Training the Mind of the Horse and Rider

Training the Mind of the Horse and Rider
Click on Logo (Original artwork by Lanie Frick for Messick Quarter Horses. Not permitted to be copied)

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

AAHS Clinic in Georgia

I have not been doing a very good job getting some posts down about the AAHS Clinic here in Georgia this week! First, I couldn't get a very good reception with my phone and blogger was way slow to post pics. Then, I got the facility wifi code and had it wrong. Third time is a charm, and not I'm on WIFI! A longer post and pics will come tonight!!!

First, what a beautiful and fabulous facility! It is absolutely gorgeous here! I love the trees and wooded setting. We have a short walk through the trees to the barn. The open air arena is in a perfect setting. You see woods, green pastures, horses on the hillside, a long aisle through an airy stall area. Just perfect.

I arrived Saturday, visited the barn and saw the horses. Gretchen, 2 friends and I went on a trail ride. Our friend, Terri arrived later that night.

Sunday, after lunch, I had a group lesson, teaching Centered Riding exercises to some of the volunteers and a few area people. Later, Gretchen, Terri and I went on another trail ride in the evening.

Monday, Terri and I rode some of the camp horses. Terri worked on some ground manners with the horses that needed some times. We watched Gretchen ride Rainbow in her Dressage lesson. Gretchen is a very quiet rider, and rides Rainbow with a comfortable ease. They have bonded together and are becoming a wonderful pair! Later, Terri had a clinic for some of the volunteers, teaching them some correct procedures of working around the horses.

Yesterday, the AAHS clinic started. Gretchen said that Brenda H is a wonderful instructor, and she is! We started the day with all that fun legal stuff. Liability, laws, risks, negligence. I can now recite the definition of negligence, thank you, Gretchen and Brenda! (It seems strange to type my own name!) After lunch, we went to the barn to ride and be tested on our riding skills. And have I said how great the meals are here?

Today, I don't feel as rested as yesterday. I shouldn't have stayed up until 11:30. More classroom this morning, starting with a quiz??? I feel like I am in school again. But I know that definition, so it better be on the quiz! Then he head to the barn each afternoon to learn and practice exercises in the Secure Seat program!

We are having fun! Hopefully tonight I'll get pics on!

Come along on the journey! It is fantastic this week!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Gretchen and Calvin Center

My friend, Gretchen, manages the horse program at the Calvin Center in Hampton, GA. I am there for the AAHA (American Association of Horsemanship Safety) clinic this week. I will try to post more pics this week, but internet connection to my blog is very slow!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Georgia or Bust

I’m packed. I’ve done wash. I have the house organized. I have the honey-do list ready. I’ve gone over chores. I’m tired. I need a vacation.

I leave tomorrow morning at 5 for 9 days in Georgia! I’ll do a group lesson and teach some Centered Riding lessons on Sunday. On Monday, I’ll watch my friend, Terri, work with some of the camp horses.

Tuesday through Saturday is the AAHS clinic. The American Association of Horsemanship Safety clinic. Every teacher can always find a better way to teach. Every teacher can learn.

I’m planning on learning new ways to teach the same safety procedures that I already have in practice. I’m planning on learning new safety measures. I’m planning on learning how to teach a secure seat with AAHS exercises.

Ok, off to bed. I need to get up at 5 am.

Another way to be on my journey. Come along!

“Embrace the Journey!”

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Chat Group Leg Position

This week’s Horses Are Our Lives chat group is talking about some Centered Riding leg exercises. We are talking about stretching out our legs and hips and keeping our legs relaxed.

I encourage everyone to keep relaxing those leg joints. Practice leg exercises. First, start at the ankles and move your ankles in tiny circles, and up and down. Then stretch the knee joints, swinging your leg at the knee. Trying "marching" while sitting
still and while walking. Then move the hip joint by swinging the leg back and forth without bending the knee. Try these exercises and stretches and let me know how your leg and joints feel.

Here's another exercise to try. As you are walking your horse, lift one arm
slowly up and over your head. Then lower it and lift the other arm up and over
your head. While you are doing this, feel the movement of your horse. This
goes along with the "following seat". How does your horse feel? We will talk more about this next week.

