Archive for the Category » Horses «

Trail Ride

As in we actually went on one today! There’s a little country church not far from us. We really like it, not sure why we don’t go there more often. Except the lack of children’s church, that’s a big one. And no restaurants between there and home. I admit a big plus of going to church is eating out afterwards. But I digress. They had a trail ride! We try to support them when we can and it sounded like lots of fun, so we went.

The day started out foggy and cold. Not just a little fog but a thick, sunny, dark, glorious fog! I drug the kids out to play in it as soon as I saw how perfect it was. We jumped in puddles and checked out the newly frozen garden then checked cows. The fog cleared though and warmed up. Perfect weather for a ride.

There were more people there than I had expected. A nice little crowd. It was more horses than Rusty had ever seen in his life. He came with to Fort Rob for the Morgan ride but I rode Gypsy the very nearly perfect Arab cross instead of him for the group ride. She was here too of course with her little people on board. Rusty wasn’t crazed at least. And the hills weren’t as big, that helped although whether it helped me or him more I’m not sure 😉 We walked a few laps up and down the road in front of the church. Then The Goblin Child got on and we made more laps until it was time to go.

A little ways down the gravel then we turned in to someones pasture. Behind us followed a pickup pulling a trailer with hay and the non riders of the group. Rusty was nervous. Wanting to trot. Or stop and look around. Coyote was perfect. He and his little person followed happily. The pickup careful picked its way through the hills and ruts as the horses tried to remember that it couldn’t go everywhere they could. At the top of a particularly large hill we stopped and switched riders on Coyote.

Gypsy got switched to her other, bigger person. She had been ponied until then, now they were turned loose. The two of them zoomed all around. He’s a wonderful little rider, blessed with a great horse. 8 didn’t do as well, although Coyote was still trying to be perfect. He’s little though and will get better with time. He missed his nap and was tired.  Rusty had an obvious problem, although at first I couldn’t tell if it was nerves or what. Finally he started kicking out with one hind leg and I decided to hop off and see what was wrong. It turned into a bit of a leap as he jumped kicking enthusiastically on my way down. He had a whole ball of cactus in his heel. Poor baby. No wonder he was upset. I managed to get them out. They left blood. He felt mostly better after that. 8 was not having fun. Rusty wanted to trot. Or stop. I made him wait until we got to the bottom of the hill we were going down then let him off.

The Goblin Child was having fun on the hay wagon with her friends and didn’t want to get back on. I was dreading the thought of having to keep Rusty calm and make it back alive while ponying Coyote. Luckily I was able to convince my darling husband to abandon the children and join me for a ride. It was wonderful! We haven’t ridden together since before The Goblin Child was born. He did great on Coyote and Coyote did great with him. We zipped back to the church as fast as two Morgans can walk. Which was much faster than 1/4 horses can manage. It’s hard to be in front of the group while trying to follow the group leader. Oops.

At the church we were treated to hot dogs and s’mores around a campfire followed by music. The children ran off to play and we sat, relaxing by the fire in the coming evenings chill. The horses pawing in the trailer kept beat to old John Denver songs and gospel. The whole afternoon came together to be the best church service ever.

 

Camping Trip

My parents came out to see us. We had been planning the trip most of the summer. They were off on their yearly pilgrimage to the west coast.  A group of Morgan people were meeting at Fort Robinson for a weekend of trail riding. We all decided to drive over and, kind of, meet them. We are only so sociable so we decided to camp up at the wood reserve instead of staying with them in the fort proper. Unfortunately as the weekend drew near we realized it was the same weekend as Friendly Festival but if there’s one thing we’re willing to miss Festival for it’s a weekend of camping and horses.

Mom and dad got here on Thursday. We had, another, birthday party for The Goblin Child. I think that makes four parties now? She may be slightly spoiled 😉  Then Friday morning we got up bright and early and were off to the fort. Only, not. As much as I thought I had everything ready to go already it took hours to get everything packed and animals fed. Then just as we were finally ready and about to load the horses there was a phone call that some neighbors were working cattle and had found a bull in with them that wasn’t theirs. We had to go get him and bring him home before we could take off with the trailer. We pulled into the neighbors corrals and nothing was there. We called to see where this bull was supposed to be. North of the house they said. We went to the house and there was a barn to the north, but not even a road to it much less cattle being worked. We called again trying to figure out what in the world was going on. Finally they added a rather important piece of information. They weren’t working cows at their house but over at their pasture. That little bit of info would have helped from the beginning.

Once we got him home and put out with the horses that would be staying there we were able to load our horses and get going. Down to a friends to pick up a horse we got to borrow for the weekend. She had been standing patiently most of the morning tied to a trailer. She walked right onto the trailer and we were off. Again.

We made Chadron for a late lunch then off towards the fort. Again. It was hot. We pulled into the campground at the wood reserve to find it packed. Loads of big living quarters trailers were squeezed in so tight we could barely make the turn around them. I was muttering grouchily about them when I realized, I knew them!! It was my good friend Kay and her riding group.  That didn’t make me so grouchy after all.

I have millions of pictures so I will try to tell the rest of the story through them.

Category: Family, Horses  One Comment

Rodeo, Again

Last year when we went to the kids first rodeo they loved it. We found a out about more coming up the next summer and I told them we could go. The next summer came around, things changed, we lost Onna, but the rodeos were still coming up. The Goblin Child found out about them and still really wanted to go. I told her we’d try.

Coyote isn’t Onna. 8 has been riding him, while being led. T.G.C. has been getting started on him, trying to get used to him after riding her own horse. i have a lot more I want to say but don’t seem to be getting around to writing it. So here are the videos. It wasn’t great. We all survived. I did not get to work with Rusty the way I wanted. There was no way we could have done it without Tanna and Jerry. They were life savers. We are so grateful to Tanna for coming along and always appreciate all the help she gives us.

