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Author Topic: ADVENTURES OF ME & G  (Read 1513 times)


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« Reply #15 on: November 16, 2013, 03:21:04 pm »

Tuesday February 26, 2008

Things at work do seem weird with so many associates gone.  Knowing they won't be back is a bit depressing, but everyone is trying to remain positive and focused.  Of course everyone is asking me when the retention agreements are coming out.  I keep telling them the big guy is in control of it and they'll know when I know.  One of the guys just found out his wife is pregnant with their second child.  Add that on top of she is still living in New Hampshire trying to sell their house, while he's here trying to find where they will buy a house once the other one sells.  Egad, talk about a little bit of stress!  I sure hope they come out with the agreements soon so we all have some idea on the time line.

Went to the barn last night to do a poop count and check on the boy. He had been given some of the stalky hay which he didn't eat on Saturday night so I got a bit paranoid.  The barn owner told me I could go into the hay trailer and see if I could find more of the grassy hay that he likes.  Yippee!  I found plenty.  I brought 4 bales in and put them outside his stall, in this way everyone knows which hay to feed him.  He generally isn't that fussy when it comes to hay, but there is something in it he doesn't like the smell of.  I've smelled it and can't smell anything wrong with it.  It's just full of a lot of clover and some things, maybe weeds that I can't distinguish.  Most of the other horses are eating it though.  Once this trailer is empty they will be back to buying hay from a regular hay farmer.  This was the stuff they produced themselves last year.  Hopefully this means no more icky hay.

Hoping to get in a ride tonight before the weather turns wicked cold again.  We've got another lesson this Saturday as Deb forgot I do every other week and booked it.  She said she would change it, but I figured it would do us good to have an extra lesson in March.  If we plan to do one of the dressage tests up in MA this summer, we'll need all the practice we can get!

One of the boarders hit the trail on Saturday and while going up a hill her horse started to slip, rather than risk him falling on her she bailed.  Well, her horse decided he'd had enough of that and turned and walked away from her, looked over his shoulder and then continued on his merry way back to the barn.  Poor girl had to walk 3/4 of a mile back in the snow.  She took it all in stride though, called the barn owner who met her horse at the trail head.  This is the kind of thing that reminds me of the dangers lurking under that snow cover.  He has borium shoes to boot and he was slipping!  I just can't risk an injury no matter how much I want to ride on the trail.  I guess when you own more than one horse you don't think of it the same way.  Cause you always have a spare to ride?

WHERE IS SPRING????  I know its coming, I can feel it!!!

Friday February 29, 2008

Cool, it's a leap year! And today I celebrated my 367th day being smoke free! Woohoo! I used the prescription drug Chantix and part of the plan included receiving daily emails for the first 6 months, and then weekly emails after that. When I received my email this morning I really didn't know it'd been a year already. I'd actually forgotten when I'd stopped. I guess this means I'm really an ex-smoker as I stopped counting days/weeks/months awhile ago, lol.

Looks like March is going to come in like a Lion. We're expecting another 8-10" of snow beginning around midnight and lasting until mid morning. Ugh, I'm tired of snow. We went from having 7" last year, to 50" this year. Hopefully the roads will be nice and clear by noon and I have a 2:00 dressage lesson and I would like to spend a little quiet time with the boy before hand. I guess the good news is, if March is coming in like a Lion then it will go out like a Lamb, which means spring will be lovely! A girl can dream can't she?

Flights are booked for a trip to TN later next month. We'll spend a night at Cheryl's so we can play with her new kids and spend some time with the Doman and the rest of the week in Shelbyville. We've got an appointment set up with a builder and hope to get a couple more lined up to talk to. Hoping the weather will be great as David has the week off which means he needs riding buddies! We're there! I'm hoping to maybe get to ride Champagne Lookout "Louie", as I rode one of his sons two years ago and he was a smooth horse. I just can't wait to hit the trails!
Sunday March 16, 2008:

It's kind of gloomy looking outside this morning. Light snow moved into the northwest hills and it looks like we'll be getting some more light rain as the day progresses. Ugh...sick of damp. But at least its not snow!

Signs of spring are everywhere ~ spring bulbs are budding, Robins are looking for worms, and the birds are singing cheerfully every morning now. It won't be long before we hit the trails ~ I can't wait!

We had a great dressage lesson yesterday. We're doing some neat exercises to work on building the outside hind for canter departures. We're getting more lift in the departure and he's holding his rhythm at the canter in a bend longer. Deb is pleased with his progress this past winter, she said she can see the results of the strengthening work we've been doing simply by his performance. I remember when I first started with G I could barely get him to stay on a 20 meter circle, lol. So I'm happy that the hard work is paying off, as it has definitely made a huge difference in the quality of gait and his consistency holding it. I know it's made huge improvements in my riding skills and in turn G is learning to trust my leadership skills more and more. It's definitely a challenge to work with a smart horse though. Once G knows his pattern he'll do it all day long without me cuing him if he thinks its what we're doing. Like when I come down the quarter line after 4-5 strides I'll ask him to leg yield to the rail. He does it effortlessly. However, the next time I come down the quarter line and I want him to leg yield away from the rail? He'll start toward the rail. He really wants to please me so he does what he thinks I want rather than waiting for a cue, lol. He definitely keeps me on my toes. So we're doing a lot more work away from the rail and trying to keep things mixed up as much as possible to keep him from anticipating my next request.

I'm heading to the barn soon to play at liberty a bit and then work on his hooves a little. I can't wait til it gets warmer, hooves are not my favorite thing to do when its cold and damp.

I'm anxious for my next weigh in on Wednesday. I've been working really hard at my poor eating habits and trying to exercise more. I have a date with the elliptical machine later today. I tried a chicken salad recipe I found on Weight Watchers and it was yummy. Even hubby liked it, which kind of surprised me. Usually when he hears the ingredients of something he turns his nose up in the air, lol. I think he may have finally hit the food experimental stage in his life....woohoo! I never met such a picky eater in my life. The man doesn't like pasta! Can you imagine? It's a texture thing from being overdosed on Spaghetti-o's as a youngster he says, lol. I keep telling him pasta is not Spaghetti-o's....he's still not buying it.

Wednesday 3/19/08:

Lots to do to get ready for our trip to Tennessee. We're going to meet a couple of builders on our land to button down the house and septic location. We're hoping to be able to get the septic put in this year and maybe the construction driveway. Then next year the foundation and with lots of luck and a turn around in the housing market, start building fall '09 or spring '10. Egad, it's hard to imagine the year 2010. It may not be happening as fast as I would've liked, the fact that its happening at all keeps me forging ahead. I can't wait to wake up in the mornings and see G out in the pasture.

Really looking forward to seeing Cheryl and playing with her herd; meeting up with Judy and her gang; and riding with David on some fine ESF horses. With luck the weather will dry up a little bit, as it seems to raining a whole lot in Tennessee lately. From drought to flooding, hard to imagine.

I did my first weekly weigh-in and lost 5.5 pounds....woohoo! I'm psyched. I worked really hard this past week and I'm really glad it showed on the scale. Hopefully I'll be able to keep this up and stay a healthy eater!

Horsemanship, the wonderful never ending journey of learning!   Every job is a self-portrait of the person who does it.  Autograph your work with excellence.


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« Reply #16 on: November 16, 2013, 03:22:08 pm »

Thursday April 17, 2008

Been awhile since I've had a change to update my journal. Lots of things going on in the past month.

We had a wonderful visit to Tennessee in late March. I got to spend my birthday with Cheryl and her herd. She gave me the most awesome present ~ three original Walking Horse prints by Shey Engler. Merry Boy, Wilson's Allen and Midnight Sun.  I just adore them!  I've had them pressed between cardboard since we got home to try and flatten them. They'd been rolled up so long they were like a coiled spring, lol. I'm hoping to take them to the framers next weekend. I already know exactly where in the house they'll be in Tennesee!

We met with our future builder on the property a few days later. He's considered the premium builder in the county and builds most of the finer homes. We weren't sure he'd want to work on such a small project and in stages; but he said he was actually looking forward to working with someone who knows what they want upfront; and on a simpler project. Plus he lives about a mile away as the crow flies from us...actually he can see our property from up on the hill where he lives. We had to check out his house of course.....very nice. He's about $15. more per square foot to build than most, but he comes with really great recommendations from others who used him. Nice guy. Anyway, he agreed that we picked the perfect spot on the property for the house (thanks Cheryl for finding it) and has arranged for a soil scientist to come back out and perk closer to the house site. Unfortunately the developer perked way up in the back corner and the corner by the street to test. We don't want to pump uphill, nor do we want to run a line 1,200'. Once that's done, he'll handle putting in the construction driveway. When the drive is in place we can go ahead and have the septic system installed. This can sit for years without being hooked up, so we figured we'd get it done while we still have a valid permit (this expires 9/08).

