April 30, 2013


It grieves me to have to announce this but Rock was put down after a struggle with a very painful colic.  It's still not known what caused his colic and he was only 9 years old.

Pheobe is very sad.  He was a boarders horse who then stopped paying board since she fell on hard times so eventually Phoebe took ownership Rock in lieu of the back boarding fees.  It sounds like it was an easy transaction and Rock was a beloved lesson horse. 
Always curious and wanting to be the center of attention
He also had a younger girl leasing him and the pain of his loss is most likely greatest with this girl.  I remember seeing them in the barn, she adored him and love to ride him over jumps and bareback.  He was a great mover.  So good he would move into a picture I was trying to take.  LOL
Steve loved Rock, he was always in your pocket and would grab ahold of your sleeve.  I think he was trying to boss us around but there was something so human about him too.  He loved to be scratched and Dani had become good friends with him.

I had to work really hard not to cry when Phoebe told me, it was during the horseshow and I know she was busy with her students.  I didn't want to cause grief to well up inside her but I did shed a few tears for him as I left for home that night.  It's so scary that any day our loved ones could be taken away suddenly.

Rest in Peace Rock.  You were a sweet horse that will be missed greatly.

X- Xenophon

430-354 B.C.  This was the time of Xenophon the Athenian soldier who, among many other accomplishments, wrote one of the oldest and still relevant works on horsemanship.
The book is still able to be purchased today.  At Amazon you can buy it pretty cheaply.
I think this website wrote about Xenophon and his horsemanship book so well that I will just cut and paste.  This article describes the book chapter by chapter.  I've already ordered the book, looking forward to reading it!
Of course here is the credit for the information below. http://www1.hollins.edu/faculty/saloweyca/horse/onhorsemanship.htm
On the Art of Horsemanship comes to us from 360 B.C.E., the work of the Athenian cavalryman Xenophon. It is the oldest known text on horseback riding still in existence, and the first work known to emphasize training techniques that account for the state of the horse's psyche as well as his body. The work is divided into eleven chapters, and deals with the purchase, care and training of horses. It also deals, to some extent, with the construction of stables and the equipment needed for several aspects of horsemanship.

For the purposes of this project, I examined two translations of On the Art of Horsemanship. The first is Stefan Welebny's translation at HorseClick.com. The second is E.C. Marchant's translation at the Perseus Digital Library. Each translation features its own individual strengths and weaknesses. What follows is a brief summary of and commentary on the chapters of On the Art of Horsemanship, based on these translations.

(1) How to Buy a Young Horse: Xenophon opens his treatise with the assumption that the reader is to purchase a young horse, as yet untrained. It is in this chapter that he makes the first reference to the lost treatise by Simon. As his recommendations for purchasing a young horse, Xenophon details the strengths the animal should possess and the flaws that should be avoided. What we are given is the image of an attractive but compact animal, with a strong, heavy body and neck, small head, and long legs. The hooves are to be strong as well, with thick walls and curved soles. Xenophon warns against purchasing a horse whose legs are too straight or too sharply angled, citing these faults as weaknesses that will lead to frequent inflammation and other infirmities of the legs. He also warns against purchasing a horse with a "hollow hoof," though it is somewhat unclear what he means by this. Marchant, in his translation, notes that though Xenophon warns against the purchase of horses whose hocks are angled inward, animals with this conformation are often good trotters. Nevertheless, this type of angle in the legs is still considered a conformation fault by the modern rider.

(2) On the Education and Training of Young Horses: As one might expect, the next step in horse ownership is the training of the young horse. This chapter, however, is somewhat problematic in that it withholds as much information as it offers. It opens almost immediately with the statement that all people know young horses are sent to trainers, rather than be broken in by their masters. Xenophon gives almost no information on this process, saying only that it is the master's responsibility to outline the skills a young horse must learn, and the period of time in which he must learn them. He also emphasizes here, for the first time, that the horse should learn to trust its handlers and designates this as partly the responsibility of the groom. He advises that the groom should handle the horse with kindness, stroking it and taking it out into various and strange places so that it learns to enjoy human contact and to be unafraid of unfamiliar areas. If a horse reacts in fear to anything, its handler is to reassure it rather than punish it. In this way, Xenophon insists, the horse will learn that there is no need for fear and come to trust its human handler.

(3) Guidelines for the Purchase of a Trained Horse: This chapter deals with the desirable traits and skills of a trained horse, should the reader prefer to purchase an adult animal instead of a foal. Just as a prospective horse owner must do today, the buyer should confirm the age of the animal--something that can be done by examining the state of its teeth--and should examine its overall health and soundness. Xenophon recommends that the horse be handled and ridden in several ways before purchase in order to determine its temperament and its level of training. In this chapter, one is left with the impression that a prospective buyer could indeed try the horse before making the purchase, as Xenophon outlines several exercises with which one can test the animal's fitness and training. He also reminds the reader that horses who have not been trained to do certain activities, or who are sound but not as fit as the buyer might like can be trained to fulfill their prospective owner's desires. The buyer is also left with a warning against the skittish or lazy horse and the trouble that such animals can cause.