They scared me half to death here loping back!

 

 

 

I kept watching not through the phone and it would drift down. I’d look back at it and realize I was filming dirt and get aimed again then back to the dirt. Oops.

 

The End Of A Challenge

Over on Rusty’s page I’ve spent the last few weeks playing with all the strange ways I could think of to get on my horse. No particular reason. Wanted something fun to do and I had seen a couple of ways that looked cool to try. Turned out I didn’t, couldn’t, do those but did come up with a few others. Rusty was a willing and enthusiastic participant who takes my strange ways in stride.

We worked on lots of little thing and put them together into a couple of big things. I can’t begin to say how proud I am of him and what a fun and enlightening trip training him has been. Not just this part but all of it. Normal horse training drives me insane now. When I see people round penning and desensitizing horses, the pointlessness of it nearly makes my head explode. Desensitizing in my biggest pet peeve at the moment. Why in the world would someone chase a horse around until they get tired enough to accept what ever you are trying to force on them when you could, without ever making the horse scared in the first place, show them how fun it is to chase and play with things they once considered scary?

No, Rusty is not perfect. Far from it really 😉 But he is the perfect example of clicker training and it’s effectiveness. Using traditional, natural horsemanship methods, I got exactly nowhere with him. He still ran me over. He still bounced off the end of the rope.

Now he works off a rope most of the time. He’s nipped my fingers a few times being over enthusiastic for food but has not crashed into me once. He now comes when called, I can’t even begin to think of the vocal cues he knows, walk, trot, canter, whoa, bow, lie down, step big (Spanish walk), and the list goes on. Not to mention being light and responsive to ride.

A quick intro to this video turned into a bit of a rant. But anyway, here is the end result of our little training exploration. All put together into one short video.

Category: Horses  2 Comments

Self Loading

I’ve been indulging in an in depth exploration of all the weird and unusual ways I can think of to get on my horses. Rusty in particular. I wanted to share a couple of my favorite ones here! These are long and involved and complicated, obviously not ones that would, probably, be used everyday.

The benefits of teaching such in-depth skills is well hidden in the details. I achieve control well beyond the basic. My horses get used to all sorts of strange things. They also enjoy the work and want to come play. Quite the opposite of horse who are drilled and “desensitized” (I’m coming to hate that word and all that it implies). Hope you enjoy!

 

Category: Horses  2 Comments

Show and Tell, Again

This time she took her horse. The lovely Princess Onna stood nicely as all the preschool children petted her nose and tried desperately to feed her treats. The whole thing was a little stressful though and she couldn’t handle eating too. The wind had picked up bowing a blizzard in and was whipping through the parking lot where we unloaded, stirring dust up into our faces. Princess Onna stood like the princess she is carefully not smashing any small children.

Horse Stuff

Some horse friends an I got together and did a thing. We had a blast doing it and it’s so fun to have friends from all over the world. There is also the couple from the north of England who farm. A mother from Canada. A young girl from Slovakia. And many others but it was fun to have people from two continents at least get together on a project. Showing off our horses and letting people know that you don’t need force and macho idiocy to train a horse.

 

Category: Horses  One Comment

A Day Of Many Firsts

Putting this up here for mom real quick so she, and anyone else who’s interested, can see the videos. We hauled the horses over to a friends indoor arena to ride with our good friend Paula who we don’t see nearly enough. I wanted to try Rusty somewhere besides home and start getting him used to being hauled.

The morning started out warm, as it was supposed to. We spent the morning playing outside and getting the horse stuff loaded. Ate lunch came back out and it had gotten cold, as it was supposed to. We all squeezed into the cab of the pickup and dropped my long suffering husband off so he could put in a couple of hours of work in town.

At the arena I decided there was no way I was pulling down to the arena, it didn’t look like we’d ever be able to get back out. We parked on the gravel far far away from the arena and started to climb out of the pickup. It was cold and windy. The horses were crazed the children were under foot. Paula had arrived by then and was the only reason we were able to accomplish it at all. She took the leads of two horses loaded with children and I followed with Rusty, helmets, hats, gloves, and treat bags.

There is a pen that needs to be gotten through on the way to the arena and it had horses in it. Paula gave me the other two to lead through while she kept the horses off of us. I abandoned my other baggage and concentrated on getting a crazed Rusty and two other enthusiastic horses through two gates and away from the other curious horses. We all lived.

In the arena Rusty immediately made it clear that he was NOT going to stand tied. Not without choking us on clouds of dust. Trying to get the children ready to ride for real, I forgot those pesky helmets earlier in the rush to get horses saddled before we froze, and into the arena where they could hopefully take care of them selves was difficult. Fortunately, once again, Paula took care of everyone and got the job done.

We had a good ride once everything got settled. 8 rode Coyote all by himself! I was so proud of both of them! The Goblin Child was a little pouty and wouldn’t really try to get Onna to go away from me but she still did pretty good. It was the same jumbled, mad rush to get back to the pickup. The kids were cold and tired and grouchy. It was colder and windier. Once everything was loaded, they hopped right in so nicely, good horses, the kids fell asleep almost immediately. It was a great ride and I for one can’t wait to do it again!

Little Horsemen

Those kids, I’m just so proud of them. They are getting to be such good riders. When I picked The Goblin Child up from the bus yesterday she really wanted to go ride. Who am I to say no to that? It was getting late though, starting to cool off, and saddling takes so long, so they got on bareback.

 

 

Of course they wanted to trot.