Saturday, July 31, 2010

A Glorious Afternoon

Picture above is my gorgeous boy standing still to be harnessed up. I'm so in love with this amazing animal!!!

We had perfect weather today for working. It was nice and cool, only 23C. I loved it!! Tried a new bottle of fly spray on Linus today...Kentucky Fly Shield was the brand, I got it on sale the other day; now I know why!! Apparently the flies in Kentucky are wusses compared to the ones here, lol. Also in that same sale I got Linus a leather halter for $20 and a pair of riding boots half price for me. It was a great sale!

Today Dad helped again with hitching Linus. He was such a great boy to stand still while we tweaked on the harness what we weren't happy with last time. It worked out much better today and he was an absolute angel today. Still needs a bit of work on turning but part of that is the cart as well. It's getting too small already. I knew we weren't going to get much use out of it but I really didn't expect him to grow as much as he has this summer. So I decided when we are finished with it I am going to give it to some friends of mine who lost theirs in a house/barn fire that recently took pretty much all of their belongings including her pony cart. It's not as nice as the one she lost, but it will suffice until they can replace it.

Anyway, back to my wonderful amazing horse! It's so hard to believe while he takes all this in stride that he is only 14 months old!! He doesn't chew on the bit anymore, he doesn't flinch when I put the harness on him and he has had 3 young kids around him all week too. Don't get me wrong we still have plenty of work to do but I am hugely satisfied with him thus far. I cannot say enough good things about him. My Dad is enjoying it so much he is toying with getting another draft horse....then Lynn was so kind as to mention she knew of a pair of Clydes (a personal favourite for Dad and I) that are for sale. It has been such a treat to share this all with my Dad. He told me today that I had done a really good job teaching Linus up to this point...that made me feel SOOO good since I have never trained a horse before, let alone one of this age AND to drive. The personality and temperament of Linus has made him the perfect first for me. I can't believe how well suited we are to each other and he was the first and only horse that I looked at. I so desperately want Lynn to get the curly version of him out of Lucy next year (his dam is bred to his sire once again) but on the other hand should that produce the same result I could end up with a matched pair......must not think that way though. I really want Lynn to have the chance to experience what I am with Linus.

Many of you know his registered name is 'HCH Make My Day'. I've said it before and I have to say it again that no name could ever be better for him!! Whatever you throw at him he just seems to say, go ahead and make my day you won't faze me. Needless to say, I love my boy very much and am completely loving the training/growing experience with him!!

I dropped the lead here to take this picture. After taking it I took the lead off and Linus drove extremely well without me walking beside him. Such a good boy!! I know the cart is too small but it came as a package deal with the buggy you should soon here. It's serving exactly its purpose and being a training cart!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Well, the summer is flying past and we are almost into August. I have been playing with different horses all summer as grandkids and neighbor kids are here to ride. Yesterday my 13 yr old granddaughter and her best friend were here and wanted to ride. The best friend last rode at age 8 but watching her around the horses I suspect she was plopped on a horse and led around or ponied.

I have learned in my obsession for safety the kids have a "zone out" level pretty quickly so I am trying to learn to teach an abbreviated version so we will be safe, give them a taste and hope they will want to come back and really learn.

As the girls had overslept and it was getting very warm, we grabbed the most convenient horses. That put my smooth coated Blossom as the lesson horse again and my granddaughter rode Blossom's buddy, Black Bart, the 30 yr old Morgan/quarter gelding. The ride was short but sweet. It was getting really hot and I didn't want anyone gettin badly overheated. (That would include me as I was walking and leading Blossom so this just counts as ground work for me.)I usually have to encourage little girls to roll their hips back a bit so they are not sitting so board stiff with a hollow in their backs. This little friend will need encouragement the other way.....but that will wait for another day. Please note the latest fashion for summer rides in East Texas.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Showtime! Again, and I'm exhausted...

This last weekend we had our final horse show - I have a few more 3-Day events planned and perhaps an endurance race, but this was it for our final horse show of the year. (At least, this is what my husband thinks...)

My helpers include my 2 year and 4 year daughter, so with them tagging along, I managed to wash 3 horses, work on all the basics and showing classes again and tame the horse's manes (not an easy feat, as you all know) to get them ready to show. By the end of Saturday, that was it - I was exhausted.

I took our 3 year old Curly gelding - Khatmoondhu, our 2 year old gelding Timbuktu and my daughter's mini to Arabian Heritage Farms for their horse show - open to all breeds.

