Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The girls and I are learning to trust each other

Hello All,

Thank you for sharing all your wonderful suggestions and tips on desensitizing our Curly horses. I have learn so much and appreicate the opportunity to participate with everyone in the RAC mini-contest.

I would like to share a few photos of our new BLM Adopted Curly Mustang mares, Copper D's Golden Red and her Nevada Blossom.

The girls have been with us a little less than a month. They arrived April 17, 2009. We do not have a material structure or obstacle course in this situation but we are teaching our Curly fillies to be calmer and braver about themselves and people by just spending time with them.

For me it's the easiest thing to do. I love just sitting with them while they eat. Talking softly to them for a few minutes while I take a break from building round pens and mowing (in between Spring showers) and savoring the last minutes of daylight while sitting in their corral watching the beautiful Texas sunset.


The obstacle in our new relationship is trust. And....it's a slow process especially with all that has happened in their lives the last few months - but the reward is so great.

Best wishes to all and may the trail you ride give you lasting pleasure.

Angie and the girls

Mini Contest Ends Tomorrow

Hi all -- what a great month for obstacles! You all worked so hard, good for you.

As the contest draws to a close, I wanted to remind you that you can download the forms under RAC information links to your right on this page. Please turn your forms in to me no later than the 8th of May. I would like to announce the winner on Saturday, the 9th. If we have enough participants, I would like to award a winner in each division.

You can snail mail your forms to me, fax them or email them.

Mail to:
Denise Conroy
5643 E. M-134
Cedarville, MI 49719

Fax to: (906) 484-3799 (shared line, call first)

Email to: denise.conroy@gmail.com


Monday, April 27, 2009

Saturday fun

Saturday some friends and I went up to Panther Creek, which is about an hour and a half away from us, for a nice long trail ride. I took Koko. No pics, so I'll try to use words. :-) We rode for about three hours. It was really windy, but the sun was shining and the horses didn't seem to mind a bit. We hadn't gone far before we saw four young deer in a field, and they came right towards us- we got to watch them for a few minutes. Shortly after that, Mariah, who was riding next to me, says in this really normal tone of voice, "there's a snake right there!" I was still looking back at the deer and it took a few seconds for the words to sink in. By then we were past it- Koko had, apparently, just missed it by a few inches. Whew! I can't believe I didn't even see it! It didn't bother him apparently, nor did the big, rather annoyed, black snake a few yards further down. Fortunately, those were the only snakes we saw.
We skirted around a few large puddles- Koko hates to get his feet wet when there is any way to avoid it. Because of the heavy rainfall, some of the trails were closed, but the park had opened up some of the snowmobiling trails, which we understood was very rare. Koko did end up having to get his feet wet after all, and I experienced my first creek crossing on a trail (probably his first too) Several of the others went in front, and after a few seconds of snorting and tap-dancing on the edge of the water he made a gigantic leap, landing squarely in the middle of the belly-deep (on him) creek. It was a blast!! We had a lot of fun crossing that creek. On the way back, I made him go across first, and he did very well. :-)
We went over lots of very hilly trail, because we were on the snowmobiling trails most of the time. It was very good conditioning for the horses. Koko was so good the whole time, I was very proud of him- no spooking at anything, though he saw some very different things from what he's used to being ridden at home, or in an arena! He gaited very well too. There was a large bridge to cross, with wooden planks that made a very odd echoing sound- the other horses refused to step onto it, so Koko went in the lead, no problems or hesitation. Apparently an echoing board across a steep drop-off is much safer than a two inch deep puddle!
I think he might just have the makings of an endurance/CTR horse. I didn't have anything to check his heartrate, but he cooled off right away, and when the other horses slowed down a little about halfway back he was still doing his long-strided power walk (and getting impatient when I kept making him stop to wait up on the others! They are not slow by any means in their walking, one is a big-strided TWH and the other is also fairly fast, but they were getting tired and ready to be done... not so Koko!) He just loved the whole experience. Nothing seemed to bother him, other than going through water when he didn't HAVE to, or stopping for the others. He didn't mind stopping in general when everyone was there- we got off once for a few minutes to let them rest their backs, and made a few other pauses- but he didn't see any reason to wait for the others. "They're coming! It's ok!" was what seemed to be his thoughts as he tossed his head and chewed on his bit.
All in all, it was really fun! We're defenitely planning on going back.

