Saturday, January 31, 2015

Ride with Me or Freeze with Me?

I fully intended to ride today and the recent snowfall was making the nearby snowmobile trail seem like the perfect destination. However, Mother Nature did not agree. Now I love winter, I have a hard time keeping warm so I really layer up, but it is my favourite riding season. Funny thing is, Linus seems to prefer it too. But, in -22C weather, I don't ride! 
So, we did some ground play instead. More work on refining our bow and preparations for the "knee down" we will do next. 

We did ride earlier in the week several times while I tried out some different saddles on Linus. He is a hard horse to fit because of his width. But, his shape is still changing because he's still a young horse. Above is the saddle I have chosen (for now! Haha) it had the nicest fit and feel for us both. He is also modeling the set I got for Christmas from my hubby. Black, barb wire tooled bridle and breastcollar. I was trying to get a black saddle too but fit is more important than colour. Next will be to clean and oil it and put on my new stirrups (also a Christmas gift!) 
I highly doubt we will ride tomorrow....unless it unexpectedly warms up!! but, chores must be done and I'll be out there all bundled up again anyway so i'll probably do some more ground games!! : )
Donna & Linus
Antarctica....i mean Ontario...

Ride With Me

My ride today didn't quite go as planned.  Earlier this week Ms Willow has decided that she is not going to stay inside the fence if I'm with any other horse.  I'm not quite sure what changed.  This video shows her pacing as I'm sitting on Corky.  Previous to this she had played with the gate chain pulling on it, she had grabbed a piece of wire that is used to hook the gate over a pole and pulled.  She had run all over as I had saddled up, checking up on her.  I took about 20 minutes to saddle because of her antics.

So Cork and I rode around the barn and that was it.  :(  I was bummed because it was one of the nicest days we're supposed to have for a while, but sometimes you have to go with the horse or showed up....or in this case the pasture mate that showed up!

Janeen, Willow and Cork in Michigan

It's Freezing!

Happily munching hay 
Well so much for any riding this weekend or next week. We had temperatures of -25 here last night and tonight is supposed to be colder! Horses aren't too happy to be in but it's much too cold to leave them out, oh well.  I  managed to snap a pic of Honey snacking outside yesterday morning and she look so good :) Also got one of her last night with her mouth full of grain looking like a chipmunk!  Hopefully temps here will start to warm up but only time will tell.
Chipmunk :)

xoxo- Honey & Bethany

Another Intro

Thanks Janeen!  You are right, better late than not at all!

I'm Cyndi from (near) Ottawa, Canada.  Stay at home Mom of two young children.  We breed Portuguese Water Dogs and have 2 horses.  One Arab and One Curly.  Both Geldings.
My Curly 'Sunny' is my main squeeze!  He is my main riding horse and equine partner extrodinaire!

I got him 'by accident' from a lovely family that had bought him and his brother thinking they would train them for riding.  The lady ended up pregnant with their third child and then their fourth!  Well, you can imagine that there wasn't a lot of time for horse training.
I found Sunny listed for 'trade' as they wanted a pony for their eldest daughter.  I contacted them and asked if they would just sell him (as I didn't have a pony to trade).  I had NO CLUE what a Curly horse was!  NO idea!  I had looked it up after seeing the ad.  Just went to Wikipedia!  LOL  It sounded intriguing!  The breed sounded like my beloved Water Dogs!  Just like when I first heard about Portuguese Water dogs.. I had no clue what they were! and once I did - I fell in love and haven't looked back since.  I feel the SAME WAY ABOUT CURLIES!
Sunny is not an extreme.  I don't really know what you call his type...  he keeps his curly mane all year and keeps his tail but gets body curls in the winter and goes straight hair in the summer.

my two kids playing in the summer

Below is Donna and Linus!  We live fairly close to each other and have attended the same event for 2 years in row.  Pink Ribbon Ride to support Breast Cancer.  

He's pretty straight in the summer

He loves the water!  And we dug a pond for dogs, horses and kids to play in!

We have taught him to drive...  

I am a Parelli Student.  Graduated Level 3 this past fall.  I have a Parelli Playground where I can play!

In the playground, horses, dogs and kids!  All enjoying time together.

I have done some Ex. Cowboy clinics with him and done very well.  But we are not quite ready for such precision yet.  I haven't really transitioned him to a bit yet.  I will this season so we can have more precision and refined communicaiton.

