Thursday, April 24, 2014

Paint Horse Day

I made the commitment to ride today the minute my feet hit the floor. Not that I was going to ride that early, but just that as soon as I awoke, I made the commitment.   I seem to be lacking energy these days.  I blame it on sugar.  I went for several weeks where I removed all processed sugar from my diet and was starting to feel good. Then I was "lured" to the land of casino's and amazing breakfast bars by a certain barrel racer, and my whole plan fell apart. What can I say.  I'm weak!  LOL

Since then I seem to be out of control on the sugar intake, kind of like a binge drinker, and the constant high and crash is wearing me is my late night schedule.

But I digress. 

So I rode Trax today.

He was a little wound up.

I could tell because he wouldn't canter on the long line.  I know seems like it should be the opposite but truthfully, if he won't canter on the long line, it means he isn't connecting with me, and that means pent up energy.  

I was kind of proud of myself for recognizing what he was saying and heading to the round pen rather than opening ourselves up for a fight once in the saddle.  

Once in the round pen, I took off the halter and moved him with energy.  It took n-o-t-h-i-n-g to get him to go.  He was a race pony.  I made the right call on that one.  

I let him go until he locked back on me, and then we worked on speed control  When I could turn off my energy and get him to stop and come to me, I knew we were ready.  

In the saddle he was nice. Plenty soft- most of the time. His leg yields were stellar in both directions.  We trotted a while then I asked for a lope,.  I could not have been any happier with him.  We loped the full circle of the arena and although his head carriage was not as low as most people would like, he never pulled on me, he never attempted to charge through my hands, and when I said whoa, we did.  It wasn't a pretty whoa, but he listened and sometimes with him that deserves a reward.  There will come a time when I expect more from him in terms of stopping, but today was not that day. 

We did that in two directions, and each side was just as good as the other.  If you live in AZ you probably saw that bright flash of light that filled the sky.  It was my heart beaming with pride.  

We stopped, we rested, and then when I asked him to walk he wanted to lope again, but I said trot and he said okay, and we did lots of long trotting and pretty serpentines, and life was good.  

We did a little flag work, and by golly he is trying, but I can see that I am throwing him off again. My stop cues are all over the place...I have GOT to fix that!

We rested at the rope gate, and I picked up the rope, held it for 3 seconds and then put it back. He didn't bat an eye.  GOOD BOY! 

We did some lead changes, still making progress on those. I think he is almost ready for the flying change.  I just wish I was ready.  

We did some trail obstacles- no problem.  Then we worked on stopping again.  I kept trying to ask for a nice stop. I know he can do them, but I just couldn't get them.  I really think the problem is me. My timing is off, and my cues are off.  I know I am repeating myself, but it really bothers me. Not that he isn't doing it, it bothers me that the real problem is me.  I feel sloppy.  

Since I knew we weren't making progress on that I went to something else he could do with success...side passing.  And then I called it a day.   

We went for the hose down and he was all nasty on the inside of his hind legs.  I have been insisting that he be more tolerant of hands around his guy areas, but today I had to wash all that icky off.  So I got a handful of liquid soap and scrubbed the inside of his legs. He got a little squirrely about it, so I smacked him on his side and then he stood still.  He even let me wash his sheath opening.  I didn't want to get soap up in there so I just washed the opening.  

Then I rinsed him off and how he is shiny clean under there.   I always laugh at him with the hose. For a horse that hated baths, he now loves to drink out of the hose.

I had thrown the redheads out to the pasture, so Miss Melly was all alone for a while. At first she was bellering and hollering, but then she settled down and acted totally cool. 

When I put Trax away I took her out and took her for a walk around the arena.  

Guess who has never seen a goat!  She handled it pretty well, all things considered.  I also tried to walk her over the bridge, but she was having none of that.  Of course the bridge is also right next to the goats.  

