Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Years Resolutions

So seeing as it is New Years Eve, its about that time to create this years' resolution(s)!

Here are mine (horsey related and not)
Get my bareback seat back
Do more fun horsey things this year (ie go to the beach, attend a local show)
Find a new saddle to fit Milo (and sell the other two!)
Stop being so negative (Im doing better!)
Get a new job

thats all I can think of. All of which are attainable! Happy New Year! Heres to a new year and a new DECADE!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Another Good One!

Ive been so proud and pleased with Milo. I had another great workout with him today. It seems Im really starting to break through his stubborn brain and get some respect on the ground.

Ive been starting our workout with about 10 minutes of groundwork, and once he is listening, being respectful, and not giving me evil looks (which sometimes takes longer than 10 min), than I start our riding portion. Which begins with some suppling exercises and circling (typically). Moving into some collection working, making sure we have our stops, our leg yields, disengaging, etc. Once he is soft and listening, we work on some trot to walk transitions, consistent jogging on the straight and circle, we move up to a lope. Today we loped for a considerate amount of time, and worked on stopping on a straight line from a lope. He actually did one really amazing stop, and really sunk his butt down! HE got big praises for that!

All in all, Milo has been really good!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Winter Bliss

Today I had the privilege of morning feeding, cleaning, and turnout at the barn today. And it was COLD! 28 degrees, and frost on the ground! After the chores, I turned Mr Milo out into the round pen, and got some nice shots of him from my new digital camera (Im still figuring out the settings, so bear with me)!Hello Mom! Let me back inside where its warm!!


Enjoying a buck...

Afterwards, we enjoyed a really nice workout starting with a longe and groundwork. Our ride was phenomenal! Milo paid such good attention and was soft and supple. Even had some nice lopes both ways with a nice frame (after 4 days off!). He even got a good stop from the lope (hes usually best at a trot whoa transition). Overall, it was cold but a nice winter morning thats for sure!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Rain Rain Go Away

Yes, it is raining here in Washington, shocker!!

But I did manage to get myself to the barn today for a ride. Milo was great; after the temper tantrum thrown during groundwork, but he got over himself and loped nice circles both directions and stopped giving me an evil look.

So on I went, and we had a great ride. Good jogging, good backing, good walking, VERY good leg yields and sidepasses, even circles, great loping, even did two "jumps" over the ground cavaletties! Got ready to lope the other way, and a friend of mine's 2 year old baby came in for a longe. Milo just simply couldnt get enough of her. So the last of the ride consisted of keeping his focus and trying to find an attentive moment to stop.

But overall, he was a good boy. And the barn owners gave me a nice christmas present, a book called "Beyond the Homestretch" by Lynn Reardon. I had heard about it through Fugly's blog, and have been trying to get the book (our local Barnes and Noble doesnt have it), but viola! I got it for christmas! Thank you Shannon and Kevin! How did you know? Milo got some treats in his stocking too from some other boarders, but he has to wait until christmas to get them! I know, not fair right? When Mom opened her gift there in the barn aisleway right in front of him! He did get a cookie though so the world did not come to an end.

Happy Holidays!

Enjoy this song (unless your easily offended!)



Friday, December 18, 2009

Trail Ride Today

To begin the day as I was cleaning pastures, Milo got his friday turnout, which he enjoyed very much.
He started out eating dirt... (?)Than proceeded to roll...


And once he thought he was dirty enough (Mom sure did!!) than he ran around snorting...


And bucking...


And running some more...




And finally when he ran his little heart out, he stood for a moment, snorted and blew at the air, than went back to eating.


After I was finished cleaning, I put him back into his stall so he could enjoy some lunch before we rode. I just sold my english saddle yesterday, so I went through my tack box(es) and inventoried some other english items to sell.

A gal from the barn arrived, and we decided to go for a trail ride, as it wasnt raining. Milo has been on trails before, but still could use some more work on them. So we left with her and her horse Zulu. They were a great team together! What puddle or obstacle one didnt want to go over, the other lead the way. Milo was a great trooper though, and enjoyed being in the front mostly; if he followed behind Zulu he would get anxious. He went through puddles, and over logs, and even had a stick stuck in his tail he dragged along with us most of the way (Mom promptly got it out and detangled and groomed his tail up nicely once he got back).

