so she walked and trotted some circles there and was quite proud of herself. She got a treat for carrying herself nicely and not moving strung out (which wsa her habit prior to working with her, likely her 25% TWH heritage).
Then I asked her to disengage her hips on both sides a handful of times, then we attempted to yield the forehand. That didn't go so well, but we'll keep working on it. Then it was time to head back up to the barn. But each time I started to walk back to the barn, Lakota would trot on ahead of me, then circle right in front of me and stop crossways in front of me so I couldn't continue walking! LOL! She didn't want to go back, despite April, Whinney, and Jen calling incessantly and beating on the gate. This happened 3 times before she finally dropped her head and moped back to the barn.
So we had a really great time, and I was just so thrilled that she remember all the things we did during the summer, even after its been so darned long since we've done anything together.
This past Sunday, January 18th was a beautiful day here in East Texas - sunny skies, moderate wind and temp around 65 (Fahrenheit). I thought it would be a perfect day to spend some time with Custer. He has been pretty much untouched since last May/June, so I wasn't sure what to expect. But he was SO happy to see me actually coming out into the pasture, with halter and brush in hand, that he met me halfway! The photo you see is of us meeting up in the pasture. Not the best pic, my daughter snapped it with her cell phone. But, you get the picture. I brushed him from head to toe, unhaltered/untied and he stood perfectly still, with the occasional "kiss" he would bestow on me. The I haltered him up and lead him around, working on stopping, backing, etc. while in hand. It ended up only being about 30 minutes, but it was so much fun and he loved it. When I was done, he followed me out, as if to say, "Wait for me Mom!".
I can't wait to spend some more quality time with him, I think he enjoys it as much as I do. It rekindled that love that I have for my "baby" (even though he's almost 4) and made me realize how much happiness he brings to me!
It's not easy to have time enough with my lovely Curlies... But this afternoon, it was nice. We had a "skygrey", and then i strolled with my "Skygrey Lady". And ground-trained the foals (very nice to count it now !)... I knew the Tellington's touchs and exercises since years and worked time to time with, but tried today the "new" TTeam with young horses, Kumo, Blueberry and Chestnut. it was interesting, specialy with Blueberry, who is not always a cool girl. But Kumo and Chestnut was more sleepy ! Kumo is a funny boy, very cool.......
Our curly herd(of four...guess that could be a herd)are loving the snow. Their coats are full and they are well equipped to keep warm during the coldest of days. We feed them extra hay when temps drop so their body can metabolize the extra hay to keep them warm. Because we work outside we know how important fuel is with respect to keeping warm!! We rarely blanket during the winter months. Blankets tend to flatten their hair so they are not able to fluff up and trap heat and keep it next to their skin.....sort of like birds and down feathers. The biggest issue for us this time of year is a thaw, rain and the chance that our guys may get soaked to the skin. If that happens, then we take measures to dry them out, keep them dry until the temperatures return to normal for winter months in Michigan. We turn our horses out everyday so they can run and play and keep things moving through their system. Fresh water is so important too! Our stall buckets and out door tank are heated. Phantom, Ron, Treat and Warrior love that!!
All for now. Stay warm. Carol B.
Monday, January 19, 2009
Lessons for the future, pony much sooner, as in when they are little tiny foals who are easily much lighter and smaller than their dams. Pony from the back of a larger horse than the one being ponied when they are just learning how to do the whole thing. Wish someone had been home with a camera, the site was quite nice when Xandra was going nicely. Will see about catching the image and sharing next time.
So, how to log today? Ground work? Ride time? A little of both? Not sure.
Hope everyone else is having a wonderful day!!
I didn't have time to work with her today, but I took these photos because the weather was so beautiful. I did a little bit of groundwork with her yesterday.
Sunday, January 18, 2009
I schooled Lyra and Star some, in another field near here. Then my good friend, Caryn, who actually owns Star and Zypher and rides with me pretty regularly had another lesson on Lyra, then we went out riding on the trails here.
