Well he's gone home! The Stallion went home with his owner yesterday morning. Wanda, his owner, spent a little time learning how to catch hime and how to load him in the trailer. Funny how some folks, because they have always been around horses, think they have it all figured out and don't need or require any help. I know that she only wants to breed the horse, but she has a lot more horse there then she may think. I wish she could have spent a little more time, for the sake of the horses, but it is what it is.
Was on my way to town, after the Stallion went home, to get a tire fixed on Kathy's car. I was just south of the Lake Vally Ghost Town when I cam across and accident. I'm not sure what happened but the car was upside down on the highway. The woman inside was trapped but her son, a little guy, was out of the car and fine. One of the local cowboys was the first on the scene and he and a fella delivering tile to one of the construction site were trying to lift the car just enough so they could free the woman. In about 20 minutes they had plenty of first responders and fire folks, that they did not need my help. Best I know is she is ok. Pretty scary.
I could not get to town to take care of the flat tire so will do that this morning. I went back to Hillsboro town and saw the Silver Fire really going at it. It has burned more then 100,000 acres so far and, as you can see from the picture, is still eating more.
Was really to smoky to work with horses, again, so will try to get something done with them later today.
Smoke on the valley!
From the start yesterday, the smoke from the Sliver Fire just north of us a few miles, started filling up our valley with smoke. I was suppose to have a riding lesson yesterday. Mary showed up for it, but we both agreed it was way to smokey. I was already eating cough drops. So, no lesson yesterday and it was just too smokey to ride any, or work with any, of the horses.
The Stallion goes home today. He is better then when he got here and I wish he could stay another thirty days, but it is what it is. He is a good guy. They don't really plan to ride him but wanted to be able to control him like, not walking all over the handler, catching him and getting him to load in the trailer, to name just a few. He is doing all of those things well, so it's time to go.
I'm often asked if I miss these outside horses when they go home? My first reaction and answer is "NO". But, to tell you the truth, that's not completely true.
I like to think that the horse, is taking a part of me home with him or her. I mean they are taking what I have taught them, how to get along with humans, and it's my hope, that they are better able to get along with their owners, or the folks that will be handling them. And they all have left a part of themselves here with me. I don't mean hair, or hoof. I mean they have taught me something as well. They have helped me to learn how to care for the next horse that will come here. They give me the chance to work on qualities that we all need. Kindness, goodness, self-control. They all give me the chance to practice the three principles of horsemanship that I teach. Intuition, control and trust.
So YES, I guess I do miss them when they go. But's that's why I'm here. To give these horses another chance. I like my job!
Mary my new student!
Funny thing. When folks bring horses for me to help or train, I usually have to find out things about the horse on my own. For example: I was brought a horse who had been on the track, a race horse to train. I asked the owner if the horse had been ridden and the owner said "yes". He said he had been riding the horse around his place quite a bit and he did not seem to have any problems. Well, I brought the horse home and on the second day went to saddle the horse. I figured the horse had been ridden, so I would do his ground work with the saddle on.
I had the horse in the round pen and saddled him. When I asked him to move forward he blew in two. I mean really bucked like crazy. I did not expect it. When I got home that night I called the guy on the phone to tell him what had happened. I asked if he knew of any reason the horse would react that way. He told me that, the last time he rode the horse, he had the horse tied to the kids, his kids, swing set. He said that the horse freaked and tore the swing set apart trying to get away from it. Bucking, all that stuff.
So what should you tell your trainer, or friend, if you are going to have them help you with your horse? Try everything! You put other people in a bad place if they don't have all the information about your horse. Even if it only happened once, you should let your trainer know. That way he can keep his eye out for that problem, while keeping himself and the horse safe.
This is not the only time this has happened to me when people bring horses here for training. I have lots of stories about the same thing. So, if you are going to have someone help you or you're going to pay a trainer to help you and your horse, tell him the truth. Not only so he can help your horse, but so he won't get hurt.
My new student Mary will be out this morning for a lesson and then I'm supposed to have a couple of people from town coming out for a riding lesson.
The Stallion goes home this Thursday, and the Gray continues to make really good progress.
