Friday, April 30, 2010

"Curly & Me" Personal Achievement May Mini Challenge Begins!!

Geesh, that was a mouthful!! OK, RACer's!!!!

Tomorrow starts the May Mini Challenge! Are you ready?? Every 2010 RAC participant should have received an email from me this evening regarding the rules of this very unique challenge. If you did not, PLEASE email me asap! denise.conroy@gmail.com

I look forward to hearing all about your fun activities!!!! Keep sharing, we all love it!!

Thank you all for such enthusiasm - you are doing incredible things with your curlies and are making powerful ambassadors for the breed! Not to mention promoting like crazy! I thank you and your curly horse(s) thank you too!!

You go get 'em!

BLOG HOG

Yep, I am being a blog hog...sure feels that way anyway!! Lol, I enjoy putting my stories somewhere before I forget them!
So, to continue slightly from my last post; I clipped Linus' bridlepath today! Just with the small cordless, not the large livestock clippers. That makes me chuckle now that I think of it: I used the large clippers on the dog and the small ones on the horse! That's what you get for having a pony-size dog I guess!! Anyway, I had his halter on (brand spanking new today actually!) grabbed the clippers, he followed me in the barn to get them so I had to make him back out of the narrow alley. Good practice!! He also tried to walk into the garage with me but I didn't let him in case he got spooked and hurt himself. There is a 4-wheeler and lawn tractor in there too so its a no go zone...Anyway, the clippers. I turned them on and rested them on him and let him circle around me while holding the lead rope over my arm. I didn't pull on the lead rope but just said "Whoa".....and he actually stopped!!! Good stuff! So, we repeated this about 3 times. Not even taking any more than 3 minutes before I was able to clip the hair out of our way. I was on the fence about cutting it because that chunk likes to hang on the opposite side to the rest of his mane which looks really nice, but it needed to be put out of our way. I have noticed that the curly Curlies don't normally tend to have this problem of hair in the way of the halters etc. So, now we don't either!!
My even bigger news than that is the newspaper I finally had the nerve to contact (fear of being turned down I guess!) replied to me today and is coming out tomorrow to do a story about Curlies (wishin' Linus had some, lol) I have let them know he is a smooth coated version. The important part is that he is still hypoallergenic and still a wonderful poster boy for the famous Curly personality! I have contacted Karalee Bell (Whirlwind Curlies) who lives around the corner from me. She might come help out for the interview but if the reporter wants to showcase a Curly with curls we can head over and take a picture of her white boy, Hunter. I hope she can make it out, she has so much breed knowledge and experience. I also let Lynn and Denise know so that I have the appropriate permissions to mention this competition and Homefire as well.
Uber looking forward to tomorrow!!!!!!! Stay tuned for the post of the article!!!!!!!!!!

BuZzZzZ

I spent 5 hours clipping our farm dog (Newfie) Essa yesterday. She came out of the winter with some bad mattes so now she is feeling much better. I have been wanting to clip Linus' bridlepath because his mane is so thick and no matter how careful I am there is always hair getting caught in the halter or bridle!! I didn't clip him last night, I just introduced him to the clippers. They were fascinating until they started to vibrate!! I did get the rub them over his nose and on his neck and shoulder. I was very proud of him for not running away. I hadn't put a halter or anything on him. Just went into his pasture and kept turning them on and off and rubbing them on him. He paced around me a bit, then licked and chewed and came back for more.
There is a woman at the opposite end of the road to the farm. She has a few minis and is working towards opening a therapeutic farm for disabled children where they can come visit or the ponies can go to other places to visit. Anyway, she is in the same boat I am, she's got a horse at home (Arab cross I think) that she is raising from a baby and she is teaching her minis to drive (just like Linus and I!) So we are helping one another, sharing tips and ideas. Its been great so far and who knows, maybe Linus will eventually be able to participate in some therapeutic activities!! He's got a great temperament for it and it would really showcase the wonderful Curly personality!!!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Killer Jump

This is the horse leg "killer" jump Traveler fears the most. We will battle it again - as I mentioned before - on Sunday. I just got this picture. My husband wouldn't let me see it until we had our successful training today. I said we were too high - oh my goodness, were we ever.

