Kirstin hollered at me, hey mom look at his stops, so of course I broke out the camera. Kirstin always spends some time on his back riding in the round pen before she goes out on her own. This gives her a feel as to how Taz is reacting to her. After a couple of rounds, she then goes out on her own where ever the two feel like going. On this day she rode down the driveway(which is about 1/2 mile long) where her dad was doing some work on the road with the tractor. Taz doesn't have any problems with tractors, he is so used to them now and then she just rode around the house where we have some fallen trees for Taz to walk over. Gives him something new to do.
Monday, February 23, 2009
Here is a video of Kirstin riding Taz. In portions of the video, you will see her riding Taz at a trot & sidepassing him, it looks so cool. Kirstin is still practicing this move, she just learned how to accomplish this at Mark's clinic in January. Taz is being as patient with her as he can be.
I think Taz is partial to Kirstin. Kirstin's dad rode Taz on Saturday because Kirstin had been at a softball tournament(she's on the Varsity Softball team) since Thursday so he wasn't getting worked with. Well Taz just didn't seem to want to behave himself. I even saw Taz crow hop which is something I have never seen him do before. He wanted to trot the entire time that Steve was on his back. On Sunday, Kirstin rode Taz and he was an absolutely perfect gentleman for her; walking for her, only trotting when she asked for it, no crow hopping. I told Kirstin about Taz's behavior and her response to me was simply and I quote, "Mom, Taz was made for me and I was made for him, we are the perfect pair! I think God brought us together and that is why we were able to adopt him!" What a bold but oh so true statement. I'm not sure why but Taz does behave better for her even with something as simple as round pen work. I suppose a lot has to do with our cues versus her cues. We try to keep them the same but I imagine that there are small differences in what we do versus what she does. Is is possible that subtle differences could make that much of a difference or is it just that this horse has bonded so strongly with her that he knows when shes not there?
Monday, February 2, 2009
Mark & Christian and Kirstin & Taz
This was such an amazing experience for both Kirstin & Taz. By the end of it they were both very tired on Sunday evening. Kirstin learned some valuable lessons, most importantly she learned that no matter what, she can control this huge animal. There were a couple of times that Taz showed his "wild" side. One time was when Mark was dragging a very noisy thing behind his horse trying to make a track for the horses to follow and Taz didn't like it at all. Taz's response was to whirl around very fast. Mark taught Kirstin how to prevent that whirl around, that it was ok for Taz to back up from something that scares him, but it was not ok to whirl around-he needs to face his fears. That has been Taz's M-O when it comes to scary things-whirl around. We have been lucky, he has never taken off with Kirstin because that is normally what comes after the whirl around & Kirstin has always stayed in the saddle. Kirstin is now armed with the knowledge to prevent the whirl around.
Kirstin also learned that she babies Taz just a little too much, lets him get away with too much. So this clinic reminded her that no matter how much she loves this horse, she has to remember that he has so much power behind him and that if she wants to stay safe, she needs to control that power. He is such a sweet horse that it's easy to start babying him. By the time it was all over Taz was reminded that Kirstin IS in control and he listened to her very well.
This is a pretty steep hill, especially for someone who has never ridden down a hill like this one.
And off they go. This time the trail ride was much more enjoyable for Kirstin. She wasn't so worried about how Taz was going to react and she was armed with the necessary tools to control him if she needed to use them.
At this point Kirstin is a little on the nervous side. She was coming back from the trail ride and Taz was in 5th gear-trucking a long at a rather quick pace. They had gone down a very narrow cliffside trail that was big enough for 1 horse and then in the creek itself-up to Taz's stomach.
These 2 pictures show Kirstin & Taz coming up the hill that Taz initally wouldn't go down. Taz managed the hillsides with ease. Of course, he's used to rough terrain-he was in his element. I really didn't worry much about them going out without me being there, because I knew Mark was there and who better to make sure that everything would be OK.
The first thing that they worked on was standing still. The horse & riders lined up with spacing in between and then one by one they weaved in & out of each other. This was really helpful for Kirstin & Taz because it mimmicks what they do in drill team-a horse & rider riding close by in front of, behind them and between them. They did really well.
After lunch, Mark spent some one on one time with Kirstin. Kirstin wanted to learn how to do the sidepass at a walk and then eventually at a trot. We knew that Taz could do it, but Kirstin wasn't 100% sure of the mechanics of it. They only spent about 5 minutes working on it and then Kirstin had it mastered.
If you look closely, you can see that Taz is starting his sidepass, the front hoof is passing over the other. By the time they were done, Kirstin & Taz looked like they had been doing that forever. Not quite as nice as the one that Taz & Careen did at the competition, but it looked beautiful.