Thursday, July 3, 2008

Wonder if I could shrink the VLC in the dryer?

Kidding...kidding...sort of.

Okay, so I took my first cutting lesson last night and it was the most fun I've had on a horse since my polo days. Now I want a cutting horse. (We'll do pics next time, I promise)

I had forgotten how long it had been since I've been on a really broke horse. I mean, I am trying to think back and it is entirely possible I have not ridden a non-green horse since December 2006, the last time I ever rode my old polo pony Raquita. Since that time, I have ridden:

a) unbroke, start-from-scratch young horses
b) horses with 30-60 days on them
c) broodmares that only ever had 30-60 days on them...15 years ago
d) OTTB's
e) rescue horses with completely unknown histories, most of which appeared to be 30-60 days broke...10 years ago

Hmmm, okay, I think I went on a trail ride in May '07 on my friend's well broke Standardbred, but that is it! I've been riding nothing but greenies that are work to ride for a long time now. What a total pleasure it was to go out for this lesson and get on this lovely little bay overo paint mare who loped around on a dropped rein and slid to a halt every time I asked her to. I have to get her real name - apparently she's been to APHA World and everything. She is built like a tank, absolutely adorable (definitely meets my "breeding quality mare" standard), and really knows her job - but she's also a school horse and you could tell she was evaluating me.

The first test was the left lead. She said she would prefer to take the right lead. I think it took four tries but we got the left lead. She loped off, resigned. It took two tries the second time, and the third time she just gave up and did it.

The second test was plain old motivation. Kimmie is who they put all of the beginners on. I imagine this encompasses quite the range of riding skills. She is not going to hurt anybody, but she has also learned that working hard is probably optional. As I've mentioned before, I'm not typically a spur wearer. Before the lesson my friend who was taking me with her texted me.

Friend: Bring spurs
Me: I don't own spurs

Trainer Guy, the kind of guy who probably wears spurs to bed, kind of rolled his eyes at my lack of spurs.

"You can try it. I don't know if it's gonna work."

Hmph. I have been around the block a time or two and I do believe I can get something into 2nd gear without spurs. Well, in practice, he had a point. I did get Kimmie into gear but I could see where a little extra speed on the response would have been helpful. I will purchase spurs before next time.

For those of you who have not tried cutting, all I have to say is OMG SO MUCH FUN. Seriously. I leaned forward a little too far the very first turn, which I learned not to do because I caught my bra on the horn and snapped myself a good one. I sat up after that. My friend who was watching said she saw me "get it" after the first three turns, and then we just had a ball. The hardest thing for me was to stop parallel and wait and watch the cow...from polo, my instinct is to turn and take off on the fly, and you don't do that here. You stop parallel and you don't let the horse turn to face the cow. You sit and you stare down the cow and wait to see what he's going to do. And you'd better be ready when he moves. There's a reason they let you hang on to the horn in this - honestly even if you're a solid rider and used to doing rollbacks and working at speed, these horses are so quick that there's no way you'd stick with the force of the motion if you didn't steady yourself a bit.

Cows are interesting. I've never worked cattle before. I used to ride my mare around during team sorting and go wander around with the herd but that was it. They stop, and then they do one of two things. Either they try to change direction (that's when your horse does the left-to-right skiing motion you've all seen cutting horses do, to cut them off) or they just decide to run like hell, in which case you run like hell and stay at their shoulder. That part is kind of familiar since in polo, you run like hell and bump shoulder-to-shoulder, so I'm used to watching another animal and trying to match their speed. Sometimes the cow slows and you have to slow too. You really get tunnel vision - I would not have noticed if a bomb exploded adjacent the arena. I was so busy watching that cow.

A couple times one really got to running. I booted old Kimmie in the ribs and asked for more. She pinned her ears and thought about bucking but in the end she gave me more. I just loved her personality - she reminded me of the COB. I do have a soft spot for that kind of hard bitten working horse attitude. Even when we weren't out there practicing, if a cow came too close, Kimmie flattened her ears and gave him snake face. Now that's a horse who knows who she is. She's the predator. They're the prey. I'd never question that she was doing what she loved. It was obvious.

