Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas morning, Yes, it was warm enough for short sleeves. Kirstin was surprised to find a beautiful saddle in a huge box waiting under the Christmas tree. Our old saddles that we have were actually to small for Taz. Taz has a much broader back than all of our other horses, so the saddle that Kirstin has been using just didn't sit right on his back and always seemed to pop up in the back. This is a Court Saddle made in Bryan, Tx. According to the saddle people at D & D Court is one of the few saddle makers that have a slightly larger tree so it fits the broader back horses better. It's heavier than the one that Kirstin is used to using so it was quite funny watching her hoist the saddle on to Taz, plus I think Taz has grown a couple of inches since we brought him home. The saddle looks great on him, but I think I need to get her a lighter colored saddle pad to make the ensemble look really great.

Kirstin & Taz were in our local paper again. I had sent in the Christmas picture of her & Taz, you know the one where Kirstin is wearing a Santa hat & Taz is wearing nothing. And they put that picture on the front page of the Ag section of our local paper with a little blurp about her & Taz and what they have been up to since the adoption. It appeared in the Christmas Eve paper with the caption of "Merry Christmas". It was too cool!

Kirstin takes Taz for a spin with his new saddle. She can't believe the difference in how this saddle feels compared to the one she has been using. It is so much more comfortable. If it feels that much better to her, I just wonder how much better it feels to Taz?

Having a little fun, Taz loves it when we turn a calf loose in the pen.

Just thought this was kind of cool looking. We are surrounded by woods which makes for a really neat background.

Taz meets Kirstin's nephew Daniel. Daniel must of had something sweet smelling on his hands because Taz just kept sniffing his hands.

Everybody loves Taz, even Kirstin's older brother, Derrick. Derrick jumped on Taz's back and took him for a spin, but only in the round pen. He doesn't ride horses as often as Kirstin, so we figured it would be best to keep him in an enclosed area.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

EMM videos

Just got our EMM Videos yesterday. Kirstin & I spent the evening going through the Idols competition so that we could see Taz in action. Watching those videos just made us appreciate Taz's abilities even more. He & Careen were flawless in their Horse Course and the Finals competition. I was truly amazed with their performances. It was amazing to watch knowing what we know and to hear Kirstin say I can do that with Taz was too cool for words.
It was nice to revisit our time at the show and watch the trainers we met in action. We missed so much of the riding competition because of the yearling competition.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Kirstin's going to kill me

Just wanted to prove that Kirstin has a girly side to her. Very rarely will you ever see her in a dress, but she wanted to go to her very first High School Winter Formal. She prefers her blue jeans and t-shirt with her hair up in a ponytail, but this is a nice change. She looked beautiful for her first "formal" but she's beautiful with or without the fancy clothing, hair and makeup.

I've mentioned before that Kirstin loves Basketball and is a starter on the Junior Varsity Team. I was lucky enough to win a couple of fabulous Spurs Tickets at my Company's Christmas Party. We were 10 rows from the court. Here are the Spurs warming up, you might recognize Tony Parker and Tim Duncan. It was a great game and the Spurs won. Yeah. Kirstin had a really good time and this was an opportunity of a lifetime for her-we're usually in the nose bleed section when we go to something like this.

Here is Kirstin watching the pre-game activities.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


That's the only word that seems to fit. Kirstin wanted to take a picture for Christmas cards and this is what I got.

Friday, December 5, 2008


These 2 are one heck of a pair. Just look at the contentment on Taz's face.

Must be nice to be young and have no fear!

Thanksgiving morning and Kirstin announces she is going to ride Taz bareback with only the bridle on, but no reins. Her she is stopping him.

Kirstin loves to ride Taz bareback. He has such a smooth gait, that he is actually comfortable to ride bareback. Impeccable balance-finally those English riding lessons Kirstin took when she was just 4 years old are paying off. We lived in Germany at that time and the stable we went to only did English lessons. She doesn't ride English anymore, but many of the lessons can be applied to Western riding.

They both are so comfortable with each other.