What a spectacular day! I am so looking forward to having Lyra giving lessons in our upcoming lesson program. She is young, yet has this quality about her, she completely takes care of her rider, is extremely considerate, very curious, smooth, and stable (mentally as well as physically) Caryn and I were jokingly singing "Secret Aaaggeennt Lyra... Secret Aaaggeennt Lyra..." you get the idea, for a while down the trails. We encountered a few people out on the trails, Lyra made a bee line for them, dropping her head down for scratches on her forehead and shoulder and standing quietly while we discussed her and her lovely curls and about Bashkir Curlies in general (meanwhile Star was a little antsy). Lyra is such a good girl, very sane and reasonable and very, very people oriented. Star wanted to go home pretty much before we even left and for quite a while worked herself up trying to go back, nothing bad, just not relaxes either; Lyra on the other hand could care less and was perfectly thrilled to be out exploring the woods with her human partners.
Lucky for us the local cross country team uses the same trails so they were cleared of all the brush and fallen trees that came down in the recent storms and flooding. Also, as a public trail system, we have access to many people on such nice days, good experience for the Curlies to have people on their bikes, strollering their little kids, and with their barking Shelties to gain some confidence in any new situation that presents itself.
This evening we took Xandra and Zypher for a star lit walk on the trails, had three of the dogs with us, was a great experience. The horses really don't seem to care one way or another with the dogs running in and out of the woods into the trails, along side them for a time, and then off again. I plan to pony Xandra out on the trails tomorrow, not sure who I will ride, will depend on how those available feel tomorrow (Epona would be my first choice however she is laid up right now with a hoof abscess).
Friday and Saturday I worked with Lyra, Rhys, and Star also, it's been really quite nice getting out every day for schooling and riding the Curlies so regularly again.
Caryn tried riding Rhys last night, turns out he's a one rider horse, which is fine by me. Rhys is very sensitive to any movement or thoughts his rider is transmitting to him, intentionally or not, I think we might see about doing a couple of dressage events this summer, will see. He is just so light and easy, for me, to ride. For Caryn, he was a completely different story, nothing bad, he just wasn't thrilled with the whole thing and was quickly frustrated with minute mixed signals. Funny horse he is, I enjoy that so far all of my Curlies are so free and thorough (although also reasonable) with sharing their thoughts with me. :-)
Thought I'd leave off with this image, shows the frosty air well, well and Lyra being so nice about easily crossing the road to the trails. :-) I really love this mare.
Saturday, January 17, 2009
With January better than half gone, it's time to get with the program and start posting our curly adventures--not lots of exciting news to share...same as most of the country with our 3rd day of below 0 highs and wind chills in the -20 to -35 range.
However, for those who don't know of me or our business, I feel inclined to introduce you to our life--in short story form (OK short is a matter of opinion)...
I'm Lesly Goetz-Jentz. My husband Dan and I run our Big Sky Ranch in Barrington, IL. We breed curlies, ABC and ICHO. We are total "do-it-yourselfer's" so work on the ranch is never ending; we not only love it but feel blessed to live such a life! And although we are retired (LOL--someone once asked us if we've ever heard of golf) that only means we generally get to make our own hours...you're tired you sleep in, but then work past midnight to make up for it! We also manage several rental properties that we own and always have major project in the works...whether on the ranch, entrepreneurial in nature, volunteering or with family businesses.
We have two grown children; Dr Melissa Jentz-Cote (33) and Dustin Jade Goetz-Jentz (21). We are proudly involved with their lives, their businesses and schooling.
We purchased our first curly, Dream Angel, from Betsy Lirakis at Top O'The Hill Farm in 2002 and became enthralled with the Curly horse. Thanks again Betsy!