Ditch Witch

Last weekend we trained at the Deep Creek Event Center and here we are going over a ditch. Doesn't he look pretty - me, not so much. What's with my elbows? Am I trying to fly? So many things to remember, elbows in, grab some mane, heels down, and whatever you do, don't look down! I'm getting nervous just typing about our upcoming event in 7 days. We enter the big league of jumpers. Am I ready? Since I don't think I will ever be "ready" I might as well go ahead and ride.

We trained again today (no pictures, sorry) but we had a great ride and when Traveler is "on", he is absolutely awesome. When he's not, it's a long, hard day. I have memorized our dressage test and so has Traveler - :). His only "hitch" is any jump that looks really solid, and then he will over jump to beat the band. We took a 3 foot log at Deep Creek and were at least 8 feet in the air - not good. We worked on that today, having him rate me and now he's getting to where he will "ask" if we are going to jump instead of just forging on ahead desperate to save me from the killer log he has to "fly" over. I can stay on when we "fly" but keeping in the saddle when we land is a different story.

This Sunday I will head back to take on the "killer" log again, hopefully, at an appropriate jumping height and my confidence will be back. Tallyho!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

OBSTACULAR!!!!!!!

What an amazing weekend Linus had. To say that doesn't even scratch the surface for me. Saturday unexpectedly turned into a great day for obstacles. My 7 year old nephew, Griffin, was out from the city for a visit. He usually comes out on weekends and without getting into detail its safe to say he is from a broken home and the farm provides stability and comfort for him. I pulled Linus out to groom his still-shedding coat and Griff asked what I was doing. So I told him and was surprised by his interest. So I asked if he wanted to help, surprise again when he eagerly agreed. I gave him an overview on how to safely approach a horse, how to know the horse is aware you are there and the basics of reading him. Griffin caught on quicker than a quick thing, asked loads of questions and thoroughly enjoyed grooming Linus. Not to mention Sir Linus himself very much enjoyed the attention. My husband came over with our son, Owen, who of course also had to pet Linus.
Then our first obstacle other than all the people (usually just Linus and I) came along when my Dad went past on the tractor. No big deal, Linus is used to that, then he reached the field on the other side of where we were working and dropped the set of discs he had on and started discing the field entrance. Noisy metal griding and some rock scraping. Linus was great, he looked to see what it was, danced a bit (more so I think he was prancing cos' he felt pretty from all his grooming) then settled back in. The next obstacle was a 4-wheeler with the chain harrows in tow. Non-event there too. Then when we were out front in the field grazing Linus (yep, husband and kids in tow here too) the same 4-wheeler came and towed away the noisy, steel hay wagon. Non-event. Again. Then Dad moved the stock trailer to right near where we were grazing with the tractor, surely this would get a reaction from him I thought! But, nope, not a day to faze my brave boy. It probably doesn't seem like a lot but our tractor is big and Linus has never had that many people plus the 2 dogs around him all at once. I was very proud of him. It was great noise exposure.
Today was an absolutely fantastic feel good day for Linus and I. We accomplished so much! Yes, I do have picture and yes they were taken from my cell phone so please be warned on the quality!!
I started by a light grooming of the loose hairs. Then I took the saddle blanket, which he has worn under his surcingle, and I did some "sacking out" with it. It was a very windy day so I took full advantage of that. Below is a picture of Linus wearing the blanket which he was very quick to learn is not a threat. He had it opened all of the way and hanging on both sides, running from his head to his tail, completely covering his head and eyes and draping over his neck as you see.

He's obviously very bothered!!












About an hour previous to this I put this old (my great-uncle owned it when he was young, my Dad and myself learned to ride in it) saddle in with Linus for him to investigate. He sniffed, nibbled and pawed at it. Then I took it out so he wouldn't get tangled up in it. After our blanket session I brought the saddle back in and rubbed his shoulders with it. This didn't bother him at all, he was happy to have it back for more sniffing! So I set it on his back with the girth straps behind the cantle, just in case! He turned and sniffed it then looked at me asking for a treat. I happily obliged, walked him around a bit, slapped the saddle and got no reaction from him other than boredom. As Lynn said the day I brought him home "I love non-events!" So I took it to the next step and cinched the saddle loosely. Not a problem, his is used to this from the surcingle. So I continued walking him in his pasture, then stop and slapped the stirrups lightly against his sides, banged on the seat of the saddle and rocked it back and forth. All of this causing no stress for Linus. Good boy!!






