Arizona Gets Back In The Saddle

Sunday marked a momentous occasion for myself but mostly for Arizona, as she made an amazing return to the working world after an extensive eight-month long break. Because of seasonal illnesses, the flooding, a bad case of thrush, family obligations, and in general – life – Arizona had not been ridden since January. This weekend I was presented with the opportunity to ride with my barn owner and friend, Alberto, and quickly became excited knowing this was to be our comeback!

After such a long break I was worried of course for my own safety and anxious to see how she would handle herself. She has never been a BAD horse, no obstructive habits, no crazy bolting episodes, but she does spook sometimes. Some rides there are no scares and some rides there may be 1-2. When I first bought her last year she hadn’t been seriously ridden in about four years. Once in a while someone would hop on or even take her out but nothing serious or consistent. That first ride on her the steering was a bit rough and she didn’t enjoy being worked at all. She also had a huge spook right out of the gate. We kept at it and she got better and better.

This past weekend was flawless! We rode for about an hour 1/2 in the fields on a route we haven’t even gone through before. There were no surprises however we did ride with one of her barn mates that is fresh out of 30 days of training. Even she was wonderful. The unused fields were serene with a decent breeze. It was still pretty hot for 8:30 in the morning but at least there were no mosquitoes!

I’m beyond proud of my girl. I think she may have even enjoyed herself this time, being happy to get out and explore a new place with her horsey pal Luna. (Beautiful buckskin mare pictured below, ridden by Alberto.) Either way she sure takes care of me and I couldn’t love her more ❤

Arizona The QH Mare On A RideArizona The QH Mare On A Ride Arizona The QH Mare On A Ride

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Arizona’s Two Hour Walk And My Near-Fall

I’m sorry blog for I have neglected. It’s been two months since my last entry. I’m back and ready to write about my latest adventure with my Zoni Poni.

Yesterday, neighboring barn buddy Erika and I took Arizona and Whiskey out for a ride around the county roads. We met up at the field short cut between our barns and then continued down a ways, finally stopping at an off-road made of dirt that intersected the two roads. The ditch between us and the road was full of water and instead of going around it I coaxed Arizona through it. The silly horse will plunge into the ocean as far as I’ll let her but balk at a small pool of water on the ground. It was no matter in the end though as she tromped through it like a champ. Whiskey girl didn’t like it at first either but then she too was through it.

We had our share of dogs that day and I myself noticed more than the usual handful. I know which houses has them but some don’t always come out, and I guess I didn’t know just how many each one has. Seriously, each property has at least 3-6 dogs and there are at least 10 houses I consistently pass by. Only 1 or 2 of those properties have their dogs contained in some way so they always come up barking their best at Arizona who usually just flicks an ear and walks on by. Sometimes though if they come up too fast from the side she’ll spook but that didn’t really happen this time.

A while back I wrote an entry about a particular ride during which Arizona spooked pretty bad at the very end, at the property next to ours, when their dog – whom Arizona knows very well – ran up at us from the side. The dog was running fast and took me by surprise too so I don’t blame her but anyway, I digress. This time Arizona spooked in darn near the same spot only there was nothing to spook at! I am not even sure what to call it. I think she skirted to the side and then hopped, because all I can really remember is flying up from my seat, gripping with my legs and losing the reins. I felt myself fall a little to the left and up I went, and it’s funny my thought process had already worked through me landing on the ground and I’d accepted my fate, but it didn’t happen. I didn’t grab the horn but I reached for her mane/neck instead for bracing I guess and on I stayed. It’s the closest I’ve ever come to falling off since I dropped off that bucking pony when I was 8ish… I feel like I don’t know how I stayed on but then again I do think I’m not giving myself enough credit. I’ve always been good about sitting spooks – *knock on wood* – and I think this was just another reflection of decent balance. (Thanks, mom!)