Our results? It was a dual judge show - so everyone received 2 placings depending on the judge's preferences -

Khatmoondhu - Halter Geldings class, 1st and 2nd place
(He is awesome at halter!)
Trail in Hand Class, 3rd and 5th place

Timbuktu - Jumper in Hand Class, 1st and 1st place
Hunter in Hand Class, 1st and 1st place
Trail in Hand Class, 4th and 5th place
My daughter also won an assortment of ribbons, but that's for my personal blog.

Timbuktu jumping the pattern with my encouragement. He had never donet this before!

Coming off our last jump....
Timbuktu - walking to get our awards. Notice his mane, it's all on one side. It takes me 3 days to train it to do that for one show. And about 1 roll to undo it!

Timbuktu doing his Trail in Hand Class - backing through cones over a tarp. Didn't like that one bit!

So, what I learned. Even though the 3 year old and 2 year old geldings are full brothers - I would bet my money on the 2 year old (Timbuktu) being the jumper like his dad. He had never been in a show arena before and he has never seen show jumps (flowers, painted, etc.) and once he knew what I was asking (I kiss before each jump so they know to jump) he absolutely loved it and didn't hesitate once.

His brother on the other hand was disqualified for refusing. Khatmoondhu just needed to see and smell each jump a couple of times before he was willing to jump it. He definitely "thinks" about things more and is more cautious.

Timbuktu is like Traveler, not a lot of things bother him. So it was fun to see and appreciate their differences and this was the first time I had ever asked either one of them to "show" jump. It will be interesting to see how they mature and come along with more training.

So what a wonderful learning experience with some rewards for our effort - and my exhaustion.

Roads, Fields, and Gardens

As I mentioned on my farm blog, we have been on quite a few enjoyable summer rides along the road lately. My dashing AhD has been very well behaved. I switched bits and am trying out a Mylar comfort bit borrowed from my fellow RAC member Lesly from IL, and I think he offers me more collection now. He has also offered me a buck once and a jump upwards twice as we transitioned into the trot or canter. He ceased each immediately at my sharp vocal reprimand, so the way I look at it, how can we learn if we don’t make mistakes? ;) Other than that, he has been absolutely wonderful! He behaved himself in company when with Gabby the Morgan and Al the Haflinger as we rode along the roads in Poland.

Once, he departed from the walk into a nice springy canter that was a joy to experience!

He was a perfect gentleman when we had to stop on the road to try to solve Ian’s saddle sore problem. All of us dismounted and walked for a time, and AhD didn’t drag behind or walk up on my heels or act like a jerk to get attention. He also stood still during mounting/dismounted and loaded into the trailer like a pro.
Last night, AhD and I went out solo.

We looked longingly at the woods

but instead opted for a visit to one of my favorite local fields

and on to The Secret Garden. I haven’t been to see it since spring, and I was not disappointed. Enjoy the views!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

A Big Day for Linus

Dad has surprised me by being very excited to once again have a horse that drives. After chores today I got the training cart out and then brought Linus out and tied him to the trailer to groom him and clean his feet out. He hasn't been tied for a while so it was good for him to be tied again. Dad came over and asked if I was going to hitch him to the cart. I said I wasn't sure yet, I was so far planning to get him used to it and see where it took us. He said to get him harnessed and we'll see where it leads. Off he went to do some trimming. I harnessed Linus and walked him to the cart. He has seen it many times before and when he tried to eat it I knew he wasn't scared of it! Then Dad came over and decided with both of us there it was safe to hitch him. I put his halter on over his bridle and held him while Dad made the adjustments and hooked onto the cart. Linus was such a good boy and stood perfectly still the entire time. He did have a moment of "what is going on" when we started off but he did superb. Once he figured out the cart moved with him he accepted it within minutes. I kept at his head and Dad walked behind the cart. I was so excited I was shaking and had to force myself to calm down so I didn't excite Linus. What a frickin awesome day it was to have him pull his first cart!!!! My only regret is that I wasn't able to get any pictures. We went the length of the driveway and around the barnyard a couple of times. Dad commented on how well I had done with him til that point for him to be standing so still and be so easy to work around. He also said how nice it was to be able to move the lines around and if they hit his rump he didn't jump or flinch. It was fantastic to hear that because Dad had a lot of driving hours in his youth and a lot of time spent with horses. Our work is paying off in a big way. A lot of it is that Linus was handled from Day 1 and was born with an outstanding personality. I told Dad what kind of work we do and that you can throw a rope all over Linus and he won't flinch. So, it was a feel good day on so many levels. We are going to keep hitching him to the training cart 1 or 2 times a week but are not going to get in it til next year when he is a 2 year old. The cart is very light and its not horse size so I will only get about another month out of it. I do have another one though for use after this one. Its so exciting to be on this path with Linus. Its great to give these experiences back to my Dad too, it was easy to tell that he was supremely enjoying himself.....and he wasn't sneezing!!!!! We figured it has been about 20 years since we've had a horse in harness on the farm and it was actually at our previous farm. We didn't have a buggy then or anything but hitched the horse to the sleigh a few times in the winter. I plan to make driving a regular event for Linus and I. I'm so in love with it and haven't even been in the buggy yet!!!!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Chester and I visit a race track

Hello All, 
Chester, my stallion, a good friend, his beautiful paint QH who lives up to her name, Big Booty Judy and I went to a new place that is having barrel races.  The interesting thing about this place which is called, Double Nickel, is that it has a race track around it. 

