It is Thursday again and that means it is Tip of the Week Time. I have not been a very good blogger this week, but I have been pretty busy and I am sick again! I am so sick of being sick! But that is no excuse. I will get 2 posts in this week.
As some of you know, this week I have had a job shadower. One of my high school lesson students got a week off of school and choose to come see what I do on a day to day basis. I may see if I can get her to do a post about her experience and what my life is like through the eyes of an outsider. I know she has told me quite a few times, I have never seen it done quite that way or man that was different. At least I know she is learning and seeing new things.
Yesterday, it rained in the afternoon so I sat down and had a nice talk with Caroline. I asked her what her goals were. It is almost the end of January, show season is getting ready to start and she needed to get some goals in mind. The first thing our of her mouth was to outrun a certain person she is always competing with. I stopped her right there and told her no way. You cannot judge yourself or your horse based on someone else. You can only judge yourself against yourself. By the end of our talk we had several great goals figured out. Caroline is a high school student that would like to get some scholarships when it is that time. Therefore we set goals to go to at least 2 shows a month. If she is serious, she needs as much as experience and exposure as possible. She just started running barrels last year and is a little behind the curve as far as competition experience goes. We also decided that she would like to try to qualify for World Finals. Another one of her goals is to outrun her current fastest time. Do you see the difference between these goals and her first goal of beating one person?
So this week, my tip to you is to set reasonable, attainable, and measurable goals that you can reach. Good luck!
One question I get asked quite often is about reins. So many people have different opinions about how long your reins should be. I am going to tell you what works for me and my students, this is by no means the only way to have your reins when you are running barrels. If you are having issues, send me a picture or video of you running your horse, or seek the help of a trainer in your area. Rein length depends on the rider’s arm and horse’s neck length, so you will have to play with your reins and see what works for you.
Several riders go out and try to run with their reins WAY too long. This causes you to get behind your horse because it takes so much time for you to get your hands in the right place and get a reaction from your horse. Things happen too fast in barrel racing to not be able to get ahold of your horse if you need too. Also, when you ride with your reins too short, you cannot give your horse his head and really let him run.
My rule of thumb when determining the length of my barrel racing reins is when I am sitting on my horse getting ready to run, I want to pick up the reins and take the slack out. The reins should be about an inch or two in front of my saddle horn. If I touch my saddle horn with my reins I want my horse backing.
I only use my reins this short when I am at a barrel race getting ready to make a run. Otherwise I am using roping reins or long split reins.
Hope this helps!
As all of you know, today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day. One of the most important speeches Dr. King made was his “I Have A Dream Speech”. Well I am not harping on Dr. King and his accomplishments because that is not what this blog is about. This blog is about my life and my horses. The power of dreams have affected my life immensely over the years. I also teach all of my students to dream big. With big dreams, a good plan, and hard work anything is possible. I took some time to find some of my favorite dream quotes and I figured I would share them today. Enjoy!
Which is your favorite? Do you have any quotes that inspire you? I would love to hear from you!
This Thursday’s Tip of the Week is all about taking care of your horse. Sometimes your horses need a little extra care. I give all my horses supplements. Everyday all of my training, lessons, and running horses get supplements in their feed. I use my supplement program as a preventative. I feed good, fresh, quality feed and then I mix in my supplements. All of my horses get Actiflex 4000, corn oil, and diatomaceous earth. Other than those supplements, I custom blend the other supplements based on what each horse needs. The Actiflex 4000 is an amazing joint supplement. It is made here in the great state of South Carolina. I really love this product. Years ago I did not use it and one of my older open horses started getting some arthritis, well I put him on Actiflex and I saw results almost immediately. Since then I put that in all of my feed. I also mix diatomaceous earth. Last summer Willie was having some digestive issues. I spent a ton of money having blood work and scopes done. Everything came back fine but he was having liquid projectile farts. It was SICKENING! I was getting nothing done because I would was his back legs as many as 5 times each day. Finally my vet said we could try the DE. I did and it worked. I now put a tiny amount in all of my horses feed. It says it can be used as a wormer, but I still use wormer once a quarter. I also use corn oil to help the supplements stick to the feed so pickier horses cannot eat around the supplements. The oil also helps make coats soft. Willie gets a supplement called STP, which is also by the makers of Actiflex, for two days before he runs and two days after he makes a run. I just do this so hopefully he is not in any pain. He seems great, but he is getting older so I do this to keep him comfortable and enjoying his job. I also have a rescue horse that I sold before and got a call I needed to come pick him up. I supplement him with green peas to give him some added protein. I do this for all my younger horses.
