Tuesday, August 31, 2010

TOO HOT!!!

The last few days have been disgustingly hot and humid...41C today with the humidity and by Saturday it is only going to be 16C?!?!?!? Before this hopefully last heat wave of the year hit, Linus and I accomplished a lot. I have noticed that 3 of his legs have become very easy to handle. His front left is not his favourite to have picked up. Karalee told me they all seem to have a least favourite leg and not to worry about it...but I don't like it so I aim to keep working at it until it is no bother for him at all. We had a very wet week last week and it caused him to be a bit tender walking on the gravel..but he seems ok now.
I had more time to work with him through the week again last week. We ground drove by the new house while their well was being drilled, but I think I already mentioned that. We had some reminders about who was in charge despite who was in front (while driving) when he didn't want to walk by a new pile of dirt and coil of rope that wasn't beside the neighbours house the day before.
Saturday when I took him up the road he was not the happiest because there were some large trees being cut down up the road and it was causing a very strange echo and he couldn't quite figure out where the noise was coming from so I trotted him up the driveway to take his mind off of it and up to a sandy area where I could do some voice command schooling with him while he was harnessed. I started with Whoa and after 3 attempts he immediately showed interest in stopping before pressure was applied on the bit. Then, we worked on Stand after Whoa. He was really good with this one. And then we did Back Up. He was super quick with back up and was soon doing it without hardly any bit pressure at all. By throwing a few of these commands at him randomly it really caused him to smarten up a bit and pay more attention to me because it wasn't a predictable routine. I was beaming after him responding so quickly to these commands. He got a good hose down after that lesson. I made him think and sweat but he was an outstanding boy. He better be, he's getting big!!
Sunday, I harnessed him up again and took him up the driveway and up the road and we practiced our commands again. He was great. Then he thought for a bit that he didn't have to go where I asked him to. Not happening mister! A few turns and stops and whoas and go's later and he was back on track so we trotted up the road and up the driveway back to the barn. I gave him a break and some of his feed while we pulled the buggy out and got it ready to hitch him up. My nephew was out and hadn't yet seen Linus pull the buggy. He missed by about 2 minutes last time, so he was super excited not to miss it this time. In fact, he sat down in it before I even put Linus' bridle back on him!!
Linus pulled the buggy for the first time without me at his head and without a halter and lead on over his bridle. We have done this briefly before but not for the whole ride. He has one problem spot where the curve in the driveway straightens out and he tries to turn to go onto the lawn. We straightened this out and it gave me homework to do with him. It's been too hot but once it cools down I am going to ground drive him past this spot over and over and over until he shows no signs of wanting to go anywhere but where he is asked.
Sunday was pretty warm so once Linus was finished he got a good bath, a break in the barn to have his meal and then back out to pasture.
They started the brick laying and bringing in dump loads of fill for the new house next to his front pasture. I was doing chores and heard the door of the dump truck slam shut (its deafening if you are near it) I ran out to see if it was bugging Linus and he wasn't even lifting his head. I love that he is being exposed to all of this!!
Now to go think up some ideas for the September challenge!!!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Pictures...go with blog post below

Sorry everyone, just noticed my pictures did not appear with my post. Here they are in no particular order.






Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Two new encounters!!!

I have finally made it back here to get my post on!! Linus has had some big accomplishments over the past few days. The heat and rain have relented enough to allow me more time with him through the week. So, I have tried to take full advantage and get him out more like we had been in the spring.
The photos below were all taken the same night....actually in the order they appear for once too!! I am so impressed with how Linus is growing; physically and mentally.
Yesterday evening I did some ground driving with Linus because I picked up some rubber bit guards and I wanted to see if they made a difference and they definitely did!! We went to the near end of the road and back. He is getting so much better at listening to my cues faster. He is getting really good with turning too. My highlight of our outing was when 2 kids approached us on bicycles. I tried not to let my excitement pass to Linus before they reached us because this was the first time we had been met by cyclists on the road....he was magnificent!!! Didn't do much other than watch them approach with pricked up ears and then kept on going once they passed. We had a good turn around at the end of the road and then we trotted a little bit of the way back...not too much because that means I have to trot too!!
Today, the house going up beside the farm was having their well dug. There were 2 massive trucks there. Very noisy and one way up in the air drilling the well. No way was I letting an opportunity like this pass me by...what a great chance to expose Linus to this new and nasty thing. He had been hearing the noise all day so that part wasn't new but the sight would be and the rhythm of the power supply was constantly changing too. I prepared myself to have a bit of a struggle just in case it did scare him but he was an absolute gem. I was so proud of him. On the way back we had some reminding about the fact that I was in charge and no he cannot stop for grass when he wants to. He took his correction and kept on, resigned to the fact that he wasn't getting away with anything and would just have to be a good boy and get his reward when we got back....which is taking the harness off, getting a rub down and then his hay for the night. I do not want to shower him in treats after our sessions. I knew of a horse that expected that and would be a nightmare to handle because when you turned her to head for the barn she would grab the bit and bolt and all you could do was hang on. She was primarily ridden and very spoiled by kids who did nothing but bring her "candy".
Linus was also a very good boy for the farrier last week. Karalee (Whirlwind Curlies) was there and commented on how flashy he is getting and how good his feet are....and of course I stand there like the proud peacock!!!