(4) On Horse Care: Here, we are offered a glimpse at the state of the Athenian stable through Xenophon's recommendations on the care and keeping of horses. He recommends keeping the stable somewhere that the owner can visit daily. In this way, the owner can observe his horse's behavior and ensure that grooms are not duplicitous. Furthermore, he states that one should situate the horse's feed bin in such a way that he can see if the horse throws his feed, citing this behavior as an indication that the horse needs rest or medical treatment. Whether the horse was loosed or tied elsewhere in his stall after morning feed is somewhat difficult to determine, due to the possibility of both meanings in the Greek text. The design of the stable flooring and yard should promote strong hooves, and it is Xenophon's belief that a horse kept on a surface of smooth rocks somewhat larger than his hooves will develop strong hooves and be better able to cope when asked to go on difficult terrain. Note is also given to the need for keeping the horse's mouth soft.

(5) Directives for the Groom: Xenophon's directives include fastening the halter so as to avoid rubs, keeping the areas in which horses are stabled clean, and the handling and grooming of horses. He recommends that a horse be muzzled when led or groomed without a bridle, in order to prevent biting. Xenophon also recommends tying leads above the horse's head, so that if the horse tries to shake the halter off the straps will not break. A groom is expected to begin cleaning the horse by currying his head, mane, neck and body. Certain areas of the body are to be cleaned with all grooming instruments, against the stroke of the hair, but Xenophon recommends minimal or no grooming of the back, belly and legs because these areas are sensitive and the legs are liable to become soiled almost immediately after cleaning. The forelock and head are to be washed with water, as well as the mane and tail. As riders today will recommend, one should face towards the horse's tail when grooming it, for safety and to facilitate the easy lifting of the animal's feet. One should also be careful not to approach a horse from directly in front of his head or behind his head, for fear of startling him. When led, a horse should walk at his handler's shoulder for the sake of control. Bridling should be done from the left, and a bridled horse should not be led by a single rein, as this makes one side of the mouth harder than the other. Riders should learn to mount themselves, without the aid of a groom or of the horse kneeling, and horses should never be punished in anger.

(6) About Riding: This chapter provides many suggestions on exercising the horse, and several of these methods are still in use today. Logically, Xenophon begins with the proper method of mounting a horse. A rider should be careful to alight slowly and should also be able to mount from either side. When mounted, the rider should sit with his legs positioned as though he were standing, and the leg from the knee down should remained relaxed and not braced against a horse's side. The body from the hips up must also be flexible. The horse is to be trained to stand quietly while a rider organizes himself, and when the rider is ready to proceed, he should begin with a walk. A rider should be able to encourage his horse to carry his head properly by raising his hands to raise the horse's head, or lowering them to achieve the opposite effect. The horse should stretch out naturally at the trot, so that he can break smoothly into the gallop. Clearly, the Greeks understood the idea of the leading leg at a canter or gallop, as Xenophon directs the rider to signal for the gallop when a horse is prepared to lead with the proper leg. Xenophon recommends exercising in a circle because the horse must work at remaining balanced and responsive to its rider. When the horse has performed satisfactorily, the rider should then reward it by ceasing work. A rider should also practice starting and stopping suddenly, and forcing a horse away from other horses. The rider should dismount away from other horses when finished, but he should dismount in the area where he exercised the horse.

(7) Training the War Horse: With the basics of training recorded, Xenophon can now continue onto the more difficult behaviors that must be taught to the war horse. He begins with a discussion on teaching a horse to jump. The rider should first lead a horse to a ditch, then jump over it himself and encourage the horse to follow. If a horse will not jump after its rider, a groom should strike it from behind to encourage the horse to jump forward over the ditch. Once the horse has learned to jump, the rider should introduce him to ditches of different sizes and signal him to jump them with a light spur. Xenophon continues with a discussion of training a horse in working downhill, beginning on soft footing and progressing to more difficult terrain. The rider should lean forward for balance when the horse transitions to a gallop, and lean back when halting. He should also hold the horse's mane when jumping to leave the effort unobstructed, and lean back when going downhill to help the horse maintain its balance. Xenophon encourages varying the length of and location for exercising the horse. He also recommends hunting or war games with other riders to help train a war horse. Again, he admonishes the rider to reward a horse when he is obedient and to punish him only when he is not.

