Tag Archives: follow the feel

Planning for weaning, raising the bar!

Yesterday I was in an E conversation with my vet re  basic protocol for  Troubadour. Discussions of weaning and gelding came up. The weaning process is really taking effect on its own naturally,  but yes I will make a real dat,e so to speak to separate the two . I have seen way to many very awkward situations with  offspring  still trying to suckle at  yrs old. Not cool! Not productive.

In any case  we have at least a month or so to go ,as he will only be 3 months old  8/27/12, Im not rushing it. I think it will be sooner than later as Tru is very settled and day by day I see him stepping out on his own. Still looks for Mom but  has pals to seek comfort from as well.

This morning as we went through our morning routine, grooming , Mom  tied , Tru loose but he stays put pretty well.  Sometimes curiosity wins out.

I do one then  the other. As I Do Tru I have a small string round his  wither /neck area.  Like a riding neck rope.  He responds well to it and  for the most part stands well for feet etc with just it. Not bad!  I use Mom’s comfort as a tool. he finds a spot by her and  im pretty good to do anything. he is gettign really good with feet. still a time or 2 where he might  resist but I discoverd  his comfortable way to be held.  Trial and error!

I have raised the bar a bit for both of us. I  have made the grooming routine a real routine. Pattern animals, yes? Before I  separate the two I need to really have a good foundation , better  than we have already in order to  make the next stage of his growth worry free. What is my plan? I will enter his life more and more over the next  month or so with more domestic focused  tasks. Not any fancy stuff  but the basics and have it be so Im as good as Mom for support and comfort.  So that what I ask of him  will be accepted. grooming , feet,  shots  etc. This will be were the rubber meets ther rd. Human interaction and almost a bit of “Domestication” from what he has been used to will begin to  happen . It wont be hard, he gets it . I can intorduce things to him for a few days a then let it go and  he picks right back up  after a few minutes.  Now ill see  if all my thoughtful work till now  has any holes. Im sure it will but then ill learn to fill them in!

As we do our grooming with his favorite rubber mit , I am sure to explore all ares of his body. Tru seems to like his tail being brushed too.

What I have  taken to doing now as a progression, is to wrap myself around his mid section and grooming  the opposite side . I basically am draping myself over him , he  doesnt  think twice.  Good first ride prep eh?.  I have changed my touch over time, it is getting firmer, more solid,  as he is more accepting. He follows a feel very well, again with just a neck rope. Dont want to raise a wilting violet! Breath and they  spook! Ugh! I still  put the halter on but do most my “time ” with him with out up to now.

I sat down and thought to myself  what did I want to get done. This is what I came up with:

To go through the  holes I have found in my other horses,   as  well as others that I work with,  that I want to  address before they  show up as holes!   I am a great observer. I  learn from my  mistakes and those I view of others.

Lots of  resposibility going forward . I never took it lightly, but  now facing  the  separation from a great Mare, who has been even better than I exected, its now my turn to step in and take over the raising of Troubadour.  I will still have help for the herd . I will rely on them a lot!  Granny( Diana), and Popeye, Mr. Bill and Cora will be vital to keeping it natural!

Stay tuned!

 

 

 

 

Proud to see them moving on!

Lots of time and thought and emotion has gone into a few select horses who have crossed my path over the last yr. Im happy to say that the last two are readying to move on in their lives with their owners or a new owner.

Support, wisdom and insight can be given only so long and then  everyone needs to step up and out and find how to make it their own. So much potential for  these horses but as not mine I have to also let go and say thank you to them  for lessons learned: Life lessons, horsemanship lessons, and managing humans lessons! the toughest of all.  The horses are the easy part! 

Everyone is on their own journey and  I can see so much more that these humans can gain from these partners they have. Bottom line is, it is not the right time, the students aren’t ready.  This is such a frusteration for me but again a lesson , acknowledging what I know and accepting what is. Tough!

I am very happy to say well done to the horses and best of luck going forward. Never stop teaching  your humans, whomever they may be, especially the hard lessons they really need !

 

 

 

 

….even if you stand on your head!

What???

Yup , that’s what I tell my students if it gets their horse in a working mode while ridden.

I recall back when I was studying in England for my AI certification I learned so much about riding.  You had to be a part of the barn life , chores etc , have lessons , burst through  comfort bubbles right and left and do this 6 days a week. And on the odd saturday we had schooling shows.

OMG barn work and show in a day, half day actually!… so warm up, NOT!

I had this one horse Biggles, a grey gelding, that I was to show. He was not my charge horse but  we all knew his rep.  Cold backed! Yeah!

