Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Get The Most Out Of Training

After 30, 60, 90, or more days of intense training, your horse comes home and you have high hopes and expectations.  It can all be a very wonderful and rewarding experience.  The bad news is that your horse is not a new, programmed machine.  Your horse is still a horse.  Even if your horse did become a machine, there may be a "lope button" but you have to know where the "lope button" is for example.  Taking lessons on your newly trained horse is highly recommended, or better yet- attend a clinic so you can spend several hours over several days learning about your horse.  Learn what your horse has learned so you can communicate easily. 

When your horse gets home from training you may be tempted to let him rest after such a hard month of training.  Think again!  I completely and absolutely LOVE my job, however after an extended weekend it can be hard to get back into the routine.  Why would we think it would be any different for our horses?  To get the most out of training, maintain that training.  When I took a Spanish class in high school I thought I was getting pretty good at it.  I took three years of Spanish language.  I could recognize words very well, but when it came to a sentence in Spanish, I had to ask the person speaking to say it very slowly to process it.  I could understand when spoken slowly.  A year after I graduated I forgot half the vocabulary I had learned.  If I would have made a trip to Spain, I would may have been multilingual-I would have maintained that language!!!

Long story short....  please remember that you horse is a living being who is trying to learn something very different than what nature says.  Invest the time into your horse after training and you will be amazed at what you can do!!!!  Keep up the good work.  Believe me, it is all worth it!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Thursday, July 19, 2012

3 Horse Crazy Girls

Today was such a fun day at the barn.  Between my apprentice, our barn helper, and me we accomplished so much today.  I am very proud of my "barn girls".  Even with the heat the girls were on top of things.  As I stepped out of my truck, my barn helper, who is 12 wanted me to confirm her chores for the day.  She spouted off a list of horses that needed to be moved and stalls to be cleaned and she took off leaving a trail of dust behind her!  I walked into the barn to find that my apprentice had my first horse saddled, longed and ready for me to ride.

We had a mutual understanding the rest of the day of which horses where in line for their exercise routine and every horse was happily waiting saddled in the shade.  Hunter, Whiskey, Moonshine, Sage, Cleo, Peaches, Blue, and Persephone were all excited that they had sufficient time to be thoroughly groomed, warmed up, ridden, and cooled off with a wonderful bath.  Although it was hot, the horses didn't mind (of course it helps that we ride indoors and out of the direct sun) and we riders drank lots of powerade.  We were all sweaty, but very fulfilled with our day and chatted about how great of a day it was and how well every horse did.  It was unknown to us (until we got in the truck and saw the thermometer) that it reached 102 degrees.  Not sure how accurate that thermometer is, but I'm so proud of my horse crazy girls.  They stayed motivated and never once complained of the heat.  They double and triple checked all of the horses waters and properly cooled every horse.  I think that there are very few people in this world who would do what we did for 8 hours in the heat today and say it was fun.  Thank you girls for your hard work, dedication, and always putting the horses first!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Funny Thought

When I get home from work, you can tell I work in a barn. My clothes are smelly and full of dirt. I have smudges of dirt and grease on my face. And oh boy, is my hair WILD! After wearing my helmet and wind blowing me all over I don't come home much like when I left. Today I looked in the mirror and not only was my hair super wild, but I can see where some of it is starting to break off from wearing it in a ponytail so much. What is really funny about this is that I braid Achilles tail a different way every week to avoid break off....It's getting kind of scary when your horse has better hair than you do! My best friend (who is the owner of a hair salon) would shoot me!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

The only one standing in your way is you

I have found one obstacle that stands in the way for so many riders... yourself. You are the only one standing in the way of your dreams. Your own mind can create fear, anxiety, and challenges when there doesn't need to be any. It's strange how our minds work. You've been bucked off once; you're sure it's going to happen again. One horse took off with you and you're sure every time you get on, you will be bolting across the arena. Trust yourself. Give yourself the time and energy needed to assure yourself that this will not be your reality.

Allow yourself time to teach your body what to do, extra time with your instructor may be needed to learn the mechanics. Stay in the moment-enjoy what is happening now, not fearing what could happen or what happened last time. Move toward your goals one step at a time. Don't rush, yet develop healthy challenges that are appropriate for your riding level. Give sufficient effort toward becoming a better rider. For example, if you read one word in a book every month, it will take you a very long time to finish the book. The comprehension will be very low and the book may not be very exciting. If you read a chapter or more, you will finish it in no time, comprehension will be high, and you may find that you can't put the book down!!!

Most importantly, be patient and find your perfect partner. The horse you choose needs to be right for you and only you. If you are an inexperienced horse person, a professional will be able to help you select a horse for your riding level, however when it comes to personality only you will be able to know if it is a fit. Essentially it is you and the horse that will excel together. It is this partnership that you have confidence in. You have selected this horse because of the qualities you see, the confidence he instills in you, and the trust you feel when you work together. The perfect horse will allow you to become the rider you've always wanted to be and will show you that there is nothing to fear.

Go get busy and accomplish those goals!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Students Getting Into It

I am truely a lucky person. I am very fortunate to have such wonderful clients and students. Each and every one of them is so much fun. I am glad that they are having fun with horses and being silly while still being safe and learning so much! Since I began with this group about 6 months ago, I have seen so much improvement in each rider. It's amazing!

I love how we can have fun yet be serious about learning. Half the fun of horseback riding is the challenges and the discovery. Seeing how much we can accomplish and finally getting it. I love watching each student push themselves to new levels and exploring "outside the box".

