Friday, July 26, 2013
Wednesday, July 17, 2013
On rope halters, hackamores, bitless bridles—’natural’ or potentially harmful? | Horse Wellness Blog
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I felt that this was a thought provoking article :) Useful stuff to think about!
Tuesday, July 16, 2013
I think it can be rather telling what people think of you when they try to sell you something. For example, one tack shop owner loaned me a $2200 saddle package for my saddle fitting today and didn't blink an eye. She didn't indicate she had any doubts as to whether I could spring for it or not, and trusted me to take care of it. Another tack shop owner whose shop I visited afterward looked me up and down and loaned me a $200 saddle. She also kept trying to tell me I don't know what size saddle I should really be in, and still tried to tell me I should be in a smaller saddle when the 16.5" Passier she had me sit in was pressing so hard up against my derriere that it made my tush look like it had rolls. Somebody doesn't know how to properly fit a client to a saddle... At any rate, I was a bit miffed over the second experience. Just proves that my favorite tack shop in town is my favorite tack shop for a very good reason. Many thanks to the people who work there who are always so friendly and helpful :)
Swiss Miss has joined my motley crew! Swiss Miss is a 2009 rose gray Thoroughbred/pony cross who belongs to my friend Danielle of Mardi Gras Time Stables in Pensacola, FL. She is up with me for training for the next year or so, unless she becomes a longer term resident ;)
Saturday, July 13, 2013
Yesterday, it was a two part day. We won't go into the details, but we'll suffice it to say that he survived the errors of his ways and made it to the next part, the fun part. On the way to dinner, he starts telling me how he thinks it would be a really great thing if we had a hundred or so acres of land and made a real working farm out of our place. He said he thought he would finally get on board with me having as many animals as I wanted. He started going on about goats, dairy cows and beef cattle, sheep, poultry and water fowl, and making our own hay. A big barn with an indoor arena, and farm hands. I couldn't help but laugh a little, but I love how my city-bred husband is so adaptable to my farm ideas. I think in order to make something like that work, we'd have to start with either something already established or just the land and a cabin, and cultivate from there. He's cool with my gardening ideas, and supports my desire for a large tractor with a front loader.
Now if I can just talk him into however many dogs, cats, and horses I want, we'll be good...
Friday, July 12, 2013
Your daily rant over local idiots. I feel better now, thanks. Don't be brain dead and ride."
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Thursday, July 11, 2013
Sunday, July 7, 2013
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Oh. Dear. God.
FUNNIEST thing I've read all day! From a blog I checked out. This can reply to human relationships and new relationships with a colt in training, too ;)
"If you're in a relationship, sometimes you probably feel like you're fighting a caged death-match with an invisible spider monkey. And the monkey is rabid. And you don't have any legs. And then a buffalo jumps in there and starts head-butting everything and your face catches on fire and there is a general atmosphere of chaos."
Thursday, July 4, 2013
The Baby Horse Blues | The Chronicle of the Horse
The Baby Horse Blues
Not showing at the Upperville Horse Show (Va.) this year was a victory. It meant one thing; that I’d sold the horses that were ready to compete at 1.0-meter and above. And that’s the point of this exercise, right? But as I stood on the sidelines, I couldn’t help but be bummed that I wasn’t galloping around the grassy ring. Success can sometimes mean sitting out some shows.
Selling horses is both exciting and stressful, but once everything’s said and done there’s a bit of a slump that accompanies starting up the next batch of greenies. I jokingly call it the “Baby Horse Blues.” Because, yes, the newbies could be the next Donner or Touch Of Class, but in the beginning, riding them around at a show feels a lot like rowing a leaky boat across the Atlantic. I find that I have to recalibrate my riding whenever I start a new horse. I have to remind myself to ride this horse on this day and not get hung up comparing new horses to sold horses. And that’s not easy.
An early phase of the baby horse blues is what I call “the abandonment of ego.” It happens, whether you want it to or not. You’d gotten pretty comfortable; riding around on something reasonably broke in public. You’d even been able to stand still at the in-gate to learn a course. You hadn’t unintentionally cleared a warm-up area in at least a month. And then the natural thing happens, the right customer meets this well-tamed creature that you’d become so fond of and buys him. And you, the picture of sophistication (his mane had even started to lay down on the right side of his neck!) are jolted unceremoniously back into the unplanned dressage movement, romping ridiculousness of baby horse blues. Show reports change from, “great trips, bringing home primary colored ribbons!” to “kept all four feet on the ground.” Humility is an undervalued trait in riding. If you ever feel you’re lacking it, just take a baby thoroughbred to his first public outing.
And this is not for lack of preparation. Don’t think that I just go out and throw the kids in the deep end of the pool without a few rudimentary swimming lessons. Those early lessons, frequent field trips and daily training help prepare the young horses for the busy show environment. But nothing compares to the warm-up area at Culpeper during the Level 0s and 1s. Because, the heck with the deep end of the pool, you’re chucking the kids out in the open ocean with 30 or so others just learning to swim themselves.
So how do they go from kangaroo-hopping, trembling time bombs to child-safe mounts? Simple, practice. Lots and lots of practice. Make mayhem their new normal. The next phase of the baby horse blues is “going and doing.” The only way to teach them to go and do is to go and do. And yes, leave your ego behind. People underestimate just how much time and sweat equity goes into civilizing these horses. It’s not about having the nicest, fanciest facility or the biggest show budget; it’s about devoting the time and energy to make it happen. Most of the fundamental off-the-reservation training takes place not in the show ring, but in the warm-up ring. That’s where they really learn to exist at a horse show. That’s where they get broke.
Generally, my horses don’t show on their first outing. They go along for the ride and learn how to function in the show environment without the added pressure of competition. And taking that pressure away is key to their success. The only way to teach them to take a breath and relax in a stressful situation is if you can do it yourself. That might mean not competing.
If you’re devoted to the success of your young horse, you know that sitting out this show and focusing on the basics will better prepare him to compete at his next outing. I spent a thrilling four days at HITS Culpeper (Va.) this spring on a horse that couldn’t trot. In the beginning of the week he had two speeds—stationary trembling and romping. He was totally overwhelmed by the environment. Yes, I could have longed him into exhaustion, but that’s not training. Don’t get me wrong, longeing has its place. But this horse wasn’t wild; he was terrified, so making him tired wasn’t the answer. Four days of methodical training in the ticketed warm-up area was. And no, he wasn’t perfect at his next show, but he could trot. And the show after that, he laid down a double-clear round at the Loudoun Benefit in the .95-meter class and walked around the grounds flat-footed. A week late for Upperville, but a huge accomplishment for my baby horse. I walked out of the ring grinning; I could see the baby horse blues ebbing away.
Hunter/jumper trainer Paige Cade works at Tebogo Sport Horses, a facility in Delaplane, Va., devoted to the re-training and sales of off-the-track Thoroughbreds.