Monthly Archives: September 2014

A Funny Thing Happened On My Way To………..

The group I rode with up North decided to have a Halloween Hunter Pace.  Now when we had a Hunter Pace it went through the park and through the neighborhood.  We’d ride up the roads and through people’s fields and yards.  It was a very horsey community.

So now what do you do on a “Halloween” Hunter Pace?  You dress in costumes of course, and so does your horse.

The first year I dressed as a witch and Desert was dressed as a devil.  I braided his tail and put a red point on the end.  Red sheet, red leg wraps, red socks on his ears to look like horns, and of course a red bridle.  Bob was dressed as the headless horseman, riding my black mare Magic.  He wore a cape over his head, carried a stuffed pumpkin under his arm and this is the way we went through the neighborhood.

Now we were cute and got a lot of laughs on that early Saturday morning, but the looks we got were nothing compared to our friend who had a white Arabian.  She dressed in a full neutral colored body suite with a long blond wig down to her knees, and went as Lady Godiva.  You want to talk about stopping traffic.  It was the talk of the town for days.

Sometimes we take ourselves, and our riding to serious.  Lighten up and have a good time with your horse and your friends.  Life is short, enjoy every minute of it.



A Balancing Act

The other day we were out on our boat with friends,  the weather kicked up, and it got a little choppy.  I went up on the bow to put a fender, and a line away, and was moving with the boats motion.  When I came back down my friend asked how I managed such good balance?  My answer was simple, horses.  Now she’s a rider so I didn’t have to go into an explanation.

When we were kids we struggled to learn to balance on our first two-wheeler, remember?  Now that was narrow with narrow wheels, with nothing to wrap our legs around.  We would just sit there on our perch, and hope for the best.  Most of us mastered that.

Okay, so on a horse you are up higher than a bike, but the landing after a fall, is a lot softer.  When we were riding our bikes we were usually on a road, sidewalk, or other hard surface.  So why are people so afraid of falling off a horse?  We get really tense, hold our breath, and kind of space out.

Here are some exercises to help you gain confidence and balance on a horse. Don’t forget you also have the advantage of grip, not like a bike.

First thing you need is a quiet, bomb-proof horse.  It’s better to be in a small enclosed area such as a round pen and/or have someone stand at your horse’s head to keep your horse from moving.

This is easier to do with an English saddle, or if you’re brave, bareback.  So borrow an English saddle from a friend if you don’t have one.  Make sure your girth is tight.

  • Sit up straight and drop your reins on you horses neck close to the saddle so you can pick them up, and correct the horse if needed.
  • Make sure your legs are directly underneath you, there should be a line that runs from your ear, through your shoulder, hip, and then the line should go through your heel.
  • Keeping your legs in that position stretch your arms out forward and touch your horses ears.  Make sure your legs stay underneath you.  Then sit back up.
  • With your legs in the same position (never having slipped backward when you reached forward) take your right hand and touch your left toe.  Make sure your other arm is place behind your back, and that your legs don’t slip back.  Return to upright position. Your helmet is on, right?
  • Now do the same with the left hand.  With left hand touch your right toe placing your right arm behind your back.  Do this sequence 5 or 6 times.  Always make sure that your legs stay underneath you.  Never, never let them slip back.
  • Now go back and touch your horses ears again.  Great job!
  • Now I want you to lay down on your horses back.  Lay flat and put your arms over your head and touch your horse’s tail.  Now ears, now tail, now ears, now tail. Left toe, right toe, left toe, right toe, ears, tail.  You get the idea.
  • If you are having problems with that, work on it until you feel totally comfortable and your legs are consistently in the proper position.
  • Now we are going to do what the kids love to compete with, “Around The World.”
  • Sit up straight with your reins farther up on your horse’s neck out-of-the-way.  Drop both stirrups.  Swing your right leg over the front of the saddle until you are sitting sideways.  You do not want to put your leg through the reins, ever, so make sure they are well out-of-the-way.  If you start slipping, it’s okay, just slide down, remount, and start again.
  • Now swing your left leg over his butt so that you are sitting backward, swing your right leg over so you are sitting sideways on the right side, swing your left over his neck and return to your original position.  This is when the kids want to do it again and see who can finish first.

It’s amazing to watch the children and adults faces change from “deer caught in the head lights” and move past relaxation to actually having fun.

This is a great way to improve your balance on a horse, realize that you can slip off and not get hurt, and in general, feel more comfortable and free up on their backs.

When you’ve mastered that, you can challenge yourself a little more by doing the toe touches without stirrups, eventually doing them at a trot (with stirrups then without) in the round pen, riding arena, or with the help of someone, on a long longe line with stirrups and then without.

Have you ever seen the All American Cowgirl Chicks do their trick riding?  Now that’s what I call freedom and balance.  They move with, and become one with their horses.

Give these exercises a try.  Never stop learning, and never, ever, stop trying.

The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly

Sometimes we get up on the wrong side of the bed.  Sometimes the horse gets up on the wrong side of the stall.  With women and mares it’s usually a hormone thing, or life.  With men it’s a bad day at the job, or a hormone thing, or a full moon or a ………… you fill in the blank.  Those are days that I say “I’m really Ugly”, best avoid me at all costs.”

Anyway, we always believe that if we go to the barn or ride our horse we’ll feel better,  right?  But let’s think about this.  When some one is in a really “Bad” mood, do you want to hang with them?  Their energy is so bad that you can feel it across the room.  Well now you have an animal who is highly sensitive to energy, after all that’s what keeps them alive.  Do you really think they want your negative energy inflicted on them?  You hang with someone with a black cloud over their heads for any length of time, and it rubs off on you.

There are just some days that I know I should not ride, train, or even handle my horses.  I’ll sit and chill.  Maybe watch them peacefully move around the pasture, and hopefully their peace will rub off on me.  Sometimes they just nuzzle you and make you smile, or check your pocket for a treat.

Never ride or work with your horse when you are one match short of starting a 4th of July Grande Finale.  He’ll react and you’ll both take two steps backward in your training, and your relationship.

Everyone gets “One Of Those Days.”  When I’m in a mood, I just feed the horses, tend their needs, love them, try to let their positive energy influence mine, and wait for a day when we can both move on to the “Good.”

With that said, “Have A Nice Day!”  Your horse will be glad you did.


Well this is a little late for the Super Moon that we had in August, but we do get a full moon once a month so you will have other chances.

With a local group that I used to ride with up north we would do a full moon ride every August.  We’d meet at the local park where there were trails that we frequented (so we knew the lay-out), we’d order pizza, meet just before sunset, sit under the pavilion, pig out, and wait until it got dark.  Then we’d mount up and go for a moonlight ride.  It was really a lot of fun and laughs.

Riding through the fields were easy.  The full moon provided a lot of light and it was cool, once the sun went down.  Now the woods were a different story.  Whoever had the flash light would lead the group through the woods.  It would be so dark that all you could see was the white saddle pad of the horse in front of you or someones white sneakers.  My friend in front of me switched horses with his wife and didn’t bother to check that his girth was loose.  All you could see was Charlies white sneakers going over his horses back as he hit the ground.  All this at a walk of course.  My granddaughter could be heard for miles trying to tell everyone that her grandparents were mean sending a little kid out on a blind pony, in the dark.  Well Chester did have one good eye.  He was 100% bomb proof and my granddaughter was a drama queen.  She did actually go into theatre several years ago.

Bottom line is that it was a great time.  You might want to grab a couple of friends and try it yourself at the next full moon.

Never be afraid to try new things.  Don’t forget they (the horses) see a lot better than we do.  If you trust your horse, and he trusts you, what’s not to like?