Saturday, July 31, 2010


I had a fun time riding today. I tried an experiment. Sensei is all about doing less, getting horses to work off of a feel. He does not get English riding at all, too much contact. Trust me we go round and round about this, but I have decided to just give in and do it his way. Good learning experience.

So today I decided to try to ride with no contact at all, just all off of leg. It was really interesting. I made my reins as lose as possible and then held on to the horn of the saddle to keep myself from cheating. Just just my legs. Now I have to admit that we did fairly well, but not perfect. I did a figure eight around two barrels, and even managed to weave some cones.

I did learn where her sticky spots were. Actually just going around the rail was the hardest part! Certain areas of the arena pull her into the center where as other push her to the wall. For some reason she is really pulled by barrels. Maybe I should do barrels with her. . . .Okay that would be a site, the poky little pony doing barrels.

After that I tried the same thing, but would just lightly lift up on the side where I wanted to make a correction. Still no contact, well okay, in my book no contact but in Sensei’s book if you touch the reins, it is contact, so I guess it depends on who you talk to. She was actually responding really well to the lightest touch.

I was a little tickled that I was riding around with no contact, steering my horse with only my legs, where as I few months ago if I did not have a death grip on the reins I would feel out of control. It really is amazing. I keep thinking, and where will I be in another 6 months?

I then tried something else that is difficult for us. Trotting around the arena, I mean all the way around without breaking. Poky little pony likes to break if she thinks she can get away with it. This is where I have a HUGE issue. I am not consistent. That would be in the saddle, in harness, or in real life. I told you, horses show you what your issues are, be it in the barn or not. I tend to get side tracked and want to do something else. So I made sure that we made it all the way around, at a trot. That took us quite a bit of time, but I did it.

Over all it was a great riding session. I was pretty proud of what we got done.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Honest vs Honorable

Lisa from Laughing Orca Ranch left a really heart wrenching reply to my last post. Check out her story of the bucking horse.

I think she brought up a really good point. Not all horses are honorable. I know that horses can tell who their rider is, they seem to even be able to tell when they have a filly or colt on their back. They know kids and novices. Some are really nasty with kids, while others will babysit. Who doesn't know a pony that would take off as soon as look at you when they had a kid on their back.

When Sensei was working with Kinsey and she was being such a witch I said in her defense, "She is just a horse." He replied, "She has choices." He has repeated this with other horses too. That a horse has choices about how they handle situations was really a bit of a mind bend for me. I never really thought about that before, but they do! A horse can chose her attitude same as a human. She can chose to be snotty or peaceable. Oh sure we will blame how they were trained or treated. Yet, to point out Lisa again, her mare is a perfect example, a horse can chose to be forgiving and work with humans. (I hope she doesn't me me using Apache as an example)

Apache reared with her last owner and has had some other issues। She never did any of that with Lisa। Apache was ridden in a Tom Thumb and her teeth where bad. Lisa fixed those as soon as she could, but even before all the fixes Apache had been wonderful with Lisa. Since the issues have been fixed, Apache as been as good as gold and better. Could this mare have decided that she was not going to trust humans? Sure. She could have turned sour and taken to all kinds of horrible vices. Again, I से,

Another horse I know is as close to saintly as a gelding can be. He is a great horse, and my first rides on him he was as careful as he could be. I mean this horse was serious about not taking a wrong step with me. To the point that he looked lame walking because he was just going so slow and deliberate. Yet I saw this exact same horse being ridden by his former owner. You have never seen such a turn around. Saintly ol' boy was down right snotty. He even tried to bite his former owner on the leg as she was riding. It was actually quite funny!

I read a number of blogs and bulletin boards. I read about lots of people's relationships with their horses. Some I just want to shout, "why are you still with this horse?" Honestly some of us let our horses treat us so badly and yet we would never tolerate this from another human.

I'll admit it, I have boundary issues. Again, Corrie points these weakness out. So does Abby actually, which is why Sensei says she is such a bad match for me. I can't keep her away from me, I want her near. This is a recipe for disaster with a horse as large as Abby. With Corrie, I can work on it. Yet both Abby and Corrie are honorable horses. Neither has ever tried to hurt me.