So overall Milo did great today. It was a fun day too.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Milo and his Ball

Nothing to post today, so heres a video a friend of mine compiled together of Milo playing with his jolly ball, enjoy!


video

Monday, December 14, 2009

How it Happened

Today I am simply going to post the story of how I met Milo. This was actually my first college paper. Enjoy.

After four months of searching through pages of online ads, none of which met up to my standards, I was finally on my way to one who exceeded my expectations. Not only was this horse conformationally correct and sound, but he was also bred for western pleasure, exactly what I wanted to train for. His pedigree spoke wonders about his capabilities and disposition. He was only three years old, but I knew that he would grow to the size I needed, being 5 foot 9. His name was Milo, which my whole family got a kick out of because "Milo" is my Dad's middle name.

I nervously ate my hot dog, swallowing it whole as if I was starving. The three hour drive to see Milo seemed like it took all day, and I worried we would never reach him before dark.

"Exit 179! Exit here! Exit here!" I exclaimed. Finally getting off the highway felt like I was only mere moments away from seeing him.

Dad and I drove through the small town of Battle Ground, and pulled into a paved driveway. I immediately spotted him before the car even stopped. Past the large brown house, across a long grass field, and between a few tree branches, I saw him, prancing and pacing in a small round pen, eager for dinner, as it was already six o'clock.

I stepped out of the car and began to make small talk with Milo's owner, Kim, while constantly looking at the beautiful horse. It was a cloudy overcast day, June 16, but nothing could dampen my excitement. There was a calm cool breeze, making the tall green grass dance and sway. We ambled down to Milo, it seemed my father and Kim were set to slow motion, and that we would never make it down the windy dirt pathway leading to Milo. My insides quivered as I saw him look our way. There sat a lonely old saddle by the round pen, and a dirty grooming brush.

Milo was exactly as the as described, only more handsome if that was possible. His coat was a beautiful copper brown with a hint of gold. Even though he desperately needed a good groom to remove the dust and dirt, and his tail needed to be brushed and conditioned, I could see color shining through the grit. He has a beautiful flaxen mane and tail that was a combination of blond, white, and chestnut. He has simple white markings along his belly and neck. They were uneven and blotchy, however, perfect for his breed and giving him character. His brilliant white face was symmetrical, forming a triangle up between his ears. The kind expression in his eyes made me want to hug him. He had a large personable brown eye with white around called "sclera" giving him a human look. His other eye was a brilliant sky blue. Milo's dancing hooves where white, with one out of place black hoof, almost showing his goofy character.

Kim began to work with him for me, casting him in all directions and showing me his abilities. I studied his movements, watching the way he carried himself in grandeur. His footfalls were perfect and in sync, and he was overall balanced and agile. I thought his manners could use some work as he had no respect for Kim, pushing into her, chewing on the lead rope, and acting like a big spoiled baby.

But then it was my turn to ride him. He was childish and disrespectful wiggling in all directions and refusing to hold a trot. However, in only a few minutes, his immature behavior changed to one of attention and desire to learn. I could feel the blank canvas underneath me, ready to be painted. It was a moment of assuredness; I had found my perfect equine match, and we understood each other entirely.

I dismounted, quite satisfied. I loved him more with the respectfulness she showed me on the ground. He stood for a good five minutes, calmly licking my hand as a dog would love on his master. His childish ways had almost vanished, and we immediately clicked.

Kim spoke with us about the fine line details, and no matter how much I loved Milo, I told her I would have to think this purchase over, as buying a horse is much like marriage.

The entire ride home, I explained to my Dad what I liked about Milo, as my father is not a horse savvy man. Emotions were swimming inside me, and I was quite sure I had made up my mind. I emailed Kim a few days later letting her know that we wanted to purchase Milo. There were some issues on lining up a truck and trailer to fetch Milo in, but we eventually got everything mapped out, and picked Milo up on June 30, 2007 about 6:10 pm arriving home a little after 9. Fortunately, it was summertime, and my friend Elena and I stayed with Milo for a while after we put him in the facility owner's arena, watching the way he observed his surroundings and jogging around. Milo was the perfect equine match for me, and in the coming summer would show me his unique personality and abilities.