Again, a very bothered boy wearing his first saddle!
I was pleased with the progress thus far...okay, major understatement. I was elated!! Even that is an understatement. This was my first experience introducing a horse to his first saddle. I brought him out front to graze as has become our routine spot. I took the chance to take another though somewhat hazy photo. My Mom came out front with Griffin and Owen so Linus got more attention!! Then I took him for a short walk up the road then up a trail that we hadn't been on before which leads to two hayfields. We walked and trotted up the trail so he got to really experience the slapping and creaking an old saddle makes!! He handled it beautifully. We took our time heading back. I walked him a bit into the front bush, last year's dead canary grass brushed his belly and crunched under him which he wasn't crazy about. To his credit, he did not bolt and trusted me to lead him back out safely. I took him back to his pasture, unsaddled him, gave him a good rub and got his feed.

I know theoretically this is a competition, but that part of it is so far behind me now. It has become way more than that for me. I am learning so much and thoroughly enjoying my horse. I am so thankful Lynn suggested this to me. Words cannot ever describe what I was feeling this afternoon. I was so proud of Linus but more so I had a feeling I never had with any horse before and that came from the fact that I am training him myself. I realised how much I have taken it for granted always being around already-trained horses in the past. Its a very gratifying feeling. Linus is filling a void I didn't know was there and I am so happy that I own him. He is only 11 months old, we have only just begun!!
Yesterday, Chuck helped me start building a simple round-pen and today I finished it. Of course, I needed to inaugurate it! I chose our stallion, *Beau, as it had been almost two years since I had last worked with him, other than during basic leading and foot-trimming (please read my full blog to learn why). I have been following a clicker page on Facebook, called “Clicker Training Horses” with Peggy Hogan as the leader. While reading through I learned about teaching a horse to stand on objects or “station”. As *Beau is already trained for driving and used to word commands, I thought today I would introduce him to this new word “station”. I brought down everything I would need: a large square of plywood, a traffic cone, treats….what’s CT without treats right? Then I went to get *Beau. He and *Red were way at the other end of their pasture when I started toward their gate. As I approached the solar charger to turn it off, I gave a whistle. *Beau looked up and I yelled, “Come Beau!” He immediately stopped eating and headed toward me. “Good boy!” I shouted.

Once he was underway, *Red decided he needed to come too, which is typical. They both arrived at the gate, and I put the rope halter on *Beau. As I always do, I clicked and treated him, and then offered some treats to *Red, thanking him for staying behind. This is the routine I have always used, and even though it has been two years, they remember it. Consistency is always my goal. *Beau and I went through the gate and after stopping to turn the power back on, away we went to the round pen.

Because it was new to him, I walked *Beau around both ways, allowing him to see the fencing with each eye. I incorporated some Tellington-Jones wand work, as he knows that, and we walked and whoa-ed several times. Once that was done, I went into the middle and asked him to circle me at a walk. Again, we worked on walk and whoa. *Beau is very sensitive to my energy, and we both need time to learn to properly communicate again, so we had a couple of bobbles in our work together; however, once it felt right I asked for and got walk-trot-walk transitions in both directions. All of this was done on my 12 foot line and all was done with a loop in it. That’s my boy!

After that, I gave him a bit of relax time, he nibbled on the grass in there (like he hadn’t been doing that all morning ), and asked for and got face scratches. This gave me time to bring out the plywood and lay it down. I picked up his lead and guided him toward the board. As he approached, I said ‘station’, and he stepped on it with both front hooves. I immediately clicked and treated. I backed him up, relaxed, then brought my energy up once again and asked him forward. Right before he stepped onto the board, I said ‘station’ again. He stepped, I C/T’d. We did this several times, and then I backed him off, and tied the lead up so he could move without tripping on it. I let him go to relax a bit, and went and got a traffic cone.