Abby will let me stand next to her and hang all over her, she stands quietly and carefully. Today I was just grooming her, (I know I know I should just stay away). She had gunk all over her back leg. I was working really hard to get it all off. The flies were bad and bothering her but she never lifted a hoof in defense when I was near. I would try to be sensitive to this and back off too. I also sprayed her. Although at one point something startled her. Now I was standing wrapped around her hind leg trying to clean it all up. Abby spooked in place, never putting me in harms way. She easily could have kicked out but didn't. She will, from time to time take advantage if she really wants to.

To point, I found a horse that will not take advantage of me to the point that either of us will get hurt. Corrie will let me know that I am blurring boundry lines, but she does not straight out take advantage of me.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Corrie! Corrie! Corrie!

That is what Madison and the rest of minis are thinking right about now. Every post is about Corrie! Corrie! Corrie! They insist that they are important too!

I have to agree. Although I am not doing a whole lot with them right now.

So this post is about the minis.

The minis are in seventh heaven right now without a "big" sister around. They have way more grass than they can possibly eat, just looks at them!

Even Rocky who is always a skinny mini:

They honestly are enjoying their new little band. Madison and Sophie, Ike and Rocky. Perfectly matched up. Not chased around, well Madison chases Sophie, but then they are back to grazing together again. I think Madison is really liking being able to be boss mare. Like it while you can kid!

Unfortunately I am not driving Ike because I have no shafts for my cart. Sugar Rock Farm cashed my check for a new pair of shafts, but now won't respond to phone calls or e mails. So I am out the money for the shafts and I can't use my cart. Sort of annoys me, but they are located in AL so I can not really just run over there and demand a refund. Anyway.

I have been doing working to get the pasture ready for, er, well just in better shape. :) Last fall I had plans to split to pasture into some smaller pastures and put in the T posts in. Then I broke my wrist, and then it was winter, finally they all knew where the posts were so I didn't bother to take them down. I was still planning on putting the electric tape up but, well plans change. I plan on doing my first several drives out there with, er, well just out there. It is enclosed and a fairly safe placed to drive and ride too. So with all the rain softening up the ground I was able to pull the last of the posts up. I would also like to put the goats out there some so I have been putting up that snow fencing that has wooden slates on the three rail part of the pasture so the goaties can't escape. Also there are some trees that needed to be trimmed so I don't hit my head on them while riding or driving. I have been very thankful for the cooler temperature to start on this work. Still not done, but good start.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Horses don't lie

They don't, just as honest as the day is long, as long as the truth is about us. Oh yeah, ever try to hide something from a horse, you can't. A horse knows when you are happy, scared, serious, and lazy. And they will take will show anyone around. Corrie tells Sensei much more than I do. It is rather annoying actually, to be tattled on by your own horse.

With my accident I now say that I spooked, so Abby spooked. She knew I was nervous and since she is a horse that looks to her rider to help her through things, she new something was up and spooked. I could tell it in her too. She was looking for the sound of the motorcycle in the distance. I remember just thinking: "please don't spook, please don't spook." She did.

I have to laugh when I think about riding a few horses after my fall: CJ, Bill, Drew, Corrie. The first ride on all of them was just awful. They barely moved, just walking as slowly as they could. CJ actually looked like he was afraid to take a step, but he did. One after another. I had such a hard time getting Bill to move forward, and Corrie almost went in reverse.

As a kid I had Hope. She was the best horse ever, and I was so much more confident then. When I went out to ride her she would get very up. She would have a little spring to her step and be ready for anything. Yet if I put a friend on her who knew nothing, she was as gentle as a lamb. I had a friend who would ride her when I was away at college. He would call me and tell me about how he took her out in halter and lead rope. I don't know why she didn't kill him, but she never took a misstep with him.

Corrie is showing some of my personal short comings right now. It is rather funny to have a horse tell you, "nope I am not going to do that, your not confident enough yet." Which is what she did today when I tried to get her to canter. She was going to trot as fast as she could, I could not bump her that final step up into the canter. Corrie was right. I'll wait a little more. She has also been showing me, where my personal weaknesses are.

