When horses come here I often don’t remember their names. People will ask me and I have to tell them, “the owner told me but I don’t remember”. That’s kind of how it was when Casino came here. Jene told me his name but for the life of me I could not remember it. You may be wondering why I’m talking about this or why it seems so important or so unimportant to me, this morning.
What I tell folks is that horses don’t name each other in the herd, at least not in any verbal way that we can make out, so I figure it's really not that important to the horse. I usually call horses lots of names when they first get here, why? Well, they are usually trying to kill me when they first get here. They are afraid or they just don’t want to give up their place in the herd. That means there is a time when the horse and I, are just trying to get to know each other. What I hope happens is at some point in their training, and it almost always does, I start to call the horse “Good Boy”!
Well, the reason I’m talking about this, this morning is that’s what happened yesterday with Casino. I took him out for a pretty good ride yesterday. We stopped by a neighbor’s house to visit for just a min. when their dog came out of the house raising a ruckus. Now Casino has been around my dogs here at the barn and he does not pay them much mind, but you never know how that’s going to go, out in the big world. He handled it just fine. He stood like a gentleman, something that would not have happened when he first got here. He went forward when he was asked and stopped when he was asked. Something he would not do when he first got here. He turned right and or left when he was asked. Again, something that he would not do when he first got here. He was in a bit of a hurry when we headed back to the barn, but nothing that a little conversation wouldn’t fix.
All in all it was a day that I could call him “Good Boy”, something that I look forward to with the training of any horse that comes here…
Trailer Loading Demo
Kathy and I are getting ready for our clinic our in the Mimbers Valley with Sue and a bunch of other folks. Many of these people I have had the chance to work with in the past, so I’m really looking forward to seeing how they are getting along with their horses and their horsemanship.
We are going to use a different format this time. We are going to have a group clinic on Saturday the 14th of April. This is what I usually do where, as a group, we work on ground work skills in the morning and riding skills in the afternoon after lunch. This time we are going to use Sunday, the 15th for private lessons. In this format you will be able to sign up for a one-hour private lesson. This will give folks a chance to work on specific areas of their horsemanship. It could be anything from wanting to get better at their round pen skills or loading their horse in the trailer, to hobble training. I’m excited to see how this all works out.
Yesterday was another good day with Casino. He’s doing just fine and is trying hard to figure out what he needs to do to stay comfortable. He is side passing down the rail with out much effort, so I’m pleased with his progress.
Had a really good day with Casino yesterday. He is getting better and softer but still has his moments. We worked on circles and loped for a bit. I wanted to see if he had any idea of how to settle. He did as I expected. When ever you ask for more speed you will find out just how well they understand what you have been teaching them at a walk and a trot. The more speed you ad to your exercises the more that things can go wrong. Well, Casino did ok. He was a little our of control at first, fading in the circle and wanting to get back to the gate, but after a little while, he realized that, that was just going to get him into more work. He started to figure it out as we got closer to the end of our day.
His break is really starting to come around. I want a horse to learn to stop off the feel of my seat and legs with out me having to pull on the reins. Don’t get me wrong, if the horse does not stop of the feel of my seat and legs, I will pick up the reins and bring him to a stop, but when people use the reins first their horses will stick their nose’s in the air and brace their necks. Why? Good question. They are bracing because they know that the next thing that’s going to happen is your going to pull, hard, on the reins. So, a horse will brace against the bit in order to protect their mouth. By using the method that I use to teach the stop, you encourage the horse to get his hind end up underneath himself, which encourages his head to come down. He has to get his head down in order to get his hind end under himself. There are lots of ways to teach a stop, but I have come to really like this way over the years.
I talked to one of the owners of the feed store in town yesterday about doing a demo at their store. They are very excited about doing something so Kathy and I are looking forward to that..
The boys waiting their turn!
Was a good Monday. I had a riding lesson in the morning and my student, Deb, did great. She continues to make progress. We are talking about a trail ride next week for her lesson so I will let you know how that all turns out.
Worked with Casino yesterday. I rode him during the lesson with Deb. He is still a little stiff with his head and neck but is making much better progress and his stop is getting better and better. We will focus on these two parts of this training this week.
