I have had the privilege of working with lots of horses in my time, and I have worked with some horses that were very challenging. I have worked with horses that wanted to kill me, literally. They had gotten away with so much and had come to view the human or their owners as being of no value. It’s these extreme horses I wanted to talk about this morning.
I call them extreme only because their owners or other trainers have not been able to get them where they wanted them. We all, if we could, would take the easy way, me too, but horses only know one way and that’s the way they have been taught, either by an owner, a trainer or their herd. Some horses have come to me straight from the herd who could not have been more different then the other horses in their herd. How does that happen? I don’t have a clue to tell you the truth. But I think is very similar to children from the same family. I know of families where you would not believe that these kids came from the same parents. They have the same mother and father, they were raised the same way, they had similar experiences in life, but they could not be different. Even if they look like brothers and sisters. So when it comes to horses it don’t matter, to me, why they are the way they are. My job is to help them get along in the world of humans. This is often the biggest challenge because we want to treat them like they are pets and they are not. If your horse does not know his or her place in your herd something bad is going to happen. It’s not if, but when.
What this means is, if we are going to have horses, we have to give them what they need. Often, I find that most people don’t have a clue what a horse needs. When I ask folks this question they, almost all the time, give me the same answer: They need food and shelter and love. All of these things are true, but they miss the most important thing that horses need. A LEADER! Horses will spend the rest of their lives making sure they have a leader and making sure that, that leader is a good one. If in time, for whatever reason the leader fails, gets old, gets hurt or does not do a good job, he or she is OUT, and the herd will find another one. See, it’s not about being friends or buddies, or in love. It’s all about surviving for them. You can call it what you want, good or bad, but it just is the way it is, and unless we, as owner understand that, we are not giving the horse what he or she wants and more importantly, what they NEED.
The real question is: How do I become a good leader? You will be surprised at the answer. But first Coffee!
Home Sweet Home!
Kathy and I have been at her parent’s place in Kansas the past week. Her mother, Miss Temple had to have an operation to clear up a problem she was having. The operation was a success and she is doing great. Thanks for asking.
We got home last night to the boys, Wally and Kevin. They were really glad to see Kathy, they always are.
I’m getting ready for an outside horse to show up here tomorrow. The horse’s name is Thunder. His owner, Cindi, says that he is a little barn sour and buddy sour. Both of these terms, for those of you that don’t know, means he does not like to leave the barn or his buddies. When you ride away from the barn or his buddies he starts to act nervous and tries to not leave. His owner tells me that when you get a certain distance from the barn he will just shut down. Most of the time, I have found that horses with this issue have problems with respect. By that I mean they don’t respect their owner and would rather be with other horses then be with them, the owner. So that’s what I plan on working with him when he gets here. I will know more for sure when I have that chance. Cindi is planning on leaving him here for 30 days. She also plans on coming over to work with him while he is here. That is great. It don’t happen much that people can, or will, take the time to come and work with me. I should, but I don’t, charge for this service. Still it’s hard to get people to come and spend a little time learning what their horse knows, so that when they go home they will be able to keep up the program. So to say the least I’m very excited the Thunder’s mom is going to come and learn how to be a good leader.
Need to get to it, but first, you guess it, coffee.
Kevin the Cow Dog!
Was a long day in the saddle but a good one. We found all the cattle we were looking for and penned the ones we needed and Bleu, the cowboy I was riding with, will go back and pick them up this morning.
Kevin did a good job again. He did not have much to do, but just his presence is enough sometimes, to keep the cattle moving in the direction you want.
Today, Kathy and I will be going after hay for the horses. You have heard me say how much I hate this part of the job, especially when you have to pay $350 a ton. I don’t know what has happened to the hay market but this really sucks. I sure hope coffee never gets this high.
Tim, Kevin and me are off this morning to help the neighbor gather some cattle. So Kevin is pretty excited about that.
We launched Herb’s Body Shop yesterday afternoon and have already received a bunch of orders, that Kathy will be mailing out today. We are pretty excited about the products and hope you will be too. Check it out at www.herbsbodyshop.com
We have some friends in Australia, they are the maker of the training equipment we use, www.nungarknots.com.au/
and they are interested in the product too. So we are going to try and figure out a way to make it available to folks all over the place, if we can make it happen.
