Yesterday was spent, the biggest part, getting hay for the rest of the year. I’m hoping that we won’t have to worry about it till late spring. You know how much I hate this part of having horses but the guy I get my hay from, Clint, has really been a joy to work with. So that’s done!
Work just a bit with the horses yesterday. Did not get a chance to ride, because of hay, but a little ground work and then let them rest by the rail. That’s code for tied to the rail.
Both horses are making progress. Teneawa is not trying to be in my pocket anymore. This is something that his owner will have to address when she gets home in order to remain the leader of her herd. He is having a little trouble just standing still when being saddled. He stands to be saddled, but he has a hard time standing still when I slip into the saddle room to get his pad or saddle. He will walk off to the hay at the end of the barn or walk off to talk to one of the other horses. What do I do to fix that? Great question. I just go and get him and then put him back in the place that I use to saddle him. If we can keep this up it won’t be long, well longer then it takes most horses, but it won’t be long and he will get the idea.
Bop/Buddy is starting to understand how to back up from the ground, which will help him in the saddle. He is a pretty quiet horse just does not know very much. I guess that there are trainers that think backing up in not a skill that a horse really needs to learn. I’m not sure why they think that but some do. It’s a pretty important skill if the horse has to back off a trailer for example. He’s getting better and I’m glad we will have a little more time before he goes home.
Zeb, the black horse, has just been hanging out of late. The great thing about him being ours is, I don’t have to be in a hurry. I think that he is ready to ride just need to fine the time to spend with him and I will.
Good day with Tenawa yesterday. I worked a bit with him on collection, getting him to understand the concept, and then rode him a bit. He is doing much better about getting softer in circles and is trying harder I think. He is still very stiff but I’m hoping that his owner will be able to continue to work with him and get him softer as he goes along.
Folks that bring horses here often think that their horses are going along pretty good. Mostly, I think, because they can get on them and ride a bit. But my idea of broke and other folk’s idea of broke are hardly ever the same. It takes time, and work, to make that all happen. Most folks don’t have the time or want to work to make that happen. Guess that’s why I have a job.
Bop/Buddy is doing better too. Rode him a bit yesterday he is getting softer as we go along but he too has a long ways to go before I would call him broke. I asked him to back up when I was on his back and he had no clue what that was. Rather then get in a tug of war with him, I stepped off him and asked him from the ground. It took a little while before he understood what I wanted from him but when it was all said and done he would do it. I thought we were going to have trouble with his skill from the way he acted when asked to back up at the end of a lead rope.
I had a truck once that did not have reverse. It was a pain in the rear too.
Donna and her new Boy!
Meet Donna. Donna was a participant at our last clinic. She and I have worked together on her horsemanship over this passed year and she is making great progress. She has had a couple of horses here in training over that time. At this clinic she had a new horse and was very excited about him. She had not done much ground work with him so this was a chance for her to get off to a good start .
Donna is one of the very few folks I have come a crossed, who needed help learning to be softer with her energy. Most of the time it’s the other way around. Folks are to timid and do not get after their horses, to the degree they should. Donna has made great progress in learning to control her emotions when working with horses and it sure showed at this clinic. Looking forward to working with her again soon.
Well it’s another Monday. This week the boys will get a lot more riding in. They are making good progress on their ground work, and we will continue that but mix some riding in there too.
Tenawa is relaxing a bit and figuring out that being with me is a better deal then not. Ilene, his owner, already rides him so riding is not the problem, control is. So we will work on that and getting him to soften. He will be heading home next week so theirs not much time to get a lot done. However, Ilene has agreed to bring him back if she feels he needs more work, or if she feels she needs more help.
Bop/Buddy is doing better. I don’t think much has been done with him in the past, from just the little I have had a chance to work with him. But, he is a good-minded horse. Does not seem to have a sour bone in his body. I think he just needs more time and Katy, his owner, has agreed to allow him to stay another month. That’s really going to take the pressure off Bop/Buddy and me. So looking forward to more time with him here at the ranch.
Ilene and Tenawa!
Everyone taking a break!
A couple days ago I got the chance to work with Ilene and Tenawa together. Those are the pictures you see above. Ilene loves her horses and is a very dedicated owner. She has come to realize that in order to provide her horses with what they need she is going to have to be a better horseman/trainer.
