Saturday, May 30, 2009

What You've All Been Waiting For...

Hey you little stinker, I can't see a thing when you hide behind momma...


That's better...


Awww, your so tiny...


Looks like the engine is there though...



Look at all that chrome...


Well, I'm pretty darn happy! Got a big, wide blaze, 3 little socks(two on the front, one on the back), looks like it really is going to be a nice dark sorrel, like momma...and...it's a filly. That's the breaks when you grow your own. But I can't say that I am to terribly disappointed. She's awful cute.

Ohhh, and her name is Beretta! My gun-toting friends should appreciate that.;-)

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Baby Has Arrived

Ya'll are gonna hate this...I snuck off to Colorado to spend a couple of days with My Honey...cause it's his birthday...and Chunk had her foal this afternoon!

All I know is that it is sorrel and has a lot of white on it's face.

Don't know if it is a colt or filly yet...whether that white is a blaze, a wide blaze or (crossing my fingers) a bald face. White on the legs??? But it's up and sucking...so all appears to be normal.

Chunk won't let my brother near her and the baby, so I told everyone to leave her and baby alone until I get home on Friday. Hopefully mom will take Megan to the ranch tomorrow and she will try to get some pictures with her camera phone to send me.

Everyone keep your fingers crossed that this is a colt!! I'm kind of leaning toward thinking it is, since it's just a little late!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Who They Are And Where They Came From(Part 2)

When my brother came home with his black stallion, Brown King Command, he had a particular mare in mind to breed him too, so as soon as he could, he got this mare bought and started raising babies out of her. The mare's registered name is Miss Half Leo, aka Jane. She was Leo and Three Bars breeding.

There are 6 full brothers and sisters in the herd out of this cross. One thing about old Jane, she was pretty darn consistent when it came to stamping her get, in the looks department anyway...

Leo Command, aka Leo-16y/o gelding.

Leos Bunny Command, aka Bunny-15y/o mare.

Leos Partner Command, aka Partner-14y/o gelding.

Miss Half Command, aka G(aka Miss Piggy-if there is the even a light sprinkle, this mare is rolling in the mud-sheez)-12y/o mare.

Watch Leo Command, aka Watch 9y/o mare.

Electric Command, aka Electra-8y/o mare.


When Jane was bred to the Lady Bugs Moon stallion, she produced;

Leos Miss Sugar Bug, aka-Chunk-10y/o mare. (She's getting close! Poor thing is so uncomfortable)


There's not a lot of doubt that these horses are all related is there? LOL.

The only thing Jane wasn't real consistent on was putting speed on all of her get. Three of her mares, Bunny, G and Watch are quick off the start and pack a lot of power, but they really don't have any top end speed. But looking at how they are built, that's not hard to figure out. Leo, Partner, Electra and Chunk have speed to spare though, so I suppose the old mare can't be faulted too much.

If my brother had stopped there, he would have had a pretty decent lineup of saddle horses...but figuring out when to stop has never been one of my brother's strong points. Although, I think the best horses we have came from a share deal he worked out with some friends of his. They will be coming up next.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

I Tried...

Well I tried to honor Stephanie's request to see some of how Shooter moves...

video

Guess it doesn't work when I am out there by myself-LOL.

I'll get Megan to help me get some footage one of these days.

Then we have the thundering herd....


video

More like the lumbering herd, right? LMAO!

And heaven forbid that little paint mare is not the first one out the gate-she is the PITS!

*In case you noticed it, the last paint horse out the gate is off in his stride. He has an old hoof injury that will always cause him to look lame on hard or uneven ground. I may have to have him shod in the front this year, cause I have plans for him.;)

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Job From H.......

Yea......




I thought I was just going to have to do some painting on this roofing job I was asked to help with....


Well, we are almost ready for me to start painting the new trim and such...tomorrow maybe!


Wait until you see this job!


I'm not scared of heights, but this is the steepest roof I have ever been on. Oh yea, and it's three stories up. L.O.V.E.L.Y!!!


So glad I didn't actually have to help shingle this thing. But hey, it's a paying job...I can't complain!


