Friday, February 26, 2010

Llama rounding - Curly style

Hey everyone, 

Well, we all know all work and no play makes life really my good friend, Leann, who adopted a Curly pony for granddaughter, Hayden and I get together on Fridays to have a "cowgirls playday". Hayden and her Curly friend, Cheetoe, are a perfect match. Last Friday we gifted her with her own riding Helmet.

So once we are all saddled up we go into the arena to warm up. Well, the silly Llamas, also known as the Three Wise Men - cause, they know where everyone is on the ranch at all times, decided to follow us. Cesar, Carlos and Coco le Leache, (the one that looks like chocolate milk) have a great time following the horses.  But, Leann 's Quarter horse, Fly, a Dash for Cash well bred (yes, the name really fits him - he is a winning barrel racing horse) has not yet decided if he likes Llamas. And, since Fly was attached to Cheetoe, Leann and I decided to ask the Llamas to clear the arena. 

Well, Chester really got in it and it was great training for me. Talk about multi-tasking.....juggling a camera while riding a Curly who is rounding up Llamas- yahoo,it's great fun- Curly Texas style!

The Llamas are such good sports and they were treated to lots of special treats later.  

The cowgirls playday is a Friday weekly event. What better way to start the weekend. 

Angie, Chester and her Curly Cowgirls

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Rained Eastern Ontario....What??

Unfortunate, but true. Not ten minutes after I got thinking that this was the nicest day for February that I can ever remember, it started to rain. Then it stopped, then it started and just kept going. Chance of freezing rain tonight so Linus gets to sleep inside tonight. I really despise this time of year. It's not quite winter, not quite spring. Just slop of varying degrees!
Despite the rain I did log about 2 hours with Linus. We covered cross-ties again, hoof picking up and standing quietly while having whatever I am doing get done to him. I brought a long saddle blanket out and used that to "sack out" a bit. I draped it over him and he really didn't care. Was more interested in smelling the other horses on it that he hadn't met! So I started waving it around a bit and then he decided he wasn't sure about but I kept it up until he stood still. After doing this twice he caught on and it became boring for him. So I see-sawed it across his body and up his neck and over his head. The licking, chewing and giant sigh told me it was time to move on!
So we did. On went our surcingle and long lines and out we went. Essa and Tess came with us again. I will have to leave them in next time though. While I think it is good for Linus to have the dogs trotting around him, he sometimes just follows them and makes me think, is he listening to me or just following them???
Today we went the opposite way out of the driveway for the first time. Yep the way with dogs and what I thought could pass as very scary mailboxes for some horses. Apparently Linus is not one of them. He walked by all 3 mailboxes that were on our route without so much as batting an eye at them. While we approached a barking dog we did not go by it. I was happy enough that he continued to approach without fear and didn't want to push it. So, we turned around. On the way back the young grandaughter of our neighbour was out. I could hear her shouting to her Grandpa that we were on our way back. When we got to their driveway Linus decided before I could tell him that he wanted to meet her...he's just so friendly!! So I grabbed his halter and she even had her picture taken with us. (On their camera or else it would be here for you to see)
Since Linus had passed the other mailboxes with ease I decided to check the mail for my parents. I wasn't sure if Mom had earlier in the day or not. First, let me say that a few years ago in our area mailbox smashing was a favourite past-time of some not so nice teens. My Dad's solution to the problem was turning a piece of 3/4" pipe into a mailbox with the same material for a door. You can imagine that pipe on pipe makes quite a bang when they meet. I wondered if this would frighten Linus. I needn't have worried because he started lifting the lid and letting it slam back down himself...while I stood there laughing at him for it!!
We have a few trouble spots on the driveway where Linus isn't quite sure he wants to stay on the path I have chosen for us to be on. So today I made him repeat parts of it until he got the point. Then, a part I was especially happy with, I got him to gr through the narrow opening straight back into his pen!! It was the biggest amount of manouvering we have done. It probably doesn't sound too big but we had to go between my truck and the stock trailer, past the garage and then around the tractor (with a scary snowblower attached) and then through the open gates. I was very happy with him for that.
After removing the surcingle and lines I did a little bit of work that I had learned at a Parelli playdate in December. I can't remember what it was called...not sure I was given the name of it, but it was to get him to move his hips over while I turned. He wanted to sniff around in his pail but once he realised I wanted him to do something and wasn't letting up he quickly impressed me with keeping his position the way I wanted it and moving his hips away from me. It left me with a feeling that I had some more respect from him.
I ran home to start my stove and shower then came back for supper with my parents...I tend to mooch if my husband is away on business. My parents love seeing Owen and he LOVES the farm. After supper and after seeing the weather forecast I went out to put Linus in the barn for the night. He was already pretty wet from the rain (thankfully not yet freezing rain) so I grabbed that saddle blanket from our earlier lesson and gave him a quick rub down. At first he wanted to walk away from it, then he stuck his head and tail in the air and cocked his head to the side as he twisted and stretched; totally enjoying the brisk rub down. The rubbing of his wet coat almost made him look curly!!!
His latest coat change: something I have never seen before. He is actually growing a white patch on the back bottom of his front left foot. I wonder if he will ever decide what colour and markings he is going to be!!!

