Saturday, December 31, 2011

A few days of Rest, Relaxation, and Eating...

We have had a busy week and little riding has been done.  Not that the horses are complaining.  The weather has been nice and they have enjoyed being let loose in the big pastures, although there really isn't much to eat.  The four geldings that share space are really a great group of guys, but feeding time is always fun to watch.  Above, Sebastian sees Oberon coming back from a short ride and would love it if Oberon would share his grain... ha! Right.

I also thought I would bring to my readers attention that Sebastian's breeder has a few of thier horses up for sale (due in large part to a shortage of hay!).  A number of the mares are in foal by Sebastian's Friesian father, Raven.  Click HERE if you are interested.

Oberon may be the smallest, but when it comes to food, he is the orneriest.  His little leg often paws at his grain pan.   He loves his grain (and I did sneak a small handful to Sebastian)

The fact that Oberon can move big Buddy always makes me laugh.  Buddy is the oldest and kindest of the four geldings.  A gentle giant, truly.

The almost white horse, Mystic, just looks resigned.  "OK, I'm moving"...

and Oberon says "Oh no, I'm not moving..."

Oberon IS willing to share his hay with Sebastian, though.  And did I mention that Buddy is the wisest?...  (I linked the photo below to Friday Fences #14.)

He knows seeking solitude farthest away is best...

Hope you all have a wonderful New Years' Eve and Day!  

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Ha!  It should have read Santa and his Elves!  Oh well, I'm sure Oberon won't mind top billing.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Friday's Fences #12

It could be worse, I could own a white horse.

If you roll, Sebastian, there is a consequence and be happy it was a brush and not a hose!

I love his shot of my daughter and the big boy.

Look how nice his coat looks now (and his mane & tail)

I have linked this to Friday Fences #12.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Stationary Lunge with James Cooler

When I had horses as a child and teenager, I never ground worked.  EVER!  Now I wouldn't ever consider not doing ground work before a ride.  Sometimes, if time is short, I choose ground work over riding!

Ground work, when I was young, meant lunge line work with the horse trotting and/or doing a lot of cantering.  Now it means so much more.  Cutbacks, backing up, mobile lunge, making them move their shoulders on an outward turn... it goes on and on and my girls and I are just learning the basics and have a long way to go.

The video above is of James working with Indigo.  I'm not sure when it was filmed, but Indigo now does a lot of stuff off the halter and line and their Freedom work is so fun to watch.

Below is a video of my daughter working Oberon on "cutbacks".  When we fist started this, we were so "gangly" with the stick and string, our cues and the rope.  We have much improved and will soon add a longer rope to the equation. 

and Sebastian chilling while watching his buddy, Oberon work:

 Our goal is do Freedom work.  The video below is of Robin Gates and her beautiful horses - I believe they are located in California.  

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Video "Having Fun" demonstration

The above is a video of James Cooler having a bit of fun with his horse Indigo at the Colt Starting Competition in Virginia.  This was a demonstration during one of the breaks.

And following is a link to a video of James and Kate Cooler at Fiore Farms where they teach and train in North Carolina.  Come join them for a ride on this beautiful property (where I also get to ride and enjoy my horses) by clicking HERE.

I was just informed I received "Blog of the Day" over at "Hay-net".  I urge you to check it out as it is RICH with horse enthusiasts and I believe there is something for every horse lover.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Stationary Lunging

Below is a video of my daughter working Oberon on "cutbacks".  When we fist started this, we were so "gangly" with the stick and string, our cues and the rope.  We have much improved and will soon add a longer rope to the equation.

Friday, December 2, 2011

War Horse - December 25th

I came across an interesting blog "The Hoof Blog".  The website describes itself this way:

The website is "About Hoofcare & Lameness Journal and Fran Jurga's Hoof Blog".  Hoofcare Publishing chronicles progress in the art and science of preventing, recognizing and treating lameness problems in horses. Written for and by the dedicated professionals from all fields who are at work in this rewarding pursuit, Hoofcare supports a diverse worldwide community of subscribing professionals via an award-winning journal, a website, a blog, and a source for reference books and media.

