Saturday, February 28, 2009

"Ride with Me" Sunday?

Hi Everyone!

I promised I would announce the next "ride with me" adventure here on the blog. I'll be honest, I NEED a pick me up! I have not ridden Reese in FOUR weeks. *gasp!* Today, I trimmed his hooves, did his dermal aid treatment and trimmed his bridle path and if this horse could hug, let me tell you, he would have! He followed me around and would not leave my side. I felt so guilty! Gosh, I miss spending time with him. 

SO, tomorrow I am planning a ride and you are welcome to join me via cyberspace! I have to do something to get me jump started again, even if it is riding bareback in the corral like I did today. Our snow is 2 feet deep on the trails now and very hard going. But just maybe we can clear a bit of it if I go slow. At any rate, I was hoping you all might need a little perk in your day too...a little motivation. I am sure you must have better weather than we do! It was -14 here last night. A high of 8 tomorrow, but I think I can handle a short ride.

Anyone game?? Let's say 2:00 EST like before. That seemed to work for many of you.
If you want to ride, come back and report what you did here. It'll be fun to know there are others riding at the same time across the country. Sophie, (in France) please join us too!!!

Denise Conroy 

Would you believe it has been a month since I last posted. I have been riding a few times these past 2 months. I never thought I would ride during winter but I have given it a try and . . . . . I like it! I took my mare Whinnie out into the pasture to get her used to being away from my other 2 horses and she did okay. The first time I rode her away from the pen, I forgot to lock the gate and the other 2 came running up and they were bucking and playing. Whinnie wanted to join them but we held it together. I did get off and walk back with her after going a little ways with them playing. I do like the curly personality because they are very trusting. I could have kept going but what if??? Any ways, I locked the other two up again and went on my way and we did fine.

Just this week Whinnie and I went out riding and we are working on trotting and circles. I took her into a different pasture where she can't see the others and we worked for an hour. I was wanting to canter but I decided not to after she got shook by a motorcycle that stopped on the corner by my house. She sees them all of the time driving by but not while under saddle. When I first had her trained, all of the riding we have done is down on the local state park trails.

By the way, would you believe the southeast part of South Dakota had beautiful weather and we melted all of our snow over these past few weeks. Of course, we just got rain (ice) on thursday and snow on friday. There goes anymore riding for awhile. It is way to slippery out there to make it worthwhile. Good luck to everyone in the RAC program this year!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Dolly Update: Hooves

I have yet to find a new farrier for Dolly. My "usual" farrier stood me up on two different occasions now, once for over 2 weeks and still never showed! So my husband and I decided to put out nippers, a rasp, and a hoof knife and give it a try.

Just doing the front hooves took our ENTIRE SUNDAY. And we still haven't quite finished them. I'm going to have to try to find a new farrier. I only hope that we haven't done such a horrible job that she goes lame or something.

And we also tried sled-jouring again! This time, I put the chest strap on for pulling the sled, and a saddle so that I could try riding Dolly. My husband had to get out of the sled to take this photo... he was glad, though, because he'd nearly frozen his legs off at this point.

Resolving Blogger Account Issues

Hi Everyone!

Sorry for the interruption. It seems some of you are having issues with the blogger account. Some with posting, while others with commenting as well. To be sure that no one gets frustrated or decides to not post at all, I have created a page on my website for those wishing to post/comment the old way. It is very, very easy - and in fact, you can upload a photo to your comment now as well. No account is necessary if you select "guest." - so give it a try if you need to. 

This link will be added to the directory at your right so you can check it everytime you pop in. ;-)

I appreciate knowing any issues you are having at all, so don't hesitate to contact me okay?

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Cheyene & his family @ the show!

**This was reposted by Denise due to trouble loading photos**

Chy and his New family had an absolutely FABULOUS day!!!!!
Molly was Grand Champion in Wall/Trot, Tucker Reserve Grand Champion in beginner Eqt-first time competitively jumping and (drum roll please) Deirdre and Chy came in First place in Bareback cross rails and second on the flat-I did not do the 2' course 'cause Tom is in Australia and he didn't want to come home early if i hurt myself!!! Anyway a great day was had by all-Nina gave me the judges score card for my jumping round and it was perfect and the judge wrote GREAT!!!!!! on it in big letters with exclamation points!! And I was competing against the best riders at our barn!! Nina went crazy with everyone asking her Curly questions-she said everyone at the Show wants a Curly now-HA!!! What a GREAT ambassador of the Breed Chy is! 

~Deirdre, Molly and Tucker, New York - Cheyene's New Owners
***This was reposted by Denise due to trouble loading photos**

Sunday, February 22, 2009


Today I decided to Finally jump Rhys. I haven't had a jumping partner of my own in several years, I haven't actually jumped at all in about 2 or 3 years, so my form is a little rusty. That said, Rhys did beautifully!!, I was so thrilled with him!! He trotted over the lower jumps, so this one is 2' and then about 3' high, what a rush!! He seemed eager to do more, but I wanted to end on a positive note. Needless to say, I think I've got my jumping partner!! Such a fabulous day!!