As we are working with our horses, it is not a bad thing to take as step back and think about what the horse is trying to tell us. What are they trying to tell us about ourselves? What do we need to work on. Sure our horses barge past us when we lead them in from the pasture. Do we let others run over us too? When someone else handles our horse, how do they act differently? What does that say about them? About us? Maybe our horse become much more tense when we take the lead. Are we having difficulty letting the difficulties of the day go?

I have tried to hide for most of my life. I try to blend into the background and just go unnoticed. Corrie is actually calling me on this. She tells on me, I have a hard time bringing my energy up. I try, but she will totally match me. So if I let my energy drop she totally drops too. As we were doing ground work last week, I could barely get her to move. She totally matches my energy as I work with her. It was very frustrating. That is telling me something about myself. I need to learn to be more confident and not hide in the corner.

Later I went to Target to shop and I was working on walking around with energy. It was hard to keep it up so long. I walked down an aisle and a woman totally looked up as I approach, almost jerked her head up. I was rather surprised because so many people just ignore me.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Fearless Driving

Oh yeah, I love driving now. I feel so much more confident driving. Sensei is hoping I actually do get a little fear, because now I don't feel scared. I may be nervous from time to time, but I'm pretty sure I can handle it. So opposite of riding, where I am still working up the nerve to do stuff that I have done 1000's of times.

Which, when you think about it, is kind of funny. I have driven 13 times with Sensei, twice on my own with Corrie and maybe 5 times with Ike, my mini. I have had 1000's of rides though. So it would make more sense for me to be more fearful of driving, but it was those few episodes of fear in riding that really give me pause.

Silly right? I mean I should totally be so much more fearful of going for a drive. I think the difference is I have not had a really bad driving accident. I hope that I never do. My worst fear is falling off. I REALLY don't want to fall again and that is a bad fear to have when riding. Driving? I don't have that fear. Corrie has spooked, she tried to run off with me the other day when I was on my own, but I controlled it. She got a little spooky later on with the neighbors moving stuff. Again, I knew how to handle it. Sensei was out there working another horse and his only comment was that I should have held Corrie a little longer. Of all the time that he is telling me to use less rein, for once he actually thought I needed to keep contact longer.

Yet that lack of fear is really helping with my fear of riding. Funny how that works. I have been driving and ground driven Corrie out in the big dry lot and finally I rode her out there. That was such a big deal. If I had not been driving I don't think that I would be half as far along as we are. As I gain confidence in one area, it crosses over to other parts.

Actually everything works together. I ride, drive, ground riding, and do ground work. All four of them work to make Corrie a better horse. Sensei is a big believer in ground work. I have at least on lesson in ground driving a month. Not exactly my favorite, I admit, but when I can tell Corrie to stand, walk out of the arena to my car, come back, and she is still in the same place, that is impressive. Point and she moves. It is nice to have a well trained horse. My job is to not mess her up, which is why I do the ground work lessons.

Guess what I am doing tomorrow.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Fresh air is so nice.

Yup I rode outside.

I had a mini lesson with Sensei last Monday. He just watched me and gave me some tips. Corrie was still looking out the window and being a bit spooky. After doing ground works and ground driving I realized I was doing something under saddle, because she was fine the other times. A little tweak here and a little tweak there, thanks to Sensei's advice, and Corrie and I are doing much better. Inside is going so well. There are barrels, poles, and cones littering the indoor. I have been using all of them to our advantage and it has been added some variety to our workouts. We have been practicing all sorts of maneuvers. Weaving through the cones, around the barrels, through the poles. She is really responsive to leg.

On Saturday I had thoughts of going outside but Sensei was giving another client a driving lesson out there so I didn't. I didn't know how she would react and I want to tackle one new thing at a time. Sunday Corrie was really calm and responsive so I decided to take her out there after we rode inside. I really felt confident that I had control of her.

I was not as nervous as I thought I would be, although confident would not be a word I used to describe myself either. When I get nervous Corrie's head drops to her knees and she barely walks. Nice quality to have in a horse that is being ridden by a nervous person. She is steerable and has brakes, but not as responsive. That was okay. I was able to pick her up a little by the end. It was also hot and she has been already ridden for a normal amount of time. So I am sure the fat girl was a little on the tired side.