One bonus, there is work to be done on the inside. More along my lines of expertise...sheetrock, texture and paint. I met with the person in charge and she hired me to paint and clean it up when all the work is done. Sweeeetttttt!


This house is owned by a church group that is redoing it as a sort of hospice for their volunteers that come to the reservation to work on different projects. It's actually a really neat old house. I see a lot of potential in restoring certain things in it. After talking to this lady today, so does she! So it will be fun to work on different things in it thoughout the summer.


Of course, the downside is, that for the next couple of weeks, my horse time is going to be severely limited. Since I thought this was only going to last a couple of days, I figured the ponies could just take a couple of days off. Now I am going to have to re-arrange my schedule so I can get back to riding. Guess that means I will have to figure out what time the sun comes up, so I can ride Moon and Frosty...and Rip in the mornings. And then head out to mom's to ride Turk, Leo and Sandy in the evenings.



But, next week is My Honey's birthday and I really want to fly out for a couple of days so I can spend it with him. I can tell he is feeling like it is my turn to come visit. I can't say that I blame him. It's been quite awhile since we have seen each other. I could use a little "honey" time!


Still no baby! I swear, you all probably think I have absolutely no idea of when my mares are due. Last year, Woofer went exactly one month overdue and this year, this mare is "overdue". But I have been talking to other people in the area and almost everyone is saying their mare(s) have gone over this year. I chalk Woofer's extra month up to her age. I'm going to chalk Chunk's lack of timing on the extra cold winter we had...at least that's what the old cowboys are saying. Who knows?! I've only ever had one mare that foaled on her due date in all these years. I had to know her due date too, cause she never, EVER gave any sign she was ready...she just laid down and had a foal. Ta-Daaa!

Shooter is out in the pasture in the day now...
He's gaining some weight and learning how to be a big, tough ranch horse. It's not taking very well though. I was out helping mom do chores last night and it started raining. Guess who beat it to the gate and demanded to be let in under the barn? Great! I'm raising a sissy horse!
Mom tells everyone how spoiled he is. But I must clarify...just because my colt runs to meet me when he sees my pickup coming down the road, prefers NOT to have to suffer the elements, expects his supper on time and loves his body massages...DOES NOT MAKE HIM SPOILED! I prefer the PC term...Well loved!

Can you believe I thought this colt was going to have an ugly neck? Well, you all know how coarse and homely those foundation bred horses are...what else could I have expected? Poor plain, homely little guy anyway, he's lucky I love him, cause I doubt anyone else would want that ugly thing standing in their corral...hehehehehe.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Who They Are And Where They Came From(Pt 1)...

Andrea asked me how many horses we actually own. Weeelllll.... It depends on if you add them all together or break them down into actual ownership...

My personal herd consists of 3 geldings;Moon, Frosty and Shooter and 4 mares;Woofer(Moon and Shooter's mom), Queenie(Frosty and Beauty's mom), Chunk and Beauty.

(I just added pictures of the two I haven't recently posted pictures of.)

Woofer is 25 and in full retirement now. She was born on the river ranch but I bought her as a coming 3y/o from my dad and step-mom. She has been everywhere and done everything I ever set my crazy mind to. Poor girl! She survived it all mentally and physically-which is saying something! Not too many horses can you start in the morning with Halter and work your way through the show; Showmanship, WP, Trail, Western Riding, Jumping, Barrels, Poles...and any other gaming event you could think of. And if that wasn't enough to earn her a good retirement, she then went on and done the same thing for Megan, and went as slow or as fast as Meg asked her too. And produced 4 outstanding foals on her "down time". She's the Queen-that is for sure!


Queenie is 16 and I am going to bring her out of pasture ornament status this year and ride her. I do not want any more babies from her and will likely try to find a home for her with someone who wants a nice saddle mare or I'll just ride her. There is absolutely no sense in this beautiful mare sitting in the pasture and aging out. She may be 16, but you would never know it. She is just as youthful as her 9y/o daughter. I used this mare for Showmanship and HUS in the show ring and ran barrels, poles and playday events on her too. She has been roped off of and was used at the sale barn to move horses and cattle. I'm not interested in breeding her because I think her daughter, Beauty is a better mare. Queenie outproduced herself in all three of her foals, but I do not think she is a good nick with the new stallion and don't want to mess with finding an outside stallion to breed her too again. When my dad passed away he had 3 mares left and a few of their foals. Queenie's mom, Tardy was my "inheritance"-LOL. I took that particular mare because Tardy's mother(Senorita Tardy) was the 1978 World Champion Halter Mare.