I ride mostly Western but I can ride english too.  
I am lucky to keep him at home with me so I can enjoy lots of time with him. 
We have started building our Trick repetoire too and he knows several tricks now.  
Bow, Lay down, Pick things up (unmounted and mounted), Spin, and our most recent Rear up.  

Anyhow, that's my intro.  I may not post too much but I will certainly be enjoying reading all of your adventures!!!  
Thanks Denise, for having this great Blog!

Cyndi and Sunny in Eastern Ontario, Canada

Friday, January 30, 2015


Hey there!  Better late than never; right?  I'm Janeen and live in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, not too far from Denise Conroy.  It's all her fault that I have two Curlies!  One is a 11 year old gelding by the name of Corky and my picture on here is of him and I in our first year of running speed.  I always said I wouldn't do barrels, but at the age of 52 years young I decided to get it off my bucket list.  On Corky I can do anything is my motto!  We haven't broke any speed records, but he likes it and we have fun!  Him and I have done a couple of parades as of this last summer and then we trail ride all the time!  I hope to continue all that with Cork this year!

My second Curly is a mare named Willow.  She's approximately 6 years old and came from a rescue.  She's quite the card!  She came to the rescue with 30 other horses, which about 12 were identifiable Curlies.  She was maybe a year, two years old and scored a one for weight.  All were extremely thin.  She evidently wasn't mistreated, just not trained and fed at the time.  We adopted her about 18 months ago.

I took some video of her so you can see how inquisitive she is.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Human error

We all know we do it..human error when it comes to handling horses....none of us are perfect, and even if we were perfect with one particular horse,  another one would come along and challenge our perfection!  Here is a fine example of "not perfect"   Last weekend I had a friend come over to take some photos of Lady and I as we worked in harness and hitched. Alice snapped a few photos while I warmed up Lady in harness.....and...gave me a perfect example of "human error."  I thought it might be interesting for folks to see such a fine example of "wrong" perhaps learn from my mistakes.  In this photo you can see we are working quietly and willingly, hands have dropped down, and my horse's head has aimed for the sky.  This is a classic example of wrong.
Lady looks a bit stressed here,  and why not!  her human is making a big mistake.  We went on to drive and I have a photo of "wrong" regarding fitting of her cart and harness.

This picture shows the result I get when my hands are correct!  a forward, willing walk, with Lady working in the frame she should ;-0  the "wrong" thing about this photo is,  my traces and not in true line of draught (draft) .....instead of following the line of the shaft, the traces go high at the single tree and make an uncomfortable connection from pony to cart.  THIS is why I need, in my next post, I will show the revised version of the pony to cart connection. Proper harnessing is complex. There are many, many adjustments on the harness and learning your ponies "sweet spot/best fit" can be a challenge. It takes a lot of experimenting and alot of learning and thought process. I know my adjustments worked, as I drove the next day I could hear that pony sigh for a mile ;-0 a..yes, my human finally got it right.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Jump Around

Stadium jumping is my least favorite part about eventing.  Most riders will tell you cross country and stadium are at the top of the list and then dressage.  I'm just odd.  I'd rather do two dressage tests and just never do stadium if I could.

I used to think the hardest part about stadium was remembering the course...boy was I wrong.  Last year Theo and I struggled with stadium and we always had two rails down by the end.  Those two rails were generally verticals, simple one jump verticals.  Really?  

So many things were wrong in this photo, but trust me Theo was trying win the Kentucky Derby around this stadium course so my position started to get compromised at the end.  All I want this year is one clear stadium round.  After this weekend I think that can be possible.  Not only did I FINALLY see my distances, I learned to ride through the jump not just up and over it.  Now hopefully I can retain that and not over think it.

The jumps are only going to get bigger so I need to get this stadium down now.  We have another lesson tomorrow but it will be on dressage (Yay).

Dressage to me is fun.  I love learning to control different parts of my body and communicate with my horse.  This weekend we worked on sitting trot and my bum/core is a little sore now but it's all worth it.  Theo takes to dressage really well and tells on me all the time if I'm not truly riding.

Here is a little video of me "getting it".  I was pretty excited at the end.

The great thing about going to clinics in the winter is everybody comments on Theo's hair!  I get everything from "man is he sweaty" to "what kind of horse is that!"  It's a great opportunity to educate horse people about Curly's and to show them what they can do!

With everybody driving I've been inspired to work with Abby again.  I have my cart back from my friends house and just need to find a missing trace and readjust the harness before I hook her up.  Until then I'll be working from the ground refreshing her Whoa and turning commands.  She really is a great driving horse and seems to really enjoy it.

