Tuesday, October 15, 2013


Not as in "you chillens get your butts back in here and clean up this mess!"

But more like- Chill Method horse training. AKA Charlie Hill.

I had my first ride with Charlie tonight, and I can post his name because free advertising is the best advertising!   He has an open ride night every Tuesday, so I loaded up my paint horse, and we made the trek to his house. It isn't too far, but I still hate driving in the dark.  It costs $30.00 to ride on open ride night and he works with each one of us on what ever we want help with, plus if he see's something going on, he points it out and gives some pointers on how to correct it. I feel it is worth every penny.

There were only 3 other riders so we didn't have to compete for space to ride, nor time from Charlie either, so that was cool too.  What was also cool was even when he wasn't helping me, I was able to learn lots from what he was explaining to the other gals who were riding.

He saw lots of things that I was doing that needed help. But hey, that is why I went right?  He pointed out that when lifting my legs off Trax's sides, I tend to really push down in my stirrups which lifts me out of the saddle. If I am asking him to stop, the last thing I want to do is lift out of the saddle.  So that is a big one for me to work on. Body position in general was a big factor this evening. I try so hard to grasp what he is saying...wait that isn't right. I understand what he is saying, but making my body do it correctly is the challenge.

He noticed that when loping to the right Trax really is heavy on the forehand. So he thought for a minute, then tried something out on his horse, and then had me try it, and he says it worked.  I can't really tell, except that Trax did seem to be a bit smoother.  What he had me do was even though my circle was to the right he had me drive forward from the left and then the right and then the left and then the right again. Not big changes, but just subtle pushes with my leg and rein.  So that is something else for us to work on.

He also has me working on picking up on the reins instead of pulling back on the reins when asking for my slow down or stop, along with using my seat.  This is something I had started already but he helped me take it a bit further.

I will say that I got a couple of really nice stops from Trax, one in particular that actually got a "Woo Hoo" out of me!

I was working on my "spins" or side passes with the front leg crossing over, and he basically told me I was wasting my time trying to do it the way I am.  Well he was not near that rude about it, but he made it clear that until I get better control of the speed of Trax's front end and hind end, as in separate entities, then I wasn't going to have much success in what I am trying to accomplish. Then he demonstrated on his horse. I wish I could have taped that part, because it was really cool.

"As I ride in my circle I can slow down the front end or slow down the hind end, depending on which way I want this to work." (not his exact words but close)

As he was talking I'm watching his horses front and hind ends go two entirely different speeds, which was the beginning of his spin.

"Then I add support from my rein"  And he starts spinning around so effortlessly, it was like a dance.  It was actually prettier than what I have seen a lot of reining horses do.

I really can't even describe what all he did, and how awesome it was, but I recall watching it thinking, "I'll never be able to do that"

But then he told me, "You can do this, " as if he read my mind, " but first we have to get you some control over your horses body parts....but you are getting there."

He did explain that by just holding my leg on Trax and asking him to move off of it, I am just giving him something to lean against. It is the same with my hands on those reins, I am allowing him to lean on the rein and so he does.

Now that is actually a lot of information for one night, and I have a couple of weeks to work on these things and try to make some improvements.  I can't go every week, because Simon usually has football Tuesday nights, but tonight he is out with a pulled muscle, so I got to go.  I'm really hoping I can go in 2 weeks.

In some ways I wish that I could just send Trax to him for a while.  Sometimes I feel like I am holding my horse back with my lack of experience.  But then common sense tells me that if I don't learn how to communicate to him, then the training would be wasted anyway. So I guess it is best if we learn together.

In other news, the vet put Butch on some prednisone and I see some improvement already.  There can be some pretty nasty side effects to that drug, but he doesn't seem to have any so that is a relief.

I'm still working with SAssy some, and she has sort of reached a plateau.  I have cut her bute back to every other day, and she isn't getting worse so that is a good thing too.

Now it is late and 4:30 comes awfully early. But I couldn't go to bed till I wrote down all I could about my ride tonight.

Take care all!   FYI, I haven't been commenting much, but I have been reading everyone's posts.  Lurking I guess.  LOL


  1. That sounds like such a great ride! It's awesome that you have someone there that you can learn from....taking 'lessons' or whatever you wish to call them is so important, we never stop learning with our horses! I think that there are times when horses definitely could used a few weeks getting 'tuned up' but then what makes the difference is making sure that our riding reflects riding the way the horse just got reminded he needs to act! I've thought about getting Pony some more training (like putting 30 days of working cows on her, etc would be AWESOME) but then again, if I can't ride her effectively then whats the point.?

    Glad you had such a great ride! And that sassy looks good :)

  2. What an awesome resource to have. The gal who rides with me often asks, "What am I doing wrong?" when she has problems with her horse, but I can't always see it, which makes me have a lot of respect for trainers and equitation instructors who do have an eye for such things.

  3. An open ride is a really great idea. I don't think we have anything like that around here. And what a lesson! I actually like watching other lessons or being in group lessons so that I can also learn from others. Keep up the good work :)

  4. I enjoyed reading about your lesson. I love taking lessons, there is always something to improve on and I just wish I could take regular lessons. I am going in a clinic soon though!

  5. I'm not sure that Trax's temperament is suited to going off to be 'tuned up'. He's too much your your boy. :) There's no hurry. The journey is the goal.

    1. Keechy that is very true, he needs special treatment from someone who really understands horses and who thinks past the "cowboy up" mentality. Anything less than that would send him backwards instead of forward. Charlie Hill is phenominal when it comes to clear and fair communication to a horse,, which is one of the reasons I am so excited to be riding with him. I do not know that I wold even be willing to be parted from my guy that long, but I do like to leave my options open. :-)