I just ordered the house plans - woohoo! I figured I better get them before something happens (like me changing my mind AGAIN). The first house plan I fell in love with three years ago disappeared from the website before I could order them. So we're now committed to the house design which I'm really excited about. Just another step closer to fulfilling the dream. Here's the plan http://www.thehousedesigners.com/plan_details.asp?PlanNum=2874 Rather than build the garage, we're going to have it built as a bonus room. 10' wide x 21' deep. It'll have a back door and besides being the laundry room it will be mainly used for storage and a place for the indoor dogs to sleep at night. We have made some changes on window placement, but the layout is pretty much what we want. Plenty of house for two people to grow old in.

We spent several days visiting with David & Lisa at ESF, and had the pleasure of meeting Ron Johnson who is an equine dentist working with Dr. Baker at Farmington Equine. Awesome guy, great dentist! Lisa told Ron I was fascinated by dentistry so the next thing I know I'm getting a hands on lesson, lol. This guy is incredible. With the exception of looking at how the incisors meet, he does the majority of his examination strictly with his hands. From the outside to the inside of the mouth. He said God blessed him with a pair of hands that far out perform his eyes. So needless to say I had my hands in a couple of horses mouths before and after, got to properly feel for malocclusions; check for TMJ problems, etc. He certainly loves to teach. So, good news is we've found our equine dentist before we've even moved....woohoo!

Corporation and Partnership tax extensions are now behind me, thank goodness. It's getting a little easier each year as we have less of them, but it still takes weeks to get it all together. In between that I had my CS InDesign class which was awesome, so now I have PhotoShop, Illustrator and InDesign level 1 classes done. I'm now scheduled for the level II classes. I'm really enjoying working in these programs - I equate it to scrapbooking. Working with layers, balance, function and form. I'm thinking I'd like to take an HTML class followed by DreamWeaver, as it certainly won't hurt to have the knowledge to create websites. Heck, might not make a bad home business for TN!

We've had two dressage lessons since we got home. G is doing really well and you can feel that he is getting stronger and more balanced. Our last lesson Deb said that without a doubt it was the first time that G listened to me the entire lesson. G is a lot like her MFT so she is used to working with his type. He tries to anticipate and out think the rider rather than waiting for cues. It can be a bit of a pain, especially since I always think I've cued him wrong, lol. It's nice having someone on the ground who recognizes when G is just being G and not listening.

On the weight loss front, I've lost 1.8 pounds since my last weigh in so hopefully I'm back on the downward side again. But of course, I'm going away this weekend to a Vermont B&B for a scrap booking retreat with my big sister and her oldest daughter. We had such a blast the last time BUT....the food is really really good and not fat free, lol. I'll just have to try and eat less of everything and not get carried away with the "yummies". You know, when something is so yummy you can't stop eating it for fear you never taste it again? That's my downfall with everything!

Horsemanship, the wonderful never ending journey of learning!   Every job is a self-portrait of the person who does it.  Autograph your work with excellence.


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« Reply #17 on: November 16, 2013, 03:24:23 pm »

Wednesday May 28, 2008

Whew, it's been awhile since I've updated here and have only found time to "hit & run" on the board lately. Hmmm I think it may be springtime, lol.

Lots of things and yet nothing of great importance happening of late. Work has been strange now that we're down to 14 people. I'm used to being interrupted every 10-15 minutes so now when half the staff is on the road some days I don't get interrupted at all. I find that I have a hard time concentrating, almost as if my brain is used to working in spurts and starts rather than a marathon, lol. It's getting a bit better, but if I had my druthers I'd rather be busier than a one armed paper hanger versus looking for things to challenge my brain.

Speaking of which, I'm still taking computer application classes. I had PhotoShop Level II two weeks ago and yesterday had my first real exposure to HTML-Web Authoring. What fun! Yeah, I know if I had to write that code day in and day out for months at a time I'd hate it, but finally having some understanding of writing it will definitely help in my job. I have the Level II class next week and once I finish Level III I'm going to schedule a Dreamweaver class, which is the Adobe version of FrontPage. So yesterday I got to work on two basic web pages. One was Hulk the Movie, which we all did and then he had us do our own. So I've started a MyBoyG web page and I hope to have it up and running before the weekend is out. It will definitely be a work in progress, but I figure it'll be the best way to learn. Do something I love. And I certainly love to talk about G.

G finally has been turned back out on grass. We shortened up his paddock back in November so they could put down fall seed; and then they seeded it again in the spring. G was put on the dry turnout for the last month and a half so they could seed the front 1/4, fertilize and mow it a couple times. I've been hand grazing him for the past couple of months, and finally worked him up to being turned out the past two days for 4 hours each. Tomorrow will be his first full day. Talk about a happy horse! Not only is he back in his "home" but now it's green! Well, not green like a pasture/pasture, but it'll keep him happy for a bit. I haven't ridden him in close to two weeks. He's finally walking on concrete surfaces without tip toeing, so tomorrow I'll put on his front boots and ride him in the arena. We have a lesson coming up on Saturday and we better practice some of what we working on three weeks ago. Egad, I hope I can remember what it was.

I've managed to almost complete my pet scrapbook album...this one containing cats, dogs and birds. G will get his own book, well maybe after I'm done with his web page, lol. Plus we've managed to do a few things around the house and I've finally decided on what type of wall treatments I want to use for the new craft room upstairs. Of course, once that's done, we've got all the rooms downstairs to work on so I doubt I'll get to use the craft room a whole lot :(

Waiting for our brush hog guy to get out to our property in TN as the hay is armpit high we were told. So high the soil scientist can't do the perk tests up closer to the house site. Hopefully he will get to it before Monday comes around so we can get the construction drive and septic field in the works. Quick! Before we run out of money, tee hee.

Anyway, all in all, everyone is well. Hope its the same for everyone here as well!

Wednesday July 9, 2008

Lets see, I guess I'll start with tonight since its fresh in my brain and I'm very excited. We had a dressage lesson and we've just begun working on haunches-in or what is called Travers. One of the goals I shared with my instructor was to work on the half-pass before the year is out. The Travers is an exercise that works up to the half pass. She said we were definitely ready, and she was right! G was awesome tonight. How she started us on the exercise was to ride a 10 meter circle and then come off the corner into a leg yield along the wall and once I had G's haunches in and 3-4 good strides, I would then reverse the bend of his shoulders from the outside to the inside. The first couple of times I really didn't feel it, but the third time I finally could feel the bend in his body. He was bent as if he was on a circle but moving straight! It was soooo cool!! We also worked on canter departures and lift, and the first time G lifted off with so much height it took me by surprise and I brought him back to a walk...stupid me. It was the best lift I've ever gotten, I just didn't expect it, lol. The next time he got real excited (Mr. Anticipation) and lifted off on the wrong lead. The best part is I'm really starting to know when I'm at fault with my aids and when G is just being G. Tonight though he remained on contact and in frame more than ever. He really was relaxed and listening....until I asked for canter, lol. I've found regardless of how relaxed he may appear, if you ask for the canter too soon into a work out he gets a little wired. He does love to canter and gallop. But it was so hot tonight that Deb wanted to get the canter work done before he got too hot. Since we only did about three departures into 10 meter circles in both directions he didn't sweat too bad. Me on the other hand? I was soaked. She was delightfully surprised that G didn't get "fried" doing the new exercises. She wasn't sure he was mentally ready for it, but he is. The more I make him work and change things up, the happier he is. Personally I think he likes hearing "what a good boy" cause he knows it leads to sugar from Deb and then a treat from me when we're all done. G's bumper sticker would read "Will Work For Food".

We went out for a nice little trail ride Sunday. We went out with a new boarder who has two horses, so Zeke got to ride her Thoroughbred Billie. Not only did he ride a trotting horse, but in a dressage saddle and I actually saw him posting. Who knew? lol, boy was he sore yesterday. But all three horses got along well and we all switched positions numerous times, which was good for them all. It was nice to be on the trail again that's for sure.