Linus: 15 months old
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Monday, August 23, 2010

5 mile trail ride on Sage --- Curly Get-together was awesome!

First of all, as everyone else has been saying, it was absolutely wonderful to meet so many Curly horse people at Betsy's Get-together two weekends ago. It was a rare gift to get to chat with so many people who have known the breed for a lot longer than I have and I enjoyed meeting people face to face after years of chatting through email.

Second of all, Sage and I got to do the 5 mile loop around the barn! I've known for a long time that this trail existed, but getting permission from the land owners to ride on the land (after promising not to mess it up for the bikers who go through there) took some time, and then more time went by before my stepfather was free to show us where to go, as there are many, many forks in the road.







We had so much fun!! Sage has been mildly scared of bikes for awhile now, so we played the 'leapfrog' game, where I would trot Sage past the bike and out in front, and then my step-dad would pedal harder and surge past us. (He was a real trooper for escorting Sage and I for 5 miles.)

I've decided the key to a good trail ride is knowing both your bug spray, and your horse's. And remembering to saturate everywhere on your horse except where his saddle goes. We had no bug problems on this ride, which was so nice.

By the end of the ride Sage was quite eager to be keeping up with my stepfather on the bike. He has a very super-fast trot that only comes out on the trail but boy can he cover some ground! I could tell from his pricked ears and energy levels that Sage was having a blast exploring new trails.

Last week we did a trail ride down the one road close to us that we hadn't explored yet, and Sage did great. We rode by strange horses, faced a barking dog and a UPS truck at the same time, rode by scary real estate signs and flapping political signs (vote for XYZ!!), and Sage was fine with all of it.

Until we got to the bottom of the road and he saw the cows.

Has anyone else dealt with this? Sage saw cows a few years ago at the State Fair and i was able to lead him past them just fine. But 7 or 8 calves all running around about to get their hay totally blew his mind. I have *never* felt my horse tremble before! And I think that was as close to a bolting attempt as I've ever seen him attempt!

Oh well, I guess no horse is perfect. :) (But I think Sage is close.)

So we have some more work to do with the cows.

But the weather for tomorrow night is looking pretty good, so maybe we'll have a chance to go visit the cows then...

Josie is continuing to do well with groundwork, but has been moody for a few days. My very well-intentioned stepfather was left in charge of the horses one day and spent an hour and a half getting Josie's fly mask on. I think his unskilled attempt upset her as she was a bit cranky for the next few days. Luckily she does forgive, even if she doesn't forget, and with a little effort on my part she's happy to have us put her fly mask on again. Now to continue with other things!


curly mule molly mare 16.2hh in Vermont


The thing that makes me happiest with Josie these days is how friendly she is in the pasture. Always hopeful I'm out there to fetch her and teach her something new...

Curly mule molly mare in the pasture July 2010

Onward and upward. :)

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Back on Didder

After enjoying several of Betsy Lirakis' horses last weekend, I am back on my Didder! Ian and I went out for a ride on Saturday evening just before dark. We headed out to Jason's Loop, since THE DEER FLIES ARE GONE!!! aaaahhh We enjoyed a pleasant ride, and our horses were willing and in good moods (other than the bucks the Haffie is still throwing at my son when asked to canter). AhD was excellent! I rode him English. We discovered that my nephew Jason has made a new trail! It's awesome, and puts a nice new twist on the same old same old trail we take when we don't have too much time. One section has a super steep downhill section that requires AhD to do a nice butt tuck to maneuver it. The woods were cool and deeply scented. We arrived home just after dark, and let our horses find their way on the last familiar parts of the trail since we know they can see much better than us in those conditions.
Today, I saddled AhD up in my "junky old" western saddle. I've owned this saddle since I was twelve, and I recently cleaned and oiled it all up. Boy, did it ever feel good and familiar to have this saddle on AhD. We started off by re-exploring that brand new trail. We were moseying along, when I heard a woodpecker start to carry on with a shrill cry. AhD went on alert and twisted to look behind him - right on the crest of a big hill. I was thinking, "It's just a woodpecker, what's the big deal?" when out from behind us shot my number one dog Grace, running after us at full tilt. Well, the dogs were in the pen when I left, so I knew what that meant - that my daughter Nicole was out walking the dogs and Grace had abandoned them for me and Didder. I knew Nicole was going to be mad as a hornet since Grace ran off, so then Didder and I were on a mission. After twenty minutes or so, we found Nicole and the other three dogs stuck to her like glue, and yep, Nicole was none too pleased with Grace. What can I say, my number one dog is a ratfink, something like my Curly pony. :)
All three of us then crossed the road and headed down the powerline. We went up and down the steep and rough terrain, but when we narrowly missed a three foot drop that seemed to open up directly under Didder's feet, I headed him into the woods. We cantered along a familiar trail or two, and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. We checked out a few streams. Grace was able to swim in the pools, but there was barely any water running because it has been so dry here. Heading home, we galloped up our Running Hill, and then cantered through over my neighbors huge mown field. What a ride! I just feel like Didder is so in tune to me now. No fake spooks, no rotten behavior, not even a kick at Grace. We landed at the barn a bit tired and sweaty, and totally happy. I picked a juicy apple off of the tree to reward my awesome Curly.Here we are relaxing at the end of this great ride.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