We look forward to RAC (thank you Denise for all your hard work and great ideas) to get to know other curly enthusiasts, as a motivator to not only work with our horses, but get our butts out there to help promote this phenomenal breed.
We currently have 8 curlies with a foal due in late February/early March; out of Warrior's Tahlequah (bred by Barbara Carrol of Stag Creek) and by our 4 year old curly cross stallion, Ahote, aka Target (his sire is 1/2 Arabian, 1/2 Saddlebred.)
We have a total of three up and coming curly cross stallions; two of which we plan to begin promoting this year and shipping semen next year. The third, a yearling palomino pinto, is currently on lease to Blue Moon Farms and living the complete life of luxury there!
We also have 5, 1/2 Arab, 1/2 Saddlebreds, one Appendix Quarter horse, one Anglo Arab (a movie STAR who was in the latest Batman Movie) and one NSH/Thoroughbred cross. Then there are the 16 miniature horses (AMHA and/or AMHR), 6 of whom are stallions (AMHA and AMHR.)
Add to that mix one Alpine Dairy goat (a wether-so no dairy out of him) and two cashmere goats (one doe, one wether), one male red Doberman, one male cinnamon Chow/Lab, one female Shepard/Border Collie, and the two male pups--a Collie/Shepard/Lab and a Tibetan Mastiff/Caucasian Mountain Dog/Lab (actually we haven't a clue as to his breeding except that there is NO doubt that he is of guardian dog breeding), and the two barn cats (who prefer to live in the basement since the arrival of the puppies last summer) and you can see we have quite the menagerie to keep us not only busy, but always entertained.
The first week of 2009 completely eluded us!
Between celebrating our second Christmas on January 2nd (the first was spent out of town for the first time that Dan's mother had her entire family of 4 generations together for Christmas), our son's 21st birthday on the 4th, Dan's birthday celebration on the 11th with a day in Chicago for a Broadway show and dinner, baking like crazy to bring "thank you" packages to multiple friends and neighbors, assisting in a local drive for a young family who lost everything in a fire over the holidays and the crazy weather in between....what can I say other than, "it's January 16th already?!?!?"
Everyone was blanketed early in this past week (which allowed for substantial training time for those who have never been and those who have forgotten.) I only blanket for extreme cold, wind and wet as I don't yet have sufficient run-ins to accomodate everyone. This past week gave us all of the above day after day after day.
Eivissa, our 2008 fall born weanling out of Lejonhud's Nokwisi and by Ahote has been a pleasure to do any and all business with. Once she realized that funky hot pink blanket only had intentions of keeping her toasty warm, she welcomed the procedure the second morning-and was better than some of the older horses by the third. She is such a pleasure to work with. Outgoing, inquisitive and gregarious she is quickly becoming a barn favorite.
Matte, our two year old filly out of Lejonhud's Nokwisi and by Mead's Chocolate Chip is also a true sweetie and quick learner. Unfortunately she is stalled in the extra large foaling pen with two red heads (the "Sergeant's" for those of you familiar with Klaus Ferdinand Hempfling's What Horses Reveal --a three year old NSH filly and four year old NSH gelding--full siblings) who freak at the sight of a turnout blanket....every time they see it...although pulling one into their stall and stamping and chewing on the same blanket is totally acceptable! Matte trys so hard not to follow their antics, and with a calm voice she will choose to stand to be blanketed.
Hatu (Warrior's Talequah) which is Utah spelled backwards (we purchased her from a party in Utah, who had purchased her from Stag Creek) is a little hormonal and uncomfortable with 4-6 week left on her pregnancy and has never been blanketed was a very good gal. Apprehansive at first, but after several attempts to find the best fitting blanket for her, she is now acting like a pro at standing...and we will keep this or similar activities up to insure that behavior.Ahote and Mac have had enough work ground work that accepting a blanket was child's play.