We're finally going to get a few days away in a couple of weeks. We're going to Nantucket Island, some place I've never been. The Savage Brothers Band, who are good friends of ours are playing three nights at a club and a bunch of folks are going. It should be a big party. I can't wait! It's been so long since I've been on a beach never mind having my choice of multiple beaches to bike to. I'm going to take a good book in case I find the time to put my feet up in a rocking chair and just chill out. That's what I'm looking forward to the most. Not having to drive any where, biking around the beach, seafood, cold beer and good friends.

Got my hair cut again, this time a little shorter. It feels weird as I can just about get it into an itty bitty ponytail. After having my hair down my back it sure feels funny to wash too! But for summer, you can't beat the drying time, lol.

Work has been crazy. I had to prepare a bunch of new property flyers for a trade show taking place in Boston this week. Talk about trial by fire. My skills in PhotoShop and InDesign are getting stronger. I just took the Illustrator Level II course which was a lot of fun. This only leaves me with another HTML class and two Dreamweaver classes to take. The best thing with this school is you can retake any of the courses again free within one year of taking it. Nice if you need a refresher.

All day scrap coming up this Saturday and I'm finally getting to work on our trip to Epcot in 2000. Yep, I've got a few scrapbooks to make that's for sure!

Finally heard back from the builder, they didn't find a spot closer to the house for the septic, which means we'll have to tight-line it down to the front of the property. I need to call him tomorrow to discuss as I'm rethinking which side of the property to put the house now. If we move it to the left side then the line would run straight to the house, if we leave it where it is, the line has to cut on a diagonal across the property. Decisions, decisions.

Well that's about it for now.

Horsemanship, the wonderful never ending journey of learning!   Every job is a self-portrait of the person who does it.  Autograph your work with excellence.


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« Reply #18 on: November 16, 2013, 03:27:09 pm »

SEPTEMBER 23, 2008
We didn't make it to the gaited dressage clinic on Friday. About an hour south of our destination as we were exiting the highway a Thunderbird that cut into the exit ramp in front of us, for no apparent reason stopped dead in the exit ramp. He was about 3.5 - 4 car lengths ahead of us and I had no where to go as there was a guard rail on one side and the highway on the other side of a narrow grassy strip. I already had my foot on the brake to slow down as I could see the end of the ramp some 250 yards ahead. The nearest car ahead of him was already at the end of the exit. Needless to say we smashed into him at about 43 mph. I remember hearing Zeke yell oh my god and then the air bags deployed. The next few minutes were a blur but with the truck cab filled with smoke I pulled the truck and trailer off to the side for fear that someone would smash into the back of the trailer.

We got out of the truck, Zeke immediately opened the trailer window to make sure G was okay and he was. His eyes were big but he was standing and happy to stick his head out the window. A few minutes later the driver of the car and elderly well dressed man came over to us with paperwork in hand. I said pretty loudly "what in God's name were you thinking?". All he said was "you were following too close". I said "whoa buddy, you cut in front of us to hurry down the ramp and stopped dead for what?" He just said "can we exchange paperwork?" I was like " no, I'm dialing 911, this in this case its a little bit more than just exchanging paperwork". Before I heard one ring, I saw a local police car coming up the ramp with its lights and sirens on. Next came the Fire department and EMT trucks all within about 5 minutes. The state trooper followed. The next 20 minutes are a blur as we both talked to the police officer, then the state trooper, we all declined going to the hospital or needing medical treatment so we had to sign off on that. We found out that the man driving the Thunderbird is a 71 year old judge who was running late for court!!! This I was told by the trooper. He also told her that he was in front of us the whole time. I reiterated that when driving a trailer you learn to constantly monitor the traffic around you. I watched this car go from the center lane to behind us and then pull into the center lane to pass us and then pull in front of us onto the exit. Had we been in a car it wouldn't have been such an issue, but for the fact that we're towing 4,000# - that's an issue. Since she talked to Zeke separately and we had just talked about what he did, I know she got the same story.

The car sustained rear end damage mostly on the left side as I did try to move over as far as I could. He was able to drive it away. The only thing wrong with the trailer is that G's weight bouncing from the front wall to the divider wall snapped the divider rubber bracket. The truck is probably close to totaled. We won't know until early next week, and I have to check the current value on it. The front end had heavy damage and the frame is bent where the bed took the impact of the trailer. They flat bedded the truck out, and the fire chief offered to tow our trailer down to their station just minutes away as they had a nice grassy area behind the firehouse where we could set up our corral and make the needed arrangements thru US Rider for getting the trailer home etc. After talking to our insurance company we had to release the truck from the original tower so it could be taken to Nashua NH which was the closest "approved" body shop (per our insurance company). Oh and this was par for the course. I was riding in the truck that was towing G and at the end of the exit ramp who did we see make an illegal "u" turn on North Street and then stop in the traffic lane? Our dishonorable judge! The fireman couldn't believe it. So I got his name as I'm going to be letting our insurance company know that IF he even tries to collect against our insurance we're going to fight him tooth and nail. One more witness to his erratic driving behavior will help I believe. It took about 2 hours for the tow truck to show up for the trailer and we endured a long 2 hour drive home squished in the front seat of the tow truck (with bad exhaust - pew). The good news is the mileage was within our coverage so it only cost us 65 bucks for the hook up fee. Plus we're all okay, Zeke got some abrasions to his armpit from the seat belt and on his arm from the air bag. G seems completely fine, and the fact that he loaded back into the trailer on pavement just gave him more gold stars in my book! I really thought we'd have a problem. I know it will be awhile before I feel comfortable driving a trailer again that's for certain. Anyway, that's how our weekend began....hopefully it will end in a more relaxed and uneventful fashion!! I did manage to take one picture on Friday (you'd think I would've been smart enough to take pics of the truck, duh!) here's G out behind the Chelmsford Fire House....

DECEMBER 16, 2008
After following Tammy's blog I finally started my own back in January....of course I didn't begin blogging until recently.  Hopefully it will morph into more than just G adventures, but for now its a place to keep track of our progress.  I definitely need an Ozzy page....he's growing like a weed!



Horsemanship, the wonderful never ending journey of learning!   Every job is a self-portrait of the person who does it.  Autograph your work with excellence.


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« Reply #19 on: November 16, 2013, 03:32:27 pm »

October 10, 2009

As expected hubby didn't get many pictures during the clinic.  Apparently he spent the first 20 minutes video taping (I have no clue what) and took several still shots, but they didn't come out very well.  I think I need a new camera as it appears the lens cover isn't opening completely.  Anyway I'll post pics first and then come back with an outline of the clinic.  New Hampshire was gorgeous. I'd forgotten how beautiful it is, especially in the fall.  Here's Captain Jack Sparrow (lol).  I tried to find a treasure chest to go with The Black Pearl theme, but the skull was the best I could do for a pirate ship.

G's outdoor home away from home

Warming up (literally) at the outdoor arena

Mark asking G to pick him up

My turn (Kysa this is the best picture I have of the pad and saddle) I'll try and get some pics this weekend.

 Part II

Okay Judy, saw your comment on Facebook so I won't keep you in suspense any longer.  Mark's assessment of me & G.  G is (as I've known) highly sensitive and fearful - especially noticable under saddle.  Mark starts off his session with you by asking you to tell your horses story.  I gave the basic details.  6th owner in 5 years; first horse (probably not the best choice); issues on the trail when turning home;  improvement over the years - going from a spinner bolter to simple shoulder drops, etc.  Mark would ask questions as I talked to get clarification.  I felt like I was with a therapist rather than a horse trainer, lol.  He asked me to mount up so I took G over to the mounting block, asked him to move his haunches over (toward the block) as he generally doesn't want to line up straight to the block.  I mounted got my right foot in the stirrup and walked off.  As I was walking G around the arena and going by the auditors, G noticed Timo (the clinic organizer) laid out in a recliner chair wrapped up in a bright white and black blanket.