Her tail is disgusting...can't really wash it this time of year though.   Believe it or not it gets white :-)  When I first got her she had itched all her tail off and just had enough covering the tail bone.  With Dermal-Aid and keeping it tied up in the winter it's down to the ground.  I decided not to tie it up this winter and a huge chunk got broken off by her hocks so it's thinner at the bottom then normal.

Can't wait to start driving her again, especially to get the mail!   Now where could that trace be....moving problems....

I'm also helping my friend finish her Curly mare Sam I Am.  She hasn't blogged yet (pretty busy) so I won't go into to much detail but this mare is going to be a rock star!  We have already cantered and she improves so much each time I ride her.  Her gaits are amazing and she is so willing to learn.  Look out for Sam in the show ring!

Lessons tomorrow at our barn with our trainer!  Can't wait to work Jane in the indoor.

Too cold to ride

With This frigid weather it’s too cold to saddle up my youngster, however never to cold for some groundwork between chores, We have always had babies born on the farm and work hands on with each of them however most we minis and sold after weaned. I have raised a few drafts up and waiting for them to be gelded to continue their training and being able to take them out and about as with mares around. As I posted earlier i purchased my first curly in September of this past year and had him broke by a friend and have continued to bond and work with him since. Each day is a rewarding day as each day he’s is learning something new or I’m learning about him. He was checking out the fence ling the other day as the neighbor was walking by on the road so i decide what a opportunity to try and see if he would do some side passes from the ground. With my carrot stick in hand and him looking towards the fence we started it at first he questioned me but with him minutes we were going up and down the fence side passing along the way. We have also been spending a lot of time with the carrot stick desensitizing him to touch and ropes and items around him. Does anyone have any other great training ideas for the carrot stick that they would like to pass along?

Monday, January 26, 2015

Rora Ride!

Today I got to help with my Curly pony Rora's saddle training. My adult friend Emily rode her first (which was Rora's first adult rider) and then I got to ride her. Rora and I have had a special relationship since before I was born, Rora used to "share breath" with my Momma's belly while I was still inside and was quick to welcome me nose to nose soon after my arrival on the outside. I am so excited for Rora and my adventures together, we are a match made in heaven, right down to our matching locks!
I hope everyone else got to enjoy their Curlies today too!!
Happy Riding!!
grooming Rora

Linus' Bow

I like to dabble with some trick training when it's too cold to ride, I'm injured and can't ride or when I don't have enough time to ride!! Sometimes it slips away from me and I forget we were doing it but luckily, Linus has proven to be not only a fast learner, but very good at his lesson retention too!! 
I started with the bow trick about a year or more ago. Then we dropped it for a long time because we were busy with other training. Today, we got back to it!! I was not only impressed by him easily remembering it but we moved on from it being a treat led action to a command led action. So rather than have him follow my hand with a treat while saying bow, I pointed where I wanted his head to go and said bow. The first few weren't perfect but I just pushed his head away if he tried to come to me and he got it!! Such a great feeling when they remember what we teach! Next, we will be working on a one knee bow...hopefully it doesn't take me a year to get to it! 

Following our refresher we took a walk down to the mailbox. We do go for a lot of in-hand walks. It is good exercise for both and I always believe the foundation of your relationship is from the ground! I stopped several times there and back as well as at the road to ask for the bow and he willingly obliged!! 
Love this guy!
Donna and Linus
Lunenburg, ON

Proper fit and a Lippizan?

Today I worked both my mares....Lady worked on the lunge line first, and then I adjusted her harness some and hitched up and drove.  With my latest adjustments I discovered Lady was telling me THIS is the fit that works for me. We drove a while, she was comfortable ....such a great feeling to achieve!  and....
Legacy and I had some fun..I worked Legacy on the lunge line. She was having a "I am going to out think you" day and performed some amazing typical Lippizan (high level dressage) task.....a piaffe, some athletic things that I am sure have no names, and a session of lead changes at the canter on the lunge mare is FUN !!!!  she has athletic ability to spare and always tries so, we worked until she actually listened to me and did what I told was a good day. Tomorrow is farrier work and an afternoon lesson. I should have photos to share after my lesson.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

My 2 new to me Curlys

I am now to this breed as an owner, however  have known about curly horses for many years.   Remy is my first.  2 years of age,  not started yet as she is too young.

