Tag Archives: riding

On the trail with Troubadour

Yesterday for the second time my eldest and I went for a trail ride together with the whole family, well almost anyway. Ok , let me explain. Me, Kim, Popeye, Sarah ( ponied), Diana, with kim aboard, and little Tru tagging along. So minus the  pony and mini it was the whole  herd family.

3 generations of horses and Pop! Kinda cute, huh? It really is.  A couple weeks ago we  took the crew out on a longer ride, a progression  in effect. The first time I did this just me and Pop leading Sarah and Tru  toddled along. Then KIm entered the picture and we took a little longer ride, then yesterday we took a nice  5 mile ride, lots of hills etc, cant get away from them here, and Tru was a trooper. He is happy to  hang between  us, Pop, sarah and I and Kim on Diana( Grandma), who usually is a ways back. At times he will trot or canter up to us but other times is happy in a cushion of  family.  We stop after a good climb to rest  him and allow him to  go to sarah if he wants. Not much of a puddle drinker yet.

He is a pisser, when he gets tired and  fussy he begins to get studdish. He will usually  go to grandma and  attempt a mount from behind, as she walks along.

How they put up with him all day, I have no idea! The measure of control they use to  TELL him NO is amazing to see. Just enough to get it across with out crushing his spirit!

We all have Savvy strings attached to our saddles for  any reason. I asked Kim to have her’s on her wrist and  begin  to incorporate a savvy trial ride lesson.

Timing is everything! But as the little one mounts , she swings string to the rear over D’s butt and if he is in the way , Oh well! A giant bug was bothering D and its Kims job to  protect her  herd of 2.

It worked. To hear kim say , Got him! and chuckle was humorous. Its a bit uncomfortable to  be riding along and have a little toughy try to mount , in play, but still, the horse you are riding. Time for trail ediquette!

As Kim heads off to college and kids back to school my timeto get this done with the whol family will dwindle but I intend to  get them out thru fall. Pop is a great solid presence for Sarah and Tru.

I can continue to thwart off the mounting attemps( back off dude), from Pops back with end of  pony line. Multii tasking 101!

More antics to follow, 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.