Sunday, March 28, 2010

Sunset Ride

The date says spring, but heck it's Maine so it was COLD for our ride today. AhD was very forward and willing to GO! I had to keep that energy in check, and it was quite a job. Nonetheless, a fun job. Ian was riding Mister with only a saddle pad, and Mister was likin’ it and offering to trot everywhere, including down hills. Ooops, Ian fell off, and AhD jumped, probably wondering what the heck??? just happened??? I dismounted and boosted Ian back on, and away we went. The sky was beautiful and the air was brisk! On the way back, Ian and Mister cantered ahead around the bend of the trail, and my pony thought that was cause for great alarm. It was a great teaching opportunity, and I took advantage of it, showing AhD that he would survive. I was pretty darn proud of my Curly for listening to me through those very tense moments. Later on, we heard some crashing in the woods, and lo and behold, saw a couple deer bounding through the trees, and then a few more following them. The deer went in a semi-circle around us, allowing us plenty of opportunity to glimpse flashes of white and brown flying beauties. (ahem, two hands on the reins, no hands left for the camera, sorry) It was the first time for Ian to actually get a good look at deer firsthand in their true environment. Shortly after that, I took the slipping saddle pad off Mister’s back and carried it. AhD wasn’t too sure about that big floppy western pad alongside him at first, but I convinced him it was ok. What a good boy! A short ride, but one full of fun, giggles, teaching opportunities and successes.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Linus' Darlin'

Unfortunately not very much to post this time around because the weather has been up and down. Its been pretty mild but to put it lightly; I would be a millionaire many times over if I could sell mud!! So I have kept it to some minor manners lessons with Linus. Mostly things like standing still while tied, behaving while asking him to pick up his hooves and I have done a fair amount of grooming too to help all the loose hair away. I love grooming, something I always enjoyed with the show cattle too. People always joke because my mother is a barber...so I am the livestock equivalent!
I really wish I would have been able to capture the following on camera. Monday was an absolutely miserable day here with regards to the weather. When I got to the farm after doing the mail route Linus looked as miserable as the weather and it was only supposed to get worse overnight. I have a first calf heifer who is due any day now in the barn (do not want her calving in the mud!). She was in a large pen which can be cut in half by closing a gate. I cleaned and rebedded the heifer (her name is Darlin'; named after a Johnny Reid song and he dam's name was Lassie, so it fit) then I brought Linus in and put him on the other side of Darlin's pen. I was very pleased with him for walking through two narrow-ish doorways and down the feed alley without batting an eye. He got into the pen, shook the excess water off and investigated the new surroundings. These pens are normally used for calving in winter and creep feeding in summer. So, during the winter, we seal the door with a tarp in case we need to turn the heat on. I haven't done any desensitising with Linus yet using tarps. I don't imagine it will be difficult though because he grabbed it pulled it down most of the way. I took it the rest of the way off and folded it up in front of him not sure what to expect. Certainly did not expect him to try to grab it back from me!! What a boy! During all of this, Darlin' was finishing up her meal. Then it was time to meet her new roomy over the gate. To my surprise, the youngster who is normally pretty passive with the cows actually tried to nip her nose. She reacted by snorting and shaking her head then stamped her feet and tried again. I kept a close eye on the bickering pair in case I had to swap Linus with the weanling heifer who was also inside, but in a different pen. I carried on with the chores, they settled in munching their respective piles of hay and I went home. When I went back the next day to put Linus out in the now nice, sunny weather his face was all wet and so was his neck. I couldn't figure it out, thought we must have a leak somewhere by the now untarped door. Once I got him to his round pen, I could better see the pattern to these "wet" marks. Darlin' had been licking him on his face and neck!! It amused me to no end....yes I do live in a very rural area, there isn't much excitement! Sometime overnight, the two had made up and became buddies.
Writing this post has actually showed me that Linus has overcome much more than I thought in the last week. Good stuff!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Hokah Curly Horses In The Local News