This is a picture of what Willie’s feed looks like everyday.
Here are some photos of the supplements I use.
Here are a few things to keep my horses healthy, happy, and performing at their best. Do you feed supplements, if so what do you feed?
Next week’s tip will be about the length of your barrel racing reins! Stay tuned.
This weekend I traded Miley the lesson pony for Diva, a 2 year old filly. She is hopefully going to be my 2015 futurity horse. Right now 2015 looks like it is going to be a crazy year as far as futurity horses go. I already have 3 that I will be riding if everything goes as planned. Well yesterday, I got Diva to the farm. I left her at my sister in laws Sunday night and we loaded up Monday morning and came home. When I got her home, I put her in a smaller pasture by herself to try to let everyone see her and smell her before just throwing her in with everyone. I did some work, worked a few other horses and then went back to check on her. The lady I got her from said she was friendly, but you never know with young horses so I left her halter on her just to make it easier to catch her. She let me walk right up to her. I petted and loved on her for a minute and then left and went to work more horses. After I finished working horses, I separated everyone into their feeding group. I put Diva in with Willie. Willie is my good barrel horse that has been there, done that, and phased by nothing. He didn’t even bother to walk over an smell her. Then I feed up. Well Diva really is a Diva. She has a lot of growing up to do if she is going to fit in at my place. She was scared of MC in the feeder and refused to go eat. What a DIVA! Then it rained all last week and heaven forbid she have to walk through the mud. Can you say DIVA?
Isn’t MC at the feeder absolutely terrifying. LOL!
Diva came with all her AQHA paperwork so now my goal is to get all that taken care of and sent in this week. I have to sit down and come up with name choices. I am terrible at naming horses. Her dam is by Shes Olive That by Artful Investment and her sire is Super Lucky Guy. I need to see if I can pull from there names but that will be one of my evening projects. I may be asking for your help this week so keep checking back. But in the meantime here are a few pictures of Diva and Artful Investment.
Well as some of you know this weekend I made a trade. I traded a lesson horse for a 2 year old filly that is a 2014 futurity prospect. Last summer, I bought Miley for a student of mine. After a few weeks the student decided horse ownership was not for her so I bought Miley back. She has been used as my lesson pony since then. I loaned her to a family to take to a Junior Rodeo and I took a different student to her first show on Miley. Miley was great! She was just stubborn enough to make a student work, but easy enough that she was a great learning tool. If you didn’t ask correctly you didn’t get what you wanted. I love horses like that, but sadly Miley was much too nice of a horse to only be used for a few lessons a month. Most of my students have their own horses or I use other horses at the farm. If Miley was just 3 inches taller, you could have NEVER gotten me to sell or trade her. Jacob loved her too.
Sunday morning we got up, hooked up the truck and trailer, and went to get Miley ready. It rained all last week so I washed her legs and trimmed her up. Jacob had to help brush her and wash her legs. He even rode her to the trailer. Then he had to say goodbye. It was actually quite sad. Then we hit the road. Chet was the driver for the day, since I am still a little sick he decided to go help out (sometimes he really is the best husband ever!). The horse I was trading for was about an hour away. When we got to the farm, the lady I was trading with was so happy to see Miley. I felt really good about trading. Miley will get put to use giving several lessons each week and teaching students all about how to ride correctly. That is what she is good at and what she enjoys so even though I liked her, it was not in her best interest for me to keep her. I feel like one of the most rewarding parts of my job is helping a horse be happy and succeed. Miley will do great at her new home.
Then we put Diva on the trailer and off we went. We took her to my sister in laws place and kept her there till I went back home Monday morning. She seemed quite nice, but I did not have much time to spend with her. I will be doing another post all about her soon. Please disregard how nasty she looks, and she must have a new halter. I promise she is much cuter than the photo shows.
Man o man it has been a boring week around here. You hardly ever hear me say that my life is boring. Well actually it is not boring, but Chet and I have been sick. Chet is finally getting better. I feel better, but I am still very dizzy. I missed out on taking care of several things I needed to do this week, but health comes first. Last Saturday, I delivered Lola to her new home. She was a mare that I had been working with to sell for a client. Hopefully she will excel at her new job. The rest of the week was pretty normal. I worked and gave lessons. Saturday I was supposed to go to a barrel race with a few students. Since I am dizzy I was not able to go since I cannot drive. There is another barrel race in 2 weeks so I better be ready by then. I am really excited about what this next week holds in store. I will keep you informed and hopefully this week will be more exciting that last!