I felt G tense, then he started with the head tilt and giving it the hairy eyeball.  He dropped his nose and I could tell he wanted to investigate, so I let him.  So I continue on and Mark asks "do you always let your horse go where he wants?" and I'm like "what? - oh you mean the blanket?".  Well, G is spooky by nature and I figured if he wanted to check it out now rather than when Timo decides to get up in the middle of the session, he'll know it's human and not something out to get him and spook half way across the arena".  Mark chuckled.  Now I should mention that Mark is sick with some kinda bug...coughing sniffling, you could tell he was not feeling good, but somehow he still had a sense of humor.  "So do you always let him do that".  I said no, it depends on the situation.  He started asking me questions about G's behavior during ground work and I told him 99.99% of the time he's relaxed and compliant.  He asked if I was pretty consistent in what we do and how I ask from the ground and I said yes, I believe so.....So lesson #1.  Sensitive fearful horses lack self confidence and they require strong leadership.  Strong leadership comes from consistency in EVERYTHING and being in control of each and every situation.  If a fearful horse is left to its own defenses it will worry, it'll spook, it'll stop listening to its rider.

I talked a bit more about G's history and our beginnings - spinning bolting, me hitting the ground etc.  Lesson #2:  He said, it's okay to understand a horse's past, and its okay to make mistakes along the way, the key is that you don't beat yourself or your horse up for past mistakes - you are where you are today, move forward from this place.  Secondly, don't make excuses for a horse's bad behavior or non compliance.  Don't use history to explain away training issues.

Mark said one of the best ways to begin teaching horses softness and compliance is through backing.  A resistant or fearful horse doesn't want to back up easily as it is relinquishing control.  Lesson #3:  In backing there is no pulling on the reins; no leg pressure.  It is simply intent, combined with closed hands with contact to the bit, and release when the horse softens.  In the beginning, Mark had to take the reins from the ground and ask as G didn't quite understand this "no leg aids" concept.  Mark backed him in a circle and there were times you could see the fear in G's eyes and he would lock onto the bit and he would grunt (the same grunt he has when he gets frustrated),  Mark worked past it until G unlocked, and then got soft.  The movement in the saddle became smooth.  It was amazing to feel what it is supposed to feel like.  So first you connect your core; close your hands on the reins; and think back.  It's as if you are linking up two nervous systems to where your thought becomes their thought.  But if your body or your horse's bodies are "locked" then there is no connection.  So you open up the line of communication through the reins.  You don't "over think" connection, it is a feel.  If you are stiff, your horse will be stiff.  Also, when backing make sure your legs are off the horse.  In order for a horse to back properly, they need to be able to move their barrel.  Otherwise, they have trouble using their hind end properly.  Oh, and he told me that he's found that many gaited horses back up in four beats rather than in diagonal pairs which is the norm in trotting horses.  Both my equine massage therapist and instructors have thought G had a problem because he doesn't back in diagonal pairs.  I'm so glad to hear its common.

Mark asked me to dismount and to grab G's halter and lead rope.  Once he was fitted up, he said "here's where we start you're leadership role".  A horse has to understand its job in order to perform it correctly.  A horse can't guess, it can only learn.  So teach your horse how to count.  Huh?  He gave a great analogy about a teacher asking a little boy in the classroom what 1+1 is.  The little boy said 6, the teacher said no, what's 1+1, and the little boy says 9.  On and on it goes until the little boy finally answers 1+1 = 2.  The teacher didn't teach the little boy how to count, she taught him how to guess.  The same applies to horses - you have to teach the horse what you want - what its job is, you don't leave it to them to guess.  So, lesson #4.  If you want to mount up you ask your horse to pick you up at the block (see pictures above).  Mark walked G straight to the front of the block and he walked around and up the steps.  Standing at the top he now directed G to his right and then brought him over to the block.  He didn't do it straight the first time, but the second time he did.  Mark's comment was "he's a smart horse, he gets it". Then Mark reached down to the halter and asked G to give by turning his nose in toward Mark's left leg.  You could see G brace, and Mark was like "whoa, this guy is locked up from the base of his neck down to his nose".  So he maintained the pressure all the while G is starting to try and pull his head away.  It took several minutes before he finally gave to Mark.  Mark got down and repeated.  I think he did this maybe 6 times.  Each time G lined up faster and released to pressure.  By the last time, Mark said "there, he finally softened".  I said, what made that different, it looked like the last time to me.  He said you can see it in their eyes.

Lesson #5:  Lightness comes from the outside of the horse; softness comes from within; and this you can see if their eyes.   A horse can be very light yet never be soft.  For instance, if a horse is worried; a light horse will continue to act out; a soft horse will continue to listen to its rider.  So although G can be very light to the aids; he is not soft inside.  It was then my turn to ask G to pick me up, and we did this several times.  It was so neat to have him line up for me.  Prior to mounting, Mark had me put weight into the stirrups a few times to make sure G wouldn't move.  He didn't.  So he asked me to mount up and G stood perfectly still until I asked him to move out.  Mark said these are the fundamentals that are the building blocks for leadership.  If you allow your horse to move out at will, you've given up your role.  In order for a horse to trust you, you have to be a strong leader 24/7.  Consistency, and teaching softness.  So Mark's recommendation to me is to simply work on getting G soft at the walk, everytime we walk.  Work on him being soft when he's being led; when he's standing still at your side.  If his poll rises above his neck line, ask him to lower the head.  As G becomes softer, and I become more consistent in asking for softness, the leadership role will fall back to me.  Mark thinks at this point I should simply continue to work on softness and not move up into the gaits until G will walk consistently in a soft frame of mind without me continually asking for him to soften.

After our hour I went and continued practicing backing up and asking for softness with his wife Krissie.  When we were done, both G and I felt really good about our 2 hours of work.  I'm going to stop here, and pick up either later or tomorrow on the following day and other "pearls" from Mark.

Part III

Sherry, I used to think I was being pretty consistent, but after Mark's questions and his assessment after watching us, I guess I wasn't consistent enough for G's personality.  The thing is G is now very compliant going out on the trail, and as long as we're moving away from the barn we're good.  It's when we turn from home that he immediately tenses up  and starts jigging.  There have been days where I've been able to regain his composure, but most days he still stays "wired".  Guess they named him correctly Gen n Wired, lol.  Some days using half halts works; other days turning him back out away from the barn; or doing dressage movements.  I start with the half halts and work through the bag of tricks.  Mark's theory about leadership and trust makes sense to me, and its been something I've felt for awhile now.

One thing I forgot to mention above is that I borrowed the Rockin' S Raised Snaffle http://www.markrashid.com/forsale_bit.html from Timo to try out with G during our session with Kassie on Wednesday.  As they described G did mouth it a bit when we first put it in, but within 10-15 minutes he got softer and stayed relaxed at the poll for longer periods of time.  Unfortunately it was being used by another rider at the same time as our session with Mark on Thursday but he finished up about 15 minutes early so he was nice enough to bring it back to the arena for us to use again.

On Thursday we basically worked on the same things we did on Wednesday, but now it was more focus on keeping G soft; working on straightening out G's backing up; working on "intent" rather than leg/seat aids; finding the right feel; and stepping up his gait a little more. Early on in the session after working with G backing and he (meaning G) locked onto the bit, one of Mark's comments was that although the bit I was using may be the best of what I'd tried so far, he didn't think we'd found what G needed.  G would take hold of it in between softening.  I mentioned that we had tried the Raised Snaffle yesterday with good results, so when Rick brought it in and we switched over to the Rockin' S Raised Snaffle the difference was immediate,  Not only could I feel him softening, Mark was observing G using his hind end more and reaching under himself.  He felt better than ever before.  When I began to step him up in gait and got him to soften Mark's comment was "once you have him soft consistently, this guy is going to be super smooth.  I said "but he is smooth!" and he said "you ain't seen nothing yet".  So that gives me hope!!  Oh, and I've ordered  a new Rockin'S Raised snaffle so stay tuned for some gently used Herm Sprenger bits for sale :)

One of the other things that got me was when G locked onto the bit and Mark was trying to get him to soften, G was really fighting the release to the point where I would've stopped as I would've thought I was frying his brain.  But on the other side of the fight, came softness.  Mark said that much of "the good stuff" is found on the other side of confusion and fight.  He said that its obvious that G has other issues other than lacking foundation training (i.e. heavy training/possible abuse) so he really wants me to go back to baby steps and focus on him being soft, always releasing when I get the result I want, which will make him feel good about himself.  Even when a horse is fighting or acting out due to confusion, if you stop before you get the desired result, you put yourself back to square one.  In order for G to begin using his abdominal muscles and raising his back, he needs to be soft.