Did I have any fear at all about getting on a brand new horse and doing a brand new sport involving running like hell and turning faster than I've ever turned in my life? Absolutely zero. You know, she just felt solid from the start. I think this is how the VLC is going to be in a year and it's one of the things I'm happiest about with him. Even if he is too big to be a cutting horse. ;-)

Trainer Guy said I did good. I did not get the impression he is given to excess words or flattery, so I assume I did good. I am going to make this a regular thing if I can figure out how to pay for it. The price is actually really fair, $45 including the use of the horse, but an extra $45 in my budget (plus probably $25 in gas to get there and back) isn't always easy. I am already wondering if he will let me clean stalls...

So when was the last time you tried something totally new on a horse?

54 comments:

equine411 said...

I am an English girl from the time I was 2 and since moving home from college (5 yrs ago) I have fallen in love with a team roper bought a ranch.... and lately bought myself a little reiner and a second horse a little 3 yr old filly cutting prospect. And in the last month started to swing a rope off a horse.... scary! Trying something new with your horses is very exciting.... glad to hear that your havin fun!

Laura Crum said...

Glad to hear you liked cutting. That's my background-- I trained cutting horses for years before I went to team roping--prefering the timed event to the judged event. I bet you'd like team roping, too, its an equally fun rush, though, unlike cutting, you can't just jump on a broke one and try it--takes a lot of learning how to throw the rope...etc Anyway, if you like mysteries, my first mystery, titled "Cutter", features, you guessed it, cutting horses. Mugwump says she's reading it now. If you'd ever care to read it and send me your review, I'd get a kick out of your opinion--seeing as I've gotten a real kick out of your blogs.
Oh, and I haven't tried anything totally new horseback-wise in years. I just went horse packing in the Sierra Nevada Mts, but that's something I did a lot of many years ago. It felt new, though, after a ten year break. Something I always wished I had tried was polo.
Cheers--to your first ride on a cutter!

Claire said...

I tried something new today - my first go at jumping! Sort of. I'm a total beginner, and today I was learning about jump position and instead of trotting over the super-low cross rail, the horse I was riding decided to give it a little jump, every time.

I've already learned to appreciate a well-schooled horse. I rode a trekking pony on Sunday, and he wouldn't even stop when told, let alone be steered, which I didn't like at all. Okay, so he wants to follow his track, but he ought to stop when I tell him for safety's sake. Anyway, I got on the horse in my lesson, went round the arena, did a change of rein ... and started cheering and telling him how much I loved him, because his steering worked! I just opened the rein and he turned! He took half the arena to break into a trot (lazy bugger) but after that was obeying me wonderfully and we both had a great workout.

doddlebot said...

I've just started taking lessons on an advanced medium dressage horse so in the past two weeks I've done my first ever flying changes, true counter canter and half-pass. Not completely different to stuff I've done in the past but the first time on a horse who knew his stuff! Great fun!

(Not as different as the first time I played polo. Loved it! Except I was really great at hitting the air a foot to the right of the ball!)

Joy said...

I haven't tried anything new, just wanted to tell you I really enjoyed this entry on your blog today. I'm so glad you had fun cutting. It's great.

Huntseatrider said...

I adventured into a little bit of cutting and ran some barrels a time or two when my old event horse was out for a month. Fun, fun, FUN!! I really want a cutting horse now, haha.


I also jumped my trainers multiple time World champion/reserve champion/top 10 gelding a few weeks ago. After riding my event horse (who was CRAZY. No hand, no leg... I'm not really sure how I rode him), riding the gelding was a blessing. He was the first horse I had jumped after my accident aside from the eventer. Talk about point and go! He was a dream!!

CutNJump said...

And as much fun as it is- I still prefer to sit in the corners or ride as a turnback.

The horse you rode sounds like our bay mare Solis. Built like a tank will do whatever is asked and any extra effort is not given unless asked for. She will size up your skills as well as yor mood and work accordingly. Can I say, and can you tell- I love that mare!