Chunk is 10 and I bought her from my brother. He was not particularly enamored of the fillies by the Lady Bug's Moon stallion we had, although he really liked the geldings by that stud. I on the other hand, love the Lady Bug's Moon fillies and own the only two we have left-Chunk and Beauty(the other two were snapped up by barrel racers). My brother had ridden some of this stallion's geldings prior to buying him. The people who owned the stud were getting out of the "hoss raisin' bizness" and were going to can him so my brother bought him for $400. That was 13 years ago. Who says horses got cheap just cause they closed the US slaughter plants just a few years ago? Anyway, because the stallion was producing primarily fillies and my brother wanted geldings, he leased him to a friend of the family, who also raises rodeo type horses on a share deal(my brother would have gotten two geldings a year out of what this guy produced). No sooner had they got Bug's to their place and put him in with his band of mares and he was lightening struck. No more Bug's babies!


Moon is 11 and my barrel horse. His sire is also the Lady Bug's Moon stallion.


Beauty is 8 and out of Queenie(whose sire was our old King-bred stud). She is the only one we have that carries the blood of both the old King stud and the old Lady Bug's Moon stud. Personally, I think it was a great nick. And I think it will cross beautifully with the new stallion. I was far and away from home for several years and Beauty got passed over as a saddle horse. When I got home a few years ago, I did spend some time working with her and saddling her. I think she would have broke out fine, but I really just want her as a broodmare and have no intention of selling her. I can catch her, lead her, tie her, worm her and trim her feet, so it's not exactly like she is "wild". I rode her mom, I rode her breathern(both from the sire and dam), so am comfortable with what I will get as far as disposition. Since Chunk is her 1/2 sister(even though they look nothing alike)-I should get a pretty good feel for what the Lady Bug's Moon/Oklahoma Star cross will be like before I actually breed her.



Frosty is 7 and finally coming into his own. He is the result of breeding Queenie to an outside stallion(Sun Frost/Docs Decathalon) and while he has always been beautiful, I was always a tad disappointed in his mental development. Honestly, I had him pegged one step above retarded. I in no way blame the stallion, he is a really nice horse and has produced some nice arena horses. I think I might have been wrong about my big, pretty dumbo though. He acts like a totally different horse this year. It's like he finally woke up and is aware of everything around him. He is handling himself better and seems to know exactly where his feet are, so I am really excited to get to work with him. I might have a barrel horse there yet!


Shooter is a yearling and the first foal we have by the new stallion. As with everything, I hope he grows up to be a barrel horse prospect. I see plenty of speed in him. I also think he could be an awesome WP horse. He is just stays so level across the topline, is flat kneed and very tight in his hock. He's pretty elegant. As easy leaded as he is and as effortlessly as he changes leads...Western Riding? He's a tad high in the hock and doesn't stop as deep as a good reining horse prospect should, but as with all of Woofer's foals, he has a lot of break in his loin and with the right training could be a good, if not a great reining horse.

Want to be confused? K ...

Moon and Shooter are 1/2 brothers...same dam.
Frosty and Beauty are 1/2 brother/sister...same dam.
Moon, Beauty and Chunk are 1/2 brother/sisters...same sire.

No one is inbred or linebred!

So that is my bunch. Other than hopefully finding someone who might be able to use Queenie, I don't have anything for sale. Chunk will have this foal and not be bred back. I'm not into breeding every year...particularly maiden mares or new crosses. You have to have time to see what you have before you put a bunch of them on the ground. Beauty may or may not get bred this year. It depends on what Chunk shows me. If I like the foal, I will probably breed Beauty, but that will be my last breeding for at least a couple of years, because three young horses to take care of will keep me busy.





