Wednesday, June 29, 2011


Today I had such a good evening with the horses. Voelie who usually is a sensitive horse and a bit nervous was lying sleeping with Suri standing next to her. She usually allready stands up when I come onto the grounds and when I enter the field she is definately standing! Now she was lying there as I entered the field, I slowly approached her while talking to her and I got down by her head and started petting her. She was completely relaxed and trusting with this. I was so extremely happy to have her trust me like this. It feels like such a step forward. A few days ago she was being head shy towards me and we worked on this and now I sat with her for at least 15 minutes scratching her head! She was so extremely relaxed that at one point I wondered if she was ill:):) I did not recognise my otherwise nervous (as in lots of movement) horse! I moved over to her side and also petter her belly and she was fine with that too. All the time Suri was standing watch with her warm breath breething softly in my neck! It was such a very happy moment! It shows me that my groundwork and attention to Voelie is earning her trust! I hope to also accomplish this level of trust with Suri, she is much more calm in nature then Voelie but she does not trust me to come up to her when she is lying down yet but I of course have not had Suri as long as Voelie so I hope maybe in the future she will also trust me to pet her while she is lying in the field.
After I got up and made the bowls of food they both had their food and I petted and scratched them both even more. No riding today but a very nice evening ith my two lovely horses!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

More about *Tessa

Well, today was a whole new day - *Tessa was as good as she could be - I was pretty happy with her and I think she was pretty pleased with herself too.  I am still not ruling out pain, and I will be on the alert for it as we go along but here is what I am thinking is going on...

*Tessa was born here, she is 8 years old now.  She has had 2 foals for me, so even though she has been under saddle since she was 3, she has had at least 2, probably closer to 3 years off to have babies, so that means she has only really had 2 years of riding training, which is not as much as one would "assume" in an 8 year old horse.

She is a dominant mare - no question about that, like her mother, she is the herd boss.  She is a good boss, but still, I do think she takes her role very seriously and even though she doesn't have a foal now, she still thinks she needs to take care of the babies and in fact they are usually hanging out with her rather than their mothers!  So the idea that she is challenging me is not that far fetched.  And more than that, she is 8, which in horse years is considered "mature".  I know that in stallions there are some that will end up gelded when they are 6 - 8 years old due to them becoming "mature".  I wonder if that is partly what is going on with Tessa and also that she may be becoming more set in her ways now.

Finally, I do train and ride a lot of horses, but in the last 10 years I have only had a couple of horses that I ride and train on a consistent basis.  One of them is *Sandman, of course, and one was my mare Gracie - she is deceased and now *Tessa, she is a horse that I will always keep and so I have had her longer than many of my other horses.  So it could simply be that *Tessa and I are working through some "rough spots" that everyone goes through with their horses.

I love *Tessa sincerely - she is a lovely horse, both to look at and to handle - she is totally worth the effort and I will figure this out - hope to share it with you as we go along!
Shelly in Summerland, BC Canada

Monday, June 27, 2011

Lyle's "Security Blanket"/Platform

Dear Reader,

Here is a nice way to end a ride for Lyle. We are still working in the zig gag pen. It will be time to leave it soon and work in a larger area. But for Lyle a nice way to end a training ride is to ask him to mount his platform. After he is on it, I slide off of his back. This platform helps him because he percieves it as a reward.

Soon I will enlarge the area in which we ride. We will work back and forth leaving the bigger area and returning to "home base" platform. But I think that soon Lyle will have his "home base, security blanket" in his heart and he will not need a platform.

In the above picture I have just dismounted and removed his bridle. He will stay on the platform until I give him a choice to leave it or to stay on it. This choice that he is given seems to help Lyle to think well about what just happened on our little training ride.

Thank you.


Penny Johnson

Bonners Ferry, Idaho USA

Lyle's "Security Blanket"

The Amphitheater

AhD and I have been on a four day trip to Acadia National Park on Mount Desert Island, Maine, and I am still playing catch-up, but I wanted to say Happy Birthday to my RAC friends and make a short post for one area of the Roosevelt Carriage Trails ~ The Amphitheater.

This is just one section of the Amphitheater Trail, where the "castle" stone walls hold one back from tumbling off of the cliff. As you can see, we rode in and out of rain and mist, typical of every day there.

