Monday, March 22, 2010

Hunny's Story

The last few weeks I have sporadically been working with my 12 year old, Arabian, mare, Hunny.  She hasn’t really had very much done with her especially since she arrived at our house almost 2 years ago.  I have decided that I will have gotten on her at least once by April 26, hehe, wish me luck. 
Last year in February my mom, dad, and I went to a Clinton Anderson tour stop in Utah and I loved the way he trained horses.  The way he explained everything was so simple, (he calls it idiot proof horsemanship) and it seemed like he got very good results and they were easy to understand.  I really wanted a few of the training DVD’s but, ahem, they were *sigh* 150 dollars, each.  So that dream is gone until I have a job.  But, mom and dad did get me a lead rope, halter, and handy stick.  Anyway, I used this method with Silver and I LOVE it!!  So, I will use it with Hunny too. 
I built myself a round pen earlier this year and have used it so much.  It is like, the best thing in the world!  I have started the round penning exercise with Hunny, she really dislikes the halter.  The concept of Round Penning it to teach the horses that as ling as they are with you or looking at you they can rest, but if they are going to be stupid and leave then they are going to have to work (no horses like to work, they are very lazy creatures).  It also, teaches them that when you are wherever they are, they need to stop and look at you.  “You can out run any horse that is facing you” If that horses eyes never leave your eyes as you walk up to them you can always catch them.  “Two eyes are better than two heels.” 
The first thing you want is to get them in a round pen and you take the halter and lead off and get them going around the round pen.  You let them “find the arena” you let them figure out where the enclosure is.  After a few rounds you start to actually push them, you get them to lope/canter and let wait until they aren’t franticly running in circles (this can be quick or take forever) then you start to try ad grab their attention and ‘pull’ their nose into you.  Crouching and backing away will help them turn and look at you.  As soon as the horse turns and looks at you, you stop what you are doing and let them rest, “their biggest commodity at this point is air”, so as we let them rest they are going “Ha, I look at her and she leaves me be!  Then you carefully get them going the other way, and repeat what you had just done.  When you can consistently change direction, having the horse turn into you, you start crouching and walking in circles around the horse whenever the horse turns to keep their eyes on you, you let them stop for a few seconds then do it again.  Soon, you can walk around and they will follow you because they start to realize that as long as they are with you they get air!   
Doing this with Hunny takes quite a bit of energy that sometimes I just don’t want to even think about it, but then I want to be riding her by May, so, I go out and do my best.
So far, I have done three round penning exercises with Hunny and there has been an improvement, not a HUGE improvement but enough that I will continue trying.  She likes to throw many different stunts at me to see if she can ‘change my mind’ and let her off easily. 

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Trestle Wood Stables week 2

The second week I was at Trestle Wood we got rained in about 3 hours after I started working with the horses.  It was interesting, it looked like a pretty nice day and then while I was riding one of the horses they are getting ready to be a lesson horse and then the wind picked up.  I had brushed a horse and detangled his mane and then Mrs. Bingham came back out after eating her breakfast and told me that we were going to work with, Sammy, one of their new horses that they had the saddle on once.
I was pretty happy that I was going to get to work with a horse that they had just started.  We got the saddle on Sammy and lunged him a bit.  He did a few little bucks when the stirrups would move but after a while he calmed down and we put him up.  Then Mrs. Bingham and I went out and caught one another one of their horses (I can't pronounce the name, let alone spell it), this is one of the ones they want to use as a lesson horse.  So she had me get on and make sure the horse will go forward, turn right, turn left, and stop.  While the horse would do all of those things, she was a little stiff.  She would relax but she felt stiff through the turns.  About 2:00 the wind started to pick up, I was still riding but I was cooling her out.  At 2:30 we went inside to eat lunch and have some hot cocoa, within a few minutes it was pouring down rain.  Mrs. Bingham started water for hot cocoa, it was chocolate, with white chocolate bits, and crushed peppermint sticks.  Oh and marshmallows, you can't forget the marshmallows.  Well, as we sat inside watching the rain come down, "Like a Texas rain," Mr. Aaron said, Mrs. Bingham decided that we would clean tack, hee hee.  I haven't cleaned tack in my life so that was very new.  
 She braved the rain and brought back a bottle of tack cleaner and an armload of bridles and reins.  While Mrs. Bingham and I cleaned the bridles, Mr. Aaron played the wii.  I guess he has only cleaned tack once in his life, Mrs. Bingham wanted to know when that was.... "Oh, right after we got married I cleaned tack.....once."  Mrs. Bingham informed me that they had been married for 13 years.
When 4:30 rolled around we had finished cleaning the bridles and I had 5 minutes before mom got there, so, they let me play their wii, hee hee.  It was a fairly easy day, but let me tell you when I got home I got my bridle down and I cleaned it.  Its actual color is a lot lighter than I thought.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Trestle Wood Stable

I also got to learn a new lunging technique, I am still trying to get the hang of it but hopefully I will soon be able to do it as fluidly as Mrs. Bingham does.  I also got to ride one of their horses one the first day.  I learned so much that day, the witches knots, catching horses you have never caught before, getting a horse to lope off on the correct lead.  I was amazed!  I got home and started working with Silver on the things that I learned.
I got home and I couldn't wait for next week and the things that I would pick up. I have been working on lunging like she showed me, I have been brushing my horses more and I have been working on a lot of leads with Silver.  So hopefully by this summer I will be better at everything that I learned. 

Sunday Fun

A couple of Sundays ago my family and I  went out and rode some of our horses.  My horse, Silver, is an Arabian.  He has to be the best horse in the world! ;-)  I mean come on, how many horses put up with a 7 year old boy who wants to go fast, fast, fast all the time??
 See how Nate is urging him to go FASTER!!
Then he likes to do the daredevil stuff like no hands, OK, so I showed him how to do it... but see the rein is slipping?
   Notice the rein is now on the ground, I had to intervene and help bro get his rein back.
My sisters rode Sackett, Taylor's little ol' Quarter Horse.  I have found that most people prefer to ride Sackett to Silver and I still can not figure out why.....
I was able to get my dad on Silver and now I think he may be hooked and wants Silver to love him like Silver adores me but with that Arabian loyalty he won't....Sorry Dad.
Once family was done riding Taylor and I took over and we decide to goof off a bit and made the mistake of giving Kennedy the camera and she caught our antics on the camera.

I am happy to say that the day ended with a tired, happy family and no broken bones or blood or any other injuries.