My Curly horses are famous! Well, in Hokah, MN anyway. I invited a journalist from a local newspaper to meet my Curly horses and write an article on this wonderful breed. It was so much fun telling the writer about my journey to own horses and about what a perfect match I had found. Of coarse Noble was more than willing to "smile" for the camera and Storm looked so handsome with his curly dredlocks falling over his forehead. Not only will the article earn me points in the contest but it will help promote the breed and give hope to others who are allergic to horses. Thank you to Linda from Creekside Curlies for taking part in the article and allowing the journalist to interview you. I bet you were surprised to be contacted!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Gotta Love Those Curlies

Not sure how this will be counted but feel it deserves sharing as it shows the best attributes of our Curlies!

Elsa went to her new home this last weekend. She loaded right up for her second round of loading! Rode like a seasoned pro and once to her new home took in all the new experiences like an old broke experienced horse! Mind you this was her first time off her birth place, away from her family and friends.

Her first was sloppy footing right out of the trailer, then a big sign announcing the stables name, then a waist high statue of a horse and a girl. All of this is at the head of the lane down to the barn and pastures. on the left is a paddock with several horses, a loafing shed, various "obstacles" and on the right is the house with four dogs, many cats and all the shrubbery and trees. Elsa never even hesitated but walked along on a loose lead even while keeping her ears up and her eyes high.

Once we go to the barn the stable trainer and Stacy went into the barn expecting me and Elsa to follow. So, we did. First time in a building, on a cement floor with birds, bird recordings, horses in box stalls and all the various accoutrement's that go along with the inside of a barn. Again no fuss no muss and no one watching could tell she had not been in this type situation all of her life!

Then they wanted me to take her into the indoor arena at the other end of the barn where there was an owner warming and tacking her horse. They wanted to introduce Elsa to her new stable mates - two donkeys. So the trainer went and haltered a donkey and led it into the arena with us. Elsa sniffed and was definitely curious but not alarmed. The trainer led the donkey around the arena, I followed with Elsa who sniffed and watched but was just as interested in the rest of her surroundings as she was that donkey. The woman in the arena with her horse commented on how calm Elsa was and how many horses are completely freaked by the donkeys.

And finally, they had me lead Elsa to her new holding/quarantine pen. This meant going through a small walk through door, onto a cement pad flanked by two big red feed and water buckets and into the midst of both donkeys. Again not fuss no muss and no excitement.

It was gratifying to hear all the comments about how sensible and calm this horse was - and sad/frustrating to me that they have no concept of just how much of this is the breeds characteristics which admittedly we breed for and then strive to expand during training! Gotta LOVE THEM CURLIES!

A not so positive followed by a positive

Two weekends ago the weather cooperated and I decided it was time to try to riding again. I hoped to enlist Stacy to take pictures but it fell to Don who felt pressured and then the actual mounting went poorly so thus the negative.

Mocha knows to stand next to whatever is handy so I can mount up with relative ease. In this case I went back to the old stand by of corral panels but Mocha was edgy - which I blame on me because I was edgy and it took several attempts to get him to lineup like he knows he is supposed to.


Once I had him in position you can see in the pictures how I shimmy up the rails and then "swing" on.
However, this time when I sat up and went to talk to him, Mocha walked off- a BIG nono and one he knows better than to do. Again, I am sure he was picking up on my nerves. I was not clear in my head and when he went instead of sticking with him and correcting him I stood backup on the rail and let him go - a technique I learned from a trainer in California at a Mustang clinic and one that gave me enough confidence to ride Mocha the first time.

Once he left I hopped down, followed him - walking as running is just foolish when the horse has 10 acres to dodge in, talked firmly to him, slapped my leg with my palm once and he turned and faced me.