The feed store in TorC is talking about hosting a demo/clinic for us sometime this spring. That would be great. They are in touch with just about everyone in town who is a horse person and having their vote of confidence would be great. One of the employees there is a brother of Clay’s, the fella that had the mustang that I work. Clay called right after he got home to tell him what we had gotten done with the horse and he was pretty excited about that… So we will see where that all goes.
We are still getting ready for the 2 day clinic at Sue’s in the Mimbers Valley coming up next month. If you are interested in be a part of the clinic or you would like to be a rail bird, please let me know so we can get you on the list.. Looks like we have only 3 opening for the group on Saturday and only 4 slots left for private lessons on Sunday.. So think about it and let me know..
Oh, wanted you all to know that I am teaching Car, one of our horses, to lay down. I have never taught a horse to lay down as a trick. I use laying a horse down to show him that I can take away his feet, and this causes them to submit. I usually only lay down horses that just don’t want to get in the program, but I thought it would be fun and people seem to like that kind of thing, so it may give our clinics and demos a little more show. Anyway, I will let you know how that all turns out…
Kathy and I had a great time with the folks in T or C this pasts weekend. We did a round pen and trailer loading demo at a buddies place there. Tim is the owner of the place and he and his wife could not have made us feel more at home.
I got to work with a few horse of folks that live in the area. They were all horses that had a hard time getting caught. When I visited with the owners they all said that sometimes they would let you catch them but for the most part it was always a deal. They all came around and were happy to be with me with just a little bit of work.
I did get to work with a pretty wild mustang that a friend of mine brought. Clay has this little mustang that he just loves and Clay is the only one that can get close to him. Even at that, it takes Clay a long time of messing with the horse before he can get the horse to let him touch him, and when he does you can tell that the horse is afraid. This horse has been known to come after his owner in the pen and try to kick and or stomp him. I’m always very careful when working with horses I don’t know but I must admit I was keeping an eye on this one. I started to work with him to establish that I was the leader in this herd of two by deciding which direction he would go and how fast. As I was working him Kathy, my wife, was in the audience and some folks that were there, that know the horse, kept telling her that this horse was going to kick me. They kept saying it over and over. Kathy assured them that I was not going to get kicked because it would not take long for the horse to know who the leader was, and sure enough, he never did. You could tell that he was unsure and afraid, but I was careful not to put to much pressure on him. Just enough that he would understand. Well, it was not long 5 min. and I had the horse following me around in the round pen. He was still afraid and nervous, and he would only let me touch him for a second or two, but he was starting to figure out that I was not going to hurt him.
I’m looking forward to working with Clay and his pony down the road. It will be fun..
Casino continues to make good progress. We will step up the riding this week teaching him to side pass down the rail and continue to work on a break that his owner will be able to count on..
ready for work?
You may remember that the day before yesterday we had a very long day in the saddle to bring back some cattle that had gotten onto the neighbor. Well yesterday we went back up to the holding pen and trailered back to the house 2 cows and a calf. While Mike was taking the cattle back down to the house in the trailer, he had me go up to the pass, I call it Nana's pass, to see if the cattle had tore down the fence to get back to where they were. They had not so when I got back to the pens I took the few cattle that were still there and started them down the trail, about 4 miles, to where there were other cattle and water, in hopes that they will stay down there and not try to get back in the neighbors ranch.
Was a great day for a ride, just me my horse and Kevin the cow dog. When we got back to the ranch headquarters there were three calfs to brand. Now these calfs were huge and Mike and I had to rope and I had to hold the calfs down with the horse while Mike cut, branded, ear marked and vaccinated them. Got that all done and our day was finished.
There is nothing like working cattle from the back of a horse. To get the chance to rope and have your horse work that rope and hold the cow is magic. I wish and hope that all of you that have a horse get the chance to experience that someday.