I find that when I teach a lesson, I'm doing the exercises, whether I'm on the ground or on a horse, with the lesson person.. I am so glad that I stretched as I rode this week, as I could feel the stretch in my inner thighs. Chick is a finer built horse, but I think an English saddle still fits you closer to the horse. What surprises me, since I sit wider on Chick in a Western saddle, was that I felt a little tightness in my thighs riding English?
I was probably holding with my thighs without realizing it and my thighs make and feel contact in the English saddle when I don't actually hold as much in a Western saddle.

The horse's movement had us ride a certain way. We were taught to "pump" our legs as we posted the trot. Post up, sit and hold with our legs, rise and take our legs off the horse
slightly so that when we sit again, we bring our legs back onto the horse, which is the pump. This is interesting to think about the horse's ribcage moving, which we all know that the horse breathes and need to move his ribcage, but now putting all the pieces together to show the why!

In Centered Riding, we find our "bubbling spring" in our foot. That is an area right behind the ball of our foot. When we ride with our foot on this spot, we are more stable in our seat and in the saddle. What is interesting is that when we ride on our Bubbling spring", our legs stay in position better. At least mine do, as I had trouble with keeping my legs back in the past. I definitely am riding in a better position since last summer! Or at least I think so!

I think it's interesting that our legs and joints feel differently when we ride different saddles. I would have thought, as I get conditioned again to riding for the season, and with stretching, that we should feel/our legs should feel the same. Maybe it is the saddle and how the saddle "sits" us on the horse. I know my western and endurance feel the same. I thought the English sat me in the same place, or I put my seat bones in the same place, but my legs told me differently. I'm starting to think its where the saddle puts our hip joints!

"Embrace the Journey"
Brenda

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Riding in the Mud

Today, I lunged the training horse through the mud and water again. He did beautifully. No hesitation or side-stepping. He walked right into and out of the water and muddy edges.

He was much more relaxed and not as willing to run off. My horses were in the adjourning grass area in the tree line. After walking through the muddy areas, I mounted and rode him to the water. Ears perked, he walked straight in. I rode to the muddy section near the road. Even though it is drying up, it is still a little slippery. He walked through it without hesitation.

I walked him into the adjourning lot. There was standing water at the bottom of the lot. We walked up to it, circled it once, and walked straight through.

The training horse was riding so well that I decided to ride him out behind the barn. The field hadn’t been planted yet. I rode him past the dog kennel, empty of dogs, and into the field. The soybeans hadn’t been planted yet. I took him straight south and away from the barn. He rode beautifully. I saw an area around a drain pipe in the field that was field with water, and had muddy edges. Once again, without hesitation, he rode in and through the water. At the next drain pipe, the water area was huge. I rode straight into and through the length of the water. The training horse was having too much fun, and he acted like he wanted to stay in the water!

I rode back towards the barn, turned and headed back to the field. We fox trotted out, and walked back. The horse did well today. I can’t wait to see how he loads! That is our next biggest obstacle!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Is Your Horse Afraid of Water or Mud?

What do you do when you are outside riding, and there is a small amount of water to cross, or even a small stream? What about just mud? Why does your horse refuse to cross?

Actually, I think crossing mud is harder. Horses start to sink as they walk into the edge of a muddy hole as compared to walking across the hard footing of streams.

Today, I worked with a training horse who does not like the sinking feeling of mud. I took advantage of all the rain that we have had. My one horse lot has a couple of low spots where the water is laying. I moved some horses around and put some horses out on the grass to graze. The training horse was put into the big lot to become accustomed to the lot and the terrain. He ran around for awhile, as he could see the horses on the other side of the fence, grazing, but he couldn’t get to them.

Putting the training horse on a lunge line, I lead him to one of the wet areas. Water had made a large water hole in one area of the lot. I sent him out on the lunge line, asking him to get closer to the wet area. Actually, there was only a moment of hesitation and side stepping away from the water, but the next time he came around on the lunge circle, he went right through the water! The area was a little mucky, but he didn’t act as if he was scared. He didn’t act like he wanted to jump or refuse. This is going better than I expected.

He did get excited, though and tried to lope past me and into the lot. I put the chain over his nose for further control. The next time he circle around me, and tried to keep loping past me to get to another area, I pulled him sharply towards me. He didn’t try to run past me after those 2 attempts.