What’s funny is I did just take my feet out of the stirrups and let my legs hang because they were seriously cramped by then, just a few strides before she did that. So not only did I drop the reins by accident I had zero support from my stirrups. It’s not like she ever spooks at stray/dangling tack in saddle or on the ground so I’d be hard-pressed to believe that’s what did ALL THAT. They weren’t even flopping around her sides at the slow walk she was doing. It just makes me laugh (I’m glad I can laugh about it) that the moment I try to relax a bit on the final few yards home all that happens.

Riding Arizona 12-14-2014

Just past the mailboxes there on the right is where it happened both times. To further desensitize her to that area I will probably hand-lead her up and down the road a few times and then ride up and down the road a few more.

All in all it was a great ride. Two hours from mount to dismount and I’m beyond saddle sore today but it always makes me proud. I get to take my horse out and enjoy a breezy Sunday almost every week and she always takes care of me. I’ll take the sore!

Arizona Goes to the Beach!

I’m ashamed to say this is another delayed post, but better late than never. A couple weekends ago on Sunday October 12th my friend Krista and I finally made it out to the beach with our horses after numerous failed attempts. The weather was against us and it would seem even so that day…

The road to the beach was not an easy one. The morning was a complete mess and all us brave souls on the freeway were going at a crawl because we could not see ten feet in front of us. A search of the rain radar said that our area of Padre Island happened to be cleared up, and sure enough when we got far enough to see through a bit of the darkness we spotted some blue! And brightness! There was sky to be seen after all! When we got there we found ourselves a nice spot on the side of the beach the city doesn’t care about (so we didn’t have to worry about leaving poops behind 😉 ) and retrieved the horses.

Just unloaded and tacking up. They got a bit wet from the rain on the trip down there. Those rainclouds came in fast!I took my boots and socks off and stashed those babies away and the sand was cool and squishy between my toes. I remember noting the horses weren’t as wet as I figured they would be given what we’d just driven through. Arizona was a little antsy about the experience initially after unload, looking up and down the beach with curious eyes. Zoni moved around as much as she could after I tied her up and began grooming her off but it didn’t take long to do since she wasn’t that dirty to begin with.

Just as we were about to pull the saddles from the trailer those black clouds we THOUGHT were behind us crept up and released rain upon us. Again we were getting soaked by the second. A certified downpour threatened to ruin our ride once again even though we’d already “won” by reaching the beach. We talked a bit about leaving but neither of us wanted to forfeit like that – again! We stood huddled next to the trailer, freezing, blinded by the run-off from our eyelashes and just waited. I don’t know how long we gave it but eventually Krista said “Well we’re already all wet, can’t get any worse, let’s just do this. Let’s watch for lightning and ride.”

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If you click this picture open you should be able to clearly see the giant raindrops as they fell on us. We could barely keep our eyes open against them!

So there I went, hopping around for body heat and in spirited rejuvenation. We saddled on up and even though there were a few prominent thunder crashes we didn’t see much of the lightning. When it came time to get on I found that with the sinking sensation of the sand and the lack of my inches given from my boots I couldn’t get on her the old fashioned way. Krista had to get down and help me mount up using the trailer tire hub — and then shorten my stirrups! #ShortGirlProblems

And then off we went!!!

10671341_10205225323657349_1392977036589967712_n10357830_10205225324057359_8492295241616624834_n 10678816_10205225331337541_6879333088109570908_nThe first and second time the waves touched her feet Arizona made little jumps back. After that she was in LOVE! She would veer to toward the water constantly asking if we could go back in. Krista and I rode for a good while up and down the beach, trotting and loping some, going into the water and back out of it and Krista was able to get a lot of neat pictures for me. Shout out to my Lifeproof case for iPhone for providing us with photos even during a storm!