Late Day Ride

Early this afternoon, I headed out to the barn anticipating a ride. I changed my mind after two spooks before I even got AhD into the barn to tack up! He was bent out of shape about the snow falling off of the barn roof I guess, so I changed my plans and went snowshoeing with the dogs. Still...knowing a big nor'easter is headed our way tonight, I figured today may be my last chance to ride for quite a while. Back out to the barn I headed, to retrieve my pony from his cozy stall and hay-loaded manger. Just as I suspected, eating peacefully in his stall for a few hours did wonders for his attitude. I had a hankering for a change, and saddled him up English. No pretty pink or blue saddle blanket, but he is still a handsome devil!
Once on the road, AhD did one of those all-over shakes to rattle my bones. He must have felt dusty or something.
We scared up that same big deer on the trail. AhD decided that he was frightened of it today. I convinced him we were continuing on anyway.
On the way home, after being a fairly good boy, the wind must have changed direction or something. Ooops, pinned back ears and then a small bolt. Just because, I guess. I felt comfortable in my seat, and those ears had given me a great heads-up, so no worries. My English saddle isn't the most comfortable thing, but it has a narrow twist to it and allows me to have so much more leg contact than my Western or Australian. I made AhD go back and forth along that stretch of trail a few times. Just because, I guess. :) I am thankful to have made it out for a nice ride today before we get whalloped again with a storm, and I'm truly blessed and thankful to have a wonderful Curly such as AhD as a riding partner.

Nothing Cuter than Kids and Curlies !

This past week in our area was mid winter break for the schools. Here in Springfield there is an out of school time program called LEAP, which stands for Learning Enrichment After-school Program. This program collaborated with Dream On Curls Riding Center to offer a horseback riding experience for children from kindergarten through fifth grade. They came in two groups~ one in the morning, one in the afternoon with 4 participants at a time. Many of the children had never been around a horse only having seen one from car window or maybe when someone rode by their house. Never before having been around a horse they learned all the steps in proper horsemanship-grooming, leading, and of course a chance to ride.

Many of the children come from unstable home environments or suffer from learning disabilities so having the opportunity to participate in something outdoors, active, fun, educational and rewarding is important and the memories will last a lifetime. When each group arrived, they received their ground rules for the time spent. Then they began learning the steps to grooming a horse. This gave them a chance to not only get a great upper body work out but also become familiar with their mounts. For each group we had 2 horses at a time. Curious as children can be, they asked a lot of questions and began learning some of the body language a horse uses to communicate. The kids, especially the older bunch, began to realize that much of the non verbal communication is the same as theirs.

After a thorough brushing it was time to learn about leading a horse. While this may seem like a simple task for horse owners, this really requires the person to think about body space, personal space and planning ahead for turns. When leading, you not only have yourself to think about but also a large animal that may not be able to turn as sharply as you can. The kids learned all the proper etiquette for leading such as keeping the head at your shoulder, not allowing the horse to fall behind or get ahead. The participants needed to take the horse through small obstacle courses around the arena to encourage them to work with the horse and think ahead in their task.

After the leading practice, time to mount and ride ! First all the riders were fitted with helmets. Two participants rode at a time, while the other two waited patiently for their turn. Each group was respectful in taking turns without any complaining about waiting. For anyone who has worked with kids this in itself was impressive. Some were initially nervous on horse back, which is alright since it is such as big animal and they are up so high. After once or twice around the ring all were ready to try their hands at steering a horse. Some were even able to go on their own without the lead-line attached. The kids navigated through a “trail” course or had games such as dropping something into a hoop. This gave them a goal or something to think about which took away from any nerves they may have had. It also began teaching them some of the basics about horse back riding such as steering, planning ahead, looking ahead, and working together towards a common goal.

At the end it was time to un-tack and brush their mounts as a thank you. This time was spent talking about how much fun they had and that they were ready to come back again. Through the rewarding opportunity many budding horse people were born. Seeing the smiles and hearing the laughter helped to take away any winter blues we had left ! We were able to snap plenty of great photo's. You can see lots of those here on you tube. It might be a little long- but we didn't want to leave any rider out ! They all did so great ~ and the Curlies again showed themselves to be patient, steady and dependable. Because of the audio choice on the video, it is blocked in some countries but available for all the US viewers. By the way- if you download the iGive toolbar for your internet searches, iGIve will donate one penny for every search toward our scholarship fund 2 cents during the month of February ! It mounts up quickly.

Enjoy your day ~

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Dolly Update: Sled jouring

It snowed all night. husband and I tried sled-jouring with Dolly this evening! I had no camera on me, unfortunately.

When Dolly and the other horses saw us pull into the driveway, they ran around, playing and kicking at each other. I wondered if Dolly would be able to settle enough to try the sled-jouring. We took her out and my husband walked and trotted her around (the ground is a little slick beneath the snow in places, so we had to take it easy) while I tried to figure out the equipment (a harness for pulling carts) I'd borrowed from someone just five minutes earlier.

Dolly was respectful and attentive. So I put the harness on her, including the tail strap (incorrect terminology, sorry) and walked her around again. She didn't even kick or give it strange looks (several years back, I had hooked her up to this harness and walked her around with driving lines, and she had offered a few kicks to the under-tail strap).