I turned him on the lunge line, to circle him from the other direction into the water. He tried to evade the wet mud and go around the water. The next lunge circle he went through the water. We circled the wet area from both directions and went through the water 3 or 4 times each direction.

I moved over to an area in the lot that is more mud than water. The training horse seemed scared to move into deep mud, and had sidestepped an area in the area that had a lot of wet sand. He seemed light on the front end, and I wanted to make sure that he wasn’t going to be scared or try to bolt. He went through these muddy areas well, with no hesitation. I circled him on the lunge line from both directions. He was listening well and stopping when I asked him to.

Tomorrow, I’ll saddle him and lunge him through the wet areas. If he is good, then I’ll ride him in the muddy areas and go into the tree area. I want to be riding him around the trees and through the brushy areas.

I hope I don’t get muddy tomorrow!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Training Tips: Ground Manners

On my chat group, Horses Are Our Lives, last week we discussed Training Tips on Ground Manners. Below is some of the discussion.

Let's talk about ground manners. We should have lots of ideas to what we do with the horses. There are many, so just pick one to talk about each day. Today - how about the beginning. I would like to start with bonding with the horse. I love to free lunge to get the horse to bond with me. This not only teaches the horse to bond, but also shows the horse that I am the leader. Horses want to have a leader. They want a horse to alert them to danger, to take them to water, to let them know what it is ok to rest. I want the horse to look at me to be his/her leader and to trust me. With free lunging, ground manners start as it teaches the horse respect. To have good ground manners, you need the horse's respect.
What do you do to bond with your horse?

Discussion followed, with my answers:

Yes, I think we all should do things a little different with each horse, as they are individuals also.

Terri, as I respond to your email, I am just going to answer as if I'm talking to the group, not to you specifically. I'm just going to talk about some of your thoughts! Thanks for your insight!

Some horses can take more pressure, some can't. And pressure comes in many forms. As you work with your horse, watch that you don't give your horse too much pressure. Watch for when your horse becomes uncomfortable as you are doing anything, and if you see that discomfort, back down to something easier.

I like that - loving energy in my hands. I also rub a horse at certain times during training. I can't say at a specific time, just at a specific "feel". I sense when the horse relaxes/is comfortable/wants a buddy, and that is when I rub between the eyes.

I'm sorry you were off today. Something was different today for you. Yes, it is important to center yourself, and that is one lesson that I have really learned this last year. I have found a calmness, but it hasn't stayed with me every day. Remember, as women, we do have hormones to deal with, and when I'm feeling off, I take a step back to find out what is going on inside my body. Maybe we need to do the same things with the horses, when they are a little off??? Something to think about.

Definitely listen to your gut. Even when conditions aren't perfect, we can ride, but stay safe. Sometimes, I forget that I can get ahead with slow work just as I can condition a horse with fast work.

You had a bonding ride with that filly. That was neat. Building trust is important. I'm sure the next ride is going to be even better. Once your own the road where everything is going right, it just keeps spiraling upwards. That's because we know when not to pressure the horse, but keep it easy for the horse to succeed!

Next topic - leading! I don't like a horse that steps almost on top of me when something spooks it! I want the horse to lead with his head a little in front of me, so that we are eye to eye. I want him over a foot or so. I think this is one of the hardest things to teach.

I have seen trainers who want that horse behind them and they want the horse to stop when the trainer stops. I can teach that, as each time you stop, you turn and make the horse back up. But most of the time I see this in practice, the horse is being intimidated and frightened that if they don't do what is being asked, then will be swatted with the lead rope. And I want to see the horse that I'm leading and not give it a chance to jump over me if something scares it from behind.

A lot of time when you first start leading a horse, the horse is leaning towards you. I do a lot of turns away from me, to the right, so that I am walking around the horse as I'm reversing the horse. This teaches the horse to move the shoulder away from me.

I also start to lead with my arm out to the side, keeping the horse a foot away from me. As the horse leads at that distance, my arm becomes more relaxed and I have some slack in the lead rope.

Then practice walking with that horse! Keeping the horse from jumping on top of the person leading it is a huge ground manners lesson.