There is a back gate to my pasture which goes to a catch pen for cows. I leave it open so horses in the pasture can get to shade.   I sold my stripping chute and have not replaced a panel there yet, so there is a five foot gap in my arena.  Guess who came through the gate and through the opening to visit with Melody.....yup, the redheads.  

So I tied Melody to the fence, while begging her to not tear down my fence while I shoo'd the other 2 out.  I watched her pull on the rope just a touch, and the minute she felt tension, she moved forward again.  Oh my what a good girl!

Now it was Trax's turn to be the cry baby!  Oh these horses!  LOL

Now that we are getting to know each other better I am getting more and more excited to put my first real ride on Melody. My point of walking her in the arena today was to see how she was going to react to things.  I think we she be fine, however I will go ahead and give her another walk tomorrow after she gets her shoes.   

Even when she spooks it isn't a big spook.  It is just a little side step, so that will be a nice change of pace.  


  1. I really think you and Trax are at the point where you would benefit from a horesemanship clinic, not event specific, just a clinic that deals with you and your horse at whatever stage you are at.

    1. I think you are right. My plan is to go to the Buck Brannaman clinic next April, but it would be nice to hit another one between now and then.

  2. I thought all of your horses were redheads. :) Glad you had such a nice ride. The tone of "voice" is totally different in this post than it was a couple weeks ago. Happy!

    1. Actually I guess they are all redheads, even the new one. But when talking about them, the sorrels are the redheads, Trax is the spotted horse, and Melody is the......well I'm not sure yet.

      My tone of voice is very different. I think I have gotten over our last blow up, and so has he. He is acting more like his "normal" self. It was nice to ride him and not feel like he was just waiting for the chance to bolt off with me. I hope it lasts. :-)

  3. When he loped nice and controlled, and stopped, I would've quit there on him. That's how you improve things. He was awesome, leave it at that. It's not always about how much you've worked on or how long. It's the small victories and that was one of them. Take it and be happy with it. There's plenty of time to build on things from there.

    You guys need to focus more distinctly and clearly. Work on one thing for the day and leave the rest alone. You may head out to ride thinking it will be lead changes today, only to find you're working on up & down transitions instead. Work on and that, strengthen it and leave it there.

    1. I might agree with you CnJ, if Trax was a young horse or a green horse, but he is a mature horse that doesn't need baby step with everything. Trax has a good work ethic, but he gets frustrated easily if he isn't getting something or not feeling it at the moment. When Cindy works on multiple things with him like she does, she is actually building his confidence. Work on the things he isn't good at, quit while she's ahead, move on to something he is good at, let him feel good about himself and then go back to something he isn't as good at. It all plays into each other and when Trax feels good about himself, he tries harder at the things he is not good at.

      I mean, that is just my take on him from the little bit I have been around him.

    2. You pretty much hit the nail on the head BEC. He does get frustrated easily especially if he doesn't understand. Once he does....dang! However, with that being said, today was a very easy day for him. I was so happy with his efforts and his successes, once we ran through all of our tasks, and ended on a positive, I called it a day and he had not hardly even broke a sweat yet...and it was warm out. I was sweating! I totally loved our ride today, and felt like pushing him any further than that today would have been counter productive.

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  4. I get your point BEC, but rehab horses are much the same as a young horse or a green horse. You are starting over, trying to undo the damage and rewire their brains. You can't always "just pick up where it was left off" because things were probably starting to come undone, long before it all falls apart.

    The one key difference between rehabs ad greenies is that you cannot push a rehab horse too hard or ask for too much because they have snapped before and can always do it again. They already know how to lose their mind and ditch everything else in the process. Young horses and green horses don't have this in their arsenal, rehabs do. Whole different ball of wax...

  5. Hey, if you're going to a BB clinic, sign up early!! Hope you can get in, I think going to one would be amazing. All the ones he's doing in my area have a WAITING list.

    Sounds like things are going pretty good with Trax, maybe he was wound up and showing off for his new girlfriend :).