Then I gave him the "come" command and he came - nervously as he was sure he was in trouble - and even stepped that one step closer when told. Then I praised him, petted him and led him back. But as Don wanted to work with Stacy and I was nervous I aborted the riding for the day and ended on the positive of his listening to me to come back in when told.
And then the ROTTEN spring weather has been snowy, muddy and generally not conducive to outside horse activities! But it will improve and so will I!
Oh and while you can't see it well my shirt is my curly (my chosen RAC shirt) for winter time act ivies! My t-shirt is underneath!

First time trailer loading - catch up post number 1

As my former posts have shown, I have been working with Stacy and Elsa to get Stacy ready to take Elsa home. Two weekends ago we loaded Elsa for the first time since she was a weanling when we loose loaded her with her mother. This time we let Stacy try to load her but after the second attempt with a lock up at the rear of the trailer, we took over to make it a positive first loading session. I led Elsa up to the trailer and stepped in, she stopped and I let her sniff but when she tried to back away I kept the lead tight enough to prevent her backing out or rolling to the side of the trailer, Don got behind her with a "carrot stick and string" which he waved in an arc right to left and back again, Elsa still wanted to go backwards so Don stepped a bit closer and became more animated while I gave her the step-up command and a firm pressure on the lead and she jumped into the trailer. I then talked to her scratched her calmed her and reassured her. We always turn them and walk them to the back of the trailer to step out but we do this in small increments as we do not want the horse deciding to bolt out whenever it feels like it. Elsa did great and stopped right at the edge of the trailer to look out while I scratched her. I then stepped out and took a minute to reassure and praise her. Then we walked back to the trailer where Elsa hesitated again but it only took Don stepping behind her with me giving the step up command for her to step into the trailer. We repeated the praising, turning, walking to the back, stepping out and praising again. The next time I walked her to the trailer she walked in alongside me like and old pro!
We then let Stacy repeat the loading process several times and it went smooth as warm butter!
And then it was off to the Vet for Coggins and Health Certificate!
What a champ Elsa is and a trooper Stacy is for learning right along with her new and I might ad FIRST horse.
Unfortunately no pictures!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Welll, Billy and I are back in the RAC competition once again this year! I have a couple goals for myself and Billy, but the most important is to conquer my fear of riding! Fear is a crazy emotion that CAN keep you safe, but it can also be debilitating when it is unfounded. My fear has become more and more debilitating over the last year - almost paralyzing at times.

I look at Billy and he is such a good boy - he does not rear, he does not bolt, has only bucked once (but I stayed on). He is a very laid back horse who has started to let me know what his opinions are. Such as "I don't want to go that way" and "I don't really want to stop right now. I am going to keep going even though you have my head cranked to my belly."

He went to a trainer for a short while who taught him some things - like how to stop!! But, over the course of time, lack of riding has caused my fear to escalate. Just thinking about riding sometimes makes me nauseous.

So, I got some on-line help from a woman who is not only blessed with the ability to train, but also blessed with the ability to be able communicate with the human!! I learned that Billy's actions in the roundpen are not a result of fear. They are a result of him having no respect for me!!! Imagine that??!!! How can I possibly expect him to have respect for me while I am riding him if he double barrell kicks at me in the roundpen?

So, Billy has been working HARD!! And the results have been amazing! I am making him sweat and think and listen to what I am asking him. Every day he gets more respectful. There is no more kicking out at me. There is no more pinning of the ears. There is no more snaky neck! It has been FUN to go out and work with my horse.

And, now Denise has come up with the Curly and Me contest and all I can say it "Wow"!!!! It is exactly what I need to push through the fear. I am so excited to get started. And, even if I do not complete all the tasks in the month of May, I can continue to use them as a guideline in the coming months. Thanks Denise!!!

So, my theme for this RAC year is FEAR Sucks! But, I am determined to beat it! Hopefully by the end of the year I can type FEAR CONQUERED. One of my big goals is to ride through "The Ancient World" at our little science area. It is a huge field of monster eating statues, stones, towers. I want to ride through it on Billy with a loose rein and not feel like I am going to throw up!! hahahaha!!

