Friday, September 30, 2011
Although I didn't get out to ride today, I thought I'd share some pictures of my ride last Sunday. It was a low-key, Fat Dogs sort of ride.
The Fat Dogs enjoyed the stream very much. Grace went right to the deepest part so she could (almost) swim, but then returned to her sweet spot about 10' off Ah-D's butt. The day was hot and even humid, unheard of in the state of Maine for late September. I don't think I have ever had to put a fly mask on Ah-D to ward off black flies this time of year. You can see that fall leaves are starting to float lazily down the woods streams. It is so beautiful and peaceful. Ah-D liked the cool water on his feet. We stood here quite a while and watched the dogs enjoy.
Who is that masked man? ;) I took this photo on a new trail that my nephew Jason made. This trail, #4, is another good one. It has some nice dips and climbs and one really steep but really short hill that is FUN to navigate! Ah-D tucked his butt nicely and scooted right down. Have I mentioned how much I love my Curly boy?
There is something about this tree that appealed to me.The new trail was never without a stone wall within site.
As I mentioned in my title, we do have a bit of color in Maine, especially on the Sumacs. It's not nearly as spectacular as any other year (because of Irene), but if you look for it, you can find it. The first week of October is generally getting more colorful, and I'll try for some pictures to share with you next week.
This is the best time of year to ride the powerline. Although you don't get the vivid reds and oranges you find on the trees, I just love the way all the bits of color from the low-lying plants and shrubs blend together for earthy beauty. Donna, I hope you had a great birthday and got out to enjoy a ride on Linus after blowing out your candles. On Sunday, Didder and I have an ocean beach ride scheduled, and it is supposed to be a misty cool morning. It is going to smell heavenly! Wish I could bottle some up of that heady, tangy air for all of you RACers, but you will have to be satisfied with a few pictures. ~Susan and *Ah-D-Das~
Thursday, September 29, 2011
If Lyle could speak English he would say this: "Thank you Mr. Bill Dorrance. You finally talked a little sense into Penny." Here is what happened.
Bill Dorrance, in his book "True Horsemanship Through Feel," writes about how to re-train by riding a horse in a big circle in order to "get something done." So today that is what Lyle and I did. We rode a very big circle. We worked on yielding to the bit, both during turns and at the stand still. (Remember, Lyle was ridden, before I started riding him, in a western rollker or hyperflesion frame. It is because of this that I am trying "to redeem the time" with Lyle.) Riding Lyle in that big circle gave him the opening that he needed to freely change his own behavior and yield to the bit. Riding him at the walk in that big circle also gave Lyle the chance to feel of me and for me to feel of him, as Mr. Dorrance calls it.
For Lyle the memories of being hard are still very fresh. But now he is building new memories. Lyle is choosing to build these new memories. It is a good thing for both Lyle and I to have a second chance. Please enjoy the pictures.
And, Mr. Bill Dorrance, I know you are in heaven with your Lord and Savior. Please accept my heart felt "thank you" for your kindness to both me and to Lyle as expressed in the teaching contained in your book.
Kootenai Curly Horses
Bonners Ferry, Idaho
Well summer went way to fast for me. I have to say that I'm not doing the best at tracking my ride times or blogging but I'm still out there promoting!
The first big news is Theo and I jumped 3ft! It was an incrediable feeling. My instructor informed me at 2 "9" he wasn't even making an effort over the fence so we went bigger and he actually jumped the fence instead of hopping over it. I have some video that I need to upload still.
We also did another jumping show at the end of August. We got a few seconds and 1 first! I think we would have taken another first but I went off course and had to restart. My husband and I made some jumps so I can actually practice a full course at home which has really helped Theo's canter. We also went to an open show that was mostly Arabians and Morabs. The first day we got a 5th I believe out of about 12 or so. Then on Sunday we got a 6th in halter for sport horse, a 3rd and 4th in our riding classes. All the classes had 10+ riders so I was pretty impressed with our results. This weekend we will be attending a jumping clinic which I am pretty excited about. It will be Theo's second time away by himself and I think it will be better then the first. I've been taking him more places to help him relax some and trust me.