We continued using the raised snaffle while working with Krissie and she said that it was great to see so much improvement in both of us in just the one day.  She noted that G was being softer longer, and that she could see I was working more with feel and intent than cues.  The other thing that Mark pointed out is that I tend to look down at G's head.  I thought I had gotten over that, but apparently not.  He said if a rider looks at the horse's head, then the horse has no where to go.  And the same can be said about breathing.  When you work with intent and feel if you don't breathe then the horse stays still, lol.  The first couple of times I asked him to back his feet were just planted.  Kassie asked me if I was breathing, I let out a big breath and G started backing. We talked some more about his history and I told her about the barn owner from hell; and you could tell its a story she's heard before.  As I was leaving the arena she told me that I have a really nice horse who's lucky to have someone willing to work with him.

Other "pearls" from watching others are:

    If your horse is bracing, it's because something isn't working right, and that something is usually "pulling" the horse via the reins or the rider being stiff and locked.
    When taking your first step with your horse, the horse should step off at the speed you request.  Ask for the walk you want from the first moment.
    If your horse tends to counterbend (meaning he's walking to the left but looking to the right) direct the horse to walk in the same direction that he's looking and then bend back in the direction you were traveling.  Horses that do this are disconnected (head from the body) and in a sense "locked".  By directing him to follow his head and then return to the correct bend helps unlock the horse and reconnect them.
    Don't overthink connection.  It is all about "feel".  Once you are centered, you think your intent, the end goal is to lose the aids down the road.
    As effortless a horse moves in the pasture on its own, is how effortless he should move with a rider on board.
    Always shoot for 100% - it doesn't mean you'll always get 100% but it is important to always strive toward it.
    Leg aids should only be used to operate/guide the hind end and the front guided by the hands.
    If you are locked, your body cannot connect with your horse; it simply creates a locked horse.
    The martial art of Akido has opened up Mark to understand how important working from your center is in horse training and those same principles are what bring a horse and rider together to work as one unit.  Watching him work with a couple of people on the ground truly fascinated me.  When a person locks up you can pretty much knock them over with a feather.  Once the person becomes centered and focuses on their core, you cannot move their feet.  I really wish I'd had a video camera to tape these two sessions I watched as it was really eye opening.

Once the video is processed I may hear some more words of wisdom or it may jingle up my memory, lol.

In any event, if you have an opportunity to work with Mark DO IT!  It was worth every penny.  He's coming back for Equine Affaire in November and then he'll return to NH in June next year for week long clinics.  I sooo wish I could afford a full week with him, but unless something radical happens at work (like a bonus) I'm afraid I'll have to wait and see if I can do a 2 or 3 day in the fall.


Horsemanship, the wonderful never ending journey of learning!   Every job is a self-portrait of the person who does it.  Autograph your work with excellence.


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« Reply #20 on: November 16, 2013, 03:33:23 pm »

May 14, 2010

We are really loving our new barn.  The owners give an incredible level of care and G is really happy here.  It's evident in everything we do.  Tuesday night we went out on the trail with two other boarders, one of which has a new to her horse (5 months) who lacks confidence.  So we stuck to riding around the tree farm at the top of the hill so they wouldn't have to navigate the steep hill (need to take a picture of it this weekend).  Anyway, I asked if they would wait at the top of the hill as I wanted to take G down and back up.  This hill is going to build G's butt big time!  He navigated both directions as calm as could be.  Normally to walk him away from "the herd" results in jigging or attempts to turn around.  Not this time.  What a great feeling.  This weekend we'll be taking Ozzy back out with us for a nice ride.  Last night we had a wonderful lesson with Val the new barn owner - here's a link to our blog if you're interested in reading:


On the home front we're in the process of tearing up the downstairs bathroom.  We're stripping it down to the joists both walls and floor.  It's a 55 year old house, so its due.  This is going to be our second biggest project so far.  Makes me tired just thinking about it.

Horsemanship, the wonderful never ending journey of learning!   Every job is a self-portrait of the person who does it.  Autograph your work with excellence.


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« Reply #21 on: November 16, 2013, 03:34:10 pm »

Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Special Moments by Kate
He breathes softly
I listen
He licks his lips
anticipating that which he knows I have
I look
I give in
Softly I open my hand and offer up
what he so desires
He walks to me, lowers his head,
and softly nickers
The treat is his for the taking....

It's virtually quiet ~ the sounds of birds chirping; soft sighs and the sounds of chewing.  Every so often G stops eating his hay and comes over to where I'm sitting to investigate why I'm sitting on my groom tote in his stall, journal in my lap, pen in hand.

It's been quite some time since I've just come to the barn to sit in his stall and hang out.  I love this stall as I can sit next to the back door opening to his private run out and not feel closed in.  I know he must love the freedom this represents.  So tonight there is no tacking up; no riding; no lunging.  Just a leisurely brushing, taking extra care and time to brush his face ~ his most favorite thing over food.  It's just me sitting here quietly, taking in the wonderful sounds and smells that only a horse person can understand loving.  It is soothing, this earthy aroma; these soft sounds of chewing, sighs and small snorts.  It washes away the stresses of the day; takes away the sorrow I feel for those I cannot help nor save; it is what keeps me sane.

Outside it's raining.  Finally.  A good soaking rain that the parched landscape so desperately needs in order to survive.  Mother Nature has not been so kind to her living things this summer.  The ground is so hard, I'm sure the first couple inches will simply run off. 

As I sit here against the wall at the stall door the light is growing dimmer, as the sounds within the barn and outside get even quieter still.  No human voices except that of my own voice inside my head as I write down my thoughts and feelings of this wonderful time with my horse.

I can hear G swallow as he takes in a nice long drink in between his courses of hay.  I find myself counting.  One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, then dribble dribble dribble on the stall mats.  Ever since his colic in '08, when he drinks I count the swallows.  It's a good sound - its a a healthy sound.  I notice that the fog is rolling into the valley which I can see over the roofs of the farm house - the air is finally getting cooler, offering up a slight breeze through the door.  I probably should leave soon so I don't have to drive over the mountain in fog & heavy rain, but the peacefulness that I'm soaking in is too precious to give up so soon.

There will be more moments like these when we move to Tennessee and G is in our own barn, and I'll be able to tip toe out in my pj's to see him when the mood strikes me.  But right now I'm feeling greedy and I don't want to give up these moments of bliss.   G just stopped and gave me a nuzzle on the top of my baseball cap on his way out the door ~ a small gesture, but one that fills my heart.

I hear voices approaching the barn - it must be time for the night check.  Looks like my nirvana is over for the night.

Until the next time; I will close my eyes when I'm stressed at work and picture these moments.  Thanks for sharing your home with me G.

Horsemanship, the wonderful never ending journey of learning!   Every job is a self-portrait of the person who does it.  Autograph your work with excellence.


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« Reply #22 on: November 16, 2013, 03:35:00 pm »

September 24, 2010

A big thanks to Lisa for a well-timed post on Facebook this morning.  Nothing better than a Zen moment to bring the true reality of life back into focus.

    There comes a time in life when you have to walk away from all the pointless
    drama and the people who create it.

    Surround yourself with people who make you laugh and help you grow.

    Live and learn from the bad and focus on the good.

    Every day is a blessing and life is way too short....strive for peace and happiness.

Horsemanship, the wonderful never ending journey of learning!   Every job is a self-portrait of the person who does it.  Autograph your work with excellence.


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« Reply #23 on: November 16, 2013, 03:47:50 pm »

November 2011

What an incredible weekend this was! I'm not sure I can truly put into words how proud I am of G, or the feelings of pride that I have for how he performed for me in each of the three clinics, and handled the whole circus atmosphere of EA. I'm still walking on clouds and have so many emotions that I can't sort them all out to put them down in words. I've just been smiling and yes, bursting with pride. I think it gave me a slight inkling of the high that people get when they show a horse and are awarded a ribbon. When a stranger walks up to you and tells you that you have a wonderfully gaited horse, and you later find out that he's a reputable gaited horse trainer, well it is such a high.

One of the things that I loved about Liz and her presentation is that she includes a little bit of each horse's story, so the audience has an understanding that not one of us got where we are today without a lot of blood, sweat and tears. This weekend wiped out all the nights that I sat on the couch in tears, telling hubby I had to sell G cause we just weren't connecting or I just wanted to give up cause I didn't think I was the person that he needed. I told hubby that I thought I would keep him I need to download some pictures and videos that hubby was so good to take. He was even taking photos with Liz's camera for her...he was a busy guy this weekend, and I have thanked him a hundred times for supporting us the way he did this weekend. Not every woman, or their horse, have a groom boy :) Heck, I have to thank him for supporting us the past 8.5 years. Without him and his encouragement, I'm not sure I would've experienced the kind of high I've been on the past two days.

