Thursday, September 29, 2011

Dover Photography Contest

Dover is having their 2011 Photo Contest: The Photo Contest begins August 16, 2011. The uploading and voting period will be open until September 30, 2011 (12 noon EST). Beginning September 30, 2011 - after 12 noon EST - we will no longer accept photos for the contest. The final voting period will be open until October 14, 2011. The contest officially ends on October 14, 2011. 

I have submitted these nine photos and hope to go back tomorrow and get a better halter photo above (It is a break-a-way halter that I bought from Dover and will use when he trailers places.  Oberon wouldn't cooperate with me and put his ears forward... he was too busy munching down on the green grass. There are eight different categories to enter.

I encourage you to go to the site and enjoy the photos and click away on the ones you like.  Mine are by no means the best and I am not begging for votes.  But the beautiful photography of others has given me lots of ideas for next year!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

"Buck Brannaman" seminar this weekend in nearby Reidsville, NC

Buck Brannaman?  Hmm, I think we'll stay here and keep an eye on the place while you're gone
Well, these two mares could use a bit of work and they are for lease with "a bit of work needed" in mind.  The horse is a bit shy and needs lots of handling and the pony has been riderless for a few years and is fat and a bit head strong (as a pony tends to be!)  But both are naturally sweet mares.  My two girls will soon be doing ground work with the pony as they take turns on our QH Oberon.

Buck Brannaman Horsemanship & Cow Working Clinc will be at Flintrock Farm from Friday September 30 - October 3, 2011.  Dotti & Larry Davis are sponsoring this event and I called them. Larry is a real charming man and encouraged me to bring my daughters.  I have decided to take them out of school on Friday to enjoy the day.  It begins at 9:00 am and we will bring our lawn chairs and a picnic basket, although food will be available to purchase.  The cost is $25 a day.

Below is a great interview with Buck:

Larry shared with me a few other names he enjoys in the horse world, however, I could tell he hesitated when I used the term "Natural Horsemanship".  He went on to say there is nothing "natural" that we do with horses as humans and that he can tell more about a person in a few minutes by watching how their horse behaves, and I have to agree with him.

One name he mentioned was Bryan Neubert and I can't remember the rest he mentioned.

I will, of course, bring my camera and will share what we see and learn this weekend!

Friday, September 23, 2011

The Morgan Horse - a horse of childhood dreams

If I hadn't vacationed in MI and found my QH gelding, Oberon, this is the Morgan horse I would have bought for my girls.  He is still for sale and most likely further along in his training.  He was green when we rode him, but so gentle, so sweet.  I have linked him HERE and he is also on dreamhorse come.  His asking price is $4,500.00 obo.   I considered keeping Oberon for myself and buying this guy for my girls, but made the hard choice of wanting a taller horse and a part Friesian for myself.

Below is an 1888 drawing of a Morgan horse - I'd say the above fellow is true to type...

from "Dunton's Spirit of the Turf", September 15, 1888 issue
I fell in love with the Morgan horse reading Marguerite Henry's "Justin Morgan Had a Horse", and enjoyed many other books written by her as well.  Another series of horse books I loved were "Billy and Blaze".  C.W. Anderson's illustrations still enthrall me.

Another series of horse books I loved were "Billy and Blaze". What horse books did you love as a child?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Watch This VIDEO!! And Read the Book "The Eighty Dollar Champion" by Elizabeth Letts

Book Cover for "Eighty Dollar Champion by Elizabeth Letts
I was planning on finishing the book and then giving my reaction and thoughts to it here on my blog, but I am on the third chapter and I am spellbound.  The author does a wonderful job below sharing what this book is about...  It is the best read I have had in a long time...  Maybe the best due to the fact I love horses and an underdog...  

Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Pedicure...

Two years ago I had my first pedicure and I loved it!  40+ years were shaved off my heels and they were actually pretty!  But now, in the name of love,  I have opted to forgo such spa treatment in order for my horse's feet to look great.   I am hoping to keep Oberon barefoot.  The ferrier said his feet looked great but perhaps a tad dry.  So off to the store I went...

and based on advice I received, I selected Pro-Care plus.  It's easy - I just brush it under and over every bit of Oberon's hooves.  I plan to alternate every few days with Bag Balm - or at least I think I will... the brush that comes with Pro-Care is so EASY to use and the Bag Balm is more like a moist paste and I need to find a rag to apply it.   I also purchased Thrush Buster - getting ready for the wet and rainy season.   But REALLY, there are so many products - it's like standing at the cosmetic counter at Macy's!

What do you use for your horses hooves?

This is how relaxed I used to look in my massage chair while getting my wonderful pedicure - I hope he appreciates my sacrifice. 

Friday, September 16, 2011

Danger lurks around every corner...