Happy Riding everyone!
Laura and Billy

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Mid week drive - the Covered Bridge re-visited by cart


Wednesday was our first really spring day -- we decided to head to the Bartonsville Covered bridge (in keeping with our obstacle orientations of the month). Again - Zoe is photographer of the fabulous trip.. and she is fast taking after her Mom-- taking too many photo's and lots of video :) Good Job Zoe !






Trot over Crow Hill.. down Flamstead Road








Take a left onto Green Mountain Turnpike - which has been a horse and buggy route for centuries..









All the way to Pleasant Valley Road - and down to the bridge.












We crossed the bridge twice... once over and once on return -- Nimue liked it better the second time across.











We had to trot by the long freight train.. or rather the freight train traveled past us-- first time we've done that in the cart.




And what a co-incidence is this ?? The first time we rode over the bridge with Keri and Teasel for obstacle month the last day of March in 2008.. if you check out the farm blog post for that day - you'll see as we crossed the bridge.. there was a man with a camera that day too !! All the way from New Jersey that day -- these people are from Georgia !! :)





The actual crossing is on video --





Our return trip home - we took Whitney Road - which was different for us than our usual route. That spot of clearing in the distance is where Keri took her slide down on her rump when we trotted over Mount Ephraim awhile back.











Someone is doing spring cleaning - a handy obstacle all set out for us - a flapping clothesline of drapes or bedspreads.









We see a lot of these at this time of the year.



Time to get on the highway for our trot home. The trip does not take long with Nimue in harness... she loves to travel.

Nimue hesitates a bit at first.


On the return trip- covered bridges are old hat.

Nimue thinks going to the left is a faster way -- but really.. turn right it's quicker :)

we had an awesome time.. and per tradition.. I did upload the long version of the trip on Youtube.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H3tECDx1zhE

Today is another spring day.. warmer than Wednesday - I am not sure where we are going to ride today.

Enjoy ~

Friday, March 19, 2010

Spirited After Work Ride

Yep, that's right, an AFTER WORK ride! AhD and I haven't enjoyed one of those in a long time. AhD was extremely spirited and spunky, so I took him straight into the woods at the first opportunity. We pretty much stayed there for the whole ride, scrambling over stone walls, winding our way through the trees, ducking branches, etc. I keep telling myself that I will bring a branch cutter one of these days and actually make us a discernable winding path, but I never seem to get around it. Boy, was AhD forward. I bet I got some good exercise "just sitting" in the Harold's favorite saddle. I love taking AhD into the woods because he goes right where I put him, and I need to be on my toes because he does NOT poke along. Sorry, no pictures...not enough light for my camera. Hope you all get in some good rides this weekend!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

A big day for *Charm!

 Well, today was the day for our first big trail ride!  I went out with my daughter and her Curly gelding *Cuervo (aka Mr. Fabulous) and *Charm was a star!  She was confident and willing - even up and down our significant hills!  Before we went on our ride I asked my daughter to take a few pictures of me jumping *Charm and they turned out just great - here we are!
She is turning out to be a great riding pony!
Shelly
www.curlystandardplace.com

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

I wanted to let Linus have some time to himself on pasture today. It did him...and I, the world of good as it turned out. I'll start at the beginning since that is usually the best place!!