So we decided to walk on the track and he decides to "breeze" Judy meantime Chester and I are just enjoying the evening breeze and walk straight towards a cute little jockey on a horse with legs that are taller than Chester and I put to together. Wow, and he was flying right towards like something out of Star Wars.I wasn't sure how Chester would react with a horse "flying" by him by and admit my heart started beating, yes, a part of me was a bit worried he take off and try to catch them but he did great.  Just kept walking forward and showing off his curls{:>

He did make sure and try to let the ladies know his name when they asked but now I only have to say in a deep voice, "no sir" and he stops and looks the other way{:>

Angie and my Curly Chester man


I forgot to mention in my last post that on Sunday afternoon I put Linus back out into his front pasture. The gate to this pasture is very badly placed at the lowest spot in the field, which at the time was a massove puddle spanning the width of the entrance and over my ankles deep in places. I remembered back to the hard work of getting Linus able to walk through puddles that were centimetres deep...he hesitated slightly at the gate. I rubbed his neck, told him it was ok and on he went without a fuss. Which was great, but the better part was that he didn't try to rush through the puddle, he walked calmly through it as if it wasn't even there. I was so proud of him for this.
Monday evening Owen helped me groom Linus and then he took off on his toy tractor to chase Essa, but not before sitting on Linus for a couple of minutes. These two are going to be inseparable. They each light up when they see one another.
I harnessed Linus with no intentions to hitch him to anything. We went out through the still soggy gate and up the driveway, focusing only on him listening to my directions and trying to so do with the lightest possible touch. There is a rounded grassy area beside the driveway that is bordered on 3 sides by pine trees and one side by the driveway. We actually did the perimeter perfectly!! Hip Hip Hooray!! Then we went to the end, did a pretty good turn...only one I might add, he usually tries to keep going around so that he can go out longer. I made it clear what I wanted and back up the lane we went. We had a bit of a scrap when I decided I wanted him to drive through his gate. But I didn't give up and once he learned that I wasn't going to give up, he sighed and finally went through. Then I praised the pants off of him and gave him a big hug and pat for it finally clicking. He's such a great boy!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

We finally took the next step!

Sunday was finally a day nice enough to do some work with Linus and not die of heat stroke!! We started with the usual grooming, hoof cleaning and fly spray. Very happy to say I can spray Linus all over with it with no halter now. I finally got brave enough to have him drag something too. I have been so worried about it and what I would do if he got spooked or tangled. Probably what I always seem to do in scared livestock situations and stay calm, talk to the frightened animal and sort the situation out. Have no idea where that ability comes from but appreciate it very much!! I needn't have worried about that anyway because Linus had no problems. I didn't completely harness him at first, just put the breastplate and hames on....I hope I said that right! And hooked it to the whippletree (hope thats right too!) and I just walked him around and let him get used to the leather hitting his back legs and the noise of something dragging behind him. Then I hooked a plastic sled (maybe using a sled in this heat will bring cooler thoughts!) to our ensemble and away we went again. He still care at all. He glanced behind when he noticed it followed him, but wasn't at all bothered by it. I unhooked that stuff, harnessed him and did some ground driving. I wasn't entirely pleased with his performance but I must remember his age and all things considered he is doing exceptionally well. He wasn't feeling very willing when I was driving him, but I know part of this reason is because we stayed in his small pasture. If I took him out and up the lane or road, he would have been no problem....which is why I worked him in his pasture. I want to go for me wherever we are. Whether it is somewhere he wants to be or not. I did manage to get him to do some weaving with cones...after he stopped picking them up in his mouth.
Our next challenge will MAYBE be to hook up the training cart. I'm still concerned about the first time he tries to step sideways and finds he has firm poles on either side. He'll either panic or deal with it and accept he can only go forward or back and has to make a wider turn. I'm probably worrying for nothing because Linus always impresses me with his lack of concern for anything I do to him, but still. Just gotta do it and deal with it!!!

Not always perfect....

