It is finally spring! Thank goodness! I am so ready for warmer temperatures and nice days to ride. Although, so far the weather this spring has been worse than 85% of our winter. It is starting to warm up and be pretty finally. The plants are starting to bloom and babies are being born. Oh, and the horses are shedding. I go home covered in horse hair every evening! I am hoping to do a little flower planting this week. I am addicted to Gerber Daisys! I have never really done any planting before so wish me luck! We will see how it goes. It is kind of sad and scary, I always gave my Mom a hard time about her flowers, but as I am getting older I am turning into her!
One of my lesson students boards her horse at a farm that is more like a petting zoo. They have a little bit of everything. Every time I go give lessons there I have to ask what all has been born since the last time I was there. So far they have a calf, kids, ducks, lambs, alpacas, and chicks. I love baby animals…Too cute!
I figured I would share a few spring pictures I have been snapping lately. How is spring going where you are?
Well I missed last week’s Thursday tip again. I had no clue that my life would be this busy. I really need an assistant. I cannot keep up, but enough complaining…Here is this Thursday’s tip of the week!
I have a student who has owned horses previously as a child and now got back into horses as an adult. Money was a bit of an issue so she decided to get a 3 year old and do the training herself. She called me to help. We have had to start from scratch. The one thing I constantly remind her of is to end on a good note. I have the philosophy that if you are touching a horse, you are training that horse. Make it be a positive experience. This does not mean not to challenge your horse with new things, but never quit while the horse is winning. That reinforces negative behavior. If you feel yourself getting frustrated, get off and do groundwork or something the horse feels comfortable doing. Always end your session on a good note-it sets you up for a good ride the next day.
Until next week,
Well once again, I am behind. I know what you are thinking, go ahead and say it “Brittany you are always behind!” True, you are right, I pretty much am, but one of these days I will get caught up. I will just give you a quick run down of what all has been going on around the farm. Well to start, Willie, my good horse is hurt. He will be fine, he is getting a rest though and it is killing me. I want to start entering some bigger barrel races, but I need a healthy horse. I love my colts don’t get me wrong, but I like to haul them to local shows and jackpots to get them seasoned. So I am not sure what I am going to do about that.
Yesterday and today I am working on getting everyone on the place wormed. I am also catching everyone and giving them a good once over with the shedder. It is insane the amount of hair some of these horses are losing right now. The only thing that worries me is the fact that it is still pretty chilly in the mornings, but Mother Nature knows what she is doing. So far though, spring has been colder, windier, and wetter than most of our winter.
I have also picked up a few new lesson students that I am very excited about. One of my newbies is running Youth Rodeo in a different association than my other students so I am getting to meet all kinds of new people. Most people are very closed minded about change but I think it is a good thing. I can’t wait to see how everything works out over the course of the rodeo season. Here are a few pictures from our first rodeo in Wingate NC.
We are also getting ready to start putting up more fencing and building another barn. We have also decided the round pen needs some adjustments and we need a full sized arena on the farm. YAY! Can you say excitement! I love our place now, but these new additions will make it even better. I will be able to do much better clinics here, without having to travel, I will be able to take in more outside horses, and round penning the colts will not be such a pain. We plan to start working on this hopefully this weekend! I am sure there will be a ton of pictures.
I have also been working on some custom tack pieces! What have you been up to?
A few weeks on the Thursday tip I talked about fitting a bridle. Well the next week I was planning to talk about how to determine what size girth your horse needs. One of my twitter followers, and personal friends-who has now become a student asked this a few weeks ago after she got a new horse. Several people do not know the answer to this question. They have one or two girths in the barn that they force to fit on everything. This is not the best idea. When your girth does not fit you can run into several different problems. So I am going to teach you how to determine what size girth your horse needs.
The materials you will need for this are a horse, a soft tape measure, and possibly a calculator (depending how good you are with math).
First, you stand your horse on level ground then measure their heart girth. Wrap your soft tape measure all the way around the horse.
