Sunday, October 25, 2009


I got a tip from a friend that they were holding a clinic for Ranch Versatility. I called and made arrangements to go. I wanted to see if Semper would work cows or if he had any cow sense at all. I have had him around cows, done local sortings, etc and he gets a little snarky. He wants to run over them and bite at them. I got up at 5am and drove to the clinic. It was a beautiful day, the sky was so blue and there was a slight breeze. Grass is starting to grow in the rolling foothills that we traveled through. We got to the clinic and I met the gentleman that was hosting. He and his wife were probably in their late 60's, very nice and welcoming. On the phone I had told him that I was coming specifically to get some time and direction working cattle. I also told him that I had little or no "real" experience working cattle. When I told him that I had done some sorting, he gave me an odd snort that let me know that he wasn't impressed. First thing he had everyone do was cut a cow from the herd and work it. I watched as the more seasoned horses and riders took there turn. When it was my turn, I had huge butterflies in my stomach. I went out and we actually did well. He told me which cow to cut to make it easier for a beginner and then gave me direction as we worked. I cut the first one and worked it for 4 or 5 passes and then he had me pull off and try to cut another cow out of the herd. We did as well the second time as we did the first with cutting out of the herd, but the passes back and forth weren't as good and we lost the cow back to the herd. He said the best thing for Semper and I would be to work a single cow in the round pen and that he would take some time with me one on one before the clinic was over to do that. After the other riders worked cows again, he took me to the round pen with 4 head of cows. He put a cow in the round pen and then had me just follow alongside of it and he gave direction as we went. It was great and Semper took to it really quickly. I made quite a few mistakes, but there is a ton of stuff to remember. We worked 3 of the 4 cows and we got better with every one. I will definitely be going back.

Wednesday's lesson

We had a good lesson on Wednesday. We worked on lead changes and on stopping again. The drill for lead changes was different from the last one we worked. We started to lope circle and just do a few steps of counter bending while loping. Lope circle, pick up the shoulder and counter bend, then let them back out to go back to the circle. After you can push them around without any issues, come through the middle at more of a diagonal, take your inside leg off, put your outside leg on, exaggerate and lean to the inside, and hope they change. It sounds confusing and at first it is. This is a drill TL uses to see if a young horse will "just change" or to see if they are more of a natural changer. If they do change she just lets the fence stop them slowly and lets them stand and think. If not she just brings them back around and tries again. Semper has pretty solid lead changes so we didn't drill to hard, the other horses that were there did well with the drill.

I wanted to go back to the beginning and start over with the stopping. TL says that isn't going to work because stopping at a lope is different than stopping on a run down. On the run down you start slow, build speed, get in stopping position and ask. I think that I was getting into stopping position to early and telling on myself. So I started out slow, got into position, and then asked for some speed - just a little - and then asked for a stop. I sat still as he stopped. It was better. I may get it yet!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Spin video

So I finally got the video thing kind of figured out. See it at youtube

Let me know what you think.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Ride and Dine

Saturday I went to a local fund raising event for a new facility that is in the process of construction. The landowner purchased approx 1200 acres to build a first class facility for all equestrians. So far he has dressage courts, turn outs with loafing sheds, an amazing cross county course, etc. OutBack Steak House catered the event and the food was great. They had booths, exhibits, and demonstrations. All and all it was a fun day.

I rode Semper today and had an amazing ride. The lead changes were flawless, he floated around his circles, his turnarounds had energy and were very fluid, he was just on, on, on. So I got off and gave him a treat, kissed his nose and went home one happy girl.

Talked to my friend that moved to WA and she is doing great. They put an offer in on a house, a big house 4 bedroom 3000+ sq ft. Who wants to clean a house that big? I don't want to clean the house I have and it isn't nearly that big. I want to play with my horses, not clean. To each their own I guess.

Still can't figure out how to edit my video. I guess I am going to have to buy some new software that is made to edit video.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Wednesday lesson cancelled

Wednesday's lesson was cancelled. Which for me was a good thing. I have a very dear friend that I have known since I was 5 years old. We grew up together and rode horses together and got into alot trouble together. After college she moved to LA and I stayed in our home town but we have remained best friends. We talk all the time and see each other several times a year. For all intense purposes and because I don't have any sisters, she is my sister. She wanted to buy horse trailer and had been looking in the LA area for about 6 months. Things are expensive in the southern part of our great state. So we started looking up here and found several. I went and looked at the first one and it was crap. The second one I went to look at the lady sold 15 minutes before I was scheduled to be there - that sucked because I had driven over an hour to get there. We found one on Craigslist on Tuesday and it looked perfect and the man said he would hold it till I got there last night. Everything fell into place, the trailer is really nice, almost like new, and the price was right. I drove to a neighboring town and checked it out, bought it, brought it home and now she is the proud owner of a very nice 2-horse slant. WOOHOOO...

