Yesterday was really windy and cold, so I gave the boys the day off. Thunder acted like he was not feeling very good anyway. He was just kind of dragging around and was not acting like himself. His owner came by yesterday and spent the time with him working on his shoulder that seemed to be a little stiff. We will see how he is this morning and decided what we are going to do.
Donna, owner of Leo, is coming by with another horse she has for a little help with some things she would like to see him doing, so we will spend time with that and the Casino will get saddled and worked and who knows ,may even see if we can get in the saddle...
Had a good day yesterday with riding students and outside horses.
Got Leo saddled for the first time, for me that is, and he did just fine. He was very flinchie about the saddle pad and saddle, but once we had it on he was fine. Even though he was nervous he stood still and did not offer to move while being saddled and gave no indication that he wanted to buck.
Casino did great too. He stood still and accepted the saddle and did not offer to buck. Great progress for this little guy.
Thunder continues to find his place in the herd of two. Am riding him regularly and continuing to work on getting more and more control of him. He has become pretty willing over the past week or so.
Had Carlton’s son and wife out to the barn yesterday. They wanted a chance to ride and so they did a little of that in the arena. I also gave them a chance to work with a horse in the round pen. Most folks are just like them, have no real clue how to get along with horses or how the horse sees things.. They had a blast and learned something in the process..
A few things I hope to get done with the ponies this week. Want to get Leo saddled and I hope rode this week. Will depend on if he starts to settle down with his ground work. His owner will be here Tuesday. Not sure we can get him rode by then but will get him saddled today.
Casino, I will continue to saddle him and do his ground work. Hope to get him rode this week as well. I was told that he may have trouble with the bit. Putting the bit in his mouth, so we will address that this week now that we know something about it.
Thunder, I will continue to ride him in the arena, developing more control as well as keeping his ground work up. He is side passing down the rail on the ground so will work on getting him to understand the cues for that to happen from the saddle.
All in all I’m very happy with the way things are going with the horses here in training. I’m going to take Tim the gray, my horse, over to the other barn so as to have a horse that I can ride with my students. It’s been a while sense I have had a chance to ride any of my horses. Am thinking about selling one or two of my horses. With the price of hay and now that things are coming around for the training and clinic side of my business there’s no reason to just let them stand around. Someone could get a lot of good out of them, so will see about that in the next couple of weeks.
Donna and Leo
Both Thunder and Leo’s parents came to see them yesterday and get a little more education themselves. Cindi is doing a really good job in understanding what Thunder is going to need when he goes back home in a few week. She spent the morning riding Thunder in the round pen, where she continues to work on gaining control of his feet and his mind. The challenge that she will have it keeping him thinking about what she wants, and not letting him get himself all worked up over something he sees or thinks he sees. I will continue to work on that same control as we go on short rides around the ranch in the days to come.
Leo’s mom, Donna, got the chance to work with her boy doing more ground work exercises and side passing her horse down the rail. We also added jumping over barrels to teach him that he does not have to launch over everything in his path. This will help him to be a safer trail horse when he goes home..
Casino continues to make good progress. His mom told me that he may have a little trouble bitting. We have not gotten to that part of his program yet but that is always good information to have so you can approach a problem like that with kindness, so we will see how that goes in the next day or so..
Hope you all had a chance to see the video in yesterdays post. If not please take a min. to check it out and please let me know what you think.
Just received an email that a good buddy of mine passed away this morning. Carlton and I spent many a day playing golf together. He taught me a lot about the game and he too loved to be around the horses. I'm going to miss him...
Casino's big boy cloths!
Casino, you will remember is here cause he tried to buck off his owner. Why he did it or why he does it, who knows. The important thing is that he is taught that bucking is not acceptable behavior. That’s what we worked on the day before and yesterday, when I saddled him up and asked him to lunge around me he did not buck. That is a great sign that he understood the lesson. I will keep an eye out for any indication that he is thinking about bucking and if so we will repeat the lesson. Now we can focus on the rest of his fundamentals ….
Leo still is a little nervous. Well, he is still REALLY nervous but he is trying to understand what is asked of him. Yesterday I asked him to side pass down the rail and at first he freaked out, trying to get away, but as soon as he figured out what I was asking he settled down and did the exercise like he had been doing it for years. He’s got a ways to go but it looks promising.
Thunder. Long day!
Thunder had a good day under saddle yesterday. I notice that when you up the speed, from a walk to a trot, he would try to exert is own ideas about where he should go. That usually happens when a horse does not have much of a foundation. So we trotted for, a long time, until he settled down and started to focus on what I wanted. He did so well that I thought I would take him outside for a short ride. I took him up behind the barn away from his herd mates to see what would happen. He was a little nervous of things out side, a tire, a drinker, a green tree. But every time he took his attention off of what we were doing I gave him something else to think about, going around bushes, lots of them, in tight turns. I got him up where he could not see the barn or his buddies. One of the problems he has had is not wanting to leave the barn. He had no problem and when we got to the top of the hill, he was happy to just stand there. Good progress…
I wanted to share a video that a sweet woman Jill did of the work that Kathy and I are doing training horses and training people.