He knows the cone, he also knows ‘target’. The moment I got his attention and said ‘target’ he looked at the cone, and headed right for it to touch it with his nose. C/T!! We then spent time bouncing between rests, ‘target’ and ‘station’. After half a dozen times, and ending with a ‘station’, I told him what a fabulous guy he was, scratched his face for him, and untied the lead. We sauntered out of the round-pen and around to the truck where I grabbed a couple of large treats. Back we went to the pasture, turned off the power, and there was *Red waiting for us. In we went, I dropped the lead to hook up the gate and *Beau stood there politely waiting for me. I then took off the halter, tossed it out of the fence, stripped my gloves, tossed them out, and turned to the two boys, who had been standing there waiting and watching. I pulled the ‘cookies’ from my bag and asked them both for a back-up, gave them each their treat, a rub and a “What great boys you are!”


I had a fantastic time!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Upcoming May Mini Contest!

Hi Everyone! Just a brief reminder to the current 2010 RAC team. If you did not get an email regarding the May Mini Contest, please email me immediately. This is a special contest which requires you to pick one of your curlies to compete with and sign up. This just spurs you to make a little extra commitment. ONLY those that sign up will qualify for prizes at the end of the month. Those that don't sign up, can still be involved and count their points towards their RAC yearly total, but they won't qualify for prizes.

Email: denise.conroy@gmail.com

Details of the May Mini Contest are remaining a secret til the morning of May 1st!!! It's going to be fun!!!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

A family ride!

I am getting *Sandman and *Charm ready for the show on Sunday so I rode them both in the ring and then my family asked if I wanted to go for a trail ride - sure I did!  So.... I actually rode my Arabian mare, Mirage (she is the mommy to a very Curly *Serenade though :)  Anyhow, we did take two Curlies - here are my son on *Cuervo and my daughter on *Bijou.

We had a wonderful ride - the weather was really wonderful and while it was a bit dusty - it wasn't too bad!
Shelly
www.curlystandardplace.com

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Midwest Horse Fair in Madison, WI







I can't believe we are half way through April already. I've been so busy between work and trying to get ready for the Midwest Horse Fair in Madison, WI. The MHF is huge, I think they said there are about 650 horses on the grounds and more than 50,000 people that come through the gates. This was my third year participating as part of the curly group. The other curly folks are some of the nicest around. I brought my bay mare Walker's Curly Honey and gray filly Lucia Rose. Honey who is 14 years old, has only done trailriding and camping. Lucia ("Chia") is 3 1/2 years old has just been started under saddle. Neither horse has ever even been in an indoor area and Lucia hasn't left the farm except to go to the trainers. I had spent the last month trying to give Honey a refresher on riding since she hasn't hardly been ridden these last two years since she was raising foals. My friend's daughter Chelsey wanted to ride Honey in the demos which was fine with me since I hate having audiences when I ride. Lucia's trainer Amanda Andrews had been in a car accident in December and with the help of her husband, they got her under saddle and riding. Amanda really pushed to have me take Lucia to the Fair and I told her that if she thought she was ready I would. She also offered to show Lucia herself...even better. I was really nervous about how both the horses would behave. The Fair is absolute chaos at best.






On Thursday we were loaded and ready to go. We picked up Lucia from the trainers and then headed over to get Honey from my friends farm. She spent the last week with Chelsey riding her and getting to know her. The weather was warm and sunny. It was about a 4 hour trip to Madison. We found our group in Barn 5 and got unloaded in record time and the curly booth was almost completely set up before we had to saddle up for our practice sessions in the smaller arena and then in the big coliseum. There was a ton of activity going on every avenue, tent tarps flapping, forklifts, ATV carts, horses, trucks...... Plenty of stuff to spook a horse that's for sure and the wind was blowing too. I rode Honey during the practice sessions since my teenaged rider happened to have state forensic competitions to juggle in town too. The horses were a little leary of all those ad banners hanging on the rails but they seem to get used to them pretty quick in the smaller arena. It was then on to the big coliseum. We had a little time before our time slot so we took my horses down to the waiting area early to get them used to the sights and sounds on that end. They have a big tent without sides set up for shade or rain and with the wind blowing, it sure made for a good desensitation lesson. I kept the horses on the lead until they settled down to the creaking and flapping. The entrance to the coliseum looked a lot darker than the other arena and there were big barn fans blowing too. The fresh dirt that was trucked in was very moist and they were trying to get it dried out by showtime the next day. I was glad they turned the fans off for us. After practice it was back to the barns and bath time for my horses. This is where they hold the world dairy expo so there are rows of wash areas all over the place. My horses were still shedding and the baths sure helped spruce them up.