*Myhio Haven Jumping Show

So today was the show. Our first round was clean and great. There were only 8 jumps, at like 14 feet high. The girls that I competed against mainly trotted, but I took the challenged and told Stella to jump, and to canter. When we got into the jump off and had a 2nd place, but Stella didn't actually 'jump' with her back legs on one specific standered. We got 4 penalties, which is only one jump, but that put us in 6th place. On the seconed qualifying round was clear, but we got 4 penelties again, but this time, we help 1st place on time. I decided not to do the Cross Country Course, so I worked the patterns again. I am very proud of the compliments that Stella and I got as a team. In two months we have another show for the series, and I hope Stella will be doing 'complete' jumps. I wore my RAC shirt, and one girl is really interested in getting an American Curly for her next horse after seeing Stella's performance. I was worried that Stella wouldn't jump for me, and be a nervous wreck. She was very calm. I AM SO VERY PROUD, of her!(: I can't get our pictures to loag on here, so I won't be able to show Stella's jumping capabilities.(: As soon as I can get pictures loaded, I will.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Vermont! So Worth The Trip.

Susan Lejonhud & I heading out for a trail ride on Sunday.
A dream come true! Susan is riding Teasel and I am riding Sweet Job. =]

Hi All --- still trying to catch up since I got home. I have so much I want to write about this weekend - much I don't even know how to put into words. It was THAT wonderful.

The entire weekend was just what the doctor ordered for me...relaxing, great sleep, incredible food and awesome conversation. Not to mention a wonderful cart and trail ride to boot. The only stressful part was almost missing my connecting flight home - darn airlines! =] My luggage finally arrived a couple days later. Can't be without those designer jeans & new Top O' the Hill Tshirt, right Betsy?? LOL

Thanks to Betsy and Zoe for their amazing hospitality. I haven't laughed so hard in a long time. Vermont is everything I thought and more...gorgeous rolling hills, hardwoods and scenic country roads. I hope to come back and see more of New England sometime.

Laurie Lee and Susan Lejonhud picked me up at the airport and the first thing Susan did was give me a hug "from Harold." Thanks Harold!! Wish you could have been there with us! I was delighted to see that I didn't have to be bungeed on the roof of Susan's car., although poor Laurie was sure squashed in the back between coolers, baggage and bedding! =] We talked non-stop til we got to Betsy's which was about 2 1/2 hours. Funny how you feel like you have known each other for years. The internet sure has made the world smaller.

I had the pleasure of meeting so many of the Ride-A-Curly participants, which was so fun. Everyone was so happy to be there and the conversation was upbeat and so awesome. We all had a ball on the trail ride and Laurie Lee, Laurie Bryan and I all got to ride in the cart too. What a hoot.





Also a mess of photos here on facebook:

Many things impressed me, but what impressed me the most was that many of us on the trail rides were recovering from a bad fall or accident, or lack of confidence. But Betsy and Zoe had 100% confidence in their horses to take care of us...even when they hadn't been on the trail for a while. (Lesson horses/arena horses or therapy horses). Imagine saddling up 10+ curlies, to be ridden by people you don't know..some that are very timid riders....Betsy had total confidence in her horses - and I don't mean a few, I mean all of them!!

On Saturday while in the cart, Nimue and Fiona were harnessed after the riders headed out and we came up from behind the trail riders at a full blown trot to catch up with them. Those horses never were alarmed or worried. There was also quite a bit of traffic on the dirt roads and yard obstacles along the way...but even with their "unknown" riders, they handled themselves beautifully and with full trust. I think that in itself says alot about the temperament of horses Betsy is raising. I believe all were barefoot on that 8 mile ride, much of it on gravel roads. I don't know about anyone else, but that impressed the crud out of me.

I could not believe the patience of Zoe on the trail on Sunday with all of us! Betsy stayed behind and gave a mini driving clinic with Nimue to those that were interested.

It was so much fun to have watched Betsy's videos & heard her stories all this time and finally see her place and horses in person...SUCH a thrill!...From the scary neighbor's yard...city area and especially Nimue, Elektra, PICCOLO and sweet Job.

The icing on the cake was to be able to ride with Susan Lejonhud. Thanks again Susan for picking me up at the airport!!! You are a GEM!!!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

More thanks to Betsy and Zoe!

Susan started us off, but I have to reiterate what she said. I had a fantastic time, catching up with old friends and "meeting" new friends that I have only known online, and meeting even newer friends that I have never met before!

Betsy and Zoe were wonderful, patient hostesses, and very generous in sharing their home and horses. It was a lot of fun to meet the horses that we hear and read about, and see photos of. And of course it was wonderful to hear Betsy's hysterical stories!

But the highlight of the weekend for me was the trailride. It was absolutely wonderful to get my butt back on a horse again! As some of you may remember the last time I rode I had a pretty good wreck on Lakota, and was in quite a bit of pain for a long time. Its been over a year, and it still gives me fits from time to time. That, combined with job, career and family, and I haven't had much time other than loving my girls. I've been really worried that I would have some fear issues getting back in the saddle.


Well, my worries were unfounded. I was so excited to get to ride! I was lucky enough to be assigned Betsy's beloved Keri. We had great 6 mile ride through the dirt-roads in Vermont. Her horses are really solid! There were cars, trucks, trailers and motorcycles passing us, and even one guy working on some truck with no exhaust on it, revving it up. None of the horses flinched an ear.

