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Lesson Ponies

Poor Coyote, he never thought he’d see the day. He’s taking it well though. We had invited Cade and Ava last summer to come ride with us when ever they could so next summer they could come along to any horse stuff we do. Cade has come once but Ava has been making a real effort and is doing wonderfully. Coyote has also been doing wonderfully, far better than I would have expected, as her lesson horse. Like Princess Onna does with The Goblin Child, he goes from his usual hot fiery Morgan to low headed and plodding.

The Goblin Child however does the opposite. The first few rides together she was pretty proud of herself zipping all around and showing off. Princess Onna takes that pretty well but even she has her limits.

 

I have been doing some clicker training with Onna though. I think it may be the perfect way to train a kids horse to get them used to and responding the the very different aids a child gives. Anyway, she is fairly well trained to come running to me because I am the one bearing treats. So any time there’s an issue she runs to me instead of taking off with her rotten little cargo.

 

The two of them on their horses are so incredibly cute. I love watching them ride around together.

 

Last time Ava was here to ride someone was being more than a little rotten and complaining because Onna wouldn’t go enough for her. So she got off and pouted and I got to go ride! Ava and I went out around the corn fields and had a very nice long ride. Baa came with and I thought it was going to kill her. She survived though. Not sure if that’s good or bad 😉

Category: Family, Horses  2 Comments

Meeting The Bus

School has been going well I guess. The schedule for parent teacher conferences was difficult so we asked her teacher if there was anything we should know. She said everything was going great so we are skipping.

Meeting the bus is stressful but easier than driving back to town to pick her up. When the weather is nice we have been taking full use of the chance to ride out with the horses to pick her up. 8 is starting to ride Princess Onna by himself. He’s getting so big. Not big enough to reach the stirrups, but he refuses to use them anyway. His feet rest perfectly on top of them when the are set for The Goblin Child. I put them as short as possible once and he refused to even try to put his feet in them. Instead he hiked his knees up and put his feet on top again in jockey mode. He has no fear and happily turns around in the saddle as I try frantically, and unnecessarily, to keep him from falling. We are going to get him his own set of stirrups one of these days to use on the saddle his Grammy got him to use. He gets Coyote for his horse and things would work perfectly if Rusty was far enough along to ride with the two of them on their horses.

The Goblin Child is famous on the bus for her horse. A silly thing since we live in the country, all the kids should have their own horses. She is doing wonderfully with Princess Onna and still wants to be a horse show girl. She’s been enjoying riding with Ava when Ava has a chance to come take lessons. They are adorable together.

 

Dad Came To Visit! And Other Long Overdue “Stuff”

Rodeo! #2

I heard about another kiddie rodeo so I called to get the kids signed up. Turns out it was not so much kiddie rodeo but a fun/play day. When I called about it I was assured that it was usually over by four, we would have no problem making our previously scheduled engagement. Then Paula called and asked if we wanted to enter and ride with her. I happily told her we were already entered but would love to ride with her. Did I mention her new living quarters trailer?

I resumed loading practice with Onna, got our barrels back out and made The Goblin Child go around them and got as much as I could ready. When Paula showed up that day we loaded everything, including Onna who hopped right in and were off. The children stayed behind with their much beleaguered father, who would feed them lunch and bring them later so they didn’t have to sit out in the hot sun any longer than necessary.

We got there early but the grounds were packed. Paula drove her big, long rig right in and found a spot anyway. The spot might have been the point at which we could no longer go forward but hey, it worked! And we were right behind the rest of the family who were there competing or watching. It was perfect.

Once saddled we went in to warm up. I debated hard which horse to ride. Paula had very kindly offered to let me ride one of hers because Coyote is off a little. I was going to take him to ride anyway, he isn’t exactly lame just a little off and I hoped it would be an easy day for him. This was much better but, now I had a young horse that I had never ridden and would like to get used to. Paula assured me that he had ponied a horse, once or twice and had been “OK” with it. I am a chicken rider, not one who rides chickens 😉 but a rider who is chicken, thought I should clarify that, and the “OK” part didn’t reassure me. I also had Onna who did great last time but last time was not near the mad house this time was and I was going to put my small children on her. I chose Onna to warm up.

In the arena it was crowded. By crowded I mean I could almost see the ground occasionally as people walked trotted and loped endlessly to the left with the occasional stop and back thrown in. I’ve shown horses for years but I had never seen a warm up like this.  I tried to discern some sort of pattern, was the outside track for walking? No. Maybe the inside and loping to the fence? NO. Everywhere for everything, cutting back and forth and through then slamming on the brakes and backing into the rest of the horses doing the same thing. I guess more people can fit in to a rode, each run last a few seconds as opposed to a cowhorse event where each rider gets approx. four min. There were lots of people. I don’t think the pictures can show just how crowded the parking was, maybe that made it seem worse.

