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)

Friday, September 30, 2011

Boss Mare Cap is on Again

Today, I went to catch Honey, a 3 year old filly, that I raised, but sold as a yearling. She was a very friendly weanling and yearling. I sold her to one of my older lesson kids, as a Christmas present from her parents. She was a cooperative 2 year old, as she was handled a lot by her new owner. This year, she is a “I want it my way” type of horse. Granted, on her part, she wasn’t handled as much this summer.

Honey is a buddy to one of the dominant geldings, who he thinks is #2 in the lot. That is only because he should be about #5, and then Honey would be lower on the list, a lot lower!

Science class here… A is boss over B and C and D, but A is not in the lot now, as she is one of the broodmares this year. So is B still boss over C and D? It should be, but nooo. D is now boss. Isn’t that strange? Especially since D and C are geldings, and B is a mare. When that alpha mare is in the lot, B and C are at a higher status.

Anyways, I’m not sure any of this matters to Honey, except Honey just went high on the pecking order. Just because she is now buddies to D.

As babies and yearlings, both Honey and Duster, the other 3 year old, always pushes into the feed bin besides their mothers. They always get to the grain. They always get their way. They naturally are dominant.

Until, they are weaned. Then they realize that they are on the bottom again, with many horses above them. So what do the smart ones do? They buddy up to an independent horse! Honey still wants her way. Duster accepts that he should be an easy going gelding.

Some do realize that they don‘t rule the herd, but some don’t. Duster didn’t, and he is a pleasant gelding. Honey did, and she is getting ornery. She NEEDS that boss mare in that lot with her.

So, that would be Starlet. But she is a momma. And she won’t be in the herd for another month. So now that is me!

And what does that herd mare, in the wild, do when a youngster is disobedient? She chases him out of the herd! Out of the protection! Away from momma!

Today, I went out to catch Honey, and I expected her to stand still. Today, she is determined to walk away, with an attitude. That is because I caught everyone and wormed them a few days ago. Usually not a big deal, but that time, Honey didn’t think so. I guess she determined that she didn’t like be wormed that day. And she held a grudge against me.

That meant, today as I walked towards her, she walked away. I took the time to pet every horse in the lot as I moved towards her, and she still walked away. I acted like I didn’t want to catch her, and she walked away. I turned my back to her, and she walked away. I caught 3 other horses, and took them out of the lot, and when I went to get her, she still walked away.

So, now it’s time to catch her. I followed her until she stopped. Each time she would walk away, I kept walking after her. Finally, she stopped and faced me. And I walked up and haltered her. No big deal.

But I did what that boss mare would do. I kept her away from the herd. She loped away from me and tried to come back to the herd. I cut her off. She loped towards her friend. I kept her away. Finally, she realized that I was her only friend, and I walked to her. I would have rather her walk to me. But that is the next lesson.

The point is, the boss mare needs to be around now and then. The boss mare hat needs to be put on more often.

Actually, the boss mare needs to go into the lot with the youngsters, and those who forgot their place in life. And that will happen within the month! Oh, glory days!

Then my life should be easier. When they see the boss mare hat on, they should know what that means!


Thursday, September 29, 2011


AJ, we will miss you.  Micah will miss you very much. So will Tom.

Daisy and Ace will miss you.

Thank you for all the puppies you gave us to share with so many loving families.


If it should be that I grow weak
And pain should keep me from my sleep,
Then you must do what must be done,
For this last battle cannot be won.

You will be sad, I understand.
Don't let your grief then stay your hand.
For this day, more than all the rest,
Your love for me must stand the test.

We've had so many happy years.
What is to come can hold no fears.
You'd not want me to suffer so;
The time has come -- please let me go.

Take me where my need they'll tend,
And please stay with me till the end.
Hold me firm and speak to me,
Until my eyes no longer see.

I know in time that you will see
The kindness that you did for me.
Although my tail its last has waved,
From pain and suffering I've been saved.

Please do not grieve -- it must be you
Who had this painful thing to do.
We've been so close, we two, these years;
Don't let your heart hold back its tears.

--- Anonymous ---


We held you. We petted you.  We were there to offer you any comfort that you needed.

I hope and pray that you knew we were there. I hope you know we didn't want to do what must be done.

I know, that you know, how much you were loved. You were Micah's first puppy and he will miss you very much.

I hope we brought you comfort during those last hours.

Saying goodbye is always so hard. I cried when you were gone. But we found a nice place that will be your forever home.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Desensitizing Horses

I've desensitized my horses to pigs! And it actually wasn't that hard to do. They were more curious than scared, except the old show horse! LOL  Now, my 4 month old foals are used to their snorting and running to get their feed when we feed them.

The other day, one of the 6 pigs got into the lot were my stud was. I thought, oh no, that pig is going to get beat on. But you know what happened... nothing! 