As we turned onto the trail headed for home, Keri wanted to go into this amazing ground-covering trot. Since I had about 4 miles on my butt that hasn't ridden in over a year, combined with the fact that I have never learned how to post, I asked her if she would please jog instead. Keri said "Well then, how about a canter?" I said "No, thank you, I'm really getting tired!" and she came back down to a brisk walk. The great part is that not once did I get anxious or concerned about the unexpected change of gait, AND I haven't cantered since I was about 15 years old! (for those that don't know me, that was a LONG time and two children ago!) I felt comfortable in that canter, not unbalanced at all, so this ride was a great confidence-builder for me!!!!

As we continued toward home, Keri was quite eager to get back to her pasture and have a good roll. My legs were getting really, really tired (Keri is also quite, ummm, stocky). I don't think I was able to feel my legs at all from the hip down at this point, so I decided to get off and walk her a little way, to get some circulation back into my legs. After figuring out how to use my own legs again, Susan asked if we could swap mounts, so I got to ride Teasel! What a sweet little man he is, and he has the absolute CUTEST little jog! Teasel and I finished the ride and enjoyed the scenery.


My daughter, Amanda (who is also in RAC) came along as well. She was so excited to get to trailride! She has only ever ridden in indoor and outdoor arena's, so this was a huge deal for her! She rode Luna for awhile, then she and Deb switched mounts and Mandy rode Reverie. What a great mare she is! She is just so willing and solid, and takes care of her rider. She is a true Gem! Mandy had a great ride, and by the time we got back, she was ready to go again! Ahhh, youth! I'm still recovering!



I, unfortunately, forgot my camera. Betsy sent me these pics earlier today, I hope she doesn't mind if I post them, as I don't have any of my own.

Keep em Coming!

Please, please, please keep the blog posts coming about the get together weekend. I so badly wanted to be there so I will have to pretend I was through all of your stories!!
Friday night when I switched Linus to his other, smaller pasture he gave me some attitude. Nothing much and certainly not a surprise from a horse as young as he is. But, still I am not wanting to let him get away with things and get cocky. I think part of it is that it has been so hot through the week that I haven't done much with him except for hitching him up on the weekends. So, Saturday morning before we really got going with our Anniversary plans I did some groundwork with him in his pasture and by the end he was following me, backing up and keeping his quarters out of my space. He was actually a lot better behaved than I expected he would be.
Sunday we went through some of my Great Uncle's harness to see if there was anything good. But Dad said it was old when Uncle George got it so there wasn't much. I did take a belt buckle off that my uncle had rigged to put in the centre of the horse's bridle high on his forehead. I wil rig it to Linus' too someday when he is in a horse size one. Uncle George is unfortunately long gone but was like a father to my Dad, so we were very close too. Its nice to have that little token on my horse now.
We hitched Linus up and he pulled the buggy without a bat of the eye. He is catching on so quickly. I need to get a better driving bridle though. The one that came with his harness is too big. For now I am using a cheap riding bridle which is sliding too much. Before I get one though I will try him with the bitless bridle and harness. I haven't tried that yet because I have loaned it to Karalee to try on one of her horses who hates bits.
Tonight I took Linus for a walk up the road, just halfway because it was getting dark. 4 cars, a noisy lawnmower, 3 strange dogs and a couple walking a dog greeted us and Linus was not bothered at all by any of it. I am a very bias horse owner; there isn't a one out there as gorgeous as my boy!!! :)

Thank you Betsy!!!!