So I introduced Dolly to the sled. It was just a cheapo plastic sled. She gave it some weird looks. I did desensitizing work with her. It took about five minutes before she didn't care when I rubbed it all over her body and pulled it all around her on the ground. I hooked it up to her and my husband walked her forward in a straight line. She didn't care that she was now dragging something behind her. We did this for a minute, and then added a small weight to the sled. She didn't care. We did that for a couple of minutes. I got in the sled and my husband walked Dolly forward. I saw her ears flick in my direction, but she just dug in and pulled me right along. That was that. We went all around, walking, trotting, up and down some tiny hills, and along the driveway. When the sled hit some ice and made a different sound, she tensed up for a moment, but then relaxed again and kept on going. We switched and I led Dolly and we pulled my husband, who weighs more than me. She dug right in again. In fact, when I asked her to trot she started prancing a little bit and tossing her head playfully. She was enjoying herself!

It was fun! Then one of the leather straps broke... oops. It was pretty old and cracked so it wasn't a huge surprise, but now I need to find a replacement strap since I was borrowing this equipment...

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Dolly Update

I visited Dolly on Monday. I did some ground work with her and she did very well. She listened to me and was very respectful. I took out the camera, but she wasn't too pleased about that (note her expression in the photo).

After we finished with groundwork, I tied her up to something so that I could scrape more of the snow and ice out of her hooves (due to the weather, every step she took was causing those giant snow-ice balls to form in her hooves). She put her nose to the ground while I was distracted for a moment with a phone call (cellphone, so I was standing right there). She got her leadrope stuck to something several inches from the ground. She pulled hard against it, and I could tell that she was starting to panic. But when I reached down for the leadrope to unhook it from her halter, she actually leaned her head toward my hand/the object slightly, giving those few inches of rope some slack. What a good girl! The latch is a safety latch, so it shouldn't have needed that slack, but it's pretty worn and rough so the slack was good to have. I got her unhooked and she lifted her head and stood there. That was that.

Monday, Monda, pics!

OK gals, here are the pics to go with my "Monday, Monday" post....blogger was being cruel to me yesterday, and would not post pics for me....but today is another day, and here are the girls and Krinkle Clown...and of course, "youngster in the way" Tyler....isn't it about weaning time yet? LOL...

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Video of Chy and his new home

Ok this could be dangerous-I have figured this out and it is fun!!  As promised here is a little video I made as a thank you to Tracy and Denise for selling us their precious Chy-it gives them an idea of what his life is like here in New York and how much he is loved!!  Most of the pictures are of Chy and Molly, a couple of me competing in my first show in 30 years-I don't look too great but I did take the blue ribbon in my first class and was high for a month after I was so thrilled!!  There are just a couple of bad shots of my Son Tucker, they don't do him or Chy justice-I just purchased a new camera and will take some new pics of them together and replace.  You will also see a couple of shots with the handicapped folks Chy and I work with-he is a busy boy and loving every minute of it! 

Chy is a real favorite here at our barn-When Tracy was 16 she taught him to be ridden bareback and bridleless, one of our little girls here, Cheryl, contacted Tracy and learned her cues and now has a ball riding him totally nude!!!  My learning to jump bareback is my prelude to learning to ride him naked as well-I may be a little nuts, most of the 49 year old gals that I ride with are strictly dressage, but I am determined to do it and to ride Chy in a Hunt before I turn 50!  I have a lot of lost time to make up for.

Monday, Monday, so good to me!

Monday, good to me! That old song keeps running through my head! Monday morning I had the pleasure of having some visitors here. Our neighbor "Alice" and her visiting sister "Ann" came over for a visit with the horses and a little surprise for Ann.

Last week Alice had asked if, when Ann was here visiting her for a few days, if...we could go riding. Ann had not been on a horse in years, and Alice thought it would be a very special sisterly gift, to book a ride for her on one of my horses. When Alice told Ann of the plan, a day ahead of our ride, Ann said an emphatic NO !!! after all, she was out of riding shape, and had not been on a horse in 15+ years.....ahhhh, all the more reason to go for a ride IMO...LOL

So, they came over, and I saddled my trusty steed "Krinkle Clown" for the gals to ride. Krinkles is a saint in many ways, but she is not a pushover, and if you do not ride with your legs, she will let you know in a very big hurry. I am sure as a young horse, the riders hung on her mouth. I warmed Krinkles up, and turned the reins over to Ann. The ear to ear grin on Ann's face was priceless! She enjoyed this quiet, sensible mount, that was willing to share a moment in time with Ann. She rode for quite a while, in the arena and outside the arena...we are somewhat limited with Krinkles as she still has her fall colt nursing on her, so we limited the riding area close to where Tyler was at.

After Ann's ride Alice took a ride too... Alice had brought her digital, but alas the batteries were I got all the pics ;-)
Hello all-this is my first time blogging-hope I am doing this correctly!!  I have really enjoyed reading all your entries.  As many of you know I purchased Denise's  daughter, Tracy's horse Cheyene last Spring.  What a joy he has been for us and such a wonderful addition to our family!! He has been my greatest teacher!  Aside from myself my 7 year old Molly and my 13 year old son Tucker also enjoy riding and spending time at the barn .

One of my goals is to jump and compete bareback.  This past weekend I jumped a course for the first time and my trainer wants me to compete this Sunday in our show-I am a bit nervous, especially because I do usually ride with a pad and they are not allowed in the competition.  The class consists of flatwork, cross rails, and 2' jumps.  I will try to upload the video of my first go round here and would appreciate any tips you all may have to offer!  I will be competing with the best little riders in the barn-all teenagers-which is also daunting-I really am only competing against myself and really want to do it for the experience.  Yea-it worked!!  I will post this and then set to work on one more video of our family and Chy.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


Hello all fellow RACers!