There is a lot to cutting and some cutters you can ride without spurs, but a good number of them you get more from them by letting them know you have them and aren't afraid to use them. When you do though be ready as they will certainly move. Like other disciplines though, they are merely an aid and reinforce the leg pressure. If you aren't sure about using them, better to not, until you can use them only when needed.

If ya want to use the pic's of JR working cows on his yellow mare that I sent, go ahead. She too will flatten the ears and do the snakey necked look to keep a cow in it's place, or at leat where she thinks it should be. They are actually supposed to keep their ears forward and on the cow and have an alert expression towards the cow.

The horse is also supposed to stay off the cow and give them room to move. If the cow stops or turns away from you, you can 'quit the cow' and get another or if your horse is talented enough, they may sway back and forth in an attempt to 'draw the cow' or entice it to move. We seen one horse drop to his/her knees in an effort to draw the cow. Talk about loving their job!



For anyone out there thinking of trying a new riding style or event- GO FOR IT! What are you waiting for? Hell to freeze over? Go get a lesson. Most places will have a horse and tack you can use to try it all out. You never know which one is going to be IT!



VLC- Ya might want to correct your blog heading. Are you going to SHINK him in the dryer or SHRINK him? And we all bust on other for their spelling... LOL!

verylargecolt said...

hahaha...I so did not get enough sleep last night. Got home at 11:45 and still had to trudge all over in the dark and hay everybody (they're on pasture but it's not enough pasture to live on).

CutNJump said...

Yep, and I did it too...

And we bust on other

should have been and we bust on otherS.

Nobody is immune!

Ambar said...

Two weeks ago I went and took my first driving lesson behind a 5yo Clydesdale. (Did I mention I'm an Arabian person? And I don't get on it if I can't see over it?)

OMG so much FUN!

Char said...

I taught my lame-o gelding to "drive" in a halter and 2 leadropes...and that's about the extent of it. :)

On the plus side, I've been making great headway on my goals!

I've worked my mom's mare and given Mom a riding lesson everyday after work this week. They now have fairly reliable steering and almost reliable brakes. She even got cheeky enough the other day to try trotting. Yay!

As for my poor lame gelding - omfg, I should start a blog just to chronicle our experiences. I didn't KNOW that there were so many different ailments that could happen in the hooves, and that they could happen to one horse AT THE SAME TIME!!!

Grr. I'm never going to be able to afford another horse. This one's costing me a small FORTUNE!

VLC: Glad you had fun! The only western disciplines I've ever tried are Western Pleasure and Reining. The Reining was fun - WP...not so much.

A Bay Horse said...

Uhhh.... Ehh.... something totally new... So normally I do dressage & trail and a lil jumping.... In circa 1993 I rode a friend's western Arabian in a gymkhana. Had a blast actually. That was a long time ago, huh. Oh boy. I guess I need to get out more. Sounds like you had fun!

BuckdOff said...

My husband and I went to watch team penning last weekend, it was awesome, now I want to ditch Dressage...seriously, I think I want to take a few lessons and try it, why the heck not, right?

mugwump said...

Once in a while I'll take a dressage lesson. Yikes!
Goes to bed in his spurs? My kind of guy.

Princess Jess said...

It's been a long time. Long, long, long time. Let's see.... before moving to the concrete palace.... before working at the rescue.... I'd say I haven't had a nice, solid horse to ride in at least 6 or 7 years.

I miss it.

I'm getting really frustrated with my gelding because I've had him for 2 years and he's been through TWO trainers now, and I still cannot ride the damn thing. I don't know what to do, since I can't exactly afford to send him to YET ANOTHER trainer, as I'm a college student working to pay for my 2.5 (well, technically 3.5 horses- but I have NO idea where the fuck I'm going to put the 3rd one, since my plan to retire one of my other ones didn't go through) but I HATE the fact that I'm spending shit-tons of money for a young (he's 5 or 6 now), sound, healthy, athletic, nice-looking horse that is decorating my pasture and getting fat because he broke my foot last month after trying to launch me into outer space.

Wow, that was one heck of a run-on sentence. Go me.

Seriously.