I guess that doesn't answer Andrea's question though...there are 27 horses total. I'll break down the more of the herd if you guys are interested. I'm off to do a roofing job the next couple of days though. Oh yay! Right when the temps decided to hit 90 degrees.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Big Poppa

Meg went with me to the ranch today to check mares. Yesterday I was sure my mare was getting close. Her bag had really filled up and she looked very uncomfortable. So I cancelled plans to spend Saturday night with Chris' mom and figured I would be spending tonight at the ranch, checking my mare.

Today, her bag seems to have shrunk back down a bit and she was back to hanging with the other girls...
Figures!
Cowgirl(the sorrel in the middle) is rapidly catching up to Chunk(the sorrel I am petting) in belly size, but she has not started filling in the bag yet. Honky Tonk(the red dun) isn't showing anything. I don't know if she is bred or not. I'm not crazy about the way she looks either. She is peaked through the hips and not in as good of shape as she usually is. She may have to go to mom's for some TLC. I told mom that if that was the case, I was going to haul her to the vet and have her preg tested, cause if she is open, I am going to ride her this year. She is a freaking awesome ride!

Yes, I'm standing like a dork, reaching 3 feet out there to give Chunk a little rub, cause Cowgirl has a tendency to pin her ears unexpectedly and if Chunk feels like she is cornered, she will flat run over a person to get away. I don't need run over and Chunk don't need to feel like she has to jerk around either. We must be very mindful of that precious cargo...that I wished she would pop out!:)

So with the mares all checked out, I cleaned some more on the barn and Megan gave the stud a good going over. He loves attention...
Now, before anyone freaks because I let my 15y/o daughter handle the stallion...we do have rules!

#1)First we observe. Ninety-nine percent of the time Pistol is as docile as a kitten. He loves people and begs for attention. But before we ever go strolling into his pen, we make sure he is NOT in stallion mode. It's not hard to tell the difference-head hanging over the fence begging for attention or head up and looking for other horses.

#2)The stud is always haltered while being handled. Any horse can move quickly, but a stallion can move twice as fast and even the gentlest stud has a tendency to kick out as they go by. Heard about more than one person who got kicked in the head(and died) from that happening when handling "gentle" stallions while they were loose.

We are very fortunate with this stallion, as he is exceedingly people oriented, grew up running with geldings and he has never been lippy or nippy. He was broke to ride by a guy in his 70's as a 2y/o and that guy said he was very athletic and cowy. However, the next people who owned him must have tried to "show the stud who was boss", cause he was one POed dude when he came to us. It took me a few months of handling him before that hard look went out of his eye, but once he realized that people were okay again, he has become a pocket pony. Since we have had him, we have not bothered to try to ride him, although I have saddled him several times. I may see what he remembers this next winter though. It's a shame to not at least keep him somewhat rideable.

He probably isn't everyone's cup of tea...
But if Shooter is any indication of what he produces, he'll work. His Oklahoma Star breeding should nick particularly well with the King/Sugar Bars mares we have. When I bred my Lady Bug's Moon/Leo mare(Chunk) to him, I was rather focused on the Lady Bug's Moon side of it, but since have found a very interesting article in regards to the good nick of Oklahoma Star and Leo. Would you all believe they were phenominal cutting horses in their day? Surprised me too! Not that I am particularly interested in raising cutting horses, but plenty of cow, coupled with plenty of speed is always a good thing. Another thing I hope Shooter is an indication of, is that this stud will impart a bit more length and smoothness to our somewhat blocky stock. I like stout, but some of what we have is...wow, a bit thicker than most people are looking for.

And finally, we went to the other pasture to see how my old mare is getting along...
Very well I think!
I struggled to keep weight on Woofer all winter. I knew she needed her teeth done, but couldn't seem to get the dentist to stop by the house. When he was out doing our other horses, I told him(again) that I had an old mare in dire need of a good workover, so out of the blue he stopped in one day and did her for me...and he leveled Moon up again too. She don't have much left for teeth, but he leveled her out and took a bunch off of her front teeth so she could grind again and she started gaining right away. Good enough! I think the old girl has a few more years left in her. I told her she better not getting to looking too good or I would breed her to the stud again this spring. She shook her head, kinked her tail and headed out. I guess that is a NO to any more babies! That's okay. She has given me all she ever needs to.