And of course the biggest news... I roached his mane! It surprisingly looks fantastic but it was hard for me to do. He lost about half of it again due to the lovely curly itch. I missed a few treatments in July and by August it was falling out. I'm hoping it will grow back thick and full by next year.
Abby has been getting some time off. She has hit a growing spurt and I just don't want to interfer with that since she had a slow start to growing anyway. Since July she has grown half an inch and since Nov. of last year she has grown almost a full hand! My vet thinks she will reach her full height (which is estimated at 15.2) as long as I keep up with her feeding program. She is currently 4 and 14.2 and half. So no other updates on her the few times I have rode her she's been quite the awesome horse.
Day One, we ground drove around the yard and up and down the road -- looking for traffic and other scarey stuff.
Other than Ulysses being pesky toward his mom's bridle.. they new little 'team' went well.
Here they are getting dressed for the day. Tippy dons her mother's work harness. Ulysses gets an outfit all of his own.
This little pony fancy studded harness fits the job perfectly.
Ulysses is tied to the hames with a lead rope attached to his halter. Off we go again for a bit more practice.
Next ~ time to hitch these two to something !! I chose to have Tippy pull my little handy skoot/sleigh rather than the cart. Her son still gets in the way at times and to have the shafts to deal with in addition to a pesky tot.. a bit much for any Mum.
Tippy is getting so great at pushing her son right over when asked to gee 'round.
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Lyle and I continue to work. He continues to bull on the bit. This forces me to work closer to him than I would like to. This does bother him. But this is the only way that I can give him the opportunity to yield to the bit and so that I can then give my release to his yield. So we continue. Tomorrow I will have to ride him away from home and work him on some slopes. He needs this new mental stimulation. I have the feeling that he would really like to stop bulling. But he just does not know how to stop. So I am trying to prove to Lyle by the feel that I offer him that he can safely yield because he can trust my release. I remember that Mr. Bill Dorrance, in his book "True Horsemanship Through Feel" said that it took him a full year of riding his mare Beauty before she started to come around. So Lyle and I have our work cut out for us.
Bonners Ferry, Idaho
A light went on for me this morning. I was moving several of my mares from one pasture to another in preparation for weaning a filly. I moved my mare Lila with only a rope around her neck. She did not want to go to where I wanted to move her. Because there was only a rope around her neck there was no way that I could have forced her. So I just relaxed for a second and then I presented my desire for her to move again with only the rope around her neck. Here is what happened. I realized that I can not ask a horse because "asking" is something that a horse does not understand. I can only present my intent to them through the feel that I give through my touch, be it direct or indirect. Lila then obeyed me for only one reason, she wanted to receive the feel that I was giving to her and my feel was something that she saw as helping her and giving her security and peace. Does this make sense? So what can I give any horse? I can only give a feel and that feel must be something that brings the horse peace in its heart. This is a whole new concept for me. I must think about this. But this concept of feel is what will help Lyle. This is what Bill Dorrance talks about in his book, "True Horsemanship Through Feel." Lots to think about here. I will let you know how "feel" works for Lyle. But the real question for me is: what kind of "feel" am I presenting to my horses?