On Feb 7th we took 2 of our curlies, *Rush River Slash and * Starbred Red aka Ruger to a local Ag Day. We were not only the only curly horses there, but the only horses!

Our boys got tons of attention and loved every minute of it!

We had also planned on taking at least one of our weanling boys, but they were so dirty and it was way too cold to give them a bath so we decided to wait until another time to show them off!

We started the day off by me staying up all night working on our Curly Horse board, which is a trifold board that has a digital photo viewer in the center and I made up several info sheets that I put in clear holders and put on the board with several pictures (thanks to all of you who told me I could take photos off your sites and those who emailed me picts I used a ton). Then at 4 a.m. hubby got up and did his job so that he could take the day off to work with me and talk to folks about our awesome horses! At 8 we loaded up and left for the fair grounds.

Once we arrived we set up our pens and our board on a table and brought the boys in! Boy were they a HIT!!

It amazes me how many folks have never heard about curly horses and how many of those who have have such horrible misconceptions about them. I think our boys did an awesome job of representing the breed as well as their respective bloodlines (*Slash is Fredell lined and Ruger is Warrior lined). Both boys were well behaved and totally enjoyed all the attention! Not so sure they enjoyed the Yakks next to them, they sure kept Slash's interest!!! LOL!

Just before lunch Dominic and Jordan came up to help! That made it nice, that put 3 of us answering questions and showing things about our horses and of course Dominic garnered his share of interest by telling about "his" horse (Dundee who we didn't have up there)!

The misconceptions about stallions amazed me almost as much as those about the curlies! Every time I turned around there was another small child climbing up on Slash's fence and he was loving them all up! When a parent would overhear me talking about my 13 yr old stallion they would ask where he was and when I said, "this is him" immediately the children would be taken off the fence....poor Slash had no idea why his new friends were leaving him.

The local paper took lots of pictures of my hubby (Fred) helping the kids to feed the boys treats (none of these made the paper). When the article was printed we were given 3 whole paragraphs! Whoo hoo!!

We have 4 local people interested in breeding their mares to Slash from this little adventure.

We learned a lot. I learned that I need better answers when I am questioned about my horses, especially the origin of the curly and what breed they come from. I also learned that you never go to anything like this w/o some sort of business card or flyer, so I am creating flyers that I can do on my computer (to keep costs down), I also plan to invest in a couple of banners that have my "farm" name on them and am having my son make a few wooden plaques with horses names on them as we know that Slash will always go and probably Ruger and I will have him do a few of the other horses names up.

This was our very first event and we are planning on doing at least 3 more this year, hopefully 4 or 5 if we can get the time away from hubbys job!!!

We are also going to join the back country horsemen and use our horses to demonstrate how to pack a horse and how to tack a horse up......might as well use our curlies to show how versatile they are and that they are just like any other horse!

One question that almost stunned me was "Do these horses get sore when you ride?" That one really threw me for a minute, until it was clarified that "because of the long hair, don't they get sore?" Not to my knowledge! I also got asked right off the bat how long it took me to curl their manes! LOL!!! I told them, "Not as long as it took to curl my hair!"

Well, my next post will be about working with my weanlings as I am trying to do so at least 3 times a week or more!!

I will add pictures to this at a later time.

I would like all of you to see the board we use as it might give those who are doing demos some ideas....I originally got my idea from Terry and to it I added the photo viewer!
This is our board! All of the pink pages and most of the picts are on with velcro so they can be taken off and kept in an envelope to be used again! All picts are in 4x6 photo holders that I actually took out of the little albums you can get at walmart in the photo dept.

I'm Baaaack -- I'm Back in the Saddle Again!


I haven't ridden since September. In case you can't count too well, that's FIVE months!

I only worked until 12:45 today, rushed home and had a quick lunch. It was around 35F and sunny with NO wind, which we've had for about a week now, so it was a gorgeous day. I headed out to see my girl, Lakota. I did not, unfortunately, have my camera with me.

The roundpen is muddy, with deep holes from frost heaves with the constant freeze/thaw thing that has been going on for about 2 weeks. The paddock didn't look too bad though, with hooves pounding them all down. I decided to just toss on the Bareback Pad and Bitless and head into the lower grassy section of the paddock. I figured its been so long since we've doing anything, I thought it would be a good idea to stay in the paddock, plus there was the whole mud issue.

I lead Lakota up to a rock, that was about literally 3 inches wide and 6 inches long, but tall sticking out of the ground. She lined right up like a good girl, she'll line up to just about anything now. And then she stands quietly while I zipper my bag, turn it to the side, and try to figure out how far I have to jump to get on her. Admittedly, it does take awhile, she's so patient. So I ungracefully lept -- and slammed into her side with a big - huh! Ooops, sorry girl. The next time I managed to get more air and belly over so I could scramble up.