Monday's ride

The annoying weather man is predicting snow and/or rain for the rest of this week, so when yesterday morning was still mostly sunny and the wind wasn't howling, I decided to ride Dream again. She seems to really like the Nurtural Bitless Bridle! I like it because if my balance still isn't perfect all the time, I know I'm not yanking on a bit in her mouth by mistake. She listens FINE to no bit, too, so I am very pleased. I am really enjoying our trail rides. I don't know if I'm up for starting over practically from scratch again with lessons to try to get into riding shape for the dressage ring. I know that Dream doesn't care if she is shown or not, but she is so GOOD at it that it seems a shame not to keep doing it just to promote Curlies in dressage. Sorry Betsy & Susan-- I still forgot my camera! I did remember to bring the cell phone that I now have just to take with me for emergencies, since I almost always ride alone.

Curly J, an intelligent Curly Gelding that keeps me on my toes

Hello Curly Friends, 

The last time I had a moment to write a note, it was snowing in Texas. Guess what? Yes folks, it is snowing in Texas!. Absolutely, beautiful ....views from my windows and since the winds are blowing so hard the Curlies and I decided to take the morning off, to rest and appreciate Mother Nature's artwork.



Each day we work on our ground work with the Curly ones  and I am so amazed at how intelligent they are... and I am realizing that I have to be very consistent in our training. 
I try to think of it as I am teaching them something whether it is good or bad - sorta of our kids -  our Curly ones are also little sponges that soak up our actions. So I need to think of my actions and make sure I am giving them good lessons not bad.

For example, our Jubliee's Curly J, is a handsome four year old gelding from the Dixie D, OB Pinto and Col Austin bloodlines. He has the most gorgeous almond shaped brown eyes and a touch of roan in his Chestnut coat....oh, and his curly forelocks drive all the little girls wild.  

He is a very intelligent horse. We have been working on lunging for a few weeks and he picked up almost instantly.  

Funny though, he really doesn't like my pink whip....must be the I have put it aside for now. 

Curly J reads my body language like a cue card. So I really have to be aware of my stance and position myself facing his shoulder. He is always such a fast learner that once we have done a pattern a few times he remembers and so I have change things a bit or I find he gets bored....which translates into "trouble".

Jubliee's Curly J is an awesome Curly and I am enjoying our ground work sessions....just like my sons, Curly J is teaching me a lot.{:>
Angie and Curly J

Here we go....

Okay, we made it! This last weekend we just endured the two-day riding "boot camp" at Spokane Sporthorse. I am so sore I can barely move. Every month now we will have lessons with Karen O'Neal - Olympic Eventer extraordinaire - and be barely able to walk on Monday. I am so not kidding.
For Valentine's Day my husband asked me what I wanted the most and I told him an "emergency riding lesson" to prepare to this event. So together we got on our horses for the first time this year at a neighboring indoor arena and started to work out all the bugs. His horse would not canter - although they did the most amazing extended trot! And mine, well, he was certain to let me know that this was NOT what he had planned on doing.
And so we plunged ahead and started our jumping lessons the next weekend. This is the second and third time we have been in the saddle. Thankfully, at the end of the first day I was told that Traveler and I were back at where we had left off in the fall. But now I need to get him in shape.
My husband is riding his gelding (smooth), Joker. Joker is very sensitive and has a hard time adjusting to the artificial flowers in the jumps. Much to my husband's dismay. I'm riding our stallion, Traveler, and he is asleep most of the time and wouldn't notice the flowers if they jumped up and bit him.
Things went well - considering how out of shape all of us were and how sore we were on Sunday when we returned to the second dose of training. I'm glad we took the pictures because frankly, I was not feeling that happy about our performance but at least we got some good shots so I must not have done that badly. However, at the end of the lesson I was given some pretty honest advice about my riding style and areas of improvment. (note: replace honest with brutal)That's what I am paying for so.... I promise, next time I will have QUIET hands.
We start out each lesson with about an hour and a half of dressage (this is what really kills my legs, seat, etc.) and then progress on to jumping. At the end we start working through different courses. Joker "won" on the barrels jump and didn't even flinch - Traveler did it, but not gracefully. We both ended on a good note and limped our way back to the trailer.
On a side topic, I am happy to report that Traveler did not exhibit any stallion behavior, although the sun is now shining and spring it seems is around the corner. He did chortle, very quietly and under his breath, twice, at the beginning of our lesson and he was quickly reminded of the task at hand. Definitely not breeding. Guess who caught his eye? There were morgans, mares, geldings, warmbloods, arabs, thoroughbreds, etc. Oh, it was the minnie. Yes, the miniature horse that my friend brought to keep her horses company really seemed to interest him. Good grief. No accounting for taste. (Not that I don't love her minnie, but let's be realistic.)
All for now - I'm going to go and sit in the hot tub.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Riding Rose

