Sunday, January 31, 2010

Body Work and Saddle Fitting

Im so happy! I finally found a well fitting saddle for Milo at a great price! Its a Crates all around, and I had the saddle fitter and body work specialist come out this evening and she agrees the saddle fits well! Check that off the list!

So also worked on Milo's body, an his ribs were out again. He also has been holding a lot of tension in his neck and specifically in his poll, which she worked on. She got him to release well through the left side of his neck, but he was really tight and resistant on the right. So Ive got some work to do in the next three to four weeks until she comes back out again, and I hope I can continue it well. Anyways, its been a long day, I will keep this posted as he progresses!

Sunday, January 24, 2010


I noticed last Friday (the day we hauled into Diamond Hill for the clinic) I worked Milo on the ground and under saddle, but noticed while longing that Milo was resistant for picking up the right lead. I didnt think much of it, eventually getting his lead and than continuing on to the ride.

Than, the following Wednesday, I worked him on the ground again, and again noticed his reluctance to picking up the right lead, and thought maybe there was a behavioral thing going on with that. Again, eventually getting him to pick up the lead.

Friday, I worked him out in the outdoor arena, as mentioned in my previous post, and noticed yet again the reluctance in picking up the lope, and that he was overall rather sluggish in general (which could be due to the fact that the footing in the outdoor arena is much deeper). So I thought maybe hes still sore for the long workouts at the clinic last weekend, but than I remembered that he was reluctant for the lead before the clinic started.

So thinking back farther, I've made the realization that the soreness must stem from two Wednesdays ago, when the saddle fitter came out and informed me of Milo's first ribs being out (than fixed). So Im thinking that he could still be sore from the change in his ribs? Our barn has an equine chiropractor coming out in the next two weeks and I thought about signing him up for it, but if his lead reluctance is stemming from the previous blown (I dont think thats the right word, but thats what Im going to use) ribs, than chiropractic work may not be (?) the answer, and save quite a good chunk of money.

Anyways, my thoughts today are that I will wait and monitor his movements and lead departures in the coming week, and if he doenst have any improvements, probably sign up for him to be seen by the chiropractor.

I also would like to note that he isnt reluctant in picking up the lead under saddle. And my co-worker today made a good observation that since for who knows how long, he learned to move with his ribs out, now that they are corrected he kind of has to learn how to move comfortably again. But anyways, we will see how the coming days and workouts lead.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Thoughts for Today...

Today started out as a typical Friday; turn out Milo, clean horse pastures, chat with some people at the barn. And since it was such a nice day here in the PNW and rain free, I rode in the lower outdoor arena which was a nice change of pace.

A friend of mine who attended the cattle clinic with me last weekend brought her horse out to the farm today, and we "played cow", one of the techniques we learned at the clinic for schooling horses on a cow down the fence. We both swapped out who would run as the cow, with the other working as the rider/horse. I really love this exercise because its a great way to keep the horse tuned into you while trotting, stopping, turning, loping, stopping, backing, etc down the fence as the "cow" is. But I must say, I think Milo liked working a real cow more than the "horse cow". Im really pleased too, this past clinic has really given Milo and I a lot to chew on and work with. Definitely money well spent.

So my friend left to take her horse back home, and Milo and I worked a bit more briefly under saddle. It was one of those rides (and days) where I really reflect on Milo and I, and how far we have both come the past two years together. He really is such a nice horse. When hes working for me (as we was today) its amazing how well we work together, and how much he can give me.

I think sometimes about how difficult and embarrassing he can be, but I truly wouldnt change anything about him, because off of that is what makes Milo Milo. Cathy told me once: if he did what he was supposed to all the time it would be boring. And its so true. Milo teaches me so much about horsemanship, riding, and how to be a better person through patience. If I had a "ho-hum" horse, I wouldnt be as capable of a rider as I am. And Cathy is right, a horse like that is boring.

So heres to Milo. And to how far we have come together (and how much farther we have still to go!). There is a quote that I like, it goes "Do not follow where the path may lead. Go, instead where this is no path and leave a trail. - Ralph Waldo Emerson." I like that.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Cattle Clinic

So this past weekend I took Milo out to the Cattle Clinic at Diamond Hill Ranch with Max Salisbury. It went great! Saturday we spent most of the day (and that means about 6 hours in the saddle) doing horsemanship including lateral exercises flexion, and other necessary cues to have when working a cow. Milo has being really frisky and was actually taking off and bolting a few times throwing bucks in along the way. I just had the saddle fitter out and have since improved the fit of my saddle through different padding while looking for a new saddle. So it cant be that causing the bolting. Nor is it the cows; he has seen them before. I think it was the fact that there were about 17 horses in the clinic, some of which were really nervous. So I think it may have been a combination between him feeding off the others, and when we would all work on the rail and horses were passing him he was getting rather competitive and wanting to out trot (or run) them. Below is a photo of us leaving the arena for lunch break. Milo naturally looks better than me.