I didn’t want to do anything but walk Onna in the warm up. She needed to learn that it was a calm place with nothing to be worried about. It wasn’t but it would be nice if she could think it was. That done we went back to the trailer where I switched horses. Luckily Paula showed up about then and I was able to get on with her there and her horses buddy that she was calling for so desperately. Tee Bird is a she so if I refer to her as a he anywhere forgive me I seem to keep doing that. Once on she was fine, with her buddy. I was a bit nervous on a new horse in that madhouse of a parking lot. She wanted to be with her buddy pretty bad but once we got that settled she was great. She never spooked as children on foot and children on horses galloped about, she wasn’t bothered by ponying Onna, she didn’t even get upset about the idiots that thought this was a great time to play football, throwing the ball over the heads of horses walking down the narrow isle between parked pickups and trailers and the tents set up all around the arena full of people and more vehicles.

The Goblin Child did the goat snatching, where you run up, dismount, and grab the ribbon off a goats tail. I let her go on her own and they were both great. She can’t quite get all the way off on her own but she’s so close. She did the poles,they’ve been doing great practicing at home so I let her off the lead. It was a mistake,I thought sh was going to die. There was some over steering and I was sure Onna was going to leave. She got a little far off the side of the saddle once but managed to pull herself back on. All in all it was a good run. And she did barrels, that was their best event of the day I think. I ponied but was able to let them go around the barrels by themselves after the first.

8 only ended up getting to do poles. I had been going to ride Onna like last time but Tee Bird was doing really good and I felt safe just riding her with 8 in front of me. We didn’t quite fit in the saddle but it worked and I hear he looked happy, pointing at the crowd and smiling. 8 left with his exhausted father to make our previous engagement before he got to do barrels. there was no way this show was going to be over by four as previously predicted. It was after five already with many classes left to go.

It was a fun day, hot and dusty, long for the kids but their cousins were there watching which helped a lot to keep them entertained. They seemed to enjoy this one that I thought had everything conspiring to make it slightly miserable and I think we will try to hit a few more next year. The Goblin Child is just starting to ride off of a lead line and with a winter to work on it she should be doing good by next summer. 8 is difficult. Maybe he will develop a lick of sense and make an effort not to fall off, maybe he will grow enough to reach the stirrups or maybe he will keep going in front of me. Princess Onna is great, we are using clicker training to help her learn how to do these things. She handles the crowds and all the scary things involved like a pro I couldn’t have asked for a better horse for the kids to learn on. As for me? I’m learning about this whole rodeo thing. It’s still not my thing, I’m discovering that I am a dressage queen at heart but, I am slightly competitive. Maybe I’ll have to show Rusty how to run a round a pole 😉 I can see why people think a horse that’s been rodeo-ed on should be so broke they have to put up with a lot. If nothing after hauling Rusty to these things a good old normal horse show will seem like a vacation!

 

Rodeo!

First edition.

For my mom who desperately wanted to be there but couldn’t make the two day drive for one afternoon of horse stuff. I’ll get more up later, this is all that was on my phone.

 

We May Be In Trouble

I think we’ve created a monster.

She enjoyed the little rodeo. Sh says she wants to be a horse show girl. Now she’s practicing her roping and apparently wants to be a trick rider.

Am I happy about all this? You bet I am!

 

 

And not to leave 8  out. He’s doing pretty good with his trusty little steed too.

 

 

This Aint My First Rodeo…. Oh Wait

Heather wanted to know if we were interested in going to a youth rodeo at the Dawes county fair. I looked into it a little and decided it would be a good way for The Goblin Child to get a chance at playing cowgirl. She had recently informed me that she wanted to be a cowgirl and show horses while she was in college learning to be a doctor and an airplane pilot.
We set up lick tubs and practiced barrels and poles, and getting on. She is getting very good at steering by herself, it hasn’t been very long that she’s been riding by herself. I remember all the times I fell off Tally and am slow to let her loose too much. She’ll go by herself away from home when we ride out but I always take the lead rope back on the way home, just in case.

The day of the rodeo we spent lots of time getting Onna all pretty, then did the same for The Goblin Child. Onna loaded beautifully and we went to pick up the horse of the friends who invited us. It was getting hot. The pickup that was on the trailer didn’t have air conditioning. With the windows down we headed for Chadron. Going through town we met my husband who had gone in to work on his day off so he could take the afternoon off and come along.

At the fairgrounds we saddled Onna and I took her around a couple of times, then The Goblin Child got on and I led her around. For one run back to the pickup I got on with on child in front and one behind and she didn’t bat an eye. I wasn’t ready to let them off the lead quite yet and led them around the barrel pattern for their first run. It nearly killed me running to the finish line. After that I let them go and all our work on stopping at the end that we did at home paid off. They did wonderful together. 8 got to go around the barrels too. I was still half dead from the first run so I climbed in the saddle behind him and let him try to steer a little. It was much easier than running.

