An ongoing journal of the re training of my young OTTB Moose and the daily adventures in my life with my horses!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Still Here

That's right I am still here! We are alive I swear, haha! Life is good but it is BUSY. I am not complaining though because I am just thankful to have work. The horses are doing good. Moose has learned a few tricks of his own which I will post pictures of. I have been riding him in the side pull bitless bridle and he loves it. I ha vent jumped him in it yet and haven't jumped much lately anyway. Haven't had the time or finances for lessons and I don't want to over face him or do anything that is gonna back track us so we have been mostly doing ground work and simple things in the saddle like leads and getting him using that butt!
May's mohawk is looking awesome! I have to get some more recent pictures to post on here. It grew SO fast! Or at least it seems like it grew really fast.  I have a barrel race this weekend and I plan on taking her. Hopefully I will get to practice today or tomorrow a little bit. Mostly I have just been exercising her at night because it has been so HOT!!!
Riley is also doing wonderful. There is a lot coming up for him that I never even imagined we would be doing. One of my racing friends wants us to come and put on a show for her camp kids. I agreed as it is good exposure for me and Riley and getting him used to doing all his tricks in other environments. So far we have hauled two diff places to practice them and he has done FABULOUS! I was so proud of him that he was trusting and comfortable enough to do everything in unfamiliar places with nothing but the neckrope I ordered for him ( which I LOVE!!) Monday I even took him on a bridleless bareback trail ride at one of the barns we hauled to and he did perfect! 
I know the blog was made for Moose and lately I have talked mostly of Riley but it is a blog for all my horses and I mostly talk about what is going on at the time. Right now all this stuff with Riley is whats going on and it is a big deal to me. A couple of weeks back we were asked to do a training demo in Sept for the AL Horse Council, the Coosa Country Horse clinic. Of course I was surprised but excited (and nervous!) about the opportunity but accepted. I know it will be a lot of fun and good for both of us. Riley and I have done lots of competitions but nothing like this so it will be interesting to see how we do. I have trust and faith in my boy. Their expecting a big turn out. One of my friends is doing a Western Dressage clinic which I think is AWESOME! They will also have tons of different booths of everything you could imagine.

Now onto the pictures! Most of the time the pictures I have are crappy cell phone pictures but for once I have some camera pictures ..Yay! Some of them are still cell phone pics but most of them aren't. The first pictures are of course Riley performing some of his tricks. The first one usually gets a good reaction. I cued Riley to yawn and than made a funny face :) The second set of pictures are all Moose doing a few tricks (smile and lay) and than the last one is of Riley when I rode him bridleless bareback on that trail ride.  Also my birthday is next week and guess what I asked for? A camera! Yay for no more crappy cell phone pics and I can really get back to blogging. Hope everyone is doing well and enjoying their week!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Updates Galore!

As you can imagine I have been very busy these last few weeks so therefore I haven't posted in a while but I have plenty of updates on everyone! Ill start with Moosey. He is doing well and steadily (yet slowly) gaining weight.  I finally got the bitless bridle from one of my friends to try. ALL my horse's ride wonderful in it. Moose loved it but did better in the bitless side pull bridle and even offered both lateral and vertical flexion in it :) I plan on jumping him in it this afternoon when it cools down.

May is in heat so she is just as sassy and 'witchy' as ever. I had a barrel race yesterday and took her. She was fired up and ran a decent first pattern but I over rode her and caused some issues with first that cost us a lot of time. Our second run I loosened up on her a lot and tried hard to trust her to do her job and she ran much better. About a second off the fastest time of the day and we have a lot of room for improvement. Her mohawk is growing in great and stands up about 4 inches now and I love it! I ride her in the bitless bridle at all times now except when we are practicing. She is much calmer and does really well with it. Her head tossing and 'tourrettes' is almost non existent. I'm thrilled with the difference!