All I've wanted for the last 6 or 7 years was to have a NICE horse to ride. I haven't had a solid horse since I sold O'Hara (and now that I have him back, he's 29 years old and has arthritis and is too ouchy to ride).

I don't even CARE what discipline we do! I'll do anything! Jumping? Cool. Dressage? No problem. Cows? Sounds fun. Endurance? Hey, it will get me in shape. I just want him to be able to do SOMETHING! I want to have a horse that I can RIDE. Not TRAIN. Not WORK. I just want to RIDE. Is that too much to ask????

Okay, rant over.

I was actually feeling pretty excited about horse #3 coming to live with me. She sounds sweet as pie and easy to break (if she isn't broke already), and I was really wanting to have something to drag along to lessons with me at a nearby barn so I can actually ride with the BNT and take serious riding lessons again, instead of just the catch rides I've been doing, or the riding lessons on other people's horses....

mugwump said...

You guys want to see something new that will blow you away? Talk about trying new stuff! Check out
The Many Misadventures of McKinna McHorse at http://themanymisadventures.blogspot.com/

fuglyappy said...

I'm jealous you found a place with a school horse!!! Normally it's you buy a horse kind of sport, it seems like.

Karen V said...

I would LOVE to have a go at cutting! On my fat appy to boot! Her sire is a cutter out of Texas. Rumor has it her dam was too. She is the typical working appy out of working stock. built like a brick shit house!

One problem....


She's afraid of cows!

loneplainsman said...

I'd love to do some cutting. I bet my guy would be great at it, though. He's just got that attitude... I've seen him work the barn cats once! And we've done some cutting practice with people on the ground pretending to be cows.. and even THAT was fun! Love to try it for real some day!


I *am* having a great time with my guy, though. I've been doing a lot of bareback riding, getting my seat better, and I'm improving a lot! I can WTC and do small jumps now without losing my balance at all, which is great, and I'm practicing some of mugwump's FQ and HQ excercises, too. One month ago I was still having trouble staying upright at the trot - so this is really cool!

My horse is not finished - still has a lot of issues to work through - but he's such a gentleman just the same. I noticed today that when I lost my balance he was shifting his weight under me - so if I shifted right, he moved a little to the right to help me stay on. And if it didn't help, he immediately stopped and let me get settled. He's keeping me safe, that's for sure, and I'm so indebted to him! I'd have hit the dirt more than once if it weren't for him, that's for sure!

Oh! We went for our first ride outside today! Things just felt right and I didn't have any worries. We haven't ridden outside an enclosed area in years - and I don't know that I've ever ridden outside ALONE (as in no other horses - not even a ground spotter there) before. He was great. Between this blog and mugwump's I've stopped being afraid to actually CORRECT him when he does something wrong and that's made a huge difference (duh). He knows I mean it when I tell him to do something (or not to do something) and so walking outside was no big deal - even with all the distractions. He walked through a puddle even though he hates water (got a cookie for that one!) and even walked over the grass without eating it. Seems simple, I know, but honestly that would have been imposible a few years ago.

Sorry for boring you all.. just wanted to share with people who actually understand (unlike my non-horsey family who can only smile and nod!). It was a good day!

verylargecolt said...

You are not boring anybody. I was excited, too, when I got the VLC to realize the puddle wasn't going to eat him and he could walk right through the middle!

Other horsepeople are the only ones who understand though.

manymisadventures said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
manymisadventures said...

Well, I'd say the last time I tried something new was when I put on my Batman costume and went cantering around the arena bareback.

Er, there's a story behind that, I promise. I'll have to write a post about it.


I am jealous, that sounds like so much fun! I love riding other people's well trained horses. They teach you so quickly what you need to do.


Thanks for the plug, Mugwump! I must say, OHSET opened my eyes to all kinds of riding disciplines I'd never have tried otherwise.

cdncowgirl said...