So Lakota and I walked back and forth for about half hour, while the little yellow demon ran around snatching as much dead grass as she could stuff in her little face. Lakota did quite well considering we have mostly only ridden in the roundpen, where it is relatively flat (its all relative around here, nothing is flat, not even the house, anything dropped that is round all ends up in one corner of the house). She really wasn't a fan of carrying me through the mud, she doesnt' like to slip at all with me on board, which is OK by me. So we used the higher side and Lakota did mind my leg mostly when I asked her to yield around the filled-in sinkhole. She got a little upset a couple of times, onced when she slipped which wasn't so bad, her head just came up a bit and she got a little rushy, but she settled right down again when I said "easy, it's OK" (which seems to be my default not-thinking thing to say when they get nervous). The other time she got upset, spooked and squirted forward is when that little yellow demon squeezed between us and a 4 foot high ledge outcropping, which her fat gut caught my boot and twisted my foot around backwards, likely goosing poor Lakota in the ribs. We did OK though, she setled right back down and I did not lose my seat, despite being only on the Bareback Pad, and on the side of a somewhat slick hill with tons of rocks.

The footing was getting a little slick so I thought about it a bit and decided to ride in the upper dirt area where the girls are fed daily. So I dismounted, brought Lakota out, and remounted without incident. She was a little confused "now what?". I just asked her to walk-on, which she did, which is great, because forward can be a little sticky sometimes. The first time by the gate to the steeeep hill "upper paddock", which is where we rode the last time, only once, way back in September, she stopped and looked up the hill. I asked for foreward again (straight), and she wanted to veer up the hill. There was no way I could sit on her, over that horrible rubble which is like something out of those Tevis photos you see, up that steep hill, in a bareback pad on a fat out of shape mare (not to mention my condition!).

We avoided that, and did a couple of laps. And on the way by Jen (as April continued to gnosh) Jen flattened her ears, threatened to kick and made a really nasty snaky face. Lakota is Alpha Mare, but it seems that when I'm riding, Jen gets nasty toward her. I really have no idea why, but this is not the first time she did this. I hollered at Jen, which upset Lakota, but she did OK (she hates it when I yell at the other horses, although two of them really tend to deserve it often, Jen and Whinney). Jen continued to be obnoxious, so we decided to call it a day. All-in-all, I think we had a great little ride, and judging by Lakota wanting to hang out with me afterward, I think she did, too.

Maine-ly FUN!

Valentines Day was family time, not riding time for me, and AhD enjoyed loving it up with my 3 year old niece Layla. We are grooming her to be our riding partner in about 10 years or so.

Sunday's ride was short but sweet. Since AhD is becoming more dog-tolerant ~ it even seemed he enjoyed the company!? ~ I let my bravest Lab Grace accompany us on on our same old "Jason's Loop" trail. The weather was gorgeous! After my ride, my to-be-riding-buddies in Acadia National Park this fall, Sue S and Ulla, visited, and AhD was pleased to be a Curly Ambassador to them. Sue S, who had never seen a Curly in person, was impressed with all of AhD's wonderful attributes, and I was proud of my boy! On Monday, after all the horsie talk on Sunday and after re-reading with great interest Betsy's blogs about "trotting briskly" down the road, I was pining for the same. After starting the ride on Jason's Loop with Grace along, I came back to the barn and gave AhD a Dermal Aid beauty treatment, and then we headed up the road to Back Street for Part II of our ride. It was super seeing the sights I had been missing since last October, and we had our brisk trot and canter on a packed snowmobile trail. We passed a yappy Chihuahua, (ok, I'm a dog lover, but IS there any other kind??), a defensive barking chocolate Lab (Ok,OK, yes the Labs bark too...) and some twirly, shiny deer guards with no problems. What an enjoyable day for both of us. I just love it when AhD seems to enjoy our outings as much as I do.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Round Pen Work & Play w/Custer

What beautiful weather we had in East Texas over the weekend! Sunday's seem to be my free time days, so my husband and I decided to "play" with Custer for a bit yesterday. He's so much fun! We started by calling him up from the pasture (he's turned out in about a 10 acre field with a quarter horse of ours) and he always comes up right away. He came up, nuzzling me and curious about the camera, as always. ( I did video of him with the camera, so I'll try to post that later.)

First, we give him a good loving rub down, from head to tail, which he absolutely loves and doesn't like you to stop. So he'll nudge you for more. Then once we got him haltered up, we led him into the round pen and took the lead rope off. On cue, he started lunging to the right, starting at a trot, then up to a smooth as silk lope. He is just beautiful to watch and is always so willing to please. Then we made him change directions and go to the left, which he doesn't seem to be as enthused about, but he tried. He is so watchful, the minute you drop your hand down (from pointing in the direction you want him to go), he slows, waiting for the "Whoa" command. Then when it comes, he stops and turns to face you (as he should). What a smart boy!

We played for only 30-45 minutes, but he loved the attention. As we unhaltered him and opened up the round pen for him to walk out, he took off running as fast as he could, kicking his back legs into the air in all his friskiness.

As the days grow longer and warmer here (we're fair weather riders) - next we'll be saddling up and lunging with the saddle, then I'll start riding him again. All things come to those who wait!


There are many people on this list who already have been introduced to Mocha in one way or another. But, could everyone just humor me and act like this is the first time you have seen him :-)

This is Mocha. He is a gelding that we have been fostering at our home since October. And, he has snuck his way right into our hearts!! We are fostering him through the Curly Horse Rescue. Just last month, I applied to ADOPT Mocha. So, hopefully he will become a permanent fixutre on our property.