Well Kendahl and I shared some time on my girl Rose. This is her first official ride of the year. She has had about 1 1/2 yrs off, with only Kendahl(mostly) and myself and Kristal climbing up on her, but this is the first time this year sporting a bit, Kendahl usually just climbs all over her with nothing on, she is probably the nicest mare I have ever had, we just love her!! Her is a short youtube of her and Kendahl: Lots to work on for both. Rose kept wanting to go over to Garnet and get some of that hay I tossed to her to keep her out of the way, ya know those curly's!! always trying to help out. I hate the pics of me, geez have I put on weight!! but working on that. Will post more as we get more riding in, happy riding to everyone!!! Can't believe the weather right now, we are usually froze solid this time of year.. yippee..

UGGGH More Snow?

Today was beautiful.... and yes .... the sap has begun to flow..... but wait.... more snow on the way???  As much as two feet!!!??????   UGGGH!  I'm ready for spring - and so is Miss D!    

I took advantage of today's wonderful weather and my day off to get out and ride.  I'm not sure how many more rides I'll be able to get in before Deams tells me she is done.  (Baby expected in April)  I think she enjoys getting out as much as I do - it is so therapeutic!  I'm not sure she enjoys my made up songs and off key singing ... but it hasn't stopped her yet:-)  

"I love my curly horsey with a swirl..."  

Thank goodness I live in a very rural area - with lots of woods.  

Happy Riding!


Our Curly Queen of Carts

Today - we had a fabulous cart ride with OYY Nimue as the trotting diva of the day. We hit a few slickery spots but no sit-downs a la Keri...

Again, Zoe and I went out together and had a schedule to stick to -- because of lessons. We tried to match time and distance for the voyage.

One of my recent goals was to get Nimue out on the highway for her first experience so we wanted to come up with a loop that included highway and was just the right length of trotting time to get us back home in time. We needn't have worried as Nimue made incredible trotting time.

We passed by the logging site down the street. They are still going hot and heavy, piling big logs and chipping the rest. Nimue did take a look but kept right on trotting by.

Between the strong wind and Nimue's fast trot-- look at her mane a flyin' . You can see how much snow we lost in a few days. Even though the temps are below freezing.. it's still melting fast.

Past the school bus 'garage'

Zoe was photographer and videographer today - - I was chauffeur.
I will let the video show the remaining trip. If you are curious to see more- I posted a longer rendition of the trotting trek on You Tube which includes quite a bit of scenic clip clopping.
Denise -- I was already a little ways down the road when I remembered... I forgot your bells and Zoe said no way would we have time to turn back. Truthfully, I am not sure I would have stood for the ringing the entire trip out.
Nimue out did herself today.. maintaining a 7-8 minute mile, even with a quick adjustment stop. She's just plain awesome :) Here are 2 short snippets of Miss Nimue.. on the dirt roads and some tarred back roads ... then the big finale -- highway trotting. Nimue is totally ready for a downtown trip, but I don't believe we'll fit on the narrow sidewalks.
Now- I have the idea to take her out on the snowmobile trails Zoe and Elektra and Keri and I were on the other day- they are wide enough and I think it will be FUN ! :) Apparently we are expected to get some 22 inches of snow in the next few days.. we'll see. If not-- then we'll be out on the trail with our little cart .. stay tuned.

Enjoy ~

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Lovin' it!!

Well, unfortunately it was a relatively quiet week for Linus and I. It was so busy off the farm that we were unable to log a whole lot of time. But, I didn't feel too bad about that because Linus had a pretty big weekend prior to this slow week...and he is still a baby!!