1601299_10205225328097460_9209926507185109288_n 10641078_10205225325537396_5362419682532368967_nEventually the rain stopped completely and the sky was as vibrant and friendly as ever. The last time I took Arizona into the water during the ride I let her lead the way. She went in so deep my feet were starting to disappear. The water felt amazing to me even as little as I felt it, I can only imagine how it felt to her. When I finally took her back out again Krista and I explored a little bit of the sand dunes before heading back to the trailer. It was a lot of fun letting her take care of me. It was liberating to only have to hold on and trust my horse. She’s a great mare. “They know their feet better than we do,” Krista summed it up nicely. “Trust them to take care of you.” Next time I definitely want to ride up and down those some more. On that final stretch back to the truck I dropped my reins, threw my arms up to the sky and closed my eyes and just felt. “This feels so amazing!” was my personal understatement of the day.

After tacking down we let Arizona and Betty have a good roll.

10420371_10205225334377617_1752725117141018220_n 10670199_10205225336057659_8531973052994882852_n1653914_10205225336697675_1891223049685409019_n 10689806_10205225337257689_4830489472041489143_n1779124_10205225337657699_9015777830165733087_nThe second Arizona was up after she’d gotten two solid rolls in she was headed straight back to the water. I cheerfully plugged along side her, recording the experience and feeling happy to share it with her. It’s so fulfilling to see such a happy animal!

10675528_10205225338817728_8068110258186122492_n1972546_10205225342257814_8703256615784415951_n 10632765_10205225343537846_993815586904356288_n IMG_3969This day was one of my greatest experiences in horse ownership yet. The fresh air blew any negative thought I could’ve possibly been having away and the waves took it out to sea for me. It was a very much needed bonding experience for Arizona and I, and a healthy, exciting break from the day to day back at the barn. I know I am truly blessed.

Thank you Krista for not only your kind offer to go riding but your generosity in taking me and my girl with you. You’ve been a great horsey friend and it has been my pleasure getting to know you better! You rock, girl!

Arizona – The Good, The Bad and the Mareish

Today I enjoyed the rewarding splendor of what consistency and patience can provide a gal and her horse. I also received an uncomplimentary reminder that my horse, not unlike myself, is a female.

What I mean by this is…

The Good: I had intentions to ride today, however I happily settled for some bareback ground mounting practice. I know I can get on her just fine with the proper leverage, but in order to improve my body awareness properly I need to work both on and off the horse. Just riding around bareback isn’t enough for me. I finally have to learn this too. Since she was standing much better than times previous I really felt proud and confident that she could take a bit of banging around.

Arizona, showing me the fruits of my labors. Standing quiet, no chewing, no fidgeting about, no trying to pick at the grass... Very good job, girl!

Arizona, showing me the fruits of my labors. Standing quiet, no chewing, no fidgeting about, no trying to pick at the grass… Very good job, girl!

I wasn’t having success actually getting my leg up onto her back enough to get on but I didn’t get too discouraged. I quickly rubbed her down in the areas where I was putting pressure after each attempt and I just let myself focus on the movements I needed to be making. My clumsy self even threw my shin into her hip bone a time or two and she stood like a champ. I was very impressed with her, more than enough to keep me positive about my failures.

The Bad: I wanted to reward Arizona for being such a good girl for me all morning and turned her loose to graze for a while. Sabrina and I took to the hitching post next, for further practicing my form. Just like a horse, a little success builds confidence! And it worked great. Sabrina gave it a try for fun first and third time was a charm! She hit it every time after that.

Well… When it was my turn I greatly underestimated the necessary momentum because of how much shorter the post is than Arizona’s back. I didn’t want to throw myself clean to the other side so I dropped my effort down a notch. Up and over I go only I begin to realize I’m not going to make it. My legs were already hooked around but my upper body didn’t follow enough, and I was dragging myself down. I just held on and let it happen, refusing to accept it, and when I had reached complete upsidedownness Sabrina was laughing hysterically and my arms were in pain. She shouted, “You’re a sloth! You’re a sloth!” between strong bouts of laughter. It was pretty funny to me too but my arms had lost their steam and down I went. After this initial try though, I stuck my landing successfully each time.

And what would my practice fail be without a picture?