Well, I figure quite a few people may write in about their experiences at Betsy Lirakis' Top O' the Hill Farm First Annual Curly Get Together, and here's my version. First and foremost, I HAD A BLAST! Laurie Lee drove to my house and we packed all of her stuff into my dinkie Toyota Corolla for the trip to the Manchester airport to pick up Denise Conroy. Both Laurie and I were thrilled to meet Denise for the first time in person because of all the wicked cool things she does to promote Curlies, and well, because she is a wicked cool person! (that is a good thing, in MaineSpeak) We arrived safe and sound and talked and talked and talked with everyone. Quite a few of us were starting to lose our voices. Our hostess was the mostest. I can’t say enough about Betsy Lirakis and her wonderful daughter Zoe AND her wonderful herd of horses and how she treated all of us to the time of our lives.
We went on two trail rides with riders of all levels – yep, an 8 mile trail ride on Saturday and a 6 mile trail ride on Sunday - with a sprinkling of beginners and timid riders thrown in with some more experienced riders. All of the women and girls were wonderful, and so was Dennis the Token Husband. There was a ton of estrogen flying around, and wow, do we ever have some SUPER women who love Curlies! I was honored to meet IN PERSON for the FIRST TIME not only the ONE AND ONLY DENISE CONROY who heads up Curly Horse Country and the RAC, but also Deb McGahey, Lynn Downer, Bernice, Laurie (of Laurie and Pyewacket fame), and Michelle Ives and her daughter Mandy. I know there are many others, so please accept my apologies if you are not mentioned here!
Laurie Lee tried to get us all drunk with her homemade Sangria, and she succeeded with one of us (hiccup).
The weather was gorgeous for the rides, not to mention the fabulous scenery. For the umpteenth time I was cursing my duct-taped camera which refused to take even one photo. Denise was kind enough to let me borrow hers, so I was able to capture a few trail ride images for everyone to enjoy, and I was not the only one taking pictures, so I hope we get several posts from attendees.
On Saturday, I rode the 6 year old smooth coat pony Curly gelding OYY Pal’s Job. I just can’t say enough wonderful things about this guy. Fourteen hands of class and grace. An elegant, gentle, safe horse with one of the best minds I have ever had the pleasure to meet. Not only was he easy on the eyes, but he has the gaits of a horse without the large size that can be intimidating to some of us Baby Boomer Ladies. Which reminds me, Harold, I am sorry you could not come, but I did greet both Denise and Betsy with a hug from you! If anyone is in the market for such a fantastic horse such as OYY Pal’s Job, contact Betsy Lirakis soon, because WOW, if I was in the market for a Curly…but I still love my Didder, of course.
On Sunday, I rode Zoe’s favorite, Teasel Obi, for the second time. Years ago, I rode him as a three year old and was very impressed, and I was definitely still VERY impressed with this Curly! Teasel is very responsive in his bitless bridle. He is graceful and CUTE AS ALL GET-OUT! Zoe, thank you for choosing Teasel for me! On the trail, Michelle was getting a bit sore and dismounted from Keri Orla to stretch her legs awhile. Well! I just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to try Betsy’s favorite mount Keri with that Barefoot London treeless saddle, so I asked Michelle if I could ride Keri while she led Teasel, and she agreed. (Michelle ended up finished the ride ON Teasel and enjoyed him very much.) Keri had a good amount of exciting energy and I had plenty of opportunity to test out the London. :) I can surely see why Betsy loves her horse so much. Back at the barn on Sunday, Betsy also let me try the Barefoot Cheyenne on Keri, and let me tell you, Keri was a great sport to allow me to keep riding her when EVERYBODY ELSE was being untacked and put away. What a gem she is. I will say, once Betsy put her out in her pasture, she GALLOPED down to the very bottom of the hill with her tail flying. Glad she waited. What a weekend! THANK YOU SO MUCH BETSY AND ZOE FOR ALL THAT YOU DID FOR US FELLOW RACers!!! XXOO - Susan

Monday, August 16, 2010

New fella to start training,,,,Black Rock's Golden Firefly....Sparky

Hello all,

Ok, so by now you must know I love Curly Mustangs. We just came back from BLM's Palomino Valley, outside of Reno, NV two weeks ago with a brand new little fella, Sparky. 
If you would like to read about our journey visit our blog...........http://goldencurlsranch.blogspot.com/ 

I look forward to learning more as I begin training Sparky and will send more photos of our handsome little stud colt.
All our best, 
Angie and Sparky


What to do when it's hot in Texas...take a cool shower

Hello all,

Well, I sure wish I was up with ya'll at Betsy and Zoe's place this past weekend. Cause it's been hotter than heck in Texas and the best way we have found to cool off is to take a cool shower. Here is a few photos our BLM Copper D's Golden Red. She sure loves her baths and I sure love our Curly Mustangs!.

Stay cool,
Angie and her hot, hot, hot Curlies


Sunday, August 15, 2010

Stella's 'Jumping' Lessons.

On Thursday, (the 12th) my mom, (Laura Ison) told me that she wanted me to go to a Jumping show at *Myhio Haven. I only had ten days to practise, and having never jumped myself, or with Stella, I was deffinately worried. On the 13th I jumped Stella for the first time, at only 12' high. I was really nervous at the begining, and Stella was being a grump through our warm-up. I practise English Equatation, so I have the proper saddle. When I took her over the first jump, it felt like I was flying. Of course, we were just barely of the ground.(: Stella fought with me to go to the gate, but she gave in and we did a circle to line up with another jump. I was concentrating on keeping balance, and keeping Stella towards the center of the jump, and I forgot my fear of jumping. Stella wasn't really 'jumping' with her back legs, so I moved the jump up to 15' high, or rather, short. The next day we went out to the arena, again, for some more practise. I moved one jump to an 18' inch standard rail. I didn't notice any difference from the 15', and the 18'. My mom watched for some time, and told me that Stella still wasn't jumping with her back legs. Today, when we were warming-up I was in lala land when she was cantering. She pulled to the side and jumped the 18' rail with out my telling her to. I lost balance, but she had a smooth feeling to it! I got brave and moved the 15' to 21'. Almost two feet. The difference between the 15' and 21' is a BIG difference by look, and by jump. I only have two jumps set up so far, at 18' and 21'. After I bumped up the jump, I was to chicken to jump it the first time around. I pulled Stella around it and we jumped the next one. The seconed time around, my boot fell out of the sturrip so I swerved her away at the last seconed. I grabbed my sturrip, and went for the next jump, again. Stella slipped when we jumped, and knocked the pole down. I kept her going, and made her jump the 21' standard. I could notice a MAJOR difference. Luckily, I was in what my mom calls a 'three point', so it was very smooth and clean. I walked her out after that jump. She made an actual attempt to actually jump! I looked at our tracks, and we jumped a total of 12 times today. It rained yesterday so the ground was a little damp. Nothing to make a fit about. I used the mud to follow my turns from one jump to another. We played around some, and cut off distance from the two jumps. Stella enjoys jumping!

