Thursday, April 24, 2008

Common Ground

Thanks for your comments on mine and Harley's journey down the trainer's road. I must agree with pony girl that there are lots of ways to train a horse and many are not my style. Victoria also made a point that maybe Harley is mad at me for disrupting his perfect little existest here at Aggravation Acres. I am sure Harley is displaced and not happy about being kept in a stall most of the time. However, we had the lack of respect problem far long before he arrived at the trainer's. That is mostly why he is at the trainer's. I rode him a full year trying to figure him out and get a bond between us first. He is not your typical horse. He is well broke but the running through my hands when he gets amped up and the avoidance of the bit were issues I needed resolved. Once last season I almost ran over a judge during a reining pattern because he just ran through my hands and tuned me out. I had to two hand him to get him turned or stopped and that of course DQ'd me. I don't neccessarily agree on the agressive approach constantly but in this case I think it was warranted. I spoke with Corey about it yesterday and we are not going to make that a habit, just a lesson.

Yesterday, I must say was a stellar day! The sun was shining and it was around 80 degrees with blue skys. My ride went well, much better than expected. Mostly I rode by myself and Corey worked with me for the last 15 minutes or so. I was able to rate Harley , do my turnarounds and he was even committing to the stops yesterday.
I am heading down again this morning for another try as I am off to Kentucky for the weekend for some girl time with Susan. I have to work on Saturday but hope to squeeze in a ride on her new horse "Butter".
Happy trails....

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The art of gaining respect

I went for another lesson on Monday with great intrepediation after the diaster on Saturday. I spent a lot of the weekend trying to figure out why I am having such a time getting along with Harley. I came to a few conclusions on my own and then some more when I arrived at the barn on Monday with the help of Corey. First, I realized I had never made such a committment to ride correctly and learn so many complex and sublte ques for reining manuevers. Second, I have never had a horse a sensitive as little Harley. Most of my horses that I have ridden were well broke and I did not have to train on them, with the exception of Sierra whom I started. I had a long discussion with Corey before I rode on Monday and his observation was much simpler, like a man he summed it up in one sentence. "This horse does not respect you."
Gee, I never thought of it that way. He proceeded to watch me do manuevers and stops then told me to watch him ride the horse. WOW! he was right. Harley did not even TRY to avoid him or give him any of the trash he hands me. I know Corey has been riding and training horses his whole life and is much better than me but it was not just his riding abilities, Harley showed him respect. I then proceeded to get a two hour lesson on the art of gaining respect. It was not pretty and although I did not necessarily agree on the degree of agressiveness I had to show Harley . I must say by the end of it he was much more responsive and respectful. My hands are raw and my body hurts all over. It required lots of stops and pulling Harley into the ground. Sounds cruel I know but you should see how he runs off with me and avoids the bit by overflexing. I am heading down there shortly to see if indeed we have a new found respect for each other. I know I have a new respect for why finished reiners cost so much! I also know I will NOT quit!
Happy trails.....

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Overwhelmed again

Well, as suspected my lesson was a giant diaster today. Ugh!!!! I should have known by my mood waking up that it wasn't going to be good. I tried to convince myself to get in the moment and ride correctly. There was a lot of activity at the barn today with about 8 people riding outside with me. I had all three instructors telling me what to do at various times and I totally tensed up and forgot most of what I accomplished on the last lesson. Brent was frustrated, I was frustrated and so was Harley I am sure. I tried going off into the open field and regrouping at the walk but it was no use. I finally did manage to get the stop right and quit on a good note. I can't help but feel defeated and overwhelmed at the lack of progress. Tomorrow is another day I know but, I really am trying to get this. Of course Mike as usual had another great quote for me which made me smile, " If you knew everything and what to do you wouldn't be here." So true Mike.....
Happy trails...

Friday, April 18, 2008

Rude awakening

Today I was jolted awake by all things, an EARTHQUAKE! Excuse me people but I live in central Indiana, not California. But yes it is true at 5:38 am to be precise I was rattled around and woken by a loud noise. My kiddos were pretty freaked by it also. We have no damage and it actually was around 70 miles to the West of us so we did not feel the brunt of it. Now it is a pretty day and warm but the wind is howling around 30 miles an hour. I haven't gotten to ride any this week and I am feeling anxious about it. I go tomorrow for a lesson and hopefully have not forgotten all that I gained last time. Tank is lonely and missing Harley, we are trying to spend extra time grooming him and letting Carson ride him daily. Yes he is still showing interest and I am happy about that. Today I dug out my original first saddle from when I was 10 or 11 years old and cleaned it up a bit. Since Carson is still showing interest I am going to take it to the leatherman in town and let him put new fleece on the underside and stitch a few places. It is amazingly still in good shape and I can't wait for Carson to ride it! Hopefully he will get many years of enjoyment out of it like I did! Hoping you all are having lovely spring weather.
Happy trails.....

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Dreaming versus Reality....

Well after some re evaluating of life in general I decided the dream of getting a yearling is probably not in my reality right now. I am currently working really hard on Harley and reining and getting ready to start showing and trail riding pretty heavy. Plus there is the ole list of wants and needs around here banging on my door. I need to replace all the fence posts this year before winter. The quickie job I did to get the horses here when I moved in 3 years ago have started to rot and snap. I need to build a new run in shed before winter as the old barn I used for one just caved in last week. So sad to see a hundred year old barn fall......

The wants (besides the filly) are an arena to ride in, even an open square sand pit would be an improvement. to get the barn filled with lime again and mats for Tanks stall. Hmmmn... guess I need to shelve the idea of the yearling for this year and be thankful for the things I have and the stuff I am accomplishing.

I had another lesson today and am proud to tell you I fenced without intrepidation today and even managed to do a sliding stop. I worked on rollbacks and let me tell you there is a whole lot of finesse that goes into doing pretty rollbacks. My spins are going great and I am managing to make circles now instead of ugly egg or unidentifiable shapes when loping. He made me do the dang counter canter exercise again and change leads about a million times. Boy is that uncomfortable on the back.
I think I will head for bubble ville in a few moments to soak away my aches. Wish I could head to Margaritta ville but my Florida girl's trip was called off. I am now focusing on the show which is exactly a month away....... I think I may take a trip over Memorial day weekend with the family camping with the ponies. Maybe Deam Lake again, it is close and uncrowded. I am off to the bath now for that much needed soak.
Happy trails....

Sunday, April 13, 2008

The old familiar itch

Oh spring is here and the warm weather has me outside and loving all the time I spend with the horses. Ok not today, rain and 40 but we will rebound quickly. This blessed weather has me wanting to scratch an old familiar itch. I am considering getting a yearling. No I have not lost my cheese off my cracker. I just love working with the young ones and I miss showing at hand and want to try the in hand trail class. I have a couple I am looking at one in WI and one in TN. They are reining bred of course so I can follow in Harley's footprints. Will keep you posted on this latest crazy idea.

I had another lesson yesterday and it went quite well.
I can actually rate my horse now and feel comfortable loping and galloping. My spins are coming along nicely and I finally understand what Corey means by when everything is right your body finds the correct position. I even did some fencing yesterday! It is a little intimidating for me but helped immensly with my stops. For those of you not familiar with the term, it is when you run down the arena and use the wall to stop the horse. The object is to A) run straight lines and B) Not pick up your hand to stop the horse. By using your feet , legs and seat only it is the hope that when doing the actual pattern you will hardly have to raise your hand for the stop, thus gaining a higher score. I still have a long way to go and officially signed us up for 30 more days of training.
I am going to buy the Billy Cook cutting saddle, I have been riding it and love it! The best part is it fits Harley like a glove. I hate to part with my Crates but it is necessary. If anyone needs a nice reining saddle I am selling my Crates for $600, it is a 16" seat and in good condition I will list it on ebay within the next few days.
Happy trails....

Thursday, April 10, 2008

questions abound

Wow, last post sure got you guys asking some questions. I will try and answer them up here. First of all I must explain that it was a derby style party, like one you would host for the Kentucky derby day. Hence the hats! That picture kinda makes me look like I am a little hammered but really that is tea I am drinking! grin....

Mrs Mom , Derby Pie is a trademarked secret recipe from Kerns Kitchens. It is basically a custard type pie with chopped pecans and chocolate chips and of course sugar and bourbon! Delicious!!

Pony Girl, I know you have heard of the Ky derby not matter where you come from. The party was themed around it.

Mikael, get into the spirit girl. Make yourself a hat or buy one and pick a pony to bet a little something on just for fun! Remember life's to short.

Fun Mom, (she is my sis) Yes I am back on my lifestyle plan and I am still skinnier than you!!! ha

Now onto the stuff you really want to know. Yes I did the lesson today with my nose running like crazy from the trauma inflicted by the scope yesterday. I felt like a kid wiping it on my sweatshirt sleeve after I lost my tissue on one of the run downs. Yes.....Brent had me do rundowns and attempt to slide. Yes I still am having issues with the stops but I did better today and did not launch over his head or ride the horn at all today.
I worked a lot on rating speed today, Harley has a tendency to get fast and stay there and tune me out. Today I found out how to get him to come back to me. Humming. Yes , humming. It puts his focus back on me and boy did it work. I am amazed at all the subtle things that I learn with these lessons. You see, I am an over analyzer. I over think everything to the umpth degree with Harley. This is mostly my problem with the stops.
I am thinking where my legs are supposed to be , how my hands are, if my butt is down etc. etc. that I just can't get out of my own way. I imagine Harley is just as frustrated as me. I really am trying to just be..... and relax and ride but there is so much to learn. I do feel each day gets a little better and that I am making progress so I guess it is all gonna come together. Here is the quote from Mike "there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and it is not a train." Just what I needed to hear.
Happy trails.....

new from the front lines

Hi all, as you can tell from my smiling face here, the news was good yesterday!

