Don't try this at home, stupid things I have done with horses

I really hate short billets on a saddle. For those of you who don't know what a billet is, it is things on an English style saddle that help you attach the cinch (the thing that goes under the belly) and keeps the saddle in place.

I find it very difficult to get my cinch started with short billets, then have a difficult time with the leverage. For those of you who ride taller horses, this is probably an every day occurrence, but a long billeted saddle on a 14h horse is pretty easy to leverage.

Anyway, Bette was coming down to take a lesson. This was the first time she was going to ride Santana (her horse). I decided to put my new endurance saddle (with a horn) on Santana. I don't have the right length cinch so I have been using billet extenders which have a lot of elastic in them.

I tightened my cinch but KNEW it was a little too loose. Oh well, not a big deal.

Well, little Mr. Snotty Pants decided to be a little bad so I did a little 'very tight' circling and noticed myself leaning over more and more to the right. Then I kept leaning and thought 'Is this horse going to fall over?'. I had never had that experience before. Well, luckily the horse wasn't falling over, it was just me. Yep, I landed on the ground, Santana ended up with the saddle around his belly and went nuts running around the arena until I could get his saddle off of him.

I dusted myself off, nothing hurt, everything worked. I put the saddle back on and cinched it REALLY GOOD this time. Next time I will use the mounting block for leverage.


Horse Blues

Every few months after a rush of horse activity, I get the horse blues. I lament that I have too many, I am tired of cleaning stalls, they cost too much, blah, blah, blah. My horses fail to provide me with that injection of 'nirvana' that they normally give me. And after a few days, I get over it and start again like crazy.

I am in one of those funks and even though stalls have stayed clean, daily turnout gets done, I just don't have the desire to ride. Keep in mind, I rode on Tuesday (now it is Friday), but for me, that is a lot of days off.

So I am trying to give myself the break. Tomorrow we are going to Portland to look at dalmatian puppies (SO CUTE), hopefully bringing one home in about a month.

But Sunday I have lessons to give, so before that, horses will need work, attention, love and riding. I'll get back to it shortly.


Mouse in da House! Barn Mice Control

Last night while feeding, Pam found a mouse in the barn. It was sitting on top of the grain bins that are built into the stalls (and mouse-proof by the way). She swung out the bin which is mounted on a door and the mouse didn't move. We called the cats, even put two on top of the bin with the mouse, they were not interested. Pam decided it was Valentine's Day so she set it loose across the street.

Here are some ways to keep mice out of your barn:

1. Secure your grain. Tight fitting/sealed lids on trash cans, rubbermaid containers stored in a secure room. I described our grain bins (I'll picture them someday), they are awesome. Extra grain is stored in the tack room which is a fully sealed/heated room.

2. Cats. Barns with cats have less mice. I am not a cat person, but will make home for rescue kitties in my barn.

3. Clean up after yourself. If you have food, crumbs or spill grain, it ALL attracts mice. Keep a broom handy and put your crumbs in a sealed trash container.

4. Think you don't have anything for them to eat handy? Look again. Make sure NOTHING gets left out for those buggers to eat.

The following site had some good information about cleaning up after mice:


My favorite hint, if you use traps, spread peanut butter on them, much harder for the mouse to trick the trap!


Horse Blog Carnival-Valentine's Special

Don't forget to visit Hoofbeats for the Valentine's day edition of the Horse Blog Carnival! Lots of wonderful posts!


Back in Training

After 5 days of no riding (yesterday was groundwork), it was good to get back in the saddle. Something happened today that reminded me life is short and we should spend as much time as possible doing the things we love, so tonight, I horsed, spent time with Uriah and played with Steinbeck.

On a different note. . .when I took Tesoro trail riding on Superbowl Sunday. He was such a pill. All he wanted to do was go as FAST as possible. The condition of the trail, the horses we passed, the obstacles did not matter, he just wanted to go faster. It wasn't that much fun for me because I like a nice slow ride, so after that I decided to start from scratch.

Yep, I decided he was an unstarted colt. I did the basic ground work and sacking out. Granted he has worked through the program pretty quickly, but tonight he stood for mounting (with a mounting block) and I rode him in a rope halter. Tesoro has NEVER been good at standing for mounting. This was a HUGE step forward. So, I will keep trying it and see if this solves my problem. But it was the best mounting we have ever had in 4 years, so that's a good sign.



