Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year's Eve Ride

Lovin' the snow!
Woooo hoooo
(I love the shadow)

Incredible day! My buddy Kathy and I went out for a 2 hour ride today - it was great.

I met some new neighbors today (a mile or so down the road) who were out for a walk. They were sooo impressed with my "curly girl" and identified her breed right away. (The curls might have given it away too :-) ) They have a daughter who is allergic to horses - and have been looking into the breed. Of course, I'm bias - but I told them.... "once you go curly - you'll never go back."

Still planning on trying "skijoring" tomorrow - we'll see how it goes....

Hello and Happy New Year's EVE from Texas. I started this quest on January 1st on Blossom on a miserably cold day complete with soggy soil that we sank to her knees. The weather is very unlike that today. It rained a bit last night and we woke up to 68 degrees, overcast and a front that tried all day to come in. Warm weather in December, even in Texas is reason enough to ride. So Blossom and I finished out the year the way we began.

We did have her old sidekick, Bart following us and we didn't have that last January.....we had a heck of a time trying to get him out of the challange is ponying him so he will leave when we are ready to go.

I have signed up for the new challenge as this has encouraged me to ride at times I "thought" I should be doing something else. The fun of this event is connecting with Curly folks from all over that maybe don't connect on the other forums.

Thanks Denise, you are our cheerleader.

Ride with Me 2011

I'm planning to ride with my girlfriends tomorrow at 1pm central time.  Anybody want to join me?

The plan is to ride Emmy with the ladies then ride Murray, Moon and maybe Sailor later!  

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Snow Ride...

RAC 2 more hours onto my 2010 log - Great ride today - the weather was beautiful... and it's only expected to nicer over the next two days. YEEEEEE HAAAAAAH! Being a teacher has its perks - I can make it out before it gets dark during vacation week. Bill and I are going to try skijoring on New Years Day - I'll try to take some snap shots.

Happy New Year!


Happy New Year

Well this will probably by my last post of 2010 as tomorrow is shaping up to be a busy day. I did get out with Linus today and am planning to get out with him again tomorrow morning first thing. Then its FINALLY off to Stirling for us to visit with Brian and Lynn of Homefire Curly Horses where Linus was born/bred. And I get to see his preggers Mommy too...can't wait!! Not to mention the rest of the herd. I love them all....but I do have my favourites there too. The weather is not looking too promising but I'm no wussy and neither is Lynn...and we know the Curlies aren't so we are hoping to bid 2010 goodbye and 2011 hello with a bang!!! I'm sure we will have a blast no matter what the weather does....maybe we'll even be able to rope Brian into joining the Cowboy division for 2011....we'll see.
Today, Linus and I continued with our ground manners and pressure. When he starts to get ahead of me on walks I now make him Whoa and back up. This has caused him to continue on with his head lower and usually licking and chewing too. I'm so stoked over the relationship we are building together. The nearby riding school (HUGE into natural horsemanship) has given me a great idea to try with Linus. They hook toboggans up to their horses and go for rides. Just your basic kids toboggan and away they go. Obviously it will take some work before getting on and trying it out but I'm sure he will pick it up fast with where he is in his driving training.
I'm actually bringing up some harness for Lynn to use on *Moon, his sire.....its being passed from son to father. Kinda cute eh??
Last but not least, thank you to every single participant in the 2010 competition. I was late to join last year. Mainly because believe it or not I'm incredibly shy. However, I love to write and it didn't take me long to fall in love with the RAC and all that it offers. I have loved blogging and reading all of your posts too. We're very excited for the 2011 competition. 2010 gave us some really awesome training ideas which was great being that Linus is the first horse I have ever trained. Best of luck to everyone and may you all have a safe, happy and healthy new year.
- Donna and Linus

Gorgeous Day to Hit The Trail

Work is always a bit slow this time of year, so when my friend Karen called to ask if I wanted to go riding, I didn't hesitate. It was a balmy 36 deg., peak of sunshine and still wind. The trail was calling my name! =]