I could not believe what was happening yesterday with Zeb the Black in the round pen. I have not been working much with Zeb while I have these outside horses. Kept telling myself that I didn't have the time, which is not true. You make time, find time for things that are important. So, I guess working with Zeb was not as important as working with these other horses. I mean, I'm getting paid to work with these outside horses. Anyway, I saddled Zeb yesterday after working with the other horses and as usual he stood still to be saddled. I took him to the round pen and was working on some collection exercises, from the ground, when I thought to myself, just get on him. So I did.
We flexed for a bit, which we have been doing from the ground and he did just fine. Asked him to walk off and he did just fine. Asked him to turn and I found out he does not know how to neck rein. That's not unusual. Most folks never really teach their horse to neck rein, so no big deal. Asked him to trot and he did but his head came up and you could tell he was worried but, he did it. But, it's when I asked him to back up that I realized: Zeb doesn't know much. I asked him to back up and he froze. It was like he had never been asked to back up. And, I could not make him do it either. I stepped off and started laughing. How could a horse that has been in so many different, well known programs, not know how to back up? I worked with him from the ground to get him to back up, that took a little time, and he did figure it out after several tries. Then I got back on him and asked him to back up and he did it.
I now know that the time I have taken with Zeb, has payed off. I can just imagine what would have happened if, when I first got him, I asked him to back up, when he was scared to death of his shadow. He probably would have flipped over backward and hurt me.
So, we are going to continue to go slow and find out what else Zeb does not know. Remember Zeb wound up here with me cause the owner was afraid of him. He had bucked off a fella who came to by him and hurt the guy pretty bad in the process and, Zeb's next stop was the killers. We still have a long ways to go, but we made some serious progress yesterday.
Mary and Quatro!
My new student Mary, rode outside for the first time yesterday. She did great and we had a good time. It has been a long time sense Mary has been horse back and, she was a little sore but she came anyway. She plans on doing as much as she can to get her saddle legs back and I look forward to helping her.
Friday my buddy Mark and I rode up in the national forest to check on the fire. This was the first really big ride outside for the Gray. He did fine. He got a little jumpy when we went thru some bushes but I think that's just because he has never had the chance to get out and it is all new. All in all he keeps making good progress.
I have a new student taking riding lessons. Her name is Mary and she is doing good. She rode for the first time last week, with me that is, and this morning we are going to take the skills she learned in the arena and try them outside. I will try to remember to get some picture for you all.
The Stallion is doing well. The owner Wanda, told me, the last time she was here, that riding the horse was really not that important to her. She has other horses to ride if she want to go for a ride. What she really is looking for is to be able to control the horse on the ground. So, that's what I have been focusing on the past couple week and will continue the rest of this week. He is scheduled to go home the first of July.
I attended the Sliver Fire briefing in Hillsboro, NM with Natty, my daughter, yesterday morning. Larry, the district ranger for the Black Range, said the the fire had burned over 37,000 acres as of yesterday morning, and they expected the fire to bur between 5-7,000 acres yesterday. I know most of you are not hearing much about this fire in southwest New Mexico. The reason is it is burning on national forest land and no one has been injured. And, private homes have been damaged as well. That's a good thing.
We are only about 4-6 miles away from the south end of the fire, and the fire is burning north away from us, That's a good thing too. I know it's sad to see so much burn, but the forest really needed this to happen. It will be hard to look at for a few years, but if we get rain, which everyone here is praying for, in the next few years it will give the forest a clean start. It looks bad now, but it's going to look so much better down the road.
This morning Mark, my buddy, and I are going to ride horses to the South end of the fire and take a look. It's all but put out on our end and we just want to see what it looks like in our back yard. This will be a good ride for the Gray so I better get with it.
But first, Coffee.
Zeb with his working clothes!
I have heard this more then once in my time with horses. You can see that horses ribs. Don't you think they should feed him more? Funny thing is, when they see some buff guy or gal I never hear them say, I can see their ribs, don't you think those folks should eat more?
It's true that there are folks, for whatever reason, have horses that they are neglecting and they could sure use more food. But, there is a big difference between fit and fat. Most horses that come to me for training are heavy, fat if you will, and their owners seem to be happy about that. However if they had a child that looked the way their horses looked, they would call the little guy fat, not politicly correct but fat none the less.