(8) On the Treatment of Spirited Horses: This chapter seems almost like a concession to a stubborn reader, as Xenophon repeatedly insists that it is best not to buy a spirited or lazy horse at all. Nevertheless, he does offer advice on the handling of such animals. In essence, he advises the rider to be gentle with a spirited horse, for suddenness can startle or anger the animal. He also recommends long, sustained rides to help tire and calm the horse. One should not race a spirited horse because it excites him. The smooth bit is recommended. If a harsh bit is used, it should be handled very lightly so as not to jolt the horse. The rider should have a quiet seat and teach the horse to respond to spoken commands rather than legs and hand. He must also be able to calm the horse by voice. Xenophon reiterates that a spirited horse is a poor choice for war, then closes with the statement the opposite strategies are needed in working with a lazy horse.

(9) On the Noble Bearing of the Horse: This chapter largely describes how to train a horse to carry himself properly--head high and neck arched, with the body collected and ready underneath the rider. Xenophon's first instruction is to avoid pulling with the bit or striking the horse when attempting to achieve this carriage. One should instead use the reins lightly to encourage the horse to arch his neck and move freely and gracefully. Xenophon recommends using two bits, one smooth and one rough. These bits are intended to be used separately, rather than at the same time like the modern double bit. Each bit is intended to hang in the horses mouth in such a way that, in order to escape the pressure of it, the horse carries his head in the proper place. The bits should be jointed in order to have a better effect on the horse's mouth, and once a horse has achieved the desired carriage, the rider should loosen the rein to reward him. A properly collected horse should not be given rough or angry signals, but instead gentle ones because he is prepared to move forward in an instant. Xenophon next describes the means by which one can ask a horse to move forward most impressively--that is, by holding him back with the reins but urging him forward with the legs, resulting in the horse lifting his legs high in front of him.

(10) How a Gala Horse Should Look Like: Here, Xenophon explains what a rider should encourage a horse to do when it is on display. Xenophon describes a horse with supple legs and a short and powerful body as the best horse for display, because he is best able to achieve a graceful step. One should encourage the horse to lift his legs naturally, without striking at him, and reward the horse when he is successful by loosening the rein. When the horse has worked hard and well, the rider should immediately dismount and remove the horse's equipment to reward him. The leader of any riding troop should also encourage the members of his group to ride and present themselves beautifully. This can be encouraged by the lead horse stepping out well, as the horses that follow are likely to imitate its behavior.

(11) On the Arms of a War Rider: The final chapter of On the Art of Horsemanship details the manner in which a horse and rider should be equipped for battle. Xenophon admonishes the rider to have well-fitted armor and encourages that the left arm--which holds the reins--be well-shielded, while the right arm and the rider's midsection should be armored in such a way that leaves them flexible but protected. He details the materials needed to shield each part of the body, and recommends various designs that are best suited to mounted combat. The horse should also be armored at the forehead, chest and haunches. Xenophon recommends a curved sabre and short javelins for weaponry, and encourages the rider to throw his javelins before actually meeting with the enemy, then wheel back towards his own army in order to avoid injury to himself or his horse. He states in closing that his treatise covers the basic knowledge that riders should possess, and informs the reader that further information can be found in On the Cavalry Commander.

Each translation of Xenophon's On the Art of Horsemanship has left me with several questions regarding the state of knowledge and skill of the Greek horseman, some of which will be answered in the other sections of this site. A few of the more prominent questions are in regard to the early education of the horse. What methods were utilized to break horses in, and how long did the initial training take? What status did the horse trainer hold in Greek society, and what skills were trainers typically expected to teach young horses? I am also curious as to the circumstances under which trained horses were sold. Were they sold at actions, in the market or at fairs, or was it a private transaction between seller and buyer? Were horses bought by trainers as youngsters to be sold for a profit as trained adult animals? Under what circumstances could a prospective buyer try the horse? Under what terms could a buyer demand his payment for the horse be returned? I also find myself curious about the maneuvers a war horse was trained to employ in battle, and to what extent any of these maneuvers survived beyond the times of Ancient Greece.

W- Whispering Winds

I am moving to a new barn this Saturday.  I will miss Whispering Winds certainly.  This past Saturday was fun helping out but the new situation makes more sense for Dani and I at this time.  For her not much will change, she'll have an even bigger field and will just have different horse friends.  For me we'll be better able to do things with Kit Carson Riding Club since it will be just down the road.
I won't miss the really busy atmosphere, feeling like I'm in the way of the jumpers or cleaning up after the millions of kiddos that leave the wash rack a mess.

The quality hay was nice and that's the goal I have now, to find a good source of hay for my Dani.  No alfalfa though.  The new barns feeds hay in bins, hopefully there will be less waste that way.

I will miss the indoors.  I'll miss the indoor arena, the wash racks which are such a nice easy place to tack up but I can tack Dani up anywhere and have done so with other horses.  Whispering Winds has been a luxury for sure.  I wish I could move the barn closer to my house!

It's a nice place to have called horse home.  I know Dani will miss Jodie like crazy and that makes it so difficult for me but I know she'll make new friends at this new barn and will make friends during Kit Carson activities as well.

I will miss the people and the friendly atmosphere but I think the new ranch will be friendly too with only the owner and the couple of boarders.  It will be calmer and then the fact that it's just down the road from the Kit Carson club has got me really, really excited.  I'm certainly feeling bittersweet about this move since it would be nice to stay here but it's just too far of a drive.  The move makes sense....I'll miss you Whispering Winds!!

April 29, 2013

V- Victories!!

Victories, no matter how small are important when working with horses.  They can try our patience and frustrate us.  They can scare us to death also!  Then they can work so willingly and lovingly that we are reminded why we love these animals so much!

Saturday I assisted as a runner for the Whispering Winds first show in a four show series.  They are schooling shows and help new riders learn and practice.  The morning started off in the indoor arena for dressage.  It was cold!  I was in charge of running to the judge trailer at the end of the arena to pick up the results of each test and bring them back so D could enter them into the horse show database.  Then in the afternoon outside when it was warmer there were several jumping classes and a hunter on the flat class.

I also ran about updating the jumping class entries on the clipboards a couple people had for coordinating the entries.  More and more people kept adding their kids to the classes.

Z, a beautiful Clydesdale/Mustang cross won several 1st places with his owner.  One girl on a tough little welsh pony with a really short stride trot and all attitude kept placing in the 4ths, 5th or 6th.  Both had the biggest grins like they won the Kentucky Derby!!!  The kid with the difficult horse was delighted that her mare didn't buck!  Small victory!  I think she did great!
There was one child, not from the farm, that apparently had been scared earlier when her mare spun out from a jump and the rider was almost unseated.  During her run through her class, with her instructor in the arena the mare was still up to disobedient antics.  The girl was in tears as the mare kept refusing or running out from the jump.  She persisted and even when the horse just walked over the small jump the little crowd watching applauded with vigor.  Good job!

Sometimes you can't get it all from your horse, fear can cripple you and you need to just take a step back and figure out how you can get at least one small victory.  Hopefully this girl will keep at it and work with her horse and gain confidence in herself so the horse then sees her as the boss mare.
We've all been there right!  You lose confidence, you have a fall, an almost fall.....something that scares you and then the horse picks up on it and it seems like a never ending downward spiral.  It doesn't have to be if you realize that horses aren't ambitious.  You have to swallow your pride and forget that you won't get that ribbon and just deal with what you have at the moment.  Get one step in the right direction, two steps....small victories will built up until you have those larger victories.  Good luck to all those struggling, keep at it and count all those tiny victories!!

April 28, 2013

Serene Sunday

Hay put to good use!!!

U- Udders

Udders.  Yeah, you usually think of cows or goats but horses have an udder too.  All mammals have some type of mammary gland.  It's usually the four legged ungulate type animals that the mammaries are called udders. 
Anyways, they come in all shapes and sizes!
Some are big and pink!!
 Some are be speckled like this goat's full udder.
 Some like this sheep have such huge udders that they practically drag on the ground!!

Horses have two nipples on their udders and tend to only have one foal.  Most times I'm told twins don't make it and are often culled "in utero" to save the life of the mare.


When not in late pregnancy or nursing a foal mares teats as they are called are usually small and inconspicuous.  It's still a good idea to pay attention to them since abnormalities caught early can be treated in case there is an infection or cancer.  Also mares can rub their tails raw if their udder is dirty and itchy.  One must take care and use a warm soft cloth to clean the area.  If you are female just think about the sensitivity and if you are male, well....there are parts that are pretty comparable!!

Take care of your girls!!  Regularly get her used to you handling her inner thigh and teats, start slowly and a little at a time; approach and retreat until she doesn't care about you messing about.  My mare purses her lips like I'm getting an itch that's been killing her forever!!  Just be careful since "Man that feels good!" is not to far away from "Ouch! Me no likie!!"


April 27, 2013

T- Trail Rides

I love trail rides!  Nothing like being in nature with a beautiful horse as your companion.
With my lease horses I had some "trail riding" experience.  Willy and I did some trail rides though they were more road rides than anything!  I tried to ride Millie my lease horse but she shied at birds chirping and flying in trees...LOL. 

 Lately all the trail riding I have done has been with rental trail ride, touristy type rides.  These are fun for sure. 
My favorite is M Lazy Ranch in Lake George, Colorado.  They are in a really pretty are not far from Colorado Springs.  I've gone many times with my mom and the hubby.
As a kid I remember coming back to Colorado to visit family and having a trail ride, I think this was in Estes Park.
When I was in high school there was a stable called Greenland Stables in Virginia where you could rent a horse by the hour and ride on trails, unguided.  That was nice because my friends and I could go together and have a good time.  The horses were never the best because I'm sure inexperienced horse people would rent them and "ride" like crazy.
I look forward to riding Dani on trails.  I hope this summer with Kit Carson and my other horse friends I'll be able to get Dani in a trailer and out on some trails.  I'd like to try nearby local trails first, just in case anything happens.  Then eventually an overnight packing trip would be tons of fun!!!

April 24, 2013

S- Safety

I don't want to rewrite all that is out there about safety...I'm being lazy but I'm behind on topics and yeah...  Here are great sources for horse safety information.  Below are a couple diagrams that I think are either funny (1st photo) or interesting (2nd one) or sell certain safety messages (3rd picture).


Lastly, wear a helmet when ever you are riding so your head doesn't have this happen to it!  Better to have a $50 helmet take the brunt of a bad fall!!!  Stay safe!

April 23, 2013

R- Riding Club

Kit Carson is the oldest riding club in Colorado. Kit Carson Riding Club was formed in 1942 when a group of riders rode in the area of Fort Carson. They decided to form a club and call it Kit Carson because of the original Army base where the group had first rode. The club grounds are currently located in Colorado Springs on the north side near the intersection of Powers and Woodmen Road. The facility of Kit Carson has two large arenas, a round pen and the club house where meetings are held and food is cooked and served for the various events they host.
From kitcarsonridingclub.com
The club does Gymkanas throughout the summer, host trail rides in the area, and is getting into the Extreme Cowboy Association; they’ve built many obstacles on which to practice for this event. They also have other educational activities; upcoming will be a shooting clinic. The group also represents in many parades throughout Colorado! I think it would be sometime before Dani is ready to be in a parade but they are always in need of pooper scoopers!! LOL

I’ve only attended one meeting, I was not able to attend the April meeting due to having to work late that day! Ugh! The next event coming up will be a tractor and arena dragging training that I will hopefully be able to attend. I’m moving Dani to a new ranch May 4th and that’s the same day as the training. I hope to move her in the morning so I’ll be ready to do the training in the afternoon.

I’m so excited about getting involved with this club. I’m not sure how much gymkhana work I’ll ever do with Dani….I’m not a speed person but I’d like to see what it’s all about and the club always needs people to work on the concessions.

Dani’s new ranch is just down the road from the Kit Carson grounds, I’ll be able to just ride her down there during the week if I want to use the arena for riding or a lesson or if I want to bring her to some of the events that the club will be having. Many people in the club are more than happy to trailer your horse for the trail rides…hopefully I can do some work with her as I get to know people and practice getting Dani on a trailer.

I’m looking forward to getting to know this group and making some horsie friends!!

April 21, 2013

April 19, 2013

Q- Quotes

All you need for happiness is a good gun, a good horse and a good wife.
--Daniel Boone
I've often said there's nothing better for the inside of a man than the outside of a horse.
--Ronald Reagan
The horse is a mirror to your soul...and sometimes you might not like what you see in the mirror.
--Buck Brannaman
All horses in life deserve at least once to be loved by a little girl.
The essential joy of being with horses is that it brings us in contact with the rare elements of grace, beauty, spirit and fire.
--Sharon Ralls Lemon
A horse is the projection of peoples’ dreams about themselves -strong, powerful, beautiful- and it has the capability of giving us escape from our mundane existence.
--Pam Brown
No hour of life is wasted that is spent in the saddle.
--Winston Churchill
There is no secret so close as that between a rider and his horse.
--Robert Smith Surtees
Show me your horse and I will tel you what you are--English Proverb
The wind of heaven is that which blows between a horse's ears.
--Arabian Proverb
When I bestride him, I soar, I am a hawk: he trots the air; the earth sings when he touches it; the basest horn of his hoof is more musical than the pipe of Hermes.
--William Shakespeare, Henry V

A Hibernian sage once wrote that there are three things a man never forgets: The girl of his early youth, a devoted teacher, and a great horse.
--C.J.J. Mullen

If the world was truly a rational place, men would ride sidesaddle.
--Rita Mae Brown

A horse is worth more than riches.
--Spanish Proverb

In riding a horse we borrow freedom.
--Helen Thomson
God forbid that I should go to any Heaven in which there are no horses.
--R.B. Cunninghame Graham, letter to Theodore Roosevelt, 1917

They say princes learn no art truly but the art of horsemanship. The reason is the brave beast is no flatterer. He will throw a prince as soon as his groom.
--Ben Jonson

Where in this wide world can man find nobility without pride,
Friendship without envy,
Or beauty without vanity?
Here, where grace is served with muscle
And strength by gentleness confined
He serves without servility; he has fought without enmity.
There is nothing so powerful, nothing less violent.
There is nothing so quick, nothing more patient.
--Ronald Duncan, "The Horse," 1954