I decided to figure out what size girth Jacob’s pony Scooter needs. Sorry he is such a wooly booger! After you get the measurement, you divide the number by 2. And then you add 3. This will give you the size of the girth you need to buy. Most girth only come in even sizes so if you end up with and odd number, round up. Scooter measured a 53 so I divided by 2 and came up with 26.5 then I subtracted 3 and ended up with 23.5. I rounded up to 24.
Hope this helps you!
Everyone has different methods for getting their young horses going. Well I have my own personal philosophy on how I start my young ones and I figured I would share it with you today. As most of you know, almost 2 months ago I traded Miley, the lesson pony for Diva, the 2 year old. Well since I have had Diva it seems like all it has done is rain. I have not made nearly as much headway as I would have liked. That is okay though, she has made progress. When I got Diva she was WAY behind the curve. I like to have my 2 year olds pretty easy to deal with. This is just a quick overview of my training schedule with the horses that are raised here on the farm. As foals I let them be foals. I will pet on them and love them, but for the most part I leave them alone. When we wean them they get a halter put on and we start halter breaking them. By the time we put them back out they know how to lead and load on a trailer and have started being desensitized. Then they go back out to pasture to play and grow for a while. I try to let the babies be babies. As yearlings, they are brought in during the summer. They continue their halter training, get a trailer loading refresher, get hauled to some shows and learn to stand tied at the trailer, then they are started in the round pen. After they understand the round pen we continue desensitizing them, lunging them,and getting them soft to pressure. We also pony them with our older broke horses. That way they can go on trail rides and get used to seeing all the sites, they cross creeks, bridges, go up and down hills. After they have been in for a few months and are pretty good at everything they go back out until they are 2 year olds. As 2 year olds they are brought in, get a refresher course, and then start with saddle work. They will get about 10 rides then go back out till they are 3. As 3 year olds, the training actually starts. We believe in letting the horses be horses. Several people really start riding their horses as 2 year olds where we just like to get them started. Then as 3 year olds it is easy, bring them in, give them a refresher, then start work. They are stronger and more mentally mature as 3 year olds. I have had tons of success with this program. Even waiting till my horses are 3 I do not have an issue getting them ready for the 4 year old futurities. My goal is to have happy, successful horses that last.
Bella is a yearling this year. She will start getting worked with this summer. Hopefully we will have some interns to help us out! (For more about our internship program see here: http://wp.me/p21WYd-38)
Well Diva is behind the curve. She has had VERY little work done. When I first got her she was barely halter broke and it was a HUGE struggle to get her on the trailer. She is getting better, but we still have a long way to go. Now she is easy to load, can walk and trot on the lead line, when I stop she stops, she is starting to get soft to pressure, she backs up, she is starting to lunge and round pen. She has done great with all the desensitizing. We have also started ponying her. The other day I ponied her and took her on a trail ride. She has gotten better and by the end of the ride we were actually trotting some. Here are some pictures from our ride. (It is really had to get pictures when you are riding)
How do you start with your young ones? I would love to hear from you!
My Thursday tip for this week is all about fit. It was inspired by a few of my students/friends. A few weeks ago a friend of mine got a new horse. Since she got the horse she has had quite a few questions for me. Most were routine and I just texted her back the answer. A couple of the questions she asked however, were interesting and I asked a few of my students if they knew the answers and most of them did not. That got me thinking. How many people really do not know how to properly fit tack for their horses. With ill fitting tack, your horse cannot possibly compete or just ride to the best of their ability. Your horse deserves properly fitting tack, how do you feel when you try to wear pants that are too tight or even too big and you have to waste all day pulling your pants up-your horse is the same way. Today’s tip is about how to properly fit the bridle. Next week out tip will be about saddle fit and girth size so stay tuned.
When you fit a bridle for your horse, you generally want the bit to cause a wrinkle in your horses’ mouth. It will look like a smile. That is usually when the bridle is adjusted correctly, but you also need to check how tight your cheek pieces are because some horses hold a bit and it will look like the mouth is wrinkled. Last week I had a student that was having issues getting a horse to respond. The first thing I checked was the bit. Look at the picture below to see what I found! No wonder she was having issues. There was no way possible for her to get a response when her bridle was that loose. You want to be able to fit 2 fingers between your horse’s cheek and the cheek pieces of your bridle.
I hope this tip has helped you!