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Until one has loved an animal, part of their soul remains unawakened.

Ride with your heart and soul ~ your horse can feel it


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

R-E-S-P-E-C-T

... I think I may be on track to earning it from Raincloud! :)
Last week I rode almost every day and really worked on, well on myself. I have to be a more authoritative rider with him. Ask once (with firmness) and if he doesn't respond correctly TELL him.
So all week we rode in the arena (with cones marking the nest so we didn't trample it). The first few days we did no barrel work. Just walk/trot/lope patterns in the arena. Went for precise, had a few minor disagreements:

me - bend deep into the corners
RC - are you sure you want me in the corner? Let's cut the corner!
me - I said bend!
RC - okay okay, you really mean it.
or
me - trot!
RC - how about a speedy walk?
me - TROT!
RC - okay fine

Little "conversations" like that... the more I was firm about it the fewer discussions we had to have. Until he didn't really "test" me anymore.
The third day Kimfer rode with me and we set up funnel barrels.

*(barrels are placed in pairs and the pairs get closer to each other. For example we had 8 barrels - or 4 pairs - the 1st 2 were about 65 feet apart, the next 2 were about 40 feet, next 2 about 30 feet, last 2 about 15 feet. You zigzag around the pattern. Good exercise for barrel horses! They really need to listen to the rider to do it right)*

Anyway, back to the story. Kimfer & I warmed up our horses really good (she was on Baron this time) and went through the funnel barrels. Baron did awesome! He usually gets really excited and worked up. He starts to get really stiff and anticipates too much. This time he stayed nice and loose and was fast. Good to see he's recovered so well! I took Applejack through slow (trotted) and he was very good. Then I took him through at a lope and it was really good. Our horses had worked well so we cooled them out and were done for the day.
The next day we did funnels again. Kimfer on Isis this time. Isis & Kimfer were not having a good day. Partly because Kimfer has been sick with a nasty sinus infection. So although not perfect Kimfer didn't push it and left it on as good a note as was possible. Applejack was again a very good boy! We did the funnels once at a fast lope and then a "modified" barrel pattern. Meaning we just used the first 2 barrels of the funnel as barrels 1 & 2 and then picked one of the last pair as the 3rd barrel. He was very good but you could tell he was wondering why we were ignoring all the other barrels he'd been going around before!
Sunday was the final practice day. We took the extra 5 barrels off the pattern and set the remaining 3 up correctly. Warmed up really good and went through the pattern. He was awesome! No bucking, no resisting. It felt so good :)
Yesterday was the true test, a jackpot! I warmed him up really good and then it was "sit & wait" time. At least at Kress's (where the jackpot was) there is lots of room to keep your horse moving and warmed up. Oh! And another bonus, Joe harrowed a "track" around one of the pastures for his wife to ride. Its not a perfect flat and smooth track like a race track but its harrowed, the footing is good and you can run/walk/trot whatever you need to do. Julie & I took the boys out there while the youth were racing and got them moving.
Applejack can run! Whoo boy! We trotted the boys out for a distance and then ran back. Julie went back to her trailer and I turned Applejack and ran him again. This time I really let him go and he loved it! He didn't care at all that his buddy had left and it was just the two of us. Then, to reinforce that there are slower speeds to move at we slow loped back to the gate and then walked to the trailer.
As for our actual barrel runs, they weren't perfect. The turns were pretty wide. I noticed a lot of horses going wide yesterday actually. But he ran. No bucking, no farting around. We went in, I asked him to go and he did! I didn't place in the money but I think I was probably the happiest person there last night!

9 comments:

  1. hey - that is great!!!!

    All of your hard work is paying off - that little Applejack is finding out what you mean when you want him to work!

    It sounds like you guys are really making great progress!

    PS - send reins asap! lol...

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  2. Good for you! I had to laugh when I read your little conversation with your horse. My trainer sent me an email explaining my horse's antics and subsequent corrected behavior during a lesson we had in her arena:
    Poco: I can throw you off you know!
    Leah: I don't want to go that way
    P - I'm a tough horse!
    L- lets turn around
    P - no, I'm not doing that, I'm going to toss my head
    L - yep, that's the way I want, it's not going to hurt you
    P - shit....
    L - lets take a step
    P - well, ok.
    P - hey! This is FUN!

    Sounds like we both have a couple of hardheads!

    Leah

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  3. Sounds like you had a good time! I just love reading about your times at Barrel racing events - funny how similar they are but also different from horse shows.

    I feel like I am getting a secret peek into a different world.

    Ya know you know i don't know why I have never heard any of that - about barrel racers, I guess my little group has a pretty high opinion of them - you guys are like the ***fighter pilots*** of horse girls!

    This is my opinion of injections - its a way to treat lameness. If a horse is lame its owner has a responsibility to do everything within their power to "take away the pain and solve the problem" some problems can't be treated I know...so all you can do is treat the pain. At least people are treating the pain - and giving their horses a higher quality of life by doing so.

    I would rather see horses compete injected than dead lame.

    A point in time may come when the injections may no longer help, then these horses may have to find other careers - its the owner responsibility also to make sure that their horse is capable of another career like: pack horse or walk-trot horse or trail horse...and is not sent to a kill buyer because he can't do anything other than run a barrel pattern (and can't do that because he is lame when he runs)...

    Ya know? I am learning alot from Fugly's blog...

    There is a problem when people use injections as a substitute for rest - but I also know there are many equine joint problems that no amount of rest will fix or help.

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  4. Steph: glad to hear you're enjoying my stories... just wait until the end of the month. Our provincial finals is as close as I get to going away to a show like you do :)

    My complaint with injections is when horses need them b/c they are pushed too hard/too soon/too young. I think futurities are ruining the futures of a lot of young horses.

    And I like the 'fighter pilot' analogy! I'll have to think of the Top Gun music when I do my barrel runs now! lol

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  5. Yeah I have to agree with you about the futurities when did it become so cool to compete with such a young horse in any discipline?

    With pleasure horses - some folks say the same thing, about the injections, especially hock injections (or that the way we put our horse right over their hocks when they are loping is making them go bad) but what I have seen is that the horses are having joint problems from conformation faults, these problems will crop up earlier if shown worked and shown earlier - but given the same about of work and time at any age and the horse would have problems...

    These joints that are prone to lameness are inherited - they are passed down within very popular blood lines. So in an effort to breed a winner sometimes we're also inadvertently breeding hocks that wear out in 3 years.

    I understand a barrel horse is bred way different - but I find it all very interesting...

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  6. PS

    Make them play "The Danger Zone" when you make your run!!"

    Don't know if they do music for you guys or not - they are just starting to do music with the bigger QH shows.

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  7. At the provincial finals there is music, unfortunately we have no say in what it is.

    Bit of a funny side story, my last name is greek, I usually know I'm about to be called if there's a long pause, at jackpots if the announcer isn't one of our "regulars" there is a big pause and then "Lisa K. on Raincloud" they don't even try to say my last name!

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  8. Keep up the good work! Sounds like you're really learning to ride AppleJack well...

    This is a conversation Less and I have a lot:

    Less: OMFG :-o
    Me: It's OK, it's just a tree
    Less: I'm not getting near it
    Me: Just look at it a sec, it's just a tree
    Less : Sh*t it moved! I'm outta here
    Me: Ho ho ho (and it ain't even Christmas time)

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  9. Good job!! I have conversations with my horse, doesn't everyone! Time patience and a "few" dollars!! Thats what it takes to have a great horse. Sounds like you have what it takes!!

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