Well this day I proved a lot to myself… not how I would do  it now but then I was young,  in college, and dong what I was told. It was a grade and a certificate on the line. Had  a lot riding on my outcome.

No pressure!

So my AM chores were done and I was needing to get to my dressage test time and so  had groomed Biggles early , had to tack up after a quick brush off and yup hop on and yup hang on! HOLY….!!!  well Im still here so it all worked out. Honestly I dont recall if he got me off or not. I know  I had a time with him but  dont think I came off.

I went in and did my test and it was ok.  I dont even remeber my score. I didnt care I just knew I needed to do what I had to do to get him to chill through it.

Muriel Harris was out head master in charge of the program and  she was having a ball with the American style of equitation. I was not  a show rider so it didnt bother me to not look perfect, like  a china doll. She liked me as I was more of a ride by the seat of my pants rider , who hunted and rode a variety of horses in uncontrolled situations,  so I had good instincts , what I call servival instincts! Literally!

Anyway the whole experience of that one Saturday of my time(6 weeks) there was so telling, Obviously as I can still recall the events.  As Muriel told me before I went into my test and durring a lesson after the show…yeah I had to ride him again… and again, and again… she said, ” losen up!!!! I dont care what you look like nor does he , he just  need to be ridden how he needs to be ridden, now get on with it!” She was a no non sense person!

Biggles was a huge  influence on me…. I know why Muriel had me on him  often. She knew I had it in me and she was right . By the time I was done I had him pegged and others as well.

So, comes my attitude of justice. I dont care if you ride on your head if it gets your horse to travel in a fluid forward frame.

I thought of this whole expereince today as I was on route  to teach lessons .  One lady very much uptight to be perfect and had some fear issues etc etc, so I knew I needed to recall on my own past to pull her forward.

I also thought of my own Sarah especially and Popeye who I have  been bringing on as they developed not on my schedule but theirs. I have been serching for a real connection for Sarah and her riding and have made huge progress but deep down know I need to think for myself an acknowledge my little voices.  I have great instruction with my horses, yes i get lessons too! but ultimaltey as I tell my own students it’s your horse and when they, we, are not there it up to you to make it work so make it your own. We cannot be a mirrow image of our instructors, we are not them. We surely can learn from all, lick and chew and use our own minds to make it work and find the puzzle pieces that are missing.

I thought on this and made a dicision as I drove and recorded a reminder on my phone to write this blog about my thought pattern.

**to go with my recurring thought re sarah, its recurring  for a reason. I pride myself in being well educated horseperson , up to date, a good thinker, and listener (especially with my eyes). I instill confidence with ease.

**Im the best judge of my horses and know how to balance things. I needed to remind myself to trust my own expertise, (The Hybrid Method), and just do it! Even instructors are human! We should NEVER forget that…

**Follow their feel and feel my way through.

**Allow a “2 way conversation” to take place.  Allow questions to be asked and anwers to be acknowledged, never ignored.

** Never forget where you came from.

10/24/11 addition!

Got thinking about this and wanted to clarify a bit. I don’t want to promote  not listening to or trying to mimic your, our instructors.  Its how we all have to start and then we develop our own styles. What I do want to promote is this:

My head is saying try something different.  Push a little bit to let her see what it is you are looking for. Dont blow her away by doing too much but go to where she can explore the new frame desired  not only in walk but in trot.

Open hands , closed hands?  Hands to the side and high , or low? soft outside rein to allow the bend , or maybe a more steady feel? Or maybe one way its one way and another its another. Seat position??? How does it effect her if  I move this way? No thats not good, shoulder dives in, how can I correct it? Leg, one or both? don’t stiffen, push sideways, open a hand/ rein(direct), raise a hand? Let the contact go and not play the game of holding her stiffness.

You see this is what I mean. Eventually we are all in our own little world and need to be able to work things out on our own in  our own way., in full conversation with our horses.

Remember to be just in your responses and reward tries.

In the typical english riding world a relaxed back is not advocated, but if it gives the feel to the horse of release and they do  then DO IT!

Who cares?  Your horse! The only one who should really matter!!

I hope this makes sense. It took me a long time to get so I saw and accepted the “holes” in the most vested of my foundations methods and sought to fill those holes with other methods in order to find harmony and the best communication per horse, not to mention body awareness.

Now with each of the three main methods I encompass in my work with horses, I can confidently say I have the bases covered. What ever might be missing , needs a tweak, Ill stand on my head! 

So go ahead and “Stand on your head!” if it gets the message across and you have a horse under you who is free, fluid and happy.