I had a blast, and Ah-D was wonderful. My friends with the fancy (expensive and talented) event TB's really liked him, and he was even able to keep up with their trots. THAT was fun! I think it says a lot about my little 14.2 hand Curly that he can keep up with a 16.2 top-notch event horse at a fast trot! Ok, ok...not their extended trot...he gave up at that point and cantered. Geez, was that a blast. I kept thinking of Liz and her Traveller.Back to the Amphitheater, here we are!If you ever get the chance to visit this National Park, TAKE IT! ~Susan and Didder

Luce Line Ride

Just to be sure I got my riding fix in for the weekend I loaded Marley and Larry back up in the trailer yesterday and asked my husband to drop me off on a gravel road that hooks up to a state trail just a few miles from our house. He wasn't feeling well so I was on my own with 2 horses. The Luce Line Trail is an old rail road line so it only is one very very long trail. The sad part with this trail is they are talking about paving it and not allowing horses on it anymore. The 2 horses and I got dropped off like I had requested and headed on down the trail. I told him I would call him as soon as I knew the horses and I had had enough. I took turns riding one and then the other. Each got about an hour and a half of ride time by the time we got picked back up. We stopped a time or 2 for a quick break and a change of mount. Larry is our trail horse, he likes to explore different trails, trail blaze, and as soon as he sees we are heading out on a trail, there is no stopping him. He sets a steady pace and stays at that pace as long as we are out on the trail. He is just a blast to trail ride. We rode behind a small town and if you look really close in the picture you can see a swin set in that big puddle of water. I had to get that in the picture. Those poor kids can't play in their yard! Marley about half way through our ride I felt like we where dragging him along rather than leading him. I think he was tired from the day before with all the deep sand at the dunes. It was a nice quiet relaxing outing for all of us. There where several bridges to cross and I had no issues getting Marley to cross them , but the first bridge that I had to ride Larry across I had jumped on Marley (not touching the ground, loose saddle, and halter w/lead only) and lead Larry across. Then I got back on Larry and the next 3 he crosses without hesitation. I think he needed to see how to do it one more time :) While out on the trail we had seen these 2 shelters, never knew they where there and though it was kinda neat that they have a spot you can take a break off the trail.

Till next time,

Marley, Larry, & Dana

Sand Dunes Saturday!

So from reading alot of other posts, I know we aren't alone here in MN with all the wet cool weather. It seems like our camping expeditions are getting very limited due to our wonderful summer weather. Early Saturday am we loaded up the kids and the horses and headed up to what is known as the Sand Dunes State Forest. We chose there because as you can tell from the name it will be all sand and didn't have to worry about all the slick mud with the kids. The weather was just perfect, it was warm, the sun was out, and there even was a slight breeze to help keep the bugs away. It was kinda funny we rode over to the day camp area and there where our neighbors from back home. Said we had to drive an hour just to see them :) As you can tell from the picture, Lane our 2 year old is having a blast on his curly horse Larry. Christian our 10 year old is riding his grade Quarter Horse Scooter is also having alot of fun being out with the family. Probably can't tell from the picture but the sign says the last know sand dune in MN. The sand dune as you can probably see from the picture is all covered in grass this time of year as well. They have this area all fenced off so folks don't ride in through there and reck it .

Marley, Larry, & Dana

Angie's Birthday Ride

With my weekend starting on Thursday I don't get much on the computers over the weekends now that riding season is here :) Last Thursday night we had parade practice with the posse. With all the rain that we have been getting I am taking any opertunity I can get to ride somewhere that doesn't have tons of water standing or mud. Well once we got into the arena it was a bit soft as well. The group practiced the different manuvers that we can do at parades we will be riding in for the summer. Had to ride with different partners so our horses all got use to each other. I so wanted a chance to carry one of the flags, but Marley just isn't quite ready for that yet. We are first just able to ride along side the horses carrying them and getting used to being hit in the face, along the body, as well as the noise it makes in the wind.

Hope you had a wonderful Birthday!