Needless to say, the process of blanketing 15 horses and some of the minis takes a good deal of time! Many of the older horses get cranky with the antics of the younger ones, as they are anxious to get their blankets on and out the door, so don't always behave as pros. Either way, I love the entire learning process (for both myself and the horses) as there is never a dull moment.
No one has left the barn since Wednesday just shy of midnight when the temps began plummeting to double digits below zero, without the wind chill, and a very wet snowfall.
Fortunately the 15 horses, 16 minis and 3 goats have managed to keep the barn temp at a balmy 38-40 degrees....we are almost at maximum capacity!
This extensive barn time has allowed for more basic training with everyone-from working on picking up hooves on the younger models (unfortunately the farrier has canceled due to the weather 4 weeks in a row; fortunately they should be well versed in standing on 3 legs by his hopeful arrival this coming week--or make a liar out of me!:~), backing, bending, stepping forward, pivoting, giving to pressure, dropping their head etc. I'll spare you all the details...but we are spending a great deal of time on individual progress so this nasty weather is actually a blessing in disguise.
Looks like tomorrows weather will allow for blanketing and turnout...and stipping stalls! Hopefully I can get some nice photos of any work we might accomplish.
All and all, not a very exciting week at the ranch, but a time consuming challenge for me and some of the horses all the same! In mentioning time consuming...trying to figure out how to post this blog without using the invite was a time-tiring nightmare. THANK YOU DENISE for coming to my rescue!
Perhaps this coming week will allow for some riding time...I'm keeping my hopes high for all of us stuck in this Arctic blast!
Friday, January 16, 2009
Although I mostly despite the winter cold, for more reasons than just the fact that you can feel almost nothing discernible other than the onset of frostbite or hypothermia, at least in these temperatures... there are some admirable qualities that have come to mind for me.
1) Play Time - I know it isn't just my horses who rush about in a panic of play in this cold weather, partly because there is little else to do with no grass peeking out through the hard packed ice and snow and in an effort to stay warmer than they would standing about waiting for spring time. I'm always entertained by their frisky personalities as they gallop from one end of the field to the other, sometimes alone, usually with friends. Or as they playfully bite, buck, kick, rear and wrastle with each other (and yes, I did just type wrastle..). It even encourages the old men in my pasture (namely my Paso Fino, and very first horse, Jerry) to kick his habit of grumping at the youngsters and kick up his own heels between play-fight trysts with those same adolescents.
2) Being Yourself - There is no use in trying to play the fashionista part, it is pointless to gussy up your hair because it will soon be ruined by a combination of your winter hat + static cling. So, winter is a great time to embrace the true you, the rough and sometimes tumble equestrian, horseback rider, equine connosoirre. My horses get to play the same game. They are all wooly and perhaps weedy in their grooming. As best as I might try to keep them purty in the winter, it generally comes down to genetics and their ability to stay clean by rolling in the snow that I rely upon. At least the winter we get a repreive from burdock in their manes and tails, and of course those lovely mud baths they do so enjoy the rest of the year!
3) Catch Up - Catch up and make up... winter gives me the chance to do what I have been putting off all summer thanks to my wonderful horses who distract me to no end, and a time when I can start planning out events and occasions for just such a distraction in the coming year. Of course there is also lots of tack to clean up and why not do it indoors when it is too cold outside?
4) I didn't have a title for this one, but one of my favorite things about the winter is the opportunity to catch up with great friends, explore new adventures that are not directly horse related, read a few good books, watch a couple memorable movies, and contemplate just what it is that I want to achieve for myself and with my horses. Winter also gives me a wonderful chance to realize that horses are and always will be my biggest passion in life, and every day that is too cold to ride is one day too many.
Erica K. Frei
Awareness In Riding
Author of "Centered Self, Centered Horse : A Simple Guide to Horsemanship"
Anyway, what I have been doing is spending my feeding time doing small tasks. This is especially important for *Jack (rising 4), *Leo (rising 2) and *Babe (pregnant but touchy). It may only amount to 5 minutes per feeding time (10 per day), but hey, in 6 days that's an hour!