Often that’s the hard part for folks. They really don’t think of themselves as trainers. They may think that you have to get paid to be a trainer, but that’s not the case. We are always training our horses when we are with them. We are either teaching them good things or bad things but they are always learning. She is up for the challenge.
Tenawa continues to make good progress. We worked yesterday in the round pen and then some flexing. He does not know this skill as well as I would like and it’s going to take some doing to get him to really work at the skill. He goes home in a couple weeks so we will be working on this a bunch so that Ilene will have a good head start when he comes home.
Bop/Buddy is making good progress. Not as much as I would like, but every horse is a little different and you have to work with them where you find them. I thought he was a horse that had had some training. Folks have been riding him after all. My mistake. The training that he has had, has been hard to find, in my opinion. I rode him for just a little bit yesterday and found out that he does not know how to move off leg pressure. He does not know how to flex, fights it most of the time. He is not a horse I would take on a trail today. He is not trying to rear up and stand on his hind legs anymore, that's a good thing. He stands tied to the rail very well, and his ground work continues to improve. I have been talking with his owner Katy and she agrees that he needs more time so I’m hoping that he will be with us another month..
On another note: Some have the opinion that my training center is more a “torture chamber” then anything else. I did not know anyone felt like that or would talk to others like that but I guess it’s true, a reliable source gave me this info. I think that what folks don’t understand they ridicule. Or folks who can’t do criticize. Anyone who has spent anytime with me knows I only want what’s best for the horse and it’s owner. Horses that come here are in real need of help and so are their owners. I’m always honest in my assessment of the horse and the owner. Sometimes that assessment is not pretty, but it’s always the truth in my opinion. Horses that come here, most of them, have never worked a day in their lives till they get here. And, yes, it’s true, here they work. I’m sure that some folks that don’t know or don’t want to know will always have opinions about what they don’t understand. I have worked with lots of folks who have benefited from their horses being here and from coming themselves. I have been honest with them all. Just ask them.
Cindi and Thunder!
Cindi and her boy Thunder have made some really great progress. Thunder was here with us on the ranch for a couple of months and Cindi was here every week to work with him. Thunder had a history of being hard to get along with. He too is a big horse. When he first got here he just wanted to run you over and did not really want to be told what to do. In time he settled down and gave up his place as leader in the herd.
Cindi has made some real adjustments in own thinking about horses and what they need. The result has been a huge change in Cindi and her horse.
Cindi was interested in how to tell if she was sitting in the saddle correctly at the clinic that she attended a few weeks ago. So during her private lesson we focused on that.
There is a ton of stuff out there that a person can read on how to learn to have a balanced seat while riding. I mean there is a lot of stuff out there. I don’t make that big a deal about riding. I think that most people over think the process of riding way more then they need to. If a person will have his stirrups adjusted properly and looks where they want to go, they will find that all the things the books talk about will happen naturally. This is real hard to describe in this blog, but is way easy to show in person. The key is just relax, look where you want to go, and think forward. If you and I as riders have no forward movement in our riding our horses will not move forward either. Again, this is not so easy to write about, for me, but much easier to show.
Laurie and Pepe!
Laurie is a student of mine who’s horse, Pepe, has spent a little time with me here on the ranch. Pepe is a great horse, he’s just a lot of horse. At times he can be as calm, as you could ever want. Other times he asks like he high on crack.
Laurie has done wonders with Pepe and despite the times when he tries to be hard to control, Laurie has and is making really good progress. To see them together at the clinic was a joy for Kathy and I. Laurie continues to work with Pepe on the skills that they both learned here and I saw real progress when they were at out clinic a few weekends ago. With a horse like Pepe a person has to have a little heaver hand then they might with another horse. Pepe like to be in control of everything. To be his leader you have to be consistent with every thing you do with him. Looking forward to seeing them both again soon.
The horses here on the ranch in training continue to make good progress. Bop/Buddy is really starting to settle into the training program. He has some difficulty with backing up from the ground so we will continue to focus attention on that skill as we go along. All in all, he is coming along just fine.