Friday, May 15, 2009

The Yellow Boys

Look who came to town...

It's my Frosty boy. Forgive the big feet-I just pulled him out of the pasture and haven't gotten him trimmed yet. Ugghh...besides my horses in town needing a trim, I still have the bunch on the river ranch to do. It NEVER ends!!

Anyway, this year I will have both my buckskin and my dun in town to ride. Kinda funny how it worked out that this year Megan is again riding two roans and I finally have my two yellow boys together. Varying shades of the same color. My mom and step-dad had matching horses for years. First it was a pair of bays(with similar markings), then red duns, then palominos, then paints...then more paints. And the funny thing is, they never planned it that way. It just sort of happened.

People seldom call Moon a dun...

They either refer to him as buckskin or bay. To me he is a classic dun, as is his mother. Although, my dad tried to be creative when he registered my old mare and named her color as buckskin. Which meant that they had to go back and change the color of "her" mother from dun to buckskin. So then when I registered Moon as dun, it was a mess with the AQHA. Of course, this was all before DNA testing and such. I had to send in pictures of Woofer and Moon and for good measure sent in pictures of Woofer's mom too. The AQHA concurred they were in fact all duns.

Back in the day...a horse was considered a dun if they had a dorsal stripe(with or without leg or wither barring) and a buckskin did not. But that wasn't always true.

Frosty has a dorsal stripe...

And is definitely a buckskin.

Moon has a dorsal stripe...

And is definitely a dun.

Now, with all the crazy color names, even I get confused. Dun and buckskin I can handle. For me, it's all about the brightness of the coat color. A buckskin has a brightness to their coat, a yellow or creamy undertone. A dun is dull and has a darker undertone. Start popping in some of those other color names they have come up with and I'm like...uuhhh-huhhh. Good thing I have never aspired to be a color breeder-I'm not creative enough.;) Personally, I don't really care what color a horse is, a nice horse is a nice horse. If I had to pick though...I would say, FAT is my favorite shade for any horse.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Deed Is Done

Meet my newest gelding...
Yes, yesterday I kept my appointment at the vet clinic and took my darling Shooter to meet the vet. I was all prepared to take pictures...and then I got kind of sick at the thought of gelding this guy and had to walk away while they did it. In a way, I think it was a huge mistake. But in a way, I'm relieved it's over and I don't have to think about whether I should or shouldn't anymore. It's done. It's not reversable. And now I am going to have an awesome gelding.

He weighted in at 678lbs and is just shy of 14H. That's not bad for a 11 month old colt that is not on a fattening diet. He just gets crested wheat/prairie grass hay and a 1/2 can of oats(once a day). It's obviously enough...


(whoops-this one is a little blurry)

He'll have to spend another day or two in the corral, but then we'll open the gate and let him and Blue have the option to go out and graze in the pasture. Stand back, cause he'll start growing and filling out then.

Yes, my handsome lad...

You'll be grazing on green grass soon. Instead of you watching the other horses get fat and sassy, they'll be staring at you.

Now this is the kind of tail I am praying I get on the new foal...

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

It's A Bird...

It's a plane...


It's the "Sky King" come to visit...


Now this is something you just don't usually see landing in your pasture everyday...


Teeheehee...It's my neighbor stopping for a quick visit. These are the people who run cattle at the river ranch and he was flying the property checking fences and water. The cows are coming this weekend!


Sunday, May 10, 2009

The Count Down Begins

It's that time of year again...foal watch can commence. How apprapo since it is Mother's Day!
It's going to be a bit more work this year, than last because I set up the foaling pen at the river ranch instead of bringing my mare to town. By the time the weather allowed me to get her out without giving her the trailer ride from hell over rough gravel roads, she was too close to her due date to risk moving her to unfamiliar surroundings. So I will be driving to the ranch daily to check her. My brother lives in the house there, so can keep his eye on her throughout the day.

I much prefer to have my mares closer to me, when they foal, cause I love getting to see the baby move and watch for changes...