Week-end Show






What a great week-end!!  Molly and Tucker competed in our barn's horse show on Sunday-in 90+ degree heat!!  My back was out so I missed competing in the bareback jumping-what a bummer, I had such a great week riding everyday but Thursday and then Wham!!!  Backs are so funny-I can make just the slightest wrong move and it will go out on me-oh well!!

The show was very busy-everyone getting ready for the season-the kids and Chy did a great job-both taking Reserve Grand Champion in their divisions-Walk/Trot for Molly, who was the youngest by far-she had adults in her class!!  Tucker was in the Beginner Equitation-looking absolutely dashing in the new Brooks Brothers tie I found for him at TJ Maxx for 10 bucks!!  It has a helmet, saddle and crop on it.  Anyway-fun was had by all!!

That is Jack with his owner Laura behind Tucker-they did a great job as well.  Jack has really "settled-in" and being such a good boy!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Moose


Well, I didn't joust today but I did have some fun nonetheless. Like Vermont, it was HOT in Maine today so I waited until late afternoon to ride. I did a little work on desensitising AhD to the tractor and then headed out. About 3/4 of a mile from my house, AhD went on Full Alert, and I heard a big crashing in the woods, so I dismounted. I started walking down the trail towards the noise, but stepped in moose poop, and AhD started making his Stallion Snort...so I thought...neep, and headed back towards home. I REALLY need to teach my pony to stay out of my space. We worked on it all the way back to my house while he continued to roll his eyes, drip nervous sweat and do his big Stallion Snort. By the time we got back to the house, I was roasting hot. I tied AhD in the shade and let him think about his attitude for an hour, and then we went back out - in the opposite direction of the moose of course.AhD was very forward, but I was taking NO guff from him after wrestling with him earlier and kept him on task. It took him over an hour to chill out. We wound in and around a couple of small trails and made some sort-of new ones, then headed up the road to Back Street. We trotted up a steep hill and then headed out on a wonderful trail which looped us around to the far side of the road, and then we walked, trotted and cantered back. The second ride was GREAT, but I'm seriously considering donning some midieval attire tomorrow!!!

Our Saturday Joust ~

Ok-- hope you aren't tired of me posting new obstacle ideas.. but here's the best one yet ! My Number 5 son went on a school trip last month and the kids ate at Medieval Times- where they have live jousting while you sup. Well... with the mini contest coming up, I thought-- why not give that a try ?!






Here's my little course - it's about 100 or so feet long.








We didn't actual do battle- but performed the Quintain- which is knocking "shields" with a blunt lance, a simulation of striking the enemy. The shields, when struck, swing- which took some thought to get it to work.






The rings- where the rider collects the rings by spearing them with the lance.




Here's the horses in their dress- and a closer look at Keri because she's so beautiful :) These are curtains from the Dollar Store ! we just sewed them up a bit and voila -- instant equine regalia.



Isn't my "War Horse" lovely ?

Zoe handled the camera for the entire time- and got this video, which is poor quality but she was on board Teasel who was a bit antsy to get at the games. It was pretty hot today, but Keri loved the games once she got the idea... for some she trotted but mostly she cantered. Teasel did well too- but did not have the same enthusiasm for it as Keri did.

Later in the week, we will try what's called 'Pig Sticking'. We didn't have time today.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G7gyhLAXCJ0

I have been riding OYY Sweet Bee in the evenings, getting her in a little better shape. Tonight she gave a me a trot for almost the whole time out and we even had a little jump over a log on the trail-- fun ! :) I had to use the Barefoot Cheyenne with her though as the London for some reason feels a tad downhill. Zoe is riding Winter Dancer from her house in the evenings-- having loads of fun too.

enjoy ~

Friday, April 24, 2009

Minnesota, who knows the weather!!!!