The first test was the left lead. She said she would prefer to take the right lead. I think it took four tries but we got the left lead. She loped off, resigned. It took two tries the second time, and the third time she just gave up and did it.
-----------------------------------
I would bet almost anything that if I got on that same horse the left lead would be find... now the RIGHT lead. *sigh* I always have problems with the right lead, no matter what horse I'm on. I know it's ME not the horse as my whole right side is stiffer and kinda f'd up (car accident, dumbass ran into my side of the car on the freaking highway!)

As for new things... I want to take English lessons but my first priority is to take more Western lessons and get back some lost confidence.
I did learn a little about driving and heavy horse pulling awhile ago. Pretty neat stuff.

I have a list of horses I'd like to experience sometime:
*cutting
*reining
*dressage

Elly said...

I had a go at cutting about 5 years ago when I was in GA...My god, it was like a really bad experience on a fairground ride!
I had a horse that did it all for me - I just hung on for grim death and there was none of this staring the cow out - my eyes were shut the whole time!!!

Elly said...

Forgot to say - I would like to try galloping a proper camel, rather than a horse doing an impression of one ;)

Vee said...

I swear, I want to come to the States some day and just spend a month trying out all the different disciplines you have available. Over here in the UK just trying to find a trainer to give the basics in something like sidesaddle is like looking for gold.

I did manage to start training for horseball a couple of years ago before I broke my knee the first time, and it was so much fun. Those horses knew their jobs too - I was terrified of getting kicked in the head or the horse toppling over with me, but those guys weren't going to let that happen, and just trucked around the arena with a bunch of us idiots hooraying about on top of them!

Elly said...

Princess Jess - Has your gelding been turned away for 6 months?
Sometimes that's all that is needed - some horses becomes a bit 'autistic' and struggle with change during their training.

Jackie said...

Trained horse ready to go? That's what I was *supposed* to get for my horse...and I took on PDD...I am prepping my hubby for No. Two (he's pretty much resigned to it, I am just not in a rush), and I am torn between a rescue or one that needs training, or my fantasy..one that is a hop-on-board type. (I am really leaning towards getting an OTTB or OTSB from an area rescue). Maybe the reason I am not rushing is that I am waiting for one that is both...with Michigan economy, it may happen sooner that I think...of course, we now have to wait and see what happens with my husband's job (work has slowed down for him right now, sigh).

VT Horse Lady said...

My daughter was in an 'extreme' cowboy race last weekend with our newest addition who has finally gained enough weight I am not ashamed to take her anywhere. All this mares life all she did was live on a cattle ranch, doing ranch horse things and pop out 8 babies. She took such good care of my daughter, everyone was commenting on how lovely she was. The last part of the event they had to pen 1 calf out of 6. Now my daughter had never ever tried to pen a calf, but the mare had been used for roping. I don't think she had ever penned anything. You should have seen them chasing the calves lol! The mare had this look on her face like..ok already throw the rope! Now my daughter is hooked :) They got 3rd that day too. Not bad for a 16 yr old tossed away mare and a 12 yr old kid competing against adults.

GoTuckerGo! said...

I am a horse crazy, middle aged beginner rider. After a year of jumping lessons practicing two-point position, leg on and steering :) over single jumps I finally graduated to my first jumping course on Tuesday!! It was awesome. I love it and my large pony rocks! Trying new things with my horse is so much fun..... I'm even considering entering in my first show ever in the Fall. Ha Ha! Me and all the nine year olds together in a class! :)

Kate said...

I ride English and do some jumping. No shows just a few years of lessons. Maybe someday I'll find a nice on farm half lease. In college I tried polo and western. Had a great time doing both. We also did a little dressage when the instructor was feeling inspired. I would love to try more dressage and something involving a cow (not at the same time of course).

PS: OT gear question. I need a new pair of paddock boots. Any reason zip ups are better or worse than lace ups?

Kyani said...