So, I write it on the wall calendar and then when I've got an hour of time, total, I log it and record the days. Sometimes I really only do 5 minutes with a horse, instead of 10, so I note that as well.
With *Jack he already knows lots of little things, so I work on refining. Lifting feet more quietly, letting me rub his sheath without moving away, walking next to me without trying to "round me up" but cutting in front of me (lol). We do all of this at liberty.
On *Leo I really concentrate with lifting his feet, but also in respecting space. He is a "typical" young goof-ball baby stallion and thinks everyone is a playmate. He is exuberant and happy so wants everyone to play...and how does he ask? Yep, a nip; so we work on that ALLOT!
I also do de-spooking exercises with them by bringing in odd items for them to examine and have rubbed all over their bodies. I'm fascinated by the different temperments of these two. *Jack is normally laid back and attentive; bringing something new in results in a wicked SNORT and several steps backwards until he has time to ponder it and come to it on his terms. *Leo is bouncy, flighty, and STOIC. He is one to freeze (if he hasn't taken off). It takes one or two times with a new object and he becomes "ho-hum"; but he will freeze first. I would think he would be one that could explode if he hasn't been given the time to become ho-hum. Something for me to be watchful of as we progress.
With *Babe I am primarily working on approach and retreat of that udder. She doesn't appreciate titty-tickles whereas both *Walker and *Glory always loved them (as in spread their legs wider to I could get to all their spots, lol!). I tell *Babe she is getting "effleurage" for her pregnant belly while I rub her. Once I feel confident that she will allow me more liberty with her body, I will do some withOUT her eatting! And don't think that I haven't handled her before; but she quickly reverts to the "don't touch me there" behavior if not handled many times per week (I've learned to my chagrin).
So this is how I manage a bit of ground-training into my busy schedule. Once we've warmed back up (-30F this morning) I hope to do a bit more lengthy things on the week-ends.
Thursday, January 15, 2009
Well I have been out working with the babies but haven't put them on the log...I am not sure if 20 mins to a half hour is ok to log....I don't work long with the babies at a time so thought I would ask...I am new to this. I was thinking about a week or so ago that I might brave the winter weather and have a ride on Destiny, then the temps went into the toilet...we are -20 with a wind chill putting us at -37 or -40 right now. I think I will wait. I am so ready for spring and working with the horses.....this will be so much fun!!! Jackie
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
While it's been terrible out weather wise I've been reading "Lessons in Lightness" by Mark Russell with Andrea W. Steele. I highly recommend it. I started today's adventures with a little ground work with Epona and Rhys utilizing some lessons from this book. I then did a little bending and collecting work (not much, the ground here is still terrible) before heading out for a nice trail ride. What a day!! Sadly the camera is at the camera Dr's so no pictures :-(.
I have to say Rhys is my favorite riding horse to date. Not sure how to explain it, but it feels like our bodies mesh the best of any horse I've ever been on. Not saying all my other horses don't have amazing gaits, just that well, Rhys's gaits are so crisp and clear and easy for Me to follow. He also seems to really enjoy going out riding with me, which is nice. He is like a sponge under saddle picking all sorts of things up and just doing them before I'm even aware I gave the cue for what I was thinking, he is doing it. He's just an incredible riding partner, I'm really looking forward to seeing what all we can accomplish together, I'm pretty sure the sky is the limit with him.
Later tonight and/or tomorrow morning I'll take Star and Lyra out, need to remember not to wear jeans next time, little uncomfortable.
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
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.
Enjoy your day ~
Monday, January 12, 2009
Sunday, January 11, 2009
And of course Murray (*Mocha's Java Junky) got worked with too. He's an old hand at the saddling and lunging stuff. He's going off to a trainer in March to learn to be a trail horse.
I look forward to reading about everybody's adventures with their curlies.
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