Kirstin & Taz never cease to amaze us. Kirstin is so at home on a horse's back and you can see it in the way horses behave for her. I can't help but be in awe when a person has command of such a big animal without being overbearing or domineering. They seem to speak to one another and understand what each is asking of each other.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Kirstin riding Taz bridleless

We all knew this was bound to happen sooner or later. Kirstin has been working up to this day for a while now. She has always been amazed at Taz's response to leg pressure and has been practicing no hands riding for a while now. Today she slowly worked up the nerve to completely remove the bridle. Taz did great and Kirstin was blown away. For obvious reason, she did this work in the round pen. It will be a while before Kirstin is ready to try this outside the pen.

Riding Bridleless

Here Kirstin is riding completely bridleless, halterless, reinless & no neck rope. Taz did really well. Stopping was a little on the slow side, but he stopped just the same. Kirstin just has to work on getting her seat right to make the stop without the reins.

She was even able to get him to turn.

Taz at a trot-no bridle

Kirstin proving that there is nothing in her hands. She had to work up to no bridle slowly. Here she is with the halter on, but no reins.

riding bridleless

Taz's stops were a little on the slow side. This was the first time Kirstin tried stopping him, he went from a trot, to a walk, to the stop.

Kirstin is still working up the nerve to remove the halter. She made Taz walk & trot with just the halter on until she finally got brave enough to...

remove his halter and go completely bridleless.

Kirstin really enjoyed riding him bridleless, she was truly amazed at his responsiveness without the use of a bridle. Now she just has to practice getting him to stop immediately without the use of reins.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Kirstin's other passion

For those wondering where Kirstin has been, she has another passion(I can hear the gasps):) Basketball. She is a freshman this year so she is playing on the junior varsity team and she is a starter. She loves basketball. She is the girl in purple on the lower portion of the picture, she is defending #20 in white. She has to go to basketball practice everyday after school and it usually lasts until 5:15/5:30ish which puts us home just before dark. Gives her just enough time to feed her horses before it gets too dark. Kirstin now only has the weekends to work with her horses. We were a little concerned about Taz having so many days off, but he takes it in stride, probably enjoying the break. He does wonderfully even though Kirstin no longer gets to work with him daily-this past weekend was perfect proof of that.

This is a picture of the 2 champs(horses)-Christian is the Legend's champion and Taz is the Idol's champion. It was such an awesome experience for Kirstin to get to ride with everyone that was there. In usual Mustang Makeover fashion, everyone was so friendly and helpful. Mark has a wonderful sense of humor and was able to convey his message no matter what level the person or their horse was at. Kirstin learned so much from this clinic as did I.

This was right after Kirstin finished her calf work. Mark had made a comment early on that they were here as a training clinic. During training you always put your horse first. During competition is when you put the calf first. At the end of Kirstin's run, Mark made a comment about Kirstin's good horsemanship because during her run she put the horse first just like he said. She was beaming ear to ear. Nothing makes a teenagers day like a compliment especially from someone who she looks up to.

Here is Kirstin waiting her turn to do the calf exercise. You might recognize the 2 people to the right of Kirstin-That is Careen Hammock and Lorrie Grover. Kirstin being able to participate with and learn from these trainers was just an extraordinary experience for her. She was like a sponge all day, soaking in all of the information.

Here is Careen on Taz and Kirstin on Scarlet. Scarlet is in training, Careen had brought her up to the clinic. Scarlet's owners were there and should be impressed with Scarlet's training, Careen has done another fantastic job. Kirstin was so excited to be able to visit with Careen again.

This was one of the many excercises that the clinic participants did. Before working with the calf, they worked in pairs so that they could get the idea of what to do. Here they are mirroring one another-they would go down to one end of the arena and pivot chase each other down to the other end. I'm sure that I'm not explaining it correctly, but hopefully, you get the jest of what they were doing.
This was as you can tell an unbelievable experience for Kirstin. Getting to reunite with so many EMM trainers was wonderful. During the reunion luncheon each one of the trainers got to introduce themselves and recount their memories of their training experience. It is really amazing to be with so many people who share your passion. We heard the good and the bad-there's not always a happy ending, but everyone was so open and honest about their experience. We have come to find that Mustang Makeover Trainers are the nicest people around-for them it's not about the competition-it's about the horse and that is what sets them apart from so many others.