Marley & Dana

Lyle and the "Zig Zag" Pen

Dear Reader,

Lyle and I continue to work together. Today I was very tired and weak because of my chronic encephalitis. Yet even so, Lyle did well for me. I caught him, wiped off some of the dust, picked out his hooves and got on! No ground work except to ask him to stand for a few minutes on his "security blanket" p;atform! That was all.

Lye and I rode in his "zig-zag" pen. He had been badly abused in a round pen. For that reason, I had to come up with a different kind of pen. A pen with zig zag sides was a reasonalble solution.

I got on using Tom Dorrance's method of mounting from a fence and asking Lyle to move towards me based on pressuse that I applied by reaching over his body. This is because Lyle used to flee away as he was being mounted in the traditional way. But the way that Mr. Dorrance suggested has worked very well for Lyle. Lyle allowed me to mount him easily and safely from the fence.

After mounting, Lyle obeyed my rein cues very well. There were several times when I had to discipline him for trying to sieze the bit. He accepted my discipline very kindly and very sweetly. But here is what is so interesting about giving proper discipline to a horse. They accept that discipline when there is no difference between a cue, a correction or the offering of comfort. (There is really something to think about here.)

Please enjoy the pictures. I attached them in reverse order. But even so I hpe that they make sence. Thank you.


Penny Johnson

Kootenai Curly Horses

Bonners Ferry, Idho

Riding *Tessa

I've been riding Tessa 3 - 4 times a week and instead of getting better, she seems to be getting worse!  So, the first thing I think of is pain related..... I am planning to get her teeth checked and maybe have a chiropractor out to look at her, but I was also thinking it could be her back is sunburned, it doesn't look burnt, but she does have pink skin under where the saddle goes.  Certainly, she does burn on her nose and I have to keep a full face mask on her including a nose flap to prevent burns there, so it is possible that her back is burning - our sun is very intense here.

Now, having said that, it is also very possible that she is simply showing me some serious resistance :)  This year I am asking a lot of her - on a very consistent basis and she may be just saying "hey, this is more work than I signed up for!!".  I say this because today I decided to work her in the round pen before riding and after an hour of round penning she did come to see things my way and joined up very well, after which I had a really great ride on her, not much resistance nor acting up and she was very good. 

In any case, she is a very dominant mare - she is keenly aware of what is going on in the pastures and keeps an eye on other horses, so I am "leaning" towards thinking resistance, but not ruling out pain related either.

So here is a picture of us from the other day

she isn't going very well in this photo, but she looks happy at least :)
Shelly in Summerland, BC

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Show Time!

Well, Curly friends, it has been awhile since I've blogged last, but I waited until I had something to share. Because of the Equine Herpes scare, the latest Event I was going to attend with Traveler was cancelled so we turned our attention to breeding and he has been one happy camper. And I focused on getting the horses ready for their first Open, All Breeds show of the season.

I worked with his 3 year old son, Timbuktu and got him ready for halter classes and Hunter / Jumper in Hand. I don't jump him while riding, since he is so young. But boy does he love to jump - he is just like his father. I have three full brothers out of Traveler and the oldest gelding, Khatmoondhu does not show the same passion for jumping. But Timbuktu was born to it.

We arrived at the show and I heard someone say - "oh, no the Curlies are here, now we really have competition.". They are getting a name for themselves in the local shows around this area. Since we work so hard to break into the very elite sport of Eventing, it was nice to hear that at least in this area, we have "arrived".

Last year I did not attend the year end banquet and so I was very pleasantly surprised to discover that Timbuktu had won the 2010 year end High Point award for Hunter and Jumper in Hand. He was grand champion overall last year and I received a nice plaque with a picture of him on it to display proudly.

But now for this show - it was a new judge and I was concerned about how he would judge my Curly. The previous judge really liked them, but I had attended some events where we wouldn't even get the "time of day". Not so for this show. The judge LOVED Timbuktu.

In Halter geldings young horses we placed 1st!!! And I am so happy to report that Timbuktu had great manners and listened to me while being in a new place with new horses and not having his brothers around for support. That's what I was the most pleased with - his ability to remain focused and calm under stress.

To top of off - since we were 1st in our class we competed against all Halter horses and received Reserve Grand Champion!!! Way to go Timbuktu!!! I have never received Reserve Grand anything before. So what a great surprise - I was listening to them rank the horses and when they got to about 3rd place I gave it up - thinking we were out, but imagine my surprise when we received that ribbon.

