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 23, 2012

It's been awhile since I've posted...

 On Shaggy at the FAMDR

Wow, it's been 2 weeks since I blogged!  With the nice weather, I'm outside more.  Conditioning 2 horses on longer miles plus spending time with 3-5 other horses takes up my day, along with paperwork and trying to post clearanced tack store inventory on facebook, which I haven't done much of that the last few weeks either!  I'll blame the weather!

 Views at Turkey Creek

This month has been a busy horsey month.  The first weekend, I went to Turkey Creek, Newcastle, NE to help judge a ACTHA ride.  A friend car and trailer pooled with me.  We both took our gaited horses and we were able to ride Friday evening after settling in, and Sat and Sun afternoons after judging.  We put on about 23 miles.

Covered pavilion at Turkey Creek

The next weekend was the NECTRA clinic, which I'll post what I remember doing.  Now, memory has to kick in! NECTRA is the Nebraska Competitive Trail Ride Associaiton, a division of NATRC,North American Trail Ride Conference.
Distance Derby Riders at the FAMDR

Last weekend started on Friday with the FAMDR, the Friday After Mother's Day Ride, which Tammy,, organizes.  I think there were over 100 riders, mostly women.  A few guys ride along as safety riders, but I think they come to enjoy the ride also.  We rode a 14 mile roundtrip stretch on a great trail from Valparaiso to Loma, NE.

This past Saturday a training horse went home.  I showed the owner what the horse was acting like walking around the barns, standing tied, being in the arena by himself.  She had brought her other horse, so we went to Branched Oak Lake, which is about 25 minutes from me, to ride the trails.  The training horse rode great.  He is a 9 year old part Arab, part Paint, and it is just his personality to be a little high strung when he is by himself.  The owner had ponied him as a youngster and worked him a lot, but he just remained goosey at things.  I hope the consistent month has made him calmer for her!

We had some rain Sat evening and night, but even though it dried up on Sun afternoon, hubby and I relaxed some.  We cleaned up some paperwork in the office, froze some of the strawberries that we had picked, and went to a gun show.  Well, he went in to the gun show while I did some internet work.

Lately, I've been posting more on my Messick Quarter Horse Facebook page, about the lessons and events I'm doing.  I'll have to get back to posting more updates here!  I have a Centered Riding clinic here in another week and excited about that.  My level 3 instructor is coming and I have 10 riders!

I've been spending a lot of time riding and enjoying the 2 new Arabs, Allie and Bonita.  Bonita has the sweetest lope.  Allie is starting to pick up speed at the trot and I think she is going to have a ground eating extended trot!

The review of the NECTRA Open Clinic was:

Open Obstacles at CTR Clinic
Clinician Cheri Jeffcoat, Past Open Rider


First, we came into the arena without horses to have a question and answer session.  Cheri gave her advice on what she would do at obstacles, preparing for obstacles, nutrition, etc.

Then we came into the arena with only halters and lead ropes on the horses.  Cheri wanted us to rub the horses all over to get them to relax.  A lot of what she said to do during this clinic will transfer to when you ride them.  The 10-15 minutes that we took to rub our horses set us up to have a more relaxing training time with them.

We walked with the horse, stopping, and we waited until the horse stopped.  We worked on leading and stopping from both sides.

We were to back the horse, without turning around.  Stop, walk backwards and have horse back.  We worked on both sides.

We were to walk the horse 1 step at a time.  This sets the horse up to take just 1 step when it is needed on the trail.

We walked over logs, stopping with front feet over 1 log, counting to 5, walk on. We were to lift the horses head and front end by lifting up on the lead rope. This will help the horse to lift his/her feet and not hit the logs.

We worked on having the horse do forehand turns by moving hip both directions, working from both sides.  We did the same with having the horse do pivots, working both sides to move the shoulder.  And we worked on having the horse side pass, working both sides.


Now, my memory has to kick in, but I think we did a mixture of walking and stopping, walking 1 step at a time, and stopping and waiting.

We walked and trotted over logs, lifting the horse’s head up as we go over the legs, to help the horse to lift his/her feet. We walked over the first 1 or 2 logs, then stopped and waited over the 3rd log. 

While trotting over logs, we were to be in a 2-point seat position as if we were going uphill.  Our lower legs were to be solid on the horse.  We were to hold with our thigh so our lower legs wouldn’t move.

I can’t remember if we practiced the pivots, forehand turns and sidepass while mounted. 

We did drag a line that was attached to about a dozen plastic jugs.  My horse wanted to see what others were dragging, but he didn’t like to drag it, as he went sideways.

We worked on straddling a log by the length of the log, which the horses wanted to step over it. 

We worked on opening and closing the gate, by asking the horse to back through it.