Kootenai Curly Horses Bonners Ferry, Idaho
My whole family has been working on building my brother's house this summer (all the logs are from our property and hand peeled) and today I decided to ride Dusty over (instead of the 15 minute walk) and let her stand tied to the tree for a few hours to get used to being patient when tied. I have never had a horse who adapts to situations as easily as she does, I can put her into any situation and she acts like she has done it her whole life. Today we were putting on the metal roof and we had sawmills, generators, drills, chainsaws, etc. going full blast and she couldn't care less. She never ceases to amaze me I love her so much! She loves Alaska and loves being a trail horse up here. By the way I know she doesn't look curly haired right now but in the winter she turns into a little lamb. I don't know what is taking her so long to grow a thick coat but I woke up to ice on her water bucket this a.m. so she better get those curls started! Not only did we have below freezing temps last night but we also got to see the Northern Lights (aurora borelias) around midnight :)
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Marley & Dana (MN)
Monday, September 26, 2011
For a reason that I can not explain, it seemed like the right time to dispense with the bosal and put Lyle in the bit. In the morning he and I did some ground work, working only on me giving him the release while the bit and bridle were on him. Then in the afternoon, I saddled him and gave him the bit. (We are using a Rockin' S low port, three piece snaffle bit made by Reinsmen. This bit has a very low port that can be turned so that it interacts with a completely different part of Lyle's mouth than a regular, two piece snaffle does. He likes the bit very well.)
After saddling, Lyle and I rode. It was only a short ride of maybe 10 minutes. It was only around the hay shed. But Lyle allowed me to feel of him and he allowed himself to feel of me. I would take up some pressure. As soon as he gave me the smallest yield, I would give him a generous release. Lyle was seeking to know if he could trust me to keep my promise to always give him the release and to never jerk on the rein. Lyle is seeking now instead of fighting, he is willing to give me his feel and he is willing to receive my feel. This is wonderful. Here are three pictures that show what we did.
In one picture I am "framing" Lyle just the way you would frame a green horse on his first ride. In the other pictures I am asking for a turn so that Lyle's attention remains on me. He is giving me some nice beginning yields. I am giving him a generous release as his reward. I am wearing my chaps in case Lyle were to jump out from under me, as he has tried to before. But he never even thought about doing that.
Lyle and I still have a very long way to go. God willing, we will make that journey together.
Kootenai Curly Horses
Bonners Ferry, Idaho
This particular report is the best ride we had before the big hurricane hit. BCF Splash Dancer and Keri headed over to the floodplains for a swim... Splash's first of his life :) Up until this point, we had plenty of rain and the river was high and fast. 4 days later- we learned just how high and fast that river could become with the arrival of Irene. We won't be headed to the river until next year !
We make our way onto the trail which follows along the airport. Splash's first bridge !!
Right along this green airport fence is the perfect cantering lane until we get down into the woods and follow the river.
We enter the actual floodplains -- due to the numerous days of rain we've had up until today, it's a squishy trot.
After a good trot through the plains, we approached the river... and I spotted the eagle soaring. There are eagles nesting along the floodplains --- we have taken the horses up along the ridge where they are supposed to be nesting, ( it's high, steep and scarey by the way along that ridge ) but this is the first time we have actually seen one. Exciting !!
The water fluctuates from deep to shallow, with forks and splits, islands in between, loads of gorgeous scenery.... with the backdrop of the rushing river and bird calls as our soundtrack.
Keri's nostrils flaring out with all her hard work swimming upstream.
We were having -- if there is such a thing -- TOO MUCH FUN !!
We spent a long time walking upstream and down.... played in the deep water off and on.
Alas -- time to head home !
As we trot along the shore of the river on the opposite side, we scare up a pretty merganser family. I love these fellows.. so adorable with their red caps. They are a skittish crew though.
Capturing views as we trot along..
We spotted this misplaced gaggle of what looks to be Toulouse geese just as we came up under the dam tower.
Just a tidbit of trivia... it was the dam and the floodplains that saved our area from being washed away during this past storm.
There is still far too much water and as I mentioned, we won't be getting near this river until sometime next year.
For some reason -- blogger is not being kind to me today. I began this post this morning and finally quit in frustration, only to come back and finish it this evening. Is anyone else experiencing whimsical and nonsensical behaviors on Blogger lately ?
I put together the video I took - it's on you tube here in case you want to see all of our antics.