About all I will really be able to see this year is bag action...
Hopefully, this mare shows wax before foaling. She is a maiden mare, so exactly what she will do is unknown. However, if she gives me good indication of imminent foaling, I can stay at the ranch overnight and wait for the baby. I am so excited!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Round-Up

Cleaning draws...

Megan holding the wing...

Bunching the herd...

Pushing 'em into the corral...

Unfortunately, there are no branding pictures this year. After everything was gathered, Megan and I had to count cows as they were sorted...and you do NOT mess up on the count! Once the branding commenced, Megan was busy wrestling and I graduated to brander this year. I wonder if that is a sign of my age?

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

My New Potted Plant

It just popped up one day.

You guys left some great comments on the previous post. I'm working on a couple of things...just got some superior weather and have been buuuuzzzzzyyyy! Wished I could order a month of these perfect days...70 degrees and no wind...I am in heaven. Would wishing it could last all summer be too much?

K-gotta run...got more horses to ride.;)

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Moon

On Sunday, Megan ponied Moon to the arena for me, but I did not get him rode. He was fine with that, as I let him loose to graze. One thing about him, I never have to worry about him going far when there is something to eat. And I give him every opportunity I can to stuff his face...man does this horse burn up the calories.

He is so soft from standing around the corrals all winter, there isn't much to tell about riding him. I just need to ride every day to get him legged up. At this point it is just a lot of walking, a bit of long-trotting and a little bit of loping.

He feels a lot stronger this year. He walks out better and his lope(what little I did)feels deeper and smoother. He doesn't have much for stamina, but I expected that.
Last year I had to do a lot of work to get his stifles stengthened up after his injury, but he doesn't feel weak behind now. I'm optimistic that he is completely healed and as long as I keep him running correctly, he should not reinjure himself.

For those of you who don't know the story, I let my niece use him to HS rodeo on a couple of years ago. She wasn't as good at riding a barrel horse as I was led to believe. While she didn't really do anything to injure him, the way she let him run...all strung out and in the wrong lead going to first, resulted in him hanging his hind toes in some deep, wet sand and he pulled his stifles. I lost that year on him, plus had to go back to basics to get him running correctly again the next year. So basically, I lost 2 years. Unfortunately, it caused a lot of hard feelings when I told her she could not use him anymore(irregardless of the injury). Family is family, but my barrel horses are off limits now.

I had thought about letting Megan use him for her HS rodeos this year, I trust her. But since Moon has found another gear or two, Meg said "No Thanks". She is going to stick with her blue roan horse. She may not win, but she will be riding a horse she is comfortable on. For that reason, she is only entered in the Regional rodeo. We skipped all of the practice rodeos going on.

I have to laugh at a lot of these parents that are so insistant that their kids rodeo(4-H, HS and Little Britches). For a lot of them, it's all "Go, go, go" and quite frankly...their kids suck. They are riding new horses every year and they never get any better. Poor Megan, she was cursed to be born into a house, where you have to at least try to do things correctly and show improvement before you can compete at those levels. Besides, a good majority of those kids graduate and have nothing to do with rodeo again. Megan enjoys what she gets to do and has the rest of her life to decide if she wants to go fast or not. I'm certainly not going to push her.

My, don't I sound high and mighty? I'm really not. I do think every kid should be given the opportunity to rodeo(or show). It's a proven fact that these kids are less likely to get into trouble with drugs/alcohol or the law. They have to pay attention if they want to rodeo, cause the rules for some of these organizations are very strict. So if it keeps them out of trouble...good! I just wished some of them would put more time into trying to improve over the years. But hey, at least we don't have as much of a problem as some other states do with the parents going out and paying HUGE sums of money for NFR quality horses so their kid can win. Most of the kids who win earned it. There is a bright side to everything!

We had to git headed for home, cause these bad boys were headed our way...
All we got was some thunder out of it. As much as I hate to say it, we really could stand a shot of rain, so the grass keeps growing. Looks like Friday...maybe!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Quiet Legs

Last night I had the 1st 4-H horse practice of the year and while only one family brought their horses to town, we went ahead and worked on some specific exercises. Having only a couple of kids to work with was actually an advantage. But talk about having to work with polar opposites.