Some additional thoughts after some discussion on the chat group: the eye and shoulder are in the same line so the horses head is at or a little forward of this line. For the height of the head, I like my horses to lead with their head also at the shoulder area - not too high or too low. I guess I never thought of exactly where - just an area.

Everyone should consider their bubble and where they want the horse to be and
not be. In Centered Riding, we ride in a bubble also.

Right now, I'm teaching some young horses to lead. What a chore! I just give
and take with the lead rope, to get them to follow the forward pressure on the
lead rope. Sometimes, I can tap behind me with the end of the lead rope to touch
the horse on the side, and that is incentive to get the horse to move forward.
Shaggy does not like that at all. With him, I think it is just going to take
time to get him to move out and walk beside me without hesitating.

How many of us have our horse's face in our face, or their mouth on our arm, or pushing us with their head? Is your horse mouthy?

I don't want my horse to do any of these. We showed showmanship and that horse needs to stand quiet all the time. We start in the stall, tie up the horse (always high, at least at eye level, but I am always tying higher than that). As we groom, and the horse reaches around to touch us with his/her mouth, we gently push the head back to face front. As the horse keeps reaching around, then the elbow is ready to lift and hit the horse, gently at first, under the jaw. The elbow hit becomes stronger until the horse learns to not turn his head. Remember to work equal lengths of time on each side of the horse. You may want to start grooming on the side of the horse that seems harder for the horse to stand still, go to the other side, and return to the first side.

I don't feed treats from my hand, and I don't have trouble with horses being mouthy and looking for treats.

If I'm leading a horse, and he/she turns towards me, I'll use my elbow to bump the horse's jaw or side of head to keep it away from me.

Don't bump too hard with the elbow - you don't want a sore elbow! That horse's head is hard!

What do you do to teach your horse to not be mouthy?

I’ve enjoyed the discussion this week. Come join us at:
http://sports.groups.yahoo.com/group/horsesareourlives/

Brenda
“Embrace the Journey!”

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Centered Riding Group Lesson

Saturday, May 15, 2010

I had an AWESOME Centered Riding Group Lesson today! The 3 hour group lesson had 8 wonderful riders and horses! The horses were well matched, and the riders were enthusiastic!

We began with a 45 minute session, off horses, on explaining the 4 basics, plus the 2 additional principles. I explained Soft Eyes, Breathing, Centering and Building Blocks, as well as Grounding and Clear Intent. We worked on some exercises that explain each of these principles. We paired up with a partner to practice some of the exercises on the ground.

To show the difference between Soft Eyes and Hard Eyes, I had one partner walk around the other person, first with hard eyes to show how far they can see with their peripheral vision, then with soft eyes. With soft eyes, the peripheral vision has an increase field of vision.

I talked about the diaphragm being the largest muscle in the body. As we breathe in, the lungs fill with air, pushing the diaphragm down. If we place our hand over our abdomen, we should fell it move outward as we breathe in.

I talked about the pelvic bone and how the pelvic area is like a vessel. Our center is slightly below the top of the vessel. I demonstrated with a helmet over a garbage can - I had to use the aids that I had. The center is always moving, rolling as fast or as slow as you need the horse to move.

Our body is stacked like building blocks. The blocks need to be aligned in a straight line, with a relaxed back. We did some balance exercises, demonstrating what would happen if our bodies tipped forward or backward, if our 10-15 # head tipped forward or back, or if our neck was not in that alignment.

Clear Intent is basically riding with a purpose and showing the horse that purpose. Many time, when we just go to where we are looking, that is enough clear intent for the horse to follow our aids.

Grounding is always a fun exercise. Grounding our feet continued once we are on the horse. We found our “bubbling spring”, that area on the bottom of our foot, right behind the ball of our foot, which is the wide part of our foot. When we tap on that area, we feel anything from a slight thud to a tingling sensation. We need to ride on our bubbling spring and stay grounded.

We took a short break then got on our horses and rode. I went through each of these areas and after each one was explained, the riders practiced. We started with grounding our feet and hip releases. The riders all thought that after their feet were grounded, their legs felt longer. With hip releases, some of the riders were able to get their legs underneath them. Others will need to stretch out their hip joints and work on continuing to open up their hip area to allow their leg to come back underneath them. We worked on a few exercises to relax the ankle, knee and hip joints.