Here we are with our ribbons - 1st and Reserve Grand Champion!

And a close up picture for fun. You work really really hard for events and once in awhile it's nice to actually get some validation of your hard work and great horse flesh. I knew I had something really special with my Curly "boys".

And then for the second great surprise of the day. We entered the Hunter in Hand and Jumper in Hand class and here we are making our jump pattern around the arena. He was AWESOME! He listened to me, looked at the jumps and didn't even hesitate. In both rounds we had NO refusals but two rails down because I didn't line him up properly.

I "kiss" to him before a jump to let me know that this is a jump and he needs to go over it and he listened each time - jumped and came back to me ready for the next one. It was a really tight pattern and he did it. You just never know how a horse is going to react with new jumps, new distractions in a new environment and he acted like he was born to it.

We received 1st in Hunter in Hand and 1st in Jumper in Hand. It was one of those moments were the horse gives his "all" and goes above and beyond your expectations. I always get choked up when this happens - when they try their heart out for you.

In the Jumper class, everyone in the first round was disqualified and when it came our turn and we did it - the judge said,"that's how you are supposed to do this, folks." He actually stopped the class after our Hunter round because he said he was so impressed with Timbuktu's movement and jumping style - for a young horse. He asked him what I was going to do with Timbuktu in the future and said that if I didn't jump him, his potential would be wasted.

This was so gratifying to hear - because I really have to constantly "prove" Traveler - that he can indeed jump with the big dogs even though (actually, because he is) a Curly horse. It was really nice that his judge didn't look at the curls and discount him because he is not a typical jumping horse - but judged him on his ability to jump and his movement.

Here we are going through the starting flags.....

Timbuktu with all our ribbons - 3 1st place ribbons and the greatly appreciated Reserve Grand Champion.

My daughters also showed with their horse in the kid class - but since it's not a Curly I've only written about it on my personal blog. I won't say anything more than they cleaned up too.

Wow! What a day - and my dear husband was there to help and support me. Constantly worrying about the horses getting dusty - we all went home hot, tired and winners.

Lovin' Linus

I am really playing catch up today! Our internet connection has continued to be very poor and I just don't have the time to spend more than hour posting! I have kept up with all of your posts though by reading them on my phone.
Linus and I have been busy. He has calmed down a lot I find with having an equine buddy. He is a very pleasant horse to be around.
We had some pretty hot days so Linus has had a few sponge baths. One day though I gave up on the sponge and just walked him to the hose and hosed him down. He enjoyed it! Head up in the air and nose twisted to the side.

I miss driving and even though I still haven't replaced the buggy I had I have continued to keep Linus fresh with it by ground driving. I am using a bit for driving and a hackamore for riding to help distinguish the cues for him. But I think he would drive in a hackamore too! Yesterday we ground drove beside Dad riding Allie. It went really well. Linus was an excellent listener and very well mannered too. He easily accepted the bit and even though he hadn't used one in a while there was no chewing or chomping.
Patiently waiting to get going!

Today, Dad went out with Mom for the day (cabin fever) so after doing the chores I saddled Linus and we had a ride in the field by ourselves. I tried him in both the bitless and the hackamore. I find he goes better in the hackamore (side pull). I purchased a new saddle for him and it's very nice to ride in. It's synthetic and very, very light.

I was so pleased today when we rode at well he listens to me, especially verbally! It's so cool that all of our ground work and cues have so easily transitioned into mounted cues. I was telling my Dad last week that it's so different riding a horse that you know everything about with regards to their training because you have done it all! That is priceless and I find makes a huge difference in confidence while riding.

He must get so sick of these shots! I'm wearing the very comfy Curly hat we won for the May mini challenge. But yes, I did change it for my helmet when I rode.

Linus was nice and patient for me to take this head shot while we were riding in the field. He was looking at Allie who I had in a round pen in the same field while we rode.

I hadn't rode Linus near much equipment yet but since it is all parked at the top of the field we were in we rode among all of it. He wasn't at all bothered by any of it.

Buddies shot!

