60 Days In The Saddle

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60 Days In The Saddle

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    03-22-2012, 06:23 PM
60 Days In The Saddle

Hello Everyone. I thought I'd start a journal to help keep me focused and consistent with my training of Buck, my daughter's 14 year old Cremello gelding. He's a Tenessee Walker Cross with Paint . . . I think :) I bought him for her late last Spring since the horse I had at the time was a fireball not suited for beginners. I have since given him to my friend who owns a beautiful ranch where he had a job working cattle.

My daughter is 11 and a total horse nut. She did Saddle Club last year and had so much fun, but Buck had never seen most of the events they perform there. They do poles, barrels, and other stuff I'd never really seen either. Buck was a trooper. Oh and it took her about a week to learn how to lope on him. She was so excited! (I however was scared to death. But didn't let her see.) My goal is to get but in shape for her this year and responsive so she can move him a little faster with "power steering"! Right now she rides in a bosal till she gets a better seat but I'll be giving her lessons in a briddle soon. Since we're not working cows and just looking for fitness I ride him in a bosal. The last 30 days I'll look to move him in to a bit so he can get used to it.
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    03-22-2012, 06:35 PM
Also a reason for posting here is for comments or suggestions on exercises you think may be beneficial.

On day 6 today: The past 6 days we've been working on just fitness and flexing (moving away from the leg pressure, bending and getting soft.) Lots of trotting and circles for warm up for about 10 to 15 mins. Today after warm up we did about 30 mins in the sand trotting and walking for rest breaks. Nothing to strenuous and shorter rides starting out, till both he and I get in shape :) He was kind of a stumble bum the first few days, but understandable since he hadn't been worked in awhile. He's doing much better now and the sand training is really helping him pick his feet up. He's starting to lose his winter coat and will be looking sharp with continued training. I'll get a pic up soon so you can compare the transformation as it progresses!
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    03-24-2012, 03:45 AM
Today Buck probably lost 5 pounds of excess hair. Must have spent 2 hours grooming him with a shedding block pumice stone. His coat was so soft by the time I was done. Since I had him do a harder day yesterday I kept him out of the sand today and just did some light trotting and exercises. He's responding very well to leg pressure. While grooming I noticed he has a sensitive spot on his side. When I brushed over it he perked up a bit. No blood or hair damage, he's eating and passing fine so I figure he may have bumped it against something. I'll keep and eye on him to make sure it nothing to serious. Had some kiddos come over so Buck was pulled back out this evening to give the little ones a ride around the pasture. He's so great with kids. He walks so softly when they are on his back. Just a sweet heart! Had a rain storm blow in with thunder and lighting! Wow it was great so he got a little extra feed to stay warm (since he likes standing outside rather than in his shelter). We needed the rain so I so happy we got some!
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    03-24-2012, 11:16 PM
Spent the day fishing with the family. The sun was out but there was just enough breeze to be chilly and by the time I got home it had set into my bones. But Buck was at the gate waiting for "his time". He was rather antsy today spooked in the yard and spooked where I work him most of the time. It was dusk too or maybe he thought something was up with me since I was so cold. Kept the ride pretty short today. Did lots of trotting to get him to relax and figure 8's to continue the work on his response to leg pressure. He did well once he got warmed up. Finished with one rein stop practice at the walk to cool down. Then I took his saddle off groomed him and we did some Clint Anderson "disengage the hind end" and some neck flexing. The neck flexing really relaxes him. The four wheels with crazy loud pipes were out playing too so that could have added to his antsy was too. But I can't blame them because my family all rides dirt bikes and four wheelers. But they do have a tendency to make horse riding dangerous sometimes. All in all great day for the family and little old' Buck.
    03-25-2012, 03:16 PM
After I fed Buck this am I stood there for awhile watching him eat his watered down alfalfa. I had to laugh since as he eats he basically dribbles
Most of his food out of his mouth. On top of that he's a white horse so the rich green alfalfa makes him look like he has green lipstick on!:) My husband finds that amusing. Buck is starting to look a lot better with his new exercise routine and his winter coat shedding away. I can see the changes in him now and know the end result of of all this activity with really make him look like a different horse.

He's part Tennessee Walker, so I understand he's not a barrel horse, but that is what my daughter would like him to be. But don't worry is just a fun day once a week in the summer with her saddle club not a proffesional rodeo seen or anything, but I would like her to be able to lope around the barrels with Buck so she can have fun and him to properly adjust to that type of work and know where his feet are at. He's really a great horse to teach her how to ride better. He's not a plow horse and has quite a bit of pep when asked. After last year I think he likes playing rodeo horse, he was happy to do the events with my daughter. It's pretty windy today and going dirt bike riding with the family so Buck will have to wait till we get home for his ride time. He sure looked good this morning and the bump on his side wasn't as swollen or tender as 3 days ago so he's healing up. Happy riding everyone!
    03-26-2012, 02:01 PM
I guess yesterday evenings post didn't show up. After we got back from our family dirt bike riding and dropping off our "extra" kids it was 8pm. Buck didn't get his time in today. :( You would think weekends would be easier to get riding time in but not in this household we are usually running off to somewhere else.