I knew the day would come where Lakota would be a typical baby. On our last ride, Lakota was feeling his "oats" as they say. He leaped onto his mother's back and caught me in the process. The rest of the trip went fine - but this was an important wake-up call about "keeping it safe".

Lakota is less than 3 months old - but in the last week or so I'm seeing some more "assertive" behavior. (I wouldn't call it aggressive - but his bravery may be getting to his head.) I've had to be much firmer with him. My mare is allowing him to get away with a lot more than I ever expected her to allow.

I have read that Curlies mature a little bit slower than other breeds - but I feel like he is getting ready to be weaned. He rarely grazes near his mother - and has been very independent. Although he is still nursing - it has significantly decreased (he is opting for water more frequently). He has been growing in leaps and bounds. On another note - he "dropped" when he was only 4 or 5 days old - is this normal? I know this blog is not set up for these types of questions - but if you have experience or comments - I'd love to hear them.

Happy riding to all - See you in VT on the 13th!!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

What have I been up to..............driving!!

Here we are yesterday, doing a obstacle driving course. We also did driving barrels. It was great. He did NOT like the blue tarp we had to drive over, but we did get over it. He was relaxed most of the day, and really just seemed to enjoy being out and about. The bonus to this miniature fun show is it was next to a airport and a couple times they were very close and noisy.
I was disappointed that we couldn't canter for the barrels. Only trot but SOOO much fun. After dealing with my own fear issues now for many years, I'm glad my son Jackson lets me use his smoothcoat curly mini to drive. More pics on my blog (blogger often does weird things to my posts.)
Dian and Caramel Sundae EB

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Trailer - No problem...

I decided that today would be the day I'd try to get Lakota on the trailer. My original plan was to get Miss Demeanor (Mamma) on the trailer first and see if Lakota would follow her. I took a small bucket of grain and got on the trailer. Before I could even get to Deams, Lakota followed me right on - with absolutely no hesitation.
Enjoyed the grain ....

and checked out the new digs....

"Hey, something's not right - what the heck is he doing in there - and what's that
he's eating.....?
"Move over "Sonny" let Mama have some of that grain."

"Uggh - Mothers"

So - we'll keep making the trailer a pleasurable experience before we try anything else.

I was so psyched that this was so easy - we'll see what tomorrow brings.

Dedicated to Terri

AhD and I went out for an evening ride down the road. We mostly avoided the trails due to the hoards of deerflies. Ours was a ride of reflection and some small challenges for us. We stopped and chatted with four different neighbors on our way to the academy. I told them I was riding in Terri's memory.
We went "downtown" - what there is of it, for Hebron, and past the Academy. We crossed the road and stopped by the Alphonse Sports Arena.
Then we gazed across some of the sports fields. I was wishing that I could be out there racing across that field or down in the woods.We stood for a while and reflected on how sweet life can be. Some of the mugginess has temporarily subsided. I was thinking about how I pulled some goldenrod out from under the fence line today, and how early it was for goldenrod to be in full bloom. Soon the days will be cooler and shorter.
We practiced figure 8's and backing up in this parking lot before we headed for home. AhD was better than I expected on the figure 8's and worse than I expected on the back ups. I was very happy to have the opportunity to practice on FLAT GROUND.
The sun was setting as we finished up and headed for home. The building in the center of this picture is 200 years old. When AhD and I ride up Sanitorium Hill, sometimes I can see it's spire way down below us in the valley.
I pray that God will lend peace and comfort to Terri's family during this very difficult time.

"Ride in Memory of Terri Sholberg"

Dear RACer's and those visiting the RAC blog today,

I am announcing a "Ride w/ Me" Ride in memory of Terri Sholberg and her beloved curly gelding, Reggie.

Sometime between 10:00-5:00 p.m. take a moment and do something with your horse(s) in celebration of her life that she lived so enthusiastically. You may want to organize a local trail ride, or maybe just do some ground work with your youngster or ride solo in prayerful meditation.

We just ask that you take a moment to think of her, pray for her family, friends and beloved pets she left behind.

Feel free to visit her page here and sign at the bottom of the page.

RACer's: This link will be sent to her friends and family. What a neat thing for them to see curly folks out riding today all across the world in her memory. Please post your story here if you are able to join us today.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Obstacles & Encounters for Lakota High Socks

Went for a trail ride today with my friend Kathy. Talk about an exciting ride.... we had some interesting encounters. First, we must have startled something - we didn't really get to see it - but we heard it crash through the woods - the horses didn't flinch - so, we assumed it was a deer.

Then, without warning, three dirt bikes came flying past us unexpectedly - although they had considerable distance, they didn't slow down - or show any concern for us. Lit'l Lakota's ears were perked - but that's it... he thought they were pretty fascinating. The adults (horses & riders) were less than impressed, but managed to keep their heads about them.