Two posts that feature the above movie "War Horse" coming out DECEMBER 25th!!  are highlighted on this blog in the below links:

November 30, 2011 "New from War Horse":  Off Screen Actors Speak on the Film (and the Horse)

Another post was done on June 29, 2011:  War Horse:  The Movie!

I know what our family will be getting in our stockings Christmas morning!  Movie tickets.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Amberson Art - Stop and take a look!

The artwork here is NOT mine.  Craig and Tanya Amberson are artists that I just stumbled upon and they have a  blog, "Amberson Art".   I took the liberty of copying and pasting the above painting here and I have left a message and asked approval and will take it down if they want me to.   If you click on the link to their blog, they paint a variety of breeds of dogs, cats, and horses.  Originals, prints and greeting cards are available... but not for the one above, I believe.  I would love a print of this or card... we will see.

Click HERE to see her horse art showcased on her blog as of November 30.  Much of it has sold and some are available as prints, but they do commission work as well.   

Am I Impressive?

Sebastian sees "her" ... and tries to impress!  It is as if he is saying, I'm not just a horse...

I'm a Friesian!

 Click "Just Like a Woman" to see the "rest of the story" or scroll down to the post below.

This is my "baby".  Sebastian is not yet four and he is in training with James Cooler for about the next six months.  In the photo above he is being asked to back up and that is why his stance is a bit funny.  But I always think he looks gorgeous... even if his head should be lowered quite a bit here.  But he is learning.  

I'm linking the above up with "Creative Exchange" because I love the freedom and energy of my big black horse in this photo!  

Monday, November 28, 2011

Just Like a Woman....

They finally meet.  (Sebastian on the left, Cleopatra on the right)

Cleo flirts

She pretends disinterest

All the while, Sebastian plays it "cool" (which means he is not sure what is going on, right? :)

And she sticks her nose in the air...  Now, is that not just like a woman who IS interested?

Cleopatra is Kate Cooler's 1/2 Friesian, 1/2 Arabian mare.  Sebastian is my horse, 1/2 Friesian, 1/2 Quarter Horse.  He is in his second month of training with James Cooler

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Friesians - The Movie

Now that Thanksgiving day is almost over, does that mean our Christmas list can be brought out?   I would love to find this documentary under my tree about the Friesian horse.... (click on link).  If anyone has seen this movie, please let me know what you thought of it.

I hope you all my American blog friends have had a blessed Thanksgiving!  

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Colt Starting Competition 2011

James Cooler is the trainer of my 3-1/2 year old Friesian sport horse gelding and the manager at the barn where I keep both my horses.  I am also taking lessons from him in ground work and riding my Quarter Horse gelding.

Last weekend I attended the Colt Starting competition at Chatham Hill in Virginia.    James Cooler was one of three natural horsemanship trainers to be selected to participate in this year's competion.

Mary of "Galloping Mind" documented the event quite well, I thought, so for Part I &  for Part II click on the links.  Tom Seay of "America on Horseback" was host and Ken McNabb of RFD-TV show "Discovering the Horseman Within" was lead judge.

And a "just because" photo of Sebastian about a month ago...

Friday, November 18, 2011

Friday's Fences #8

The photo above I selected to link to "Friday's Fences".  I know you "horsey" people see fences everyday, so go find yourself a fence and join in!

Monday, November 14, 2011

To Treat or Not to Treat? That is the Question

Oberon LOVES his treats.  He takes them from our hands gingerly (they don't usually fall on the dirt like above).  My daughters and I love the cute look he gets in his eye and he obviously enjoys the apples and carrots we bring him.  I mix it up as to when we give them to him.  It might be when we get him from the field or dry-paddock, or after a great effort during ground work, and maybe after a day's ride.  But I have wondered lately, if he is approaching us from the field BECAUSE he is hoping for a treat.  I noticed he is sniffing and looking and once my daughters said they felt a slight nip at their pockets.  Hmm.. I don't like that.

It's not as if they don't often nibble on good grass all day and when they don't, they get grain and plenty of hay. I would say they are plenty filled out for the winter ahead.

I have read extensively on this topic and realize people's approaches are across the board and obviously depends upon their horse.  But let's say we have "average" horses.  What is the best way to approach this.  These are my thoughts:

1)  Don't feed the treat by hand anymore.  Put it into a feeding dish or bucket.