The riders rode the area and focused on soft eyes and deep breathing. I had them be aware of how much more they could see, and to breathe when they started to focus on one area too long.

We worked on finding our “Neutral Pelvis” with 2 different exercises. Once we found the correct position, the riders went back out to the rail to work on trotting and the 2 point position. I had the riders remember to feel grounded, as well as working on soft eyes and breathing. Then we added in the exercise “Dancing Knees”. As the riders rode in 2 point, they were to relax each leg joint and feel the movement in each joint. Relax and "allow" the movement in their ankles, knees and hips.

Centering is about riding from your center and moving the horse from your center. As we became aware of where we should sit, we walked the horse, feeling the movement of the horse. This is the “Following Seat”. As the riders asked their horses to increase the walk through spinning the ball within their center, the horses extended the length of stride at the walk. As the horse’s stride improved, so do the ability of the rider to move with the horse’s movement.

By the end of the lesson I was beaming. The horses were more and more relaxed as the day went on. The riders were more relaxed and were able to allow their bodies to move and change.

I had such a good day. I had riders who were there to become better riders. I had horses who were happy and content. And I learned from my riders as well. They showed me how their bodies responded. They should me where they had difficulty and where I can help them. They gave me excellent feedback, as well as helpful suggestions to their own specific problems or areas that they want to change.

Centered Riding is a journey. The riders who rode today have begun this journey. That makes me so happy that I was there to help them!

“Embrace the Journey!”

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Centered Riding Topic: Centering

We discussed this on my chat group, Horses Are Our Lives. You are inviting to come chat with us!

Centered Riding is about being centered. No biggie there. How do we center ourselves when we ride?

First, we find our "Neutral Pelvis". As you sit on the edge of a chair, rock your hips forward and backward. Keep rocking forward and backward, but a little less each time you rock, until you are not rocking forward or backward anymore. That is your neutral pelvis and that is where you should sit when you ride. You will be sitting on the correct part of your pelvic bones. When you are sitting in the saddle, try this exercise. Another way to find the neutral pelvis when you are on a horse, is to lift a leg to the pommel and lower it. Lift the other leg and lower it. You should be at the same point on your pelvis as when you were rocking. If you have a holder for your horse, try lifting both legs, one at a time, until they are both on the pommel, then lower them.

Also, remember to keep your back relaxed. and breathe. We will talk about the other areas of Centered Riding soon: breathing, soft eyes, building blocks, grounding, centering, and clear intent.

More on centering next week. Let's practice with finding the correct position to ride. Your body may not be used to this, so ride this way a little bit, then go back to what is comfortable. Whatever you do, remember to have fun!

Also...how do we remain centered in our life? Think about centering yourself before doing a task, if you are feeling stressed, before you go to catch and halter yourself. Practice centering yourself throughout the day this week.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Centered Riding Topic: Dancing Knees

On the Horses Are Our Lives Chat Group, I talked about Dancing Knees.

I love this Centered Riding exercise. As you are trotting, go up into 2 point position. You will be 2 pointing with relaxed knees, allowing the knees to move with the movement of the trotting. As you are relaxing the knees and going with the movement, you will soon realize that your ankles and your hips are more relaxed. You will be able to ride longer periods of time without any joint pain or tiredness or achy knees.
Let me know how it works for you and have fun with this exercise!

At first, you can have a lot of movement. I had asked this very same question! "ALLOW" your body to move with the horse. When you get comfortable with the exercise, your body starts to do the movement in the knees without effort from you making the body move. This may take months. The key is to allow the body to move, then slowly don't help the body to move. I left my body move all last summer, for 3 months, then slowly started moving less. I am going to an update clinic in June, and I will let everyone know if my movement is too much at this point, a year later.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Chat Group TrainingTip: 2 Point Position

I started a chat group, Horses Are Our Lives, to talk about Centered Riding and Training Tips. I would like to talk about what we are doing with our horses and what we hope to do. And we’ll talk about our rides, our achievements and our troubles.

If you would like to join the chat group, Horses Are Our Lives, go here:

http://sports.groups.yahoo.com/group/horsesareourlives/

and ask to join. If you don’t get an invite, than email me at horsesareourlives@yahoo.com

Last week we talked about the 2 point position as a Training Tip discussion. We also talked about the Centered Riding topic of Dancing Knees, which I will share tomorrow.