Last year at uni I started horseball lessons. Like you, I found 'OMG the most fun on a horse everever.' It was the first time I've been on a horse where the aim wasn't to sit up straight, be calm, relax, everything done slowly and properly, horse is to look 'right' and so do you etc etc. Horseball was about being THERE, right NOW, and DOING, and doing it precisely. It was brilliant. Plus, an excellent excuse to ride equines too small for me to look 'right' on.
I loved those ponies. I always got the teeny speed freak. You haven't lived until you've had a speed-game lesson in an indoor arena on a 13.2hh who thought pushing the 16hh horse into the wall at a gallop was a good idea (hey, it made the rider give up the ball - legitimate strategy).
Maybe I'm just insane, but I always like the 'throwing yourself off the side' part the best. Everyone else took 2 or 3 tries to get used to the fact they COULD swing all the way over an down, getting their bum down to where their foot usually is safely. I swung all the way down first go, grinning like mad. Probably a reason my friend calls it 'suicide ball' though...

I just wish our instructor hadn't buggered off.

Kyani said...

Oh, and I forgot about the sidedsaddle! I plunged in and took my first lesson not long ago, and I want more. There will be more. Along with more cross country, on which I have become hooked (though still a bit scared of) after 4 training sessions.

My bank balance does not agree.

Neither will my first horse when I inform it it has to try all this crap for me :D

Alexis said...

This horse you are talking about sounds exactly like my friend's mare. She is exactly like that, except she is not a paint. She is even a bay, lol! She is short and stocky, [not exactly excellent conformation though!] My friend bought her as a cutting horse and converted her to a team penning horse. When she gets on a cow, she'll pin her ears and scrunches her nostrils, and I swear she frowns. She's all: "TRY and get past me, cow, I DARE you." I get to ride her for the next ten days, and, boy is she fun on the trails!

Another difference: She has never bucked in my friend's ownership, except when it turned out her saddle didn't fit right and she crowhopped a couple of times.

Morningdell said...

Blogger Elly said...

Princess Jess - Has your gelding been turned away for 6 months?
Sometimes that's all that is needed - some horses becomes a bit 'autistic' and struggle with change during their training.
------------------------------------
Well, I got him and let him sit around and do nothing for about a year (he had a lot of growing up to do). Then I sent him to trainer #1, who had him for 6 months. In 6 months she barely was able to get on him.

So I pulled him out of her barn and brought him to my barn. A trainer moved into my barn a month later, and a few months after that I became her working student in exchange for her working with my horse and me.

That gave him about 4 months in between trainers. We were in training with her for 3 months and then I overheard her telling my vet that she never wanted to train another horse like my gelding again. So I decided it was time to move on.

After all that time with her, I was able to get on and walk around a little bit. Occasionally, he literally loses his mind and for no apparent reason just takes off in a rodeo-bronc spree and DOES NOT STOP, even long after I'm picking myself up from the dirt. When I am finally able to catch him, he can't calm down, he has that wild-eyed look (whites of his eyes showing, nostrils flared, every breath is a snort) and then is hyper-sensitive and snorty for the next TWO WEEKS.

Now he's been sitting in a pasture for the last month after breaking my foot. I found yet another trainer that I'd like to send him to, but this guy is SPENDY. So Jack will probably continue to sit in the pasture until I can save up enough money to send him to this trainer... it will take a while, since I want him to go for a minimum of 60 days.

Don't get me wrong, I've been riding since I was 5 years old and have been training/riding the "crazies" since I was about 16. I've broken plenty of horses and this one by FAR trumps them all. I'm big enough to realize when it's time to seek help, and it's definitely time to seek help, but I'm also super-picky about my choice of trainer....

fuglyhorseoftheday said...

VT Horse Mom - I LOVE YOUR STORY!

See guys, you CAN get the old broodmares going for performance again!

You can! You can! You can!

Please give the older girls a chance! In this market, they NEED a job that isn't popping out babies!

Morningdell said...

Oops! I posted under my alias... Princess Jess = Morningdell... I just checked the barn email and apparently the computer doesn't automatically know to change it! LOL

fuglyhorseoftheday said...

Princess Jess:

Look, we have a nice sweet mare sitting here for you. Pick her up and put dim bulb up on pasture board in Graham for a while. It's only $100 a month. You can start working with Sweet Sane Mare right away. :-)

Elly said...

Princess Jess/morningdell:

Take the browband off the bridle and lunge for a bit (if you can), if okay, try riding without the browband. If that doesn't work, get bloods done and in particular check copper & endocrine levels.