The beautiful scene below was not the danger.  Oberon did look twice at a dark crevice and snorted at it before deciding it wouldn't eat him...  I stood at a top of a small hill to get the two photos below.  The red version of the water surface was played with in PhotoShop and is for "Photo Art Friday".   I think it looks a bit like Modern Art...

Do you like this scene better in color or b@w?  The photo above is for Weekend Reflections #104 which I will link up to tonight.

The logging tractors were VERY loud, but Oberon seemed to not mind them so much as long as they kept their distance...

The danger came from the water faucet above.   I have given Oberon a drink from this bucket a number of times.  But as he raised his head from the bucket, his bridle got caught on the blue spout and he PANICKED, backed up and I really didn't have much time to respond before it was all over.  Thank goodness his bridle came off easily and he stopped immediately as soon as the pressure was gone.  In the blink of an eye, disaster could have taken place!  HERE are a few experiences and comments about leaving a halter on while in the paddock or barn.  (I never keep a halter on Oberon in the pasture)  If I ever use this again, I will pick the bucket up and move it well away.

So, my question is do you keep a halter on your horse in the pasture?  Do you feel it is OK to keep a break-a-way halter on in the pasture or paddock?  I have read instances when even these types of halters don't work, but I know people who do release them outside with them on.   I believe it will be wise for me to send a break-a-way halter to my horse Rudy when he is transported from Illinois to North Carolina.

Safe in his own pasture drinking from the big tank... don't the reflections look like diamonds?  

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Horse Portrait: Mystic

Above is Oberon's "roommate", Mystic.  (I am participating in "The Creative Exchange" with the b&w photo).  He is so lucky to be with two sweet geldings.  My 3-1/2 year old Friesian/QH will be added to the mix in a couple of weeks.  His name is Rudy (Rudolph Valentino) and I can only hope he fits in well with these guys.

Oberon really loves Buddy too.  He follows him around like a puppy.  Buddy is Clydesdale and Friesian, but obviously the Clydesdale gene is dominant!  Doesn't Buddy have the sweetest eyes?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Hangin' with the boys...

All of these photos were taken with my pocket size Canon PowerShot Elph 300 HS.  For a tiny camera I think it does a pretty good job.  I still prefer my Canon EOS Rebel T2i, but the "Elph" is easy to take on the horseback rides.  But first, I had to get Oberon in the big back pasture where he spent the night with all the geldings for the first time... do you see them back there?

I worried a bit... but I guess everyone learns who to hang with and Oberon wasn't easily frightened - which surprised me as he is the smallest one out there.  He appears relaxed until the last minute and then he puts that QH butt in gear and easily outmaneuvers the bullies.  Actually, these two were pretty friendly - I guess they just had a small "tiff".  But Oberon knows who his buds are...

Buddy (above) and Mystic (below) are his normal "roommates".

He looked up at me and ran away once.  First time he has done that.  So I pretended like I wasn't after him anyway and petted a few of the others and scratched their faces.  I rode Oberon on the trail as it was quite hot today and the shade felt great.  This was only his third time on this trail and he was excellent even though he was by himself - and I rode him with a very loose rein.  I'm really falling in love with this boy.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Sunday Stills - Shiny Things

Can old wood and dust shine?  You tell me...  This is for "Sunday Stills".  Next week's challenge is "On the Road".  

Saturday, September 10, 2011

A beautiful backside...

Oberon has not been ridden much this past month as he was waiting to be transported here from Indiana.  I will begin doing a lot of trotting as I read that is the best mode to get a horse into shape, although he looks pretty good to me (but what do I know?)  I have found I really like posting and have been doing so in my western saddle.  I think I'll put the dressage saddle on him for the first time this weekend and give that a go.  I have a hunt seat saddle as well ... both english saddles are Wintec and I got them gently used - I hope they fit him well.

... and I am hoping a bit of posting will help my backside look a bit more shapely too!   :)

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

For the love of horses - enjoy the video

Gotta love the internet!  I found this video of James & Kate Cooler.  This is what I hope to be able to do with my horses someday.   I see both of these horses almost everyday... and I have heard a bit of the story of Kate's horse - a half Friesian/half Arab (photo above) -it wasn't always such a nice ride as the horse had a lot of issues!  And this horse loves to wink when I take photos of her - one day I will get the perfect shot!  My blog is NOT about promoting Cooler Horsemanship, it just happens to be part of what I'm doing with my horses. You may not be a fan of NH, however, if you are a horse lover, I think you will enjoy the video below.  I believe the Coolers ended up not using this as their promotional video but I love the artistry of it.  This is Fiore Farms, the place where I ride and keep my horse.  I heard someone refer to it as a "horse spa" and I have to agree.  :)

Cooler Horsemanship Promotional Video from Russell A. Ball, MD on Vimeo.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Wordless Wednesday #7

Natural Horsemanship - Our first initial steps

The more I read and study Natural Horsemanship, the more I believe it is the safest approach to handling any horse in any discipline.  There are a number of famous names out there and I have a few of their books, but for day to day learning, I am lucky to have a wonderful trainer (and manager) at my barn by the name of James Cooler of Cooler Horsemanship.  His wife, Kate, is also a partner and a wonderful trainer and another voice of reason as my kids and I start our  journey.