I've read a few posts on here about a "horse life". This horse and I'm sure all horses are very time consuming (enjoyable, but time consuming). I know people who have large pastures where their horses come out to move cattle and then released back out to the pasture. Buck, however, does not have that luxury. He has a small paddock, so cleaning every couple of days is a must, daily watering, and I feed him 3 times a day. If I leave for any amount of time we have someone come and take care of him. He's kind of like my 3rd dog! So he had the night off riding yesterday, but no such luck today. There is a large cow pasture across from my house with a nice hill that would work well for conditioning. I need to go find out who owns it and see if I could use the field to work him on that hill since I have read hill work is great for helping them develop muscle all over! I'm going to get a ride in today and do some additional desensitization (Clink Anderson style). Maybe this will help with his spookiness a little. He's not too bad but I have to cross a highway with semi's and cars and if I fall off or get bucked off he will probably be heading back that way to the paddock. (MY WORST FEAR EVER!) Not only for the horse but if he happens to hit a small car, he could kill someone :( I haven't had any close calls yet, just one of those worries I carry with me. Hope you all have a great day.
    03-26-2012, 06:51 PM
Completed Buck's training today after his day off. Did the Clint Anderson (yield the hind quarters, side pass down the fence line, and sacking out with the whipping in front, and on both sides. Buck took it like a champ. Also did the "sending through" where he is asked to go through a small opening between the fence and me. Next I saddled him up for his ride time. He is doing much better with yielding to leg pressure but for some reason today it seem like he was tripping on his back legs. While doing the ground work he banged his back feet off the log I trotted him over several times. So it looks like I will have to do more of that type of work to get him to pick up his feet. He was a little squirrelly today.
Supposed to have a storm coming in. . . Or is that me making excuses for my horse being naughty?!?
Wasn't a very long ride, about 20 mins, but he seems to get tired pretty fast. I'm just starting week 2 so it's expected and I'm sure he will get better as he gets in shape (and me too!)
    03-26-2012, 07:11 PM
Any one ever had a bad accident that changed their ability to ride?

Maybe ability is not the right word for some but it is for me. I used to ride all kinds of rank horses, young, old, bad habits, and all. I had a spoiled mare come over backwards on me while moving cows and it seems to have set deep in my head how much these horses can hurt me. "I had never had that thought before."

I have experienced anxiety with people and that was crippling enough, but to experience it with riding was even more horrific. I used to think I was invincible on so many levels and then the anxiety hit and then I got my daughter this horse. He's a good horse and I want him to be the best he can be for her and I hope to overcome these confidence issues with riding. I took English lessons as a kid and loved going fast. . . Everywhere. Then I got my first horse at 11 (a FREE 3 year old standard bred mare that was straight off the sulky track). She was a nut and I got dumped more times than I can count. Never phased me. Now at 30 with 3 kids and a few bad accidents under my belt my confidence is shaken. I feel Buck is the horse to get it back but I can't let my fear control me. I faced many battles with the anxiety ( 5 years ago I would have told you anxiety and stress do not exist and that they are figments of your imagination.) After trying to balance a blended family, full time work, and full time school I could right you a book on stress! Ha! So if any of you have any ideas on the best way to get over your fears of riding after bad accidents go ahead and throw them my way. I hope if you ride you never have any of those moments and for those that have just keep going. I'm sure there is a light at the end of the tunnel!
    03-27-2012, 10:06 AM
The wind has picked up and it's really gusty today :( Should make Buck's work today exciting. Don't really think there is any real way to get a horse used to so much wind. . . But I've seen horses that don't have a problem with it, but I think they are born that way. Looking at doing some lunging and more sacking out, maybe some tarp training will be good for today. Suppose to rain today so I'll need to get out there before the ground starts getting slick. Not usually opposed to riding in rain but I'd like to get him better with his feet to reduce any chance of accidents.
So today we'll practice tarp desensitization, side passing, hind end flexing, and front end flexing and then some time in the saddle working on some long trotting. He carries his head pretty well to build his topline (after a few minutes when he starts to get tired). I'll let y'all know how it goes.
    03-28-2012, 12:17 AM
Well it never did end up raining today. I made it out to do some ground work with Buck. We did the yield the hind quarters which he did wonderfully, side passed down the fence line acceptably, and lunge over a single log. He did so much better with his feet today! Only hit the log once with his back foot. Then came the big scary monster, the blue tarp! For a 14 year old horse I'd thought he'd have a heart attack! I folded it up small so he could start by walking over it. He jumped it the first couple up times then settled in and and trotted over it. The wind caught it ( it was rather gusty) and he bounced back and and snorted. He was jumpy at first but by the end of the lesson he was trotting over it in both directions like a champ! He got rather worked up and was pretty sweaty after the tarp training. So he ended the exercise by giving my little cousins a 30 min ride as a cool down around the pasture. They're just little so I lead them. Buck is great with little ones and I let the 5 and 7 year old lead him to and from the paddock. They were pretty happy. While I didn't get the time in the saddle I think Buck got some more wrinkles in his brain today. Clinton Anderson talks about the more you work with your horse you affect their reaction side. The more you leave them alone the more they will react. I know I didn't say that right. A good day all in all. Happy trails everyone.

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