Since the weather took a turn for the better Linus has been acting like a little kid who is excited for March break!! Which in a way is true. But, it has resulted in some handling issues. Issues partially because I let them get that way, chalking it up to the weather change and he will settle down once he adjusts...or once it snows again, whichever comes first. Excuses, excuses. So, I consulted Lynn, thank goodness she is so accessible, and decided that no Linus was not going to get away with it any longer.
The bullying while leading was going to stop, same with the circling around me or thinking he was leading me to where we were going. So, yesterday I set up three feed barrels (they come to roughly Linus' knees) in a triangle shape. We circled them a few times. He really had some issues listening to me at first but then caught on that I was in charge and no we weren't out to attack round bales, bother the Saint Bernard (poor old Misty is almost 11) or investigate an old tractor tire (which is soon going to be an obstacle!). Then I lined the barrels up in a straight line about 8 feet apart for us to weave in and out of. It made me realise something about him; he will do pretty well anything that I want him to so long as I do it first. Which in turn actually leaves him more trusting of me which leaves me feeling on top of the world!! Still, it wasn't great at first with the barrels, he started to get pretty snotty so I showed him my carrot stick then raised it high in the air along with my hand holding the lead rope and waved them til he stood still. As soon as his feet stopped so did I and lowered my hands. We repeated this a few times then resumed our barrel weaving.
Today he was more respectful of my space and when he did start to try to get ahead of me I made him stop. That worked and we walked calmly together to a part of the pasture where the cows are not yet allowed. To get to where Linus ended up for his free time we had to go through some tractor tire ruts that are filled with water (they'll be fixed once the ground hardens), some big puddles and finally over a ditch. Not a very big ditch but to Linus it was the Grand Canyon!! His play time actually turned into a great obstacle day for us again!! He ran, bucked, kicked, splashed in shallow puddles, rolled and of course sampled the new grass and gave the curious cows something to look at while they waited for me to go put their hay out. I absolutely loved watching Linus play while I fed the cows and did up the chores. I had to keep reminding myself I was supposed to be watching where I was driving the tractor and not watching Linus!! It was just so AWESOME to watch my own horse at home. I wanted to get a pail and just sit and watch him all afternoon! I used to do that with the cows whenever I could. After putting in a first-calf heifer who is close to calving I went back out to get Linus. The fence was up but not yet live so I didn't want to leave him out and risk him over-indulging on the grass!! I thought piece of cake; clip the lead on and off we go. Boy was I wrong, ditches apparently are twice the size when you cross them going back the other way!! Poor Linus was shaking and sweating by the time he finally built up the nerve. We walked up and down the ditch until we finally decided on the place he was most comfortable with. Every time he took a step I would ease up and praise him. When he finally took the leap...and plunge, I took a minute to scratch him where he likes it and praise him like mad! I stopped several times on the way back to praise my brave boy!! Until we hit another obstacle that I hadn't thought of: the flags on the flag pole were now untangled and flapping in the strong wind. After the ditch crossing though the flags took little effort to get by. They more were a look and see what is making that strange noise then carry on!
So, in the last 2 days we have improved our leading, encountered and conquered 3 obstacles and most important to me, we have built our trust in each other.
I apologise for the excessively long post, I should post less, more often but I am on cloud 9 right now. Linus impressed me so much today. I have fallen in love with him all over again. I just love the RAC, the ideas I get from it are great and I feel like we are all one big support group!! Til' next time...

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

*Sandman

Well, I got to ride two Curlies today - first up was *Charm - she was just a star!  I rode her in the ring and then she was so good that I thought I would take her up our long driveway and onto the road for a few minutes.  She was just about perfect - so I am thinking that we are getting well ready to go up the hills on our first trail ride - I'm hoping for this Thursday so that my daughter can come with me for company.
Next, I rode *Sandman for the first time this year - he has been ridden for the past three weeks or so by Luis, but I am taking him to our first stallion show this weekend and I need to ride him there so I thought I better get a couple of rides on him first.  He was pretty great - and I remembered why I like riding him so much - he is so well trained and such a powerhouse - he is marvelous to ride!  So I will ride him once more this week and then take him to the annual stallion show at Thunderbird in Langley, BC - it is always a great place to display the horses. 
Shelly
www.curlystandardplace.com

What goes up.....

