Sunday, September 21, 2014

A new challenge leads to a new adventure

A new challenge leads to a new adventure
Surely you have something for me, a small treat perhaps?

Last week I joined another Horsemanship challenge group hosted by some of the same people who did ran the Winter Horsemanship Challenge Opal and I participated in earlier this year.  This one is set up slightly different and includes the following goals:

1) 25 rides of any length.  If riding twice in one day, there must be a 2 hour break between rides.

2) Achieve 25 hours spent working with your horse.

Work on the following:

1) Flatwork
2) Trails
3) Jumps (baby cross rails count)

4) Do a Job (learning to Bow)

5) Performance Piece on something outside your comfort zone.

Opal and I have had a couple rides, hit the trail soon, have 'jumped' a baby jump, and work on flatwork frequently.

As for the 'out of my comfort zone' I really struggled to figure out what to do here since I really don't have an outside my comfort zone with horses.  I've done a lot in my riding career, and have a lot more I can still learn, but as for something that makes me 'uncomfortable', well, I just don't feel that way around horses.  (Not to be mistaken for being careful, safe, and educated around horses)

After talking with a few people and thinking it over, I decided to see if Opal and I could take a stab at something I've always wanted to try, but have little to no knowledge on.  Mounted Archery.  

Yep, you read that right.  I have not shot a bow since Girl Scout Camp at age, oh, 11 or so.  Before I go and spend money on a bow and taking classes, practicing, ect, I needed to make sure Opal was on board with this idea.

I first started by throwing crops/whips out in front of her while I was standing next to her.  Piece of cake, no reaction.  

Next our barn owner Tami offered to fire off a few arrows at out target while I held Opal to see how she would do.  We started out in front of Opal, then next to, and finally over her back.  You can see Opal's "Big Reaction" here in this short video.

Needless to say this is all very encouraging.  I'll be attending a beginning archery class in a few weeks, until then, Opal and I will be working on moving off my legs and flexion while riding.

Ehawee is being ridden not only by my family, but by a younger student as well.  She is a patient schooling horse and is very forgiving to her students, but still makes them work for it.  She is also being schooled with the side reins and working on cavaletties when I ride her.

Kip's Horsemanship Throwdown Progress
2 rides
4.5 hours total

Goals Completed
Do a Job (new trick, bow)

Visiting with Opal

Emmy is progressing nicely in her training.  She worked with the buoys today again, and sported her new bridle and bit her Mommy sent her.  We are still a ways away from riding, but she is being introduced to the tack now to wear it while she works to get use to being tacked up.  She plays with the rollers on her bit a lot right now, but likes her bit overall.  She also let me trim her a bridle path so her bridle will sit nicely behind her ears.


Sunday, September 14, 2014

Autumn? Fall? Winter is coming.....

Autumn?  Fall?  Winter is coming.....
Hey kid, got any treats in there?

The summer sun is slowly setting earlier and earlier and coming up later and later.  The days grow shorter and my girl's coats are starting to fluff up.  Winter is coming.......NOOOOOOOOOOOO!

Ok, sorry for the protest, but I'm a summer girl, the warm sun never bothered me anyways.

The last couple weeks have been fun.  My Sister and my Niece were in town and my Sister jumped Ehawee over a fence.  It was Ehawee's first jump while carrying a rider.  Sometimes a horse shows talent on the ground, but when you get in the tack, they decide its not their thing, Ehawee did great though, very willing.  She needs a lot of flat work and exercises over poles and cavaletties to help get her tuned up.

Opal is Opal.  Goes with the flow, doesn't protest much...unless I make her wait to eat her lunch, then shes convinced she's going to starve and someone else will get her food....this too shall pass in time.

I was able to join Tami and her mustang Ranger for a ride through the open field next to the barn, Opal was a champ until she saw the laundry on the line in someones back yard flapping in the wind...there's worse things she could spook at I suppose :)

 Out in the field with Tami and Ranger.