Normal body alignment while riding at the walk, is sitting with a straight back, with a straight line from the back of the ear, through the shoulders, in line with the hip and heel. A straight line from ear-shoulders-hip-heel. You maintain this line while posting. (Remember that I have been taught the QH English Equitation on the flat for shows, and I'm sure that you jumpers out there will have more suggestions to help achieve a balanced 2 point. I welcome all suggestions!)

In 2 point position, the body lifts out of the saddle slightly, and you lean slightly forward, keeping your back straight. You raise your hands slightly up the horse's neck to help maintain balance. You keep your feet on the "bubbling spring" of the foot, which is slightly behind the ball of the foot. I will talk about how to find this spot this week. The alignment in the body is a straight line from shoulders-knee-toe. Ear-shoulder - knee-toe.

Once again, as you raise up into 2 point, raise your hands slightly forward and up, to maintain balance. If this is difficult, hold the gullet at the front of the pommel with one hand and a shorten rein with the other hand. When things get out of control, sit down gently, pick up both reins, get control of your body and your horse, and start over.
Let me know if this helps, and where you are having trouble. Keeping the body relaxes is easier said than done, sometimes, but the dancing knees will help that.

Have fun practicing!

After some discussion on the chat group, here were some additional thoughts.

I tend to have too long of irons when I ride, but I think shorter irons help moving up in to 2 point. With your legs out of the irons, your irons should hit at the back of your ankle joint, maybe slightly higher. With western stirrups, you just lift your toe and that is the length of stirrup.

If you feel too short, try 1 hole longer, and remember that when we post or go in to 2 point, we do not need to come out of the saddle a lot, just enough so that there is a little air under us. The alignment should stay the same. You may have to go back to practicing with leather lengths if you wonder if your leathers are too short. I also goggled "English riding 2 point position", and try doing that also and reading a few descriptions on position and leg length.

Jumping position is 3 point (I said that wrong on the chat group and Sara corrected me). I will look through the books again, and see what I can find on position, and get back to you about where they talk about it in the book. The trouble I had when I goggled position is that they go in to jumper mode, and the rider is up and over the horse's neck, getting ready for the jump. Yes, the jumper has a shorter leg, and jumping is not my expertise at all, lol.

I'm probably using 2 point to a lesser degree than the jumpers. We won't lean up and over the horse's neck, as Jumpers stay parallel to the neck as they go over the jump. We will not be that far forward, unless you are going over jumps!

Another discussion that popped up last week was about the feel of different bridles with the same or different bits attached. My thoughts:

I get the same feel with any type of bridle, but I do have different feels with different bit (It doesn't matter if that bit is on a different type of bridle).

THIS IS MY OPINION: I have only heard a few old trainers say this: I have always believed that a snaffle bit isn't always a kind bit. Both my daughter Sara, who is on this chat also, and myself have seen the effect of taking a snaffle out of a horse's mouth and put a light curb in the horse's mouth, and the head tossing is gone! I know some horses have too sensitive mouth for a snaffle, as the snaffle "bites" the tongue. The curb gives relief to the tongue. The snaffle may hit the roof of the mouth at a point, where the curb may hit in in a gentle arch or not at all, depending on how high the curb is. Yes, checking the teeth is always a first thing to do. I would change to a mild low port curb. There are snaffle bits that are curbs, the kimberwicks, and I would try on of those on the English headstall.

Let me know if a different bit helps!

On the Horses Are Our Lives chat group, there was more discussion on the feel and use of Snaffle bits, Kimberwicks, and Curb bits with loose and solid shanks!

I hope you can come and discuss some ideas with us!

Hope to see you on the trail, and on a journey with your horse.

“Embrace the journey!”

Brenda

Monday, May 10, 2010

Happy Mother’s Day

Sunday, May 9, 2010

This was to be posted yesterday! Sorry! Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers out there. And to the horsey mothers! None of my mares are having babies this year, but I plan on breeding 2 mares for next year. And to the Doggie mothers. Especially Beagles.