Horse life fail.

Horse life fail but practice makes perfect. I’m only glad this didn’t happen with Arizona instead. 😉

A slight wood-burn as a result of scraping my arm down the post to hang on. Some bruising, popped blood vessels and torn up skin but it was worth it.

A slight wood-burn as a result of scraping my arm down the post to hang on. Some bruising, popped blood vessels and torn up skin but it was worth it.

And now…

The Mareish: I guess Miss Zoni just wouldn’t be true to herself if she didn’t give me the horseverbial finger every once in a while right? But really Arizona, on such a GOOD day?? She decided that when it came time to get put up she wasn’t going to take it. I’ve never had so much trouble catching her than I have today in all this time. She made both of us run and exercised us good! When I finally caught her (you could just tell she was thinking “Fine woman, whatever”) I made her arse run circles up and down the small hill beside the barn. It’s enough of an incline to wear her out but hey I figure she wants to run, I make her run. And we’ll build up some topline  😉
I was positively exhausted by this point and it took me a good [sad] while to fully catch my breath. Darn her, making me sweat and stuff. Unfortunately there are no pictures of this. To help make up for it I’m going to share a few pics from our last two rides instead!

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Sabrina and Oreo. Her first time out on the roads! They both did amazing . Tuesday, 10/7.

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Sabrina and Oreo leading the way back to the barn. I think they look good together 🙂 Tuesday, 10/7.

Sunday, 10/5.

Letting Zoni dry off some after a really good 1.5 hour ride out on the country roads. It was a good day to be up early. Sunday, 10/5.

Arizona Practices Her Patience

Training time: 2 hours

Today was a much needed day of easy to grasp lessons for Miss Zoni. We worked on patience and to sum it up: she did great.

I started by tying her up at one of our hitching trees. I groomed her right away because she still had week-old caked on mud on her and I wanted that off pronto.

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After she was as curried and brushed as she was gonna get I simply let her stand there. I pulled my chair and water bottle out and sat in the shade, either on my phone or just sitting there, but ignoring her bottom line. We remained this way for a time before I put her saddle on, cinching to varying degrees of tightness as a time, and then the bridle, and then I let her stand there again for a good long while. And I sat ignoring her. Unless she felt like biting at the bark, then I made myself loud and uncomfortable to make her stop.

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Something like an hour passes by time I messed with her next. I pulled her onto the wash rack and tied her close so she couldn’t reach any grass, and I sprayed down the post so she wouldn’t chew it. If ever she tried I made the same annoyance of myself to her and it was a nonissue. Once she was good and chilled I ended this block of time by tightening up the chinch good at finished.

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After a semi-brief while I began putting weight into the stirrup and pretending to get on. Granted, she was still tied at this point, but she remained still – with her feet and body. She could have still danced about with what space and slack she had but she didn’t.

I decided I was going to try mounting her from the ground solo as well. And as luck would have it after two solid tries I stuck it! It’s maybe a trivial success, but a success to me none the less. She is 15.1 and I am 5″3 and stout! This mounting from the ground stuff isn’t new to me but with her it is. I’ve always used a step ladder, mounting block, fencing, a leg up – whatever was easiest just to get on with minimal strain on her back. Well I wanted to take my lesson further by getting into the saddle and what better day to practice doing it from the ground than this?

Yea. It was a success.

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When I got up I patted her down; neck and rump, and told her what an awesome girl she was. I just stayed out and enjoyed the view, and the amazing 80 degree breeze. It’s as cool as it’s ever been since I’ve been here and it was much appreciated after the rotten humid heat. It was a great day to build on my relationship with my horse and her abilities!

When I was satisfied (and now running on a schedule to pick up the kids from school) I dismounted and undid her tack as structured as I put it on, albeit a bit faster. She stood quiet while I put things away and grabbed a few pellets to reward her with.

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Thank you to my girl for being amazing and receptive. I love her. She is a girls best first-horse-since-childhood hands down.