Okay, this is by far the funniest photo we have of Traveler and I jumping. Can you say overjump? We loaded up the horses - Traveler, my husband's and my daughter's mini and headed over to Tulip Springs Event Center in Kennewick for an Eventing Clinic on their training course. Traveler did the course great - but was a little unsure of this log. And when he finally decided to jump - he did! The spectators said we were about 4 feet over the log which was 2 ft high - so when I was 6 ft in the air I might have said something a little profane because I didn't expect the height.

This was the most difficult jump - asking your horse to canter up to a 3 ft bank and jump off into water. Traveler did it so well and he was so smooth that we actually got our first compliment from the instructor - she said he was turning out to be a pretty good little jumping pony. The pony part is funny because for a Curly he is a good size, 15.2 HH but we are competing with Percherons and Draft crosses so he is a little dwarfed by them.
More fun at the water jump!


I love this picture of him - he cleared this one pretty high as well. At the end of the session he was actually starting to "get" it. He really loves to have a job and it helps to keep him focused. We did have about 40 minutes of the "stud" thing going on the first day - it took awhile to clear his head. I could just feel that he wasn't totally with me and he would occasionally let out a whinney at a good looking mare - so we had a little bit of disciplining and focusing to do. But after we worked through this he got on with the job. He doesn't ever get distracted when we jump - it's just when we are waiting around for other horses to finish or doing flatwork that he tends to get distracted.
It is spring here, the sun was shining and we were around about 50 other horses. We almost weren't allowed to attend because most people have such hang-ups about stallions - but he was a good boy and really, if I hadn't informed the other riders and owners of the facility - no one would have known. But I feel that I need to let everyone know for safety's sake that Traveler is a stallion.
I was talking to my trainer about riding him during breeding season around so many horses and maybe it's a situation of ignorance is bliss - of course, my horse is going to behave around other horses in any situation because that's what I expect out of him and doesn't everyone ride their stallion just like another horse? - but he said that I could put Vick's Vapor Rub in his nose during performances to keep him from smelling the mares. Does anyone else do this? Does it work?
My helpers - feeding the horses. As you can imagine with so many horses, all high strung about jumping - there were loose horses every 5 minutes and someone would yell - get the kids! And they all had to line up next to the fence until the horse was caught. (Not any of my horses though, thank goodness.) My eldest daughter is still talking about the "loose horses".


Traveler - tired and wanting to go home. Until another adventure.....

Sunday, March 14, 2010

*Charm's first show! She wins a first place ribbon!


  Well, we have had an adventure!  I have been riding and preparing my Curly mare *Shesa Magic Charm for her first dressage show which was held yesterday on March 13th.  *Charm has been very going well in my arena, but I haven't had an opportunity to ride her in other areas very much and also, this "fuzzy horse dressage show" was to be held in an indoor arena about 2 hours from here.  Now my neighbour has a really nice coverall building and so on Friday March 12th when it was just pouring rain I thought this would be a good time to take her over there and ride her.  *Charm had been over to the indoor arena just once before late last summer - she had been pretty good in there, but it did seem like a good idea to go one more time before the show! 
 
So she was okay with being in the indoor arena, but she didn't like that there were no other horses in there, so she was somewhat nervous until my neighbour brought her horse in for some work and then *Charm settled down quite a bit.  I was happy to be riding inside that day - we don't get a lot of rain here, but when we do it just pours!
 
We had to leave quite early to get the the show grounds, and we took *Sandman and also my trainer's horse came along for the experience.  All the horses loaded and hauled just fine - we arrived in plenty of time for me to lead Charm around inside the arena before the show started.  She handled it all very well - and then I got her ready to ride and lunged and then warmed her up a bit - she was very very good and I was pretty impressed with her!
 