Corrie is just such a steady horse, not perfect. I keep saying that she spooks, but she really is not all that spooky. I think that might be more of me getting in her way. She is a bit of a butt head sometimes. Very much a brood mare, her default is to do as little as possible. Sensei keeps tell me that she is just enough of a challenge for me. I think what he means is that she is not about to do anything stupid, but that she has issues that I can safely work through with her, like being lazy and pig headed.

On the healing side, I find that I don't have to mentally prepare myself as much. I think about what I want to do, but not in such detail. I am using visualization, but not as formally. I think with this conquest I was thinking about it while I was driving. I do believe that now my skills are really dictating what I feel comfortable with. As soon as I gained control of Corrie's feet, I felt ready to take the next step. I don't have that control outside yet so we will just ride around the outdie area for awhile.

I do find it interesting to think back. I have not even owned Corrie a month, although I have been riding her for about a month. I have not been back to riding for more that a few months. It really boggles my mind. Although I think that driving has really helped a lot . Just a little food for thought.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Abby. . . I miss you

Abby is still at Sensei's. She has made some friends her size. In particular that little haffie mare next to her. No that is not Corrie. She had a fling with the perchie clyde on the end too. Unfortunately she does not have a good influence on those guys and they are getting hard to catch and is very bonded to the haffie.

I admit that I still just adore her. I love to watch her in the field. Sensei drove her the other day and I just wanted to climb up with him. She was not the best, but she has been driven before. She was so beautiful in harness. I just watched her going around.

I do occasionally go out to that field and pet her. Tell her that everything is going to be okay and she is going to find a great home. When I do that I am in awe of how big she is. So much different than Corrie. She is just huge. She knows it too and is just a bit pushy about it. Not meanly pushy, but still pushy.

She had someone come to look at her last weekend. She was on her best behavior, I'm told. Rode really well for a guy Sensei has do some riding work. Then the buyer's trainer didn't want to get on. Why? Who knows but probably just because she is so huge. She is such a big girl!

I am so sad to not have Abby anymore. I really want to bring her home, but she is not going to do anything here but eat a lot. Even though she pulls at my heartstrings, sometimes it is better to let the past go. I could not be doing all that I am if I still had her. I just have to remember that this is the best thing for the both of us.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

I failed. . . .

It was a test: Can I hitch up on my own. Sensei gave me a D-. All in fun but still I failed at hitching. Oh it was bad. I knew what to do first, but I grabbed the tugs before I put the shafts in. I get so nervous when someone is watching me I get especially nervous if I know that they are looking at every little thing I am doing, which Sensei was. Well of course he was and with good reason, the last thing he wants is for me to bring Corrie home, hitch her up and have wreck.

So I can harness and get her in the shafts fine, but Sensei has always done the actually putting to with me. He also does a few things that I don't normally do. Oh he has explained everything and has told me over and over again why we do it in this order and what to do, but ,again,I got nervous. So I don't get to hitch up on my own yet. I am slightly frustrated by this because I knew how to hitch up the horse and messed it up. I hate not doing things right, it frustrates me to no end. I try to remember what I tell my students when they don't do so well on an assignment: what we have learned is that we need to practice this skill more. No biggie. Sensei will watch me a few more times, I'll do it right and I'll have learned better habits.

Luckily for me I have a rock solid horse and trainer. I can screw up pretty badly and Corrie will just stand there. I mean I have done some things and been so thankful that my horse is so well trained and has such a good mind. She just reminds me every day why buying her was the right choice. I have also learned that buying a horse based on who trained it can be a wise decision too. Also I have a trainer that is experienced enough and concerned enough about safety that he he is always ahead of the game. He stopped me before I screwed up too bad. He always questions me about what my plan "B" is.

Last year I signed up to learn sign language. On the first day the teacher told us that it is harder for adults to learn a new skill like a language because they are so much more afraid of being embarrassed by doing something wrong. That is me to a "t". Not to mention that that personal problem I discovered makes me even more on edge about doing the right thing. Pleasing people is a real issue with me.

I'm good though. All is okay. It was a learning experience, hurt my ego a bit but that will heal with time. Riding to day was great. She is getting to be such a little super star. Besides Hope, this is the best horse I have ever owned.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Little Wagon

Here is my wagon. You'll notice that the pictures have a bit of an ethereal look, it was so hot and humid that the camera lens was fogging up.