Whitten and his sister each got to go on their big beautiful mare. She’s a draft cross and shows it, she’s huge and gentle. He wore 8’s helmet for a bit and Brenna rode behind T.G.C. for awhile. Their poor mom was able to leave her brand new baby watching from the grandstands with grandma so she could run alongside both children in every event. I only had to do one, 8 needed a nap and was done after the first one, and I thought I was going to die. I don’t know how she did it.

We were both lucky that my hard working husband had come along. He watched everybody and juggled hats and water bottles, so we could play with horses and whichever child was riding at the moment. He and Heather are both driven crazy by lack of organization and general order to things. They were both flustered and annoyed that the children didn’t have an assigned order to go in and that they didn’t know exactly what was going on, when and where. I think they’re so cute.

I thought the people who had organized it had put a lot of work in and done a really good job of putting on a playday that the kids loved. After the riding part they had a dump trailer full of hay with coins mixed in. The children got to jump in the hay and search for the money. T.G.C. says that was her favorite part.

It was hot when they got done. Kids were tired, We were ready to go home. I unsaddled and went to throw Princess Onna in the trailer. She had different ideas. She said no. That was it, just no, she had no intention of getting in. She does that sometimes at home. Not for loading, we had never tried that, just about whatever I ask her to do and she doesn’t want to. She will set her feet and say no. I loaded the other horse to see if that would help. It didn’t.

I ended up staying there while everybody else went to coo children with drinks and air conditioning, working her into the trailer. I had been proud of our front row parking earlier, now not so much. The parking filled up with real rodeo people coming in for the nights rodeo. Big fancy rigs, very stylish riders. They all had to walk past us. I nearly died of embarrassment. In the end I wrapped the lead rope around a bar in the trailer so I could stand next to her and still pull forward. Standing next to her I tapped the back of her foot with mine. It made her mad. One time she looked at me, picked her foot up and stomped it down on mine. It was so plainly on purpose, and she missed my toes only getting the boot, I thought it was hilarious. Finally she heaved a big sigh and jumped in. We were finally able to go home.

Videos are completely backwards in order. I would recommend watching them from bottom to top!

 

 

 

 

 

Our Cowgirl Strikes Again

We started the day bright and early, 8 likes to wake us up by six on any day we would otherwise be able to sleep in. We scarfed down a delicious breakfast and Tanna arrived to help sort pairs. 8 went out in the tractor to help the men feed and us girls saddled the horses. The Goblin Child wanted up behind Tanna and I rode Coyote as usual. We got them sorted in record time, they quite literally ran out the gate. The Goblin Child clung tight and was a real trouper not complaining all the way though.

 

 

Once in the lane they needed to go all the way out to the farthest pen, clear at the top of the hill. I got off to get gates and decided not to get back on. I had gotten off and on so many time I was clean out of cake, Coyotes reward for letting me on again, and baby calves can be much easier to move on foot. Leading Coyote along behind me I looked over at Tanna and The Goblin Child double on Onna and realized I could do something about it. I put The Goblin Child on Coyote.

 

 

At first he got to stand and eat at the trough while we tried to get the calves to move. Then I would grab a rein and bring him along a few steps then let him eat, try to convince calves to move. As we slowly progressed up the hill The Goblin Child began to move Coyote along by herself. Once we reached the circle at the top I turned her loose to push the cattle through the gate with Tanna. Poor Coyote. He put up with it for a little while then said that he was done, he’d had enough. Please save him.

 

 

After closing the gate I climbed on behind my saddle and let The Goblin Child steer us home. It was terrifying. Not just having a small child who had no control in charge of my hot, grouchy horse, not confined in a small area but on the way home, but also sitting right on his haunches. He’s bouncy. I thought for sure I was going to fall off.

After unsaddling I turned Coyote loose to graze, surely he deserved a reward for putting up with all that. The guys had been planting oats and I was going to keep a very close eye on him to make sure he didn’t get into the planted field. I forgot he was out there. As we were getting ready to leave that afternoon I remembered Coyote. I ran out the door frantically searching for him. Behind the house I caught a glimpse of his butt disappearing behind a shed. Running back there I found The Goblin Child leading him to the gate. She informed me that she was putting him away for me and indeed she was. What a good, big girl!

Ignoble Dismount

We have been making a habit of sorting out the pairs of Fridays. Tanna comes over and we spend most of the day horseback. Sometimes we even have enough energy to work with Rusty afterwards, not very often though. Today was different. Today her brother was going to a branding with his horse and would have the trailer on. She was able to convince him to bring her horse over. Then he decided to come play too!

