Monday, January 26, 2009

Maybe...

If I change my template to a summer theme... spring will come faster? Probably not, but it's worth a shot.

OH! And I almost forgot, I'd like to thank Froglander, Kristina, and PalyReiner for sharing this award with me!




It is for bloggers who show great attitude/gratitude.
I am supposed to pass it on to 10 bloggers, but I'm afraid everyone I know has already received it! Thanks for the award you three, and sorry I was so late in accepting it!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Choke update: End of Week 2




Yesterday, I went out to watch TJ work Choke. First, TJ showed me the work they'd been doing with the pedestal. The one he's working with is pretty small, so it takes some patience to get a horse to put all four feet on at once. Choke did get it though. She will even back off of it once she is on. Trailer loading is going to be a breeze for her.

After that they went into the round pen to do some longeing. TJ saddled Choke up and sent her out. She was feeling good and threw in some bucks, though they were nothing serious. It was cute to see her playing.

Next, TJ decided to introduce choke to the bridle. He uses the same bit that I use on Rem, a single jointed, pinchless snaffle bit. I couldn't believe how easily Choke accepted the bit. They did some ground work first, and worked on lateral movements. TJ had her yielding her shoulder and hip well. She is a little better on one side than the other, but most horses are one-sided.

TJ then hopped up and rode around. Choke is a natural. She already carries her head on the vertical and rarely tosses it. Normally horses have no idea what to do the first time they carry a bit, so they try what they can to evade it and get rid of it. You'll see in the video how Choke just accepts it. I suppose TJ deserves some credit, but this little mare just learns so fast!! ;-) In the video you'll see her struggle a little when TJ asks her to back, but once she figures it out she just does it so easily.



Saturday, January 24, 2009

Come back tomorrow!

I've got the weekly update, but just need a little more time to get photos and video edited. I promise it will be up by tomorrow afternoon!!

You'll get to see Choke's first day going in a bridle and a few other things. She is doing awesome!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Choke - Day 4

Got out to see Choke, TJ, and Tracy today. This was Choke's 4th day being worked. TJ didn't get out to work her during the cold spell, so she got some time off after her 3rd day of training.

Choke is doing really well. She was pretty upset that she had to leaver her stall neighbor to come to the arena and work, but she got over it quickly. Once TJ put her to work she forgot all about her friend. Check out the video below to see how far she's come!

Tracy worked with Socks a little too. Socks was content hanging out just watching Choke, but she had to work too. She's going to make a great performer! Both Socks and Remington will be at the Midwest Horse Fair again. This time they will be performing in the Mustang breed demonstration.



Tracy and Socks, watching TJ and Choke


Learning lots!


Socks showing Choke how it's done.


Choke has a new haircut!


Friday, January 16, 2009

Frozen Solid

That's what my stock tank was this morning :-(

The heater must have decided to quit. So, this morning was spent installing another heater in the empty stock tank we were using as a feeder, and then filling it with, not a hose, but buckets of water! YAY! *sigh*

According to my car the temperature this morning was
-22... We are supposed to reach 20 above by tomorrow, I can't wait!!!

I will probably be out to see Choke on Saturday or Sunday, so I'll be sure to post an update.

Stay warm fellow Wisconsinites, and for those of you enjoying warm weather, try and send some our way!

Frozen Solid

That's what my stock tank was this morning :-(  

The heater must have decided to quit

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Moving Right Along...

Well, TJ has been busy with Choke since my last visit (only 2 days ago!!)

Tracy sent over some photos of what they've been up to.


On day 2 Choke learned to wear a blanket in preparation for our forecasted frigid temperatures and wind chills in the negative teens and twenties...


Choke, there's no time for games! You've got things to learn and deadlines to meet!!!

...back to business on day 3

The best for last! I love the look on Choke's face in this photo. She looks a little unsure, but that is the same look Luna was giving Aubrey the first time she had a rider on her back. "Are you sure you're supposed to be up there??"

Before I left on Sunday, Tracy had told me TJ wouldn't wait long to climb aboard. We decided it was a guy thing... Climbing on a wild horse and riding as soon as possible... Don't get me wrong, Tracy was on her own mustang pretty quick last year, but us girls like to take our time when it comes to this mustang training thing :-)

Monday, January 12, 2009

A few more photos...

Here are a few more photos from my visit yesterday.
Getting the mud off...

Wearing a saddle pad

Leading outside the round pen

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Mustang Fever!

Yes, I think I've got a bit of it at the moment. All these blogs springing up about the training of wild mustangs for the 2009 Mustang Challenge has got me itching for another mustang of my own. Unfortunately it is not to be this year. My barn is full and my wallet is empty. Luckily, I live pretty close to Tracy Porter and TJ Clibborn. TJ has taken on a mustang this year and I hope to do weekly visits and updates so that I can live vicariously through him. It will be great!

So, without further ado, I'd like to introduce my readers to "Little Miss Finnegan" also known as "Choke" (because that's what she did when she got off the trailer!)

She is a 2006 bay Mustang mare, from the Twin Peaks HMA (maybe she's Remington's little sister?). And boy is she SMART! She learned a lot today.



I wasn't surprised to see that this bunch of mustangs seemed to be as muddy as last years. That presents a challenge in itself. It can take a few days to get the mud off their belly, so cinching up a saddle is out of the question until you've got a clean mustang on your hands.


In my ever so humble opinion, there is a right and a wrong way to use a round pen. I don't know much about how TJ trains, so I was glad to see him using the round pen in the way it's meant to be used. Many people think it's only purpose is to run a horse to exhaustion until the horse is ready to "hook on" or "join up". I am not a fan of this method. The way I like to see a round pen used is as a way to get your horse responding to your body cues. Never once did TJ push Choke into a lope. It wasn't necessary! She caught on so fast to his body language and even turned and faced him for direction changes instead of turning her butt to him (a big sign of disrespect). TJ had her stopping off of his body language as well as "Whoa" within the first 20 minutes of their session.



TJ then moved on to work with a rope. It's important to use a rope with a metal honda when working with mustangs. The metal honda allows the rope to easily slide so that it won't get caught on itself and stay tight around the horse's neck. He caught her on the first try, I was then informed by Tracy that he isn't really good with a rope... he sure fooled me!

She was alarmed at first but quickly relaxed. She even gave to pressure pretty well. TJ was able to walk up and touch her and eventually tie on a lead rope to her halter.





Before the session was over she was leading pretty darn good! Blogger isn't letting me upload a few of the photos for some reason, so maybe I'll have to try again later. TJ got the saddle pad out and she accepted it like it was nothing new. She also got brushed. Some of the mud came off, but she still has a long way to go before she could be considered clean. Before the session started, she was herded from her stall to the round pen, but TJ was able to lead her back to the stall at the end of the session! She is going to be a great little mare, she tries so hard!!




Tracy didn't get a mustang for this challenge, instead she is going to use her time to continue the training of her mustang mare from last year's challenge, Socks! As you can see, Socks is a very smart little mare herself. Choke was a little bit nervous about walking up beside Socks to pose for a photo, it looks like she's hiding behind TJ!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Luna - Ride 2




Last night I went out to work Luna. Before we rode, Aubrey let her loose in the arena with the saddle on. She acted like she wanted to buck but it looked like she didn't quite know how. She just ran around with her back arched and her head down between her knees. Once she had that out of her system, I had Aubrey climb on. She was a lot more calm this time around. I led her around the arena for about 15 minutes. Her eyes were big at first, but they softened once we got moving.

I wanted to head out today to do another session on the longe line, but we had freezing rain last night. The roads seem to be okay, but Aubrey's driveway is long and icy. The dry lot is also pretty icy according to Aubrey. Wouldn't be fair to kick the other 3 horses out on the ice while we used their shelter for training.

I had wanted to get Luna to the point where she was comfortable being ridden without being led or longed before Aubrey leaves for school again, but I'm not sure that will happen. Oh well, we'll just keep on taking it easy. That's the best way to train... no looming deadlines!!