I lunged Reese first and he was absolutely exceptional. Light, responsive, respectful. I was glad for the extra time to prepare. The only glitch I had was in loading..go figure. I have never once had Reese hesitate to load...EVER in all the 7 years I have owned him...but today he did. Humm....all it took was a couple of circles and he followed me in. We went in and out a few times. Good boy. He did the same when we left Karen's to come home. Took one step in, backed out...I am still puzzled about that. But we did circles...about 4 times around, asked again...nope. So we did another set of circles...and he walked right in. It was no big deal, but sorta made me wonder why all of a sudden getting in the trailer caused even a slight hesitation. The ONLY thing I can figure is that the last couple times I hauled him, the plexiglass in the trailer was iced and it did make a strange noise. He seemed to notice. AND I didn't feed him in the trailer the last couple times either. I always give him a flake of hay normally. Could it be as silly as that? I swear my horse is a food-a-holic! =] But even coming home from Karen's I had hay in the trailer, he knew it was there and still hesitated. Anyway...I don't get it.

This creek looked so beautiful this time of year. Around the edge was an icey border and Reese was pretty uncertain about that. He didn't act goofy, he just didn't want to move forward when he heard it crackling under his hoof. So I dismounted and broke up the ice for him....and he walked right in.

This is Karen and her QH gelding Paco who joined us today. I love this picture. =]

We are supposed to get freezing rain and then cold again this weekend. Hope you all have a safe and Happy New Year! So many things to be thankful for this year....wishing the very best in 2011.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Get a New Horse??

While out with Linus today a cousin/neighbour asked me if i had gotten a new horse. They too could not get over the changes and size in Linus. While we chatted Linus was trying to meet their dog who was barking at him.
We worked again today on leading manners and had a nice walk. Before we set off for our walk though I loaded him into the stock trailer. It had been a while and he was a bit reluctant at first to get on so I walked him away from it and drove his quarters away from me on both sides then went back to trailer and we both got on. He didn't want to stay on for long but I made him stand quietly and get off quietly. I was impressed that he did this because it was at the start of our outing when his energy level is highest. I knew he would get on with no questions once we got back....which is why I did it at the beginning!!
Linus was again even more respectful of me early on again today. But he seems to know now what I will and will not put up with. We had another really good in hand trot. These last two days have been much better with the traffic too. He hasn't been using it as an excuse to try to get away with anything. On our way back yesterday he wasn't even paying attention to traffic. Today, he would keep an ear on the cars approaching but never stepped out of line once. I don't know if we will get out for a walk tomorrow but maybe we will try some other activities...playing soccer together is REALLY fun!!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Another Great Afternoon

Crunch time is on!! Only a few days left of the 2010 RAC and we are taking full advantage of the fact that its a quiet week!! I'm not a holiday/boxing week shopper so its really great having the extra down time. A good friend with a strong equine background came to meet Linus today. He was super impressed by his growth for his age and could not believe how square Linus is. Then we went to see his Dad's horses. Standardbreds which they race and a team of Belgians....I was more drawn to the Belgians!!! I just love the drafts!
When I went back to the farm Dad already had most of the chores done so I had loads of free time to spend with Linus. We started with grooming - I really should tie him for this instead of the norm where I don't even have his halter on him. He was funny today and kept trying to back up so I would keep scratching his neck. The friend I mentioned asked if I had been on Linus yet. I have leaned over him when he was a bit shorter but I cannot reach to do that now but it gave me a great idea to practice that with him today. And actually introduce him to me being on top of a mounting block or in our case today, a turned over bucket. I brought in a large bucket, which used to be his water tub when he was on pasture, but he was pretty intrigued by it so I let him play with it for a bit. As you can see in the pictures below. Then I turned it over and got up on it with him beside me. He looked at me kind of funny but I just kept talking to him and rubbing up and down his spine and all over his quarters. He loved this!! Then I leaned all the way over him. He swung his head around to sniff at me but that was about it. Then he walked a few steps so I slid off of him. A few people have said to me that he is solid enough to have me sit on him but I'm still not comfortable doing that yet. Not out of any kind of fear of being up there, more because of his age. Today's goal was for him to learn to stand with me up high beside him and he did great!
Then I brought the saddle out and put it on. I love how this is no big deal for him at all. Off we went for a walk. I was super impressed with him again today. Despite his usual early excitement, he still listened exceptionally well. He is responding faster all the time to verbal cues before I need to back them up with other cues. Something seems to have really clicked in terms of his respect for me. We had another really nice side by side trot...first time trying it the way we went today. Such a nice feeling to have a responsive and well behaved horse that you have trained!! The weather was beautiful and we had an amazing walk. So relaxing!!
Linus also met not only his first but also second snowmobiles today. I heard one coming up a sideroad and was actually glad for it. I knew we would encounter them sooner or later since our road has a major trail which crosses over it. The first snowmobiler was great and slowed right now letting Linus have a look at him. But, Linus really wasn't all that bothered by it. He was more interested in investigating it. We waved at each other and off we went our separate ways. We crossed the main County road and then went over a bridge. Linus walks cautiously over it because it echoes due to a very large culvert underneath it. On the way back over it his neck was stretched out and the expression was exactly that of "Phillippe" from the Beauty and the Beast movie when he is going through the dark woods. It was hilarious!
We met the second snowmobiler on our way back and he was really great to slow down and actually had to stop and let us pass before he could cross the road. Linus wanted to go and meet him!! Must be because he is used to playing and chasing the quad when we have it out.
Linus was tired when we got back but he had been so great he got 2 apples. It amuses me how different he is to Mickey, the 1 speed Quarter horse I had growing up. When you went out for a ride on Mickey, it was a struggle to get him away from the farm but when you turned around the pace quickened to a slightly faster walk and he was going home!! With Linus its more like he says "Ok, let's go somewhere new today" . He loves going through deep snow and tries to go up every trail we pass by. I do have permission for a couple of local trails but I don't go down them on late afternoons during hunting season!!
Best of luck to everyone during the last few days of RAC 2010. Can't wait to read your new posts and meet all the new people entered for 2011.
Oh and love the new format Denise...thought for a second I had clicked on the wrong link but its all good!!! :)|