Turns out I am going to survive the throat crisis. It is an infection of the sub mandular gland, which is a fancy name for a saliva gland. It may have a stone as well which could mean surgery at a later date, but for now just more antibiotics and time. Whew!
The scope wasn't to horrible and I was able to enjoy my derby party after all. Here are some pictures of last nights fun.

Here are some of the lovely hats the girls created!

This is Sandy our very good bartender of the evening. She made mint juleps and a mint tea (non alcoholic) that was delicious.

This is the fare we got to eat after watching the chef cook it up. It is hot brown's , bur boo and mini corn cakes with a side of root vegetables and of course derby pie!

Happy to tell you I blew my new eating lifestyle plan last night and am a little uncomfortable this morning but it was worth it! I am off for another lesson today and hopefully some more progress. Thanks for all your prayers and support in my health issue , I guess they worked well.
Happy trails....

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Another round of lessons

Today held another two hour lesson at Hell's Arena. That is my new pet name for the trainer's barn. I got to ride outdoors today, thank you God for one more beautiful day of 70's! Not sure if it is actually a fact but Harley and I seemed much more relaxed outside. I know I was happy to be there. I had my lesson with Brent the fellow who is doing the majority of riding of Harley. He was patient with me and repeated and explained things as many times as it took to get through my thick skull. My hands were much better, now it seems I need super stick um for my butt! We worked on stops, over and over and over. Did I say over? I dislike the stop, no particular reason just not really comfortable with it which is why Brent picked at me to keep doing it. I would like to say it got better but it is going to require lots more practice. Once I thought I might actually launch off Harley today! ugh this is hard stuff to learn. Now I know why finished reiners are so expensive! Here are some shots of Brent riding Harley today, he was not being particularly good today in these shots.
This is the beginning of the spin
spin continued, note his hind end.
This is the run down
Here is the stop, my camera has to long of a delay to capture the best part.
Tomorrow is D day for the throat scope. Not looking forward to it but will be relieved to finally have an answer. As a treat for that torture I am going to a cooking class at the local race track. They do one each month with the head chef and it is fun to watch then eat his creations. Tomorrow's theme is Derby day so I am digging out my best hat for the contest and will try for shots to share with you. Just hoping I can taste something and my throat won't be to sore, maybe the mint julep!
Happy trails...

Monday, April 7, 2008

Weekend roundup

It was a busy weekend around here and the weather couldn't have been more beautiful. Saturday I headed up to the Hoosier Horse fair to help out in the Indiana Ranch horse booth. The place was packed! What recession?? People were gobbling up horse junk like it was free. I refrained from purchases only because I need very little right now and because I gave my friend Candy some much needed time away from the booth. That girl is my hero, she set up and manned the thing almost the entire time by herself. Kudos to you girl, you rock and I am glad to call you my friend. I met some lovely people and explained the philosophy behind the American Ranch Horse Association and some of what we do as a club. One lady came up and said to me is this the club where you guys show but don't have to get all dressed up like a showgirl! Ha, that one really got me. Part of the beauty of our club is yes, you can show in standard western wear. Just a pair of jeans,boots, belt and long sleeve shirt and hat will do. We also use working tack and silver is discouraged.

We realize there is a place for everyone and some people enjoy getting dressed up and spending loads of money on tack and such (OK my thought there) but we are not out to slam or steal anyone away from other organizations. We quite frankly are promoting fun!

After the booth closed I treated myself to watching the ranch rodeo they had going there. There were some great teams competing in four events for a cumulative score. They also were competing for best ranch horse and best cowboy. I simply loved the wild cow milking part, although I must say those boys took a beating. I met a man from Texas with a great stallion out of Playgun that made me wish I had a good mare to breed.

Did I just say that??? No folks I am done with that part of life. Maybe I'll check and see if he has any foals for sale!! Hee hee.

Sunday we went back to the fair with the whole family and my boys loved watching the mounted cowboy shooting. My oldest Carson who will be five in May professed he now wants to be a cowboy and shoot. Something must have clicked because when we got home he asked to ride Tank. He has shown zero interest in horse despite my repeated attempts and even

buying a pony last year.