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“Flash back Friday” to the day I truly bought my girl. Signed paperwork and handed over my final dollar and she was 100% MINE!

New and Ever Changing

Things have been happening in this horse-world of mine and it’s time to share.

First of all, I’ve let Powder go. I stopped payment on her and she was sold to Alberto’s good friend and cowboy horse trainer, Art. I deeply enjoyed the time I put into her and I’m sad to say I didn’t even get to say goodbye, it was such a quick ordeal. I will miss her but at least I know I can check in on her now and then. She’s well treated, well trained and she’s in a happy home.

This means my foal plans have also changed. Instead of having Powder and her foal, I’m going to be getting first pick out of the other mares…

  1. Scarlet, the palomino, is due first in March and she’s bred to his dunalino stud.
  2. Then there’s Missy, the sorrel tank with a head like Arizona who is bred to his smokey black stud. She’s a looker and I’m excited to see if she throws a black or possibly even a buckskin.
  3. And last there’s Roxy, the smokey cream dun. She’s bred to the dunalino stud as well and she’s actually the mother of the smokey black stud Missy is bred to! I’m more than excited about her color possibilities as among them are just about every color I’d be happy with – but especially – GRULLA.

My plan is to see if Missy gives me a black foal before passing on it but even then I’m really wanting to hold out for Roxy. There are just so many options for her it’s anybody’s guess but my heart wants a grulla so bad. I guess we’ll see. Can’t wait for spring 2015!


Arizona and I are doing well. I do enjoy being able to focus on her more now that I don’t have two to train, and we’re working on basic groundwork (still) and bareback riding right now. The last time I took her out was Wednesday I believe, and Sabrina and I both took some time on her, working on feeling our seats and learning the glue, as I call it. If my mother self-taught all her horseback riding skills bareback and it taught her to ‘stick like glue’ then so will I.

Now here are some pictures to enjoy.

Riding Bareback Being Silly

Taking a pass around Sabrina, doing what I do best. =P

We got in a good thirty minutes at least before we started wearing down the ground in certain places. Thanks to the rain we'd had by then the footing was already starting to go.

We got in a good thirty minutes at least before we started wearing down the ground in certain places. Thanks to the rain we’d had by then the footing was already starting to go.

I wish the photos did this sunset justice. It was beautiful to be out riding that evening.

I wish the photos did this sunset justice. It was beautiful to be out riding that evening.

Working on standing quiet. Yes, even this is work.

Working on standing quiet. Yes, even this is work.

Nothing beats friends and horses! Here is Livi with mama BriBri after taking a walk about the small pasture.

Nothing beats friends and horses! Here is Livi with mama BriBri after taking a walk about the small pasture.

That bareback ass that only equestrians understand!

That bareback ass that only equestrians understand! Being dirty is never something to be ashamed of or annoyed with, it shows dedication and hardwork and payoff!


In other Arizona news, she’s picked up wood-chewing something fierce! Without having a vet come out and draw blood to pin-point if there is some sort of mineral/nutrient deficiency, I’ve been trying other possible solutions. Since this is a new habit, and there have been no changes to her diet in a very long time, I’m left to determine that it’s not caused by her food intake, or lack thereof. However of course, if these snazzy diversions don’t work out it’ll be my next expenditure.

Anyway I firmly believe she is bored and frustrated. She does not get a nightly turn-out with my barn owner’s horses and I’m sure that’s no fun. She’s also been seeing 1 or 2 of the other horses chewing up their share of wood lately and you know what they say about copy-catting. In any case, I’ve been dousing the wood in that anti-chew spray and we’ll see how that works. Additionally I’ve started putting her hay in a slow feeder hay net and I’ve tied a small jolly-ball from the ceiling for her to mess with. Hopefully having something to eat for longer periods of time and something to play with will help. Unrelated to the chewing, I also finally got a fly mask for her, as no amount of anti-fly goo or spray or roll-on whatever has been working to keep them out of her poor eyes. She looks rather fetch, no? 😉

Lovely new fly-mask and salt-lick to hopefully keep her entertained a little.