My nephew was on Linus again last weekend for a short ride. He has such great balance and is really good with Linus. Linus is great with him too. I've said it before but I swear he knows he has a youngster on him. He's extra careful and super gentle. But he loves kids. He has also struck up quite a friendship with the farm dog, Essa. She is a big Newfie and they are inseparable now when we're out on the road. She even played around and followed us in the field today while we were riding.
I'm not a huge fan of the heat so I'm really getting anxious to take Linus back into the bush next winter. Maybe by early 2012 we'll be able to go for a ride back there. I'm still taking it slow and easy with him under saddle. No hills or anything just yet. Just walking on the flat.
Happy Birthday to everyone who had one this week! I'm sorry I didn't get to post on each of your days but we did get out and dedicate some time to each of you. Hope you had great days!

Happy Birthday Harold

Happy Birthday Harold, hope you had a great Bithday. I had a nice ride today on your Birthday. Suri was doing great. We even started working on side passing (I hope that is the correct description of what we were doing). It is very warm here today!

I also took Voelie out today for some groundwork. She was aslo doing great and enjoying the attention.

Good news on Culry promotion is that I got another article published in a magazine! I have not seen it yet but I will get it in the mail any day now! Very exiting!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Patchy Little Horse

This is my funny looking shedding horse.  

Farrier was here about a week ago.  After trimming Zoie he wanted to see baby's feet.  I hadn't worked with him for a quite a few days, but he was surprising well behaved.  Farrier wants me to work with him a little more before he "trims" anything.  He wants to come out mostly to get him used to having his feet done.  Said he won't really take anything off, but it will be more of a training session and getting used to the tools.  He is going to make sure to have lots of time in his schedule for him so we can work slowly and not scare him.  I have such a great and patient farrier.

We have made leaps and bounds in our training the past few days.  He has started coming up to me more, has become fairly relaxed with touching his legs and have picked up and set down his fronts a few times.  He is still too touchy in his hip and hinds to pick them up.  I found a really "oh no, don't touch me there" spot around his belly tonight.  One more just behind his ears.  He has been a little to nippy esp. when I scratch his neck and back.  Any ideas on how to stop that quickly and effectively?  I didn't want to smack him and make a game out it, so I pinched his lip hard.  I have also tried vigorously handling his lips until he said "hey that's enough" but he never really got to that point and seemed to enjoy it more than I expected.  I even stuck my finger in his mouth and he didn't do much but taste it.

Lyle and Tom Dorrance

Dear Reader,

Sorry, no pictures yet. Please be patient.

Lyle and I continue to work to get him ready to be ridden in open country. Here is what we did today. Over 20 years ago I remember reading an article in "Western Horseman" magazine by Tom Dorrance. In it he told how to help a horse get ready to be ridden by a unique way of helping it to use both sides of its brain at the same time. Mr. Dorrance told the reader to mount the horse from a fence so that the rider was above the horse's head at the time of mounting. But there was more. Mr. Dorrance explained that a horse will instinctively stand at right angles to the fence. He wanted the rider to sit on the fence, reach over the horse's body with the long stick and tap on the hind end that is distant from the rider and fence. The horse will be moving away from the pressure applied on the side away from the fence by moving towards the person who is applying the pressure and moving towards the fence. This helps the horse to think using both sides of his brain at the same time and also to control his emotions. Horses are used to moving away from the pressure itself and from the source of the pressure. In this technique the horse is moving away from the pressure of the stick by moving towards the source of that pressure, that is by moving towards the human.

Once Lyle understood that he was to move away from the pressure of the tapping applied to his far side by moving towards me, the source of the pressure, I got on board. Because we were out in the open, Lyle threw his head up and hollowed his back. He also started to hyperventilate. All typical of a nervous horse. I just sat still on him until he calmed down. Then I got off and told him he was a good horse.

All of this teaching Lyle to control his own emotions is to get him ready to be ridden out on trail. If any one would like me to explain exactly how I taught Lyle to move towards me as I applied pressure to his far side by reaching over him from the near side, please ask and I will explain in detail.


Penny Johnson

Kootenai Curly Horses

Bonners Ferry, Idaho


Friday, June 24, 2011

Pitter Patter birthday drive

We have had some sunny days here in Vermont - but mostly -- rain. For Angie's birthday, we harnessed up Nimue for a birthday drive with me.