Sue, from the valley, and I have been talking about a clinic coming up in sometime in April. We are thinking about doing private lessons on one day and group lessons on the second day. I love the idea of private lessons for folks that really have an issue or an interest in learning a specific facet of their horsemanship, so think about it and if you are interested let me know NOW so we can make sure a reserve you a spot in the private lessons or the group lessons, or both.
Got a nice email from Charlie’s mom and dad to let me know that he was getting along real well, and it was like he never left home. He has gotten right back into his herd and is pretty happy. It’s so good to hear. When you send a horse home after training you always hope that he gets along with his owners and they are able to keep up his training. I know they have big plans for Charlie and Kathy and I wish them all the best.
Kathy and I cut wood yesterday. Got a truck load and we sure enjoyed the fire last night. It was nice to get out in the woods and where we cut is so amazingly pretty, and we had a really good time.
Have to work on the fridge today. The fan motor is going out, has been for a while, but now it’s starting to sound like a prop plane trying to take off in the kitchen. So will be working on that today. Hope I can get the part in town. But first. Coffee
Was not sure what I was going to do for horse work after Charlie left but things are starting to happen. Got a email from a lady that is going to bring her horse for me to start the second week of Feb. This horse should be a lot of fun. He is 5 years old. That’s a good thing. That means that he as been around for a little while and has had more experience in living and that is always a good thing. Nothing wrong with starting a colt when he is 2 or 3, but you must remember that they are babies, and the really need the magic pill.
Then just got an email yesterday from a lady that attended a clinic that Kathy and I put on at Sue’s place in the valley. She is having a little trouble with her horse not wanting to be away from other horses or the barn. We have dealt with this kind of problem many times in the past so I hope that she and her horse will be able to see their way clear to come here for training.
Today will be wood cutting day. We are way low on wood. We were going to go yesterday but it rained in the morning and the wind blew like a, well you know what all afternoon. But we got to go to day, cause if momma aint happy aint no body happy..
With the weather bad yesterday, Kathy and I worked on Herb’s Body Shop! I made lotion bars and lip balm and Kathy worked on the website. The website is a lot of fun and I hope that folks will go and at least check us out.
Time to get to work, but first……. You guessed it. COFFEE
One more ride!
Well, It’s time. Charlie and I have had a good time together but it was time for him to go home. Every horse I work with changes me a little. I learn tons from everyone of them and am grateful for their patients and understanding. Charlie has been that kind of horse as well. I know that his family will be glad to have him back in the pen with them and I wish them all the best.
I wish I could have had a little time with his mom and dad before he went home, but folks have to make a living and that’s the case with Anthony and Laurie, no fault of theirs or anyone else. They both have lots of experience with horses and I know they will get along just fine with him, and I’m always here if they should need me.
Anthony and his wife, came out last weekend for a little ride on the ranch with Charlie and me, before they headed back for home. We had a great time and they, Anthony and Laurie, got a chance to see their boy under saddle. Anthony brought a couple of mules and a horse to ride. Anthony does a lot of guided hunts in our area and knows this country well and can’t wait to get Charlie in the mix. I look forward to pictures of them together in the wilderness areas and will do my best to keep all of you up to date on Charlie’s great adventure.
There is still plenty to do on the ranch. I have another horse coming in around the first week in Feb. so we are getting pretty excited about that. Spring is coming soon and we will get started on putting together some clinics and demos around our country, in hopes of showing folks what we can do to help them with their horses and what we can offer to help them become better horseman.
I have not heard anything from the ladies doing research on the McEvers Ranch for their up coming book, but as I get any info I will pass it on. I know there are several folks out there that are interested, just like me, in what they find.
Kathy and I have developed a new product that we hope you folks will check out. It is Herb’s Cowboy Hand Bar. It is a lotion bar that is really helping folks with weathered hands. I use it around here and it has worked great from me. It is a lotion bar that looks like a bar of soap but it’s not, but works better then most lotions on the market and is easy to take with you on a pack trip or a trip to grandma’s house. It’s easy to use and not greasy. Some of you have it already and we are getting great feed back. The website is under construction right now, but we will have it finished soon. The name of the website and company name is Herb’s Body Shop. www.herbsbodyshop.com . So stop by and give it a try.