I found that pig under some hay, and Duke was standing on the other side of the pen. I fed Duke his grain, Tom opened up the gate, and I "tried" to herd that pig out the gate. That pig went everywhere but where I wanted to send him. At one point, while the pig and I was running around, that pig clipped me, like my Aussie used to do when she was young, and I fell. I almost went pig riding, because as I lost my balance, I was almost on top of that pig!

Then the pig finally went towards the open gate. But as he got closer to Duke while he was eating his grain. I thought, this isn't good, as sometimes Duke kicks out while he is eating. But Duke didn't care if that pig and I were running around the pen, and he sure didn't care when that pig ran under his belly, twice! First he went one way, then that darn pig turned around and came back under Duke's belly. I think I have a trail challenge horse!

These pigs should be getting fat enough, really soon, where they can't get under pen panels, or through them! I sure don't want them eating horse tails!

Other areas that I'm thinking of desensitizing my horses to, this month:

I just bought a really cheap, plastic shower curtain. I want to attach it to a long 2 x 2, and cut it into strips, then hang it somewhere for the horses to walk through. I figured I'll use feed as an incentive, so they know not to be scared. I will also lay a tarp down, and put their feed on the tarp. My horses are always looking for how they can eat more!

So, what are some of the "different" things that you have desensitized your horse to? And how will you do this?

I chat and discuss a lot of these topics on my chat, Horses Are Our Lives chat group. Click here to get an invite. I look forward to your input!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Fall Days

A few weeks ago, I felt like fall was coming. Everything was still green though. The weather was still hot and humid most days. T-shirt and tank top weather. No shorts, as the little knats and bugs were still biting.

I remember that day. I was mowing grass and you could smell a dryness of grass in the air, not the usual fresh cut grass smell. As I walked through the yard, you could hear the crunch of dry leaves.

Even though it was green everywhere, grass, trees, corn and soybeans, something was different. Then I realized what it was, as I thought to myself that evening, “when did it start getting dark at 8:30?” Days were getting shorter. That is what I sensed.

I think the last humid, slightly hot weekend was Labor Day weekend, over Sept 3-5. We had 90 here, but it wasn’t too humid. I know the Kansas CTR, that I didn’t go to, had 102 on Saturday! A cool front came through from the north, dropping the temps by 20 degrees the next day. What a relief!

Most of the days have been just plain gorgeous the last 3 weeks. We had rain one day last weekend, but I was at a CTR, and we just got misted on.  But riding with friends was awesome!

Coming home last Sunday, I did have rain most of the afternoon though. But most of the days have been in the 70’s, a few nearing 80 and a few staying in the mid 60’s. I’ll take those lower temps, if it means sun!

Then I got busy with “stuff” and didn’t get around to blogging about that. But today’s Sunday Stills challenge is about the “First Signs of Fall”. And I remembered that 2 weeks ago, I felt those changes. Now we are seeing the changes. Crops are brown and harvest has started.

Trees are just starting to change, leaves turning yellow. 2 hours south of here, where I rode at Indian Caves near Shubert, NE yesterday, the change is even more distinct with less green and more color in the trees.

It’s dark before 8 now. We lose a minute of daylight each day. The mornings are cooler. We’ve not been near frost here, even though other parts of the state have been. I think my coolest morning was 39 or 41. Most mornings have been near 50. Today was only 44. The days are getting shorter and cooler.

Have I said how beautiful our weather has been since then? LOL. Lots of sun without the heat makes for beautiful days to be outside. These are the days that I appreciate working for myself. I can set my own schedule. I can take advantage the sunny afternoons to work my horses. We need these type of days before the days keep getting shorter, and colder.

A few days ago was the first day of fall. I love the fall the best. Days are beautiful. Air is crisp. Trees are changing colors. (Our trees in the back yard are just starting to get yellow).  The sun still warms the back, even though it is lower in the sky. Days seem brighter without the heat and humidity of the hot summer sun.

I grew up in the Appalachian mountain range of western PA, and the fall is just gorgeous there. I love the forest, the colors of the leaves in the fall, the white blanket of snow on the pine branches, the Mountain Laurel blooming in late spring, and the coolness and dampness you feel when you are under that canopy of leaves in the summer heat.

I know how the wild animals feel in the fall. Squirrels busy hustling, finding and storing nuts. Deer bedding down in deeper grass during the cooler nights. Animals busy during the day, preparing for winter.

