Waaait a Minute, is this October or November?

Thursday, October 15, 2009

It has gotten so cold here that some of the leaves that are still green are dropping off their trees in shock! I have been wearing foot warmers in my shoes while at the barn just to stay warm! And our furnace is broken! How's that for old man Winter sneaking up on us? Very sneaky indeed!

Yesterday I went to Bill's and took Lilly down to the ring. I didn't want to be rude leave my mother-in-law alone for too long, but the sun was out and it looked like a good day for a little lesson. A lesson--as it turns out-- for me more than for my brumby! Bill was watching me, and made some neighborly observations. Here's what I need to do: (not because Bill ordered me too, but because it would just be a good idea)
1. Get Lilly more supple at the poll. Every time I am on her from now on, I am going to practice the flexing. A million times, as Clinton Anderson says, would still not be too much.

2. I need to make sure that Whoa means Whoa. No more diddling around and then ambling to a sorry stop. To help with this segment of the lesson, Bill moved the reins down to the leverage part of her bit. Within a few tries, Lilly was responding. Whoa does not mean maybe stopping in a few minutes. It means STOP RIGHT NOW, BRUMBY! Of course, I am the one who needs to internalize this lesson. Why do I keep worrying that I am going to hurt her? Good grief! In any event, hats off to the leverage bit! Used properly, this is a fantastic tool.

Oh it sure is getting furry under that blanket!

3. Two cantering hints: First: Loose rein! Loose rein! I pull back on it without realizing it. Probably because I am trying to keep everything straight in my head. Second: ask for the canter quietly and calmly. Maybe even have a special cluck for it.

(I like the word cluck very much.)

4. Allow the Crop to be my friend. In the ring, it is perfectly fine to use the crop as a helpful training tool. It can keep Lilly in the canter with one tiny flick, and it helps perfect the sidepass as well. Simplifying my tools in the ring helps any lesson be more effective because it means I am not fumbling around all the time with my hands.

Here are Lilly's reins after being moved to the lower setting. I found that once I had the reins here, Lilly was stopping much faster and much more obediently. In fact, I almost couldn't believe I was on the same brumby. This tells me I have a very willing brumby. She wants to do the right thing. All she needs is a good leader.

And here is what she thought of the lesson!

Here is Bill working with Tuffy in the round pen. Tuffy doesn't know anything yet! But Bill said he is learning. Personally, I think Tuffy is shaped like a big ole moose.

Later Bill was lead-rope training with the Highland cow, Bonniebelle. You never know when you might need to lead a cow around. Better to teach her when those horns are still little nubbies! Don't you love how Rudy the alpaca looks on? What a funny creature!

That's a very good cowie!!!

And a very good alpaca!!

A few weeks ago in one of my horse magazines there was a big article written about Dick Francis, who has apparently authored a bazillion mystery books that focus on horses. I love reading so I bought this one on eBay for one cent. Yes, that's right, a mere penny brought this book to my door. I am on page 78 and like it very much. I love how the cover says that Dick Francis is the "Grand Master of Crime Fiction!" Does that not slay you? Grand Master? Now that is funny!

Oh, beautiful brumby!
Today on the trail tride with Christine we took Bill's lab Sally and Christine's dog Henry. We were more than halfway done with the ride when we realized Henry was nowhere to be found! And we also knew he could be ANYWHERE in the woods! We looked for him, backtracking on the trail and calling and calling, for what felt like a very long time. Christine worried the sun was setting. Finally we called Bill on my cell phone and asked him if he'd seen the dog. "Henry?" said Bill. "He's sitting right in front of me!"
Bill saves the day again!!!!!
And that's another good reason to carry a cell phone!!!


juliette said...

Oh, I was scared to finish this post for fear you would say that you couldn't find Henry! Oh, thank goodness! Henry was with Bill! Good ol' Bill!
You are the Grand Master animal tale teller. Brumby, dogs, Louise, Rudy, Bonniebell Cowie, and all the other characters up there in the hinterlands.
We are cold here too - many frisky bucks and jumps from our Pie. And no sun!

Pony Girl said...

Another fun post! I love Lily's pink halter. My Boy lopes off (sometimes, LOL!) at a kiss (and trots to a cluck.) He does that on the longe line, too. Someone trained him that way.
I'm glad the doggie didn't get lost! Funny he went on home w/out ya!

Paint Girl said...

I cluck for the trot and kiss for the lope, this is what my trainer taught me. Also the barn I work at does the same thing. I can longe Brandy, and not use a whip, she knows the signals to move off. Fritzy, well, let's just say she needs a whip.
I also use a crop on Brandy when I need too. I never use one of Fritzy.
Glad to hear that Bill is giving you such good advice, now you have a lot of practicing to do!! Hopefully the weather doesn't get too bad and you can get lots of practicing in!
Glad Henry made it back and was safe and sound!

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

My trainer always has me tighten up on the reins when I ask for the canter. I guess cantering on a loose rein doesn't come until years of cantering on a tight rein. I recently read a Dick Francis book and didn't really care for it. There were too many characters and too much dialog, so I couldn't figure out who was saying what. I ended up skimming it quickly and passing the book on to my mother, who loved it of course. She and I don't have the same taste in books.

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