The neighbor's kid was riding his dad's horse. A horse I dearly love. He is a tremendously athletic bay gelding named, Fly...and I think he could fly. What I wouldn't give to be able to start this horse on barrels and poles.

(Sorry, I took the camera, but got busy with the kids and forgot to get it out of the pickup.)

Dad has been using Fly to rope and tag calves in the pasture, so he was a tad on the hot side and boy oh boy was that bothering this kid. The harder he worked to get Fly to stand still, the hotter Fly got with him. So I spent quite a bit of time just working with the boy just getting him to relax, lengthen his reins and let Fly walk out. But like most people who get nervous, all he could focus on was getting this horse to stand still. Soooo, we spent a lot of time walking up the fenceline, practicing getting him to stop square, stand for a second, roll-back off the fence and walking down the fence in the other direction. In the kid's mind, we were simply working on standing quietly, but actually we worked on getting him to sit deeper in his saddle, getting him to loosen his reins, teaching him how to sit deep and ask for a quiet, square stop and also how to cue his horse for a correct turnaround. Once the boy got focused on the exercise and quit worrying about Fly standing still, the horse calmed right down. He's a good horse. He's a broke horse. A loose rein and quiet legs are relaxing to him and once he gets those, he goes right back to quiet, old ranch horse mode. Then we were ready to work on some walk-over poles and back throughs. With this kid the primary goal is to get him quieter with his hands and legs. He is over-cueing in a big way. The thing is, this kid can ride. He's been horseback since he was a baby and riding in the pasture he just rides along. When he gets in the arena, he thinks he has to "do" more. We made progress. It's going to take quite a bit of work to get him consistent though.

His dad was riding a colt and about half way through the practice, we got to see quite the bronc ride. The squirrely little brat he was riding bucked right through the walk-over poles and never touched a single pole. It was a good show!

So then it was on to working with my girl and her blue roan horse...
Big Rip is not a horse that gets excited about very much.Any excess energy he has comes out in his head and neck NOT his feet. Rather than get chargy or humpy, he goes to twisting and shaking his head. His feet lack any energy whatsoever. Megan has always been a kid who rides with very quiet legs. Too quiet a lot of the time. Because she doesn't use her legs to create energy and drive, her horses always have a tendency to get strung out behind. Last year, she had gotten pretty good about using her leg...because we WORKED on it incessantly. We are kind of back at square one on that. Interestingly, I used the same exercise for her to get Rip driving up underneath of himself and moving his shoulders as I did for the other kid, except at a trot. Trot down the fence, sit deep for a nice, square stop, lots of bump, bump, bump, to get Rip to roll back on the fence and more bumping to get him to drive off in a trot going the other direction. I just wasn't seeing a lot of bumping going on. So Rip was doing what was natural for Rip, rubbernecking through the turn, leaving his shoulder hanging out there and kind of flopping around through the turn like a dying fish. Ummm NO!

Megan was whining about not having her spurs and I could see that she was getting a little frustrated. She shuts down when she gets frustrated, as do most of us, so I asked her if I could ride her horse for a minute, so she could watch. Rip and I cruised down the fence, stopped and when I asked him to turnaround, he tried that dying fish flop with me and I stuck the boots to his outside shoulder. He turned around. We did the same thing the other way. I could feel him wake up and start paying attention. It only took two times either direction and voila...he was moving those shoulders again. He's not ignorant, just lazy.

Megan had been having trouble getting Rip into his right lead again too. I suspected from watching her is was simply a timing issue, but it took us months last year to teach him how to pick that lead up, so I went ahead and did some two-tracking with him, some shoulder in, shoulder out and hip in, hip out(bastard dressage at it's best;) exercises and he popped right into his right lead when I cued for it. Another issue that was easily resolved by using a more active leg on him.

I will say one thing for my girl...if she sees that someone else can get her horse to do something easily, she is very good about acknowledging she is the one who needs to work smarter(A lot of the time it is not about working harder, it's about working smarter) and will get back on and be prepared to do things differently to get the desired results.

At first, I was a tad disappointed that more kids had not shown up for the practice, but after working with just two of them for an hour and a half, I was really glad there weren't more there. Once I get Megan riding right again, she won't need much attention, but I know some of these other kids are going to require a ton of one on one time.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Small Town Saturday Nite

The only thing better than getting to spend the day at a rodeo...