However, he helped me groom and saddle Tank and then actually rode him! Here he is with a grin the size of Indiana!

Now before anyone goes and blasts me for lack of safety equipment please.....I really did not think he would get up on him at all. Today after naps we are going to buy the safety helmet and a new pair of boots for my new little cowboy! First question out of his mouth this morning was "Can I ride Tank again today?" Oh, makes me teary eyed I swear!

Departure from the normal

OK, for those of you used to my soft fuzzy feel good blog... you may want to skip this post it is going to be ugly. I actually slept on this issue and still it is on my mind so I am going to write about it. Warning...... the Irish beotch is going to come out today. There are few things in life that I detest, Child or Animal abusers, Liars and when someone is just plain mean!

For those of you who follow my blog and read the comments you will know whom I am referring to. For the rest of you, well you will have to do your research because I am not granting her the privilege of having her name on my page again. It started quite simply by me passing along a email that was sent to me. I thought it well written and enjoyed it so I shared, I listed the author as unknown. The next day after receiving word of whom it was published by, I wrote another post identifying her and even put links to her websites. Now out of the blue some 4-5 months later she sends me a vicious email threatening to sue me for copy write infringement. Get a FREAKING GRIP LADY! I did write her back a comment at her site, but the comments are moderated and I doubt she will publish it , I don't care. I always welcome all comments and I can accept criticism and I am not perfect. But I am an honest, sympathetic human being who cares about the horse world. How dare you attack my inner values and integrity by writing that crap to me. I suggest you take a good long look at yourself and lighten up. While you are at it why don't you do something positive for the horse world instead of bringing in more mud slinging junk.

This ends my tirade for today and I promise when I settle down I will fill you in on the weekend and all the wonderful things that happened.
Happy trails.....

Friday, April 4, 2008

Old habits ......

You know the old saying, you can't teach an old dog new tricks??? Well I say bully to that. I was so looking forward to my lesson today following that wonderful ride on Wednesday. But alas, I am back to my old tricks.
I had a little stumble today...... My hands!!!! Oh if I could just relax! I ended up have a two hour lesson and it ended well and wasn't a train wreck. I need to be more patient with myself and realize change takes time and Rome wasn't built in a day and blah, blah , blah. But I so want this to work and be right, and I am impatient if nothing else. So I have to keep my chin up, literally..Corey must have yelled that at me a hundred times today! I won't have another lesson until Tuesday which seems like forever but of course I will be looking forward to it.

Tomorrow I am working the booth at the Hoosier Horse Fair in Indianapolis for my ranch horse club. I am after all the VP and it wouldn't do if I didn't pitch in. I love it anyway, I plan to convert the entire nation to showing ranch horse shows! Seriously, I enjoy the company of so many horse freaks like me and it is a good excuse to go shopping ! I did not get pictures today since the slave drivers at the barn made me do all the riding so I will have to try again another day. Hoping to rope a friend into coming along to video me riding some day soon. Although the thought of watching it back makes me ill right now. I'm sure one day it would be fun to look back and see my progress and it may even help me right now. Well I hope you all have a glorious weekend, the weather is supposed to finally be spring like here this weekend.
Happy Trails.....

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

The Experience

I have been doing a lot of self evaluation these past days since my mini meltdown last week when I had a bad ride. I came up with some good resolutions to some of my quirks and my need to feel guilty about everything I do for myself. I think it all comes down to life being about experience. We all have lots of different levels of experience in all we do and all we are exposed to.

Take today for instance, I went down to have another lesson with Harley and Mike. I went in the evening which is not my normal routine but thought it would do me good. When I arrived there were three other people about to start their lessons. I listened intently while saddling Harley, this is not my strongest asset....I love to talk! But I digress.... turns out these folks were all just starting out riding two were probably in their twenties and one in his forties like me. We all rode in the arena together at our own pace with Mike and Corey helping all of us. The girl remarked at how good I looked and she wished she could get herself together and ride like me.... HA! I told her just a week ago I was ready to sell my horse and quit trying.. just kiddin he is NOT for sale. It got me to thinking thou. I have been riding for 30 years and I still feel like a beginner next to Mike and Corey , yet this girl thought I looked great. Ya know she was right, I am in my own experience looking great! I had a good lesson and made some real progress with the spins and my hands in general. I will try for pictures on Friday of Mike riding him so you all can live the experience with me! He got his beginner plates on today and I actually slid......about two feet..a small but good start. At least I managed to stay in the saddle correctly this time. I leave you with this quote I found today a good one for sure:

"Experience is what you gain from your own actions, Wisdom is what you gain from the experience of others."

Author unknown

Happy trails.....