One thing I have come to learn is that horses move easily for the leader, and I suggest that if when one gets on a horses back, the human should be leader!  Watch horses together in a group setting.  It is easy to pick out the leader as everyone moves quickly when "asked".   My girls and I are learning to establish our leadership on the ground before mounting our horse.  How?  By asking him to respond to a very light touch (aka "pressure") from us and move in the direction we ask.  Knowing when to "release" is very important and serves as the horses "reward".

The first one (above) is what will keep us safe if he ever bolts.  To turn his neck to his shoulder.   The one below is to ask him to lower his head at the slightest touch (her hand might be a bit back too far, but he still lowered his head).  The initial sequence was to also put our fingers gently on pressure points on his nose.  But all we had to do this time was press gently between his ears.  (He's a good boy!)

Above we asked him to back up gently by putting our fingers on his nose and pressing alternately as he moved his legs.  One can also "march" in place or even swing the rope a bit to create energy.   Below Oberon is asked to move his hind quarters with a very light touch.

...and again another touch on his cheek and shoulder should swing his front legs around.

1)  Bend his neck
2)  Lower his head
3)  Back up
4)  Move hind quarters
5)  Move front quartes

I believe our next lesson will be with a bit of "lunging".  But it is not the traditional "zoning" out method.  But, maybe our lesson will consist of something else...Stay tuned!

And do you ask who is James Cooler?  Well, a post on Galloping Mind highlights James' standing in our area as a natural horseman as he has been singled out and narrowed down to one of three competitors in the SEFHA (Southeastern Farriers & Horseowners Association) Colt Starting Competiion (click on Galloping Mind to go to the post) which will be taking place in Virginia this November 12th.

Of course, as in all things, there are different approaches to training horses.  If you have other ways, I'd love to hear of them and also love to hear what you think of what I said here.  I welcome your comments and conversation.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Sunday Stills - Potluck

This is for Sunday Stills and the theme is "Potluck" in other words, whatever takes our fancy.  I was walking with my three year old son along the gravel road and Oberon was peeking at us through the fence in the shed.  I looked away for a few seconds and Oberon was gone... I guess he thought I wanted to work with him and he had other ideas.  I'm glad I snapped this photo when I did as I loved the coloring and play of sunlight and shadows.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

A Beautiful Face

This photo has obviously been played with.  I will be entering it in "Photo Art Friday" hosted by Pixel Dust Photo Art Blog.  I am highlighting it early in order to advertise this new photo challenge.  Bonnie is the hostess and has invited us all to participate this Friday (the linky will be active the Thursday before at 7 pm and will be active until the following Monday 7pm)  Photos do not have to be altered in any way, but they CAN be played with if you so choose.  Click on the link to get the directions.  Hope to see you there.

This is the same photo of this beautiful Quarter Horse mare.  James Cooler will be working with her this month and she is certainly a bundle of energy... and issues.  I can't wait to hang out in the bleachers and watch him do his stuff.  The same photo is below.  Doesn't she have a beautiful face?  I thought she was part Arabian, but she is a registered QH.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

My Second Purchase... A Half Friesian Gelding

I purchased another horse today, a half Friesian, half Quarter Horse Gelding.  His sire is Raven a Friesian and he can be viewed at the "Horsemeister" website.   A few months ago I was in Virginia looking at his half sister, Apelles .  At this time I believe she is still for sale and I really did like her... but we were unable to come to an agreement and so the search continued...  And this is what I found.   He will be my horse and Oberon will eventually be primarily my girls to ride.  But for now, I will be riding Oberon quite a bit as Rudy (Rudolph Valentino) is as of yet unbroken.

He is taller than Apelles, he is 15.3 right now (his QH mother was 15 hands).  I believe he will be more athletic than Apelles and dressage will "fit" him a bit better but he still has a wonderfully smart mind - that is what I so admired in Apelles.  I expect him to fill out quite a bit and maybe get an inch taller.  He has a very level head and is calm and very smart.  James Cooler  will be training him using the Natural Horsemanship approach.  I will be documenting the entire process and sharing what I learn and, of course,  a ton of photographs, I'm sure.  Currently he lives in Illinois and I will have to await transportation and for an opening at Fiore Farm.

He is just a baby in the video below, but the short video on the bottom was taken this past weekend:

And this is him now at 3 1/2 years old: