Saturday, October 29, 2011

Cooler Horsemanship Trail Riding Clinic

My daughter attended a Cooler Horsemanship Trail Riding Clinic last Saturday from 9am - 1pm.  She is a new rider and I liked the idea of her ground working Oberon and preparing him for trail riding with a guided group.  Classes are never large and each individual gets one-on-one time.  James and Kate Cooler walked around and helped with advice and hands-on help if needed.

The horse above, Ben, is one who has not been ridden for a while.  The owner had a fall and is not sure if she will ever mount up again.   But I watch them do ground work and enjoy each other almost every day.  I watched them once in the round pen doing a bit of freedom work... I think that is what it is called - no halter or lead rope and hope to get to that point some day with my horses!

This sweet Haflinger mare is Sonder and I think these two are perfect for each other.  Saunders had issues and her owner has worked patiently with her and since I've been at the barn (a few months) I see a well behaved horse ... and smart!

Everyone said Oberon would be the star of the show as I take him out on the trails by myself all the time.  Well, we were jinxed!  My daughter who is tiny and sweet, was doing cutbacks with him on the ground.  Oberon started shaking his head and showing attitude.  Granted, it was one of the first chilly days and we all know how that can get a horse a bit squirrelly.  Well, Oberon was so squirrelly, he got loose from her grasp and high tailed it all the way back to the barn.  James Cooler rode his 22 year old horse, Moonshine (below - isn't he beautiful?) and worked Oberon's feet ALOT and showed him such behavior wasn't worth the price!

Above:  Moonshine - the young looking "Old Guy".  Jeanette got Oberon back and showed him who was boss.  We did put the bridle on him and I walked next to them holding a lead rope on the trails as she has never been outside the ring before.

Ben enjoying a "rest".  Isn't this a picture perfect spot?  Believe me, I've taken many here :)

I didn't get as many photos of the actual riding part of the clinic as I was dealing with working Oberon on the ground.  We did join up with the trail ride half way through.  The free Cooler Horsemanship newsletter I introduce below will go into further detail, I believe.

Seven students with James and Kate 6 & 7th in line.   There will be a free newsletter HERE from Cooler Horsemanship and I was asked to be a contributing photographer!  :)  Click and signup!   They also have a Facebook page:  HERE

Friday, October 28, 2011

Photo Art Friday - "The Diva"

This is for Photo Art Friday ...   I "posterized" with PhotoShop.  It reminds me of a paint by number.  The challenge for next week is to try something we have never done before... I am going to try and do a texture...  (see Bonnie, I just needed a homework assignment :)

This beautiful horse is Cleo (Cleopatra).  She is 1/2 Friesian, 1/2 Arab.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

In His Shadow

A herd's "social dynamic" fascinates me.  Oberon is not always a warm fuzzy... he can be quite forceful when it comes to being fed grain.  He may be the smallest, but he gets quite bossy and bold at feeding time.  But here he is, snuggling up to Sebastian, enjoying that long Friesian tail...

Not much space between them this afternoon...

Sebastian started to walk away and Oberon just followed and kept trying to nuzzle him.  :)

Monday, October 17, 2011

"Sebastian" A Poem


I renamed you Sebastian,
majestic and revered, it fits you to a tee.
Yes, Raven's obsidian son you are,
elegant and powerful for all to see.

Thee of swift and graceful agility;
born Falcon, I can see why.
In Ludse's image freedom continues to soar
on wings of strength, a poetic vision floating by.

by Margaret Bednar, Art Happens 365, October 14, 2011

 You can click on the link above to see Sebastian's grandfather and see his father in the photo below.  

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Trailer Loading - More Natural Horsemanship "crap" - very funny You Tube Video

I had a trailer incident with Oberon and I will be sharing it in a future post.  He didn't get hurt, but he could have.  I realize this is an advertisement for Eddy Modde, and I haven't checked him completely out yet, but I thought this was a funny video.  I hope you enjoy it as well. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Leg Injuries... Are they more common today?

The above photo has little to do with the discussion of this post, I just like it!  :)  This horse is at my stable and she is half Friesian like my guy... but the other half is Arab.  My horse is half Quarter Horse.

I honestly don't recall horses getting as many injuries when I was younger as they do now.  Of course, maybe I just didn't pay attention.  But the horses in my immediate circle didn't.  One thing they did all have in common was a long winter rest.  Below is an excerpt from the blog "Two horses":

We then had an interesting discussion about the prevalence of leg injuries. He told me that he sees many more horses with suspensory ligament injuries than he used to. I asked him why, was it due to better diagnostics, but he said it no, it is because horses get overworked nowadays. Horses used to have one job. If they were hunters, they were brought in in September for fittening work, hunted during the winter and spring and then they were given a couple of months off during the summer. Show horses usually got time off during the winter months. He told me that many horses would have minor lesions in the suspensory ligament by the end of the season, but that because they got a couple of months off, these had usually healed by the time the horse was brought back into work. It takes about three months for a suspensory ligament to heal. Nowadays, the season is longer, people might hunt and do show jumping as well and Riding Club activities continue for most of the year. Many leisure riders don’t give their horses a substantial break anymore and their horses’ legs can’t bear the strain. He also said that a lot of people are just not using proper horse sense anymore; slow work to condition horses and a 10 minute warm up seem to have gone out of fashion and horses are getting injured as a result.


What do you think?  

Monday, October 10, 2011

Two days with Buck Brannaman

I think one of David Letterman's best interviews:

And I was fortunate to have him visit our area not 15 minutes from my house!

What did I think?

It was a four day seminar and I audited it (meaning I watched from the sidelines).  Listening to him explain what he does and watching him perform with his horse is amazing.  The horse becomes his legs and Buck's cues look effortless and are miniscule.  He said his 3-1/2  horse rode (above & below) was green broke...  Well, she was amazing.  I enjoyed his stories and his "politically incorrect" banter and his teaching, but I think if you were a rider, his classes were too big (20+) to give immediate feedback, if any at all, per individual.  I noticed a number of people continually doing the same "wrong" thing time and again.  It seems to me he needed a few "ground" assistants to carry through his instructions effectively.

After lunch, they had the cattle reigning activity.  First, he instructed and showed everyone how to use another horse and rider as the "cow" and practice that way.  I think the majority of horses had fun with this, once they caught on.  Of course, most of the moves that were practiced in the morning class were put in to use here.

Buck "thanking" his horse for a job well done.

Would I go audit another Buck seminare.  Definitely, yes.  Would I participate as a horse and rider? Not so sure.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Stationary Lunge, Mobile Lunge

James Cooler of Cooler Horsemanship  must be the "Man in the White Hat" to the horses.  They don't get away with much when he is around... not that Oberon would ever entertain the idea of being anything less than well behaved.  :)   James is teaching my daughters how to do a stationary lunge.

First they back him out by a slight wiggle of the rope.  Then one arm is extended and finger pointing in the direction you want the horse to go.  Their body stays still and if the horse is going the speed you want, the stick and string is in a neutral position in front of the body.

Then it is just a slight "grab" of his head and a turning of the back to the horse - she maybe bent a bit too much, but she is learning.

And the horse should turn and face with butt tucked.  If not, she would "nip" towards his but with the string to make him swing and face her straight on.  That means he is giving you his full attention.

Yes, poor Oberon often gets worked double.   My other daughter, above, is backing him up.  Eventually a smaller shake of the rope will make him back - she can also swing the stick a bit like a pendulum directed towards his chest.  And below, she points in the direction she wants him to go.

Below is the mobile lunge.  Body is off the horse but moving parallel with the horse.  If you jog or run, he should do the same.  We haven't worked on that yet.  To stop him, the stick is put in front of the lead rope and then he is brought in like demonstrated above.