Mark Lyon clinic

Kirstin says that I am becoming very technology smart, but I guess I will never figure out the order in which these pictures download, they aren't in the order that I wanted them but oh well. This is a picture of Kirstin working one of the calves that were at the clinic. Mark is on the other side. The object is to keep the calf between the two of them. Kirstin & Taz did a really good job considering Kirstin has never worked cattle on horseback(but plenty on foot).

Here Kirstin & Taz are tracking a calf. This is suppose to teach the horse that he is suppose to be watching & following this calf. Kirstin had done this before while playing around with some of our calves at home.

Here Mark is doing part of his final's preformance for us. This is called the pole dance. It is so awesome to see this.

This was one of the high points of the day-a reunion with Taz & his trainer, Careen. Here Careen is riding Taz and Kirstin is riding Careen's horse Scarlet. Careen is training Scarlet for someone and she wanted to see how well Scarlet moved. The owners were at the clinic and I think they liked the idea of seeing a 14 year old ride their horse, says a lot for the horse's training.

This was a pre-clinic warm up. They were working on their stops at different speeds.

Monday, November 3, 2008

EMM clinic

No new pics to post, Kirstin forgot to bring the camera to drill team practice. She took Taz to drill team yesterday. I wasn't able to attend because of work and husband/dad thinks I take way to many pictures so I left the camera detail to Kirstin. Well as usual they were running late and she forgot to pick up the camera before they left. Things went well with the drill team. Kirstin was actually able to run a large portion of the drill, Taz still doesn't like horses running directly at him and isn't 100% sure about riding knee to knee so Kirstin has to work on that. She also has to work on flag carrying if she wants to participate in the flag drill. Luckily this is the practice season, so there is plenty of time for her to work on it. Drill won't actually begin until after the new year.

On a more exciting note: Kirstin is going to go to the Mark Lyon clinic that he is hosting in Bertram and she is taking Taz. We live about 2-3 hours away and we figured this would be a great opportunity for Kirstin & Taz. I haven't told Kirstin yet that I have her signed up, my husband & I were in the talking about it stage, but I bit the bullet and called this morning to sign her up. I know that she will be so excited and I'm going to hear I can't wait til the 15th or I wished it was the 15th for the next 2 weeks. Just found out the Careen(Taz's trainer) is going to be there, so now Kirstin is going to be really excited. She was hoping that Careen could make it. She was thinking out loud yesterday, saying something to the effect about how cool it would be if Careen could come and they got to ride together. So now she will get to do that. Of course you all know me, plenty of pics to come

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Nothing new this weekend. No parade, but my dad is taking me to his Alma Mater-Texas A&M University so I can watch my first live college football game. Hope A&M wins, I am really eager to watch the Aggie Band march. My dad was a member of the Fighting Texas Aggie Band and the stories he tells about the half-time shows are something else. I will let you know how it goes.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Thought this was a pretty setting with the American flag in the background. Kirstin is having so much fun exposing Taz to so many new sights and sounds. It is so amazing to watch him as he processes everything around him. It is almost like seeing things through a child's eyes. He notices the smallest of details and you can see it on his face. He is so trusting of Kirstin though. He knows that she want mislead him and that things will be ok. Sometimes, it takes a couple of tries for him to accept things, but in the end he always does. What an incredible bond these two have formed.

Taz & Kirstin after the parade

Kirstin & Taz had a couple of important visitors. Here talking to Kirstin about Taz is Wilson County Judge Marvin Quinney. He had heard about Kirstin(her grandpa likes to brag) so he came over and introduced himself. As you can see Taz is behaving himself-maybe he knows that's the Judge there(haha)!