Frosty the smooth Curly?? lol

wearing red antlers

from a very young age Lynn and I dubbed him "Sir Linus". see why??

ready to go!

he kept them on for quite a while!

ground work and just plain fun

After a long afternoon helping the sheep sheerer, I was wondering where in the heck had Don gone. He went to get our two curly boys, Rascal and Rowdy (formerly Thistle and Horton) who are currently mowing the neighbor's acreage via staking out. I saw him coming with the two boys trotting along behind the fourwheeler and then he did not come around the house and did not and did not.
Once the sheerer and I got all the wool bagged, the clutter tidied up and walked down around the house I saw the problem.
Don was trying to lead the two boys by the sheerer's truck which had a sheep hauling cage on the back of it and was parked right in the middle of the drive leading up to the barn and corral! Rowdy was minding his manners and while nervous was willing to walk by the truck albight with one ear and one eye watching to be sure it did not bite his hiney! LOL
Rascal was displaying the self-sufficient streak Curlies have and refusing to get anywhere near that horse eating thing whatever it might be. Oh and it should be noted that either horse towered over the truck as it was a Chevy Luv sized thing.
I took Rowdy so Don could concentrate on Rascal. In short order Rascal was stretching his neck forward to check out the truck and then taking tentative steps towards it.
While Don paid the sheerer, I took both boys in hand. I put Rowdy on the near side which just happened to be closest to the truck and Rascal on the offside. I then worked with them until both were relaxed and Rascal was within leaning distance of the truck. And then off to the barn and a nights rest.
All of this took about 5 minutes! It just reinforced how little changes can provide training oportunities!
Oh and Denise, I need to learn how to do a farm BLOG AND I have tried to get Don to sign up for the RAC but he refuses because he might have to BLOG or log! BOYS! LOL
Anyway, Thanks to Linus and Donna for reminding me that ground work can be BLOGed and hopefully this is not too far off the RAC to cause offense. :)
PPS - Rowdy and Rascal have been sold and are here while the owners get some training (LOL) and the new owners are who renamed them!!! :(

Winding Down...AND Gearin' Up!

Good Morning RACer's present & future and visitors,

As you can see, in anticipation of the new 2011 year, the blog has been revamped a bit. I hope you like it!

As a reminder to the 2010 Riders, don't forget that your yearly logs are due January 15th. You can mail them or fax them. (906-484-3799) To download forms see the link to the right under RAC information links.