As you can tell from this particular picture, Mocha is VERY serious!! Actually, this is after our ride, so he is VERY tired. And, yes, I know, in desperate need of a bath and Denise's mane care. But, the Michigan weather has not been very good for bathing.

It seems my riding lately has not been very well planned. It has just been a spur of the moment thing. Like, I am in the middle of doing laundry and I say "I am going to go ride." So, while I am putting the clothes in the dryer I am putting on my boots and hat. But, this is okay with me because sometimes I can get myself geeked up anticipating a ride.

We have been working alot with Mocha on basically just walking when we ask him too. He seems to get "stuck." So, after saddling this GIANT beast at 15+ hands, I decided that was what my goal would be for this ride. (Someone please tell me what the attraction is to tall horses??? Very scary!!) We played some games on the ground and he was very responsive, so I just knew it would be a great ride.

And what a ride!! He broke into a walk almost every time I asked with no hesitation. Only twice did I have to tap him on the bum with a savvy string. Mocha was light in my hands, backed up when I asked, bent around my leg. It was amazing!! He even did the one rein stop WITH disengaging his rump at the same time. He did not mind that Dude and Chloe were bouncing around behind him. It was just a really great experience. I even got a couple strides of a trot out of him. I wish I was a showring person, because that is where this boy belongs. He is so elegant and big in his movements.

I have had a couple bad experiences with Mocha since he has been at my house. But, I am learning to trust him, just as he is learning to trust me. He always seems to give us his best and that is all we could ask of him. He is an amazing animal with a lot of history, but hopefully the best and brightest future!

My husband is concerned that I will replace Billy with Mocha. I told him that is ridiculous!! Billy is truly "my horse". I tried to explain to him that it is the best of both worlds - like having a Mercedes and a Ford truck!!

Sharing is the most fun of all!! :-)

This weekend several friends from where I work came over to meet the Curlies!! While feeding them organic carrots, petting their lush Curls, kissing noses, and in general enjoying them was nice, they wanted to ride too. Some of you may know my two most reliable riding horses, Epona and Lyra, are laid up with hoof abscesses right now. My one mare who is sound is a little fast right now, for beginners, which really only leaves Rhys, my stud horse, not typically the mount of choice for beginners either. However Rhys and I have been doing a lot together lately and he has been such a remarkable partner, I thought we'd try. Last weekend he gave my friend Caryn, my nine year old niece, Shaylise, Shaylise's Mom, and myself on the lunge, a riding lesson and was a perfect gentleman for it all.
He did not let me down this weekend either!! What an incredible guy he is!!
Before anyone arrived I hopped on Rhys to see how he was feeling for the day, here's a pic of us just having a good time. :-)

Here's a couple pictures taken of Rhys with our guests. I just can not say enough about him!
Rhys and Rachel:

Rhys and Llaura:

After having guests ride, Brandon agreed to get on Rhys also, I love watching Brandon ride, he has such a nice, natural seat to him, I thought he and Rhys looked pretty sharp together!!

After everyone else had ridden, I thought, for fun, I'd try something with Rhys we've never done together before. When visiting one of Rhys's offspring, where Rhys actually started his training, the trainer told me she had taught Rhys to lay down. So I asked him to lay down. He did! I then rode him up and am looking forward to asking him to lay down while I'm riding! We'll see how it goes!! I'm a little nervous asking him to do it, as I don't want him to hurt himself doing what i ask. I'm going to have to teach all of my horses this trick though, talk about a handy one!!

And lastly, I got to ride with my brother, Ryan, which happens about as infrequently as getting my partner, Brandon, on a horse. Amusingly enough Ryan kept sneaking off behind to go trotting, which he loves!! He was on Caryn's Star while I rode Rhys... what a day!!

I think I enjoy sharing my Curly horses with others and giving lessons to those who want them and those who maybe don't realize how much they want them yet, at least as much as I enjoy riding myself... maybe even more. I had an absolutely wonderful day!!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Wonderful teachers.....

Hello All,

We have been really busy getting everything ready for our third fella to join us at Golden Curls Ranch. Renegait Cinnamon River arrived Sunday a week ago. He is a grandson of Prince Walker T and is a Curly MFT cross. He is a sweet, sweet fella and enjoys all the rubs and hugs he can get.

In between mucking stalls and feedings ...and fence work and building more corrals; we have been working on ground work with Lakota and Chester. They are coming along really well. I, too, am learning a lot. Mostly how to focus so that I don't get dizzy when lunging. Still, I really do think our Curlies are wonderful teachers and we can learn a lot from them.

Hugs from Texas,


Monday, February 9, 2009

Antidote for the February Blahs

Zoe and I have been riding fairly steadily, but I am lazy about posting and the photo's are all the same--- fuzzy ears, snowbanks and sandy, icy roads. We had a super ride on Sunday- a day of back and forth weather- brilliantly sunny, then riding in small snow squalls and gloomy skies.

We had trees down in the roads from the sudden blasts of wind.

There's nothing like a refreshing trot to scare away the doldrums. We saddled up our two mounts- Keri and Teasel - and went out for a ride. Keri was in a great mood... one never knows if she is going to be feeling zesty or pokey- to which I completely can relate, being a "senior" myself. We got a good forward trot for nearly the first 5 miles of the trip. When we reached what we call the mile long hill (because, guess what ? it's exactly one mile long and quite a hill) both horses wanted to canter. Generally we use that hill to build muscle, so we contain the horses to a trot- but today was a recreational outing so .. canter we did. You can see here, Zoe wears her "Champion" jacket on every ride and loves it !!