Sunday is normally "Daddy Day" for my daughter.  They get some one on one time together, and I get a few hours at the barn to ride, clean like mad, and forget about Mickey Mouse, Frozen (which I love), and Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood for a few hours.  I can spend time lounging and riding at my own pace, sit and eat a meal.

 Opal and Ehawee using elastic Side Reins.

This Sunday he took me up on the offer to come out and work with the horses.  He's been out one other time since the move and has wanted to learn more about them and get in some riding....partially because he wants to understand what I'm talking about, and partly to understand what his Boss is talking about.  Today he had his first ride since we did the Grand Canyon Mule ride on our Honeymoon nearly 10 years ago.  

He got to ride Ehawee, who was a bit curious about what all was going on and who was on her, but she plowed right along.  She even gave our Daughter a ride.  I got to ride Opal while he rode Ehawee.  Opal wasn't too thrilled with not being able to go right over to her buddy and be social....sorry mare, can't just mindlessly follow the horse in front of you and ignore me aids.  Both mares did well today and got a bath before getting to go home for the day.

Emerald has had a lot done with her the past few weeks and is making great progress.  While I prefer to "pet" my horses with long strokes, the world likes to "pat" them.  This means I have to get my horses use to both so they don't jump out of their skin when some City Slicker wants to pet my horse and pats them like a dog or cat.  Emerald is finally getting use to both.  She lets me fly spray her at liberty in her corral and her ground manners have improved daily.  She got introduced to 3 new things over the last few weeks. 

1) The Big Green Horse Ball

Emmy is very playful and mouthy, but not in a "I'm going to bite you" kind of way, she just likes mouthing on her water tub and hoses.  I decided to introduce her to the big green ball and let her go to town.  Since she LOVES treats, I simply put the ball between us while holding a cookie out for her.  After a couple of round of ring around the green ball, she grabbed it with her teeth and moved it.  I used my clicker and gave her a treat and went back to my starting position.  By the time 15 minutes had gone by, she was kicking it around and away to get a treat as well as biting it.  I left the round pen to let her explore on her own.  The "3 amigos" in the pasture next to the round pen were not too sure of this green thing....and Emmy caught on to that and moved it closer and closer to them, causing them to become alert and even snort.  Mares!

2) Saddle Pad

While I am in no real hurry to sit on Emmy and ride yet since she's still growing, I can introduce her to tack, gear, and get her ready now for when she is ready for a rider.  I took my blue flame patterned saddle pad and hung it up for her to smell and see.  It's one of my daily pads so the scent of her buddy Ehawee was on it and helped make it not so scary.  Next I let it touch her face, them moved it down her neck and onto her back.  Emmy only looked at it to see what it was doing, not once was she tense or scared.

3) Boat Fenders (Buoy)

I had to explain to 3 staff members at West Coast Marine that I wouldn't be using these on a boat, rather on a horse, so I wouldn't need to water vessel rescue membership (think AAA but for boats)  That's one thing I love about my job, making people rethink things, methods, and how to see something a little differently.  Especially non-horse people.  

This idea was mentioned to me by one of my Wild Horse Mentors, Willis Lamm.  It's a boarder line genius idea.  Here's the link to his website talking all about the Buoy's.

The basic idea is this.  When riding a horse the first few times, sometimes our leg touching their sides can cause them to freak out, especially if you have a very sensitive horse.  Taking a Buoy and attaching to a surcingle or saddle while you move the horse can aid in that.  The Buoy is roughly the same length as my lower leg, and as the horse moves, it moves.  They swing, they sway, they bounce around, and they touch the horse while the horse moves.

Emmy had a short introduction to these with them just sitting over her back and walking around in hand or in a small circle.  She wasn't phased one bit.  Next time she will be wearing them with a surcingle. 

Friday, September 5, 2014

Technical Large Animal Emergency Rescue training - August 30/31 Silversprings/Stagecoach Nevada.

Technical Large Animal Emergency Rescue training - August 30/31 
Silver Springs/Stagecoach Nevada.

I was able to attend a 2 day training on rescuing horses who find themselves in difficult situations.  While we hope things like this never happen to our animals, I am glad to have had the opportunity to participate in this training.