Saturday, December 10, 2011

Thoughts

Thoughts of the competition are already consuming me. I am praying for a good horse and mild weather. I am keeping a list of all the things I want to accomplish with this mustang. I am also thinking about things I will do differently compared to the last time, with Remington.

Going into the competition with Remington I felt like I had a solid bond that would help carry us through, but when it came to the competition, my emotions failed me. My nerves got the best of me and I failed to be Remington's source of comfort due to my own shortcomings in such a chaotic atmosphere. I will not let this happen again.

Once again I've been doing research on what works and doesn't work for the top trainers in this competition. I was reading a blog about the training of a mustang for the Tennessee makeover in 2010. The trainer was explaining how her mustang was reacting to new surroundings and she talked about getting the mustang to the point where it is not worried about it's surroundings so that it's only concern is what she is asking it to do. I thought this was a great way to look at how a horse should respond to a trainer. They should have that trust, no matter the circumstance.

I also can't wait to apply all of my new knowledge to this mustang. Remington taught me so much in the years after the competition. He opened up so many doors due to my desire to continue training him. I now know more about finishing colts instead of just getting them to a solid green-broke... which is what Rem was at the competition. I took dressage and reining lessons. I have seen the benefits of cross training to keep horses fresh. I also see the huge value in continuing education of both the horse and the trainer.

More than anything though, I want this to be my own journey. I do not want to worry about the progress of other trainers the way I did last time. I need to throw those insecurities out if I want to do my best for me, and the mustang. I have goals in my mind and I am working out how to meet those goals every day. Of course they'd be a little easier to work out if I had my mustang already... but alas, I must wait until the 27th. So until then, I will ponder, and wish, and hope, and dream.


Friday, December 9, 2011

Here We Go Again!

I was accepted as a trainer for the 2012 Extreme Mustang Makeover at the Midwest Horse Fair! I am so excited! I can't wait to try out all of the new things I've learned on another Mustang :-) Pick up date is January 27th. Stay tuned for more updates!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Trust

I am going to school to be a teacher. It is something I know I will enjoy, but I am a little nervous about honing my skills as an instructor. I do give riding lessons, but sometimes I don't believe my verbalization of how to do something is understood. I want to get better at communicating my thoughts as well as the physical process it takes to truly understand horses and horseback riding.

I know this blog is a good tool to do that, so I thought I would try to explain some of my thoughts on trust and horses.

When I get a horse in for training, the first thing I am concerned with is gaining their trust as a competent leader. I know that most horses will not immediately trust me (nor will I immediately trust them). In gaining their trust, I am also giving them my own, that is what a partnership is built on, after all. How can I expect to teach a horse anything if his only concern is a)avoiding me or b)trying to dominate me? By establishing a trusting relationship as the leader, his only job (to respond to training) becomes quite clear to him.

So, how do I go about establishing this trust? I use a couple of methods. I like to use "join up" but I approach it a little differently than Monty Roberts. He seems to be okay with just running the horse until it's ready to give in, but I don't want my horse to be that used up. In order to get the point across a little sooner I will do lots of direction changes in the round pen. Every time I make that horse change direction, I am controlling their body. I am particular about a lot of things when I am teaching a horse to join , but I won't go into too much detail here. The main idea I am teaching them, is that I am the "safe place". If they are away from me, they are working and I am directing that work, but if I invite them in, and they accept that invitation, they get a break.

This lesson is very important, it is the foundation I use when I am teaching horses how to stand (for saddling, for grooming, for mounting, etc...) When I invite them in, and they do accept ( I first expect them to take a few steps, but eventually want them to come all the way to me and eventually follow me anywhere) I will give them a short break where I take all the pressure off and ignore them, maybe even turn my back. After that, I will go on to rub them all over, wherever I want. Most horses will be slightly offended by this at first and will want to walk off, so I start over again with the join up. I am still allowing the horse to make his own decisions, whether he wants to stay with me or not. Fairness is key in building trust. I have never had a horse who didn't want to be with me after this exercise (though, I am not saying that will never happen). Also, once this lesson is learned, it seldom has to be repeated.

What I have described above is the first step I'll take in the training process. Once a horse learns to trust me, and understands that I am in control, it is much easier for the horse to learn and catch on to other training methods. He looks to me for guidance, and that is so important in training. I am not saying that this is the only way to teach trust, but I have found it works best for me. It is something I easily understand and know how to communicate to the horses. Most respond very well to it. Of course this is just the first step in a long process, but it is an important one!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Thinking

So I just found out that the Mustang Makeover is coming back to the Midwest Horse Fair in 2012. I've got that itch to enter again. Things are going good, that is all for now :-)

Monday, January 17, 2011

A late post for a new year

I am on my last day of winter break... sure seemed like it went by fast. I did a whole lot of nothing, which is kind of disappointing, but it was nice to relax. Now I'll be heading back to school tomorrow with new classes and another semester full of deadlines... Deadlines are the one thing I never missed about school. Oh well, it will be worth it in the end.

Enough rambling! Sheesh! So, I have been continuing my dressage quest with Remington. We are going to do the breed demo for the horse fair again this year. I am planning on riding dressage since it will give a little diversity to our group!

Steffen Peters is also going to be at the horse fair and he is taking applications to be in his clinic demo. I am thinking of applying because he is looking for training level through PSG. I have to send in a 5 - 10 minute video of me and my horse walk/trot/canter. I tried to get one this weekend, but unfortunately it turned out a bit shaky since Kate's horse would not stand still. So, I am thinking next week I will try again... I should try to find some more flattering breeches in the mean time. Haha. Cream is so not my color.... oh well.

Anyway, here is the video of me riding Rem, if you're interested in seeing how he's going.