At the start of the trip. we thought we could make the entire 10 mile loop as it seemed the rain was coming in fits and starts - and mainly just a drizzle. 

As we trotted further  - we realized... the raindrops were larger, heavier and faster.

And of course, I had a song running through my head ~

Raindrops keep fallin' on my head
And just like the guy whose feet are too big for his bed
Nothin' seems to fit
Those raindrops are fallin' on my head, they keep fallin'

So I just did me some talkin' to the sun
And I said I didn't like the way he got things done
Sleepin' on the job
Those raindrops are fallin' on my head, they keep fallin'

A short video from light pitter patter to downpour -- still, in all it was fun to get out in the cart for a change. 

I don't think we'll be able to get out for Harold's birthday -- water is continuing to pour from the sky.

Betsy, Zoe, Nimue in Vermont

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Lyle's Achievement

Dear Reader,

Lyle has crossed a real "watershed" in his training. Today we rode, and Lyle accepted the bit sweetly for the first time. He would seize that bit, but when I corrected him for this he accepted my correction graciously. When he would seize the bit I would rein him in the direction that I wanted him to go and not in the direction that he wanted to go. I was extremely careful to give him the release for the smallest try. He trusted my hands to use the bit as a friend and helper and not as an enemy. Several times he would seize the bit and I did not re-act quickly enough. When that happened I would just give him the cue that he had already started on his own. But every time that I was able to "catch" him before he was committed to seizing the bit he literally embraced my direction.

If Lyle got unsure we would always ride back over to his platform and he would mount it. He would stand there for a moment and calm his own emotions. Once he had settled on his own, we would continue our ride. I never rewarded him for going to his platform. Rather I just accepted it as a security blanket sort of thing and then we continued with our work. Lyle does distinguish between his platform and the bridge that I have in my big make shift arena. He crosses the bridge as part of his work. But he sees the platform as his own special space that he shares with me.

He is still not ready to ride out in a huge area. So I have a arena made up out of panels, farm machinery, the walls of my hay barn and the deer fence. I have this set up to make an arena with zig-zag and irregular sides. I also keep re-arranging the obstacles that I have inside the arena. This is so that he does not become bored of the arena. The zig-zag sides are a real good training tool for Lyle also.

Once we are riding in open spaces I will have Wayne take some pictures and I will post them. I am thankful for Lyle!

Thank you.



Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday to Angie! Hope you have a great birthday! Since I knew I was not going to be able to ride today beacuse of work I managed to do an extra ride yesterday. I waited until it stopped raining, fortunately the horses dried quickly, and quickly saddled Suri for a short but very nice ride on the grounds.
I hope you have a great Curly Birthday yourself!

Jessica and Suri
the Netherlands

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Continuing to Ride Lyle

Dear Reader,

Lyle and I continue to ride. Progress is slow but it is good progress. We continue to ride in the larger part of my hay barn. I have set up several platforms/pallets in this area. The platforms/pallets help Lyle to control his emotions himself. This is because they provide him with a "home base" and he knows that I will guide him back to one of them if he needs to go there for security. This having a home base helps him to settle his own emotions and that is important in retraining him. But we only go back to the platforms/pallets on my terms. He does not get to make the rules about going back. I do. But I try to be fair and I try to need his needs before he is over taxed.

We ride, when I sense that he feels the need to stampede or seize the bit I turn him, before he is committed to the disobedience, towards one of the platforms. I ask him to mount the platform and to just stand still until he settles. Once he has settled, we return to riding again at the walk and trot. This is still all done bare back because he seems to need my body contact. I just pretend that my seat is a living saddle!

I sincerely hope that people understand how much the "platform/pedestal" concept that Mr. Pogue teaches has helped Lyle.

One last thing. Lyle is learning proper leg cues. Today for the first time he responded to leg pressure. This means that I am now riding his entire body and not just his head! This is good. Another thing, Lyle has started to accept discipline with out exploding. Several times he wanted to go his own way and make his own rules. I simply legged him forward and into a faster gait. He accepted this kindly.

I am riding Lyle in a situation where there are many obstacles, posts and things that he could use to crush my legs. He has refused to hurt me in this way. This fact alone proves that he is kind and worth the hard work of re-training.