During the week, we switch off our favorite mounts and ride others. I had a zippy trot out with Camille. Zoe schooled her two selected mounts for summer shows- OYY Salvadore and OYY Finnegan- both curly pony stallions. So, despite the fickle weather and the winter blues-- we are getting out and having fun. Glad to see all you other RAC'ers are too !!

Enjoy your day ~ and visit my farm blog for more in depth news of rides and horses. :)

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Another Step Closer

Due to the warm weather the footing has been terrible here. No riding has meant that I have caught up on alot of my ground work. Several horses were were worked with this weekend but the one who made it to the "next level" was *Grace. Today was her first outdoors session with the saddle and bridle. She has worn the saddle briefly as a long yearly but that was about it. She didn't bat an eyelash. Of course she was decidedly less impressed with the bit but that's not unusual for young horses. We'll keep working at it this week and hopefully I'll have her ground driving with the bridle next weekend.

New riding buddies

Well Brigitte worked hard this past week.  Almost everyday( 2.2,3,4,and 6) we trained for an hour with barn pal Asher on loading on a trailer.  By the 4th she was loading on nicely and spent a half hour buckled in while awaiting Asher to join in.
All of that was for the fun yesterday.  She loaded on in a record 2 minutes with just a look at the whip being tapped behind her on the ground, got a treat and we were on our way with her other barn pal Mari (Arab) because Asher had decided against loading. At the end of the day it was decided that this was to be a blessing as Mari and Brigitte are quiet together while Asher and Brigitte are still a little rambunctious together.  Mari is also in her late 20's, and the "kids" are just better acting around her.
We went to a friend of a friend's indoor arena with a group of 6 of us.  Brigitte was the youngest, hadn't been trailered since her arrival in November, and was only acquainted with Mari.   After she settled in with some hard work on my part I might add, she really reacted quite well.  We even set out obstacles-poles, shower curtain, hula hoops, a mailbox on a post, some barrels.  She took them all on no problem.  I think she impressed the group, and 3 of the women had never met a Curly in person.  Their mix was 3 Arabs, a Paint, and a very handsome Mustang who I think Brigitte might have been intrigued by because he was the only one besides Mari who she didn't react too.
Our biggest obstacle is her "marish" behavior and need for space with those she doesn't know. She is still quick to swing her rear end around if feeling threatened.  I will continue to work on this.  We rode for 3 hours in the arena.  She ended the day well and without much coaxing entered the trailer again to head home, where a late night birthday party  brought many more new visitors and new fans of the breed.  

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Fun ride with Sunny and RAC awards!

Yesterday I took Sunny up to a friends house for some trail riding. It was really fun, and Sunny did great. I realized when I was loading him that it had been over 8 months since he had had a saddle/bit on and that it would be good to ride him in those two items before the Illinois Horse Fair! He wasn't too pleased at first with this restriction to his freedom, but he quickly got over it and we had a great ride. We rode about two and a half hours (big grin)
When we got back to my friends house I had a little boy up in front of me in the saddle and took him around the grassy area out back a few times. Sunny walked stiff legged at first, which is easy to understand- I was sitting all the way back, basically on top of the back of the saddle, and suddenly this little person is up there too. This was Sunny's first experience of riding double. Jo loved it, he didn't want to get down but since he is a very well mannered boy agreed to do so. I wish I had a picture!!... but unfortunately Dad had the digital camera at work yesterday (sigh)

Today, though there wasn't any riding, was fun for several reasons, one being the mail delivery of the RAC 08 awards! I love the prizes. :-) The horse on the back of the jacket looks like Sunny! It was slightly difficult to choose which horse to make the enbroidery resemble, but Sunny was the logical choice. He is my first Curly and we have been through a lot together. The trophy and ribbon now have honored places in my room, my ribbon walls are getting brighter all the time! I've always joked that I'm glad I'm not a good enough rider to get all blue ribbons, that would make for a boring color scheme. Well... this champion ribbon is among the brightest up there, so I guess I have to revise that statement.
Thank you Denise!!

Boys and Dogs

Ahd and I were very glad to have Ian and "The Girls" (our four Labs) join us on our ride today. For once AhD actually liked having the dogs join him; not once did he aim a kick! The snow was incredibly deep, and AhD was breaking through the snowmobile trail, so we took it easy. It was super to be out when it wasn't biting cold, and the air was fresh and clean. After Ian headed back to the house with three of the four Girls, AhD and I took a different loop, with Grace delighted to follow in our tracks. There were tons of tracks in the woods. My pony is back in his happy, forward groove, and I am loving every minute of it! Oh, speaking of my "pony," AhD grew an inch
sometime in the past few months when I wasn't looking. The cold weather must agree with him.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Time with Blue and Shiloh

After feeding midday hay and supplements, I did clicker training with Blue for half an hour. We're working on getting a prompt foot pick up when I ask for a one. This is to replace the "Gee I don't know what you're asking me," attitude that he often has. Along with the "Oh, my gosh, my foot is suddenly so heavy that I simply must thud it to the ground as quickly as possible!" That latter move gave me an incredible equine chiropractic treatment a couple weeks ago, as every vertebra from the base of my skull down through my upper back cracked when he dropped the hind leg attached to the hoof I was trimming. Which, amazingly, caused my neck and upper thoracic vertebrae to feel really good!! I'm thinking I can hire him out to make us some extra money, as an "equine chiropractor." Not the same clientele as the veterinarian equine chiropractors, as Blue would be working on humans, snort.

