Time

I’ve been reading, “Tom Dorrance More Than a Horseman” by Margaret Dorrance and John Saint Ryan.  It’s a collection of rememberances from people that Tom influenced over the years.  It’s an excellent read because it’s real people speaking from the heart about a man they admired.  I’d recommend it to anyone that wants to gain some insight into the genius of Tom with horses and people.

In many of the stories, time was mentioned as something that was really important to Tom and the horse.  If you were on a schedule, Tom wasn’t your guy.  I thought about that some yesterday while Amy and I were working with some young horses.  I know I’m prejudice but, I think Amy is a genius in many respects too.  She has us working with these three young horses together at the end of the day when we have no scheduling pressures.  It’s amazing to me how well horses respond to a human who is trying to offer it a good deal when time isn’t a factor.  You’ve probably heard that the fastest way to get some things is to slow down.  Amy’s Dad would admonish us young folks about that when working with cattle at the ranch and I read that same advice several times in the book.   Anyway, without time pressure, we had these colts saddled, moved around a little until they could travel well with the saddle and in a group, did a little ground work to check out the freedom of their feet, put snaffles on for the first time and rode them around in the snaffle.  We got to a place where the horses were all comfortable and hunting us up in the saddle, stepped off and reversed the bridling saddling process.  It all went smooth as silk and I noticed a big change in the horses confidence in Amy and I when we were done.  I don’t know how long we were at it.  I don’t care.  Neither would Tom or any horse I’ve known.  Something to think about in our “time sensitive” society.  Maybe that’s one of the really attractive things about true horsemanship?  Have a great day spending time with your horses!

Lesson From A Bay Horse

This past weekend I was riding a big bay horse at our Ranch Retreat Clinic.  He’s gentle, smooth to ride, has a great walk, trot, and lope, and is pretty brave when in new situations.  His one fault is that he’s herd bound or love sick for the other horses.  So, I made it my mission to help him with that this weekend.  He’s interesting to me because he changes very quickly from calm and relaxed to really tipped up when he perceives that he’s being separated from the other horses.  He’s even more interesting because he can be in a group of horses that we’ve been riding with and if even one of those horses moves away from the group it concerns him.

I have heard of various methods of changing that behavior and making it easier for the horse to stay hooked on me and more difficult for it to be hooked on to the other horses.  Over two days of riding, I tried as many of those things that I could think of with very little change in my horse.  However, the one thing that I did learn for sure was that if I pushed too hard to increase the distance between my horse and another horse he was hooked on, I made things worse rather than better.  I learned what my horse felt like just before he got really worried and got ready to quit me no matter what else “good” I offered him at that particular moment.  He taught me how to stay just this side of trouble and be a little earlier to keep his mind in a good frame rather than a worried frame.  I’d like to report that he’s “fixed” and that I’m a heck of a hand but, that would be untrue.  I do think that we’re both just a little better from the experience and I appreciate what he allowed me to learn!  Have a great day with your horse today!

One rein stop

There are many things in the horse world that create differences of opinion and honestly, there is more than one way to accomplish a goal with your horse.  Many times it depends on the personality and ability of the rider and the temperament of the horse.  Our philosophy is to be aware of how our horse is acting or reacting to our direction and adjust to better accomplish what we have in mind.  The one rein stop is a basic tool that, in our opinion, every horseman/woman should have in their toolbox.  We teach it to every horse we ride and to every rider that rides with us.  It is also a tool that has come under scrutiny because it has been altered from its original form and in its altered form has caused some people to get hurt.  Balance in the one rein stop is critical.  The horse needs to stay balanced, the rider needs to stay balanced, and the horse and rider need to go together.  The beauty of a proper one rein stop is that it buys you time and security.  Time because you can have the hindquarters disengaged so the horse cannot leave without you and security because you know that with the hindquarters disengaged, you can ride wherever your horse goes.  As you are watching television or browseing your favorite horse magazine, be sure that the horse and rider you are trying to emulate look like they are in balance to you.  And, if you have questions about your one rein stop, Amy would be glad to help you with that.  Reach us at bridle-bit.com and “like” us on facebook.  Enjoy this beautiful, RAINY day!!

Rain!

Good morning!  The rain started at Bridle Bit last night and by chore time this morning had accumulated .25 inches and was still raining.  The corrals weren’t dusty, the pastures weren’t dusty and the horses had more energy than I’ve seen for some time.  Hope the rain fell on your pastures too and that you enjoy the cooler temperatures promised for the next couple of days!

People and Horses

What I think I used to hear Ray Hunt say at his clinics is that he was there for the horse and if the people could come along, that was great, if not, that was okay with him too.  When watching him at a clinic, Ray would take the time to help a rider that showed some promise and he would visit with people that were on the verge of finding a piece of what he had to offer his horses to help them with their search.

Balance is one of the main keys in horsemanship and in my world of helping people with their horses, I strive to find the balance between what the horse needs and the rider needs.  The horse has an amazing ability to adapt to its life.  He learns what he lives and lives what he learns.  He’s just to honest to not do that.  And, that’s one of the reasons that I trust what the horse tells me about his life rather than what the rider’s perception of what the horses life is like.  As a person, I know that I have good points and not so good points.  I also have a lot going on in my life….. distractions.  As a horse person, I owe it to my horse to put those distractions aside while i’m with him and allow for the whole of me to be with the whole of him for whatever time we have together.  As a teacher, I try to provide a few tools to help my students gain the confidence they need to feel safe.  But, the best thing I can help them learn is to trust in their horse so their horse can trust in them and to feel what the horse is offering them.  The horse is the best at teaching that!  Enjoy this beautiful day God has made!!

People and Horses

What I think I used to hear Ray Hunt say at his clinics is that he was there for the horse and if the people could come along, that was great, if not, that was okay with him too. When watching him at a clinic, Ray would take the time to help a rider that showed some promise and he would visit with people that were on the verge of finding a piece of what he had to offer his horses to help them with their search.

Balance is one of the main keys in horsemanship and in my world of helping people with their horses, I strive to find the balance between what the horse needs and the rider needs. The horse has an amazing ability to adapt to its life. He learns what he lives and lives what he learns. He’s just to honest to not do that. And, that’s one of the reasons that I trust what the horse tells me about his life rather than what the rider’s perception of what the horses life is like. As a person, I know that I have good points and not so good points. I also have a lot going on in my life….. distractions. As a horse person, I owe it to my horse to put those distractions aside while i’m with him and allow for the whole of me to be with the whole of him for whatever time we have together. As a teacher, I try to provide a few tools to help my students gain the confidence they need to feel safe. But, the best thing I can help them learn is to trust in their horse so their horse can trust in them and to feel what the horse is offering them. The horse is the best at teaching that! Enjoy this beautiful day God has made!!