I pulled Riley up on Tuesday to see that he had a cut on his leg. Luckily it wasn't very bad and it didn't involve any tendon or joints. I hosed it really well and put some SSD and wrapped it for a few days and gave him some bute. There was minimal swelling. It was on his hind left cannon. I have a pic of it but this was from yesterday so it looks a lot better than it did. Riley also had his back shoes pulled on Thursday and now only has front shoes. Hopefully we can eventually get him back to be comfortable barefoot. As for the trick training it is going well and he is loving his new job. The lay is getting better and better as is the sit. I have some pics of him sitting at Liberty and rearing bridless and bareback. Right now he is learning to yawn on cue and bow on one knee which will progress to a full kneel. I am so proud of him and can not wait to teach him everything and hopefully one day we will get to the point we can do it all at Liberty, the tricks and the riding, that would be my dream :)

So that is all the updates for now. More coming soon and more pictures also. I can't decide whether I want to do Riley his own blog for the trick training and such or just keep it like it is. Obviously half the time I dont have time to post on this one but summer is a week away and I will have more help and more time so we will see.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Bitless Bridle?

Around the barn May is known as Maniac May or just "Tourrette's Mare". It's not meant in a mean way, it just suits the way she is always bobbing her head like she has a tic. From the moment the bit goes in her mouth or even in a hackamore.  Its not uncontrollable and shes not THROWING her head. Just bobbing it almost constantly. Especially when we practice and she has her barrel racing bit in. I've often wondered if it was just anxiety\excitment or the bit or perhaps a combination of the two. The last few times we have practiced she has shown lots of improvement and I really can't wait until the next race. I think she will be ready to clean house :-)
On the other hand I have been surfing around on the Internet for bridles without bits but specifically designed for other words not just a halter and lead rope lol. I know control comes from the riders seat\body\voice etc and how well the horse is schooled. Not from a bit but I would still like something just a tad more than just a halter for trail rides and stuff like that. I came across the Dr. Cook's bitless bridle and have been decided I might want to give it a whirl. I would still use her regular bridle on her when we compete but I think she would do good in this at all other times. If nothing else I KNOW it would do fine on Riley. He can ride in nothing. I also believe Moose would go fine in it too. He doesn't fight the O ring snaffle I use on him but he is very soft and sensitive for the most part and less is more in this aspect right? If anyone has any experience with one, let me know :) Either way I think it will be worth giving a try. I have to wait a little while to order one though as I just had two vet bills so I have to replenish my funds! One was for their coggins and the day after I pulled May up and her eyelid was swollen pretty bad so I had the vet out just to be safe. She was on banamine for a few days and an eye ointment and I put a mask on her. We think it was just the wind caused irritation and she rubbed it until it swelled. We still are watching it just to be safe as it is the same eye as she has the cataract from an injury before I owned her.

In other news Moosey is doing well. Putting on weight still slowly but surely. He is completely shedded out of his winter coat and he is VERY shiny. I didn't have time to ride him but I lunged(sp? I never know the correct spelling for this) him in the arena for a little while just to exercise him. After a while on the line I lunged him at Liberty and he was such a good boy. Once he got the idea I could send him out than bring him back in trotting with just my voice and body language. I was very proud of him! Maybe I will get to ride him this afternoon.  

Riley is doing great as well. Been working on the trick training and we are having a lot of fun with it. He is getting the smile a lot better and now lays all the way down and holds the sit longer too. We started the beginnings of the Spanish walk and he is catching on fast. What a good boy! Pics and video of all three coming soon.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Riley's Trick Video

Here is one of the videos of Riley working on his tricks. Please read the description before commenting. We still have a long way to go and a lot we wish to accomplish but he is doing so well and I am very proud of him :) Also this is my first time posting a video to the blog so if it doesn't turn out right or is too small or hard to see. Here is the link: 

Update on Moose and May coming later today or tomorrow so stay tuned. Hope everyone is having a great weekend!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Easter Trail Ride