Here is Milo and I, our first ride together June 16, 2007.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

What a Good Evening

Firstly, a long time no see friend of mine came to visit Milo and I before she moved out of state. Which was great to see her again. She also is very horse savvy and always has good horse related (and life) advice. So while showing her Milo and some of his capabilities, we were able to have some good conversation, and she helped open my eyes some more.

Long story short, here are a few areas I need to work on:
Remember the sequence of progression, 1, 2, 3, 4. I skip a few of those, and I need to go back to subtle cues, she displayed them with Milo very well and really opened my eyes to him, and some of his childish behaviors.
I need to work on his hind end more, and making him less defensive over it. As it will also help us under saddle.
I need to quit micromanaging our rides. Yes, Milo is going to look over in the scary corner, but when he is still listening and focusing theres no need to overreact about it.
Nose in and supple while backing.
From a canter to a Whoa, include a good back after the stop. Duh! Why didnt I think of that?? (only after a few more issues are worked out during the lope)
I need to remember why I love to ride, and why I love Milo. I saw why again today.
Include more verbal cues.
and I think thats it...

It was great to see my old friend again, and I will really miss her after she leaves. But thats what blogging and facebook is for, to keep reconnected with others.

Friday, December 11, 2009

I knew it was in there somewhere!

I had a difficult workout with Milo last night. We were both frustrated, tired, and cold. I didnt even get on, his focus was that distracted...by nothing. There was no one there and it was pitch black outside the arena. So I dried him off and put him away. I went home grumpy and upset, but my mood came back slowly once I was home.

I did some thinking on the drive home last night, and really took a good look at why I work with horses. Something had been feeling different...and I think I figured it out. I have a problem with micromanaging. And perfection. So I thought about it and realized that Im never going to have perfection with anything in my life, let alone my horse. I thought back to when I first got Milo, and how much I loved his goofy character. It seems these days Ive been almost wishing it would go away and that he would just be a quiet horse pleased to serve. Once I realized that, I was very upset with myself for feeling that way. When I have Milo's focus he works so hard and so well for me and truely is a horse that tries to please. So when I realized I had been wanting him to act differently, I also came to realize thats not what I want. Im probably confusing anyone who is reading this, but what Im trying to say is that I dont want Milo to change. Somehow and for some reason I had changed and expected him to as well. I was demanding perfection and servitude from him, and he was simply trying to tell me that demanding is not the right route.

So today I make a solemn attempt to not act or think that way. Today when I went to the barn, I simply was just with my horse. Not demanding anything, but just accepting and loving him the way he is. And I could tell he appreciated it, and not only that, but acted better because of it. Anyway, I turned him out while I cleaned the mares' pasture (which btw, frozen poo does NOT come off the ground easily, nor is treking back to the barn multiple times to retrieve a non-frozen hose any fun). Suprisingly, Milo didnt run around like a lunatic, but just walked around and grazed.

So later, I tacked him up and rode. And I wasnt asking for perfection, yes I did correct some unwanted behavior but I wasnt Ms Nazi sitting atop my horse. There were three other girls in the arena receiving lessons, so needless to say it was a full house and lots of excuses for Milo to not pay attention. But all started well, as we meandered through the obstacles put out and avoided any traffic jams. Than the tractor worked on the manure pile just outside of the arena in the "scary corner" which distracted Milo (and another girl's horse) for a moment, but he came right back to me very nicely.

All in all, I was very pleased with today. My change in attitude really seemed to pay off for the both of us, and Milo performed exceedingly well under the circumstances. We didnt work for more than twenty minutes or so, but he definitely deserved to be finished. We will see what the coming days and rides will bring if I can just remember to keep up my better attitude. As a friend posted on facebook today before I left to the barn "The state of your life is nothing more than a reflection of your state of mind." Im glad she posted this.

Monday, December 7, 2009

More Pictures

Milo just had a simple longe line workout today, as it is REALLY cold out. 13 degrees this morning! So I think I will just upload a few more photos taken of Milo from the other day, enjoy!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Cold Day

We got our first snow of the season last night here in Kitsap County. This week its supposed to be down to the teens at night, so Milo's heavyweight blanket went on tonight after a workout, which went pretty well. Heres Milo in his brand new still clean blankey!




Excuse the blurryness, it was taken on my cell phone!

