Saddle up and let's ride down the trail of tales or tails.

Monday, February 13, 2012


I always love it when students make progress with their horses. The family purchased the horse, Pepper, for Student last fall. Student has been taking lessons and the whole family has been interacting with Pepper.

When Student began riding Pepper, he was not able to steer him. (For safety, his dad walks along with Pepper on a lead line as they become acquainted.) Student has progressed to the point of being able to control where they go and ride through patterns.
When Pepper came he did not back up – would not even think about it. Dad and Mom found a way to get him to back from the ground – first by physically tapping on his chest, then applying pressure to the lead line attached to the halter and finally (from the ground) asking through the reins.

Each lesson I have asked Student to try backing Pepper and each time Dad has had to finally put his hands on the reins to make it happen. GUESS WHAT? Tonight Student was able to back Pepper by his own effort not once, not twice but THREE times. He’s not just riding, he’s training.

Friday, February 3, 2012


Sadie has been out of commission since September due to lameness. We started with just padding the foot to see if that would help and it didn’t. I had the vet out and he x-rayed in November and it looked like there might be an abscess in the left front foot. The farrier followed up on that with aggressive digging out of hoof but nothing surfaced.

When Sadie came to us she was lame. She had, what we term, foundered a couple of years earlier and had not come back to soundness. Unfortunately this will leave the hooves in a weaker state than normal and subject to problems later in life. We did get her to a state of soundness in about three month of acquisition and have played the lameness/soundness dance since then. This is the longest bout.

Thursday, February 2, 2012


On this particular day, I was watching a training DVD and decided to try some of the information with a more experienced rider on Shag. To digress, I feel Shag is getting very bored with his riders because things become a tug of war when trying to steer. He also does not want to move forward at times. This particular rider has been experimenting with different approaches with Shag and has had some success. I notice that Shag is a lot happier horse when his rider becomes more interesting.

This particular day I had planned to incorporate a training stick in the work out to strengthen communication and reduce reliance on physical connection. Rider had been working very well with the project and Shag was looking very relaxed and working in a willing manner.

Suddenly, looking at the pony pen I noticed all five ponies in a stance that spoke of ‘possible predator on the perimeter’ – heads were up, ears were forward and all heads were looking the same direction. As Rider came around the end of the arena I asked him to look where the ponies were looking and tell me what he saw. He answered, “A llama.”