All the curlies and there riders looked great. Lucia walked so, so slow at first during the demo it was almost comical...if she hadn't been my horse. She finally got moving though and I think it went really well. We also had an informational demo with the curlies in hand in a small tent. We had about an hour time slot so Judy Schuster our group organizer was the speaker and we brought the curlies in two at a time for 10-15 minutes. The throng of people we had to make our way through was unbelievable. I think that one of the bigger more popular performances must have let out because the people were flooding out of the coliseum and our little tent was right near there. My horses were the last in the line up and we were waiting outside in the midst of that mob. Tons of people were petting them and asking about curlies. We pretty much had Saturday open which gave us time to check out the Fair too. The last demo was about 10:30am on Sunday which was nice since it wasn't too early but not really late in the afternoon. We had time to get our supplies all packed and organized before we could load up. I think that it turned out great, the weather was a little cool and quite windy on Friday and Saturday, but it was sunny. Overall, doing these shows are exhausting but you have a lot of fun and get to talk to tons of nice folks. My camera stopped working by Sunday but I got some decent pictures the first couple days.

Green Mountain Cowgirls



Zoe and I saddled up Keri and Teasel to ride the fenceline the other day -- no Texas bluebonnets for us ... just early damp and wet loving Trout Lily and the beautiful but smelly Wild Trillium.






I have several lease pastures.. mine for the grazing if I maintain the fence. So each spring I walk (or ride) the perimeter to assess any winter damage. This day, we rode the fence at the Baltimore pasture and then trotted over the hill to check out the pasture at the Derochefort's.

Great when you can squeeze in necessary work with leisure time riding !! Now, usually when I go over the the Baltimore field -- Keri is so perfect helping me open the little gate... so I thought -- let's make a video !! Here we have Keri being her sporadically rude self -- stepping off just when she knows I need her to stand. She really does do the whole gate opening beautifully :)

video





Well - at any rate - it's open -- time to peruse fence.

This is an old Vermont farm - with evidence of barns here and there -- and beautiful stone walls. I've been using this field for 17 or more years.














Some walls we have to step over.
















My farm is somewhere on the other side of that mountain.






We found a marshy wet area-- Keri splashed and tried to find deep water for swimming... she loved that river crossing.









That fenceline done and needed repairs accounted for -- we trot over the hill, past Crow Hill farm toward the other fields.


















The view from the very top of this field is a nice one. Everyone has a pond in their backyard it seems.


I misplaced a hammer along the top wall here - we are always hoping we'll find it someday --
The fence is not in bad shape -- I'm happy about that. Now all we need is for the grass to GROW !!
So we got some 'work' done and also some great riding.... perfect early spring day !
Enjoy ~

Our First Ride

Time to learn how to ride (or be ridden). This weekend I trailered our 3 year Curly gelding, Khatmoondhu, up to my trainer's place and we had our first "colt breaking" session. We did lots of ground work first, walk-trot-canter transitions, getting used to the tack, and flexing his head
and disengaging the hip. None of this was new to him, he just had to get used to doing it in a new place.
And then I was too chicken to ride him totally alone, so the trainer's wife lunged him for our first ride together and we did walk-trot-canter on the lunge line one way and then the other. And then it was time for our first ride! We did it! No bucking, rearing, falling, just some general confusion on both our parts but we managed to walk-trot-canter around the arena one way and then the other.