Yes it is actually a wagon. Sensei has a thing about two wheeled vehicles. He doesn't like them for various safety reasons. I have one for my minis and I know that a lot of people are happy with theirs, but that wasn't really an option for Corrie and I. A nice old 4 wheeled carriage is just out of the question due to expense. Besides this is a sturdy little wagon I can drive in field and on the road.

This little wagon is nice and light weight, plus it is a very comfortable ride for my mother, who I really want to take for drives. Those front seats are really comfortable. There is a bench seat in back, so we could take 3 other people along for a drive. Under the seats is nice little tool box, don't have anything in it yet, but it is there. It even has lights. It has brakes, again another controversy in the driving world, but Sensei likes them for safety reasons. Brakes don't stop a horse, they stop the vehicle. Just like anything, it is knowing how to use them that is important. Right now I still don't so I don't use them except when the wagon is parked.

Even Zoe is liking my new wagon! The mounting block that I got to get on Abby works great for all of the dogs to get in the wagon. It also works well for my mom too. That first step is a bit tall, but over all the wagon is a nice size. I might train Madison and get another pony her size and they could pull this wagon too, if I got a pole that it.

Oh you may notice something is missing from my wagon. Have you? My poor little wagon has no shafts right now. Oh it does, but my fat little Corrie is being difficult to fit. Sensei is going to give me the shafts after we find which ones will fit her short fat little body. I'll get them before I bring Corrie home, which maybe awhile. That is another story.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Driving lesson #13: Solo!

Yup I got to go solo for a little while! Just a bit while Sensei helped get a horse off the trailer and settled in. Still I was driving my horse by myself for the first time! AND I get to drive her solo when I want between lessons. Of course this is with a few stipulations, after all I have to use his wagon, as mine is at home, and his harness and all that. Still I am really excited! Of course after he told me this I managed to some how flip the end of one of the line out of the wagon, not a good thing. Luckily I hung on to the part in my hand, but it was still rather funny~ in a scary sort of way. *edited to add that normally I sit on the ends of the line. Never know when you are going to drop and line.*

I have not been blogging as much as I would like for several reasons. I have been actually out doing stuff, like everyone else. Also I have been dealing with some personal issues. Some major ones actually but I am on the right track now. Help is a good thing to ask for. So hopefully I will be on more now. With pictures I don't know, having a few computer problems.

The thing with lessons are they are so insightful for me right now. Many of the problems that I have with Corrie are just a microcosm of issues in my other life. One thing, Sensei tells me, work on one thing at a time. When working on "a" don't worry about "b". We will have to go back and work with "b" but I can't do everything at once. Sometimes if "b" crops up I might have to stop "a" and deal with "b" first. I tend to want to do it all now.

Being consistent, so hard for me. From the moment I put her halter on in the field until I let Corrie go after our time together. Sensei often refers to his training program as boot camp for horses. He also trains all the way up to the gate. Why miss training opportunities.Just being consistent on what I am asking from her. If there is one thing that Sensei is trying so hard to drill into my head, sometimes it is really thick, it is this. If she is not leading well, she is not going to drive or ride well. Issues don't disappear just because I climb on her back or pick up the lines.

Of course this is just a few issues, but I see how they work in my daily life too. Just as Sensei says, doing ground work helps with riding and driving, drive helps with riding, etc. And lessons help with the rest of my life.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Corrie's Quirks

I have to admit I like a quirky horse. I do! One that has personality and attitude.

Corrie gets an A+ on both accounts.

Corrie's quirks:

1) She does stallion smile whenever I spray her with fly spray. I have NO idea what is up with that. She must not like the smell or something. Almost every time I spray her she does a stallion smile. She sometimes does this when working her too. I am really confused then. One day I thought maybe she is just baring her teeth. . .just kidding I know she isn't but I have never seen a horse that smiles so much.

2) When bitten by a fly on the butt she bucks. Now this is not a rip roaring heels flying buck. No her butt just lifts up. Again, just strange to watch. She got on of those huge black horse flies on her while I was hand grazing her today and all of a sudden she started bucking. Just lifting her butt up. I thought maybe she had a fly in her udders, being a brood mare she has large floppy udders. Then I noticed one of those huge black horse flies on her butt. She let me smack it off.