Today was particularly a blast as we played a sort of musical horses! The mother/daughter who had lessons today have impressed me greatly. They have set amazing goals and are well on their way to accomplishing them. They put in the needed time on horseback and really enjoy it. They have even pushed me to new heights...literally! With their encouragement Sunny and I jumped the tallest jump we've ever attempted with grace and ease. Thanks for the confidence!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Jumping Joy- at it again

I really think that my assistant and I have too much fun at the barn! If you would have walked into the end door of the barn around 2:30pm today, you would have heard shrieks and giggles. I swear Achilles just rolls his eyes at us!

Now that Achilles and I have worked on jumping for several days, I've got a great idea. I'm going to do it BAREBACK! yehaw! I ask my assistant to longe me over the jumps. As Achilles and I near the jump, he feels like a cobra ready to strike. He jumps with beauty and grace as we go sailing into the air as my assistant shrieks. As we land, I giggle uncontrollably and my assistant says wide eyed, "Did you see that???" Now that really makes me laugh and I say, "No, but I FELT it!" I think Achilles and I won a gold medal for the olympics! Oh, wait- did I mention the jump was only about 6 inches?!

The next time over, Achilles was much more relaxed and jumped it for the height is actually was. I love Achilles so much. He is capable of much and even more willing. Look out Achilles, who knows what we'll have in store for you tomorrow! It's hard to actually call what I do "work" because it sure is fun!!!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Adventures of Achilles

With a week of much warmer weather and Achilles' wolf tooth now removed, Achilles and I are off to an exciting week!

Yesterday's temperature was in the 40's, making it an amazing 60 degrees warmer than last week's coldest day that registered -21 in the barn. Being so "warm", my assistant and I hit the trail. I had a blast on Achilles. It was our 2nd official trail ride and he rode like a pro. We walked up the slippery hill that was still iced over in the shadows, barely glanced at the crazy herd of deer bounding over the fence, manuvered through the field of holes, walked calmly across the "land bridge", trotted and loped while remaining very relaxed and responsive to my cues. I was very proud of Achilles.

Today we began to conquer a series of jumps created by my assistant. I love it when my assistant or others create obstacles for me as they tend to challenge me more when the obstacle is not something that has come from my own mind. The series of jumps was three jumps in a row, none probably over a foot high. Two included tires that we found laying around the barn and the other included the funny pink mounting block. Jump #3 was no higher than jump #2, however it was interesting to see that Achilles over-jumped this one every time, whether we jumped it first or last.

I made the comment to my assistant that Achilles is my soulmate, a comment I have found myself stating more than once. I really feel that he is. My passion for horses expands beyond just the typical one discipline riding that riders often persue. I love cross-discipline riding and Achilles seems to also. I love how willing he is to try anything I give him and how he finds a renewed energy rather than uncertainty as we change up our daily routine.

My best friend, also a horse lover, will be visiting next week. Strangely enough she has never seen me ride Achilles and I am excited to show her our progress! She has been an excellent motivator in preparing for my competition. She regularly asks me and quizes me about what Achilles and I will be doing next to prepare for the competition. Thanks to her and all the countless others for helping me stay on task!! :)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Staying Warm

Riding horses: warm
Cleaning stalls: warm
Breaking ice out of water buckets: warm
Instructing riding lessons: COLD!

As the temperature dips down below 0, I'm thinking that I am definately horse crazy. I'm actually enjoying being out in the cold cleaning stalls. I'm surprised that my hands are actually warmer after my gloves freeze. I guess it's like having an igloo on each hand insulating them... If you have to actually use your fingers, it is quite a different story!

Breaking the ice completely out of the water buckets took my assistant and me about an hour and we had a great time laughing at ourselves. Spending the last 7 years in Washington had allowed me to forget what breaking ice out of buckets is like; perhaps during my previous time in Montana I was smarter than to use buckets.... We do have heated water troughs and I appreciate them very much, but for some purposes we still use buckets. My assistant and I had our assortment of "tools" to break the ice in each of our buckets. We laughed at our caveman-like manner using rocks and sticks to chop the ice. It almost became a race to see who could break their ice first. Freezing water was splashing us in the face, ice chips were flying, etc! At one point my pigtails were even white with ice chunks hanging from them!

Riding is such an athletic activity that we sometimes find ourselves sweating and shedding off layers. It seems strange that you can get so warm in such cold weather! Don't get me wrong-even though I am shedding layers I do still have little warmers in my boots!!

Instructing riding lessons is where I find myself getting very cold. I move less as I find myself directing others in the action. Once you get cold it's hard to warm up. My assistant and I are at the barn for 8 hours each, so don't be surprised when you see us in our big, warm, insulated coveralls tomorrow!!!!

Monday, January 16, 2012

My Little Buckaroos With Heart!

Today as I was getting ready to go to the barn I took a look at the temperature. A whole 1 degree! I reevaluated my clothing and added one more layer!

At the barn I turned the horses out and fed them their breakfast, wondering if anyone was going to call and cancel.

I sure love those kids who will let nothing stand in the way of their horse time! They showed up with layers on layers, hand warmers, several sets of gloves, hats, etc. I'm so proud of each of them! They each spent time walking and warming up their horses. One little cowgirl in particular always impresses me. She was out there running with Kiwi keeping herself warm, and even stayed late to help me feed the horses their dinner!

Keep it up Buckaroos! Keep riding and don't let anything stop you... you can accomplish anything!