Tonight, my sister, (Josalynn Dennis) is going to go jump withh me. My mom is going to help us set up some more jumps, all different. We are going to have a pattern, go for speed, and practise for the show. Josalynn is going to ride Lady, her Paint mare, and they are alot better at jumping than me, but then again, they have been jumping together for over a year. I am very excited for the show now that I am 'officially' over my fear of jumping! We are going to take pictures, so I will post them later.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Jadie and Stella

Hi, I want to brag a little. Jadie just turned 13 and she has a SC 5yo filly that she has trained completly by herself. We love to trail ride and Stella is very steady in the woods. She is slow and Jadie seems to be content with that. We often tease that Stella has two gears, slow and stop. I am telling you this because I think Stella found a new gear this week!

Jadie and Stella have been practicing carying a flag, just in case she could do the opening cerimony at our county fair. Well, to my suprise, they let her. I was so worried about Stella. Some days she is the greatest, other days, she is very contrary. There were lots of people and the announcer was very loud. I told Jadie to just keep Stella moving off to the side and I waved the flag around and over her to see how she was going to reach. So far, very good. I handed Jadie the flag and she moved toward the crowd, just the two of them. As soon as Stella stepped through the gate, she dropped her head and started off in the most perfect jog! My husband nudged me and said, "Stella just slipped into SHOW-OFF gear!" They looked beautiful together, Perfect! They did figure 8's in a slow, level jog; then loped figure 8's with flying lead changes. Many people came rushing up to them afterwards. They got a lot of hoots and hollers and even that did not faze Stella.

The horse show was Monday. Jadie took Stella, a 2yo filly (Lexi), and a yearling (Jera). The show started at noon and it was 96 degrees, HOT! The first class was Ground Driving with 6 horses. Jadie got first with Stella (third year in a row.) I think that is Stella's favorite class and she really shows off! Jadie also got third with the 2yo. That was Lexi's first show and she was very nervious. Jera was too scared to go in the ring alone, so they did not compete. At home, Jera is so great. I guess that I need to work on getting the youngsters off the farm before the shows. Funny thing is Jadie's brother got second with a Quarter Pony that Jadie trained two years ago and works with regularly. So really, Jadie got first, second, and third!

Jadie and Stella got first in their Jr Showmanship class, against fancy QHs. In the championship class, the judge added a cone after a couple kids did their pattern. Jadie did not understand what the new cone meant, so she ended up backing up too far. She still got Reserve Champion Showmanship!










During their Walk/Trot Class, I knew they would win, they just looked so perfect together. Stella and Jadie took first, my son took second, and my daughter took third out of 11 horses. My son usually wins that class. He rode over to Jadie and gave her a high five and hug and told her that her long practices were paying off. They were still on horseback, so the hug really got attention from the crowd.












Jadie and Stella took first place in Western Horsemanship (9-13YO). Stella does not like the right lead. She missed it the first try, but Jadie pulled her up and then Stella took it. I knew the judge saw that, so I did not think that they would place. The judge pulled the kids into a semi-circle around her at the end and talked to them about the good and bad parts of their ride. The judge told Jadie that she liked how Jadie could feel the wrong lead and fixed it. The kids were still in the circle when they announced the winners. Jadie put her reins around the horn and was clapping for the kids. She did not evenrealize that they called her name for a few seconds. I was very proud of her good sportsmanship. But they went off pattern in the championship and did not place.












Jadie and Stella got first in Western Pleasure and third in English Pleasure. Stella was hot and tired by this point and did not want to show any more. So Stella really acted out during the championship and they did not place. The judge pulled her to the side at the end of the class. She told Jadie that she had a very well balance, good moving, and nicely muscled horse and she was a very balance rider and that she should be very pleased with all they had done together that day. She told Jadie to unsaddle, give Stella a drink and cool her off and be very proud! That little talk means more to Jadie then all the ribbons!

The next class that they were in was a gymkanna. Speed and control. There is a box made of PVP pipe on buckets (12' deep and 10" wide) and three cones. The idea is to stand calm in the box, race out, weavethe cones, and race back into the box. At no time can the box be knocked down. Fastest time wins. Jadie was third to run. Jadie has been trying to teach Stella to 'slide stop' like in reining. At first the practice was for fun, now it has a use. Stella slowly walked into the box, stood calmly, and they got the nod from the judge. She spun around and took off! Digging like a QH. Stella does flying leadchanges around the cones, it is so cute. But not really super fast. On the way back to the box, I could see that they were still gaining speed. Just as Stella's shoulders entered the box, Jadie asked for the stop. Stella dropped her rump and slide three feet to a complete halt! It was beautiful! The crowd went wild, a standing ovation! Their time was 13.2 seconds. The horse that got second place ran it in 16.3. Everyone else was in the 17s.

And of course, they won the trail class. Stella is just so calm and easy. They just started side passing. Stella always thinks Jadie is asking for a back, or at least that is what she is comfortable giving. So that part was a little tricky, but Stella finally gave Jadie three steps sidways.