Or accept that he's not going to be a riding horse and take up fugly's offer of the sweet mare :)

VT Horse Lady said...

FHOTD..

Thanks, Shes the 2nd old broodmare we've turned into a kids horse. I just love the old mares. When she first arrived she had no idea what treats were. Had that worried look on her face all the time, like when am I leaving this place? She's been from Nebraska to Texas and back then to VT, she has more miles on her than I do :) Now she has this OMG I've died and gone to horse heaven look. We've only had her since the middle of May and she's put on about 150 - 200 lbs. One neat thing I learned about her is that in 1996 her sire carried the olympic torch in Nebraska!

Here's a link to some pics, she is the 1992 mare in the middle, you can't really see it too well but her back had all the spine showing. http://www.flickr.com/photos/12078440@N08/?saved=1

There is also a couple pics of your VLC's smaller twin sister, who btw IS cutting bred.

Here's a link to the very 1st show this mare has ever been to, where they were reserve in walk trot for the day end award :) http://www.snapandshootphotography.com/-/snapandshootphotography/gallery.asp?cat=90257&pID=10&row=5&photoID=6456763&searchTerm=

Viva_Lolita said...

I cannot remember the last time I did something new *on* a horse...english & western for 20+ years. I do remember with shocking clarity the first time we hooked the unicorn (that's three real horses not one mythical animal). It was incredible! Having driven singles and teams for years, sticking that thrid horse out in front is a real trip. I thought it couldn't get any better. Then we changed lead horses. One of the wheel mares was really forward and the lead mare a bit unsure. So- swap 'em. Holy S**t. Forward wheel mare turned out to be Fire Breathing Go-Yonder leader. Hit the end of the traces and stay there until told otherwise. She was the perfect drive. Was. Lost her a few years ago, only have one son out of her, no filly. :( Two years before the next FBG-Y prospect is ring ready.

fuglyhorseoftheday said...

VT, your description of how your mare came to you sounds JUST like Lucy.

Last night, I walked up to her and she actually let me pet her on the shoulder without leaving. First time ever.

Nagonmom said...

This is an odd coincidence. Three weeks ago I took my first reining lesson, actually a pity lesson a local reining trainer gave because his wife, a co-worker, twisted his arm. He doesn't do lessons. He put me on their 5 year old reiner, and he dazzled me. I have never been on a well trained horse before, never. And the rerider fears vanished!! I have had 2 more lessons, and I am obsessed. I could go on and on about how light a cue this horse responds to, about how yes I can get the correct lead if I am on the right horse. Prior to this horse, I just wanted a horse that wouldn't put my life at excess risk. Now I want a horse that is broke, in the sense of doing what is asked and being fun to ride. This is truly a life changing event for me, and for one of my horses, as I am getting trainer to take him, probably against his better judgement!! He's a Percheron-Arab, think he'll rein? LOL I just want to be able to ride him and have fun.We need to remember that we're supposed to have fun with out horses!!

Nagonmom said...

Opps, knew I should have edited that last sentence. That should be fun with our horses.

rf said...

I tried cutting a few years ago. LOVED it. I had bought a bred mare who turned out to be a finished cutting horse. Unfortuneately, she died of West Nile (YES she was vaccinated). When I can afford one, I'll be getting myself one. Right now I'm trying Working Cow Horse on the soured out reiner I got. He's got the ears back, mouth open "get 'em" expression. Not sour anymore, thank you.
As to bringing old broodies back into work, the mare my son uses for gymkhana is an ex-PMU mare. She loves her job and does great at it.
Glad you had a fun time cutting. Trying new things is great.

Princess Jess said...

Elly-

I'm really interested in the browband thing. What is that supposed to do? I've never heard of it.

LoveisaTB said...

A Few years back I worked for a private farm. They bred a couple warmbloods and bought and sold horses for team penning. One of the horses I rode for them was little buckskin the woman had bought for her penning horse. Time came for a meet and she didn't want to ride so I took him. I got the job of running the cows down to the pen. That little horse was so fast and so focused on that cow, it was awesome. As a dressage/event rider it was pretty different for me but I absolutely loved it. To this day if I could have a fun horse just to mess around on, I'd make sure he had cow in him and I would show up at the pennings, helmet and all.

