Monday, November 29, 2010

Two Years

We've had Brego two years now! He's a great horse, and our partnership is coming along nicely. Sometime this year I began to canter with him more, and being more comfortable with that has really helped me turn a corner to be less fearful and more relaxed in other situations as well.

We're able to do many more things with ease, such as side-passing to or over objects, going through tight spots, opening/closing gates, etc. We've also been working on his gait, to get him to be less pacey-bumpy. He's getting better, but we still have work to do.

He likes to "play games", or do ground exercises. I think he'd rather do that than be bored. Yesterday I went out with the carrot stick and lead rope, and he came to me from the far corner, then walked at my side at liberty (no halter/lead rope) into the round pen for work. When we began working, he was quite responsive to cues and did well. Now that's a horse that enjoys the work and partnership! I also can frequently walk him to the mounting block at liberty to stand for me to mount. It's fun to try new things and see what we can do.

It's been a great two years, and I've learned a lot! Now I want to go further and learn to do much more with him, refine my cues, and easily deal with any issues that arise. I'd like to do more with him at liberty, and see what we can do.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Summer Review

It's been a long time, and I haven't been posting. Over the summer we went on three horse-camping trips. First,we went to the Black Hills again in June with the South Dakota Paint Horse Club. This was Brego's first time out this season with a large group of horses, and he did much better than last year. Or perhaps I should say that WE did much better, because it truly is a partnership of him feeling more confident in my leadership (and me feeling more confident in my leadership). Brego had some trouble staying behind the slower horses, and had a tendency to get too close. He was kicked at once, and perhaps that helped him get the picture to stay back. He also doesn't like it when another horse comes up alongside from behind, especially if his buddy (in this case Cody) is nearby. Brego's back seemed to be bothering him after the first long ride, when we experimented with a new saddle pad. We gave him a break the next day while I stayed at the trailer and Tim went out on the ride bareback, on Cody. Tim wasn't doing photography this time, and needed a little challenge to keep from being too bored. We had a good time, but wondered whether these large trips are not for us. Riding slowly in line just isn't much fun, now that I can do more with my horse.

Next we went to the Sangre de Cristo mountains near Cotopaxi, CO, to visit Don & Debby, who we met last year on the Fort Robinson ride. They graciously invited us to park our trailer on their property. We had a great time riding out with them each day and joining several of their neighbors. Our friend Trish joined us too, so we took Cody along for her to ride. It was nice to have all three of our horses there. Don & Debby know all the property owners around, so we rode on a combination of private property and BLM land. It was beautiful, secluded country and great company, with lots of laughs and a good time.

The third trip was again to Wyoming with Dale & Sue, Gari & Mona. This year we went to Hunter Trailhead, outside of Buffalo. We had a nice time with our friends, and some nice riding. The first couple of days we rode into the Cloud Peak Wilderness area, via some not-so-nice 4wd roads. The only way to get to the wilderness trails was via these roads. They were well-worn and rocky. Another day, we were on a wilderness trail, but it was also very rocky and steep in spots. Not so much fun. Later in the week we found our way around the private property of a guest ranch, to some nicer riding areas. We had trouble with inadequate maps as well, and our GPS was on the fritz. We had some interesting riding, at times wondering where we were or how to get back. All in all, it was a good trip, but next year we'll probably choose another location.

So, we had a great summer with lots of riding. Brego still has occasional issues with other horses, but we're doing much better. I'm more confident, and able to handle him better to show him I'm in control and he doesn't need to worry about those other horses. It's good to ride in smaller groups and with people who will allow us to work on horse issues, and sometimes do a do-over to correct a mistake, or ride side-by-side to teach Brego it's ok to do that.