Beyond the fun that I felt rewarded for all the hard work the past 8.5 years. It goes to show you that sometimes there really is a diamond under that black rock. You just have to keep chiseling away until you start to find the small glints of light that keep you looking closer and chipping away at it. I know I still have some shaping and polishing to do, but the diamond is finally in my sights. Here's a couple of short videos of two of my favorite moments. Like Liz, I love the big ole' head on my boy and I almost got a trot out of G yesterday afternoon. When Liz asked me to try and get him to do it again, I couldn't repeat it. But that's okay, I like his gait just fine!

Videos from the event:

I walked away from the weekend with such a wonderful sense of pride and accomplishment, and just when I didn't think I could burst with any more pride or emotion, the one horsewoman I admire more than any other horse person who has walked this earth, paid me what I feel is one the highest compliments I could ever receive on Facebook this evening.  Words that brought me to tears. I hope she doesn't mind me sharing them, but it's the equivalent to a blue ribbon from the weekend to me!!

Elizabeth Graves posted to Kate Taylor
I'm home Kate although a long day traveling but I did want to share one thing I feel it important you know. You and G did a national title performance this weekend! I knew you would even though you you questioned your self at times in getting there I never,ever doubted you for a minute over the years.Thank you for being the student you are and share your journey in hopes others will grow also and follow you in theirs.

These words alone, are as big a reward as the magical connection that I felt with G this weekend.  I don't know if we'll ever be in the same magical place in the same way, but I think I got an inkling of what an Olympian must feel when their horse runs the perfect course, or performs the most magnificent freestyle dressage performance.  These words from Liz are like having a trainer patting me on the back and hugging me with joy.  The pride that one feels in their accomplishments with their horse in these moments is just surreal.

The first video is our canter, G was the only horse out of the five that cantered during the clinics.  Hubby said some folks were just stunned to see a Walker canter.  I guess I didn't realize how many people's horses don't.


The next video is from Sunday, the last clinic of the day.  The place had really emptied out.  Toward the end of the video is Bonnie and her Peruvian Paso.  I had to agree with Liz, that this was one of the nicest gaited Peruvians I've ever seen, and he and Bonnie were like one unit.  They were such a pleasure to watch together.  If this were a competition, they would've gone home with the blues for sure.  They were as magical as watching a great freestyle demo.  I went to see her and another woman ride their horses in the Peruvian Paso breed demo together and that was a real treat.  She makes this horse look so cool and collected, but like G, he is a bit of a fireball under all that, lol.  Jennifer Johns was indeed a participant, as was Steve Lunoi.  I think I've seen the two of them in just about every gaited clinic at EA since I got into gaited horses.  Jenn has come such a long way and to see her ride with such relaxation was wonderful.  Steve is a hoot and kept us all laughing and having fun.


Another favorite moment with Liz, she cracks me up.  She loves to make her riders work...as you enter the arena, you just never know what Liz has in store for the group or individuals.


Saturday morning, on our way to the coliseum to warm up.

Riding inside the coliseum was probably another thrill for me.  Although G wasn't so crazy about it when the other three horses left.  He went from relaxed and walking, to stressed and side passing.  But hubby caught a cool shot at the end.

Bonnie and her Peruvian (I don't remember her friends name in native costume) - they were awesome in the breed demo:

G and a few of his new girlfriends, The Canadian Cowgirls:

Our wonderful mentor and friend, Liz:

Waiting to go into the arena Saturday morning....I was really unsure of what to expect after the melt down G had in the coliseum:

And this is probably one of my favorite shots from Sunday, as it really shows off how round G has become and how well he now stands under himself up front

One happy rider!

My biggest fan, supporter and hardest working groom boy on the planet - we couldn't have done it without him!

And don't tell anyone, but hubby is really a teenager at heart....he had to leave these words behind -

I am one lucky lady, that's for sure. 
Hubby and a friend of hers (Sue I think) took pictures with Liz's camera and Liz put a slide show on her website.  Some really nice pics which brought back lots of memories.  If you look closely in one of the early arena shots where we're all lined up, you may see some snowballs near Liz's feet.  Liz was razzing Steve about New Jersey getting snow before her in MN, so he made some snowballs from the October storm and put them in the freezer to bring to EA.  While Liz was talking, Steve took one snowball at a time out of a bag and gave them to each rider.  When Liz came to a pause, Steve said "hey Liz, remember you were making fun on me getting snow before you?" She turned with a smile on her face, and we all threw the snowballs at her feet!  Totally shocked her, she laughed and said something to the effect of "see this, this is how great gaited horse people are".

Here's the link to Liz's slide show (ignore the opening shot - hubby needs to learn when not to take close up shots lol): 


The following morning I took G back to the coliseum to ride (you can ride between 6:00-8:00 a.m) and as we turned to go in the entry, here comes a drill team of 6-8 riders with flags all waving straight for us.  Up Periscope went G's head and he took two steps back.  I decided today wasn't the day I wanted to desensitize him to flags, so we went around the corner to the covered arena at C barn.  Steve was there warming up Pavo and DJ.  I told him about G and the flags and he gave me some advice on how to go about it at home.  So a little while later Steve comes over to G's stall and asked me if I was ready to desensitize G to flags.  I'm like really now?  He said no, for our afternoon session I'm like what?!? Well. apparently the announcer for our sessions was referring to us riders as "Liz's Calvary" (as we know how she likes to reference the Calvary training manual). Since Steve had his flag shirt and American flag with him, he thought it would be fun to ride into the arena in formation.  And so we did.  G walked right up to Steve with his flag, and once under saddle never gave it a second look.  Goes to show you that following the spooky item is never an issue.  Again, Liz's smile said it all when she saw us coming in.  Good stuff, the whole weekend.

And it really was an experience I will never forget.  I'm not sure if we will ever experience the same magic as those two days or not.  I usually get butterfly's when I have to perform or do something in front of a group.  I didn't have one.  I don't know if it was me wearing the lavender that helped or if it was because it was Liz, not sure.  I was in such a zone that I missed several things she said to me, lol.  The only thing that had G looking sideways, was when they put a little run-away mini-donk in between the arena gate and door.  It was pacing back and forth and kept braying.  I don't think G's ever heard that sound, so I finally stopped and let him check it once.  After that he ignored it.

I think this was another testament to the nature of the gaited breeds.  None of the other horses gave the donkey a second thought, and G who usually balks at things such as this only gave it the hairy eyeball as we rode by lol.  Jeanne, it has been a journey and sharing it with so many of you over the past 8.5 years has really been an adventure, albeit a roller coaster at times.  And I too, think its great fun to have watched other partnerships evolve over the years.
More pics for G's scrapbook...
Nope, not straight in this photo...those orange dots don't lie!

It was short, but I got to ride with Liz, woohoo - boy would it be fun to trail ride with her.  I think she wanted to make sure this horse really could hold a gait, as Bob couldn't keep him up beside G at a medium walk.  Amazing how "intent" alone can change a horse's motivation.  She may have been talking about using her pinkies on the reins here, not sure, but I'm paying attention to her hands (box what box?)

G showing off his Inspired Turquoise Headstall, Zephyr's Equine Rhythm beads and Frontier Ranch Tack braided reins. 

Knowing there are people here in our community that have watched our rocky journey over the years, it's a joy to be able share our successes with others.  I know I've been inspired by so many horse people here over the years.  Hope, who inspired me to do Parelli and look at ground work more deeply, Holly who got me interested in dressage, Barb clicker training, and so many more that played a huge part in my partnership with G.  If we can inspire someone along the way, it makes all the hard work and effort feel like play, yes?   

I have talked about going out to Minnesota to work with Liz in her internship/trainer program the past couple of years.  Well on the way home from EA hubby said to me that he thinks I need to go next year and work with her.  I was floored.  So, I'm now saving money to go in 2012.  I know it will be extremely hard work, but working side by side with Liz for seven days, and working with other horses, will be like going to college for me.  I'm hoping I can take hubby too, as I think he would have fun hanging out with Dave, learning about saddles, checking out the terrain, and sharing stories with the two of them.