With cold weather here now, Ive been needing to take some extra cautionary procedures in my horse care. Tomorrow I need to buy two flat backed buckets to put his water in (his stall is an automatic waterer which froze last night), and warm the water before I leave each night. I heard some cool tips from others at the barn about encouraging drinking in the winter. One is to put a sweet tea in the hot water bucket. He already has a salt lick, which should encourage drinking.

Today I also had to spend a lot of extra time in cooling out. Spent ten minutes walking out with the saddle on after the ride, than walked into the barn and put his cooler on, and walked up and down the aisleway fro about another ten minutes. Scrubbed and groomed and he was mostly dry.

Ahh winter weather, making things more difficult. But I do enjoy a nice crisp ride in a few layers sometimes.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Good Day

Today was a good day in general, but specifically with Milo. As I cleaned pastures, he got to be turned out in a large pasture which he loved very much. Afterwards, I did some groundwork in the outdoor arena than rode briefly. Our groundwork went very well in fact (it could be he tuckered himself out from running like a psycho in turnout, but I'd like to think he was just listening and being a good boy). So I tacked him up and rode, and he did very well. It was probably only about a ten to fifteen minute ride, but he was focused, relaxed and calm. I have a suspicion that a big reason is the outdoor arena. For some reason, I get very calm, willing rides and workouts from him while down there, which is leading me to suspect that he doesnt like the enclosure of the covered arena, with there being only two small openings (the front entrance, and the rear entrance) for him to look out of.

At any rate, heres a nice photo I got of him today in the pasture:



Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Equine Bucket List

Inspired by Fuglyhorseoftheday's post on personal equine bucket lists, here is mine:
Go to the NFR in Las Vegas
See the Equestrian World Games, or the Equestrian Olympic Games
Ride a dressage horse
Ride a draft horse
Ride a gaited horse
Take a week-long (or at least weekend long) trail ride/camp out preferably with my significant other
Compete in a reining competition with Milo
Ride a cutting horse
Help on a real working cattle ranch
Learn how to rope, Im only so so

Im sure there are more and maybe I can add to this later. But to update on Milo's progress, I longed him again tonight and Im glad to report that in only about ten minutes I had his focus on me very consistently. It was a good workout mentally and physically for Milo. Later in the cross ties he was quite content I think with his new knowledge that Mom is the leader. Nina: 4 Milo:0

Monday, November 30, 2009

A Turning Point

Ive had a bit of a turning point with Milo recently. Ive been having a lot of difficulty keeping his attention on me while riding, and not just that he looks off occasionally, his ears are constantly everywhere else but me. So after consulting with my trainer via phone, she suggested doing some hard concentrated ground work for at least a week, or as long as needed. I started this new tactic on friday with some good results.

Actually, Milo threatened me a few times while longing, but I consider it good because it gave me an excellent opportunity to correct the behavior and keep his mind working and more importantly, focused on me. So at the end of that session I felt the score was Nina: 1 Milo: 0. We both came away from that workout sweaty and tired, but Milo was definitely more respectful and attentative.

Saturday morning after feeding and cleaning I was tired and needing to get to the job that pays the bills, so I just turned him out in the arena and gave a quick grooming. But Sunday morning I had more time. He is really mouthy and childlike and in the crossties he constantly turns his head and chews on the ties. It drives me nuts! Ive tried everything; when its in his mouth rub it back and forth until he drops it, smack him when he tries to grab it, or grab the other tie and pull his head away from it. All of which he associates with being a game. But Mom finally got smart yesterday and put soap on the ends he nibbles on. HAHAHA! One attempt to grab it made him seriously reconsider doing it again and getting that nasty taste in his mouth! Nina: 2 Milo:0.

So we did more groundwork Sunday morning and it went well again. Same rules: if you look away your feet move more, or you change direction, or you sidepass, etc. If you exhibit rude behavior to me, same consequences as before but at a higher level and for longer. So after about a half hour of that I called it good, and had a much quieter Milo leading behind me. Nina: 3 Milo:0.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Oh, that might be the problem!

The past two weeks or so Ive been incredibly frustrated when riding Milo. His focus has been on everything else but me, theres limited space in the arena cause there are constantly people riding and getting lessons, so I cannot utilize the arena, plus I havent been able to get Milo out of his stall enough lately so hes a big built-up bundle of energy. So nearly every ride has been frustrating, and not getting any sort of training done, so I get off before things get too worse; which isnt getting all of his built up energy out.