It's Here! Our very own listing of horse blogs! Many thanks to haltnearx for creating such a wonderful directory. If you were listed and are not on this version, have no fear, she is finishing it up.

7 million horses in the US and just a handful of blogs. . .what is wrong with this picture?

Jane Savoie at Mane Event

On Sunday I went to the Mane Event at the Clark County Fairgrounds in Washington. I had just come back from a trip to San Jose and I flew in and out of Portland, so I stayed the night with friends and got up to do horsey stuff.

I planned my trip to see Jane Savoie. I talked about her earlier and wanted to know if I would indeed enjoy the call. What Jane said was not earth shattering, or necessarily new, but she explained it in a way that I could not only understand, but in a way that I could see. When the demo rider made the RIGHT correction, I said 'Aha! That's it'.

I have spent a lot of time watching trainers, clinicians, shows and sometimes I just don't see what they do. I wonder if there is something wrong with me, but Jane does a GREAT job of explaining with clarity. That is the sign of a good teacher. I took some video and hope to get that posted for all of you early next week.

I am really looking forward to the call on Wednesday, I hope you choose to join me!

Ask Jane YOUR Questions!  Click Here Now!


Your Dream Horse

FineEquine has an excellent post about a dream horses. She tells the story of the horse she would choose to ride and I must say, it is an impressive story!


Santana's Progress

This is a video of me riding Santana on Saturday. Don't forget to review the previous video here. I am very pleased with how he is doing, more importantly, his owner is VERY pleased. You'll notice at the end of the video that I entirely dropped my reins. I can now get on him and he will walk like that and will even come down from a corto like that. When he first came to live with me all he did was brace, so I am excited about his ability to relax.

Santana is a fino horse, but he is working here in corto (on the board). I find his gait very jarring, it still lacks even cadence which I know will get better with work. I don't know if it is a good idea to bring him back into fino, but Carlos Tobon will be giving a clinic here in June, so I will ask his advice. In the meantime I will continue my 30 days and see how much farther we progress.


Oregon Horse Center-Bah Humbug

For four years I have taken my horses to the Pacific Gaited Showcase. Every year I have managed to win at least one championship and spent several hundred dollars to put my horses in classes. Every year.

This year the Oregon Horse Center has changed the show to a different weekend because a more profitable show took its place. Of course, it is always about money.

The first year the show was fairly successful for a first year show. The second year, wow, many less horses, but guess what? No premiums were sent out. The Paso Fino classes were wrong and although I offered to help, no one took me up on it. Members of my club were not contacted, so I doubt any of the other clubs were as well.

The third year I got a QH premium. Yep. I guess there was some mix-up, but I didn't get one for the showcase. Again, I called, I offered to help. The third year had horrible attendance.

Last year they took a little more assistance, got the classes fixed but I don't think premiums went out. I moved in mid-April (the show was mid-May). I know they had WAY more horses than the previous year, but it is a big facility and it wasn't full, so not 'profitable' enough I guess. To add insult to injury, when they wrote out our trail class, they were kind enough to put the words 'jog' and 'lope' in the gait descriptions. Um, hello, the point of a gaited show is NOT to jog or lope.

So why am I so irked?!? Well, the Northwest Paso Fino Horse Assn is hosting a world class trainer in Bend the same weekend the show was changed to. Let's be realistic, I have had Pasos for six years and this is the first time an outside trainer has come within a 2 hour drive from me. What would you chose? Granted only 5 Paso Finos were at the show last year, but that is five less horses (and less people to watch). They never told us, it isn't posted on their site and I heard through the grapevine. I called today and well, I think they want to be done with it, but kept the show because enough people asked. It amazes me that 100+ horses isn't enough to justify a show. We need another facility here.

Now we have only one show at the Oregon State Fair. With no schooling show, how in the world am I going to get ready!?!!!

Bah. Humbug.

Horse Trainer's Insurance

So I am trying to get some insurance as I get into the training/lessons/judging game (wouldn't want to lose everything I have worked for because a stupid barn cat spooked a horse). The problem is, I don't understand the lingo, don't really know what I need and there isn't enough good information that I can find.

Does anyone have resources they can point me to? Once I get this stuff sorted out, I'll pass my information on to you as well.

I'm a Thoroughbred

Hoofbeats post for the Horse Lover's Blog Carnival was 'What Breed of Horse are you? Here are my results. . .

What breed of horse are you? Find out!

Although I hate sports, I am always on the go. Always.