Thursday, December 31, 2009

Well.....its New Years The Friday night blog Party

The Friday night blog party on Thursday night, the year is already messed up!

I always ask myself why do we have to get a New Year every 12 months, what the hell was wrong with the old one?

Then it hits me, this is our chance to start all over and unscrew what we screwed up, unfix what we fixed, you get the idea and create more shit for us to do in the New Year.

I guess that is what you call job security!

We have a lot job security around here, there is fence to fix, a new arena to build and get the lights up in the barn. But most importantly we have the horses that we have to get ready for the show year and start shopping for next Christmas. There are after all, only 359 shopping days left, better hit the malls now.

We have made a lot of new friends from this blog and others and I hope that we will continue that trend.

I would also like thank everyone who has joined us on the website- Crescent Moon Cutting Horses in the Training Chronicles. Please be sure to sign the guest book. (I know, shameless self promotion, but it is my blog )

Anyway, what are your plans for the New Year, horsey and non horsey?

Friday, December 18, 2009

Bah Humbug! or Should I say Bah Horsebug?

Yes it is that time of year again!

Time for us to deal with all those family issues that seem to come up this time of year. You know the ones......Uncle Bill got tanked on eggnog and french kissed Santa's elf at the mall and then hurled in Santa's work shop and Grandma got run over by a reindeer etc.

By the time it is all over, I think we all need a drink.

Came upon us so fast.

This past year has flown by!

So what are your plans for this year?

We are going to ad a training blog to the Crescent Moon Cutting Horse website and chronicle the training of our youngsters as well as our oldsters and hope that you all will join us there. We are going to start raising Angus cattle and we are working on a few other little ventures as well.

We also plan to start showing more this year.

For the first time since CNJ and I met, we are not giving each other anything that has to do with horses. Actually, for the first time we are giving each other something. Nothing much!

But there is no way that CNJ's gift last year could ever be topped. Yes I am referring to those beautiful little girls. It is amazing how babies not only change your lives, but they change your very soul.

And I want to take a moment to thank you all for reading a little Ol' Rotten blog and sharing your experiences and knowledge with us. And for those of you that read but do not always post, please let us know that you are here and where you are from. We would love to hear from you.

I know that it is still a little early ( actually June would be early), but I want to wish you all Happy Holidays.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Sunday/Friday night blog party.........

You all know my story, I have been in the business professionally for over 30 years and have had a pretty good career. By the way, the horse in the picture above is my beloved mare Johnie at cutting practice. Sometimes I am not so sure she takes her job seriously, so because of that I made it look like a cartoon!

I have been showing horses the majority of my life from cutters to jumpers, and almost every discipline in between. And I have finally settled back into the cutters because they are my true passion.

I have shown horses all the way from the Cow Palace in the bay area to Atlanta.

Won some, lost some, made a lot of good friends along the way and have a lot of really good memories.

Though I have a lot of the memories winning classes and doing well at the shows, the best and the most fun memories are of the shows that I did not do so well. Those were the shows where I learned the most and had the most fun.

You always hear people say that they are having the most fun when they are winning, but to be honest with you, I do not know how that can be. It always seemed that when we were having a bad show, we totally cut loose and the pressure was off.
One year at the Astro Dome in Houston, nothing was going right. We forgot to pack a lot of our tack, and it seemed that no one including me nor my clients were into the show at all. We had enough tack to get by on and made it through the show mixing and matching bridles. Somehow I managed to win the junior western pleasure class, but we laughed the whole time. And yes we partied our asses off and none of the other horses placed above 4th. We just took nothing at that show seriously.

So what are your fondest memories of the shows where you may not have done well, but managed to laugh it off, have a great time and keep your sense of humor intact?

Friday, December 11, 2009

They call me 'Plum Puddin'...the story of the wannabe!

Oh yes, to the wannabe horse trainer that lurks out there, this post is for you!

They come and they go, those wannabe horse trainers. They live under the rocks and old dead logs, and wait for their next victim. They talk a good game, but there is something there that you know is not right. Many of them have embedded themselves well into the Natural Horsemanship industry, selling their training appliances to people that seem to fall for the crap!

You have to ask yourself, how much would you pay for common sense?

Do you need an orange whip to train your horse, or do you sometimes need to apply a little tough love?

I have recently had the pleasure of meeting one of these wonderful people. His claim to fame? "I can turn you and your horse into one. I can help your horse with your problems............But first, I need to talk to your horse and find out what he is thinking."

Oh for #%&@%@*!^*@($ Sake!

Get a grip!