Elly said...

Jess,

Sometimes the browband ends fall on points on the head that with some horses find uncomfortable. To all intents and purposes the bridle fits correctly, certainly visually. Think what it feels like for us if you wear glasses or a plastic alice band, where the ends go behind the ears. That intense sensation can be too much for some horses and it results initially in the snaking of the head and head shaking. With a youngster that is getting used to the bridle, bit and rein pressure this behaviout gets ignored as being part of the breaking process. As time goes on, the behaviour starts to extend to biting, snaking, nashing of teeth, refusal to move forward, stamping of the front feet and if pushed the horse will do everything in its power to get you off, only it's not you it's trying to get off, it's the bridle but he can't make the connection between the two.
It'll take a couple of seesions without as there will be an association. You can also try a bit attached to the headcollar (you can buy the convertors).

PadraiginWA said...

The area in which I grew up riding had gently rolling hills all around and long snowy winters...one day my dad decided he would buy me a sleigh and a harness. What a hoot it was to work my little bay horse on long lines and then to hitch him up to his antique red sleigh and go flying down the road at a swift trot. We had a blast! We also went ski-joring! That was fun, too~

rachelek03 said...

Ive been a western rider all my life and recently started jumping with my recently rescued OTTB and I LOVE it. He isnt quite sure about it all yet but he is so willing and awesome. I cant wait until we are ready to show next year I know he will do awesome!

Shadow Rider said...

Well, I'm the opposite of you, friday I got on my first greenie in a long while. I have a 17h perch gelding who is a former carriage horse, but had not a clue about being ridden. We had 30 min. of discussion about forward motion, and go where I steer, and after a couple of half hearted crowhops, he started to move forward for more that 2 steps at a time. But by the end of the ride, he was listening to leg, and it only took about 4 drumbeats of my heel to get him moving, 4 more and a loud TROT!! to get a trot, and steering wasn't quite so wobbly. (Obviously woods and trails are new, we had to look at everything, and where that 50 pound head looks, the body follows)
But the advantage to a 15 yr old greenie, is he got it, and that was it. Rode him the next day, got walk/trot/canter (woo-hoo!) on cue, no fuss. Still wobbly steering, but that will come. My legs are still recovering from it though! Wow, I had forgotten what it was like to ride a horse you have to constanly work with your legs on.
Yesterday I rode my very forward 21 yr old TWH, with feather light sides, and sooo appreciated her!

sidetracked said...

I like to think that I can be well versed in the horse world. I primarily ride hunter and equatition with an occasional jumper show thrown in for shits and giggles. I marshaled the STB races on my appy last year which was a blast. I rode dressage before my hunter days. I've done some vaulting which was cool but I need more speed than that.

This sping I got on my friends endurance arab gelding who was still kind of green. He had done some smaller competitioins and stuff but could be a little naughty, like bucking and not always holding his pace. I have to say that I had a blast and she offered to have me ride in a 50 miler later this fall on him. I think I just may do it. I loved riding this gelding. He's a little taller than most, 16 hands but is just a blast. He goes down hills, through the woods, dirt, grass water and everything else at any speed you want and is as sure footed as they come. It was cool and I fnd that any equestrian sport is passion and dedication and you can never really do well unless you have a willing partner. I'm not one of those typical english snobs, I'll do anything as long as it has to do with horses.

Tilly said...

I'm a dressage queen wannabe, but tried cow sorting about two years ago. I LOVED IT!! I came home from S. Cal. back to SC and looked for a local cow sorting/team penning group and couldn't find one. I've added a working cow horse to my list of "dream horses."

Misty's Mom said...

I hate people who see a horse skidding to a stop in fear and see athleticism in their fear and say, "wow, that would be a great reiner!". Same goes for people who look for cutters by the athleticism they show when they are afraid. Horses like Kimmie are the only ones for the cutting profession. Dominance Rules! (literally)