My two brothers came over and we went out riding enjoying the weather and what wonderful sunshine!! Last week we were knee deep in the snow and this week we have warm weather pussy willows blooming and grass trying to grow.

On our ride we seen many different species of ducks and lots of Canadian geese and several deer. It is getting that time of the year for the geese to start nesting and you can find out how good your horse is when the geese will attack you protecing their nests!! They come right at you with wings spread wide and making a lot on noise.

We are putting miles on the horses now getting them ready for the North Datota bad lands nest month, they will need to be in good shape for that!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

More obstacles again !


It's school vacation week so neither of us are riding much with the little monkeys around. But we put them to good use, assisting in our obstacle efforts. Here are some photo's of OYY Salvadore walking through what we have set up so far. The umbrella did make him a bit nervous at first, especially when it swooshes open and closed. Zoe stops and puts on the raincoat, then takes it off. This is more fun when in the saddle, which we can do next week.





after the horses have been over the bridge, the teeter-totter is no challenge for them- they just think it's another bridge. Ho-hum.





But, remember- by now Zoe's son has discovered the umbrella and is having fun waving it around and using the "swoosh" feature.



This year's new idea- what I call the SnakePit Alley. Boring again.. I will have to add some edging features, like flags, pinwheels, or balloons.








My new Streamer Walkthrough. I think I am going to cut wide strips from an old shower curtain instead - they will be slightly heavier streamers and rub on the horse more than what I have here now.







The tire is also too easy, as it is a permanent fixture in all the horses' training from the start. To make it more difficult- we'll practice backing them through it.




The Tickle Tube Alley.
As the days are longer now, Zoe rode WR Winter Dancer to her house for evenings rides. Now, we can do our own little version of Denise's "ride with me". Zoe will ride on her side of the mountain-- while I will ride on my side. Sunday, we did just that. I took out OYY Sweet Bee and had a nice quiet exploration. Zoe trotted through her neck of the woods practising some cross country over fallen trees and logs. We are hoping to build a small cross country course this summer.. fun :)
We had probably the BEST Saturday ride of the year over the weekend- I posted lots of photo's of that on my farm blog. Keri and Teasel were both SO up for the ride out and we trotted and cantered almost the entire trek over the mountain and back the other side. Loads of fun !!
Enjoy your day ~

Monday, April 20, 2009

Sailor's Debut







My curly 2 year old gelding, *Sailor Bloom made his show ring debut this past Saturday. The show was a local show but alot of big qh people attend. I put Sailor in the western halter 2 and under and the open western halter. We got first place in the 2 and under class!! I didn't expect to place well considering Sailor is not a western type horse. There was a really nice, halter fit yearling in the class as well. The judge asked me if he was a fresian. I told him, nope, he's a curly! We had to stay at the show for 10 hours so that my trainer's daughter could run barrels. Sailor was a total pro about the whole experience. He never spooked even at the pa system. He didn't nicker or act nervous at all. In fact, he acted better than alot of the seasoned horses there. I got several compliments on him. Nobody could believe he's just 2 and that this was his first show.
















Saturday, April 18, 2009

Cinnamon River's New Bow Tie

So, next we tried a little game with Cinnamon River. Let's wear a BOW TIE made of yellow plastic caution tape.












First, we smell the tape. Actually, we smelled the yellow caution tape for a quite a while.

Then, we wore the yellow caution tape on our withers and everyone decided the yellow color was a perfect match for Cinnamon River's flaxen mane.
Yes, he is a handsome and secure boy with his new bow tie!

Cinnamon River is introduced to a ringing cell phone



Hello All,

We've been busy with our new girls coming home from Palomino Valley, Nevada but we decided we would still try small steps of desensitizing our Curlys. So we introduced Cinnamon River to a ringing cell phone while sitting in the saddle. He was a very good boy and seemed to enjoy the conversation!

Hugs,
Angie

Friday, April 17, 2009

Sixty-eight degrees!