Tenawa’s mom will be here this afternoon to work with us. Ilene is a dedicated owner and despite the fact that she does not want to be a trainer, she is learning that she has no choice. If you are going to have horses, unless you have a trainer that lives at your house, your going to have to be a trainer. You are either teaching your horse the right thing or the wrong thing, every time you are around them. So if you find yourself in Ilene’s spot just understand that’s the way it is. If you don’t assume your role as leader/trainer, you will always have issues with your horse.
Ilene is on board with that thinking and is now really focusing on what she will need to do to help her horse when he goes home.
Bop/Buddy in his big boy clothes!
I get asked this question a lot by owners and folks who follow my training of horses that come here. I understand why they ask. They are interested in the progress of the horse and how he is under saddle. What I think most of them don’t know is most of the horses that come here are being ridden at home. True we do get a colt or two to start under saddle from time to time, but more times then not, the reason a horse is here is because he has other issues. Trailer loading, crowding a persons space, the list goes on.
I remember a horse came here because he was bucking his owner off. That sucks for sure. So, what I did was start the horse from the beginning of our program. That means I did not ride him for the first two weeks. We focused on his lack of respect by teaching him some skills on the ground and establishing myself as the leader in our herd of two. Around the end of the third week I rode him for the first time. When the owner arrived on the fourth week to take him home he asked me if his horse had bucked me off during his stay. I told him, no he hadn’t. The owner seemed disappointed somehow. Disappointed that I had not gotten buck off and hurt, I guess.
Now sure, most of the horses that come here don’t do a lot of things well. They don’t move forward like they should. They don’t flex like I think they should. They don’t stop well, or turn well. But the owner can fix those things in time, if they follow our program. These other issues of respect and submission are issues that are better fixed on the ground. Honestly you can’t fix the problem of lack of respect from the saddle. Those that have tried usually get bucked off and end up on the ground anyway. Having said all these things, there are people who don’t have a ground work program or their horses, have never done ground work. They get by and servive. I have never been that lucky. The times I have cut corners have resulted in someone, usually me, getting hurt. I have done many if not all of the same things that others have done with horses. I just figured out, I don’t have to take as many chances as I have in the past. The result is I’m still doing what I love, so far.
We are all in a hurry to ride our horses, me too. But we will be better served and safer, if we have our horse’s respect before we get in the saddle. Once you have your horse’s respect and can control him on the ground, most of the problems you’ve had with him in the saddle, bucking and the like, will just go away. Most of the time I never have to address the problem, it just goes away. Wish I could do that with some other issues.
Miss Hanna and her boy!
Hanna is a young lady that lives in the Membris Valley and attended our clinic there with her mother Meg. Hanna has been riding horses sense she was a little thing. Her mom sent me pictures of her when she was about 4 or 5 years old. Hanna and her mother now breed and raise some pretty nice horses. I can’t remember the name of the horse that she brought to her private lesson, but he was a colt that they had raised and were getting started. He was a big boy and had some real issues with wanting to be in your pocket. By that I mean he wanted to be in your space all the time. He was walking passed or over Hanna as she brought him to the round pen.
Hanna and her mom had never seen me work with horses before so I had the chance to really explain what we are trying to do with horses and used the round pen to teach the lesson of respect. Hanna, like so many folks, often do not know how far they need to push their horses in order to find their holes or areas where they need help. Hanna was a little shy at first but when she realized that her horse was not showing her the respect she thought she should have from him, she changed. She changed from the young woman who would let her horse, pretty much do whatever he wanted, to a TRAINER! A trainer that would not allow or tolerate his disrespectful behavior any longer. The transformation was amazing to watch and I can’t wait to get to spend more time with Hanna and Meg to see how they are progressing.
The boys here continue to make good progress. Saddled Zeb last week and he did fine with it. So we will continue with that. Tenawa will get saddled this week as well and start to teach him the concept of collection. His ground work is improving as is the Progress of Bop/Buddy. He should get his first saddle here this week. I don’t anticipate any issues with that but you never know.
Just got the call that our winter hay is ready to haul, so will have to schedule time for that this week. That means I need to do a little work on the tractor, have a fluid leak I need to fix. But, we should have enough hay to last us till spring. Yea!
Tenawa tied to the rail!
So, you’ve got your horse so he will stand tied to a safe place in your arena. You’re able to let him stand tied for say, 1 hour or so. Keep this up for several days in a row, if you can. You can add more time as he gets better and more comfortable at being tied up. This is the key to your horse learning to wait on you.