Hubby and I went away for a few days. But we shouldn’t have gone. Our son’s beagle was suppose to have pups earlier in the week, and she waited until the day we left. Our beagles usually have a lot of puppies, and a few larger ones, and always seem to have trouble. My son, Micah, came up to stay at the house and be with her all day. In the afternoon, she was straining, so off to the vet at about 3 pm. They pulled a puppy that didn’t make it and gave her a shot of oxytocin. He came home and she had another puppy that didn’t make it. Micah was to give her another shot of oxytocin later that evening, which he did. After another hour, she started straining, but no pups.

So now, on the phone on a Saturday night, at 8 pm looking for a vet who would do a C-section. The one that finally answered a message, said he wasn’t on call and it wasn’t his night. His suggestion to Micah was to keep trying to call the clinic and the partner. That vet wouldn’t even help to get hold of his partner. I understand that these vets probably get calls all the time, especially on the weekends, but I would have thought he could have found out who was on call at the clinic and where he was. Maybe the other vet was in an emergency already, but it would have been nice to find that out! I think how this vet handled the situation stinks!

Luckily, about this time, our friend, Traci, came to help Micah. She knew of a vet about 45 minutes away. And that vet was willing to open up the clinic. Now, it’s 10 pm, and Micah is driving Daisy to the vet. (Sounds like the movie, Driving Miss Daisy!)

On the way, Daisy had a pup that is healthy. With the C-section, we made the decision to spay also, as this would be Daisy’s last litter. She delivered 5 more healthy pups! That would have been 8 pups! Beagles are to only have 4-6 pups. Our litters are usually this large. We are glad to have 6 healthy pups!

Micah got home about 1, stayed awake to make sure all pups were nursing. The anesthesia keeps them a little sluggish for awhile. He had to pamper one puppy, who wanted to nurse, but the more active puppies were pushing it away from the teats. Luckily, Daisy’s milk came in before the surgery, and we didn’t have to wait for her milk to let down.

Later yesterday, Micah took Daisy and the pups back out to the barn. He had a little area lined with hay bales and a soft straw bed for Daisy and the pups. All is fine!

Can’t wait to get home tomorrow to see them. I’ll post pics later tomorrow night!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

The FBMDR Trail Ride

May 7, 2010

Friday was a large trail ride, the FBMDR, the Friday Before Mothers Day Ride, that my friend Tammy has organized at the Oak Creek Trail in Valparaiso. This ride was the 10th anniversary for the ride. Tammy has a detailed description of the ride on her blog, Horsetrailriders.com .

Did any one tell the weatherman that this is May? We are not suppose to have to dress for winter. The day started with 45 degrees and 25-35 mile per hour winds. The day ended at 53 degrees, and throughout the day, the wind gusted to 45 mph. Brrr

I thought about wearing winter breeches, but it couldn’t be that cold! I did look for my windproof pants that I could have put on over my jeans, and couldn’t find them in the trailer! I always feel like I forget something from home, when I don’t have the trailer fully pack with everything! I did have my good rain coat in the trailer, and a fleece jacket that had a headband and gloves in the pockets. I did have plenty of gloves in the trailer though!

I wore layers! Long sleeve t-shirt, hooded sweatshirt, light windproof jacket, fleece lined jacket, and the rain coat! Geez, you would have thought it was winter! And I was not too warm except for the few times that the sun peaked between the clouds. But then you felt the wind, and you hunkered back down into those layers of clothes!

I didn’t take a horse to the ride. My friend, another Tammy, brought a mare for me to try out. She sounded like she would make a great lesson horse. Chick was a little ansy on the trails, but by the end of the ride, we bonded really well. I felt like she was a mix of our pole bending mare, Misty, that we had sold and our little reining/working cow horse, Chick. This Chick was very responsive, a little touchy on the sides, and alert and watching. Tammy says she settles right down when she gets into the arena though. I plan of trail riding her this summer, and be a replacement lesson mare next summer, as I plan on breeding Startlet this month.

Hope to see you on the trails soon!
Come along on the ride with me!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Chiropracter

May 5, 2010

The vet chiropractor came out on Wednesday. He watched the training horse walk and could tell by the gait that he was not moving freely.

