About Me

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I've been riding for 12 years, training for 8, instructing for 7. I've almost always had 'my own' horse, though Sage is the first one I've ever owned myself. The others were all either leases or training jobs. Sage has been a completely new experience for me, forcing me to learn just as much as I have to teach. I love her to pieces <3 Besides riding, I also ski semi-competitively, write, model, and love photography. I also used to act and teach clinics on outdoor survival. Right now I'm working as a Carpenter's Assistant doing finishing carpentry, but am not sure if I would like to apprentice and get my ticket in that, or make horses my full-time career, rather than just my passion.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Back to ground work!

So, as Sage's respect for me started to randomly dwindle, or so it seems to me, once we moved to this new barn, I've decided, especially because the free-lunging had such great effects, that we're going to stick to ground work again for a short time span. Yesterday we did more free-lunging, just at a walk as she was sore, working on having her respond to just my body language, without the addition of voice commands. She did so well! =D

Now we're working on halter ground work, today was walking forward, turning, and backing without any use of force or even physical contact. Again, a huge success! Tomorrow we'll add work on moving sideways and in all directions. I'm thinking three or four days (including today or tomorrow) should be long enough to perfect this, at which point we'll start working on an equally responsive trot. After that we'll do the same thing with a bridle instead of halter and leadrope, and after that we'll add her saddle and the rest of her tack. Maybe then she'll learn that just because she's tacked doesn't mean it's necessary turn into a disrespectful and completely oblivious (she tends to run into walls because she gets so focused on fighting my steering that she doesn't notice where she's going) almost in-heat-ish mare. >.< After leading manners are good, we start lunging on a lunge line, and then it's time to get back in the saddle!! Yay!!
So far this has been going really well, and her ground manners and patience have really improved!

Of course, she's started testing me when it comes to her stall manners now. So I've been making a point of keeping boundaries and rank very clear during stall time too, using the same body langauge I used when free-lunging her to get her to move away or forward depending on my grooming, stall cleaning, etc. needs.

I'm also looking to get a hackamore for her, as she's so picky about me having really light hands. I'm just interested to see how she does with it, and what her reaction is. If you have one for sale, please leave me a comment! Or if you know of any brands that are particularly good =) (We ride english.)

I've deicided that even once we end up riding again, we're still going to have one day a week that is devoted to ground work (or so I say right now anyway!), just to keep those basics in tact.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Partial Join-up! =D

So, today I tried lunging Sage before I hopped on. I ended up not hopping on at all, but instead untacking her after a few minutes on the lungeline, and free-lunging her instead for an hour or two. I let her set the pace pretty much after a bit of mandatory running, as long as she didn't stop I was happy. Well, right off the bat she had her ear turned into me, like always. And as we went on, she started chewing and lowering her head to the ground too! We didn't get to a point where it was consistent (got kicked out of the arena by people wanting to ride >.> =P), but it was still very cool to see that horses actually do these things! When it was time to get out, I walked to the gate and stood there with my back to her. For a few minutes nothing happened, and then I heard her footsteps behind me, and shortly after that I felt her breath on my neck and shoulder. She was soooo much more respectful afterwards during grooming, and having her injured foot handled! (The healed skin is dry and peeling, so I cleaned the little bit that's still scabbed and smeared polysporin on and around it again to keep it moisturized. She didn't even flinch! She was so calm. And probably tired XD)

I'm going to continue lunging her before I ride to see how that actually goes, though tomorrow we'll try her out back on a lunge line rather than free lunging and see if I can get the same level of respect from her.

Her farrier appointment yesterday went really well too! She was not nearly as fidgety and freaked as I was expecting her to be! She was almost no worse than any other horse in fact! And the farrier was really patient with her, and asked me before hand all of the things she was already accustomed to regarding her feet, and what she wasn't, and was very careful about not threatening Sage's comfort zones. I was highly impressed with both of them! And Sage actually has hooves now! Pretty hooves! *cheering and confetti*

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

New tactics...

So, Sage and I have a common problem with our rides. Warm-ups. We have to have two of them, because the first one is always compiled purely of equine sillyness and cow-ishness. Now, I've been getting rather tired of having to deal with these little baby-greeny fits everyday first thing when I get on her back... "Sage. I'm introducing you to lunging. Enjoy." I'm hoping lunging her before rides will help her become more respectful, softer, and perhaps tire her out a bit before I get on, in all honesty.

We also have a new game-plan to tackle warm-up sillyness from the saddle:
1) Give her rein, a] So she can't get behind the bit and take-off, b] So she can't lean on my hands.
2) Soft half halts.
3) A hard seat to say "whoooa," accompanied by verbal commands "hoa".

After warming-up we always end up with the most perfect, dressagey ride ever. So I'm hoping maybe with the lunging added, we can have that kind of ride right from start to finish! Wish us luck! :)

Ooh, and also wish us luck with the farrier tomorrow! =S It's gonna be an adventure!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Sorry guys, this is gonna be a long one...

So, with my baby girl lame at the moment, I figured this slight lull in our training would make a good opporunity to actually start writing the blog I've been planning to track our progress!

Sage's ad was the first one I looked at to start my horse search. She was my favorite breed (Arabian X Paint), my favorite color (grey and white pinto), and within my age, height, and price range (6 years old, 15.2 hands high).

When I went to test ride her, I hadn't ridden in two years, and she hadn't been ridden in three. Gong show though it was, her owner encouraged me to spend more and more time with her (she'd already turned down 10 other potential buyers because they just 'weren't right' for Sage,) and I more than happily obliged. Our first month together was spent entirely building trust and bonding. This largely consisted of riding bareback for the majority of the time (if you don't trust your horse when you're bareback, you're pretty much screwed!). By my second visit, she was following me around like a puppy dog =) She also started to teach me things of her own, like just how intutitive and loving a horse can be. If I went to ride her on a day when I was less than content with life, she wouldn't move from the moment I got on her back. If I gave up trying to get her forward, and decided to trust her judgement and get off, she would follow me to the ends of the earth and back, making goofy faces and nuzzling me all the way until I cracked a smile. At that point, and only then, would I be allowed to get on and ride.

Sage was also almost dangerously hoof shy when I first met her. I spent a lot of time when I was out at the barn just rubbing, stroking, and handling her feet and legs without picking out her hooves or really doing anything other than touching them. By my third visit out, she would pick up her feet automatically for me when I bent down to pick them out. Now, with her hock ripped open (she got caught in a fence that was taken down during a movie shooting, and then was not re-constructed properly), she's also been getting used to water around her legs, and having assorted ointments smeared all over them every day (and believe me, this took some MAJOR getting used to). One thing that certainly made treating her wound easier though was the day we found out that half the reason she would freak out over it was because I always had someone else hold her! If I hold her, and treat her hoof at the same time, she's just as fine as any other green horse is in that situation, and sometimes will even stand perfectly still with her head down beside mine, just curiously watching to see what exactly I am doing to her. I'm still the only person who can get within three feet of her legs or hooves without her world ending.