Friday, Saturday and Sunday allowed for more time together. And wowee did we get to make some great progress!! Friday, Linus had another brief but happy lesson in cross-ties. I tied him in a different place this time too just to avoid having too much routine. I groomed him and briefly picked up his feet. Then we did some figure 8's to work on us moving together and him not crowding my space. It was a happy session.

Saturday was busy! I worked at the Post Office, had a bull of mine delivered to his new home and drove my husband to the airport for a business trip to Turkey. By the time this was all done I didn't have much daylight left to play with Linus. I did go visit him though, gave him an apple and did some move to pressure work in his outdoor pen.

Sunday. Busy again. Took a heifer for her last road trip (nicest way to say it..unfortunate when you're a beef cow!) when we got back we did up the chores then I finally had some time to really work with Linus. Owen was in the house playing with his big cousin so I had all the time I wanted and took full advantage of the opportunity.

First I let Linus out with the cows for a little bit to let him "get out the jitters". This worked but the cows didn't really want him around the young calves so I took him to another field to have some exercise. He is so gorgeous in action! Then I cross-tied him in the barn again, groomed him and ...wait for it... picked up and cleaned out Each of his feet!! What a big thing for him to be taking so well to be cross tied and having his feet handled. It's the first time I have actually cleaned his feet out too. There wasn't really anything in them but it is the action that counts!! Once I gave him a hug and a treat for being such a good boy I put his surcingle on him and out we went with Essa the Newfie and Tess the greyhound coming along. I don't know if Linus was feeling obliged to be good since I was already so impressed with him but he responded so well to my commands and we improved on our turning too. We took a different direction to last time and went even further. Linus really liked the new scenery and I love that he doesn't race for home as soon as he turns around. I actually had to take his halter and turn him up the driveway. We were both tuckered out when we got back and it made think what a novelty it is going to be when I am actually in a buggy or cart behind him rather than walking behind him!! We met some traffic and that was handled really well. Especially since one was partivularly scary being that it was a diesel pickup with a snowplow on the front. I was very proud of Sir Linus today and loved getting to spend so much time out with him. He might get a heifer calf companion soon since the bul companion he was meant to get is now gone to another herd.

Finally, some pictures from today!! They're the best I could do while still holding my lines.

Cold and Sunny in Vermont

I don't know about you guys in my neighboring states.. not so warm here yet. I actually started my Saturday morning sans long johns -- only to return to the house to put them back on.. darn it. - and the sap is still frozen in the spout !! But, the sun was out again -- blue skies and a perfect day for a quick trail ride in between Saturday lessons.

After some discussion, we decided to head back to the trail we found last week- and see where it comes out .. somewhere on the way up to Mount Ephraim, that much we knew.

Come on Elektra.. even fancy dressage horses need to get their feet wet sometimes. Mostly, the horses pause here because the edge is frozen and they know it's going to break under their first

I only added this photo because my horse is so beautiful :)

A favorite canter spot

cross over Breezy Hill Road onto the new snowmobile trail the club just opened up. We were thinking to maybe trot up to the top of Mount Ephraim.. but after we got onto the actual Ephraim trail.. it was slow going due to ice.

Since we had to be back at the farm by a certain time.. we decided to take a right and head down the Vista View trail. That is not a snowmobile trail so no ice.. just fresh crispy snow perfect for that BIG power snow trot that is so much fun. Coming down the mountain however- we hit ice again under the snow.. and although I was repeatedly cautioning Keri to be CAREFUL... Zoe looked back to find us sitting down on our haunches like a dog after BIG slide.. would have made a great photo but too embarrassing for Keri. :)

Coming down off the mountain to the Vista View farm. We are just approaching my big slide spot.

I just have to show off the views.

We stopped here so Zoe could re-adjust her saddle which slide forward quite a bit with all the down hill mountain hoof -skiing. Handy stone work for re-mounting.

Trot down Pleasant Valley Road - back to Breezy Hill again so we can return home on the trail. We ended up going further than we would have if we had climbed the mountain to the top and back... I guess we could have made it there and back -- next time.

Back on the return trail, we pass by what we call Tubby's car -- because back when we rode Tuff 'Nuff and Bathtub Gin -- we were doing a lovely ground covering woods canter around the corners -- and Tubby did this huge sideways jump at the car.. it was our first time on this trail and the day of its discovery. We have put a lot of miles on this trail since that day :)

We did meet up with a few snow sleds out for the day on the parts of the route that are snowmobile trail.