But it suddenly dawned on me today - Ive been allowing my horse to not keep his focus on me in all of our other daily happenings; leading, grooming, tacking up etc. Why havent I realized this before? Since July 07 Ive been letting him look at things, be goofy and disrespective, and basically not have to focus on me. I think its because he was a new horse, hes usually such a sweetie, and hey he was still kinda a baby, so I think I let him get away with things I dont let other horses get away with. As my trainer Cathy pointed out to me one day: I baby him, cause he is my baby. Im not firm enough with him and let him get away from things. Not purposefully, but I have been.

So, last night I started a new riding regime. Ive put all the reining training and conditioning on the back burner, and what Ive been doing is just using the time I ride as a time to keep his focus on me. If an ear shoots to something else (like it always does in the "scary side" of the arena, I make him focus on me again; changing directions, disengaging, one rein stop, etc. Once I can get a nice solid amount of time with him really listening to me (this may be only about 4 or 5 steps), I stop him and let him sit a while, rub him and tell him hes a good boy. Than we start again. And once he gives me a really good amount of time, say walking by the scary area but keeping ears on me, I get off and we are done. It seemed to work pretty good last night, and today.

I also incorporated more listening during basic ground activities. He had to be leading with me calmly and without staring at everything else around him, he needed to quietly stand in the cross ties, not staring at all the people and other horses in the barn, etc. So I hope this works. It seems this is a good hole in his training, and should hopefully make everything else fall into place. I only wish I noticed this two years ago!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Today's Thoughts

So Im considering clipping Milo again for the winter. Im planning on doing a semi trace clip/pony clip, so pretty much the underside of his neck, chest, and shoulders. He is just getting too hard to keep conditioned with all that extra hair and heat making him sweaty! Any suggestions, comments, or tips on how to approach this task?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Saddle Fitting

So Milo made a nice big obvious exclamation to me yesterday. Ive been riding him bareback a lot during the weekdays after work, and as I was saddling him last night for a ride he gave some obvious pinning of the ears and trying to walk away, which are behaviors he never exhibits while saddling. I had a sneaky suspicion that there was some issue with the fit of his saddle, but now Im looking a lot more seriously at getting a professional saddle fitter to come out and check everything out. Its so great how horses will let you know when something is amiss. I will just have the bite the bullet and pay the minimum $75 for the consultation, but his back is worth it. And I'm not highly suprised that his saddle could now not fit him, after all, I got it fit for him back when he was three and at five years old now, I know that he sure has grown and changed!

Friday, October 30, 2009

My Newest Goal...and Scholarships?

Firstly, my newest personal riding goal this winter is to regain my bareback seat. I rode my friend's horse Major today bareback and wasnt half bad, but I would like to get my seat back again, primarily on my horse.

Also, I would like to share some insight to my future educational goals. Firstly, I want to get certified from New Horizons Equine Courses for basic equine sciences, followed my certification in Equine Nutrition, and finally, as an Equine Sports Massage Therapist.

So here's my question for you: any ideas as to how and where I can obtain horse related scholarships or grants to help me in pursuing these equine dreams? Google is overwhelming and yields few results that pertain to me or my educational needs. Any ideas?

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Its amazing how horses create peace

Not a huge post to say today, but I rode Milo tonight after work and it really just washed everything away today; stress at work, being tired, and missing wes while hes out hunting. I decided I wanted to ride bareback, not only cause I didnt really want to tack up, but to have a quite relaxing ride (and work on my bareback seat more!) and also since Milo got a good workout yesterday.

I only rode about twenty minutes, but it sure was a good ride. Ive always loved the closeness you get when riding without a saddle. It did remind me that my seat has disappeared in just the last few years. I remember being a kid and running fearlessly through fields and jumping fallen trees, all bareback on my good old quarter horse Koalt. I was always stuck to him like glue. Now I wiggle around and clench my thighs when I ride bare.

