Good day with Tucson yesterday. He continues to make good progress. Will ride him again today. He is starting to understand that he has a job to do and that job is to take care of me when we are out. He is a sweet horse and Jan, his owner is really going to enjoy working with him down the road.
My neighbor and Pal, Mark, sent me some info he found on the use of aroma therapy, thought some of you may enjoy it.
Here are some scents that Catherine Bird uses for her horses.
Basil The dressage horse and rider always benefit from a quick sniff of basil before a test, as it sharpens the mind and helps retain focus on the task at hand. Basil is useful if you and your horse are nervous where you both can't keep your mind on the test ahead. It is also useful if you have scheduled a third test and fatigue is setting in. Basil will help draw on inner strength and access your memory to help you and your horse through your test.
Bergamot Bergamot is a favorite for dealing with "butterflies' in the tummy nerves. It eases away anxieties and clears the air so pre event jitters do not incapacitate you. It encourages you and your horse to overcome the stress of competition and allays frustration.
Chamomile It is traditionally the 'tantrum' remedy in small children and will calm your horse in minutes if he is being the difficult demanding child. Chamomile gives patience, peace and calms the mind. It is highly sedative so do not use on a mild behavior, keep it for the serious 'refusal' or difficulty in getting your horse back on the trailer to go home.
Eucalyptus It is also an essential oil that freshens up an environment and useful to have around for horses that are confined in stables for long periods of time as it lifts the spirits and creates a 'bush' feel in the stables. For the dressage competitor it is useful to use with a horse that performs to his best in the morning and has drawn an afternoon test. It is believed to have an uplifting action on low biorhythm patterns.
Frankincense This is the 'fear' essential oil and useful when you can feel a heart beat rise between your legs when you most need your horse to compete. It can alleviate fear of the future and worth you inhaling if you are prone to worrying excessively before each test. Your thoughts do affect your horse so clear those in yourself and your horse is less likely to show this behavior. Frankincense also clears feelings of indecision.
Geranium This essential oil balances hormones and its moods. I like using this on young, moody, and sometimes-temperamental fillies, though it's very useful with mares at a dressage competition if they are on the brink of going into season and being 'mare-ish'. Geranium is also useful when you need to negotiate a dispute and a very useful oil for judges or scorers to have wafting around the clubhouse if a competitor disputes their marks. Lavender Lavender will take the heat out of emotionally steamy situations. When stress is causing disruptions to preparations during a competition, have lavender on a tissue or as a perfume, it will help minimise heated altercations between competitors and grooms. It will calm anxiety that expresses itself with sharp angry words. It will also calm a sensitive horse.
Lemongrass This oil is a favourite to burn at home when learning dressage tests, or to sniff while walking the course the day before a cross-country event. It helps you retain your learning. Lemongrass is a good essential oil to have on hand if you or your horse are not a morning person and have drawn a test at the beginning of the day.
Vertiver Vertiver is not usually a favorite amongst riders, though horses gravitate to it when they need a good solid grounding essential oil. It addresses debility as well as physical and mental exhaustion. If you are a competitor caught in the trap of using sedatives, vertiver will help you ease your horse off them and then you will find your riding improves naturally.
A couple years ago I had the chance to work on the ranch, almost full time. We had a crew of four most of the time. Nancy, Marge, Butch, Charles and me. That’s who you see in the picture. You don’t see Nancy cause she was taking the picture. It was a lot of work and long days in the saddle, but we had a great time and became pretty good friends.
Marge was living a dream she had, had for years as a young girl and here she was working on a cow outfit. She became a “hand” that year. Being sent out on her own to cover her own section of country and never missed a cow.
Thing have changed a bit around here on the ranch. Butch has moved on to work for another ranch south of us. We don’t seem him much at all these days and I know he don’t even know how to turn a computer on. So, chances are pretty good he will never see this blog.
Butch and I spent a lot of time together over the years, looking for cattle, moving cattle and checking country. I have been with Butch on a couple of occasions when he has gotten in a wreck with horses. Once I watch as his horse bucked him off into a barbwire fence. He was pretty scratched up, but he got back on his horse and we finished the days work. I was there when his best dog, Shadow died. Was a sad morning. But, after the got her taken care of, he finished the day. We did a lot of things together that year, saw a lot of country and told a lot of stories.
The hardest working couple in the cow business, in my opinion, is Charles and Nancy. Charles always had a story; they were good ones, and Nancy a smile.
Things have changed for sure, but time has a way of doing that to a guy.
I was working with a fella the other day when I mentioned Herb’s Cowboy Man Bar! I was telling him what Herb has, the smells, and he told me that he uses lavender when he is working with horses. I asked him why, he said that it seems to calm them down. Now I don’t know much about that kind of thing but this guy does.
So, I’m going to get one of those lavender bars from www.herbsbodyshop.com and give it a try. There are lots of times when I wish a horse would calm down just a little. I’ll let you know how it works.
If you have ever experienced something like this, using a scent to calm a horse down, I would really be interested in hearing your story. Just comment at the end of this blog.
Tucson after a long day.
Had a pretty good day with Tucson on the trail yesterday. He continues to make good progress. He was a little shaky when we left the barn. As you go down the drive way there are several things, all of which he has seen before, but he was a little nervous and acted like he did not want to go out the gate. I quickly put him in a couple little circles and he settled right down. We went thru the gate without issue and down the road.
We did a little round pen work yesterday before the ride just to see if he remembered how he was suppose to act and if he would catch me. I had to spend a little time with him, reminding of what to do, but he got it. It only took about 10 minutes or so. That’s good.
