30 January 2011

The Finer Aspects of Horsemanship

I set up two markers about 12 feet apart in the middle of the riding area. I asked the student to canter a circle and incorporate the markers into the pattern. She gathered her horse into a soft feel, he responded by lifting his shoulders, she moved his hindquarters slightly to the right and from a halt she picked up a beautiful right lead canter. Her depart was smooth, soft, round and through. I was impressed.

25 January 2011

There's A Reason For Everything

Horses are concrete thinkers. They are imaginative, sure, but they rarely do something for no reason. While that reason my escape us sometimes, it never escapes them. Concrete thinkers.

24 January 2011

Outside the Comfort Zone

I constantly push my horses outside their comfort zone to see if there is something I need to work towards. The comfort zone I speak of here, is their mental understanding of something. It is the place just beyond their current training, where they haven't gone yet.

22 January 2011

2% Improvement Works Best

A one percent improvement of a particular task - per ride, would yield a 100% completion rate for that task in 100 rides. Slow and steady works well for all horses (and their humans!).

21 January 2011

A Beautiful Sight

My husband lured me to the west facing window with a bent index finger that indicated, "come here." I wiped the sleep from my eyes and wandered over to have a look. We stared out at the pasture in the dim morning light. He put his arm around me and smiled. Out there in the pasture were four horses having the time of their lives. Bucking and kicking and rearing and play fighting - all of them - together in a bunch.

It was such a beautiful sight. Berlin and Cruiser were rearing straight up, their front legs tangled in a mock boxing contest. They held their heads apart, baring teeth that never connected. The sheer balancing act, the power of upward mobility, walking around on their hind legs was fascinating to watch. Carli jogged past the pair, her tail in a flag, wagging her head from side to side on an arched, elevated neck. The Zigster was quite close by - bucking in place. He raised his neck and shoulders, lifting his front feet off the ground and then arced his back and kicked his hind legs out. He repeated this movement, never stepping forward or back.

We were mesmerized by their display of complete exuberance and joy.  Enriched by their example of the fact that life should be lived to its fullest...

17 January 2011

The Blanketing Question

The stress in the client's voice increased as the phone call continued. She was desperate to get the situation under control. I had to wait for her to take a breath before I could interject. I assured her the difficulty she was experiencing was fixable. She asked me to come over immediately, as the temperature was dropping and she didn't want to get attacked again.

15 January 2011

It's Saturday!

Saturdays = having fun.
Having fun = trail riding with a friend.
Trail riding with a friend = perfection.

Such was the case today. It was perfect. Well, almost...

14 January 2011

Out and About

I wasn't sure what I was going to do today. So often I have specific training goals; however, today was different. While I could have worked on a myriad of things, Carli informed me how things were going to be.

13 January 2011

A Bucket Full of Cookies

I loaded the cart with ten flakes of hay for the five horses. I wheeled the cart out of the barn, opened the gate and noticed that Carli wasn’t doing her usual Queen dance. You know the one, that little dance bossy mares do when they want the rest of the herd to act a certain way?

Getting Started...

My son and my friend both asked me.

"Have you started a blog yet?"

"Well, no. Not really. I mean, I've thought about it, but..."

Trailing off, I realized I was intimidated by the whole idea. I mean, I have a business. Horses to ride. Lessons to teach. I'm writing a book. I'd rather be outdoors. I have a three legged Great Dane with cancer. My cat is old. I don't get much sleep. And right now, at this very moment, that dog is haaaaaaaaaanging her head on my shoulder demanding dinner.

I'll be right back!

- - -

Six cups of kibble and a scoop of cottage cheese and she's one happy camper.

So! Getting started was all about excuses. I found a million of them. In the end, though, I called that kid of mine and asked the obvious questions:

   Where should I blog?
                  How do I blog?
                           How do people find me and who will read the silly thing, anyway?

With his usual infinite patience, he steered me here. To this cyber-space-place that I don't quite yet understand. I found an appropriate photograph, I messed around with the space and came up with this design. I'm not sure I like it.

But at least I'm getting started!