4/30/2008

Omolene University

I first read about Omolene University back in February with an ad in Horse Illustrated. I checked out the site, but it wasn't yet live, it is live now and hosting classes on various aspects of equine health and nutrition.

You can earn 'Omolene Hours' as well as coupons for Buy 2 get $20 off. Although I don't feed Omolene products, I have used Purina products in the Omolene line. Specifically, Ultium which is a low-carb performance feed. I have always been very satisfied with what they offer.

If you sign up today you can try to name the mascot and earn 5 Omolene hours. My submitted name was Whoa Joe.

4/24/2008

Rethinking pressure

When I first started learning about horses, pressue was such a buzz word. I was told that horses move away from pressure, which I have finally learned is not true. Instead, I believe they are programed to move into pressure, we TEACH them to move away from pressure and some of us are better at that than others.


So I orginally thought about the pressure of my hands on a horse on the ground or my legs when riding, but now I think about pressure in terms of ALL the things causing a horse to do what they do. The rattling flag, the panels of the round pen, my direct stare, the dogs running behind them in the field, all create pressure on the horse.


So lets say we use two forms of pressure, our body and the panel of the round pen. A horse can feel trapped trying to go between the two. I have seen it plenty in the way I was first taught to use a round pen and even tonight. So, now how can I use a tool like the round pen to help my horse learn about the maintenance of gait without feeling panicked or pressured?


I think it is about observation and experimentation. Tonight, I found the liberty of the round pen was too much pressure for Zapa who was panicked. So I actually put him back on the lead where he immediately became comfortable, so next time I will put him on the 22' lead to experience the round pen without so much pressure. I'll let you know how it goes.

Phaedre Photos








Ok, I have to admit, I don't know how to spell her name (not that she officially has one since she isn't registered), but you begged, you pleaded, you asked and here they are!

The reasons I bought Phadre:

First, the legs






Second, the profile




Third the balance




Fourth the suspension of the trot




Did I mention the suspension of the trot




4/21/2008

Oh me, oh my so many horses I want to cry!

Actually, that isn't true, but Saturday we went from 7 horses on the farm to 10. Yup. That is what they say, if you have the stalls you'll fill 'em!

So here is the breakdown of what is happening:

Lily goes home in May. I just want to say hats off to Simrat (her owner) for doing such an amazing job with this horse. If I ever had a serious lesson program, I would absolutely lease her back. Lily is the horse who will give people confidence-no lie! She is easy going, does her job and is just a steady, steady girl. I will miss her.

El Arco is a new Paso Fino that is here for a brief makeover. We have had our 3rd session and this is a sweet little guy who will make someone a great partner. If you know anyone looking for a nice Paso Fino trail gelding, this is the guy. He might not be too shabby at a show or two with a little extra tune up.

Red Velvet (or yet to be named Filly) is a nine month old filly who will be raffled off to benefit the Northwest Paso Fino Horse Association. She was donated and I hope you finds a really good home. More details on how to buy tickets as they come together.

Zapa is coming right along in gait. Every day I get a little bit more, so I am hoping he will go to his forever home by early summer. I am getting gait without the bit which is just what I hoped for. He has hit 15 hands, so he is a good size paso although he still has filling out to do. I know I am biased, but I think I raised the perfect horse! Everyone thinks I am crazy for selling him because he is my best horse, but you know what? I am really proud of the work I have done (and supervised to have done) with him. I have learned SO much and enjoyed so much of it. I might do it again someday (raise a baby that is).

And finally. . .

I BOUGHT A NEW HORSE!

Her name is Phadrae, she is a 15 hand 6 year old morgan mare, bay with a star and snip and NO WHITE FEET!!! She is green broke, although I haven't ridden her, I mostly just checked out her disposition, willingness and temperment, all of which are amazing. She is SO sweet and willing. In her 'test' session, I got her to do everything I wanted including a jump, tarp, poles, sideways all 7 Parelli games, so either someone has done this with her before, or she is a super star!

And if that wasn't enought, she has lots of legs and some really nice gaits. She is a cute little package.

I am going to use her to work towards my Parelli level 3. Pat Parelli suggests you go through level 3 with just 1 horse first before working with another. I had planned to work with Precious and I still plan to 'officially' finish her level1 (although I would most definately say it is unofficially complete), as I dive into Level 2 I realize it will be difficult to go 'all the way' with Precious. First, I would say she is a very challenging horse, but mostly, her gait will get in the way and make it much harder for us to progress. I need it to be the easiest the first time, so a Walk/Trot/Canter horse is a better choice.

So, that is the news on this front. I have another couple of weeks at home without travel and I have been riding like crazy (so many horses!) and I am loving it!

4/03/2008

Silent in the shadows

Bringing the horses back in from the pasture at night has helped me realize how quiet they can be. Hidden in the shadows I only see them when I am within 50 feet and can only hear them when they run. Who knew a 1000 lb animal could disappear before your eyes.

It only helps to reinforce to me what a prey animal they are. Their instinct tells them to remain hidden. It makes it more and more clear why they need to trust in us and to look for us for leadership.

And although we are a predator, we too have a strong flight reflex which I think is why so many people get out of horses so quickly after trying it. Rather than stay and 'fight', if they fear for their own safety, they will 'flight'. Ironic isn't it?

4/01/2008

Less is more

Today I was doing groundwork with Precious and I am finally moving on to something that is taking Precious and I some time to master. It requires sublty on my part and perceptiveness on her part. And you know what. . .

IT IS HARD!

It has been a long time since I have tried something new that was hard. Ok, really, I can teach obsticales, I know how, it isn't difficult because my job and the horses job is no different, we are just generalizing something we have already learned.

Now, I am having to do something different, I am paying very close attention to the signals I am giving. And while the difference between holding up two fingers versus three seems simple now, I am sure it was difficult when I first learned to do it. So now when I send my horse I am trying to send at specific gaits, so what i have been doing for five years has to change and it just ain't easy.

But you know what, it is so cool to think I am getting to this level and I am so excited about what is yet to come.