We came back after dinner at 6 for our first taste on the cows. Like I mentioned before, Milo has sorted cows before once. But the clinic gave us a better understanding on how to read a cow, how to effectively move a cow, and also more experience with them. So Saturday night we were seperated into teams of two to work a cow around the length of the arena. It was great Milo and I both had a lot of fun, and his silly antics had stopped.

Today we worked entirely on cows (while of course using our horsemanship skills learned the previous day) consisting firstly on teams of three working the cow around the arena. At one point, Milo was pushing the cow from the rear, and the cow wasnt moving away (well enough for Milo) and he charged at the cow! Laying his ears back, trying to bite him and charging with his front legs. Of course thats a big no no and he got disciplined briefly for that.

This afternoon we did the sorting with an hour worth of practice and than the Jackpot. Practices went well and by our third time out, Milo was really starting to understand what to do - facing off with the cows, blocking cows from sorting into the other pen, and even doing a small amount of "cutting" work with the cows! He really enjoyed it and while not in the pen sorting, he would watch them from the sides. Its amazing because (not to my knowledge) he doesnt have any "cow" in him! But I think we really found what he likes to do, and even better Ive been wanting to get into reined cow work as well!

Our Jackpot round went well, we partnered with our friend Brittany, while we didnt get any cows sorted (we were going for a slow and steady so that we wouldnt get the wrong numbers in), it was still a lot of fun. Below is my favorite photo from the weekend in our Jackpot round.

At any rate, this is a small post for all that we did, but Max works a hard clinic! This we will definitely be pursuing in our training.

Friday, January 15, 2010

So Many Things to Do

This morning is the quiet time for what the day has in store. Let me just quickly put down the list that I have for today (in the usual for Washington):

11:30 - Clean out my truck for this upcoming weekend; I will need a lot of room to throw things into it.
12:30 - Go to the bank and cash my check (than promptly spend it on all things equine, like said weekend coming up...)
12:45 - Meet with a friend who used to own a local tack store, now has a lot of tack left to sell. Purchase the reverse wedge Cashel pad as recommended by the saddle fitter.
1:00 - Stop by Cenex and pick up two bags of pelleted bedding for this weekend.
1:30 - Clean pastures (in the rain!), and hopefully find a dry enough area to give Milo his Friday turnout.
3:00 - Meet a friend at the barn for her horse's vet appointment.
3:30 - Start packing and organizing everything for this weekend.
4:30 - Haul out to Diamond Hill Ranch! (Ok Ill tell you now: Im taking Milo to a cattle clinic this weekend with Max Salisbury from tonight through Sunday, Im VERY excited to say the least!)
5:15 ish - Settle Milo at the Ranch, and do some light riding or groundwork to accustom him to the arena.
6:00 - Feed Milo, unpack and organize everything.
6:30 - Leave to Silverdale for 7:00 meeting with the Thunderbird Cowgirls, first meeting of the year going over practice schedule, sponsorships, clothing, meeting new alternates, and going over the pattern, among much more Im sure.

After that, I will later come home to an empty boyfriendless and dogless house :( Wes is taking Angie with him to Eastern Washington for duck and goose hunting this weekend. Sad day. And with my day (and his) being so busy I wont see him at all. SIGH. But life goes on, and hey this weekend will be fun! OH! That reminds me I have to print out some flyers for my saddles for sale to take to Diamond Hill. Better get on that!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Saddle Fitting 101

So the local (and wonderful!) saddle fitter came out last night for Milo. I learned A LOT! Including that poor Mr Milo has both of his first ribs out due to poor saddle fitting. But being the amazing woman that she is, she also does body work, and was able to realign his ribs. She also gave me some really good info about how to better fit the saddle I have, but better, to find a properly fitting saddle. I have one in mind that I may be going out to see next week.

Monday, January 11, 2010

First Post of the New Year

For some reason or another, I havent found anything that interesting to post.

But today a friend of mine, and trainer at the barn I board at, gave me some really good pointers and advice in working with Milo. Here are a few things I still need to work on (but its always good to hear them again, and to write them down!):
Progression of aids - softer, medium, hard and disciplinary
Stop moving my feet, remain stationary
New way to disengage - bring rope to belly while using stick to move hindquarters
Instead of reacting to Milo blocking his rear with his shoulder by moving the shoulder away, try backing him instead
Also try backing before sending him out on the line, keep him thinking of staying out of my space.

It was a really good session for the both of us. I also got to work on my skills some more on a problem horse, and refresh my brain on the basics again.

My ride with Milo was good today too...thats about all.