Gypsy gold does not chink and glitter. It gleams in the sun and neighs in the dark. 
--Attributed to the Claddaugh Gypsies of Galway

And Allah took a handful of southerly wind, blew His breath over it, and created the horse.... Thou shall fly without wings, and conquer without any sword. Oh, horse.
--Bedouin Legend

April 18, 2013

P- Posting

I've been doing a lot more posting on my blog because of this A to Z challenge and it's been hard.  Sometimes I just don't want to blog if I don't have anything interesting to say or if I want to write about something I'm not familiar with but I think it's been a good challenge!
But this post is not about all the posting I've been doing but about posting the trot!  I've only trotted Dani twice for short bursts.  I think my problem was I was trying to sit the trot and I really need to start with posting.  Her trot may not be the best to sit until we work on collection a little bit more.
In posting you rise with the forward motion of the outside front shoulder, it's more of a forward rise with your hips and often you can better control the speed of your horse by how "active" your posting is.  To change diagonals when you are on the incorrect one (meaning you rise with the inside shoulder).  Sometimes people rise way to high when they post and that can be hard on the horses back but again it takes practice....something I need to get back into is trotting more.
On the trail if you are trotting and posting there really isn't an inside or outside like while riding in an arena.  Endurance riders will often switch the diagonal they are posting to in order to change the forces on the horses back, motion etc.  Posting certainly makes a horse more comfortable during the trot, even though a good sitting trot should not hurt their back...it just takes a lot to learn a good sitting trot!  It's also great exercise!!!

April 17, 2013

O- Obstacles

This isn't a blog about my obstacles in horse ownership or boarding facilities.  It's about obstacle courses and in a lot of ways for de-spooking!  I'm really hoping I can get Dani to a de-spooking clinic sometime, I think it would be great for both of us!

 Police do tons of de-spooking for their horses, they have to!  Umbrellas, screaming children, flashing lights, flapping things etc etc.  Be creative!  Anything can be used to de-spook a horse or teach them to safely maneuver obstacles.  I watched a recent Clinton Anderson episode where he worked with police horses.  His way was to constantly have the horse moving and changing directions while being around that scary object.  Eventually the rider would try to calmly walk the horse by the object....still nervous, the horse would be moved around more.  It was pretty interesting.

Other ways about it is approach and retreat, introduce the scary object at a distance or where the horse is just feeling insecure or ready to run, then take the object away.  This works great for flappy things like bags.


Much of it seems very similar to trailer training.  One step at a time and rewarding a horse for any effort in the right direction.  Also getting them to work away from the object so they realize that rest and the object are nice things!


From my experience of horses freaking out when tree branches scratch my helmet, I want to come up with a series of obstacles that do just this.  First I'd want to start from the ground and have a place holder for the rider so something would scrape that then work on me being in the saddle and perhaps being led.  I have so many ideas and just looking at these few pictures there are tons of items that can be used.  I think sounds are also great "obstacles".  Sirens and flashing lights, flash lights in the darkness.

Now a helicopter would be the ultimate!!  Dani would certainly not be afraid of a flying flock of geese if she could stand still while a helicopter lands!!!  While at the mall a few months ago Steve and I saw those really pricey miniature remote helicopters....I thought "YES!"  that's what I need.  That and a duck call or two!  LOL.  What ideas do you all have for obstacles?

N-New Stables

Yes I'm cheating, I wrote Another barn for A and now I'm writing New Stables for N.  Well that's what is going on right now in Dani and I's life.  I'm checking out new stables for many reasons.
1) Dani is too far away from me
2) I'm not liking the really, really busy barn (galloping horses when I'm just trying to do little circles at the walk, though at times I have the barn to myself....)
3) I'm a little tired of cleaning up after others in the wash rack
4) Cost will increase another $50 starting May 1st!!!!
5) I want to regulate Dani's feed a bit more
It's not a bad barn, it's just not where I think I should be, even though I love it and the people are really nice.  The biggest issue is distance.  I can deal with cleaning up after others to an extent, I think that will occur at any barn.  The distance adds up when I'm driving way out to see her.  Secondly I know that barns can be busy and you have to ride in arenas with other people.  This is a show type barn I'm learning, a lot of the kids do jumping shows  and the trainer that has a lot of students here that are often all in the arena taking lesson from her.  I think a smaller barn might be nice for me.  The other thing though is cost, this barn has high overhead because of the nice facilities.  I'd like to reduce my cost a little bit even though it will be a bit of a hassle dealing with hay.
I love the indoor but I can sacrifice that, sometimes you have to do that to reduce costs and find a facility closer to your home.  I also am really intersted in finding a place where I can regulate her amount of food intake better.  I would love to get her on a slow feeder for hay so she more or less trickle feeds all day long instead of two unmeasured feedings of hay each day where she can grab huge mouthfuls.