I have had folks come to pick up their horse after 90 days of training and comment on how much weight their horses have lost. I have to explain to them that their horse has his working clothes on, something the owner has never seen. And, once the owner get the horse home they will probably never see their horse like that again.
How do I know if my horse is getting enough to eat? Good question! The "experts" say a horse needs 2 percent of his body weight to make sure he is getting enough to eat. So that's easy to figure. However, if your horse is working everyday, I mean working. That means he is doing more then taking you for an hour or two trail ride once a week. He may need more. When I say more I mean more hay, not grain or sweet feed. Horses were not designed to assimilate grain. It causes them a lot of problems down the road. Now the makers of feed, like grain, are going to tell you different cause they have something to sell you. But, if you ask equine nutritional expert, they are going to tell you that folks who feed grain are killing their horses with kindness.
Having said all of this, you can feed your horse whatever you want. It's your horse, just like it's your child. But remember, there is a big difference between a horse being Fat and Fit.
Ray and the Stallion!
Yesterday, while I was at the barn, Ray stopped by. Ray was here about a year ago. I met him while pickin in town. Anyway, he was back in the area and stopped by to say HEY! Ray is pretty afraid of horses in general He had some bad experiences when he was young and never got over them. Last year I got him in the round pen and let him work with a few horses. Well, he was back and wanted to give it another go. He did great and his confidence grew in the process.
There are lots of folks that have had bad experiences when it comes to horses and it has kept them from wanting to be around them. It takes time, like everything, to help people over their fears but I have done it a couple of times for folks.
These bad experiences come from the horse lacking respect for humans, in most cases, and the human not knowing how to earn the respect of a horse. Takes time like I said, but it's worth the effort.
To late for coffee.
The fire north of our house, the Silver Fire, continues to burn. It has burned within about 5 miles or so from our place, but there is little or no chance it will reach us. We just don't have enough fuel on the ground for it to reach us. It has burned about 25,000 acres, and still counting. The little town of Kingston, NM is still empty of people. They are worried that with the winds we are having, there is still a chance that the fire could return.
You are not hearing, at least we're not, much about this fire. There are lots of fires going right now in the country and there have been hundreds of homes and some lives lost. Here, it is just burning the forest right now and, apparently, is not news worthy.
The smoke has not been much of a problem for us here, but I know it is in town.
Will work with the boys this morning. I want to get Zeb the black, back in the mix. Have a new student starting today. Her name is Mary and she is excited about learning about horses.
Here is part of an email that I received from Bitsy's mom just the other day:
Hello there Mackie,
I just want to let you know that I rode Bitsy today and she is like a different horse. I only rode her in the round pen at a walk then home. Dave came out and he noticed how different Bitsy is. Head low and walking right out. Stops good, turns with leg pressure.
I can't wait to get her back into finshing school and learn with her.
Thank you for all you have done with her.
It's official. Kathy and I signed the lease on the barn in Tucson Az. Saturday we met with about half of the boarders and introduced ourselves to them. As you can imagine they had lots of questions about what we are planning on doing in the future with the barn. We met for about an hour with them and I think it went well.
We had the chance to see some folks that we met in January when we were in Tucson for the rodeo, Jeep and Star. They are kicking around the idea of moving their travel trailer to the barn and giving us a hand when they can.
I'm going to keep writing my blog, if that's ok with everyone, 5 days a week or as close as I can get. We plan on training outside horses, giving riding lessons, horsemanship lessons, clinics and demonstrations once we get in and settled. There are 500,000 people that live in Tucson. Of course not all of them are horse people, but there are a ton of horse people there. It's going to be the biggest town that Kathy and I have ever lived in, so it will be a challenge for sure.
I still have work to do here before we make the jump. I will finish up the Stallion this month and the Gray horse's owner has committed to another 30 days. That means he will be here thru July.
I took the Gray out for a long ride outside the arena and he did pretty good. He did not shy at much but had his own ideas about where he went and how fast he went but we will just keep working on those things. He is really doing better and better everyday.
Andrea, the mom of the little mustang we had here, tell me that Bitsy is getting better with her cold but it's just taking time. Andrea said she rode her, just a little bit this weekend and Andrea could not believe how good she was, she's a different horse, she said.
Will try and keep you updated with info on what the heck I'm doing with horses and music.