                                            Svarta My 2nd
Friday I met Svarta 5 years of age , for the first time.    Cody shot a recurve bow and arrow mounted on her and Svarta at a walk.   She did awesome.  Saturday I rode her for the first time.  Think I was all smiles.  Both came from Cody Killingsworth - Oklahoma                                       *American Warrior Curly Horses*

Saturday, January 24, 2015


Saturday January 24, 2015

Today went really well, all things considered!  I must say that I am surprised by how many people do not understand that when you pass a horse on the road you must SLOW DOWN and MOVE OVER.  Grr.  But today went wonderful and I was able to ride Honey and Cynthia was able to get out on Nita.  3 miles and 2 hours down :) score! Honey looked so good today even with all that slippery ice.

Love the view

Can you tell she was tired when we got back?
"Where's my grain?"

Honey only gets grain when she gets worked so she was very happy today even though she had to work for it :)

Also my Senior Project on the breed is off to an amazing start!  I cannot wait to see how this all comes together and am so happy to be able to share the experience with you all.  Thank you for your help!

XOXO - Honey & Bethany :)

Riding High!

Wow what a beautiful break in the weather we have been enjoying!! The only downside is we have lost so much snow in the milder weather. An early morning calf brought me out before usual on a Saturday but that meant I also had a chance to get out for a ride too once the new Mama and her baby and all the rest were looked after! 
I texted nearby Karalee to make sure the trail was ok to use and in good shape. The local snowmobile trail runs through part of their property and she is kind enough to allow and even encourage us to use it. PERFECT winter footing since they are groomed trails!! 

Linus is ready to go!!

He was such a good boy as we headed up the road. I expected him to be forward and he was, but not too much and not in a way that made me feel he wasn't listening. He was even super good when I stopped to tighten up his cinch with snowmobiles in the distance. 

Look at that beautiful, hoof polishing footing!

This was the scene of our very first canter last year! What a time that was!
We of course got up to a canter and then a gallop today, but then I had to slow Linus down a bit. Reason for this in shown in the next picture:

HAHAHAAA!! We had such a wonderful time on the trails. We didn't even meet a snowmobile. We crossed over the road Karalee lives on and then continued until the trail got kind of mucky at a swampy spot. I wasn't comfortable continuing and we had almost reached the highway anyway so it was a good time to turn around. Linus wasn't too keen on turning around since he likes to keep seeing new things, but I easily convinced him I was right!

We decided to take the roads home and not long after we started up the road, a snowplow came along. He came over the hill so fast that I didn't have time to decide if I should get off or go to the other side of the road or what. I turned Linus to face it so he could see what was coming, in retrospect, I wish I had just turned his head and kept him faced away. He handles big trucks better that way. He did good though and just spun around and did a bit of a jig. Given the speed the truck was going and the fact that he didn't move over, I didn't get on Linus' case about it. He was safe and I remained safe and I am happy with that! 

Then a familiar car came over the hill right after and it was Karalee!! She knew we were out and when she saw the snowplow clipping along (doing what exactly I am not sure)she came along to make sure we were ok. Now that's a true friend and good neighbour!! I have to credit her for the photo below. And she didn't even cut either of our heads off! Way to go Karalee!! HAHAAA

That bright helmet cover sure helps keep me visible to traffic! I ordered my son a blue one but they were on clearance and colour wasn't guaranteed. It was kind of whatever was left they would send. Owen was less than impressed with the peacock blue and sparkly cover that did come in!! Haha, so I swapped my plain black one and turns out it fit his helmet better and this one fit my helmet better so it worked out!

I think I mentioned for the past year that we have been rehabbing Linus' feet. I am loving these beautiful hoofprints! Look so much better than last year! As do his hooves. 
I also noticed that had I done a ride like the one today, last winter Linus would have worked up a sweat. Today he didn't! In the time since the last RAC, we have been working on his conditioning as well as those hooves. The results are definitely showing and I am so pleased. 
When we got back, I was on that high that only comes from having such a wonderful time out with your favourite horse! As I tell my son, I sure am one lucky ducky!

Now we start

After several months of fiddling with cart and harness I have finally found a suitable fit for Lady and her harness and cart. I have to admit, the process put me through a bit of a learning process to achieve this.  When I first put Lady to her cart, the shafts "seemed" to be too long...the shafts kept pushing forward past her shoulder, putting Lady into an uncomfortable and potentially dangerous situation. Shafts too far forward complicate a horse's ability to turn, and risk catching a rein, which can be dangerous if you horse panics. 
Not properly fit shown here, hard to see the shafts, but you can see how loose the breeching is.

