Equestrian Life


Monday, August 27, 2007

Another Rother weekend..

Pate and I ventured out to our last Steve Rother clinic together. We had a great time. After two days and 18 hours of training, we are exhausted!

In this clinic, we went into all three classes per day, Foundation (groundwork), Horsemanship (riding portion) and Liberty (off leash work, as I like to call it). We ran through all the basics again, worked obstacles in hand, worked obstacles riding, jumped, and practiced trotting and cantering in a large group of horses. He was exposed to a new trailer, several more hours of riding in a trailer, a new barn, another indoor arena, an outdoor arena, of sorts, with rough footing, lots of distractions and he slept in a round pen with another mustang. Later in the evening, we were able to show off the liberty routine that we will use if we are chosen to come back as one of the top 15 horses at the event. He proved to be a great liberty horse, even with all the distractions of other horses in the arena. As you can see, he is becoming quite the jumper. He always clears the jumps by several feet! Jumping horse anyone?

We still have work to do, but as far as I am concerned, Pate is were I would want my horse to be after 60+ days of training. I hate to rush horses along, so if he isn't as refined as some of the others, oh well!

I am starting to get nervous about the event, but I am also starting to feel very sad, as I only have a few days left with a great horse that I have really bonded with for the last few months. Here are a few pictures that were taken during the weekend.

On a pseudo - "bridge"
Backing without contact
Standing for "the ball"

Jumping whilst "sitting" lol
Cantering along

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Kids horse anyone?

Just back from a weekend away doing nothing at all horse related (well, horsepower, yes) ..imagine that? I thought I would fill you in on what Pate's been up to for the past week or so.

Would you believe that Pate went from this..

to this.. ..in just 65 days??

Last week, Pate earned his license as a kids pony. A couple of the kids who come to my house regularly to ride horses, Kelsey (9), Ashley (16) and Laura (14), all took a turn riding my wild child. He did great! He listened to their aids as they guided him over the obstacles and jumps. I was so proud!

Kelsey Ashley Riding with other horses.

I decided to put rear shoes on Pate and they really helped him step out on the last trail ride. I asked my farrier's assistant to catch and hold him, instead of me, so he could get used to a complete stranger. As you can see, he was completely relaxed. Also, dogs of all sizes, are not a problem. :)

We also went on a few more trail rides encountering bridges and water! Water was a bit scary, but he tried. I have pictures riding through the water, but they were too dark. I'll get some new ones soon.

So far, I am happy with Pate's progress, but I know he still has A LOT more to learn before we leave for Texas. I hope we can get it all done.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Trail, uh, urban city ride...

Today was the day we ventured out into the wild, the wild public that is..

What is it about the general public? We are an awfully noisy species. Not only that, most humans have no regard for their safety as they jog or bike right up on the backside of a horse! Ignorance is bliss..

Pate and I went for our first trail ride in an area with ALOT of distractions. The trail was the Seattle PUD Reservoir. It's 9.2 miles around and not much of a trail ride for a human, but to a horse, it provides just about every horse eating opportunity that you can find with the exception of crossing water. Most horses do great out in the wild back country. But when you ride in the city, it's a whole other ballgame.

Not only did we ride along some very busy roads, with semi's, Harley's, and loud radio thumping cars, we also encountered joggers, dogs rushing and barking, cross walks, road lines, mountain bikers and the occasional llama!

Care to guess how Pate did? It was a complete non-event. He was absolutely flawless and I am not just saying that. I have started quite a few horses and there have been some that I STILL would not ride in that type of an environment. But I trusted Pate to handle himself and he did.

The only spook we got was when a biker with an IPOD rode up so close on Pates butt that I could have reached out and slapped the dumb guy. Pate scooted and spun to face the scary moving object. Luckily he didn't haul off and kick the guy in the face! It was a bit unnerving. We did not hear him coming due to the traffic noise. I kept the eyes in the back of my head peeled from then on. When the family of kids and Dad rode up on us a few minutes later (again right up on us), Pate just turned his head to glance over his shoulder. I was so proud!

Tomorrow, I think we will head for the back country to get away from all the craziness. LOL

Many thanks to my friend Dodge for coming along and keeping me safe. It was fun riding out from your house and onto the trails.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

A beautiful, sunny day..

The lyrics to the country song by Craig Morgan, "It's what I love about Sundays", should include.. "spending time in the round pen, teaching mustangs how to behave". LOL

Another Sunday goes by and Pate is coming along great. We spent time on the ground with obstacles, time in the saddle with obstacles, riding out in the open, working on tricks, clipping up his scruffy hairs with electric clippers and another water/hose lesson. He's taking everything in stride (pun intended). He is beginning to realize that even though I am on his back, I still get to decide on the direction of travel. LOL He did try and run off with me once and head back towards the other horses. Oh, that was fun! He even threw in a buck, for good measure. Sure!! The first time I dont have a chaperone to watch me ride!!

I do not know quite what type of trail obstacles they are going to throw at us, so I am trying to be creative and drum up all manner of horse eating objects. So far, I have yet to really phase him. With me aboard, he is jumping small jumps, backing through poles, side passing up to the gate (we have not mastered opening it yet) and trotting over the tarp.

I feel I have good steering control and will now venture out onto the trails. I am hoping to find LOTS of water obstacles.

Oh, by the way, his trot is smooth as glass. By the way he paddles his front feet and his smooth gait, I believe he has some kind of gaited breed in him. He reminds me of a Peruvian or Paso Fino. To all you trail riding fans out there, this mustang's for you!

Friday, August 3, 2007

Still moving along..

Another week gone by and the time left in this game is growing short.

Pate and I have been working on a number of fun liberty games and teaching a few tricks. I have been riding him daily and beginning to get some steering control. Man is he smart. He's picking up leg and rein cues really fast. He's one smart boy. His "pony" attitude really shines through, though, when I ask him to go somewhere that wasn't his idea!

He cracks me up! I cant seem to keep the reins, rope, stirrups, etc. out of his mouth! He is constantly grabbing and chewing on everything, even when we are riding! I might venture to say its a nervous behavior, but it's still really funny. His boy like oral fixation is really apparent.

Pate had his first serious bath, soap, scrubbing, show shine and everything. He stood quietly tied and took it like a man, even though he thinks being clean is for the grrls. Sorry Pate, you are really beginning to look like a show horse now and not like a wild beast.