G truly pushed me to seek more and more training methods and with his complex personality, dig deeper into understanding it, and figuring out how I needed to change to make the partnership work.  Based on our core personalities, we really aren't a good fit.  I knew he couldn't change, but I could - at least to the degree needed to work with him.  As much as I would love to take G with me, I think I can learn more at this juncture by working with other horses along side Liz.  I truly was shocked that hubby said I should do this.  But he's been my #1 supporter throughout my journey and he's really proud of all that we've accomplished, and wants me to take it further.  One of the things I want to learn while I'm there is more about Vaquero gear.  I've never ridden with a Bosal and I know to use them correctly is an art-form.  I'm hoping I can manage the trip when its fairly nice weather.  I first talked to Liz about the week between Christmas and New Years since our plant is shut down, but something tells me that I may not be prepared for a Minnesota winter!

So now winter is coming, our indoor is still not functioning and I'm really torn.  Love the care at this barn, G loves it, there's so many good things about it.  I've been frustrated by the barns I have gone to look at.  The only one I would think about moving to was priced at $650 a month!!!  No way.  We've been promised the arena will be functioning by the end of the month, so time will tell.  If its not fixed, I will ask for a reduction in board.  If she says no, then I'll have to look for good care without an indoor arena and be happy that G is happy, cause in the end, that's what matters.

« Last Edit: November 17, 2013, 06:19:35 pm by MyBoyG »

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« Reply #24 on: November 16, 2013, 03:48:54 pm »

August 26, 2012

It's been awhile since I've updated our journal, but I just did an update on our blog last night, so if you would like to catch up on what's been happening lately, here's a link:   http://myboyg.blogspot.com

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The New Saddle
« Reply #25 on: November 16, 2013, 05:15:13 pm »

It's been a very long time since I've updated this journal (and my blog) but moving some of the old journal here to the new site, made me realize there are things I would like to keep journaled for future reading.  It had been awhile since I had even read my journal, and I found it fun to revisit some of our adventures.

So the new saddle.  I really really loved my About The Horse saddle, but since it was no longer a good fit for G, and it was getting way too heavy for me to lift and swing, it was time for a new one.  I did try several from a variety of vendors.  I tried the Tucker Equitation; a Tucker Big Bend Summit, and a Casa Dosa Freedom saddle.  Assured that all would fit based on gullet measurements and pics, none were quite right.  For either of us.  I had been admiring the saddles that were being produced by Allegany Mountain Trail Saddles, and I thought at this point I needed to work with tree forms to really see what could work with him today, and what may work with him when his topline comes back.  So, I called Staci at AMTS.  I found her to be very much like Debra at CRS, as she seemed very customer service oriented, and knowledgable about fit for the horse and rider.  I communicated with a few AMTS saddle owners, and didn't receive one complaint.  The fit forms were ordered.

These are the conformation shots sent to Staci (you can really see the pockets in this first shoti:

Out of the thirteen forms, the NE seemed the best option for fit today and tomorrow, as I would truly not have to buy another saddle for a few years ;)

My two concerns with G were allowing room for his wither pockets to fill in and allowance in the rear of the tree to stay off the loins, because he runs down hill.  What I loved was being able to select rise of the seat, the amount of padding, and narrower fenders to lessen the weight.  It was really fun picking the conchos and the colors.  Never having done that before, I was like a kid in a candy store.  I really had to rein myself in though, as I had to stay within my budget.

And then I got an email from Staci.  She wanted to know if I liked. What's not to like?

And then it arrived.  I was like a little kid at Christmas and had to immediately run to the barn to see if it fit. 


and i really love the hardware and conchos!

This little video made me tear up, as it is the first time in ten years that G's tail has been centered and soft under saddle.  Zeke noticed it right away so I asked him to video tape it.
I believe I'm already seein a difference, but the fluffy winter coat could be fooling me...plus wishful thinking.  I hope to continue riding through the winter (even though we don't have an indoor) and come spring take new conformation shots to see if there is a difference.


Horsemanship, the wonderful never ending journey of learning!   Every job is a self-portrait of the person who does it.  Autograph your work with excellence.


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« Reply #26 on: November 16, 2013, 05:40:48 pm »

Just in case these don't make it over to the new keeper section...
From the website "Prevent Equestrian Injury"

Avoid Equestrian Injury - How to fall off your horse

The focus on how to prevent equestrian injuries is high as equestrian activities have one of the highest risks of serious injury and death compared with other sports (including motorcycle and car racing).

Rider falling off horse

Before you go near a horse, you should consider the impact a head injury would have, if not on YOU, then on your family.

And remember that even the most experienced and best trained riders often suffer from the unplanned dismount.

Facts on horse related injuries :

The vast majority of equestrian related injuries (approximately 80%) occur while riding. About 20% of injuries occur during horse handling activities (eg. driving, grooming, feeding, shoeing, leading) and unrelated activities, such as playing in the vicinity of a horse.

The cause and type of equestrian injuries ;

Falls from a horse are the major cause of injury (up to 80%), followed by crushing injuries inflicted by the horse or horse kicks.

Horse and Rider Fall

The major cause of death and severe injury in horse riders is from head injury resulting from a fall from the horse. Many riders were not wearing a protective helmet, or had been wearing an inadequate helmet, or one which was dislodged from the head during the fall.

Less severe injuries are predominantly bruises, cuts, abrasions (particularly to the face), fractures (mainly to the arm), and joint sprains. Injuries to children tend to be more severe than those to adults.

Which Riders are injured?

Children and adolescents are the most commonly injured group, particularly young girls (10-19 years) due to their more frequent participation in equestrian events and activities.

Non-riding injuries

Horse-related non-riding injuries are also a serious problem, particularly for children.

The main injuries in children are to the head and face (skull fractures, concussion, cuts, bruises), and in adults are to the arm and fingers. Many equestrian injuries result from being kicked by the horse.
Safety Tips - How to prevent equestrian injuries while riding and handling.

A combination of common sense and caution are needed when dealing with horses. To avoid equestrian injuries a constant awareness of your horses strength, nature and behaviour are needed. Get to know your horse, respect it and be alert to things which may frighten or spook it.
Horse Kicking - Double Barrel

Selecting an appropriate horse is the first step. Choose a horse that matches you or your child's age, skill, experience and size, as well one which is suitable for the specific riding task. Select older horses for novice riders as they are quieter and more predictable.

Try to consult or engage an experienced rider to help in selecting your horse, especially if its your first horse, its a worthwhile investment.
Always handle horses with care and respect

Always exercise caution around the hind legs of horse they are well designed for kicking.

Handle ropes and reins in a manner that avoids loops which could trap your fingers.

Keep very young, small children away from horses, especially other peoples horses. Children should not play near or in the vicinity of horses.

The Supervision and education of novice riders is essential. Supervise children and novice riders around horses and at all times when riding. Start safety education early. Parents of child riders need to be knowledgeable about horse safety. Well-conducted lessons, in safe surroundings, from experienced instructors, are an ideal way to learn and an excellent environment to learn in.

Riding helmets prevent injury, so wear a protective helmet whenever riding as they can prevent head injuries and many horse riding deaths. Riding helmets should comply with current safety standards. They should have either no peak or a collapsible one, and be worn securely fastened.

Ensure small children always wear a helmet around horses, as kicks to small heads can result in severe head injuries.

Increase safety with reliable riding equipment. Always wear sturdy boots in the vicinity of horses. Your feet are easily crushed by your horses weight. When mounted wear riding boots (smooth soled, heeled, elastic-sided or long). Use stirrups 2-3cm wider than the boot. Consider safety stirrups for children and novice riders. A foot caught in a stirrup can mean you are dragged over bumpy ground.

    Routinely check your reins your saddle and other horse tack for serviceable condition.
    Carry out maintenance whenever needed.
    Competitive riders should always consider body protectors which can reduce the severity of soft tissue injuries.
    Face guards and knee pads are appropriate for polo players.
    Gloves can provide some hand protection.

Make safety your number one priority at equestrian events and competitions.

Insist on the mandatory use of helmets complying with current safety standards, by all competitors.

Use energy absorbing ground surfaces where possible.

Check and maintain ground conditions and fencing.

Always have on-the-spot medical treatment facilities available (first aid, paramedical or medical personnel).