The past 3 weeks, I’ve long at those “lists” we made before summer. What needs done before winter? Yet, finding the time to ride a few horses and to start working 2 young horses. That only gives hubby and I half a day to finish maintenance projects and start and finish new projects over the next 1 ½ - 2 months. That seems like a long time, but each day goes faster and faster. Some days, it seems like only chores get done. We stop and clean this area, we stop and put this away, and before we know it, the day is shot.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m glad I have the extra time this year to take care of these tiny projects, well some are not so tiny, and to get re-organized around here. We do need to stop and catch up, and I feel that is what this summer was for us. Those other areas on our “to do” list would be nice to get done, but it isn’t necessary. But if you don’t take care of the little things when they are little, 10 years later, they turn into big projects.

So I feel like those squirrels. Hustling around, doing this and doing that, preparing for winter. The warm, sunny fall days make me want to do these things. I enjoy being busy in this weather. I enjoy working outside in this weather. And it’s a great feeling to see things get accomplished, no matter how small of a job that it was.

But we've taken the time to play with the grandchildren.

playing and cooing with baby Tyler

Caden helping Pop go fix things

Grandma riding with Makenzie and Sara

Makenzie petting her Pody

and cousins Makenie and Caden help Ema and Pop to feed the pigs!

One new thing that we did this spring/summer was to clean a tree area that was too brushy to ever put horses in. A few times over the last 15 years, we thought of fencing it out to put a steer or 2 in to knock the brush down. Well, weather and time and bugs took care of that for us. We had 2 rows of pines in there, but the pine disease killed them. Early this spring, we cut and burned the dead branches. We picked up and burned some fallen branches and brush. We had ½ the fence line strung with wire, and we finished stringing the wire, making another turn out area. Without the trees in there, more grass grew.

Over the summer, the horses spent some time in there, eating the grass and knocking down the brush. I wanted to turn it into a small area to ride and practice some trail maneuvers, eventually using that area to teach my riding students some of the same maneuvers. Hubby and I just walked the area the other day, and it is ready to ride in.

Seeing the results of our hard labor is paying off. Believe me, all those hours of cutting, picking up and burning brush was long and tedious and a strain on the hamstrings. Lol

The other reason I love fall time is that at the end of the day, it’s nice to sit outside with a cup of coffee or tea and enjoy that time of relaxation. What a perfect way to end a perfect day.

Monday, September 19, 2011

I need to Blog

Where has the time gone? I feel like I've been gone forever.  Without blogging.  And talking.  And thinking.  I need to blog.

My foals aren't newborns, they are almost 4 months old.

I'm just starting the CTRs this year.

I feel like I'm just starting to ride longer, and condition for these CTRs.

I feel like all I have done is maintenance work around here, but then my bathroom is done, and outside looks pretty good.

I feel like I've done a lot of traveling, but I have seen Makenzie a lot, and visited with Sara and Jake. And cousins M and Caden together to play and swim and go to County Fair to see Pop.

I feel like I'm ready for summer to start and it's already fall.

The one thing that I'm glad about is that the humidity is gone! Both the heat and humidity is gone!  And that is a good thing.

I've started Yoga lessons and I hope with all the stretching, I'm able to ride for longer hours without feeling it.  My legs are feeling it tonight.

Life is slowing down because the days are getting shorter. I just talked with hubby about the days getting darker sooner, and by the end of next month, we'll be getting dark by 7!

Well, I need to work on the horses and let you know what I'm up to with them.  We have pigs, and how the horses have reacted to them.  I can't wait until Harvest, and then I can ride the fields, not just the waterways.

I'm ready for fall cleanup, the cooler days, the south sun setting lower in the sky, giving us sunny but cooler afternoons.

I hope to start catching up with all of you. Let me know what you have been doing this summer, and what will fall bring!

Sunday, September 11, 2011


Sept 11, 2001 - Sept. 11, 2011.

God bless all the mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, daughters, sons, firemen, and policemen who lost their lives.

10 years.

America remembers.

8:46 a.m., the first plane hit the World Trade Center.

9:03 a.m., the second plane hit the World Trade Center.

9:37 a.m., when the Pentagon was struck.

9:59 a.m., collapse of the south tower at the World Trade Center.

10:03 a.m., the crash in Shanksville.

10:28 a.m., collapse of the north tower at the World Trade Center.

 In Shanksville, Pa., United Flight #93 crashed, 40 crew members and passengers died, after passengers fought back against the highjackers.

At the World Trade Center in lower Manhattan, 2753 people were killed when two passenger jets struck the twin towers.

At the Pentagon, 184 passengers and people inside the Defense Department's headquarters died when American Airlines Flight 77 slammed into the building.

President Obama and former President George Bush had special words and thoughts today, as well as many other people.

Former Mayor Rudy Giuliani reads "A Time for Everything" from Ecclesiastes.

I listened to the songs by James Taylor's "You Can Close Your Eyes", Paul Simon's "The Song of Silence".  A Beyonce song was heard as the news station was showing clips of the Sept 11 scenes. The lyrics brought tears to my eyes.

America. We remember. God Bless.