Eventually we will have him "loose" and he will do all of this with us without halter and leadrope.  That will take a lot of time and practice, but I love the whole idea of the horse having100% attention on his "rider".  Of course, afterwards, there is plenty of time for hugs...

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Oberon & Sebastian ... together for the first time

I found Oberon and Sebastian together today.  The other two geldings will join them on Thursday and are out in the pasture grazing.  No hardship for them as the weather is very nice and no need really for a shed.  Sebastian is still busy taking everything in... there are a lot of horses and activity to look at from where he is standing.

Mystic (a gelding) looks a lot like Sebastian's old stable mate, except it was a mare.

I just love his very masculine head.  He is 3 1/2 years old and looks to me like he still has a bit of growing to do...  I bet he will grow at least another inch.  And of course, he will fill out as he is half Friesian.

Meeting the neighbors...

Sebastian is definitely the one moving Oberon around - I had hoped Oberon would be the leader - but he isn't exactly submissive.  I saw Oberon stand his ground a bit... but when you are the little guy, I guess it goes with the territory.  Oberon seems used to it and still exudes a lot of confidence.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Sebastian & Oberon meet

With a fence separating them, they seem to get along quite well.  They nuzzled and nipped throughout the day and even spent time in the head to tail position swatting away flies.

Sebastian (that is his new name - it means majestic, revered and is also a character in Shakespeare's Twelfth Night) seemed to calm down in Oberon's presence.  With the warm sun beating down, Sebastian even laid down flat on the ground and took a bit of a nap.

I hope all this "coziness" continues today as they are let out in their pasture together today.

My son was picking flowers for me, but Oberon spied them and "tiptoed" up behind him and blew down his neck.  Oh, Oberon, maybe I should have named you Puck after all!  (a mischievous character in Shakespeare's "Mid Summer Night's Dream".

Sebastian is very alert and at times looks like a dark statue as he takes in his new surroundings. 

Monday, October 3, 2011

My Half Friesian Arrives!

Well, he finally arrived from Illinois and I couldn't be more thrilled.  He came off the trailer after a 10 hour plus ride and was really well behaved.  Not as calm and steady as Oberon was a few weeks back, but for a 3-1/2 year old, I'd say he did quite well.

His registered name is Falcon.  His previous owner called him Rudy (Rudolph). I am toying with the idea of calling him Valentino (Rudolph Valentino).  But I also really like the name Sebastian.  It is another Shakespeare character (Twelfth Night) and it means revered, majestic.

He is 15.3 now and has big feet... Friesian feet I guess.  He has a nice trot - a bit high stepping and he seemed to float over the ground.  I didn't see him canter... I think the grass was much too inviting.

Tonight Oberon is in the front pasture next to him.  These seldom get used and tomorrow they will both be back with the other horses.  I will post how that goes later this week.  Below is an out of focus shot, but it gives a bit of a view at his face - it looks more Friesian than Quarter Horse I think.

I am a Photographaholic

This past weekend I enjoyed two days (it is a four day seminar) of Buck Brannaman (the link is an interview I like) I have never seen "The Horse Whisperer", missed his documentary "Buck" when it came to town :(  nor read his books...   I will share my photos and thoughts on this in my next post.  BUT, as I was driving down the gravel driveway of Flintrock Farms (the seminar site) I looked to my left and before I even parked I knew I had to take these photos.

One photo still haunts me... I snapped the PERFECT shot of three donkey noses behind a fence and felt it was my BEST EVER photo.... only to find I had no SD chip in my camera.  I am pretty happy with these, but in my mind I am still seeing the one that got away...

The same shot, different angles.  On my way home from visiting my horse last night, I saw the setting sun bouncing off a tractor's tires as it was going along in a field.   I SO wanted to stop, but the traffic just wouldn't allow it.   I still have that image in my mind...  Yes, I'm a photographerholic...