After the show Jadie was walking Stellaback to the barn. The judge called her over and again was bragging on Stella's balance and movement. She told Jadie that she really loved watching them in the ring. She said there was one thing that she wanted Jadie to work on and that was Jadie reaching to two hand the reins. Jadie told her that Stella is just 5 yo and has only been riding in a shanked bit this summer. So if Stella does not respond at first, Jadie starts to two hand her. The judge seemed to understand. She then told Jadie that whomever trained Stella to this point, did a wonderful job and gave her a solid foundation to grow on and that Jadie and Stella will go far together. Jadie told her that she was the only one that has ever trained Stella, and the judge's mouth fell open.

I know that Stella should be farther along in her training. But we are learning as we go. We are slow, but we have fun. We are on top of the world right now! Next year, they are going to compete in Pleasure Driving and, of course, they will won it also! Ok, maybe I bragged a lot. But Jadie has worked so much, and she does most of it on her own, while I am at work. Thanks for reading.
Oh, and Stella looks so tense in these pictures. It is due to bad photography. She was not tense during the classes, as you can see in the ground driving picture.

Laura

Monday, August 9, 2010

Trail riding with Sage & a Curly Mule update

Hi everyone! I haven't been online very much but have been meaning to do an update for some time now. Sage and I are enjoying a great summer out trail riding and I feel he's really turned into the calm mature horse that I knew he was on his way to being. I've had a variety of beginners on his back this summer including 2 people who had never ridden before! He was a patient saint for all of them and he is worth his weight in gold.




But...he also appreciates going out on the trail with me and enjoying something that is faster-paced and requires less patience. I always make sure we go out trail riding fairly soon after he does his good-as-gold for the beginners routine. And I've really enjoyed having a horse with 3 solid gaits! The other day we were working on refining our transitions and tried an exercise that I've seen done at clinics where you walk 10 steps, trot 10 steps, canter 10 steps, trot 10 steps, walk 10 steps, halt. Then repeat with 9 steps, then 8 steps, 7 etc. It was a lot of fun and Sage seemed to enjoy it as well.





Josie is our Curly mule that we rescued from the New Holland auction this spring. She is half Mammoth Donkey and half Curly horse and is around 16.2 hh. She has warmblood-like gaits and a beautiful extended trot. I've been round penning her using Monty Roberts' Join Up methods and she *loves* it. Josie was quite scared of humans back in March when she arrived, but lots of apple slices and some time & patience mixed in with round penning have changed all that dramatically. She's learned quite well that if she turns and faces me she doesn't have to run around anymore. :)






Josie has been such a great mule to work with! I do think in some ways mules are smarter than horses and I very much appreciate how observant Josie is. Where Sage is easygoing and forgiving Josie insists on everything being right--but will then go above and beyond if you make the grade. Several people in our local horse community have told me that *they* wouldn't want to work with a rescue mule as it would be too difficult a thing and take years to earn their trust. Well, with that Curly horse half in there I am simply not finding this to be the case. So far we have conquered fly spray and wound ointment, put a saddle on her back, touched her all over with a foam noodle, and worked on picking up her feet--which she was initially quite wary of. Josie is learning so fast and is so happy to work with me, words cannot express how amazing it has been to watch this wounded equine come back to vibrant life.







This week we plan on tackling trailer loading with Josie and continuing to work with her feet (the farrier is coming soon :). Then, this weekend Sage and I are off to a 5 mile trail ride in southern Vermont, and I am hoping to go to Betsy's Curly get-together as well. Later in the month Sage and I will be making an appearance yet again at the local fair.

Happy trails everyone!

Some more firsts

We managed to beat the rain yesterday and have another driving session with Linus!! Still more tweaking was done as Stu and Dad had to shorten the shafts on the buggy, but now its all in perfect working order! I experienced another first with Linus too; when I was cleaning out his feet he fought me a bit with the first one and then as usual knew it was getting regardless so stood still and by the last hoof, he had relaxed it and had it ready for me to pick up!! Good boy Linus....great news since the farrier is coming next week and last time Linus tried to lie down while they were doing his feet! So, they let him!! And he didn't try anything again after that.
After I got him from his pasture he seemed like he was really raring to go and do something so once he was harnessed I ground drove him to the shorter end of the road and back. Despite being a wound up teenager he listened to me very well and did some really good turns..something we have needed to practice. Then it was back up to the house, he was hitched up, then, Dad decided the shafts needed cutting down, so unhitched and away they went with the buggy. Linus enjoyed some grazing time while they fixed it up. Even though they cut it down Dad said it will still be fine for him as he grows so no worries there. This buggy should last us quite a long time.
Up until yesterday we hadn't taken Linus on the road pulling anything. Yesterday Dad thought he was ready for it. He actually handles what little traffic we do get really well and it seems to bother him more if you stop him for it than if you just keep on going. He knows it is there and he is fine with it. So, he again went to the short end of the road and back pulling the buggy. He was a great boy. The road is very smooth and it was bugging him to pull. Dad stopped him and told me to get in the buggy...I was like, what?!? So, I did. Dad walked at his head with the lead rope and I sat in the buggy and did a not so great job of steering him since I was so excited to actually be in the buggy...so that was another first for me too...and Linus!! I got out at the driveway because it is a little harder to pull it on the gravel and I didn't want to overdo it for him. We brought him up to the barn, unhitched and unharnessed then I hosed him down. I put him in the barn and gave him his feed and he enjoyed some quiet time. Oh and Dad even offered to make room in a small storage shed to put the buggy inside instead of me tarping it and keeping it outside...that was great news!!!! He's really getting into this! Then it started pouring, so Linus stayed in until it was done (mostly because I didn't want to get soaked putting him out!) When I did put him out he was kind of frisky all over again! Once I took his halter off he gave a snort and took off end to end in his pasture bucking and kicking along the way.
Most of our outing was done in a light sprinkle of rain that kept coming and going, so that unfortunately once again prevented me from getting some pictures. Hopefully next time!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Kendahl and Rowan