While waiting our turn to go into the arena a young girl asked me if *Charm was from *Sandman's Magic!  I thought that was very cool!  I know that *Charm does look like him, but we hadn't even brought him out of the trailer yet and so *Charm was the only Curly horse she had seen there!  She also went on to say that she had seen *Sandman two years ago at the fuzzy horse show when my daughter had ridden him.  There were lots of great comments about my horses - could hear people talking about the Curlies and it felt really great to be out there doing in again - as we took last year off from showing dressage.
 
So I rode *Charm in two walk/trot tests in the indoor arena, tests A and B - she was nervous in the arena by herself, but again I was very impressed and pleased with her effort - and her effort was enough to get her a first place ribbon and a second! 
 
It was a great day overall - *Sandman showed well also - it was only his second time ridden in First Level and he got a second and a fourth - so I was happy with all the results!
 
It was difficult to get photos in the indoor arena, but I did get a few off the video we took, all attach them here - hopefully better ones will be coming from the next show which will be outside.
Shelly
Standing Curly Sporthorse Stallion *Sandman's Magic
http://www.curlystandardplace.com

Friday, March 12, 2010

The obstacle challenge opening day !

I don't know what it is about obstacle time in the RAC but this is my favorite for sure ! I do not ever focus on the prize or the win -- I just plain LOVE obstacles :) I am always thinking up challenges anyway.. for myself and my horses .. this gives me the excuse to spend more time with it. All year -- I start thinking... what can I do this year that is different than last time ? To me an obstacle is an invitation to cross, solve, overcome and laugh about :) Like a mountain to traverse, a river to swim across, and a bridge to trot over.


First time Denise offered out the obstacle challenge I studied the CSB course and photo's on the Curly Horse Country site... bridges and car wash ? That year Zoe and I rode over as many bridges that we could locate within a 30 mile radius and also through the car wash downtown. Last year -- I put my thinking cap on and came up with the jousting course and the teeter totter.. both of which remained set up most of the year.. SO much fun ! The best part of this is when your horse is successful.. not only do they trust you more as handler/rider-- you come to realize you have much more trust in your horse.


Come 2010... what can I do this year - a fresh concept. In the back of my head I have been considering building a nice set of stairs and a better, longer, higher bridge -- perhaps a nice water hazard using the brook... Then .. since - as you all know-- I am back to feeling comfortable driving and loving it again ... I decided I would complete all the obstacles driving. Some of my obstacles will have to be altered to accommodate the cart width - but it's going to be fun.



A couple of weeks ago, after I posted a blog about driving Nimue and wanting to try her out on the snowmobile trail -- I became obsessed :) My brain cells began whirring... trails, add in bridges -- a snowmobile bridge ! perfect. Today - one of our lesson riders showed up for his first lesson without the appropriate paperwork - so we had to send him home... another group cancelled due to illness. Today is the day -- harness Nimue, grab the camera and we are off !!

Zoe is the camera person in the cart - not many photo's - mostly video. Photo's would not do the journey justice :)

We began the trip trotting down the highway - which Nimue has done once before but she was a bit worried since it was at the beginning of the trip and also in reverse. She settled right in so we made good time to the trail opening -- there we found - as you will hear on the video -- an easy entry cart is not well suited to snowmobile trail down through an old pasture ! It goes over snowbanks stiffly. We had to cross a narrow deep ditch - which is why we were giggling about assuming the 2-point position. The cart bounced quite high -- but Nimue did not even notice.

All in all -- Nimue went very well.. the bridge did not phase her too much -- the sound of the crunchy snow on the trails was nothing ... what a blast :) Call me weird -- I get so much satisfaction from an obstacle :)







Here is the first time Nimue walks over the bridge -- we then crossed the road to contimue up the snowmobile trail which we ride often past the bus graveyard.. loop around and head back across the bridge from the other direction.. trot home, with a small delay for a back country road traffic jam. There's a lot of video here - I hope you enjoy... if you are curious to see more of the trek -- visit you tube here : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TR_hOhvJJPc













Enjoy ~

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Spring Obstacle Challenge!