But Milo was such a good sport, and I think he actually enjoyed it more too. We still worked on a few things and held some collection, but he showed a lot less tail swishing. I jogged him around a bit working on some good circles, and finally asked for a lope. I could feel my thighs clench instantly but I really didnt feel too unbalanced which was nice :). Milo I think could feel that I wasnt sitting the same as I do in my saddle, and he was a gentleman and did a nice collected lope for me - what a good boy! We went both directions, than worked on some turnarounds and let me tell you, he did some amazing spins! Now net necessarily fast, but the footwork was correct and cadenced and the best part was I barely had to give him much cueing. I first asked for him to set himself and turn but after that he just kept going round and round, even on his bad side! :) He even did some nice suck-backs from stopping - up to about 5 or 6 steps on his own!!

So we finished there. And the cool thing too was when I looked at his bit after I got off, he was lathering pretty well and I could tell he was holding the bit well during the ride. So I groomed him and rubbed him, gave him two cookies and put him away. I think he came away from that ride about as well as I did.

And I also wanted to mention how I love love love the soft sound of his hooves hitting the dirt in the arena when we are jogging. It is just the most simple and pleasing sound in the world. Like how I can watch him eating in a pasture for hours and not realize it. Its one of those simple beauties that horses give freely to us if we just relax and pay attention.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Treating Tails

So now that its my day off I have a bit more time to update. I was having some problems with Milo and that fact that he seems afraid of the dark, so I called Cathy and she gave me a great suggestion. I've only tried it once now but I will keep working on it and see if goos results come from it.

But i do have a question if anyone is out there to read it or comment on it; I'm wondering how is the best way to deal with Milo's tail this approaching winter? Lots of people at my barn use tail bags and I have one, but I just dont know if I necessarily need to use it. Last year all I did was keep it in a braid, and it worked in keeping his tail in, but didn't promote growth. I don't really need to be keeping it in show worthy care, but he does have a thin tail so I wanted to know if anyone knows of a good way to keep the tail during the winter that will promote some growth.

A friend of mine used to use a twist in the tail, but I dont think it actually created any growth. I dont want to have to buy a bunch of products, but maybe one good one I can do. So, any suggestions? What works for you?

I just added this picture cause I like it =] I took it about 3 weeks ago now...you can see some fuzz is starting to come in on his neck.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Back From Twisp...

This post is a bit off topic for this blog, but I got some nice pictures and it sure was a blast!

Wes and I got back from Twisp on Monday, where he hunted for Mule deer here in Washington. Wes ended up shooting a nice 4x4 Muley with a 22"x18"rack, and about 250 lbs on the hoof! Lots of meat to last us! He shot it from his tree stand off Thomspon Ridge with his 300 Weatherby. And let me tell you, it was a hike up that mountain to get to his spot! I helped pack in his gear on Friday, and pack out his gear and gun after he shot it. Lucky for him, he shot the buck on the first morning of the opening day for the season, only about 4 or 5 hours into his hunt. And what an amazing buck! Many only see a buck like him after hunting years in that area. This buck has some nice mass in his antlers, and a chocolate color indicating he came from high country.

So heres a nice picture of Wes and I with his new trophy for the wall (this will make deer head number 4 on the wall - among some other critters).

And I snapped a few nice shots of a pretty Mule doe on the side of the road...such big ears!! But what a sweet little face!
She was so cute standing on the side of the road, literally like 2 feet away from me!



Thursday, October 15, 2009

Today

Good ride on Milo today. Especially since there were so many distractions going on the the arena; us plus two other riders (one being a lesson), the tractor going by a bunch to the manure pile, and just plain noise happening. But Milo did well - I think he prefers being ridden during the day rather than at night with all the scary shadows, but he will have to get over it because Mom can't make it out during most days. Milo was very happy today though cause he got a nice long turnout while I cleaned pastures and cleaned water buckets.

Tomorrow Wes and I are leaving to Twisp for four days. Wes is going out hunting for Mule Deer. So I will miss Milo for sure, but I asked a good friend of mine to keep her eye on him while Im gone and give him some turnouts when she is there. =] I'll talk to you all in a couple of days (and hopefully with some cool pics of Wes' deer!).

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Milo is a Goofball

So I discovered today that while Mom isnt at th barn and Milo is bored (like his salt lick and jolly ball isnt enough to cease the boredom!), he grabs the front of his lightweight blanket and pulls it up so high it doesnt cover his rump anymore. Than he can proceed to turn it around or underneath him. Apparently he just wants to make sure the barn staff and anyone else around has something to do in constantly fixing his blanket! Or retrieving his jolly ball from another horse's paddock. What a silly guy.