What a long day yesterday was. I took Tim the Gray with me to help my neighbor, Mike, gather some strays, about 23 of them. I have written about this area before and I just can't explain how big and beautiful it is. But what a long day for the horses. We had one horse that the rider had to get off and walk cause his horse had just had enough, and one horse that tried to tie up with muscle cramps. Not sure just how he is going to be, will find out this morning when I go back. We are going to push the cattle that we gathered, down the trail a little further to discourage them from going back to the neighbors. I can sure understand why they like it over there. Lots of feed and lots of water. I found spring after spring in a country that's not suppose to have water. I bet that the indian Nana, knew about these springs when he was being chased by the buffalo soldiers.
Had a really good day with Casino yesterday. Spent a lot of time on the ground, working on control and getting him to settle down. When he first got here you could not touch him with the flag. Yesterday was the first time that he looked at me with a, ok go a head see if I care, look in his eyes. He still is pulling a little when he lunges but that will go away in time. He is side passing down the rail better and better. He is still in a hurry to get down the rail but that should change in time as well. All in all I'm very happy with his progress. He stands to be saddled. He lowers his head to accept the bit, which was a big problem in the begining. He stands to be mounted and dismounted, huge. I'm looking forward to some warm days again so we can get outside and see how he gets along in the real world.
Off today to help my neighbor gather cattle that have gotten on the neighbors place. Looks like it'g going to be a long one. But first.
Ted and Stephanie!
The weather was unreal yesterday. I started out to work with Casino and it started snowing and blowing like we were in the frozen north. So Casino got the day off and I went back to the bunk house to help Herb with some “Man Bars”.
We are getting ready for the round pen and trailer loading demo in T or C this Saturday at 10am at Tim Haver’s place just off highway 25, exit 71 in Las Palomos valley. If we have good weather I think we may have a good crowd. Tim is well known in the area and attended a clinic I put on years ago out here on Pat Jone’s ranch. So if you are in the area I hope you will stop by and say HEY…
Is really cold here this morning in the 20’s. When it warms up a bit and I have a cup, or two of coffee I’ll get out there and feed the boys and head over to work with Casino this morning. Hoping to do some more ground work and trust exercises and do some more riding working on control and a break.
Our clinic in Silver City this past Saturday was great. We had a wonderful time with some folks who really wanted to work on their horsemanship. It started out kind of rocky though. On the way to the clinic our truck over heated and in the diesel it reduces your power in the engine. So we had to stop in Deming NM to get a new hose. Thank goodness it did not do any other damage to the truck. So we were an Hour late to the clinic but it was all good.
We spent our time working with each person, one on one, answering questions that they had about their horses and then Kathy and I got a chance to watch them work with their horses. After that I would recommend things that they could do to improve their relationship with their horse and things that they would need to do in order to continue to be the best leader they could be for their horses.
One of the things that I noticed, a common thread, was the need for the owners to be better leaders. Often we are not sure what that means and we are a little nervous about pushing our horses beyond where they are now. We get comfortable with how they are and how they are working and choose to over look some of their behavior because we’re not sure how to deal with it or we just don’t want to deal with it. The great thing about having me work with them and their horses is I don’t care. I mean I care, but I don’t care about the behavior. If it’s good behavior I encourage it. If it’s bad behavior I try to help the horse with it and fix it. I don’t know the history of the horse, or at least I don’t know it as well as the owner does, and to me that is an advantage. See I won’t make excuses for the horse. If I worry to much about where he has come from, I won’t ever be able to help him with his behavior issues. The bottom line is bad behavior is bad behavior and once the horse knows you will not allow it he will be quick to change.
So we took a look at what they were all doing with their horses and I got a chance to share with them how I have fixed these problems in my own horses and in horses that have come to me for training over the years. It was a great time.
I want to thank Mara for putting it all together for us and her husband Ted, who, by the way, was the only man there. Makes me proud when I see a man who is willing to put him self in front of a group and allow someone to poke holes in his horsemanship. He did a great job, and, he got to hang out with some pretty nice ladies all day long…
Andrea and Stephanie were also great. These women, all of them, have a real love for their horses and their horsemanship. I can’t wait to get a chance to work with them again sometime down the trail. We only had on Rail Bird at the clinic and that was Sue. She asked some great questions and was a great addition to the group.