Here is the Constable from Precinct 3. He talked to Kirstin for quite a long time. He was really impressed with how well the two were doing.
Kirstin & Taz are taking in some of the post-parade activities. There is a band playing just on the other side of the fence. Some people roaming through different booths that were set up and then the brightly, colored flapping streamers that Taz had to check out. Luckily he didn't try eating any.

Taz likes to drink out of bottles. We learned this at his first parade. Makes it easy to keep him hydrated. So now we always make sure we have some extra water for him. This was really the sight for a lot of people-a horse drinking out of a bottle.

Taz & Kirstin at their 3rd parade

These loaded in reverse order, but I guess that's okay. This is a picture of Kirstin & Taz watching the reminder of the parade. They were entrant # 12 so they were done early on. We told her to pull off right here close to the announcing stand so that she could watch the rest of the parade. It was so cool, as the announcer was reading the blurb about Taz, Kirstin was sidepassing him for the crowd. This was a local parade, so a lot of the people had already read about Kirstin & Taz. Kirstin even had some people yelling from the sidelines: "Good job Taz!"-Cool, right? They recognized them from the newspaper. A couple of weeks ago they were in the paper with a headline of "Taz makes Debut" It was a picture of Kirstin & Taz from their first parade. Pictured with Kirstin is her dad and her grandma.

While waiting for the parade to start, Kirstin was doing some riding around. More to get Taz accustomed to different sights and sounds than anything else. We came upon some rodeo clowns from the San Antonion Livestock Show float and they were nice enough to pose for a pic with Kirstin & Taz. Taz wasn't bothered in the least bit by the bright colors or the hankerchiefs flapping around.

This reminded both Kirstin & me of the Cuero parade and the Lion statue. You have to look at the picture underneath to see Taz's initial reaction. Kirstin had to ride him by this trailer several times before he decided to get close enough to check it out. This was a Kodak moment for several people. They all got a kick out of the horse checking out the pig. Taz wouldn't get any closer to the calf that is in the bed of the truck.
There's a lot of stuff that goes on behind the scenes of parades where the floats, bands, cars are all lined up. It is full of sound and comotion that could rile even the calmest of horses. I have been so impressed with Taz's ability to absorp all that is going on without getting too nervous. He has always taken everything in stride. It was so awesome for Kirstin to be at a local parade where people knew her and had read about Taz. They got to see firsthand, Kirstin's dedication to this amazing horse.
Getting by these floats the first time around, Kirstin had to dismount and lead Taz through. Not sure if it was the floats to the left of him or the people with umbrellas to the right of him(his left/right). Kirstin eventually got him to walk by without any problem. Just a matter of showing him that he wasn't going to get eaten by the pretty girls with shiny dresses on.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Taz meets Kirstin's drill team

Same night as the parade, so Taz was really busy Saturday. Kirstin was so excited to be going to drill team because she has been dying to get Taz into an arena. It didn't take her long before she opened him up. They were captivating out there. Everyone was watching them, asking who's the new pony? We filled them all in on Taz's history. Everyone commented on how nicely he moved. She had the biggest smile on her face all evening long.

Kirstin just couldn't stop riding him, she loves the way he moves. She says that he is so smooth. She was so funny because her dad made her get off so that he could take him for a spin and she looked at me and said I want my horse back. She stood in the middle of the arena until her dad was done. Of course, Kirstin looks better on him than her dad(lol).

It's getting late here, but they are playing horse games now. This was Simon Says. Kirstin and Taz were doing great and were one of only 4 players left. The leader had them line up and then told them to do a 180 degree spin. Well Taz spun so fast that Kirstin couldn't stop him at 180, but he did a fantastic 360 degree spin.

Here's the group at the end, Kirstin & Taz are the dark ones between the two lighter colored horses. Kirstin was really concerned about Taz wanting to ride right next to another horse & rider but it didnt faze him at all. The only thing he didn't like was when they were doing a relay race and the horse & rider were running full speed straight at him. All he did then was move out of their way. He had no problem holding his own at there with all of them.