Monday, April 27, 2009

Kirstin learns some valuable lessons

Kirstin's weekend was jam packed. It started out on Friday at 4:30 when her varsity softball team had to play a playoff game for the playoffs. Makes sense, right? Their team was tied for 3rd place & only the top 3 teams go on to playoffs, so they played a tie breaker game to determine which team would be going to playoffs. It was a heart wrenching game that went into overtime. They ended up losing by 1 point, so their season came to an end. The girls had played their hearts out & each of them really love playing softball. They are a very young team(no seniors) so they will only improve. Kirstin went into this softball season having never played the game-she was truly a newbie, but she put her heart & soul into learning the game and has improved leaps & bounds since the season began. Softball is definitely something that is now in her blood. This experience just reinforced what we have tried so hard to instill in all of our kids: give 110% of yourself no matter what you are doing and when you do that, only good can come from it. Kirstin never goes into something half-heartedly, she always puts in 110% no matter how big or small the task is.
It was with teary eyes that we left the softball field at 7:00pm only to drive an hour & half down the road to drill team practice. Drill team practice ended around 10:00pm-all went well with that. Saturday, Kirstin had her playday. She took Trigger, the drill was fantastic, the flag routine had some small errors. Kirstin & Trigger participated in the straight barrels placing 2nd, cloverleaf barrels placing 3rd, horse & cow placing 5th and poles with a no time because they broke the timer barrier. Trig always amazes us when it comes to these competitions-he loves to do them, but has never been trained to do them. We didn't get home until midnight.
Sunday, Kirstin devoted to Taz because she didn't take him to the playday and he needed the exercise. It was a very windy day, but Taz was behaving himself so Kirstin took him out to the big field to run him around. After riding Taz for about 30 minutes, she noticed something dangling around Taz's head and when she looked she noticed that it was his bit. The chicago screw fell out and Taz dropped the bit essentially meaning that Kirstin was riding bridleless in the big field at a lope. She of course got a little concerned, she had never rode him bridleless outside of the round pen & by big field I mean about 10 acres of open land. I wished I would have been out there to see this, but I wasn't. Kirstin comes into the house with her broken bridle and said look what happened while I was riding Taz! I asked her what she did when she realized that he didn't have the bridle on any longer & she said "I asked him to stop; I sat down in the saddle & he stopped." He stopped-he had the choice to keep going-nothing was there to prevent him from doing that & he chose to stop. When your horse chooses to do what is right than you know that he is trained very well. He had my baby girl(stop rolling your eyes, Kirstin-luv ya) on his back, no bridle in his mouth, running at a lope & he stops. Have I said how much I love this horse?
Kirstin has now learned that checking the equipment on a regular basis is very important.
I almost forgot, earlier while Kirstin was in the roundpen with Taz, I decided that it was WAY past time for me to give this horse a spin, so I climbed on top of him. I must say it was pretty amazing. Kirstin had to help me up, I'm a little challenged when it comes to height & Taz is so tall, I needed a boost up. I haven't ridden in a long time, not sure why, but I haven't. Needless to say, I am just a little sore today, but I enjoyed every minute of it.

Monday, April 13, 2009

We did it. We loaded both horses into the trailer and went to Kirstin's drill team practice. Taz hasn't been in a long time. He did fantastic-of course. The video is of Kirstin warming Taz up. We arrived early, at least we thought we arrived early. Kirstin wanted some alone time in the arena with Taz before everyone arrived, but evidently everyone else decided they wanted some alone time in the arena also. We arrived about 1 1/2 hours early and almost everyone was already there. So much for alone time. I think Kirstin was a little worried about how Taz would react around so many horses. You can see for yourself, he was not in the least bit bothered by them. He is getting so good about having other horses running in all directions around him. Kirstin used her other horse, Trigger for most of the practice because they were working on the flag drill and Taz is still not sure about the flying flags over head. At the end they did some basic work on just the drill and she tried Taz out there to see how he would do. Taz is great with the horses in open arena work, but he is not fond of working as a team player just yet. It's really hard to get the necessary practice time with him so that he can get used to the concepts of drill. At this point, the team is working on perfecting the drill and the last thing the rest of the team wants to deal with is having the necessary patience to let this horse learn to become a team player, although I really don't think it would take that long-he is a very smart horse who learns quickly & is so eager to please.