Is getting to head to the bar later for a dance...

video
Even if it is a 50 mile drive to get there-LOL. I love this little bar in the middle of nowhere. The band is awesome and the people are just good old-fashioned rancher/cowboy types.

It's like stepping back in time to when I was growing up and my own home town used to have a lot of dances. People came from everywhere to dance, socialize and have a good time. Ahhh, the good old days...it's nice to know that things haven't completely changed.

The Forgotten One

I've been so involved with getting "the herd" going that I have forgotten about the most important one of the whole bunch...at least he is the most important to me...
Yea...It's time to get busy with my competitive horse. Sheez-what was I thinking?

This has always been a "flaw" for me. I love training. Usually when a horse gets to a competitive level...I sell him. I told myself several years ago that Moon was not for sale. You have no idea how hard it was to turn down a couple of offers for him. But, I said "No, this was the horse that I get the chance to be competitive on"...and here I am spending all my time on others...again.

I think part of it is because broke horses are boring to me. Moon is only a challenge in terms of his distinct personality and that only really shows up when he is trying to bully other horses or is guarding his feed. Other than that he's a pretty bland horse to ride on a daily basis. I got a kick out of that last year at the barrel races though. He ambles around and it takes some work to make sure he is properly warmed up. No one looked twice at him. He certainly does not act like a competitive barrel horse. Go fast only clicks when they open the gate and he sees the barrels. Every single time we finished a run, I would see people looking at him and you could just see the confusion on their faces. He would immediately go back to his pokey, I'd-rather-be-sleeping demeanor too. That's great and I hope he hangs onto that attitude as long as possible. I definitely work hard to keep my barrel horses quiet, but once most of them hit a certain level, it's inevitable that they get a bit hot before competitions. They know what their job is!

Alas, as boring as he is to ride, I HAVE to start taking him out for a trek at least 5 times a week from now on. It won't be so bad once I start hauling him out to mom's a few times a week for some hill work and pattern time. In town, I can go for long walks in the big pasture that passes for an airport in our tiny town. And now they have the arena worked up and the ground will be in good shape until we get some heavy rains.

I found a barrel race to go to on June 1st, so having a date to be prepared for also makes it much easier. There are some bigger barrel racings later in June as well that I am hoping to enter. If things go well after the first few runs, I think we will be ready to enter some regional rodeos.

Wanna know a secret? The thought of having a horse that is competitive at a higher level is scary. It has been forever since I have been seriously competitive. I've kind of forgotten what it takes. It's one thing to poke around at some playdays and open shows, even some of the smaller 4-D barrel racings. It's entirely another to make the leap to a more serious level of competition. It makes me a little nauseous just thinking about it.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Piece Of Cake

The leggy colt, VooDoo is going to be a piece of cake. I just rushed him and he reacted badly. My bad.

Him and I are coming to an understanding. He wants to be nice. He wants to please. I just have to remember I am working with a very green colt, not one of the older horses, who can sometimes be snotty, just cause.

He gave me both front feet with minimal resistance today and his hinds too. He's re-learning how to balance on three legs. I'll be back to trimming those feet in no time.

You can see from this picture how tall he is compared to everything else...


Looks like a TB doesn't he?...


Going to have a great hindend when he finishes filling out...


He and I went for a little walk today. Around the yard, past lots of very scary machinery and into unknown territory...for him. His shoulders wandered this way and that, but he followed along nicely...and he didn't spook at a single thing. He is a starer. Anything that caught his eye was cause to stop...stare....raise his head...lower his head...and then walk on. We worked on moving his hindquarters around and getting him to move his shoulders. He was not too sure about me leading him from the off side, but quickly he decided it made no difference.

Mom says he gives her vertigo looking up at him. Said she could not imagine having to reach that high to halter him. So I applied a tiny bit of pressure to his poll with the leadrope and we practiced haltering with his head by my knees. I asked mom if that was low enough or would she prefer his nose on the ground. She just shook her head. He is extremely soft and responsive to the slightest indication of pressure. Now this is the colt I remembered from last summer.