With Tanna riding her horse that left Princess Onna free for The Goblin Child to ride. I bundled her up toasty warm, long underwear, scarf, hat under her helmet. Last time she got cold and wanted to go ride in the payloader with her father. Last time she was riding double with me on Coyote, I must admit it was easier without her help as much as we enjoyed it.

Tanna’s horse is Jerry. Jerry was my mare that I showed on a decade ago this year, time does fly. It was nice to see her again. She and Tanna are doing very well together. Her brothers horse is a big young quarter horse. A sorrel to match the other two, Coyote and Jerry. We were all nicely matched, he is a flaxen even, except Princess Onna of course.

The Goblin Child and Princess Onna did very well together. T.G.C. even enjoyed the trotting we had to do to get around a couple of calves. But soon enough she got cold. Apparently I didn’t bundle her up enough. It wasn’t entirely a bad thing Princess Onna isn’t the funnest horse to pony and combined with the deep mud in places having them along mad life a little difficult. It was great the she got to come as long as she did though.

There were quite a few calves born over the last week and with all of us out there we made quick work of them. My cow hating husband was working mostly on foot as his dad rode around on the four-wheeler with 8 in front. I would wave at 8 as he went by and, from his position laying down on the gas tank, he would grin back at me.

There are lots of gates. Lots and lots of gates. They would be more convenient for me with horse friendly latches. This is a four-wheeler outfit though and being handy for me would mean unhandy for those guys on their four-wheelers. Opening and closing these gates from a horse requires leaning way down off the side and spending lots of time fiddling with chains run down, around, or over.

I should mention that my cinch is never tight. Coyote and I consider touching his stomach to be tight enough, and that’s at the start of the ride. I lent him to a guy once, and only once, who threw his saddle on and yanked the cinch tight. In protest Coyote threw himself to the ground. He is clear in expressing his opinions.

I was heading back to the others and pulled the gate closed behind us. It latched in a corner, requiring a horse to curve into the corner to reach. I leaned over and stretched. Despite my constantly loose cinch even corner gates aren’t usually a problem, as long as I pay close attention to balance. I was leaned clear out reaching to wrap the chain around another gate and I felt my saddle shift. I pushed back but it was too late. I was up against the fence so I just grabbed hold, no problem. I hooked an arm over the guard rail and hung on. It dug into my side a little, hurting just a bit. I rearranged and pulled my feet out of the stirrups. Or tried. My mud boot was well wedged. Not stuck hard but I was right up against him and didn’t have room to pull if it didn’t slide out easy. I finally wriggled around enough to get both feet on the ground and keep my saddle from ending up clear under his belly.

Now my saddle was well stuck on his side. I glanced up once in a while to see if everyone was watching my fiasco. They appeared to be busy. The cinch wasn’t tight enough to hold the saddle on but was to tight to let me pull it back up. I yanked and tugged then went around to the other side and repeated. He wanted back to the others and was done standing still. As he circled I tried to loosen my cinch without letting it fall into the deep mud. I pulled then went around and pushed, finally it rolled back to the top. I snugged the cinch up, a little and climbed on.

I thought no more about it until afternoon as I rested during the kids naps. My side hurt. I ignored it but it kept getting sorer. I asked my not horse person husband if there was a bruise there or something? He was horrified, there was definitely a bruise. A big one. As not a horse person he can never understand why I love something that causes pain more often than not. I was rather impressed that my brief moment of hanging on the guard rail, apparently the sharp edge of it, left such a beautiful purple bruise.

It was a good day though we got most of the calves out and put Tanna’s brother to good use. It didn’t even rain on us!

 

Reading, Riding and ‘Rithmatic

Not that there’s any reading in this one but we do that all the time. I wanted to show what The little Goblin Child usually rides like. When her world is not collapsing because her lead rope is the wrong color. She’s such a good little rider. Tanna and I were going out to sort some pairs and she wanted to come with us instead of riding in the pay loader with her father. Unfortunatly she faced the same delima as last time. Her horse or her saddle. She chose her saddle and was going to get on behind me on Coyote.
I put her up and let her ride by herself through the gates. In the first pen I turned her loose, she had been loose the whole time so I guess I chased Coyote away from me. He was glued to my shoulder begging me to save him from small children.

We have been working with 8 on very simple counting for awhile now. How many eyes do you have? One, two, two eyes. While swinging at the park the other day I decided to try to teach counting the way I did with The Goblin Child, I would count to three as he repeated after me then at three I would let the swing go.

He was getting it. He counted to three once. I frantically grabbed for my phone, tried to figure out how to hold it and catch him at the same time. And he never did it again. Dang kids. He got kind of close though and looked cute doing it, that’s a start.