2)  Rewarding a horse with food during training sets up the head and body rubs and "good boy!" to be a bit disappointing.  It also distracts them every time I approach as they can smell the food on me.  I don't want a pocket robber and a nipper... or worse, a biter.

3)  Give the treats to them after the day's ride.  What I'm trying to decide is should I do it every time?  I notice my horse looks toward the tack room door after every ride (the treats are kept in the refrigerator). Are we not ending the day on a "bad" note if we leave in our horses mind that he didn't get his "snack"?

When I see my horse approaching me from afar, I want to KNOW it isn't primarily for an immediate snack, but to see me.  And that takes bonding and time, I know.  Sebastian, above, was approaching me quickly as he saw me giving an apple to Oberon, and this is not what I'm after.

* * * * *

Ever wondered how to figure out if your horse is fat?  Or too skinny?  I found this helpful video link at  the blog:  "New Horse Owners".  If you watch it, did you find it helpful?

The Horse | What's Your Horse's Body Condition Score? (video)

Thursday, November 10, 2011

My Pony, Velvet, when I was a child in the 1970's

Velvet, Our Pony
Softness of heart, Velvet, her name;
of shaggy coat and gentle gaze.
Her short legs worked overtime
to stay in front of the pack
as the lead she liked to maintain.
One blue eye, one brown, always cautious.
Watchful babysitter, she, on many a rambunctious day.
Summer mornings, warm and promising, off we went
field eagerly crossed, sister and I securely upon her back.
Traversing up and down the quarry 
through tall cornfield and railroad tracks,
wading along river bank, and forest trail.
Aware of the way home, she always led us back.
Until the day our feet 
nearly dragged upon the ground. 
We knew our journeys had come to an end.  
With joy, I must admit, we welcomed a bigger horse,
one eager to explore and take us away, fast.
Behind the fence we heard her whinny,
her indignant cry of being, finally, left behind.
Never again did she join the pack, 
no leader she.  Resigned to wait 
until we returned, greeting us eagerly.
She cared for us when we were small
and watched us outgrow her.  We brushed and petted
and walked her by lead.  The big horse moved on 
when we finally grew up, but she was family, 
beloved and cherished, she remained.

by Margaret Bednar

* * * * *

The top is a photo of my sister and me with our pony, Velvet.  I am standing and my sister has our dog, Sugar, in her lap.  Looking at this picture it both seems so long ago AND like it was yesterday... how can that be?

Well, as I fight the lump in my throat, I can look back and say how lucky we were to grow up in an "innocent" time when we kids didn't worry about being out ALL day, wandering around the countryside, only coming home when we were either hungry or it was starting to get dark.  And our pony was usually with us!  My horse was beloved too.  But when we moved out of the house and got our own apartments, he was sold.  My mom refused to part with Velvet - she said a better caretaker of her children she could never have found!  

This is me in my "beloved" (not really) polyester green 4-H outfit.  Velvet was a great little pony, always well liked by the judges.  She brought home the blue ribbon for both of us this day.  She knew her leads and trotted along so slowly.  Tucked her head in nicely when asked to back up.  Horse shows were not my "thing", though.  My sister, to this day does raise horses and shows them professionally (give me trail riding any day!).

Maybe I would have felt differently if I had been given a better outfit...  :)

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Enjoying the Pasture!

I chose the photo, below, of Sonder for my "Creative Exchange" link this week.  I love the lighting, but more than that, I think I caught her curious nature.  All the other horses were too busy grazing to give me more than a "one eyeball" glance, but Saunders always gets so close it is difficult at times to take photos of her.

unless an "up close and personal" shot is desired!:

Looks like Sebastian also enjoyed rolling in the mud a bit...
Funny time of year.  One day it is cold (ha... is 40 degrees REALLY cold?) and then we enjoy warmer days in the 60's.  I did pull Oberon from grazing to workout in the arena ... but four above didn't even look up from enjoying the pasture to say goodbye to their buddy.

Poor Oberon...

And below is a charming video of a young Friesian stallian, Evan (son of Mintse) doing "tricks".  He is NOT related to my Sebastian, but he does belong to the same Friesian breeding farm where Sebastian's father, Raven lives.   Click HERE to go to the website.