The vet started at the poll and slowly checked his head and neck to see if it was out of alignment. He said all horses are not symmetrical and it is difficult to have them in exact alignment. Feeling the horse’s neck, he could feel a stiffness in the neck muscles, even though the neck wasn’t out of alignment. He thought that the horse didn’t bend easily. Actually the horse is a wiggle worm when I ride, and I have to hold him straight, so I really haven’t had to bend him much. I’m wondering if holding him straight - something he isn’t used to - tired his neck muscles and made them sore or stiff. Holding him straight is not what he is used to do, and by doing so, he had to work his neck muscles, that he doesn’t normally use, to keep his neck straight.

The vet felt back along the spine the horse had no reaction. I told the vet that the horse wants to kick out when he goes in to the lope. The vet felt around both hips and the horse instantly pinned his ears. That was an instant change in his personality. The vet said that the pelvic bone has 2 parts that move independently but at the same time. When the hip is out, one part doesn’t move as the other part moves, causing discomfort and pain. The horse would have a hard time using his hind end to lope.

The vet applied pressure to the area around the hip bone, making sure to only apply hard, steady pressure, without and jerky motions. He held the steady hard pressure for about 3-5 minutes on each side. Doing so, he felt the pelvic bones slowly change position. He didn’t want to try for any longer length of time, as doing so could actually cause the horse more discomfort. He doesn’t want the horse to be sore, which would take longer for the horse to stay sound.

After the adjustment, the horse licked and chewed, and seemed content. He walked fine, and I put him in to a stall, and would put him back outside. The vet said to only give him a light workout the next few days. He said not to do a lot of lope departures while I free lunged him, as working the muscles and hips too much could cause them to be sore again. Also, there is memory in the joints and muscles, and he wants the hip joints to stay where they are and not to try to go back to where they had been.

The training horse was lightly worked in the outside arena on Thursday. I wanted him to get used to being outside around logs and cones, with horses in the lot beside the arena. Next week, I will ride him out there, as I need to get him to work and ride well when other horses are near. I did ask him to lope off once in each direction, and he did so easily, without kicking out.

I’m glad that I saw something in his gait when I free lunged him. I knew he shouldn’t be kicking out with ever lope departure, especially after being lunged for a week with a saddle on. I’m hoping to start loping him when I ride him, if he continues to free lunge without kicking out.

Shaggy had sharp points on his teeth and had his teeth floated. I gave him Thursday off. I had blood pulled to do a Coggins test on him, since we need a Coggins report on health certificates to take horses out of state. I plan on taking him to Colorado with me in June when I do the Centered Riding update clinic.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

It's Wednesday already

Training has continued into the 2nd week. Today is Wednesday. Where has the beginning of the week gone?

Monday started a little rough with the training horse. He didn't want to be in training mode. He had 2 days off and he seemed like he wanted a 3rd day off. But we had to get back to work. A little bit more free lunging, and a little bit more lunging with the saddle on, and he was ready to go to work. He wanted to throw his head more and refuse to listen, which confirmed my thoughts that he had a problem somewhere, especially in his hips.

The vet was scheduled on Monday for a Wed time. More on that tomorrow.

Tuesday, the training horse rode better, but I could tell that I was not moving ahead. I was at a spot where something needed to happen. I was glad that the vet was coming on Wed afternoon, as I knew something wasn't quite right. He was still kicking out, especially when he went to the left.

Shaggy was shaking his head more. He was evading the bit by lowering his head. I knew he wanted to listen, but his mouth hurt. More on that in the morning.

I don't know why this is Wednesday already. My parents left on Sunday, and I went to an auction Sunday and sold 4 youth saddles. I'm not sure what happened to Monday - jet lag, worked the training horse, chores, storm with loud booming, lesson got cancelled! Wouldn't you know it, it was beautiful weather after 5:30/6! I needed a free evening.

Tuesday, cell phone went through an update, and my internet wouldn't work on my laptop. So... spent almost 2 hours at Verizon telephone store, as I wouldn't get a new phone and leave. I wanted to make sure my computer email would work. And it does! Now I am wireless, AND my hubby can get on his computer too. We are in a dial up area and it stinks. I NEED to be on internet through my phone service! This is important if you rely on internet for your business, and I do. I really need to upgrade my website!

I went on a PRR trail ride tonight, and it is late. I'll email tomorrow about what the vet said.

Good night...

"TRAINING THE MIND OF THE HORSE AND RIDER"

Messick Quarter Horses

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