To those signed up for the 2011 RAC...WELCOME! We do hope others will join us! There is still TIME! =] It is going to be a fantastic year. Many that are returning for another year of fun, promoting and sharing....and several new to the contest. So far this year we have 4 overseas RAC'ers..isn't that cool? Germany, England, Netherlands and Wales, UK. All are eager to get started!

I will be sending over your welcome letter, contest guidelines and everything to get started January 1st, bright and watch your email inbox for that.

Also for anyone that would like extra shirts, please email me and I can include those with your free tshirt with no shipping charge.

T-shirts/V-necks: $10.00
Long Sleeve T-shirts: $14.00
Crew Basic Sweats: $17.00
Hooded Sweats: $20.00
Full Zip Hoodies: $24.00
(to view colors, visit my curly store)

Sunday, December 26, 2010

More fun in the snow

Linus and I racing....he always wins!!

Linus and I are hoping that everyone had a wonderful Christmas!! It was so nice to see all of the pictures of people out with their horses dressed all festive. Time did not allow for us to that just yet!! But we are going to this week. I have wanted to for some time now get some festive pictures of Linus. I may have a friend who is home from Alberta come out this week and help me with Linus. He is really good with horses and I'm anxious to have someone other than me handle Linus and ask all of the same things of him that I do. I just want to see how he responds to that. Then I was going to make a list of some of the things we felt really good about having accomplished this year and do them all one day. Like seeing if Linus will self load even though its been some time since we have tried.
I did get out Christmas Day with him. More to play than anything. He had to take his time on the somewhat slippery driveway to his paddock. There I let him go to have a run and we chased each other up and down the fence line. Then my nephew came out and was sliding down a hill nearby. Linus took great interest in watching this and would run around after each of Griffin's slides. It was hilarious. He was SO keen to meet Griffin. So Griffin went over to the fence and Linus settled down from all his bucking right away to come and nuzzle Griff's mitts. It was really cute. Linus is such a social butterfly.
Today, I picked up his feet and we practiced our leading in and out of his pen. Just a reminder for him since he can sometimes get a little excited and try to barge through. Then we headed up the lane for the most splendid walk!! At first he held his head really high, which still wows me at how tall he is getting! But, he was very tuned in to me today and was very respectful too. We went up the sideroad that we hadn't been on in quite some time. There was a large family gathering at one of the houses and a couple of families arrived when we were close. Linus picked up his pace and wanted to go meet them all. Again, there's my social butterfly! Towards the end of the road a few cars came along in a row. Some of them seemed to be visiting from the city and were taking our picture through their car window - it didn't look like they had seen too many people out walking their horse before!! But, they were smiling and waving and enjoyed seeing us. Linus was disappointed when we turned around - he loves exploring! I don't think he is ready yet to go around the block though. It's nearly 10km and part of it is through a little village. He would love that, but he needs to quit using traffic as an excuse to pretend to get excited first. Vehicles don't bother him but he sometimes uses them for prancing excuses. Usually he just ignores them though.
On our way back he wanted to play in the snowbanks on the side of the road so I just held the end of the lead and let him push and play in the snow. Then he threw his head up and when I turned to look there were 3 riders in the field beside the road. I hadn't seen or heard them come up and had a brief moment of panic because it was the first time Linus and I have met a group of riders while out. He got excited, understandably, but was still listening to me and settled in really well once they continued on their way. I did chat with them a bit because it was the owner of the place where we went for our playdate last winter. Pretty much a year to the day actually! He asked who's horse I was out with because he didn't recognise Linus. He could not believe it was the same little weanling that was at his place a year ago. They were super impressed with him. And of course I was proud as a peacock!!!
Today we had a very big accomplishment while out too. It was our very best ever in hand trot. Usually if I trot Linus on the halter he tries to speed up or else come around me. We started up and I corrected his speed and just swung the end of my lead if he started to crowd my space. He moved over right away, straightened up and we had a really pleasant jog together. Twice!!! My little boy is growing up!! I'm not sure what it was about today but I felt more bonded/connected with Linus than I ever have before. It was like we were having our own conversation today. We usually are well connected and tuned in to each other but today was just that extra bit more. I totally loved it!! If the sun wasn't getting so low we would have stayed out much longer!! When we got back I put him out in his paddock and we played a little bit of soccer with his horse ball before I brought him back up to his outdoor pen near the barn. He was played out but very content!! Me too!!