3) "Aren't I cute!" Really she sticks her head over the stall door doing her best: I am a cute pony, now let me out dammit! So adorable. I just have to kiss that little pink nose!

4) Garbage picker. My horse love to go through the garbage, I am pretty sure that she thinks that something good must be in there. If I don't watch her she inches her way to the garbage and starts sorting through it. We'll just say she is environmentally conscience and is looking for recyclables. Don't really believe it though.

5) Typical mare, I am only going to do this much. She is so funny with that. I am only going to step up with two feet, but the other two aren't moving. Ever seen a fat, parked out haffie? TOO funny.

6) She likes to stop and take care of business when walking up from the field. I kind of like this part. She just stops, does what she needs to and then we go.

I think I could go on and on. But can't we all? Isn't that what makes us love these creatures? So what is your favorite quirk?

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Driving lesson #12: With my new wagon

I drove in my new wagon Wednesday; I have actually driven the wagon before but now it is mine. It is the cutest little wagon with nice bucket seats in the front and a wooden bench seat in the back. I wish I had charged batteries in my camera. I need to get some picture of Corrie driving it. My goal is to do some trail driving with it this fall. My mom can actually get in it too and I think she would really love to drive; she used to ride when she was a kid.

Corrie was very "up," shall we say, today. I guess proving that she can be if she want to be. She did not like a car that was driving rather scarily down the road. She was having trouble focusing on what was in front of her, and has some difficulties keeping herself at a walk for a bit. Actually all that is pretty normal for her. She is such a sightseer.

Apparently she does not like polka music either. Can't really blame her, not one of my favorites either. Actually it just goes back to noise that she can't see the source for. Someone was playing loud music, polka of all things, behind a row of trees. That was scary on so many levels, I have to agree with her on that one.

I am getting ready to bring her home, maybe next month. My driving lessons are really important so that I feel comfortable driving her around my little part of the world. In fact she is not coming here until I get the okay to drive her alone. I will probably do a few solos there and then bring her here. I don't know if I will ride her when I get her home, but I will definitely drive.

Riding might have to be put on hold, at that point, until late fall early winter when I take her back. That will depend a large part on how this month goes. I have so many more issues in the saddle then in harness. Oh well.

I promise to get pictures soon.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Oh that's right, Riding takes work!

For years I have been daydreaming about what it would be like to just be riding again. I had visions of trotting down the trail with orange and yellow leaves falling on the path in our wake. I imagined doing circle and serpentines while being at one with my horse. Saddling up and mounting without a care in the world. I guess I just didn't think about the fact that is was not just a matter of getting on and going, there are still things that make me nervous. I still have demons. And I have no balance, it is rather embarrassing actually. I fight both with Corrie, my body, and my mind.

I feel really pulled in two directions right now. Tides run one way one day and the next they sway the other. One is my love of dressage. I just love everything about it. On the other hand is a very safe ride. That is basically what I should be doing now. Sensei is totally the right trainer for that. What I need vs what I want. Fantasy vs reality.

Dressage just makes so much sense to me. It is what I read about and study. I love it. I love the connectedness to the horse. The beauty. Helping them to be better balanced and in sync with their rider. Now I am talking about backyard dressage, not moving up the levels type of dressage. Although I would love that too. I love the training of dressage, the nuances of it. Studying every movement of the horse and how to enhance it.

Yet here I am. Forward is not my friend right now. Damn it. I want to move out but I am so conflicted about it. I get remained of that all the time. I don't really want to my horse to move out, even though I do. Damn it! Damn it!! I used to gallop up hills. I quit a trainer as a teen because I was told I couldn't gallop my horse anymore. Screw that! I galloped Hope all the time and was not going to give that up. What the hell has happened to me!


I think I am just going to have to say, okay. Ride. Just ride. Don't worry about if your horse looks like a damn western pleasure horse (puke). Just follow what Sensei says and get on and ride. That sucks. Not about Sensei, he really is awesome. I just want to ride dressage and I just can't. Not right now. I can just ride. Honestly I have have so many things going well for me. A great horse, a great trainer, and drive to just do it! Getting upset about a disciple at this point just seems silly. Corrie can be driven, ridden, and we are getting rather handy in our ground work too. I have not even had her a month, it might be that I am a tad bit impatient.

