Tuesday, December 22, 2009

How the professionals do it

I went to visit the Horse Protection Association of Florida on Sunday to volunteer and look at a few horses for Kathy. The farm is everything I would have expected from them based on their website and more. FHOTD has me looking at rescues with a more critiquing eye these days and HPAF is a really great example of a well run rescue. Great website? check. Well managed, clean and asteticly pleasing property? check. Happy horses well on their way to recovery? Double check.
I think they said they had 63 horses and everyone looks better than Tie already. We could learn a thing or two from them for sure! HPAF also has a professional trainer to work with the elidgible horses. That is just top notch in my opinion. Check out their website. It is really nice.

In other news Tie got his feet done yesterday. The farrier was impressed with how well his feet were holding up to the lack of nutrition, and thinks he is doing just fine feet wise. I am excited about this as we all know no feet no horse.

A few people have recommended probiotics to see if we can get Tie more regular. Any thoughts? It is worth a shot, and I read some positive reviews online.

Here is Bodhi in his winter garb (red blanket) meeting some new pasture buddies.

Thursday, December 17, 2009


I have been trying to find homes for the other two horses from the farm that I got Tie from. The girl I have to deal with who originally agreed that finding homes for everyone was a good idea is being very uncooperative and uncommunicative. They are maintaining their weight (though they are looking strange to me showing ribs despite both of them being over weight and out of shape) and probably could on air alone. Their feet were just done via my last endeavor, however that won't last. I want to find them homes before they get worse and it is harder to find them homes if you know what I mean.
I found a home for Gus-- 16 year old quarter horse that is blind in one eye but has a heart of gold and ride very well-- but this girl only wants to do a free lease. In other words she wants to keep the papers. This new home wants the papers. It is a big argument over what I see as a minor issue. What is being left out in all of this is the horse' best interest of course.
She is hard to get a hold of. In fact if I really want to talk to her I need to go to parties, because that is where she is at. When I try and reason with her she blows me off with a series of sures, laters, and I'll get to it's with a few eye roles thrown in for good measure. You can imagine how this makes me feel.

I have a feeling she is going to stop cooperating at all to find these two horses homes. This I feel is because I took Tie, the horse that was most obviously showing her abuse. She has no real reason to cooperate anymore.

I am so frustrated. I want to find a solution for this and I want to get the horses to barns where they will be fed, shod, loved, and cared for but no one will throw me a bone.

I am being treated like dirt by this girl and I stand back in amazement-- you are getting a free pass for abuse! We used to be friends. I am only trying to help!

Are local authorities are completely useless in this respect before anyone recommends this

So I guess this is why I could never do rescue for a living. It consumes me and irritates me to the point or rage.

Thanks for listening hopefully the vent will help me feel better. Here is something to cheer you up. Here is a picture of Tie when we brought him--- and here he is now! An attitude improvement at last! He has also started to gain some weight though his feet still really scare me. We need to have the farrier out to look at him again. A bit of good news in all this gloom.

Monday, December 14, 2009

It is time to get organized.

Our riding schedule has always been a bit lackadaisical, which has worked well for my little baby as my main focus was to keep the riding light, and fun but educational.

Now that Bodhi is starting to show his maturity (new found jumping ability, lead changes etc) I think it is time to a bit more organized in our training. First of all the work is getting harder. I want to be sure to not over work him in any one area, I also want to keep things fresh. Since the work is getting more technical I don't want either of us to burn out. The other reason is if I want to continue to progress we both need to be in better shape. Bodhi is a hard horse to condition, he looks at food and gains weight and he is an energy conservationist by design.

My plan of attack is going to focus on diversity in work. It will keep his muscles and his mind guessing, and hopefully keep him interested. He loves to learn but he hates to practice. He loves to explore and interact so I hope to continue and work off of this. I have not decided on which days I am going to do which exercise but my general idea is this.
Hacking out-This includes trail, and work in the several larger fields on the property. We will start with a sustained working trot work, with canter transitions work mixed in---working up to sustained canter work and some galloping. The little man needs to learn the joys of a good gallop though right now lacks the balance or forward to enjoy it.(Once a week)

Over fences-Work on building his confidence over fences and developing some course work, gymnastics etc to improve his general agility and athleticism. So far he enjoys jumping as a break from other work, but since I want to keep it that way and since he is so young I will keep it low (2ft and lower) and brief.(Once a week)

Dressage-This work has always been our bread and butter. The more technical flat work like lead changes, lateral work, etc... I would like to get to a few schooling shows this year at training level so we have to practice sometime!(2 times per week)

Fun time/Other- I like to spend at least one day trying something new and/or fun with Bodhi. Like riding without a bridle. Riding a dressage test bareback, or not even riding at all. Work on some ground work, or practice with the clicker. (1 time a week)

So that would be 5 days a week. I am thinking, Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and then the weekends.
It is going to be difficult to stay consistent and focused but hopefully with a plan it will help.
Any insights to which days to put which activity?

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Monty Roberts: Yay or Neigh?

I know I know corny title but sometimes I can't help myself!

I first saw Monty Roberts some time in the 90's at a clinic. My trainer at the time was pretty rough and old fashioned. I- like all children-- viewed horses through romantic rose colored glasses, and was not satisfied with the horsemanship I was being taught. Seeing Monty blew my young mind and set me on the path of horsemanship I am on today. I have never read any of his books, I think I may have seen one of his documentaries on PBS, but later down the line of my education I lumped him with all of the natural horsemanship trainers. What do you think about Monty Roberts? What do you think of the "natural horsemanship" trainers?

My view of the movement is that I am happy that people are moving in that general direction. However I feel that a lot of the good training advise they could be giving is hyped up, mystified and ritualized. I feel like the majority of their audience is missing the point. Chasing a horse around a round pen all the time is not what horses need. They do not need fancy halters, saddles, or carrot sticks either. Some of this stuff is harmless and helps beginner horse people enjoy their animals more, sometimes though I have seen it backfire and make things worse. The other thing I do not understand is how expensive it is! I would love to read into some of these trainers and learn about their methods and really give them a fair shot but why are their merchandise priced like that? When I see the prices on the Pat Parelli website it just screams scam.

Well I digress- My point is Monty the same? What do you guys think about him as a trainer.
He has started a new website with video and audio training instruction. I am intereset I think but for that price, not so much! Am I being cheap here or what? Check it out

Bodhi News
Bodhi has been amazing as usual. We have been continuing our work with lead changes as it has been our only gateway to the left lead. He gets it now consistently with the aid of a ground pole. He has now started to get his left lead from the trot as well with the aid of the ground pole. Right now I am pretty sure he thinks the ground pole is magic so I will have to devise a method of slowly removing it. He thinks he needs it but we know he doesn't!
I took a spin around the arena yesterday bareback and *gasp* bridleless. I attached a stirrup leather around his neck because I am a chicken and I enjoy having an oh "sh*t handle". Overall he was a good boy. He still had amazing halts with out the bridle and he would even give me tempo changes within the trot. We did a bit of canter and preformed a halt from the canter. What a good boy! What he would not do is turn. We will have to work on that! Any suggestions. He knows how to turn using my legs and my body. I can drop the reins and do serpentines. For some reason it is a different story with out reins.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Golden moments

No News to report just a few snapshots...

Tie Explores his new home.

Bodhi running at the ages of 2, 3, and 4. He has grown so much, and is beginning to look more drafty. Over all he has matured quite nicely