I rode him in full western regalia - heavy saddle, breast collar, crupper, double cinch-thingy and a halter & lead rope. He was like a model horse and we have our first ride under us.
We'll be taking it really easy this year, but it was good to introduce him to his purpose in life.
On another note, Traveler and I have signed up for our first recognized USEA three-day event. We will be competing over Mother's Day weekend in Rainer, WA. Good lord, I have butterflies in my stomache just thinking about it. I'll keep you posted.... This weekend we try our hand at the eventing course at Deep Creek in Medical Lake, WA.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Back In The Saddle & It's Spring!

Hey everyone! Well, after nearly a month of not being able to ride due to a minor back injury, Sage and I are back out there blazing the trails. We had gorgeous weather recently and I was able to get out there for a trail ride in the sun and warm weather. Sage was well behaved, but had a bit of 'pep' as well after such a long time of not being ridden. We tackled big goofy dogs, and screaming jumping children (no problems there), and had one minor spook at a biker who FLEW past us without so much as saying 'on your left'. Thanks people!

We're scheduled for our first lesson in weeks on Wednesday morning so let's hope the weather holds. Meanwhile, a friend came over to see our new barn and meet our horses and was really impressed with the Natural Horsemanship we do. I love watching people's reactions when they see I can move our horses around with hand signals and body language... :]

Our rescued Curly mule is doing well and has lost her oats privileges since she has gained back some weight and is now out on spring grass. She's getting along great with my mom's Mustang mare Thea and seems pretty happy overall. Josie loves her walks though and hasn't had one lately due to a hectic life the past few weeks on my part. But...I am thinking she will get one later today.

Meanwhile, here's a picture...



Naptime. :]

Glorious, Uncanny, Weekend

Went to visit Rhys's two daughters, who don't belong to me, Flash, his 2008 filly and Daisy, his 2009 filly. 

It was uncanny how much like my beloved Xandra, Daisy looks, really, really uncanny.  So, Daisy is on the left, Xandra is on the right, and I agree, not the best pics, but as close to similar shots as I could get, doesn't show too well, but they are even the same shade of bay, with that red gloss to them, Daisy's strip and snip are not lined up, but the quality and softness of her eye is the same.  I just know this filly is going to grow up to be so very similar to Xandra, just an incredible horse (pony) that is someone's once in a lifetime partner.  I can't get over the fact that neither of these fillies is related, at all, for as far as either pedigree goes, it's just amazing to me.


Such a temptation, since that filly is for sale, to offer to have her come here, I can well imagine a riding/driving pair those two would make, albeit totally different sizes, would be soooo cool though!!  Forbid the thought, I don't need four Rhys fillys here, right?

Flash was, as she has been all along, absolutely stunning, such a charismatic show off!!

Both fillys belong to Karen Connor, who was Rhys's owner prior to me.  While we were there, she lent me Rhys's harness, so we can start harness training and driving while saving for a harness of our own, I can't wait to get it all cleaned up and fitted back to him, very exciting!!

Then on Sunday, we headed back out to Capitol Forest, with our niece, Shaylise.  Shaylise is now 11, has had some bad riding experiences in the past (not riding with me, but taking lessons at another place) and so is only now, very slowly starting to gain a little confidence riding.  I was hoping she could ride Lyra (as she's Shaylise's horse, kind of), while I ponied her from Epona, however Lyra was a bit energetic about going on a trail (really think she's going to do well in a more competitive trail ride type event), so Shaylise rode Epona while I ponied from Lyra, which worked well. 

Iris (my two yr old German Shepherd) and Gavyn (my coming one year old Shepherd/Akita) came along for the trail ride, they did quite well, Gavyn mostly hung back with Brandon, who took all the pics and rode his mountain bike for the trip.  Iris hung off Lyra's hind left leg. 

There were a few people out target shooting, always a little scary, Epona and Lyra seemed pretty ok with it.  We also had a red shouldered hawk swoop down behind us at one point, weighted down a lot by a red squirrel in their talons, was a remarkable sight, although neither horse was entirely sure about it, they just looked, nothing more.  At the end, we tied Epona to the trailer, I then let Lyra out to trot and canter some up and back on the trail, and then, Shaylise was able to hop up on Lyra and get to ride her a little, which was awesome!!, such a great thing for her to get to do.