A few people from the barn went on a long trail ride at the Russel Lands at Lake Martin. I chose to take Riley as I wasn't sure if Moose was ready for that kind of ride and May....well she isn't much fun on the trails because she is sooo hot. So I chose Mr Dependable and off we went. My friend took her really nice walking horse JoJo and we got a few pictures but nothing spectacular. The trails were great, very shaded and plenty of places to offer water and nothing too rocky or difficult. Riley LOVED the hills. Launched up them every time we got to one. I tried holding him and just having him walk up, but nope, he was determined to run up them than stop and go right back to a dead walk at the top. Silly boy! The first pic is of JoJo and Riley in the water and they both turned and looked at the same time. These were taken with a camera phone so their crappy :\ (I am getting a friend to take good video and pictures with her awesome camera of Riley doing all his "tricks" on Friday so I will upload them on here :) )but better than nothing I guess. The second pic is right after I cued Riley to sit. I thought Erica had already taken the pic so I was rewarding him and he was getting up. The third pic was after I cued him to lay than I was sliding off.  The last pic is a pic of Moose with his summer coat. He is so shiny and healthy looking. Totally different from last year. I hope he stays that way. With good nutrition and grooming it should. I rode him yesterday and it was an interesting ride. He did great at first but to the right he was pulling a lot especially in the canter. I worked until we got a decent canter both ways than just focused on the trot and getting him to relax and really use his hind end. I wanted him to soften and give me a few laps of nice trot work to the right and than we called it a day. Hopefully with time we will get into a good rhythm. I haven't been able to afford our weekly lessons with P lately but have been taking with N every other Sunday in return for working her horse. She has been helping us with our downward transitions which is sometimes the biggest problem. After a few though he usually softens and does some OK transitions. Not the best by any means but we are both learning. At this point I'm mostly happy that he is happy and healthy.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

May's Mohawk

Ok so a few posts back I talked about how I wanted to cut May's mane so she could have a mohawk like she had when she first came to the barn. It was about 6-8 inches tall and stood straight up and looked very good on her. She has a very thick healthy mane and a nice thick (not fat or "Cresty") neck so it also doesn't make her neck look pencil thin. Not to me anyway. So finally I cut it. It's not pretty but it will look good as it grows out and stands up. My little rocker pony :) She is always bobbing her head and has quite the 'tude. Pinning those ears at all other horse's and making mean "mare faces". lol Here are two pictures: Enjoy!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Riley The Trick Horse

I have taught Riley a lot of small tricks over the years. Mostly just for fun and because we both enjoy the bonding time on the ground. For Riley it's rewarding and engaging and a nice change. For me, well it's rewarding in a different sense and some of the tricks are just plain cute! Over the past few years Riley has learned to do two different bows, paw from the saddle, rear from the saddle, pick stuff up, shake his head yes and no, park out, half of the Spanish walk (he only does it with one leg heehee) give kisses, stretch, and open\close gates. There are always new tricks I am adding to the list (hug, sit, smile or "flehm", rear from ground, bow from saddle etc) that I want to teach him but the one I have always wanted to teach most is for him to lay down. There is just something about these incredible animals that is just amazing when they choose to trust you enough to lay down with no force. I have seen many ways to do it but I refuse to use ropes and whips. I want him to WANT to do it and NEVER feel forced. Most of the time when we work on anything it is either at Liberty or with just a halter and lead rope. He has a choice. If he decides he is not comfortable doing something or just flat out refuses than that is fine. I know he has a reason whether I know what the reason is or not.

Real quick on a side note before I go further: I know some people don't agree with trick training especially rearing and laying down and everyone is entitled to their own opinion. I agree that not all horses should be taught these things and only few people should even try. I have owned\known Riley since he was 18 months. Does that change the fact he is still a horse? Absolutely not. But I know him well enough I know what he can handle and what he can't. Most of these tricks he has known for years and we have NEVER had a problem. Not at home, not at shows. Nothing. I believe it has a lot to do with trust and never making him do anything and so he is always comfortable and never uses it as a method of evasion in an uncomfortable situation. I am also going to keep Riley for his entire life even if he was just a pasture puff. I will keep him until the day he crosses the rainbow bridge. I would not teach a horse these things and than sell them. I wouldn't sell Riley, PERIOD. I would not, myself, try to teach just any horse these tricks. Certain horses just don't seem to have the temperament. I am not saying that they couldn't be taught, just that I am not a trick training professional by any means. I'm just a girl with a very strong bond with her horse.  Ok....rant over :)

The point of all this is a few days ago I successfully taught Riley to lay down. (pictures coming as soon as I get a friend out here with a camera! Hopefully this weekend) We have been working on it from the ground. I was so proud of him that he trusted me enough to lay down in my presence with no other horses around. Last night I asked him from on his back and after 20 minutes he did it and laid down very softly. I praised him lavishly and than finished working him before we called it a night. I'm so blessed to have a horse like him. I know great horses are made but there are some things in a horse you can't change or teach. Like conformation and color but also heart, and Riley has a lot of it! I saw once in a book something that said it takes a powerful connection for two beings who do not communicate the same way to build a bond based on something deeper than words. Riley, thank you for being my heart horse.