I have been doing quite a few things for my friends lately. On the way to look at the trailer another friend called and was hinting she needed a ride to a event on Saturday, without hesitation I said that I would come get her. As soon as the words rolled out of my mouth I was regretting it. I love my friends and they would do anything for me and I would do anything for them. With that said, I have to start putting up some boundaries. The things that I am getting into are not crisis issues, they are convinence issues. I am not saying that I don't want to help my friends. I am saying that I need to set some guidelines for myself and learn to keep my big trap shut and let them figure it out on there own. What do you think?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Pasco Washington

Drove to Pasco Washington this weekend. It took 12 hours and 4 stops to haul Simon to his new home town. Pasco is high desert and not my cup of tea. It was about 35 degrees there at 5pm. I was freezing. The original stable that Simon was supposed to go to was not acceptable. We had looked at it on line and the pictures were very nice and everything looked clean and safe. The BO was very helpful and never mentioned that he pictures were probably 10 years old. There were no shavings in the stalls, they were matted but no bedding, the panels were tied together with baling twine, the stall doors were hanging off the hinges. Not a good place. No up keep and the horses looked miserable. And the BO wasn't going to be there for "awhile" so the horses weren't getting fed for "awhile". We had a plan B but when we got to the pasture and loafing shed that was supposed to be plan B - there was a wild ass steer in the pasture. We had been told it had gone to slaughter but obviously they were mistaken, it was very much alive. It probably wouldn't have been a problem for any other horse but Simon is an OTTB, 17 hands, jumps like a gazelle and is scared to death of cows. He will run like the wind to get away from them. So that wasn't going to work out. He would have bound over or through the 5 ft white vinyl fence in minutes. We had to find a new place for him at 5pm on a Saturday. My other friend that went along for the ride went around knocking on doors of homes that had horse property and stables until she found a lady that said we could overnight Simon there. She was a vet and could give Simon a week there until he can find a new home. Drama... The ride home took a little longer. We were doing great on time. My GPS said that we would be home by about 6pm and then we came into Redmond Oregon and found a huge Big R (ranch and home store). We needed to stop and stretch our legs anyway and what better way to do that than by some retail therapy. When we got back into the truck the GPS said that we would be home by 8:20 - we were in therapy for over 2 hours! We made it home safe and sound. Jenny found Simon a nice new home on Sunday that is right up his alley. It is a dressage and jumper barn. Hopefully she will make some new friends and enjoy her new life in Washington.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Wednesday night

For our lesson on Wednesday we worked on turnarounds first. Our turnarounds are pretty good but I was worried that Semp was sucking back to far and hitting his front legs together. I tried a couple of things and they seemed to help. First I just tried to lean a little forward to get him to stay more forward, then I tried pushing him out of the turn around after a rotation or two. TL said that he looked good and the she didn't think that he was sucking back she felt he was being lazy. So she said to "raise your expectations" of him and make him go. Give him one rotation to get started and comfortable, then cluck to him to get him moving, if he doesn't speed up to use some spur to tell him I mean go now. As soon as I cluck if he picks up the speed, shut him down and let him rest and think. I had my daughter video the lesson and as soon as I can figure out how to edit the video I will post it.

Then we worked stops. OMG I suck at stops. And I have proof I suck at stops - daughter videoed it. I don't know if I am over thinking them or what. I am not even going to go into it. I am still pondering what I can do to change and how to make it better. TL has us do the same drill over and over and it just isn't working. I think I am getting worse instead of better and so is Semper. I am going to work on my stop position this week. I want to throw my shoulders back and I thought that I had worked through that but I seem to be back sliding into that old habit. So that is what I am going to try to fix this week. I won't be posting any video of the sucky stopping, it is way to embarrassing.