I hope that you will take a few minutes to view the video and let me know what you think. This is the first time that anyone has shown enough interest in what we do to take the time, so please take a look and let me know what you think. Good or bad.
Coffee? Yes PLEASE!
When do I stop?
I get asked this question a lot, and to tell you the truth it’s the hardest one for me too. When you are training for a living you get to thinking that you have to get so much done is so much time. And that’s true. There are things that the owners expect you to get accomplished. But to tell you the truth sometimes I let that get in the way of what is best for the learning of the horse.
I was working with Leo the horse yesterday. He is a very reactive horse. He is getting much better for sure, but he has a long way to go before I will get on his back. Anyway, we were doing some ground work. He was doing it pretty good, so I thought it would be a good time to add another piece of the program. We did. He was pretty scared about it the first few times, but the gentler I got at it the easier he did the exercise and before I knew it, way before I expected him to get it, he was doing it like he had done it for years. I thought how cool is that and got to thinking what the next thing I could add to his program, when I tapped my self on the shoulder and said, “This would sure be a good place to stop”. And I was right. I could have gone longer or added more but it was a perfect time to stop. So we did. I tied Leo to the rail and told him what a good boy he had been and let him alone.
It’s not easy to walk away from progress like that, but I think it is the best thing for the horse. It won’t take long for him to figure out that if he will relax and try, his day will be over soon and he will be able to just relax the rest of the day with out me always asking him for something. It’s hard to do, at times, but it’s well worth it… try it and see for yourself.
Casino had his first really big day at the office yesterday. We did some ground work and I thought it was a good time to put a saddle on him. When I got the saddle cinched and asked him to go in a circle, I’m not on his back yet, he came in to. He bucked around the round pen for awhile and then finally settled down. We did a little more ground work and then I let him stand the rest of the day.
Worked with Thunder in a new bit yesterday and he did fine. He likes to play with the bit a lot. Don’t see anything in his mouth that is causing him discomfort so don’t think there is a problem there, just think he is a busy horse.
All in all a very good and safe day…
Donna at summer clinic!
Yesterday was a good day at the barn. I had two riding lessons in the morning. One with Stan. As Stan was riding in the arena some folks drove by, who have seen Stan ride from the beginning of his lessons, and commented that he was really doing good, and he is.. Then Deb. She has not been riding very long but she is starting to get the hang of it and seems to be enjoying her time spent with the horses.
In the afternoon Thunders mom came by to see him and to work on some of her horsemanship skills. I showed Cindi some exercises that I wanted her to work on with Thunder under saddle. These seem like very simple exercises but if Thunder is going to have success with Cindi when they get home, Cindi will have to be able to control Thunder when he gets excited. Thunder is a lot of horse. I think more horse then most folks think. Anyway, Cindi and Thunder worked at these skills for the hour that I would have spent with Thunder. Cindi spent more time with Thunder in the round pen doing ground work. They are both making really good progress.
Leo’s mom stopped by too and work with him in the round pen doing round pen work and then some ground work at the end of a lead. They are both doing really well too, so I added a little more to his program so that Donna could see what that looks like and so that she could see how reactive he is. They did great.
Just as Cindi was getting ready to leave and we were all talking she made the comment. “Just look at them, (talking about their horses) they are so calm and relaxed. I just can’t believe it.” It is amazing the transformation that horses will make when they have a program, a job, and they understand what their role is in the herd of two. They seem to give to their new position in the herd and relax into the relationship that we are trying to create with them…
So a good day and good students, 4 legged and 2 legged.
You often here this comment when working with horses or dogs or kids or your husband. Be consistent! I’m not sure how important that is with husbands but with the others it’s pretty darn important. When we remember that horses don’t talk and communicate like we humans do, they communicate with body language, that becomes a challenge for us humans. See we get the idea of using the same phrase when training a dog, for example: If I want to call my dog I use the command “come”. Now I know that if I keep changing the word I use for this command that it won’t be long before my dog will give me the paw and never come to me. So I know it’s important, especially when in their learning and training phase to use the same word for the command. We get that as humans because that’s how we communicate too, with words. Horses on the other hand don’t. They use body language. What happens for us as humans, because we don’t us body language as the primary way we communicate, we tend to use all kinds of body movements to try and get the point across to our horse. What I see people do first it try and talk the horse into it with words, which don’t work. Then they try to make the horse do what they want using force, they think this is body language.
I use the number three when I am schooling a horse, don’t matter if it’s on the ground or in the saddle, by the way riding the horse is really all about body language. I do that so I make sure I am using the same body language or moves to get the horse to do what I want every time. So if I want my horse to go in a circle in the round pen or on the end of a lead rope. I will point with my hand, kiss or cluck to my horse, and the third thing is I will spank the ground with the end of my stick and string or the end of the lead rope. I try to do it that way every time. Before long my horse will move in the circle because I point. I won’t have to cluck or spank to get him to do it and he will do it every time because he understands what I want cause I don’t change it.