Anyway, I trimmed Blue's feet (all four, wow am I stronger than I was when I first started this barefoot trim program), reinforcing with the clicker training method of bridge and reward along the way. I took a little break and then went into Shiloh's paddock for a CT session with her.

Taking my hoof trimming tools, and a saddle blanket, I first went back over the things we've been working on. I try to do everything with Shiloh at liberty, altho' sometimes she is wearing a halter and leadrope, with the end of the rope draped up over her back.

We did saddle blanket off and on, during which I ask her to stand quietly at liberty, looking forward -- no bending around towards me. She was quiet and perfectly okay with it.

I went through some of her other repertoire. In response to a verbal "down" with a hand motion towards the ground, Shiloh now drops her head low, holds it there with ears pricked forward (not bending her neck towards me). A quiet verbal "back" and stepping towards her shoulder from the front causes her to back up, and keep backing until I stop my feet. A slight signal with my hand towards the foot I am wanting and she picks that foot up and holds it high in the air, head properly forward, and not bent around toward me.

With her back feet, she really makes me chuckle, because she not only picks the hind foot up, but she then carefully pushes it to the side towards me, trying to place it up right into my hand. I began teaching her to pick up her feet when I point towards the leg and say "foot", so I would not have to lean all the way down to the ground when I wanted to pick up one of her feet -- sometimes my back is just to tight to be comfortable doing that. However, it was she who figured out the "enhancement" of carefully pushing the lifted hind leg sideways toward my outstretched hands.

After trimming her back feet, we then practiced some ground games, hip over, shoulder over. We spent a total of an hour playing, and were both very relaxed and just enjoying one another's company. She really enjoys the mental stimulation that the clicker training is offering, and when I am teaching her something new, she will often quickly try out one of the things she already knows how to do -- just to see if maybe it is the answer I'm wanting. ; A quiet "no" and she knows that I'm asking for something different. This is a wonderful way for she and I to share, and for the first time since she was a young foal I feel the connection once again growing stronger between us every time we play and interact together.

In addition to the CT training, I really had my eyes opened by the Parelli Horsenality chart and profiles. Before going to the trainer for 45 days last fall, she behaved like a left brained extrovert most of the time, and occasionally like a left brained introvert, but since then most of her tendencies are left brained introvert -- including totally a "What's in it for me" attitude. Using the CT broke through to her and I really feel I have a tool to use to build on from here on out.

in hand work

I have been working with several of my youngsters this week, Princess, Tyler and Kallie all got a little advanced in hand work. Tyler is now leaving his Dam, to go out for a short walk, and then returning near her, for a short tying session. I wanted to do some updated pics of Kallie, but found she needed a refresher course on who was leading who! Here is Tyler, learning to stand quietly and patiently. Tyler ( he is for sale! ) is now 4 months, and is the size of foal that we used to have that were 6 months or older, out of other curly stallions we have used.

2008 Awards

I just wanted to write in and say that I got my awards yesterday afternoon for the 2008 RAC, and they are beautiful! Thank you again Denise for doing such a great job on this whole competition, right down to the smallest of details. We are very lucky to have someone so dedicated take charge and give us this opportunity. :)

Erica K. Frei
Awareness In Riding

Get a copy of my book, "Centered Self, Centered Horse : A Simple Guide to Horsemanship" online today!

My Ride 1 Feb 2009

Well here is the classic mane and ears shot, hehe. Sorry bout the manure in the flexing shot, but crap happens, lol. Couldn't talk anyone else to come out and take pics, maybe next time. I suppose I should introduce myself........Dian Williams, owned by curlies since 2002. Live in Northwest Indiana, currently frozen. Right now my curlies are "buck" '06 future gelding, "sunny" pal pinto '04 smoothcoat mini from Ellen B. Then I have "buck's" 3 smoothcoat siblings, they jumped on trailer last Oct when he came ;-) The Palomino in the pic is "sunny" the whole time we were next to the rails in the roundpen he was "picking" on "Buck, jealous brat. "sunny" is broke to ride, but @ 38", hard to find a rider for him. "sunny" is also greenbroke to drive, hope to get him going really well driving this spring/summer.......he is the 4-H pony, I've always gotten alot of compliments on him. More on "buck", he came to me greenbroke, so far I've only rode him twice, once in fall and then Feb 1st, he does great for a young horse. (Hilda Gurney in Dressage Today did an article on riding 2 yr olds in the fall, showed increase in bone density, so I'm hoping that there will be no damage from him being started early, so far he is sound and sane) LOVE reading everyone's blogs and websites, Happy Trails!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Lots of Curly Riding Going On

What a day!!! More to the point, what a weekend! I am exhausted but happy. I've added another 10 hours of Curly time to my RAC logs just in the last two days and it feels *great.* This afternoon I rode *Thunder and Misty; the fun must have been contagious as Brian saddled up *Sammy and took a little spin in the round pen. Back to work tomorrow but I'll spend the work day looking forward to the after work ride.