Everything we do on the ground with the horse transfers to when we ride!
What a great clinic!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

A Quiet Evening with my Arabs

Tonight was one of those nights that I just wanted some quiet time with a horse.  Tonight, I had that quiet time with 2 horses.

Earlier, I rode a training horse and Duke.  I finished chores, then I went to spend time with Allie and Bonita. 

It's amazing how what you thought would happen, doesn't.  And then more amazing is when something better happens.

I've saddled, lunged and rode Allie a few more times than Bonita, just because she is a little bigger, and I thought was a little bullier, so any extra time I had went to her.  Today was no different, as I started with her.

I'm trying to get this "natural" horsemanship feeling brought into my training program.  "Feel" is what I've always tried to teach.  Now, because of Centered Riding and a few other things that I'm trying to learn, I take the time to really watch the reaction, and wait on the reaction, of my horses.
The first time I cinched up Allie, and I always cinch up slowly, she turned her head to nip.  Hmmm. Day 1 home.  We need to learn more about each other. Let's take the time to desensitize you more.  Next time, I'll spend more time rubbing her, like Lyle did when he showed her to me. 

Today, she was fine.  She just stood there as I saddled her.  I moved her hindquarters both directions, and every time I moved, she turned to face me, moving and crossing over with her hindquarters.  I took her off the leadline, and asked her to move around with the saddle on.  All she wanted to do was to turn and come back to me.  Ears forward, watching me, walking with me.  I think my stubborn filly has bonded with me.  A pleasant surprise.  And I'm liking her even more.

I brought her by the platform to mount, and she stands quietly.  I ask her to walk off.  I've decided to talk to her as I ride her, asking her what she needs me to do, telling her what we are doing, and asking her what she will teach me.  I forget about talking as much as we trot off, both directions, sitting and posting the trot, and riding in 2 point, which I will do a lot during competitions.  We only ride for a mile, but that was long enough.  I dismount, and I ask her to follow me over the platform.  She hesitates slightly but slowly extends one foot, then the other, and then walks towards me, where I stand on the other side.  Ears perked, coming willingly.  I turn her to walk over the platform from the other direction.  She hesitates slightly, then walks to me.  What a wonderful feeling.

I leave Allie in the arena when I open the gate to bring Bonita in.  Bonita was the quiet one, so light to ride.  She seems a little grumpy tonight (and I hesitaite to put human emotions to a horse, because it's not the same.  But something is a little different with her).  I rub her a little, but didn't ask her to move her hindquarters before I saddle.  She just doesn't seem as quiet as I saddle, and I make sure to ask her to move her hindquarters after I saddle.  Still not quite right, I took her off the line and ask her to move away as I free lunge her. 

She went off willingly, and wanted to crow hop a little as she went in to a little canter.  As I sent her away from me, Allie went with her.  Bonita loped off but Allie came back to me.  At one point, Allie came trotting up faster than I think she needed to, and as I put up a hand, she stopped right in front of me, actually in front of my raised hand, and I rubbed her forhead.  What a good girl.  She wants to be with me!  That is a good feeling!

Bonita, on the other hand, has decided to stay away.  Stopping by not turning towards me.  So I keep sending her away, until she turns to me.  It was funny to send her away, or turn away from her, and Allie is right behind me, so I rub her between her eyes, and turn back to Bonita.

Bonita has decided to turn towards me, and I walk to her, rub her between the eyes, and walk away.  She follows.  I attach the lead and ask her to move her hindquarters both directions.  She does.  Time to ride.

She is light and responsive, and moving out.  I had to tell her we were done, as she would keep trotting and going.

I also ask her to come over the platform.  She hesitates a little also, but comes.

I told Tom that I think this is different from Quarter Horses. If the QH didn't want to do this, they would pull back and argue, and you would need to spend time teaching them and showing them that this is ok.  These 2 arab mares hesitated, I relaxed but held the rein with a give and take, and they walked right over.

I'm enjoying these 2 girls.  They are going to teach me my next stage of horsemanship.  That is one of finesse.  They along with Shaggy, and Savannah, and Duke, and Duster, and Honey, and Dove and Fawn.  And I'll fine tune everything with Starlet, who I know so well.

I guess that means all horses will teach you something, no matter what their age is and no matter where you are at in your journey.

"Embrace the Journey!"

Monday, May 7, 2012

Love this type of evening....

Riding done.  Chores done.  Time to sit outside with a cup of coffee.

And while I was on the lounge chair, drinking my coffee, I heard the doves, which I love.  The cooler temps were refreshing, almost a little chilly.

I looked around, seeing all the new flowers that are blooming.

 The rose bush that was ablaze with blooms.

Hostas are loving the wet weather.

The perennials are loving this weather!

So many different shades of green.


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