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!

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 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