Tucson is moving forward with very little cue from me anymore. That was an issue his owner had with him when he first got here. So, that’s good. He is getting better about standing to be saddled and unsaddled. He is getting better about standing still to be mounted and dismounted. He is taking the bit with a little less resistance each time and is learning to lower his head to have the bridle removed.
All in all he is doing well. Will do more of the same today.
Wanted to share something that has been happening here at the ranch. Many years ago I was giving a fiddle. I mean like 35 years ago. Friends of my wife’s family gave it to me at the time.
Anyway I have been hunting to find who the maker of this fiddle was. The woman that gave the fiddle to me was 12 years old when her father had the fiddle made for her back in Illinois in 1945. Well I was looking online again, as I have for some time now, when I came across a fella who said he was the grandson of the fiddle maker. I tried to contact him via that site but could not do it. So, I tried a shot in the dark at a different web site and 2 days later I received and email from the grandson of Herbert Himmler the fiddle maker.
We email for a couple of days and then he forwards my email to him to his father, the son of Herbert Himmler. I can’t tell you how excited Kathy and I have been to get the chance to learn more about this great maker of fiddles. The son sent us newspaper clipping of interviews with Herbert, and we have had the chance to get to know him better. I is a heck of a fiddle. I have had other great fiddle player play on it and they all agree that it is one fine fiddle…
Herbert passed away in the 90's so I won't get to meet him, but it has been a real treat to meet some of his family.
Thought I’d share.
Well another cold morning. It should warm up today to around 50 which for the end of Dec. is not bad at all.
Fixing to head over to the barn and feed the horses and begin another Friday with them.
Tucson has been working on just staying calm when things start to happen around him. He is doing pretty darn well at it too. We are doing less and less ground work and doing more and more riding outside. It’s pretty hard to get a horse going along very far in their training in only 30 days. But his owner Jan will be able to build on what we have accomplished and he will be just fine with her.
I remember a fella asking me, once when he want to bring a colt for me to start, “what will my horse know how to do in 30 days?” I told him that it was pretty much up to the horse. How well does he learn, how willing he is etc. But for the most part, I will just be getting to know the horse’s name in 30 days. What I mean by that is, I will just be getting to know how well the horse can learn and how willing he is. In 30 day he starts to get to know me too. Gets to understanding that I’m the leader and he will have to figure a way to get along in a two-legged world. I have found this to be true time and time again. Some horses takes longer then 30 days to get them to where they are ready to give up their place in the herd. It’s that magic pill I talk about, Time!
A good friend, Dave and his wife Sheryl, lost their son Jake in a car accident yesterday morning. I have no idea how they must feel. I can’t imagine losing one of our daughters to death. So hug your kids, call your mom or dad and tell them how much they mean to you. While you can…
Gave Tucson the day off yesterday after his scary ride with the cows. I don’t usually do that cause most horses are not here that long and there is a lot to get done before they go home. But, I think there are times when it’s better for the horse if he has a light day the next day after a scary or a very hard day in the saddle. Let’s them know that there is a reward for their hard work, even if they don’t really have a clue what I mean or why I’m doing it.
Is pretty windy and cold out this morning so will probably just do some ground work and ride in the arena working on some more technical stuff. He heads home soon and I think he is going to make his owner a really good trail horse. Jan, his owner, has done a good job getting him ready for his start and I’m sure she will continue to do the same when he gets home.
Tucson watching cows!
Tucson and I spent the day yesterday making the big ride from Ted’s barn, where I keep outside horses for training, to our place. We encountered some new things for Tucson along that ride.
First we passed a windmill, drinker and black rubber mineral feeder all in the same location. Tucson was sure enough nervous as we passed by, but he kept his cool and we made a few zig zags to get thru the obstacle course. Then thru a wire gate. Not long after going thru the gate we came to 4 very scary black cows. I’m not sure if he has ever seen a cow before or not but from the way he acted I don’t think so.
His reaction to these things did not come as a surprise to me at all. He acted like any other young, inexperienced horse would act. The really good thing is, he did not loose his cool and try to get away or get so excited that I could not control him. The ground work pays off here.
After we left the 4 scary cows, right away we saw a coyote, a pretty big one, and Tucson eyed him as we crossed over a saddle in the mountain. Not long after that, more cows. By now Tucson was still watchful but was starting to settle. A darn good ride. When we got to out barn I tide him to the hitching post and went for the truck and trailer for a ride back to Ted’s barn.
All of these issues Tucson has with cows or anything that he has not encountered before will just take time for him to get over. He will not be here long enough for that to happen, but his owner is certainly capable of getting him experience in the outside world.
Car on the cow drive!
Another week is here and Tucson is ready to go. He is really making progress. We are taking longer and longer rides and each ride is a little better then the ride before. Am hoping that I will be able to ride him from Ted’s barn, where he is now, to our house. It’s about a 3-hour or better ride with lots of changes in the terrain.
We will continue to work on hobbles with him the rest of this week and that should take care of his hobble training. He is standing tied like a champ and all the little things that I think are important are coming a long well too.
What little things, you ask? Things like, standing to be mounted and dismounted. Lowering his head to have the bridle put on and lowering it to have the bridle taken off. Waiting, after being mounted, for me to tell him what to do. In other words, not walking off whenever he feels like it. And, when we are on the trail and stop, to wait for me to tell him to move forward.
He is having no problem moving forward with just the lightest of signals, which is way good.
He heads home soon.
Out the back door!
Started raining last night. It has been a long time sense we have seen any rain. I mean a really long time.
Think I will grab a cup of coffee and just enjoy!
Will try and keep you updated with info on what the heck I'm doing with horses and music.