In a career that has spanned 3 decades, I have seen so many of this type out there. They have strange mystical names that make you think that they know something about you and your horse, that no other trainer will ever be able to tell. They wear hats the size of their egos and 99% of them wear chaps and spurs. They market products of their own design and tell you that you have to buy them if you want to become a trainer like them. (In case you are wondering, a carrot stick is a vegetable, not an orange whip with a bat on the end of it.)

So am I going to just tear into the naturals?

Hell no!

For those people that call themselves trainers out there, just so you know, you really need to have some knowledge of the horses that you are training. One trainer that I have heard of, actually weighs his horses. Most of us can look at a horse and we are able to give a solid estimate of the weight of the animal. This guy has to be a mental midget, or actually he may be brilliant if he has convinced the owner that he should be allowed to stay at the facility where he currently works out of.

Horse shows are a great place to get a glimpse of some of these Wannabe Wonders!

Yes, I call it like a I see it, even at the horse shows. I have made lots of friends that way!

I am amazed that there are so many trainers out there. Hell, everyone is a trainer and they all know everything. These horse show trainers are easy to spot because they all wear spurs and carry crops in their back pockets.

There again, like I have stated many times, there is such an overuse of training aids out there, that I am surprised that the horses do not tip over from the shear weight of the devices that they are forced to wear.

When I was a kid and I worked with the trainer that taught me how to start colts the right way, there was no whispering done, he just simply took his time and read the horse. He told me that the best trainers have the ability to 'read' their horses so they can predict how to best proceed. He uses nothing more than a snaffle bit in the horses mouth. I learned that the best way to start a horse is to let them do the work and you need to learn to just be the passenger and have a little faith in the horse that you are starting. I was never allowed to wear spurs and chaps just got in the way, especially in the heat of the desert. We asked the horse to soften for us and allowed them to make decisions and mistakes before we corrected them.

We have a saying here in Rotten Land, that goes like this........

When you go to a trainers barn, be it a natural trainer or an old school trainer, what happens in the barn may impress you, but what happens behind the barn may depress you!

This is not to imply that all trainers are out there beating their horses, we certainly do not, but keep in mind, when fixing some of the horses problems, it's not always pretty.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Why do horses react the way that they do when they spook?

Recently, I had an old client tell me that her horse has what she calls a violent reaction when he spooks. When I asked her what she meant, she said that her horse likes to take the bit and run and then he starts to buck. She then asked me what my advice would be to fix the problem.

While I hardly consider that to be a violent reaction, I do consider it a problem.

So I will address the spooking problem first.

To address the problem of spooking horses, we must first address the cause of what is making the horse spook. Most of the time, the answer to that question is rather a simple one, the horse was startled by something. For the most part, horses are very similar to us in the fact that when they are surprised they tend to be startled and jump. Not a big deal!

I am sure that a lot of you have heard of teaching a horse to spook in place. Well to be honest with you, there really is not a lot to teaching a horse to do that. The best example that I can come up with, being a relatively new dad, is that when one of my daughters falls down or bumps their heads, they always look at me to see what my reaction is going to be. If I make a big deal out of it, then they are going to let loose and start crying, if I look at them and smile and laugh, they look at me and smile, get up and move on.

The same goes for horses. How many times have you been sitting on your horse and something startled him, so he jumped? All you did was just sit there like nothing happened and all that happened was the horse only had that small little jump. It happens to me all of the time especially on the young horses. I just simply do not react to the situation so the horses reaction was minor. In in effect, I have just taught my horse to spook in place.

So what happened to my old client and her new horse?

I went to go watch her ride the horse. She would start out fine with him, but she was already afraid of him, and she would not let go of the horses face. The entire time that she was on him, she was hanging on his face, so the horse was already uncomfortable. (When a horse is uncomfortable,be it from a poorly fitting saddle or a rider hanging on them, the will look for any excuse to spook.) When the tractor went by the arena, the horse was startled and took off, because the rider clenched up. As soon as the rider clenched up, she became off balance, thus, causing the horse to buck.

Truth was, the horse was not reacting to whatever startled him, he was reacting to the rider!

At that point it became apparent, it was not the horses confidence that was the problem ,it was the riders confidence that was the problem for the horse.

Now, it is true that some horses will react in a big way to something, and there really is nothing you can do about it but ride it out. At that point you need to be a confident rider, but most of those reactions do not last long.

Just an FYI for you.........

I have lived in the desert my entire life and I have never had a horse spook from a rattle snake. Quite the opposite, horses are curious animals, most of the time they want to investigate where the sound on the rattle is coming from and are bitten on the nose.