Thursday, December 30, 2010

Are you making your Horse Deaf or Noise Sensitive?
Our horses can only be as good as what we bring to the saddle or are everything we bring into the saddle.
They can be made deaf through over use of hand, seat and legs aids that make no sense to them.
The opposite effect can be what I term as a horse getting on the high side, meaning nervous , unsettled or reactive.
The presence of each effect is going to depend on how a horse is wired and/or the history an individual has had in it's life experiences, from the environments they live in, to the training and/ or breaking they have received.
Note: Physical pain can also bring about either of these behaviors.
Time and time again I witness situations when a horse is in pain for many reasons such as ill fitting or pain inducing equipment, poor horsemanship, lameness issue, etc.
Yet the owners time, and time again will argue that nothing is wrong when the horse is screaming through it's body language and /or physical shape .
So who is really the deaf one here??
Another common factor that effects a horses listening abilities is what are the emotions is one bringing into the saddle and communicating through their aids to the horse.
Horses are wonderfully emotional creatures and I have learned are the best of listeners when everything is honest, fair and has clarity in meaning.
It's all to often the horse gets the blame for what happens when working with them , so who really is the over sensitive one?
It's the bigger person inside that will step up and ask '' what am I doing?", and try to correct themselves to help the horse perform better.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

New Career

The Woodpile Horse Gang
left to right: Chompin Chestnut, Sr. Cedar,
Mr. Walnut, Baby Boy Pine, Birch Bark & Stixs
The Wood Pile Horse Gang, embark on new career.
Their goal , to be back up singers for the hit new single ' Horse Outside" !

Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Woodpile Horse Gang
From Myself and all the critters at Shades of Oak

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Jill Davis long time horse owner
also known to many of us as "Beeswood" a very well known and talented Artist as a leather tack painter.
The post below was one that Jill wrote and posted on a forum, the subject being " Do we over analyze our horses".
I loved it and found her insight was so worth sharing with others so I asked her permission to post it here.
By Jill Davis
Many who now own horses have their 1st horse 'later in life' - when they have finally been able to afford their dream. I am so NOT KNOCKING this, but it's fact. Along with that first horse thrill AND being a wiser, more 'responsible', educated adult, comes the desire to it all "right". We have awesome clinicians these days that offer a huge leg up on understanding the equine thought-pattern, we have excellent saddle makers/fitters who offer close-to/custom saddles for pretty fair prices, and everyone is concerned about health and safety - so riding helmets, 'perfect pants', etc. are all part of the package. People do their best to set up a Win/Win situation from the start. Nice idea, commendable... ...Then the over-thinking comes into play, and at times the Little Girl Who Communes With Horses fantasy edges in - because having the chance to LIVE your childhood dream is AWESOME! Only problem is, it doesn't always work the way we "dreamed it" and we are so accustom (as adults) to being able to buy/get exactly what we want when we want it, that we have forgotten the all important ingredient of TIME with PATIENCE. We don't want to admit we don't know it all...or can't DO it all...yet. There is an ENORMOUS learning curve with horses - each one is different in some way, so what one may learn in theory doesn't always 'fit', and you have to improvise. If your knowledge is 'just book', not experience, it's going to be frustrating. Bottom line is that THERE IS NO SHORT CUT. But so many don't want to see that, they just want to buy the next video, go to the next clinic, get the next gadget that promises "success". If people would just chill out, quiet down, and be patient (I think) they might begin to learn stuff from the source itself..the horse. I also think a lot of folks are over mounted - be it out of vanity or honest ignorance. No one should be embarrassed or ashamed of a 'less than perfect' horse, because THAT horse is going to teach you things like trust and it you to them or they to you. Everyone thinks they 'need' a young horse to grow old with, when often times owning a steady-Eddy 15 y.o. for a few years could build confidence, teach you so much, and set you up for someday choosing that long-term horse. It's not a bike, and activity or a sport that we can control 100%, EVER. Nothing is perfect. Your Lifetime Horse is probably NOT going to be one of the first ones you own, so get that straight right off the bat, and you're that much closer to it. Anyway, I know there are those who will 'beg to differ' with me, and that's fine, but I've been watching this for about 50 years. In that time I have had 3 'nearly perfect' horses for those times in my life. Currently I am fortunate enough to own #3, but it wasn't without many, many others in between!!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Anna Up, On Spanish Mustang Salsa
I never did have time to share this summer that my friend Anna From Germany was able to come for a visit here at our ranch.
It was a delight for me to return some of the hospitality that Anna and her family have shown me on my trips teaching in Germany at Down Under Stables.
What a wonderful guest she is and more so for me is to spend time with a fellow horsewoman as passionate as I am about riding and our journey to get as good as we possibly can.
It was fun to see that familiar twinkle in her eye every time I would ask" Would you like to ride this horse" and each and every time up she went with a smile on her face.
Reminds me of me!
Only difference is I'm old and get up slower.
One of these horses was a Spanish Mustang owned by Zen Cowboys and Anna's first experience with this breed . Anna just wowed us all with her skills in bringing Salsa who was feisty this day into collection in Bosal being Anna's first time using this type of equipment. Good horsemanship is good horsemanship regardless of the tools we use, and Anna demonstrated this beautifully.
Dave and I were able to get a little time away and show her some of our state as well ,a treat for us too.
Dave and I think of her as "Our Anna" and look forward to many return trips from her in the future and next time she will have a 60 meter Dressage arena to ride in.
So much to look forward to and Dave will have to bring us our meals up at the arena.
Heads up Dave!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Rita with Sharon up
At times in our lives we are so blessed.
Blessed by the contact of those special beings.
They touch our lives in extraordinary ways.
They guide, and teach us to be better.
They accept us as we are.
They teach us about relationships.
They teach us about dignity without arrogance
Rita was one of these beings.
She had the magic as I say.
Not only as an advanced performer,
but in the grace she lived her life.
Thank you Rita for allowing me the honor to share your space.
Thank you for being Sharon's partner and friend.
Thank you for touching our lives.
Thank you for being you!