Sharp edges in a shed....not good

That's the goal right now.  I've looked at three new places, I showed you one already for my A post.  Another was dangerous in my opinion (lots of sharp edges and really hard riding ground!) and the last one was just way too bare bones for me with not much of an area to ride.  I may revisit some barns I already visited before buying Dani since I did like several.

Hopefully we'll find something nice soon and I can move her....I hate the idea in a way.  Wish I had a second horse that could always be with her since I don't like taking her from her new friends.  I just have to think about her care, my pocketbook and the time I have to spend with her.  Someday she'll be in my backyard and that will be perfect!


I learned a lot from this video!  I could write up facts about laminitis but I'm still learning myself.  I think I'd rather have an expert explain this on my blog.  Thanks You Tube!!
Yet another good video related to laminitis risk....condition scores!  Actually this is the fat score, and it's a 5 point system...different from the condition scoring with a 9 point system I'm used to.  Something new to learn!
Hope this gave you some insight!!

April 16, 2013

The Winner of the Caption Contest!!!

Okay it's been a little later than I planned but it's been a busy few weeks!
I've decided on the the caption contest winner!!!!  Remember the winner will receive a $5 Starbucks gift card!!

1st Place:

RooBear said:

"Draw me like one of your French ponies..."

I love this!  It spoke to my "art history almost minor" in college and to my love of the movie Titanic!!!  To me it makes me think of Dani posing for Manet or someone like that!!!

I will be emailing the winner but they can also contact me via my email.  Thanks everyone!  I just laughed when I saw this picture of Dani and had to see what people thought she was thinking!


Yes I haven't posted the L post yet but I'm behind like crazy with this challenge and this one was easy to write!!!!
I’ve always wanted a gelding, I figured they were more laid back and I think a lot of times that’s sort of a correct stereotype, but not always.  Mares are pretty smart though, not that geldings aren’t, but since mares tend to be the leaders of a herd they have a different mentality that can be interesting to work with at times....yeah interesting, let's use that word!  At times they can be challenging  because they will let you know their opinion of what ever it is you are doing!
I’ve noticed more tail swishing with mares, more foot stomping and head shaking.  I’ve also noticed a lot of willing attitudes that they seem to step up to the plate and work hard once they understand what you want.  It could also just be the mares I’ve ridden recently.  Divine will work hard but has some sass at times, so does my girl.  Dani certainly has sass and will definitely tell you her opinions and frustrations but she truly understands her reward and will then go on willingly once she is secure with her task at hand. 
Dani is also higher in the herd rank, she’s not the top so she also has more of an opinion about being told what to do.  Perhaps that's the key, since I think a higher ranking gelding would have the same type of "attitude".  Dani's not blindly compliant; getting her to see that you are the leader and the one to trust in all situations is the important point in working with her.  It’s a work in progress because I need to be confident in myself to truly be the leader.

Mares like to try and eat cell phones!
I’ve still got a lot of ground work to do with Dani and now that the round pen is thawed out I’ll hopefully get some more work with her.  I will most likely start over with the Clinton round penning and get her cantering out instead of just trotting.  Her attitude certainly showed up during the round penning but I don’t know if it necessarily is related to her mare-ness just her wanting to be the top mare.  She’s had lots of relaxed time in her life and here I am suddenly asking her to do something!! 
My opinions on mares have changed since I first started riding again, I used to be biased about geldings and thought that I would only search for geldings when the time came to purchase.  I don’t see a big difference, it more comes down to personality and I think where the horse usually ranks in a herd.  Mares minds may have developed to be more diverse in thoughts than the male horse mind; they lead the herd, raise a baby etc etc.  Either way mares and geldings both make great mounts. 
Let’s see how Dani is during estrus though…I could change my tune!

April 13, 2013

Serene Saturday (just this once!)

Daenerys loves her friend Jodie, she's the big Kiger mustang/QH cross.  She was neighing down the aisle of the barn because Jodie was being groomed.  LOL.  Interesting idea though, if Jodie loads in a trailer well perhaps her owner, who is very nice, would be willing to work with us.....

April 12, 2013

Breaking the Rules

I'm breaking the rules for the A to Z blog challenge, but my blog my rules!  I'm extremely busy on Friday and Saturday for work so that leaves me little time with Dani on Saturday and I'd rather go hang with her than write my blog post for Saturday as per the challenge schedule.  So....I'm writing my L post on Sunday instead of Saturday and moving the Serene Sunday post to Saturday since I just created that post and pre-scheduled it....love blogger for that feature!  Hope you all understand and I'm sure you do, not like the A to Z blog challenge is some huge ordeal in the whole scheme of things.  It's just a fun challenge I'm trying out.  Hope you all have a great horsie weekend!