Lovely new fly-mask. The mineral/salt blocks help to keep her entertained a little, but aren’t much for actual nutritional value.

Small jolly-ball hanging toy and new fly-mask. Here's hoping to a bit of distraction!

Small jolly-ball hanging toy. Here’s hoping to a bit of distraction!

Pretty Quarter Horse Mare

And here’s one last picture of my girl, just because she’s pretty. Look at that gorgeous, slim, powerful QH head!

Mr. & Mrs. Go For A Ride

Today Orlando and I went for a quick ride before the sun went down. It’s been a long, trying week and tomorrow marks day one of a new future and there’s no better way to face that than through the ears of a horse. I’m only sad I don’t have a picture of the ride but that would be due to the fact that I rode Oreo today instead of Arizona.

Oreo is currently in foal and due next spring. She is a sweet girl and will fall asleep in your arms if you stand at her stall and pet her. Today she was pretty feisty. Hunger, mosquitoes and a slight case of “I don’t wanna” made her a ride I had to concentrate on. She took off trotting back to the barn and I cut her off and made her turn back around. We proceeded to also face a few neighborhood dogs that were all up in our business and maneuvered a few patterns on both sides of the road. I discovered a gorgeous western pleasure trot of magnificence on her though I didn’t ask for it. When I finally let her go back to the gate we stood and watched a giant truck and trailer go by and when it passed her, semi-spooked and swung her hindquarters around so she could watch it more. Overall after my first ride on this girl I’m not pissed off or defeated. I’m looking forward to putting some more miles on her.

Oreo - APHA Mare

Meet Oreo! She’s a gorgeous in-foal paint mare at my barn.

 


 

Also… Yesterday Sabrina and I rode around the pastures with Arizona and Oreo. The only thing to note is that I got Arizona walking through the puddles on the driveway. Hurray for [small] victories!

Powder Gets Refreshed – Training Day 4

Training Day 4 – 50 Minutes

This is actually from two days ago, August 25th. By now my memory is shot and this will be a short and incomplete post, I’m sad to say.

I pulled Powder out of her stall today and I used the approach and retreat method until she would let me grab her halter. Since kicking me that day I’ve noticed when I get in she will head back to that same corner and give me her butt. Although, since I’ve been going back in only to groom and pet her, she has been waiting for me at the gate again. Progress is being made!

When I took her into the ground pen I didn’t try to do too many different things, but instead focused on 1 or 2. I tried to use the triangle method to get her lunging correctly and when she would walk instead of just moving her back feet I’d let her stop. We’d do it 1-2 more times correctly and I’d change sides. Same thing.

Training Powder to Accept Rubs From The Lunge Whip

I also got her super used to swinging the lunge whip around and used it a lot on her body, even down her legs, and around her butt. She did great. I walked her behind me and swung the whip around the pen until she stopped reacting to it and then some. Each way was a success.

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I bought Clinton Anderson’s book, Downunder Horsemanship and I started reading it last night. When I’m finished here I will go head out to take notes so I can get back to it on Thursday.

I also bought Arizona a new saddle pad and I love it! It’s purple and black and seems to be a nice fit. Gotta love that Mustang brand.

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Orlando also came out and rode for the first time since I got her. I haven’t seen him ride but one other time and that was on Magic, the pony I leased back in WA, and it was over a year ago. It should be fun teaching him to ride!

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Oh and the kids also hopped on for a go-round. I only have a picture of Shia handy however.

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Looking forward to Thursday with both my girls 🙂

Arizona Rides the Open Highway

Today was a GREAT day! I took Arizona out for another long evening ride and it was beautiful and fun. Very relaxing and it took my mind off some things to boot. I met up with Krista, from my old barn (where I got Arizona) down by the bamboo that Alberto was telling me about. I’m glad to know where that short-cut is now so I can bypass the pitbull around the dump. Although, Krista says that dog is a wimp.