One of the riders we met today

Two of the riders we met today

Ha ha - I look so grumpy but its so hard getting our pic!

Griffin (8) just loves being around Linus



racing up the fence line with me

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas From New Hampshire!

Miss Demeanor and I went out this morning with jingle bells - delivering Christmas cookies. We were the hit of the neighborhood!

Happy Holidays to all my RAC buddies - and best wishes for a happy and healthy new year!

Friday, December 24, 2010

A Christmas Message from the Girls

I visited with my girls for a bit this afternoon during a break from the cooking and cleaning. They told me that they had a message for my RAC friends.

Whinney reminds us to make sure we get plenty of rest and to take care of ourselves amidst all the hustle and bustle.

Jen would like to make sure that everybody has a good meal in their bellies each and every day, not just at Christmas time.

April told me to make sure that we spend time with our family and friends, and enjoy their company. And to love them no matter how grouchy they can be sometimes.

and Lakota said "Don't forget what Christmas is really all about"

Searching for Mistletoe at Golden Curls Ranch

Hello All,

What's more fun than trail riding with good friends and Curlies? Looking for Mistletoe on your trail ride with good friends and Curlies.......Our good friends, Leann, her son Carson, who is a Marine, home visiting before he leaves for his fourth tour of duty, this time in Afghanistan; his beautiful rosy cheeked, red headed, daughter Lana and our darling little barrel racer, age four, Hayden, Levi, my son, Nicky and I decided to saddle up our horses and ride the Golden trails in search of Mistletoe. 

My youngest son, Nicky, and Curly J have become quite a team, Levi and Lakota are perfectly matched with those long legs and Chester and I were behind the camera....tho' the curls were still apparent.  Our friends were riding their beautiful Quarter Horses, Leann and Fly (wonder where he got that name?), Carson and Lana on Itchie with a B (she is all mare) and Hayden with her new friend, Star Princess.

Levi and Lakota were the first to spy the Mistletoe and grabbed a hand full from our big old Oak tree's lowest limb and galloped away. Having grown up in Carolina and being an Irish man's daughter the scene reminded me of the great fun had at Steeple Chase races I attended as a young girl. 

Maybe that's what the Holidays are all about; spending time doing things you love with those you love and ....letting the season spirit let you see the world through a youngster's eyes.

Best wishes to all for a Very, Merry Christmas and a Healthy and Happy New Year.

Angie and her Curly ones in Texas

Merry Christmas Eve from Vermont !

What better way to tire a young 7 year old out so he'll go to sleep tonight than trot out in the cart on a
frigid day ?  Zoe came with us too -- she's just out of the cart snapping a departure photo. We are spiffed up and hot to trot says Nimue.

The roads are icy in spots but we try to stay in the most sanded tracks.

sorry to be tedious with double takes here -- but the way the star is catching the sunray --

I loved the photo :)   So posted two taken one right after the other.

As we trotted along I had the idea to visit my Number 1 son at work as they are having a Christmas Open House today with Chili ~ that sounds nice on a cold day after driving around on the back roads.

So after we were done with the back roads loop  - we trotted past the house.. down the road -- scooted down the highway to Mitchell's Auto Body.

Had a lovely holiday visit -- time to head home and wait for the man in the red suit.  Nimue is fast up the highway home -- she's thinking about that big bale of second cut she saw me getting out for a holiday treat.

Here are a few snippets of our trip this afternoon-- which includes our Holiday Greeting ~

There's still plenty of time to get in more riding for 2010 :) I have to sneak in that Nimue is on the sales list - She's wrapped and ready to go !

Enjoy ~  

Merry CHRISTmas Eve to you all from Susan and Didder!

I have very much enjoyed all your entertaining Christmas photos this year. I don't have anything as impressive, but I do hope you enjoyed coming along with us on our peaceful yet invigorating Christmas Eve ride on the Maine trails. Like Denise, I feel truly blessed to belong to this RAC group, and looking back over this year, I am grateful to God to have such a loving, handsome, energetic, intelligent Curly such as AhD in my barn.