Friday, March 30, 2012


The chiropractor came out yesterday. I have never had anything like this done with my horses before, and I wouldn't call myself a skeptic, but I do wonder if I will see any changes. I gave her the day off today. I had her look at the saddle fit as well and it turns out that both of the saddles I've used on Oakley are too wide. I have a few options. I can use my dressage saddle... which isn't a bad way to go, but I wanted to show Oakley as a western horse. The next option is using a modified pad. I stopped by a local saddle maker's shop yesterday and talked with him about my problem. I ended up buying a pad that should help fill out the areas where there is a void, but I think this is a temporary solution. The third option is to find and borrow a saddle that fits her. Many people have offered, but sometimes I just don't feel right using someone else's saddle... especially on a young horse. I would feel terrible if something happened to it.

Tomorrow my plan is to just use my dressage saddle and see how she goes. We are traveling to Slinger to meet up with some other Mustang trainers for a demo. It should be a lot of fun. I am looking forward to it. Hopefully someone will be around to take photos.

Well I will keep you all posted on how Oakley does. I have my fingers crossed that the adjustment and saddle changes make a difference in how reactive she is.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Taking A Few Steps Back

Training Oakley is like riding a roller coaster... in more ways than one. She has great days and she has horrible days... and even within single training sessions she has ups and downs. I know this competition puts a lot of pressure on me, which ends up putting a lot of pressure on Oakely. I've decided to take a step back and try to slow her mind down and do a week of just walking. I am still working on important things for the competition, but we are doing it all at the walk. I saw some improvement today. In the past she has been goosey about things touching her butt while I was in the saddle and today I was able to take my lariat and rub it all over her while we walked on a loose rein.

So I suppose I need to explain how I came to the decision to slow things down... Saturday there was an open show at West 20, a local tack shop/boarding facility. I decided it was high time to get Oakley out to a show, so we went. She was AMAZING for the morning classes. We entered 2 halter classes and a showmanship class. Nothing was bothering her, people, clapping, announcers, she took it all in stride. After that I saddled her up to get ready for a few riding classes. We were the only ones in the outdoor warm up arena and she did good for about 15 minutes at the walk and a little bit of trot. I could tell she was tense but that was the first time she'd been in a large outdoor arena, so I didn't think much of it. Well, long story short, I got bucked off. It was a soft landing, and I got back on and worked the kinks out, but the bucking kind of came out of nowhere. We were just walking... I rode it out for a while, but she got the best of me, again. I don't want anyone to think that she is a bad horse, or that she has huge holes in her training, she doesn't. She is just a reactive horse who anticipates what will happen next. She learns routines and training sequences quickly and then wants to rush through them. So I am once again taking a step back. Going back to the basics and spelling things out for her. I am frustrated with myself for several reasons that I won't go into here, but I want to do my best for Oakley and I don't always have the answers I need. I am lucky to be surrounded by really supportive trainers like Jessica Davis, TJ Clibborn, and Tracy Porter. They have all given me encouragement and great training advice and I can't thank them enough. I have scheduled a chiro appointment for her on Thursday. Maybe I'll get some clues then.

Anyway, I'll leave you with a good moment from Sunday. I took Oakley out on her first trail ride. My friend was on Remington and snapped this photo with her phone.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Video as Promised

Here are a few of the things we've been working on. 30 more days... this deadline is killing me!

Friday, March 16, 2012

I'm still alive!

Time has a way of slipping out of my hands when I'm doing this competition. I apologize for not being a better blogger. The nice weather has kept me away from the indoors unless I'm sleeping! Oakley is doing pretty good. She is still inconsistent as far as I'm concerned, but it's not a terrible inconsistency... if that makes any sense at all.

Today I gave her a break from riding and I just did a few things on the ground. I brought out a bunch of balloons and led her around while I popped them. She didn't care at all. My plans of shooting off of her are still possible! Ha.

I am hoping to get another video made up this weekend to make my blog more interesting. Come back soon!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Half Way

Pretty sure we're half way there. Oakley has come so far but still has a long way to go. Tonight I had quite a crowd out to see her and she was excellent. Here is a video of me and Oakley and Jessica Davis and her EMM mare, Kat. I loved putting the video together to showcase a reining horse and a dressage horse at the same point in training... only 6 weeks! Pretty cool to see.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Weeks go by so fast when you're training a wild horse...

Tomorrow is Friday already. I can't believe how fast this week went by. Oakley has had more good moments than bad this week, which is a big improvement on last week.

Wednesday I had some friends out again and we really worked through what she needed to learn about people watching from the sidelines. I had my friends seated in the corner of the arena again. Every time we would go by she would want to fade away and speed up. I worked hard to show her that listening to my aids and staying on the path I set for her was an easier option than wanting to shy away. In the end she got it. I was happy with that. I was also really surprised that she let a friend approach while I was up top and hand me a camera. I was able to hand it back too! Pretty impressive for Oakley...

Today I rode in the morning and had an okay session. She wanted to rush so I worked on finding a good pace and teaching her to relax a little. She still has a long way to go. When I came back this afternoon I just did some ground work. I revisited a lesson I had started with her a couple weeks ago, dragging a tire. The first time I did it was at the end of a really strenuous session, so she didn't really care what was following her around. I also only did it off of her good side(left). Today I revisited the lesson and started again with the left, no problem. As soon as I switched sides and that tire moved all four feet were in the air and she kicked straight out at the tire! It was really something. I was able to bring her mind back to me pretty quickly, which hasn't always been the case when she gets upset, so I was happy about that. By the end she was dragging the tire at the walk and the trot very relaxed. I am so happy with my girl.