Ok, before you all get too excited....this challenge offers no end prizes. HOWEVER, should you decide to part-take, the rewards will far exceed anything material. Obstacles teach an incredible amount of trust between you and your mount....& deep bond. You'll gain confidence by overcoming reactions your horse will have to really "scary" things. But be careful, start slow...safety first!

The Challenge is this: See how many obstacles you can encounter & overcome over the next 6 weeks. They can be obstacles on the trail (natural) or obstacles that you set up in your arena, pasture, round pen or yard. Your time in doing this is "point-worthy" for the RAC. If you are in the core division riding part of the contest only, you can only count time while under saddle. Those in the ground division can count time for saddle and ground obstacles.

Getting started: If you need help in deciding what kind of obstacles you would like to do with your horse, I have a page laid out for the very purpose. It is called the "Calmer, Smarter, Braver Obstacle Course." Click the link to view.

A few weeks ago in preparing to do some of this with Reese until the trail is clear of ice and snow, I stumbled upon this youtube video that I thought was inspiring. Click the link below.

I sure would LOVE to get my horse going through a course like that with such ease! Wow!


HEADS UP: May will be our FIRST official MINI CONTEST, so let's work on this challenge until then and we'll be ready for some serious competition May 1st. =]

We look forward to your posts and photos of how you are progressing with your obstacles!

Yahoo - our Curlies are going to the State Fair of Texas in September

Yahoo, our Curlies are going to the State Fair of Texas this year and...teaching others about the history of the Curly and Curly Mustangs - Angie.
 
The State Fair of Texas®
Presents The Spirit of the Horse with Robert M. Liner, featuring the
American Curly Horse and Curly Mustang
owned by Golden Curls Ranch, Kaufman, Texas
www.goldencurlsranch.com

September 24 – October 17, 2010
  On Display Daily 10 AM – 10 PM
Spirit of the Horse Exhibit - located in the Pan Am Barn
Adjacent to the Ranch arena
Visit us to learn about America's history and American horse  ...
Curly and Curly Mustang

goal set - mission accomplished


What a day it was yesterday... we have been wanting to get up to the top of Hawk's Mountain again for some time - as we have not done that yet in winter. We found a new snowmobile trail headed that way - so Wednesday.. we spent all day in the saddle riding toward that goal. As usual I took scads of photo's - so please visit my farm blog to see the trip without missing a thing :)


Here is a view of our objective -- we are about 10 miles out with a LONG way to go yet :)



Many bridges to cross along the way.. and we wandered in and out of bare melted ground, deep snow, lots of ice --















Open fields for cantering !





We are getting closer -- there is that hump in view again. We have to turn into the woods again here.








Where we met again all manner of mud, snow, and ice -






Up ahead - the trail narrowed, deep ditches on either side - and very steep and curvy -- due to the ice and no where to get away from it - Zoe and I were forced to do what we NEVER on the trail (well unless we spot something we want to take home with us) -- dismount and walk our horses. yikes...






Finally- we begin the ascent... starts out in switch-back mode.. then it's straight up.









steep sides








We are starting to get some outstanding views. Last time we trotted up here - there was still foliage blocking most of this.










View from half way up -- between the bright sun and the brilliant snow.. I think the effect of the two muted the photo by blinding the camera :) Still pretty.





And look closely here - this ridge of wind towers is very far away in New Hampshire !! You can just about see them






I took loads of photo's of various views -which you can see them all on the farm blog - but here is a quick "live" view from this vantage point. You might notice Keri's eyes blinking and squinting -- so bright right here.






Back down on the dirt roads -- we find plenty of mud in spots.. we have a long trot home but we are SO satisfied with this trip.. it's been too long since we have been able to travel this far and spend this much time in the saddle -- YAY !! :)




Here's a little video of Keri and Teasel trotting together -- they had a great time out too !


Enjoy and don't miss all the other photo's on my blog

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