I rode him today and unfortunately, most times I get to ride is after work when its dark therefore using the arena lights. Apparently, Milo doesnt like all the shadows that the twelve or so lights cast and decided it would be highly important to spook at them every time they are casted against the ground or walls (which of course, is all the time). Not to mention the scary openings of the arena where he can see out into the darkness (its a coverall arena so only the front and back is open to outside). Oh boy Milo what am I going to do with you?

But on a good note, our ride went alright and he seems to finally stop being to stiff on the right side him his turnarounds or spins to the left. Which makes for a nicer smooth and straight turn. :)

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Puzzling


So my boyfriend Wes came out and rode Milo this evening and did a good job =] Milo packed him around pretty good once Wes showed him that he wasn't just a supplier of cookies.

But on another note, I've had some confusion as to why Milo has been getting stocked up the past few days. He has a stall and paddock and gets out about 5 times a week for a ride or turnout. At first I thought he was stocking up because of not moving around enough. Than I heard sometimes they will stock up if they are too warm, so I've been removing his lightweight blanket during the day and keeping it on at night. So last night and all of today (about 55 degrees today) his blanket was off, but when I arrived tonight to ride he was still stocked in the back. Any ideas as to why this might be happening and what I can do about it?

Friday, October 9, 2009

I suppose a picture would be nice...

Here are some current photos of Milo, taken about two or three weeks ago. He was obviously happy to be turned out in a nice big field while Mom cleaned the pastures....


One of the last few weeks before fall set in...won't see that nice sleek shiny coat for a while now! Sad! He's getting his little fuzzies now, and the lightweight blanket went on.

The Beginning

Well, this will be the start of my new (and pretty much first) blog. The purpose is to express those feelings that just overwhelm me - ones that are created because of my horse Milo. Those days that remind me why I love horses so much, or the days that make me want to quit, and all the important days in between.

I suppose I should start at the beginning...wherever that may be. Lets see...my name is Nina, I've been involved with horses for the past 11 years, and I truly could not see my life without them. I am not a trainer, but I have worked with a handful of horses and consider each experience with them successful (whatever that means), rewarding, and educating.

I currently own a gelding named Milo (Justa Cool Milo). He is five years old and a paint. I purchased him at the age of two with about ten rides or so on him, so he was considered "green". My intentions with him were to train towards Western Pleasure, and eventually show in my state's (WA) Pinto shows. Long story short, thats not what he or I want to do anymore. In 2008 we joined the Thunderbird Cowgirls Drill Team (www.thunderbirdrodeo.com more more info) and are loving it! We are also starting to train towards reined cowhorse, but are having difficulty with access to cows, so moreover just reining. I have had one lesson with a well known local trainer named Max, but take more regular lessons with one of this "students" Cathy. Milo and I are really loving this new kind of work that we are doing!

So I guess for my first entry I'll mention where we are in our training. Milo knows how to be soft and supple in the face, and for the most part in his body, are working on the basics of the "spin" or "turnaround", along with some other minor (but important!!) elements of reining. I have to say though; last week produced some phenomenal rides and milestones in Milo's (and my) training! He finally seemed to get the concept of staying round, supple, and balanced in a nice cadenced lope. I cant hardly even express how amazing it was (and is!)!

So I found myself riding him today, and am still so amazed, pleased, and proud of my little Milo, loping along like the wonderful horse he is. And I suppose here I can elaborate more about just who Milo is.

Milo is what I could call the "childlike" horse. He is so much a goofball it is really entertaining to anyone who spends any time with him. He actively plays with his giant purple jollyball in his stall and paddock, and is the type of horse that never tires from toys (and I doubt we will ever outgrow that - its just who he is and I wouldnt change it for anything). He also thinks that he knows best (but Mom, those barrels in the corner ARE going to eat me!!), but usually comes around and still pays attention and TRIES. Oh he tries so hard for me everyday. Milo has not ever really been a difficult baby or I suppose more of an adolescent. At just four years old, we participated in large parade with tons of noises and excitement, and he took it in stride. This past year we rode in the grand entry for the Thunderbird Rodeo and while he displayed some herdboundness to his girlfriend Margie before going into the arena, he payed perfect attention to me while we performed our pattern.

Hmm what else to say about him? I suppose more will surface as this blog progresses...but more now, I will finish this entry.