Thank you.


Penny Johnson

Kootenai Curly Horses

Bonners Ferry, Idaho USA

Trail ride by the lake

This weekend a friend and I rode my two curlies at Hensley Lake in Madera, CA. It was a beautiful ride and not too hot. We had a good time and even took the horses in the water. This was Fancy's first trail ride away from home on a more difficult trail. I have been training her for about two month she had a good time and was very relaxed. She pasted my trail test test with flying colors.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Lyle's Friend

Dear Reader,

Lyle and I had to ride until he understood that I am his friend and his true leader. Here he is being good and obeying my just command.

Lyle and I will continue to work together until he has the peace in his heart that gives understanding. He and I are in this for the long haul because he is worth the work. I am so very thankful that I am now able to ride and help Lyle. That was all that I ever wanted to do, help him.

Thank you,

Penny Johnson

Bonners Ferry, Idaho

Lyle, Resisting

Lyle's Progress, and Mine!

Dear Reader,

Lyle has made progress. When you see the pictures you will understand what I mean. When Lyle came home from the bad trainer, he would run away and seize the bit and stampede away under saddle. But the real problem was that he had learned to EXPLODE violently under saddle. The work that he and I did with the platform/pedestal following Allen Pogue's instruction has taught Lyle to control his emotions and therefore he no longer needs to explode. Because he is not exploding he can pay attention to me as his rider.

Lyle and I rode out side of our make shift square pen. We rode in the hay barn because it s some what confined yet open enough so that he can really move out. And move out he did! He practiced all of the vices that he had learned at the bad trainer's. He hardened/stiffened his neck and stampeded off. He "rubber necked" and evaded the bit by doing so and lastly he seized the bit and did the opposite of what I cued him to do.

The above are three very bad vices. But even so Lyle did NOT explode. Because he was able to control his emotions a little under saddle he was able to listen to me at least part of the time. The only "tool" that I had to use with Lyle was to practice the covenant of pressure and release that is the basis of all good training. We had to ride until Lyle settled down and started to give me some good turns. I do not know how long we rode, close to an hour I would guess. But when all was done, Lyle was at peace and had contentment in his heart. He had also started to give me soft turns in a more open space.

Personally, I am thankful for Lyle because he is showing me that the skill that I had many years ago is coming back to me. Medically the return of strength should not happen because of my chronic encephalitis and the partial blindness that I have. But God has other plans. So I am deeply thankful to God for His mercy to me.

I will attach the pictures in the next "letter" because I am not sure how to do them and do not want to loose the written part of this post. Thank you.


Penny Johnson

Kootenai Curly Horses

Bonners Ferry, Idaho USA

Fabulous Start to a Weekend

This weekend was so busy I didn't know what way was up! For the second year in a row, we hosted an ACTHA trail ride. Our first 2 day ride. I guess didn't know what we where getting into until it was to late! Our family got up supper early Friday am so we could get to the park and enjoy a family trail ride together (our first one of the year). Then my aunt came and took our 2 year old for the weekend. After dinner our family and a few friends that where either competing in the ride or helping went out with us to mark the trail for Saturday's ride. What a great time we had. Along the way we came across a turtle that was laying eggs right in the middle of the trail! All the riders had a great time and we had a film guy out there taping as well for "America's Favorite Trail Horse" TV series, which is going to air Sept. 13th I guess. So it was a bit exciting!! We had 36 riders on Saturday's ride which is alot for our part of the country. After all the awards where given out I was able to get out on Marley and go for a ride. A friend that rode her horse in the ride took Larry out. We where out for several hours, I took her and another friend on other trails and other sites they wouldn't have seen otherwise. The DJ showed up while we where out so after all the horses where put up for the night and obstacles out for day 2 we danced into the night :) We had a professional photographer at the ride with us and he took some pictures of Marley, Larry & I and I am waiting to get them from him and then I will tell you about day 2 ride. But if you are really curious on how they look you can see them online as well before I post them :) and look for the folders under the ACTHA ride. There are also pictures from the ride posted on there as well of all the fun people had. The weather was great, humid but it stayed dry!

Marley, Larry, & Dana (MN)