All in all it was a GREAT weekend!!  Oh!, and I have an offer from my instructor, and new 'Boss' to bring Rhys up to her arena for us to get lessons together from her, so I hope to start doing that in the near future, need to get that boy and myself riding as one and him comfy in new environs enough to actually be able to do well enough to make a good impression at shows later this year, which, those are coming up, Eek!  I will try to post on those once they start, hope to get up twice a month at least, will see how that goes, very exciting though!!
Hope everyone else had a fabulous weekend!  It was over 70F, sunny, and just perfect!! :-)
Best,
~Heather
Skygazerranch.com

Monday, April 19, 2010

Drive...Lead...Drive...Lead

That's how it went when I took Linus out for our first drive in about a month. To his credit, we did go in a direction in which I have never driven him. I have walked with him that way but at his head not from behind! It really allowed me to see how much confidence he pulls from me being at his head. We did a trip up the length of the road (handy that the farm is at one end and not in the middle!) which equates to 3 km. He remembered the extra spooky blowing plastic at the neighbour's house. But he surprised me by going by it with my encouragement. He held his own til a little bit further up the road where of all the silly things for him to not be sure he wanted to walk by: cows!! Linus, you crazy fool you live with them!! But, i guess when you get used to a herd of solid black a mixed herd including everything from herefords to belted galloways would throw one for a loop! I found it funny that he wasn't sure about the cows but didn't even bat an eye go by three furiously barking dogs, one of which ran out at us. Again, Tess was in tow too so he is used to having a dog accompany us on our journeys. We also went past a neighbour using a generator which started to chug for more fuel. That didn't spook him or even interest him for that matter. Once we reached our turnaround point, Linus decided he was more interested in eating new grass on the roadsides than listening to what I wanted. So, we had a few lessons in who was the leader and eventually he got the hang of my cues. I try really hard to give them before he acts out and correct it before he actually does something. It works really well for me that way. So on the way back I spent equal time leading as I did driving all the time thinking of the other amazing driving stories that keep coming up here on the RAC blog...something for me to aim for!! I am proud of him anyway. He is still very young and we are learning together. I've never driven a horse before owning Linus.
We had a great day out and now he'll get a few days of rest. We'll just focus on grooming and hoof-picking-up.
Have a nice week everyone, supposed to be a nice one for weather!

Joining Up

AhD and I attended a small private clinic (two participants) with trainer Chris Lombard today. IT WAS FANTASTIC! Chris spent well over two hours with each horse/human pair, and we were encouraged to ask questions. I took full advantage of that. :) The first horse was a coming 5 year old QH which acted like a 3 year old TB at best. AhD and I were next. I led him into the round pen, and Chris and I chatted about our issues. AhD promptly proceeded to roll four times – and I had had him looking so spiffy, too! Chris asked me if I wanted to be under saddle or do groundwork, and I chose groundwork. I have always had a longing to have AhD join up with me…and today I got my wish!


First, Chris showed me how...AND IT WAS WONDERFUL! Ok, I’m not signed up for the groundwork portion of the RAC, but I just had to share with all of you just how thrilling it was, and how glad I am that I went to this clinic. Apparently, I’m actually doing a lot of things right in my journey with AhD, working through my confidence issues since my bad accident on (off?) a young Arab. Chris had never worked with a Curly before, and these are some of the words he used to describe him: thinking, confident, tuned-in, intelligent, curious, and get this, folks, RESPECTFUL OF MY SPACE. We’ve sure worked hard on THAT one! ;) Near the end of our time together, I lunged AhD past Chris doing some very scary stuff, and AhD and I passed this test with flying colors. I felt great and very loved by my Curly, who trusted me enough to behave and stay focused on his task even though he was scared. A very rewarding day for horse and human, and AhD was a fantastic ambassador for the breed to boot!

APRIL 17TH??