So you too will need to be consistent when it comes to communicating with your horse. You don’t have to do it the way I do it. My way is just a way, it’s a good way and it has served many people well over the years, but you must have a way a program and process if your going to be successful with your horses.
Woke up this morning to snow. It don’t do that much around here and I sure wish it would stop it. I know, I know we need the moisture, but it sure gets in the way of work.
Had a really good day with all the horses. Am working on collection for Thunder. I don’t think this is a concept that anyone has spent any real time trying to teach him, but he is starting to get the hang of it and he seems to be trying to understand the reason for it. His mom is suppose to come today but with the weather the way it is there is not much we will be able to do.
Leo is still a little jumpy but he is starting to settle into his new environment and is trying to figure out what in the world I’m trying to do to him. He is still very nervous but is starting to tolerate the work.
Casino had a really good day yesterday as well. I don’t think that anyone has ever told him what to do in his life or if they have, not in the same way that I am. I expect a lot more from a horse as far as behaving then I think most folks and or trainers do, but by the time we were done he was happy to stand by my side with his head down and just wait for me. That is a good sign.
I have only ridden Thunder so far. The other two horses have a ways to go before I will get on them. You probably could ride the other two horses, I’m sure that if they were somewhere else that would have happened by now, but I see no need in taking chances with my health. So we will ride when the time is right.
Time for coffee now.
I was asked, yesterday, “what is a program”? I say this all the time and I had assumed that folks working with me could see and understand what I was talking about, but I realized that they are not there everyday with me working with the horses. They usually only can come once or twice a week and when they attend clinics they are there for only a day or two. So one of my students asked me to explain what a program is and what it could look like, so here we go.
I looked up the definition of “program” and this is what the dictionary said. “a set of related measures, events or activities with a particular long term goal”. I guess that's as good a definition as any. So when it comes to horses my program is a bunch of activities that, when I’m done, I hope will produce a willing and obedient horse. Some folks would say partner, and I guess you could use that word, but I think it gives the wrong idea to the human.
A good way to illustrate this, for folks that don’t have horses or aren’t horse people would be to use a child. When our child starts to learn to walk, most of us as parents are so excited that we will set things up so the child can practice, more and more. We will set them off between parents and see if the little shaver can make it from mom to dad. What we don’t do is by them a new pair of tenny shoe and put him outside in the street and see how long it takes him to get up and run. Funny thing is, that’s what we do to horses and call it training. With anyone or anything you are trying to train you take your time and teach small or little skills that will help the person and or the horse, later down the road. I don’t get a colt, tie a saddle to his back and see how long it takes him to stop bucking, or saddle him jump on and see how long it takes me to get him to stop bucking. It takes the magic pill and a program. What program you say?
There are lots of people out there that will sell you a program. Shoot, all of us in this business, who are trying to make a living, have something to sell you. Kathy says I give to much away when it comes to working with people that bring their horses to me, and she is probably right, but that’s another story for another time. The important thing is find a program that you can believe in and start there. The program that I have been working on and in for a long time now, I have developed after working with lots of different trainer with lots of different back grounds. The program that I use works pretty darn well, and folks that have use me or my program will tell ya that. The program that I use works on the entire horse not just a particular problem. The program is what fixes the particular problem that horses may have, not any one exercise. When you attend a clinic, of mine, I teach you everything you will ever need to teach your horse to do anything you will ever need him to do. Folks don’t believe that, but it’s true. On this website I offer a exercise dvd about as cheep as you can find, that shows you what this program should look like. Sure there is more to the program, but it is a great place to start. Once you have a start, keep learning, reading, going to clinics. Find someone you trust, someone you believe in or at least a program that makes sense to you and work with them or with the program. I use to travel all over this country working with different people, learning their methods, and I did it and spent a ton of money to develop the program that I have now.
Bottom line here is: Find something that fits you and that you can believe in and then work at it. In time you will find other things that work for you and your horses that may not be a part of the core program your using. That not a bad thing, it means your growing as a horseman. But be willing to discard methods if you find that they do not work or are unsafe for you and your horse. I have. You will.
We all want results with our horses if the method or methods, your using are not getting them be willing to change, or get help.
Most of us went to school to learn to read and write and most of us do a pretty good job of that, but just because we went to school does not mean we know how to teach or train horses. It takes different skills, but if you learned to read and write or tie your shoes, you can learn to train horses. When you first started tying your shoes you probably were not very good at it, but in time you figured it out, unless you got those Velcro shoes, which is cheating just so you know. Learning to train horses takes time. The level that you reach as a trainer will depend on how hard you work at it, how much time you spend at it and how much you learn about it. Do these things and you will have a program.
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