Make sure their is a designated First Aid practitioner, well trained in dealing with the types of injuries caused while riding, by falls or by horse kicks, bites and bumps.
Learn How to Fall Off Your Horse - Practice minimizes equestrian injuries

There is an art to falling off your horse in a way that will minimize your chances of getting hurt. And learning that art is just as important as learning how to sit the trot properly or how get a clean flying change.

When you become unseated, the most important thing you can do is not stick out your legs or arms. If you try to break your fall, its odds on that all you'll break is a bone.

Rider falling off horse

The second most important thing to remember is to roll away from your horse. You don't want him to fall on you or to step on you when he's getting up or running away.

Remember the tumbling classes you had when you were little?

Just about every kid has to go through these; they're mandatory because (especially as kids) we all fall down, so gym teachers try to teach us how to absorb the shock of falling. In tumbling, you learned to tuck and roll. If you think of falling off as an act of tumbling at speed, you can see the logic of following the same guidelines.

Of course, we adults typically want to analyze, calculate and make a fast decision as we fall, but that can be a real mistake. Kids don't get hurt as often as adults because they just tuck and roll instinctively, without a lot of thought.

The third thing to remember is : If you fall, don't hold onto the reins. Holding on is a good way to dislocate your shoulder, or to give your horse such a yank in the mouth that he'll get even more upset than he was when you and he first went your separate ways.

One of the most important aspects of parting company with your horse is how you handle the moment when the fall is finished. In most cases, you have a window of opportunity in which to get up quickly and get a hand on your horse.

Usually your horse will stand stunned for a few seconds, surprised that his rider is no longer with him. That's when you can grab him. If you miss that chance, he's probably going to take off, leaving you to face a very long walk home.

So do not to dwell on the moment and lie there assessing or analyzing, but try to get up quickly (though not in a way that startles the horse) and take hold of the reins to ensure the safety of your horse.

If your horse runs off, it could get hurt or hurt someone else, so the thoughts to have in your head as you're falling are, 'Roll from under' and 'catch my horse'. The odds are that the environment you fall off in is not safe for him without you. If it's in a ring, fine; but a cross-country course or on a trail ride or hack is a whole different story.

Naturally, the exception to the get up fast rule is if you're badly hurt or stunned. If you're at an event, the first-aid crew will be there soon enough; you don't want to make your injury worse, so lie still and wait for them.

When you're riding outside the ring, always try to carry a mobile phone, so that in the event of a fall, you can call for help. Check that you've programmed your emergency numbers and the stable number into the phone before you head out. And always carry the phone on you, not on your saddle or in a saddle pack, because it's useless to you if your horse runs off with it.

Plan ahead and visualize what you will do in the event of a fall and prevent equestrian injuries as much as possible.


Colic is probably the scariest 5 letter word a horse owner can think of.  It's not if your horse will colic, but when.  It comes in mild forms of gas colic to impactions and twists.  When G got impacted in 2008 I learned first hand from a phenominal equine vet what to do and how to treat it, and without him G probably wouldn't be with us today.  With all the colics occuring this year I thought this article from "The Horse" covers what every horse owner needs to know.  Unfortunately there are a lot of vets out there that don't specialize in equines so they don't stay current on the "do's and don'ts" and the most unfortunate part is that horses & their owners can suffer.   


"The Horse" has a large volume of articles on colic, definitely worth reading.

This is a wonderful guide to western saddles, from the variety of styles to how to fit both horse and rider:

Schleese has a good guide on determining fit on English saddles:

« Last Edit: November 16, 2013, 06:22:26 pm by MyBoyG »

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Lunging Lesson
« Reply #27 on: November 17, 2013, 03:02:58 pm »

We had our scheduled Sunday lesson for noon, and as expected since G had his front shoes pulled on Friday, he is sore undersaddle.  He seems to be walking fine on his own, but adding my weight every time we stopped and started or turned he gimped forward.  So today we worked on Lunging.  I've never really had a solid lesson on lunging, so it was alot of fun and an eye opener.  Katie is very observant about body language and she was able to point out where I was sending mixed signals, and how to correct it.  I swear lunging is as hard, if not harder, than riding!  It doesn't take much to completely contradict what you're asking a horse to do.  We only worked on the basics (walk, march on, move out, whoa) but G proved once again that he is a star pupil....now if his mom could just get her act together  ;)  It started raining in the middle of our lesson, but luckily it was mid 50's and I had my hooded riding jacket on to protect me a bit.  We still had fun.  Our barn owner Linda had a lunging lesson following ours and it was fun to watch.  Why it was fun, for me, as that watching her horse (who is a cousin to G - Prides Generator Grandpa) was like a flashback in time.  It was like watching reruns of what it was like when I first starting lunging G.  He was a dope on a rope (or is that a horse kite?).  He would be relaxed and soft one minute, and the next he would lose it and start to run or try to get loose. 

I sent an email to Easy Boots regarding changing out the buckles and wires on G's Epic hoof boots.  I'm hoping to just ship them to EC and have them fix them up.  Luckily, they still fit!  My hope is we continue to have decent winter weather and we can continue to trail ride.  I missed a couple of months of really good riding late summer/early fall, so I sure would love to ride into February, if we could  :D 

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« Reply #28 on: November 18, 2013, 06:52:32 pm »

Somewhere, somewhere
In time's own space,
There must be some sweet pastured place....
Where creeks sing on and tall trees grow,
Some paradise where horses go.
For by the love that guides my pen,
I know great horses live again.

May Warrior run free on the other side of Rainbow Bridge, where his buddy G will someday meet him to graze together again.

My heart goes out to my friend Trish who lost her beloved Paint of 16 years.  He died of a seizure this morning, out of the clear blue sky.  Go out and hug your horses tight tonight, as we truly never know when it may be the last time we get to do so.

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« Reply #29 on: June 09, 2014, 08:30:51 pm »

I've missed keeping up with everybody who isn't on FB the past few months.  I've been dealing with a couple of issues that have kept me busy researching.   FB is easy to throw out a thought, a few sentences and move on to the next thing.

In my annual mammogram in March they found calcifications  in both my breasts.  The right side warranted a stereotactic needle biopsy, which discovered a-typical cells.  This prompted another biopsy to check the calcifications in the left breast, that thankfully came back normal.  The next step was an MRI to check for anything that wouldn't show in a mammogram.   The dye picked up a small area that picked up the dye the same way the calcifications did, this area deeper in the breast.  They thought perhaps a cyst, but placed so it couldn't be felt or seen in mammograms.  So, they scheduled an MRI guided needle biopsy.  Another prayer answered, when they injected the dye and took ten minutes of MRI pictures, whatever had picked up the dye in the first MRI was gone :)

The diagnosis is I have atypical lobular hyperplasia carcinoma in situ http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/lobular-carcinoma-in-situ/basics/definition/con-20031788. Not cancer, but the condition puts me in a higher risk of getting cancer in my lifetime.  Turning 60 this March makes this diagnosis not as scary as it may have no been if I heard the same words at 30.  I have a wonderful breast surgeon who has given me an incredible amount of information, as she feels each woman needs to own her diagnosis and understand everything they can.  Her recommendation is to have a lumpectomy, about the size of a grape.  It would remove the immediate threat, though there are no guarantees that it won't occur elsewhere.  I meet with her again in June 30th to discuss.  In the grand scheme of things, I feel blessed that it isn't worse than it is. 

G has white line disease in all four hooves, the front two being the worst.  Something I've never seen before, and again found myself having to do a bunch of research as the farrier we were using pretty much chalked it off as a little bacterial thing to treat with peroxide. He has since been fired. He wasn't a good barefoot trimmer either :( I  had the vet out (the one who it himself the school as a farrier) and he trimmed him back significantly; was thankful the farrier didn't try to resection any of it, and agreed that the CleanTrax soaks were the best treatment.  We've done two the past couple of weeks.  He has deep sulcus thrush on top of it all.  Poor guy.  But, hey, he chose to stand in his urine/poo area that we couldn't clean due the the constant snow and ice this past winter. Needless to say we haven't been doing much trail riding.  I've only had him out twice since spring for short 20 minute jaunts.  We have a new certified barefoot trimmer who comes out in Saturday to see how we're doing.

Hopefully we'll be back on the trail soon, as I truly miss it!  And I could certainly use a few to get my head back in a happy place. 

Horsemanship, the wonderful never ending journey of learning!   Every job is a self-portrait of the person who does it.  Autograph your work with excellence.
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