Awwww...too bad, the floors were going to be cleaned at the office, we all had to pick up our office equipment, put it out in the shop and LEAVE EARLY on a Friday afternoon. Bummer...the sun was shining, the wind was blowing, a gorgeous spring day, so I took big fat advantage and saddled up AhD for a test ride to Sanitorium Hill. He is scheduled for a trim tomorrow, and to make it interesting I said I'd ride over to my friend Audrey's farm so that the farrier only has to make one stop. Speaking of interesting, it was. AhD was FULL OF IT and dropped many big hints that he was up to a run with a few bucks thrown in, so we didn't do that. But we did canter up a couple of small hills and had some wonderful trots. I really truly appreciate his trot in a way I never could before. Our trot together feels like a well-oiled machine. There was a lot of water on the trail to navigate. No problem. We crossed a couple of streams and some super large puddles that covered the whole trail.





Here is the Scary Water Spout. AhD never likes passing this ~ whatever it is ~ that shoots water up in the air.

The woods smelled wonderful. And I know that I can make it to Audrey's this time of year; I have never taken this trail this early in the year, and I was afraid it would be too wet. It took 45 minutes by trail to hit road on the other side of town. Funny, it only took 30 minutes coming back! ;) We didn't have to stare at so much stuff on the way back, and AhD's walk was definitely in high gear. Other than his trot, there is another thing I noticed today that I especially appreciate about my Curly. He is a great downhill navigator, and tucks his butt right underneath him for balance. Tomorrow's ride should be interesting because the last half of the ride to Audrey's is road.


Dolly Update: Items & Riding!

This covers two different days of working with Dolly.
A ball: She didn't care about it touching her, she didn't care about it being thrown over and under her. She didn't care when we accidentally hit her with it. But it took some time before she got used to it being flung high above her when right next to her head. She didn't care when I wedged the ball between her front & then hind legs. :o)



Then: A big, fluffy dog came over to say hi.


Next up: Pinwheel. She got used it very quickly and didn't care about having it attached to her halter, even though it was very windy that day.


Leggings She walked around with leggings on and didn't even lift her legs high! It was weird.


Riding! I rode her! Okay, my husband had the lead line, but it still counts for me. :o) I was on bareback.



Then yesterday, I did a streamer, waving it all around and finally draping it over her pole....She tried to eat it. I practiced with a stupid fake nerf air gun thing, since the sound wasn't especially pleasant for her, but she got used to it. A pogo stick! I bounced all around her on it! (That was absolutely exhausting for me.) And then I RODE HER!!!! I put on her saddle even. I rode for an hour. After about a half hour, she started to really listen! I was able to walk her all around the property. It was truly amazing and I hope to work with her again soon.

P.S. The vet comes out in a couple of days, but it looks like Dolly and Athena might both have very mild cases of Strangles right now! Athena's lymph nodes are majorly swollen, and Dolly had a scab under her jaw area, but no other symptoms so far.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Peaceful Trail Ride and A New Obstacle



Wild swings of weather here but Zoe and I continue to manage our Saturday rides together. We went up and down a trail we have not trotted on in a few years-- so it was fun to see new sights.

Traveling up the hill to get to the trail, right off the bat, another April obstacle opportunity - a motorcycle with the same idea as we have- to get out and enjoy the spring weather.



The trails starts in a field that is
beginning to grow in, then it winds through gradual stages of growth , young trees to mature.
















Some areas are still snowy. This was an easy trail, and peacefully quiet...no real challenges other than a few steep spots.






A couple of wet spots for Keri to paw and splash through.





I have been busy assembling our obstacles.. Yesterday I began construction on my see-saw. This morning, OYY Salvadore kindly tested it out for me in the back of the barn where I am busy building. He just came in from being schooled so Zoe took him over it even though it was not quite finsished. He actually stepped up onto it from the high side but I did not get that on film. I thought this was going to be more of a challenge- I may have to use a larger pole and get the see-saw a tad higher off the ground.


Here's the very short video







I also made a tarp alleyway - OYY My Keri Luna (daughter of Keri and Chip) tested that for me this afternoon.












This is my favorite mini contest :)

Enjoy ~

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