K-Kiger Mustang

Mustangs, the painted beauties of the open plains and the wild west.  The term mustang, which is applied to all the wild horses in North America, comes from the Spanish word "mesteo" which means "unclaimed sheep".  Technically wild mustangs are actually feral horses as they are previously domesticated horses that have gone wild as apposed to true wild horses like a Pzewalski's horse.
Of all mustangs there is the coveted Kiger Mustangs.  The name evokes visions of long flowing black manes and tails, a Spanish styled equine profile and warm dun colors accented by zebra striped legs.  Kiger Mustangs are a substrain of the American Mustang.  These beautiful creatures are found in the South Eastern area of Oregon.  In 1977 during a routine round-up the wranglers noticed a distinctive conformation and coloration to the herds.  It was decided to isolate these herds at Kiger and Riddle Mountains as well as the Steens Mountain area for protection of this unique wild bloodline.
South Iberian Sorraia horse (http://www.sorraia.org/index.html)
Kiger mustangs have Spanish/Iberian origins.  The breeds that they most represent came from Spain and Portugal predominantly.  Today, the South Iberian Sorraia horse, is a most similar looking breed of wild horse to the Kiger mustang.  Perhaps the Sorraia influenced many Iberian and Spanish breeds centuries ago and thus when left to their own devices in the "New World" as mustangs the Kiger mustang evolved yielding a phenotype very similar to this ancient wild horse from which they share ancestry.  That's just a thought on my part based on selective breeding and then when animals are allowed to revert to their own selection they often revert to an older phenotype.

The modern horse breeds that share the common traits and possible heritage include the Lusitano, Andalusian and the less familiar Criollo horse.  There are indeed other breeds that contributed to the gene pool of modern day Kiger mustangs but many I'm not even vaguely familiar with them.  Centuries ago, when the path was laid for the Spanish Mustang development, these breeds may have been less refined than the ones we are familiar with in today's breeding.
 Be that as it may, Kiger mustangs share a similar conformation with modern day Spanish horses.  Many have the dun factor which can express itself in the familiar buckskin coloration but also ranges from a cream white to buckskin to red and to a silvery-gray.  The dun factor yields the following traits: darker dorsal stripe down the horses back, and dark points (aka legs, mane and tail).  Specifically to the Kiger mustang are also zebra stripping on the legs, chest, rib and arm bars, ears outlined in black with the third top portion being a darker shade than their main coat color.  These mustangs can also have bi-colored manes, much like the Fjords I love so dearly, face masks (darkening of the face like in the Sorraia horse above) and cob webbing on the face.  Not all Kigers have all these traits.

Kigers like most mustangs are hardy, intelligent animals. Many do well in endurance and trail. They can also be found in many other disciplines from dressage to western pleasure. Ive only met a few kiger mustangs two were pure and one is mixed. They seem very personable horses and I don't think anyone could say they aren't gorgeous!  One and two were Colton and his buddy that I met at a rescue while horse shopping. The other is Dani's best friend Jodie who is a Kiger/Quarter horse cross.  I think buckskin type colors are pretty much my second favorite horse color. 

Hope you all learned a little about Kiger mustangs.  Bureau of Land Management does have regular adoptions and often you can find a Kiger in their adoptions in Oregon.  Dreamhorse is another place to search but also try searching for Kiger Mustang breeders, you will find a variety of breeders that continue these interesting lines.   The Kiger Mustang Registry is another place to start learning more about this unique mustang group.  Have fun!

April 11, 2013

J- Julie Goodnight

I would have to say that Julie Goodnight is my favorite clinician.  She just has an easy going way and is very positive even if the people in her clinic or show are doing something completely wrong.  I watch her show on RFD-TV and have seen her at the Rocky Mountain Expo, not this year but last year.  I plan to go to one of her clinics that she'll have this year in Colorado.  I won't be bringing Dani but just going to watch.  It costs about $400 to do a clinic with your horse.  Much better for my budget right now!
Recently on Facebook she had a picture contest for March.  Each week we had to post an assigned photo.  I was excited to find out that three of us won!  We got our choice of DVD from Julies training library.  I went with "Trail Solutions".  I already have the bitting system and training DVD that I'll be starting shortly now that the weather is nice and the round pen isn't all mucky.  This will be a great DVD to add to my collection!
The most recent Julie Goodnight newsletter had the three winners photographs for each week.  I've posted mine below.  What fun!  I like little contests like these and Dani was such a good sport! 
The first week the assignment was to post a picture of your horses home.
Then a picture of them wearing green
The next week was a picture of your horse eating
Lastly a photo of the horse and rider holding a note to Julie.
I sent an additional photo for this one since it was just too cute not to share!