On the last leg of our short trip - a huge owl flew right in front of us - just over our heads - the horses paused ... looked up.... and proceeded along - no big deal.

If I had been on my old palomino - I would have likely been dumped somewhere along the way.

Deams (Mama) is quite brave and level headed - Lakota is just like his mom - maybe even calmer. Nothing seems to phase this guy - if anything, he just becomes more curious and "checks it out".

We finished up the day with a nice bath. Although I had sponged Lakota down with a sponge before - today was his first experience with the hose. Mama went first - as Lakota observed. Then it was his turn. Like an old pro, he stood fairly still and allowed me to gently spray him down. (Low pressure and a soft spray ) What a good boy!

Here's some typical footage of Lakota at play:

Lakota is having a ball!

He is fearless and curious.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

ground training *Bobble Head!

I have been "very" busy and one of the things that I have been doing is training my 3 year old Curly pony stallion, *Bobble Head*, to drive.  I do ground drive all my horses before I get on them, but I have never actually trained one to pull a cart, but we are getting there with *Bobble!  He is driving very well in hand now - we go down the road a half a mile or so every day and I get someone to pull the cart along with us for the "sound effects" lol.  The next thing we will do is hitch up something like a tire and have him drag that - we are getting close to hitching the cart - I am SO looking forward to driving him to town!!
Enjoy the pictures!
Standing Curly Sporthorse Stallion *Sandman's Magic

Monday, July 12, 2010

Summer Weather

Too hot to ride? Well, maybe, but in short doses, it is still fun and satisfies the obsession! :) Ian and I went out during the evening hours on Saturday for a short jaunt. My Ah-D-Das was being such a peach! Too bad I couldn’t say it about Ian’s mount, who had something troubling him and bucked off my boy at the gallop.It wasn’t a bad tumble, all things considered, but I decided we would switch horses so I could evaluate. I really wished I had brought my camera, because seeing my handsome young boy having fun riding my handsome steed made my heart go pitter-patter. AhD was a well-behaved gentleman, and Ian did an excellent job of posting to the trot! I remember waaaaay back when I was learning, and it wasn’t so pretty. At any rate, we made it back to the barn just fine, switched horses again, and headed back out on the trails for a less eventful experience – which was not a bad thing! By the way, Angie, we used your fly spray recipe, and it REALLY WORKED! I bet it cut down the deer flies by 80 percent! Smells pretty good, too. Thanks for the tip!
On Sunday, the skies opened up late in the afternoon and it poured; afterwards, I took AhD out for what turned out to be a very damp ride. Once on Back Street, I tried to keep AhD in a nice steady trot so I could burn calories posting (one of the very best by-products of riding!) and practice keeping a correct seat. It was tough, because he was not into trotting at all and his attention was wondering. At any rate, I built up my calf muscles trying to keep him going! :) We meandered around up the road and explored the old apple orchard, discovering tons of wild raspberries. You can bet I will be returning there asap! There was tons of deer sign. Everything was so wet after that rain, that we got soaked. Plus, it started raining again as we headed home - still, it felt gooood after all that heat!

And now on to my third ride of this blog…I RODE BEFORE WORK THIS MORNING! And do I ever feel good today! Everything was soaking wet (including my laundry still out on the line), so I just grabbed the pants I wore yesterday out of the laundry, my phone for safety, and (FINALLY) the camera for pictures. The morning mist was just beautiful. I made sure to take my Lab Grace so she wouldn’t wake up the neighborhood because she fusses very loudly if I do not take her, but we had to leave AhD’s buddy behind.

Grace was good as gold, and stayed in her usual spot following right behind AhD. Speaking of good as gold, AhD has definitely formed a truce with Grace, and I actually thinks he enjoys her along now! As I didn’t have a lot of time, I was aiming for the highest near peak of the powerline.
Black eyed Susan’s for Angie. Angie, your fly concoction didn’t work so well this morning. The deerflies didn’t seem to be repelled much. Also, DUH, I forgot to put it on myself, and they got in a good bite when I was taking a picture.
A scene looking back towards my house. My beloved Morab Magic is buried here. AhD and I come here a lot.
Almost there.
The view is wonderful, and I feel elated!
On the way back now.
This is a sturdy metal bridge, but, still, I get the willies when crossing it on horseback.
The turkeys are waiting for us.
Sweet lawn grass treat for a sweet boy. You can see my non-slip pad peeking out from under the purple saddle pad. It works great for those steep ups and downs of the powerline rides. Happy summer riding to you all!

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