Doesn’t look like it, does it! We awoke to a blanket of snow, and it kept snowing throughout the morning. Seeing as to how AhD and I have a clinic tomorrow and we haven’t been out together in quite a while, off we went! I gave it plenty of time, and bonded with my sweet but fresh Curly beforehand. I let him know he is still my Number One, even though there have been some changes in equine personnel in our barn. I saddled up, and we headed out, but I led him and lunged him for the first 45 minutes until I felt comfortable mounting up. And…we were off!! Yep, it was something like the Kentucky Derby, too, because AhD was FORWARD. We skimmed through the woods and streams and trails, and then I took him right into the trees to twist, turn and dodge our way to another trail. See any path here? Me neither! But, that’s where we came from to get on to this trail! I really feel the need to brag a bit here. I would put AhD against the best of them to wind his way through the woods. He really is very good at it, and I enjoy it. We picked our way through the woods to Back Street, crossed the road and headed right back into the woods into new territory. We made our way down to Station Road, about a mile from the house, and rode through a small development on Mineral Drive to get on one of my favorite trails around here. It’s so beautiful, isn’t it? AhD recognized this trail, and that it was going to take us on a big loop that headed back to his buddies at the barn, so he was game for a lengthy Big Floaty Trot and canter. At the base of our Running Hill, we picked up the pace even more, and of course RAN! Very exciting and exhilarating! I realized that I had left my half chaps back at the barn when my legs kept getting pinched between the stirrup leathers and the saddle, but I wasn’t about to stop AhD because I was feeling far too much joy at AhD’s exuberance. I told AhD to walk at the top of the hill, and he obeyed like the good boy he can be. Once we caught site of our house and the woods opened up to field, AhD gave me a nice, controlled, beautiful canter. I remember when I first started writing into the RAC, and my Curly did not know how to give me that wonderful gait. Now I revel in it. I am glad to be back on my challenging pony and looking forward to the clinic tomorrow.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Back on the saddle!

It is not enough for a man to know how to ride; he must know how to fall. ~Mexican Proverb

well i got to go riding yesterday and had a great time!! once i got on kwis i walked to the field and i got her to trought and i think that she was spucked by something and bucked and put her head down and i went flying off. so that was fun for the first secant of riding. But i got back on her and rode her for more then a hour with no trouble. I also worked on my blance and trying to stear her with my legs. still need more pratice but im geting to hang of it. Thanks to lesly for letting me ride!!!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Chill Time

Owen had a good, long tractor ride with my Dad tonight while they fed the cows, put hay out and levelled out the fast-drying pasture. So, that gave me a great amount of time to spend with Linus! I have been tying him to the stock trailer to groom him. Its conveniently located right outside his paddock and I have been keeping my grooming kit in there so it gives me a chance to get him used to the banging of the trailer doors.
Linus look so shaggy and homely tonight before I groomed him. I thought the worst of his shed was over! But it did make me wonder if those of you who have curly Curlies find they shed this much?? Once I found my horse again under all of that shag, I took him for a walk up the driveway and then onto a large, open grassy area so he could chow down. He is respecting me so much more now when I'm leading him. I love it. It was really great to spend some time just chilling out in the field with him. He played with the dogs a bit and doesn't even flinch when cars, tractors or any other vehicle goes by.
Before I put him away I walked him to the house with me to turn the water off. The tap is right beside the front steps and had I been faster with the camera I would have had a great shot of Linus on the front steps to my parents' house!! Maybe its a good thing I didn't, not too sure how impressed my Mom would have been....she wasn't massively impressed when I had my 4-H heifer on the front steps many years ago!!!
Today was a great reminder that sometimes it's great just to chill with our equines!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Texas Wildflowers and American Curlies

Hello All,

My good friend and wonderful horse trainer, Levi, and I decided to treat ourselves and our ponies to a beautiful Texas trail ride after several hours of ground work with all of our Curly ones.





By the time we hit the trail the golden sun was setting low so the photos doesn't the gorgeous Indian Paint Brush and Bluebonnets as rich and vibrant as they are in real life but you can see how what a wonderful gift the early rains have given here in Texas.






Our Curly ponies loved the ride and especially loved the opportunity to taste the tall green grass as a reward for being such great equine partners.

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