We did have an issue loading Taz to go home. We have encountered this every time after drill practice. It's late, the trailer is dark and he just refuses to go in. So before I agreed to take Taz back to drill, Kirstin had to prove that she could load him in the pitch dark which she did a number of times at home with no problems what so ever. I think my son might have figured out the problem. At drill there is light provided by the arena lights & security lights, but they throw a wicked shadow on the trailer floor. Imagine being a horse and seeing a completely dark section of the floor and then these light shadows from the slats of the trailer walls. I would imagine that it would be quite discomforting for them if they weren't used to that. Taz loads right in during the day light hours, so loading isn't the issue. We are now going to practice loading in different light situations and try to simulate different lighting sernarios. We had a wonderful person who helped us load Taz-Thanks John. He was extremely patient and worked with Taz and by the time he was done he had loaded and unloaded Taz 4 times with each time Taz going on easier and easier.

All & all I am very pleased with Taz and the way everything went Friday night at drill team practice. We haven't taken him anywhere in a while. We are now going to start trailering him & Trigger to places close by just to give them practice. We have a piece of land that we are renting for our cows and we plan on taking the 2 horses there to ride around-the land has a really cool gravel pit on it and it goes down to the river. It would just be a nice relaxing time for all.

Monday, April 6, 2009


Taz has the most beautiful, kind eyes.

Taz & Trigger

It's a tight squeeze, but they both fit. Kirstin is wanting to take both Trigger & Taz to her drill team practice this week, but they had never been loaded together. At first we didn't think that Trigger would fit. We loaded Taz & he is so huge, he takes up over half the trailer. But Taz soon settled into his normal position which is curved into the nose of the trailer, for whatever reason that is where he likes to ride-he likes to see where he's been. So we loaded Trigger on. We weren't real sure what Taz's reaction would be-we have never trailered another horse behind him. But, he did wonderful-Just stood there like it was nothing. Trigger on the other hand kept a close eye on Taz's hindquarter-it was really funny to watch him. I could almost read his mind "I hope that huge leg stays on the ground." Of course, Taz was a perfect gentleman as always and was quite accommodating to the cramped quarters.

Kirstin showing her brother's girlfriend that she can ride Taz bridleless. This was right after we had loaded the two horses so Taz was just in his halter & lead rope. Kirstin jumped on his back and was riding him just using the lead rope, so she unclipped the rope. Funny story to tell here, Kirstin's brother's(Derrick) girlfriend(Jessica) came over for the first time last week. We told Derrick to take her outside & introduce her to Taz. We then told her that Taz was a Mustang. The first thing out of her mouth was is he wild & mean. Quite the contrare we told her, Taz is the sweetest horse that we have ever known.

Later that day, it was Jessica's turn to ride. Kirstin saddled Taz up & showed Jessica what he could do-sidepassing, spinning, backing just by jiggling her spurs. I think she was impressed. Jess has had a couple of years of English riding lessons, so she had to adjust slightly-mainly with the reins but she did a great job.

Taz was his usual self-a perfect gentleman. He listened to everything Jessica asked him. I think she really enjoyed riding him and now she can tell all of her friends that she got to ride a Mustang.

Taz was really busy today. He carried 3 different riders and he did a wonderful job. When you consider he is such a young horse but he adjusted so well to the different riding style of each of them just speaks volumes for this horse.

Kirstin works with her other Mustang-Sakari

Sakari is Kirstin's first Mustang. We adopted Sakari for Kirstin's 12th birthday. Kirstin is determined to break her. She is a very sweet horse, but still very much in touch with her wild side. She only lets Kirstin work with her, she will lead but not much else. At one point Kirstin had her accepting a saddle blanket and surcingle, but we made the mistake of sending her to someone to be trained, only to get her back worse than before.

Sakari is very leary of anything be thrown around her, so it took a little while to get this rope over her back.

Amazingly enough she is allowing Kirstin to do this. Kirstin looped the rope around Sakari's stomach and then swung it back & forth. Sakari was a little put off by it, but she stood still.

This is what Kirstin was working towards. Sakari loves to have her front legs handled, to the point of having Kirstin stretch them out, but doesn't want anything near her rear hooves. This took several tries before Sakari realized that if she just stands still the pressure will magically go away. This was a huge step for both.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Kirstin is going to kill me yet again!

I fully believe that as a mother it is my job to document as much as I can including the embarrassing 'I really don't want to do this' moments. As reigning Rodeo Queen in Stockdale, there are occasional public appearances that one has to make. Along with the appearances, sometimes unusual, yet funny things happen. This started out quite simply as a "photo op" but with a little bit of encouragement from everyone around, it turned into a 'rodeo'.

See Kirstin ride!

Round & Round she goes.

Hang on tight, Kirtsin.

See Kirstin fall!