Horses that get used in the cowboy world will spend most of their time tied to a rail on in hobbles somewhere. When you get to the pens there are things that need to be done to get ready to work cattle and you will do most of that a foot. So, your horse will have to know how to stand tied without pulling back and breaking your reins. If you want to go to a roping, your horse will have to learn to stand tied to the trailer and wait for his turn to go. If you are a barrel racer, your horse will have to stand tied until it’s his turn to race. If you ride trail, your horse will have to learn to stand tied while you take care of necessary business behind a bush from time to time.
This is a skill that is worth taking the time to teach.
What if your horse wants to paw the ground while being tied up. There are many things you can do to help your horse get over this, but what I have found to be the best is just let him alone. If you have worked him before you tie him up, he will be ready for a rest. And, once he sees the value of being tied to the rail he will quickly learn that it’s a good time to sleep. Most of the time, not all the time, but most of the time the bad habit of pawing the ground will go away in time.
Tenawa’s owner was here yesterday for a couple of hours to see her boy and to work with him. We worked on his round pen skills and showed her what she would need to do when she takes him home. Ilene did a great job and could see areas where she could make improvement. Next week when she comes back we will work on his ground skills and teach her what Tenawa knows. I think they are going to make a great team.
The Gray horse known as Bop of Buddy is doing great as well. We spent a lot of time yesterday working on his ground skills. After the day where he thought he could go wherever he wanted, he has really settled down to trying hard to understand what I want and then giving it to me.
Next week both horses will get saddled and start working these exercises with their working cloths on.
Found my camera yesterday so hope to have more pictures of the boys working.
The boys tied
Have you ever heard the saying: “Good things come to those who wait”? Well good things come to horses who “learn” to wait. Patience is a skill that horses have to learn. Like us, they are not born with it. So how do I teach my horse this skill? Another good question.
The best way I have found, and countless others over the eons of time, is to tie our horses up. This is a method of teaching horses patients. Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not suggesting that you go out today and tie your horse to the rail and expect him to lick this skill off the fence. This, like every other skill you will teach your horse, will take time. Some horses figure it out faster then others. Some don’t like it at all at first. So, you need to prepare your horse to “learn” to stand tied. The last thing you want to do is take a horse that has been standing in a stall all night long, feed him sweet feed, which I think you should never do, and then take him and tie him to the rail. That’s like giving a kid two or three candy bars and then trying to make him sit in a chair. It’s probably not going to happen. So how do I do it?
I usually will tie a horse to the rail for his first time, or for the first time that I tie him to the rail, after we have worked. In other words after he has worked, round penned, or ground work, or work from the saddle, and I know that he would just like to stand still for awhile. He is more apt to see the value in being tied, and left alone, if he wants to stand still. Then I will find a safe place where I can tie him. Don’t tie him to a fence that is made of panels. A tree is usually not a good idea either. I have seen horses run off with a panel fence and a tree tied to their halter. Don’t tie him to a low rail like a hitching rail next to the barn. I have seen horses end up over the top of the rail, upside down between the rail and the barn. I can’t tell you enough times: Make sure the place you are going to use to tie your horse, is safe and secure. I then use some sort of tying device. The “Clip” is the one I prefer. http://www.smarttieproducts.com/Default.aspx I don’t get paid to tell ya that, they are just the best that I have found. There are several ways to use the clip so make sure you read the directions.
The Clip allows you to tie your horse up, but also allows the horse, if he gets nervous or scared, to pull back to the end of his lead rope. I have found that most horses when they pull back will not pull back very far. Once they get a little ways away from the rail and realize that nothing is going to hurt them, they stop pulling. Now some folks wonder why in the world I would let any horse pull back and get away with it. First of all I don’t want to break the horses neck or hurt him in any way. The friction that is created with the clip makes pulling back difficult, but not impossible. Once a horse does this a few times he realizes that it’s just easier to stand there and relax.
The first few times you tie your horse up, don’t leave him alone, and don’t tie him for long periods of time. You can work up to longer time on the rail once he gets better at being patience. We will talk more about this tomorrow.
Will try and keep you updated with info on what the heck I'm doing with horses and music.