Tomorrow I get to drive. Yippy!

What? What was that?!

Today was beautiful. Gale force winds kept the blazing heat from the sun at a simmer. Ya know what the wind does right, it makes things make more noise. Things rattle and whip. Normally quiet things snap, crackle, and yes, sometime even pop!

I brought Corrie in from the field. I stall her while I feed her a little bit of grain to got with her supplement. For a private barn, there was a lot of commotion going on today. So I ended up talking, brushing, spraying, picking, and over all making her look spiffy for much longer than I expected. She also got to practice standing patiently, one of her fortes. Finally when everyone cleared out, I was able to do some ground work. The tarps snapped, horses whinnied, and what not clattered ( I am really into lists today!) so we worked on this and that until we calmed a bit.

Finally I rode. Not our best ride. She was sluggish today. She did get a spiffy new bridle and saddle pad. I will have to share later. She has earned herself a new nickname, Bump, as in bump on a log. Seems to fit her well. Maybe we need to go more western pleasure.

Anyway, then I decided to take her outside for a little hand hand grazing. She was very alert outside. *warning another list* The corn leaves were high fiving each other for their excellent grown, wind through the power wires was humming star spangled tunes, cars heading for bbq's and parades sped past. Corrie was really looking at were all the sounds were coming from.

I know that when driving she is always interested in lawn mowers. We have never figured out why because if they are close to her, she doesn't mind them. When we are driving in the field across from the church were they often mow during my lesson, she is always looking at them then. I finally realized today that she is more sensitive to noise.

This became even more apparent when the neighbors, who love to watch the horses and love to pet Corrie were out. I took Corrie over to be fawned over and she was eating it up. She stood under two flags which flapped over her and she didn't mind, but all of a sudden she would hear something and start. Just a little jump in place. Scared the neighbors, not enough to really respect her, but ya know. She was actually really good for them.

Just something to file away for future reference and to be aware of.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Sunday Stills~ Framed

Sunday Stills this week is about taking pictures where the subject has been framed by its surroundings.

Here we have some flowers from a past challenge.

Corrie framed by the door of the stall.

This is Karma. She is a shelter dog that I take to an assisted living facility for pet therapy.

Friday, July 2, 2010

I Finally Got Mad!

Oh that may sound bad, but it was actually a very good thing to happen. Okay maybe not mad, but peevbed!

I rode Corrie on Thursday and she is getting more fit. She is thinning down a bit, getting a bit more muscle. We are starting to understand each other. Not quite there yet, but we are learning. Corrie is not sure that I mean what I say. I am not sure I mean what I say.

I think she also is a bit bored of the indoor and gets spooky just to liven things up. As we were riding around, after we did our ground work, she was still looky out the window. Then a bird landed on a blue barrel. I had a moment of "oh no", then she scooted, almost out from under me. I almost lost my stirrup and came off. But I didn't. (yeah me!) Then I had a few moment of "Should I just get off?" and then it hit me. She has enough energy to spook, but trotting forward is too difficult. Eff that!

I brought my energy way up, and asked for a forward trot and away we went. I was amazed that she was being so forward with out a battle. She would try to stop and I pushed her on. My mind filled with thing to do. We started making halt trot transition, at every halt we would so some flexing and then trot off to do it again. Darn mare can be darn sensitive when she wants to be!

I have been trying to figure out how to get her more forward with out bring out a whip. It is not that I don't believe is a good smack if it is well time and deserved, but like I said last time, I am not good at the "command" part under saddle. So finding out that just bring my energy way up makes Corrie step out is very encouraging.

So what is energy?

I have heard some pretty interesting responses to that question. Some think it is some new agey or natural horsemanship type of voodoo. Really it isn't. I want you to think about sitting in a chair. Your relaxing and just reading blogs. Basically you are at a very low energy level. You think to yourself, I really need to get up. But your energy is so low. So you sit there and work up a little energy to get up. Then you stand. That feeling you got just before you got up is "energy." If the phone rings and you jump up, that is a lot of energy. Does that explain energy a little better?

Corrie actually responds to my energy fairly well. Especially on downward transitions. That is how she was trained: if your relaxed, she is relaxed. Unfortunately I tend to be pretty low energy when I work with her. Another thing I need to work on.