Monday, January 19, 2009

Sunday Jan 18, 2009 Oh What a Beautiful Day!

Mid January and can you believe Kirstin is wearing short sleeves. The weather here in Texas has been unusually warm & terribly dry. Anyone who has excess rain, please send it our way. We have fed so much hay this winter. The cows & horses have nothing to eat except what we feed them. I'm sure they don't mind getting the grain & hay but my pocketbook sure does. We're used to buying hay for the horses, but we normally bale the hay that we feed our cattle. We couldn't bale this past year because it was too dry. So now we are having to buy hay for both cows & horses.

Taz is in a new field so much of what he is experiencing is new to him. Notice the new saddle blanket, doesn't it look really nice with Taz's new saddle. It took a couple of days to get the new saddle blanket on him, he didn't like the idea of something new & strange going on his back. But now that he has used it a couple of times he is OK with it.

These two are becoming really good friends(the horses, that is). The other two are sisters and have always gotten along pretty well. Jamie, Kirstin's sister finds riding Taz confusing so she only rides Trigger. She just can't seem to get the riding by leg cues down. I think I 've said it before, Trigger isn't trained to ride by leg cues, he is completely neck reined, so for the beginner rider he is a perfect horse. Kirstin now loves to ride by leg cues, so she has been trying to teach Trigger some leg cues. Trigger is a little on the thin side. About 6 months ago he injured his hind legs pretty severely. He apparently tried to mule kick our neighbor's gelding(which is completely out of character for him) through their fence and got both of his hind legs hung up in the woven wire they have surrounding their property. Fortunately, he stayed relatively calm otherwise the damage could have been devastating. Our horses are now fenced away from our neighbor's place so that won't happen again. Whenever he stresses out, he loses weight and we have to work really hard to get it back on him. He is definitely opposite of the Mustangs-he is a very hard keeper. He is finally completely healed and is starting to put the weight back on and Kirstin is working on getting him back into shape for the upcoming drill team/playday season.

Sunday, 1-18-09 cont'd

Taz & Trigger spend some time getting close. This is something Taz isn't real comfortable with just yet. He doesn't like being real close to another horse. So it is something Kirstin spends a lot of time doing. Trigger is very accepting of just about anything so he's the perfect horse to practice with. Trigger is about 14 years old and he is the most reliable horse any one could ask for. Kirstin uses Trigger for all of her playday activities-he loves to run barrels and even though he has never been trained for barrels he always places in the top 4. Kirstin even did an exhibition barrel run at our local rodeo right after she was crowned Rodeo Queen and he ran the barrels 2 seconds slower than the horse that won. Not bad for an old general purpose horse without any formal training of any kind. I think it's because he is a show off. When he gets in front of a crowd-he has a different demeanor about him-his head goes up in the air and he starts prancing around as if to say look at me.

This is Taz & Summer. Summer is an old mare that we took on out of pity. The owner couldn't keep her and he wanted her to go to someone he knew would take care of her. Enter us. Summer has her problems-like not wanting to be saddled, freezing in place when she's doesn't want to ride anymore(seriously, she plants her feet and it takes an act of congress to get her moving again), but she's ours now. Summer doesn't like Taz very much.

Here are the three just enjoying the mid-afternoon ride. It is so dry out here in Texas that not even irrigating is helping the grass much. The irrigation pipes make a nice obstacle for the horses. The horses really enjoyed this change of scenery. These 3 rode for about 1 1/2 hours. All three of the horses needed the exercise badly. With the shorter days, they don't get much exercise during the week days. Usually Taz is the only one who gets worked with during the week and during the weekend there usually aren't enough bodies to exercise all of them together. So this was a nice change of pace for all three of the horses. Not to mention, they all practiced some of the drill team maneuvers trying to get Tas OK with having a horse on both sides of him. Difficult considering Taz & Summer really don't like one another. Summer tried on several times to kick Taz(she's not normally a kicker), which made Taz not want to walk anywhere near her. Trigger & Taz on the other hand are OK with each other and can walk pretty close together.

Here they are enjoying a cool drink of water. Taz unlike the other two who gingerly drank, decided he was going to play in the water-sticking half of his head in the water. You can't see it on the picture, but the side of the water trough where he is standing is wet from the water that he splashed out. This afternoon was so much fun for the three of them and I love to watch them, esp Taz. He still approaches everything like he is seeing it for the first time. The cistern was filling up so he wasn't sure about going to get a drink, Kirstin had to take if slowly at first(this part of the field was new to him). Obviously, he decided that he wasn't going to get eaten by the big concrete cistern and that the cool, fresh water was really good, esp. when you take into account that the temps were in the upper 70s and they had been out there for awhile. Kirstin is slowly learning that Taz's freak outs aren't really freak outs. He collects very nicely after getting scared by something. Next weekend Kirstin is going to another clinic hosted by Mark Lyon. This clinic is general horsemanship one day and the next day will include a trail ride with obstacles which is something that Kirstin & Taz both need to experience. The more they are exposed to the more they get comfortable with each other. Kirstin learns Taz's body language and Taz learns Kirstin's body language. They both seem to speak to each other, I could watch the two all day long.

Kirstin's other Mustang-Sakari

Kirstin's experience with the yearlings & Taz has given her a new sense of determination to break Sakari. We adopted Sakari for Kirstin 3 years ago and we sent her off to be trained 2 years ago, only to have her returned $1200 later worse than what she was when she left. When she left Kirstin(who at that time was only 12) was able to throw a saddle blanket on her and put a surcingle on her, when she came back she would have nothing to do with a saddle blanket or much of anything else. So after that Sakari has just been what my husband calls a pasture ornament. She has a very sweet demeanor, but she is still very intune with her wild side.

Flagging is something Sakari hates. She never has liked anything flying-flapping around her. She was very nervous with this when Kirstin stated this exercise, but as you can see, she is starting to accept that the flag is not going to eat her.

Job well done. Sakari loves to have her head scratched. I don't know if you can see her mane, but she has the most beautiful mane, it goes all the way down to her mid-shoulder. She's not a real big horse only about 13.5-14 hands and this past fall she got very overweight-she's a very easy keeper. Kirstin has been longeing her on a regular basis and she is starting to look really good. Kirstin longes her without using a longe line and has already trained her to stop and face her, turn when asked and come to her when she clucks. It's really neat to watch the two of them.