Arizona and I faced our fears this evening and RODE ON THE HIGHWAY! I’m very excited for us, we did wonderfully. She only spooked one single time and of all times it was right by our barn… by the neighbor dog… that she sees every day… Jeez, horses. We also trotted more than we usually do and it was okay. I’ll keep working on her collection because she’s still bumpy as hell, even though I know that slow beautiful trot is in there!

Now when I enter Powder’s stall she retreats to the corner and gives me her butt. This is UNACCEPTABLE. Instead of pissing her off though I have been doing the approach and retreat method and I’ve been able to get close up to rub her in the end. I didn’t pull her out and do anything today because Krista was ready to ride but next time I will put her back to work. I didn’t want to start anything I couldn’t finish. She’s not going to get away with testing me anymore though so I hope she realizes her kicking days are done!

I love this girl though. She’s an awesome mare and will make a great rider someday. We’ll get her there 😉

Arizona and I out on the county highway road, doing wonderful together!

My gorgeous view from atop my amazing horse. It was a great first time out on the busy and loud country highway road!

The bruise I got after being kicked by my Quarter Horse mare Powder.

The bruise I got after being kicked by my Quarter Horse mare Powder.

Powder Gets Ground Worked – Training Day 3

Training Day 3 – 50 Minutes

Today I tried to lunge Powder again but it’s increasingly clear she does not get how and I’ll have to take baby steps to get her there. I worked on directing her to walk out and forward instead of just moving her butt around me and keeping me at her forefront. I quit making her move and made her face up when I was satisfied she was really walking and not just making circles. We did this on each side and ended on a positive.

I need to get advice on the video I took while trying to free lunge her. Maybe the problem is that I’m trying to free lunge her at all but I’m really just trying to drive her so she’ll hook on to me, but it’s not happening. She stays distracted and slightly lazy, as even at my most large and dominant she does not take the correct action. She will take action and even pick up speed but she cuts across the pen, does not turn to the inside, and does not keep up her pace. Basically I’m not able to direct her well enough yet. Someone on my forums will be able to tell me what I’m missing.

Between that I desensitized her with the lead rope. I stood in front of her with my hand up to steady her and keep her out of my bubble, and I swung the end of the rope around with my other hand. Small circles at first, then when she settled I did larger circles, and then louder, harsher circles, and then at last I did huge, noisy circles. Again, this was done on both sides with success.

Additionally I threw the rope around her body and legs at a stand still until she tolerated and then accepted it willingly. She did great and this went by fast. After that was done I wrapped the lead around her back legs and pulled the other end, forcing her to follow her nose toward the pressure to release it and thereby spinning on the haunches. She was slightly reactive turning toward the left but I did this 2-4 times on each side and she was great when we stopped.

Lastly I used the lead rope to squeeze around her belly to introduce her to the feel of a girth and rubbed my bright pink bareback pad on her. She gave it a good sniff and I rubbed her all over with it. When I eventually put the pad on her she stood still for it but when I began to walk her out she turned into a little hopping bronco and did a lil jig for about 10 seconds before she quieted. I did not ask her to continue walking, but I let her rest for a minute before I rubbed her and took it off. Next time I will do each step a little longer and make her move around more with it on.

Overall this was a productive day!

Today was also a good day for miss Arizona! We all had a little ride around the round pen with her bareback pad on and she was wonderful. We are all strengthening our leg cues and not having the saddle junk in the way is excellent. Plus I like to keep her working even if it’s just a little bit, to mix up our routine. She wasn’t worked much and hardly had sweat on her when we left, but it was a no-big-deal kind of day and she needs those to. I don’t want her thinking I either expect too much or nothing from her. She’s such a good gal.

One of the best feelings in the world is to dismount your horse at the end of a work out and feel stiff, sore, satisfaction 🙂Riding BarebackRiding bareback Learning to rideKids on horseback