This weekend I am making the trip to Pasco and I am really dreading it. Not only is it a horrible 13 hour drive, but I am leaving my friend there and coming home without her.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Snaffle Bit Furturity

Spent the weekend in Reno at the Snaffle Bit. Went to some of the sale on Saturday, shopped and watched the finals on Sunday. Wow there some nice horses there. I don't know Zane Davis, haven't heard much about him, but he did an excellent job all around. Congrats to him on his win. Felt bad for Tod Bergen when his horse went down, he was in the lead and when he came off you could just see the disappointment in his face. He must have nerves of steel to ride 4 horses in the open finals for 4 different owners. The two ladies in the finals did an amazing job. Just getting there is amazing, but they definitely held there own in the male dominated field. One thing that I noticed is how some very good riders aren't "pretty" riders. Tod Bergen is a pretty rider, Boyd Rice, Sandy Collier, Zane Davis are pretty riders. Todd Crawford, Ken Wold, John Ward - not so much. They are all excellent horsemen, but some just have more finesse than others.

The shopping wasn't that great. Not near as many booths as last year, lots of belts and purses, but since I am not really a girly-girl that didn't interest me. Why is it that when I find something I like it is always the most expensive? I found a nice Tom Balding bit that I really liked until I saw the price - $515. It wasn't that nice. I also found a pair of romel reins that I liked and they were $2199. Way to rich for my blood. But they were very nice. Almost like art work instead of tack.

We didn't watch the sale very long but I felt like the prices were either really good or really bad. None that just seemed in the middle. If your horse was average it wasn't going to bring an average price it was going to go for less than what it should. If your horse was exceptional or above average then you were going to get a really good chunk of change. Crazy.

And it was cold. I don't think it got above 45 degrees inside the building all day on Sunday. It snowed on the way home. I am a CA girl, granted a Northern CA girl, but snow just isn't my thing, it is wet, cold and basically makes me miserable.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Wednesday night lessons

Every Wednesday from 6 - 9pm I go to a group riding lesson. Usually there are 2 or 3 of us and the trainer. I was hoping to be able to post things about the lesson on Thursday morning but I get home to late and then have to work on Thursday morning so Wednesdays lesson is going to have to wait until Friday morning.

So here is last nights recap.

There were only two of us last night and so we got lots of one on one attention - which I really like. I went first and worked on counter cantering figure eights and changing to the other lead in the middle. Wow that is kind of confusing. I started out counter cantering a circle and went around a couple of time and then ask for a lead change in the middle and went into a counter canter going the other way. The purpose for this drill is to keep the horse from dropping and pushing his shoulder in a lead change. We did a couple of lead changes and Semper got mad and kicked out at my spur. I pulled him into the ground, backed him and then loped him off on the counter canter again and asked him again and he changed beautifully. Mary the other rider wanted to work on loping and rating her speed, but her horse didn't want to pick up the left lead so before she could work on rate she worked on lead departures. She was pushing his hip over and asking him to lope off and he wouldn't pick it up. Then he started rushing off as soon as she put her leg on him to move his hip. So every time he starts to rush Trainer Lady tells her to stop back him up and then try again. When she gets him to stop rushing Trainer Lady tells of her to tip his nose to the inside and that was the ticket. He picks up his left lead and she can now work on rate. He is a little horse and very talented and athletic. When he would start to go to fast she would make a smaller circle or turn a sharp corner. Then let him our on a loose rein and let him make the mistake again and then do a sharp turn. It didn't take him long to learn that if I just lope slow, I can go around in a circle and not work that hard.

I wanted to work on our lead departures too. Semper is good at picking up the right leads, but he tends to want to pop his head up as he departs.
Trainer Lady says push him up into the bridle and then asked him to lope off and if he pops his head - depending on how bad he popped up - either bump him with my reins if it wasn't to bad and then to push him into the bridle to make him work for the rest of a circle. If it was really bad, stop him get him framed up and start over.

After that we worked on stops and this has been really a hard one for me to get down. The drill Trainer Lady likes is to use the center of the arena and start out loping and then loop the end around. After a couple of times at a slow lope ask them to speed up about half way down the arena and then slow down as we loop the end. After they are working quietly you ask for the stop. My problem is that my brain is saying stop, but nothing is coming out of my mouth. I lose the moment. We worked on that and then Semper decides that he hears me but he really doesn't have to stop right then. He does stop but he takes a few to many strides after I have asked. We did some fencing because he was starting to scotch then went back to looping the arena. Trainer Lady says if he doesn't stop when you ask, pull him into the ground. I never pull on Semper in a stop. Never usually have to. I went down the arena asked him to stop and he just keeps going and I pull him into the ground. Boy was he surprised. Shocked. We did a couple more and he was back to his normal self of stopping immediately when he heard "whoa". That was good. He is still not stopping really smoothly. He comes out of the ground and then gets his butt under him. That is something we need to work on.