It’s raining right now and that feels good. I have riding students that are going to be disappointed, again, because of the weather.
Charlie got another pair of shoes a couple of days ago. After our ride to look for the McEvers homestead I could hear is right back shoe, clinking, and sure enough he had lost it by the next day. Anyway, he has a brand new pair and is ready for this visit from his family.
I came across Anthony, Charlie’s dad, yesterday on the county road out here. I was on my way to help my neighbor gather a few of his cows and there he was. He stopped and we visited a bit. He was out in our neck of the woods looking at some work. They are for sure coming out this weekend so I will try to remember to bring my camera and get some pictures of the whole family if I can.
Have been doing a little road work for the home owners association here on the ranch. Plowed a little snow, back when we had some, and am now working on fixing us some of the places that got trashed because of the snow.
Off to work with Charlie this morning. Want him shiny when his mom and dad get to see him.
Charlie after a day at the office!
Saturday afternoon, I took Andrea, the lady that is doing the research on the McEvers ranch, to what I think is the old homestead. We left out from Ted’s, where the horses are kept. Andrea did a lot of looking around and the jury is still out on weather or not this is the location. We found some interesting clues, a cave or two and what is left of an adobe building, but there are still unanswered questions.
I got a chance to visit with Andrea about the significance of the McEvers ranch. There was a solider that died there on the ranch and no one has ever found his grave site. That is the real thrust of their effort is to locate this grave. We did not find anything to indicate a grave so, the hunt continues.
Charlie is going to stay an extra week or so because of the bad weather we have had. I want to make sure he is shinny before he goes back to his mom and dad. I’m hoping that they will be able to come out a couple of times before he goes home so they will know what he knows. I know that they are both horse people and am sure they won’t have any trouble but, my methods are different then what they have seen, I’m pretty sure.
Charlie continues to do well. Like all young horses they will take a few steps back from time to time in there training. That’s why is so important when a horse comes home that a training program continues. To make a solid horse, trail or otherwise, takes the magic pill, time. It’s not like a car where you tune up the engine and you don’t have to worry about it for 100,000 miles. Most horses will settle with time, in the way they react, or not react, to things that happen to them in our world, but it all takes time. Having said that Charlie is really ready for home. He has the basics and now just needs to get out and see the world. With the skills he has, his owners will be able to handle just about any situation that comes up, and will have the tools to fix any problems that Charlie may have the rest of his life with them.
Spent most of yesterday with Charlie the horse. I have not had a chance to ride him or work with him much because of the weather, the past couple of weeks. So we did a little ground work and then headed out on the trail. He started out a little shaky, but after a little ground work, and giving him the chance to burn up a little adrenalin he was good to go. I think that’s one thing that folks, sometimes, forget it when they have not worked or ridden their horse for a long period of time, that he has been standing around doing nothing, which they are good at by the way. So, when we come to get them to take them on the trail, they get excited just like you and I do, so sometimes they need a little time to stretch their legs. I think, at my age, that it's better to let them stretch their legs and kick up their heals, with out me being on them. So a little ground work to start out a morning is not a bad idea.
Charlie and me went on a trial ride to an area that I am scouting for Andrea. You may remember Andrea is one of my student and, an accomplished author. She has kindly asked me to help her do a little research on an old ranch in my neck of the woods. The McEvers Ranch. People have been looking for the location to this ranch for years. With the info that Andrea has passed on to me, I think I may have found it. Charlie and I went yesterday to check out the location. I have gathered cattle in this area many, many times. The cowboys that I have ridden with did not give this place a name, or do not know any history about the place. It fits most of the description that Andrea has given me, so this Saturday I’m going to take Andrea to the location so she can take a look. Should be fun.
The pictures you see here are some I took yesterday when Charlie and I were over there.
Will try and keep you updated with info on what the heck I'm doing with horses and music.