To figure things out, I had to go into the learning process. What I learned is, it was not the shafts that were the problem, but rather the footman's loops.  The loops on this cart were set too far back. When I hooked the breeching to the loops, then connected the harness,  there was alot of slack, which, caused the cart to not be stopped by the breeching, but instead move forward and the end result was the cart moving forward past the shoulder...

so...out comes the drill, I flipped the cart over (literally) and reset the footman's loops...and today, was our first drive in a turnout (term for cart, harness and pony together) that fits!  We drove today a bit,  doing some turns and whoas. Whoa is the most important gait a driving horse can have. You really need that gait!

My next step is to get some photos while we work. Photos are an essential learning tool for me. They allow me to see what I can not see from my cart seat....If I set things up right, I should be able to get the hubby to snap a couple photos and I will share of,  all my equipment (well, I am still trying out bits) is fitted and fitted properly...and now we start ;-0

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

A Balmy Afternoon...

Not quite as balmy as the day I took this picture of Linus, but I figured I would share it anyway since I didn't get to take any today!
We've had some roller coaster temperatures here so when I ended up with an hour and a half to spare between chores and school bus time and a sunny day that warmed to about -10C I took full advantage!!
I trialed a low-end treeless model on Linus today. While I will not commit to the saddle, I did love the seat and feel of it. He is a very wide horse and I got a draft saddle last fall but I am finding the skirt too long for him. Since he's also slimming down and muscling up, I'm kind of at a wall with saddle fit. This has been my worst part of the "young horse adventure".
Linus was happy to be out today! He was wonderfully forward but super attentive too. We saw some different critters too. We scared off some wild turkeys - which made him prance like a stud showing off for a mare (oh, big bad Linus. You showed those turkeys!) and then we turned the corner and scared up a pretty, white rabbit!! Well, that was more intriguing than anything for him! So comical!
Further on down the road there is a family who just moved into place that previously wasn't used for much. The new people have set up some fencing and have some goats. Linus was perplexed at this change in scenery and so badly wanted to go meet the goats! What a guy! I convinced him against trespassing and we had a nice finich to our ride after this.
It was SO good to be out!!
Donna & Linus
Lunenburg, ON

Hello from Eastern Ontario Canada

Hi everyone I was finally able to get this blogging log in figured out and able to log in.  I am very excited to have join this group this year as I have heard so much about it from a very good friend and near neighbour Donna Wilson. I purchased my first curly this past fall and was told he is a smooth coated as he has very little curles.  Kruze is a 2.5 year old gelding which I had broke this fall and early winter and was brought back home just in time for Christmas.  Our training is well underway with many our of ground training behind us,  I look forward to reading and hearing from everyone on tips and learning techniques and the progress of each person in the group over the next year. 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

drum roll please!

Last fall, a curly pony filly arrived at my farm for training. *CNC Summer Breeze is owned by Sheryl D'Uva and I took Summer in, to see if I have the skills to train a pony to drive.  Summer had the basics of training,  halter, lead, load and tie..the rest was up to me. In a slow and methodical method, I have worked this filly towards my goal of seeing her hitched and driving.  Summer has been in a paddock, since it is so muddy. Today was a bit drier and I turned her out on pasture for a bit of exercise while I spent some time cleaning my tack room. That is multitasking!  Let Summer stretch her legs and air things out, while I cleaned up the tack room and then we would go to work.

I got distracted, I must admit. My intent to clean my tack room went sideways when I put a halter and lead rope from the tack room, into the spares box on my horse trailer.....I opened the spares box (fitted on the trailer frame between the body of the trailer and the tongue) and found a mess....nothing was organized, and it all needed cleaned and, my tack room job became my trailer job instead ;-0  Everything came out,  2 halters and leads, 1 halter and lunge line, one spare rope, a horse cooler, and a human towel, all went back in....besides the tire iron and a few tools. Job complete`!

After I finished the horse trailer task, I got Summer out of the pasture and we went to work. I harnessed Summer and ground drove her a bit. When I was confident I have "walk, over, and whoa" I took on the task of hitching her for the first time!  My first hitching I do not buckle the breeching. There is much to do in the way of fitting and fussing over things the first time. Do NOT hold these photos as the final was just a "get to know you" kind of a day for the cart and Summer. As you can see in one photo, the trace on the off side has slipped off the end and is on the ground...we corrected that before moving forward again.  Summer did awesome!!! 

So, Summer has been hitched, it is pretty much like your first day in the saddle on a riding much work to do, and so enjoyable to do it!  Tomorrow I will spend resetting the footman's loops, and making some more adjustments...happy pony means happy driving!