A great ride.. hoping we can ride today - Sunday. it's colder today -

Not a good driving day which was what I was hoping for... at least when you are in the saddle.. you can work up some warmth with movement.

Enjoy ~

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Almost 50 in New Hampshire!

It even smelled like spring today!  The sun was shining - birds were chirping.... and the mud is beginning to surface :-(          Yes... New Hampshire has an extra season.... "mud season".  

Logged in 2 hours today - traipsing around the neighborhood and visiting with Miss D's horsey buddies.  

Happy Riding!

FINALLY! I'm blogging, Susan!

I don't think I ever wrote on the blog last year because in February I had half my knee replaced and then on Halloween I cracked a fibula. So far this year, other than the impromptu trail ride my boarder and I took on Christmas day, the couple of rides we've taken have been short and unremarkable! Finally, today Dream and I went for a good long ride. This is the first time I have been able to ride since finishing Physical Therapy at the end on January. I was hoping for a nice warm day and no wind for our first solo ride out and about in a long time, but I got sun and comfortable, with wind, and decided that I needed to take advantage of it since the weather reports for next week return to winter yuckiness! This was also different for us as it was our first time working in the Nurtural Bitless Bridle that I bought from Isabelle. We started off out in the arena so that both of us could warm up and I could be sure that Dream was understanding our new means of communicating. Boy, are my muscles stiff and tight!! We took off up the road once I was sure Dream was listening. We rode up three of the dirt roads and Dream had to deal with barking dogs, and a horse where there never was a horse before. Her pasture mate at home was bellowing for her the whole time, which also helped to make her more antsy than usual. We got in a lot of trotting, and I finally felt like I found my rhythm again! Nothing hurt while I rode, once the muscles warmed up and stretched out. However, we rode for almost 2 hours with all of our meanderings, so by the time we got home and I went to dismount, my right leg was rubber! I could barely lift it up to get it out over the saddle. This is what happens to my body if I can't ride regularly, and it sure can be frustrating. My husband is such a sympathetic soul (not!) that when I told him about it he reminded me that I have a new hip and half of a knee that's new, and the joints that are left are arthritic, my muscles are affected by having M.S., AND I will be 58 on the 27th! He just had to stick the birthday in there! GR! I know I will sleep well tonight, and hopefully I won't be so sore tomorrow that I can't walk. Dream was very sweet after our ride, so clearly she enjoyed getting more of my time, and the fact that it meant she was "working" did not bother her in the least. She is such a good girl! Laurie

The Sap is Running!

A spring day in February? I couldn’t believe it, but I took advantage of it. My boy Ian and I attempted to groom our horses (mine has an infinite amount of hay chaff imbedded in his curls), and then we took turns jumping on bareback with just the halter and lead rope to work on our balance and overall horsemanship skills. I really took heart that I could mount AhD bareback better than my 12 and 364/365 year old son because he is very athletic. Definitely a learned ability! So all you other baby boomer ladies, take heart as well!! :) I offered Ian some tips, and we had fun with it. AhD was thinking, "Give me a break!" but I thought it was just as good a lesson for AhD as it was for Ian.
We headed for the barn to saddle ‘em up. I worked with AhD on Standing Still While Being Tacked Up. He was not a star pupil today.
Out on the trail, it was b-e-a-u-t-I-f-u-l! These pictures don’t do it justice, because it was sunny and bright with a good breeze blowing. My Curly was full of P and V, but I did not let it get to me, and I remembered MY lessons of *relax, *breathe, *grow roots, *stay in the moment. I was a better leader today! I’m a work in progress, but I think I did a good job of reminding AhD of HIS lessons *walk until I tell you to trot, *Pay attention to me - not Mister, *turkeys in the woods are not scary, they are fun and interesting, *walk until I tell you to trot, *fake spooks earn you tight circles, and *walk until I tell you to trot. We also practiced riding side by side, which is not as easy for us as it is for the Betsy/Keri Zoe/Teasel team, because AhD walks fast and Mister walks slowly and defers to AhD.
Here is a photo of another lesson for AhD, *being separated from Mister does not kill you. The mailbox in said picture was also a good training tool, because as we were riding side by side up the road, Ian bumped it with his leg, and it made quite the horse-scary sound. Both horses shied and scooted. So, of course we went back to the mailbox and banged it around until AhD was licking and chewing. Good thing we didn’t get caught by the mail lady!
Even though this was a training ride, it was also a pleasure ride. Boy, oh, Boy was it nice to get out and experience the unexpected joy of a spring day in February from the sweet back of my much-loved Curly!