Well Kendahl and I went and picked up her mare Rowan from training, she was with a 4-H group that does training for people to earn money for the group. They did a pretty good job for the 60 days she was with them. So we went on our first trail ride today, and I forgot my camera!! So I did get pictures of them in our ridding area. JKendahl walked trotted and took her over the bridge. She was smiling from ear to ear the whole time. Now to take her to Misty's for some deep tuning and for Kendahl to get lots of lessons to prepare for the local fair on the 25-29 of this month. Rowan hasn't had a lot of exposure so she gets a bit excited still with lots of stimulation. So keeping our fingers crossed and looking forward to the challenge!!

Marshall Pond

I need to start off this post with an important announcement (to me). WE ARE BACK IN THE WOODS! The deerflies have abated a bit.
Last week AhD and I unexpectedly rediscovered a trail I had been on years ago. I thought I was just taking a big cross-country trail loop behind Hebron Academy. The trails were well-groomed and wide and seemed go on forever. When I caught a glimpse of a clearing in the trees ahead, I figured we had looped right around to Robinson Arena and were about a mile from home. When I realized it was WATER I was looking at, I was taken aback - thank goodness I had been there before and recognized the back side of Marshall Pond. I was over three miles off in my calculation of where I was, and I came to the realization yet again that someone who is as directionally challenged as I should NOT be out riding the Maine woods alone. AhD and I enjoyed the view for a while, but then I high-tailed it back home. Speaking of tails, I think my tail was between my legs, especially when we passed that pile of bear poop again on the way back and the thought crossed my mind for the second time that I sure was glad it was an OLD pile of bear poop. AhD made sure we went EXACTLY the way we had come in on the trail... whew, thank God for the common sense of horses; we made it home safe and sound and just before dark.
Yesterday, Ian said he wanted to go “somewhere new,” so off we went, headed for Marshall Pond.
This time, to save Al the Haffie's feet, I avoided the rocky county road at the start by sneaking around the back side of the Academy ball fields. Shhhhh.
The cool, quiet trails seemed to agree with our horses.
Ian had me pack some Skittles in my saddle bag for his fortification. I packed flavored water. AhD and Al were much happier with Ian’s choice of trail food and mooched for candy when we reached our destination. Here is Ian displaying his baggy of Skittles.
Since logs had been skidded out of the woods in that short time span between last Sunday and this Saturday, which ruined the view, we made our own trail down through the woods to find a better one. The lily pads were beautiful, and I saw a huge heron.
We came back very satisfied with our ride. AhD was very well behaved on the trails and in the traffic to and from the trails, and I am pleased as punch with my beloved Curly!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Another Big Day for Linus

We had a pretty quiet week...judging by the blog, so did a lot of people! But today I was eager to get right back at it. Linus seemed eager to do something too. He was excited when I took him out but he soon calmed down. Owen fed him some grass and some apple chunks and then we got on with today's work. Before I continue though, I have a horse related story to share...though not about my horse. We went to a local fair last night to watch the Heavy Horse Pull. Owen was naturally more excited about the backhoe that was pulling the float back but anyway, the largest team in the heavyweight division came and stood right in front of us at one point. (there was a fence barrier) All of the kids that had been standing at the fence ran away, Owen walks up to these massive horses and points at them and turns to the crowd and says "Horsey". It was hilarious and the crowd was so impressed that he wasn't at all scared of these huge horses. I must add that Owen just turned 2!!
Dad was fast to join me today too. He came over before I even had the harness on Linus. But that turned out to be a good thing since I had pulled out the bigger buggy and it gave him a chance to go over it and think about any tweaks we would have to make to hitch Linus to it. I introduced Linus to the buggy before I had harnessed him. He sniffed and I got a pretty bad picture of him investigating it, so I deleted it and was too caught up in the task at hand to get any more. We kept the session short today because he was actually pulling a buggy this time and not the little training cart. It threw him off for a couple of minutes but once he figured things out he was perfectly fine. He really got a good glimpse of the buggy following him when we turned around but it didn't spook him. He just looked at it and kind of had an oh yeah, i'm pulling you moment.
After unhitching, Stu (my hubby, who finally got to see Linus hitched) and my Dad moved the keepers on the shafts up a bit and tomorrow if the weather cooperates we are going to hitch him again. We are keeping his hitching sessions short and sweet. Linus is doing so great with everything. I know I praise him on here all of the time but it still amazes what he can handle for a horse of his age and he just doesn't get upset about anything.
We'll see how he handles sharing me tomorrow since some heifers are going to start being halter-broke for next year's show season...made me think, wouldn't it be hilarious if I turned up at a fair with show heifers AND a horse in the trailer!! Doubtful, as much show experience as I have, none of it is with horses.

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