To Every Thing There is a Season
Ecclesiastes 3. 1-8
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

It's about Time

It's about time to blog again. I just haven't had the motivation, or time, or topics to blog about. Well, about horses anyways. I could have kept blogging about the grandkids. But I should throw in things about horses every now and then.

I think we all are complaining about how hot and humid this summer was. Oh my goodness, just a week ago, last Wed, Thur and Friday was in the mid 90's, and humid plus!!!  Then all of a sudden, the weekend turned to a pleasant high70's - 80's.  We have had a perfect week, same temps, NO humidity, lovely afternoon and evening hours.

Just about perfect, except I ended up with a head cold. Little bit of a thick throat, then sniffles, now nothing, until night time! Then it's a head cold again. I hope the wine that I'm drinking helps. Otherwise, I've sworm that Baileys does wonders when you have the flu.  And if I have too many more of these evenings, I'm opening up that bottle that I bought last winter, and forgot about, and just found about a month ago!

(oops, hit send instead of save. Oh well.)

What I have done is finally got the momentum back. I'm ready to ride, compete in a few CTR's, and maybe go to another Centered Riding Clinic. I've decided to have a few more dressage lessons this fall.

I love riding Shaggy now, my horse I'll ride in Centered Riding Clinics, and Dressage lessons.  And I think I'll start desensitizing him to all thoses things that you need to do at trail challenges.

I say now, because I've always liked Shaggy, from the time he was a baby to a yearling, to a 2 year old. He was never an ugly yearling, like so many yearlings are.  But love. Sometimes Love is learned.

I love his quiet ways. I love his gentleness. I love how he wants to be a friend to all horses. Boy, can't we all learn from him?  Why can't everyone see the good in people like he does?

wow, this topic wasn't going to take this turn, but I guess my thoughts are on Shaggy tonight. I need to do right by him. I need to ride him as well as he rides for me.  I need to give him that chance to be an incredible horse.

And he already is.

His loping is incredible. Maybe next year when I read in my next CR instructor's update, they will see the improvement in how he carries himself.  He does carry himself well and it's up to me to show him all that he can be.

Hang in there with me, Shaggy. Sometimes, I feel like it's just you and me against the world. If we need to ride and strive for perfection to prove ourselves, then we will!!!

Friday, September 2, 2011

9/11 Limited Budweiser Commercial

A friend posted this on Facebook. A great remembrance of Sept 11. 

9/11 Limited Budweiser Commercial

I'll think of more to say on 9/11. My heart is heavy thinking of this.

But ...  let's see if this youtube video can hit 1 million (if it hasn't already, I'm not exactly sure about this.)

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Where did August go?

It seems like it has been forever since I've blogged on a regular basis. I've tried to keep topics going on my chat, Horses Are Our Lives (click on the name if you would like to get an invite to comment on the topics or just to follow along). I just didn't take the time to blog. So now, I'm playing catch up.
August came, with slightly cooler temps, and now the month is almost over. I have no idea where it went! I've done some riding, but not enough! That changes this week!

The first week of August, we went to get Makenzie from CO and she was here a week. That first week was also our County Fair. The weather was cool enough to take Makenzie to the fair each day and meet up with cousin Caden one day. Caden came home with us a day, and had spent the night earlier in the week. Hubby and I did just fine with 2 2 1/2 year olds!

We took Makenzie home the followingSunday.  I got to ride along beside Sara on her horses and Makenie on her Pody. I had a 4 day Centered Riding clinic in Steamboat Springs, CO.  I love camping in my horse trailer. Shaggy rode very well at the clinic. I came home with a lot more CR exercises to share with my lesson people.

We spent the weekend at Sara's and headed home. Now it's mid-August, and I've only ridden 1 horse 5 times so far.  I know I have to prepare for the fall CTR's, but still didn't ride Savannah this 3rd week of August. I'm not sure what I did. Traveled Monday, existed on Tuesday at home, and Wed through Friday is a blur.

Last week was busy. Tuesday was a hot day and Jacob, Amber, Caden and Tyler came to swim and bar-b-que.  Then I got the trailer hooked up and was ready to go to Turkey Creek for the CTR clinic. I left on Thur, 25th, and stayed over the weekend.

This past Monday, I took the day off and visited with an old friend. Caden came to spend the day, and while he was napping, I had lunch with Lisa and we sat outside on the lounge chairs. I should do that more often. But Monday was cooler with no humidity. This first day of Sept is very hot and very humid.

Caden spent the night and we took him home after lunch the next day. We came home and I laid out the tile for the bathroom floor. Wed and today, we spent tiling the bathroom. I have one more day of tiling the shower. I hope the grouting and cleaning go fast, because I'm ready for this renovation project to be over.

Today is Sept 1st! Where did August go?
(Pics to Follow soon)


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