July 29, 2014
Here is a simple and inexpensive training tool to use in building confidence in your horse. A child’s wading pool filled with empty water and soda bottles. The sound when the horse steps into the pool is loud and crackly. The feel is strange to the horse as the bottom of the pool gives from the weight and the bottles slide underneath the hoof.
The pools are cheap to purchase, but you can often find them at the end of the Summer in the trash as you drive down the road. Of course, you want to look both ways before you grab one out of the trash. People may wonder what’s wrong with you; stealing a worn out pool from the neighbor. If you really want to get their attention, sort through their garbage to get the empty bottles as well.
Riding your horse through the pool is one more way to teach confidence and leadership. Many horses prefer to just go around the obstacle rather than cross it. As with any new and strange challenge, it may take a couple of attempts before your horse enters the pool. But, once he does, the exercise can be expanded for him to stand quietly in it. You can add water to make the bottles float and move even more. In short, it is an easy way to artificially create an obstacle in your own backyard.
July 24, 2014
We ride every weekend, it goes with the job. Often we ride here at the ranch or the surrounding area. Sometimes it’s nice to break the monotony and find some place new or revisit a trail we’ve ridden in the past. Many of our rides away from the ranch are made at the last-minute. We load the trailer and go. Because these spur of the moment decisions are usually made with little advance notice or warning, folks don’t get invited.
The rest of the week all we hear is, “Man, I wish I’d known you were going there. I wanted to go!” We especially hear it when Shawn rides.
People like to ride with him because they learn a lot. With years of training horses professionally and a lifetime of riding horses, he has the answers. More important, he honestly shares what he knows. But, you have to be ready for complete honesty. If you want to be told you’re a great horseman, then you have to be one. Otherwise, the advice and comments are straight-forward and intended to make you a better rider. Most people appreciate the tips and readily accept the benefits of his experience.
In any event, we decided to pick a date to ride and give everyone some notice. If you want to come ride with us, you are welcome. It’s not a trail riding club. There’s no fees or charges. No rule books or releases to sign. We are just going to tell you where we plan to ride and the date. If you ride with us, there’s only one rule. You ride with respect; respect for the horse and the other riders.
This ride is not an organized trail ride, but the opportunity for all of us to ride together and enjoy some pretty country from horse back. If you want to come, put September 20, 2014 on your calendar for the Will Rogers Centennial trail at Oologah Lake in Oklahoma. We intend to leave the main trail head at 9am. This time we’re telling everyone well in advance the place, the date, and the time. If you want to ride, we’ll see you there!!
July 14, 2014
Trail riding at the lake in the Summer is great fun. The horses loved the water and enjoyed the opportunity to cool off in it. We like to get the horses used to water and ready to go where ever might be needed.
Earlier in the day we rode through some areas of the trail covered by water and lots of mud. But, that’s trail riding in Oklahoma, you just never know what to expect. Usually the trails are pretty dry this time of year, but a storm a few days before brought some much-needed rain. It’s also typically really hot in July, but the past weekend was a pleasant 90 degrees Farenheit that made for a wonderful day at the lake.
The horses in the video are Doc and P.J. The mule is Tia. She belongs to a fellow trail rider and friend.
July 1, 2014
Pulling logs is a great way to build your horse physically, mentally, and emotionally. The geldings at the ranch are taught to pull all sorts of things; logs, tires, metal barrels, sleds, fence posts and whatever else we need done. Not long ago, someone ran across an old metal table in the woods. A lariat was tied to the table and the young gelding dragged it over half a mile back to the trash at the barn.
It isn’t hard to see how pulling some extra weight helps get your horse in shape. No different from you pulling the little red wagon with the kids around the yard or the sled through the snow. It helps a horse mentally because they learn to think. You don’t make really tight turns around a rock or a tree. The horse has to learn to think just a little more. Of course some never get the hang of it. Emotionally the horse develops from learning to accept a lot of noise and commotion behind him. Our ranch geldings quickly figure out that it isn’t going to do any good to get upset. It doesn’t make it stop following them.
If you haven’t ever pulled or tied off to something, you probably should get someone with experience to help you the first few times. It can occasionally get exciting and you don’t want to learn how to do it the hard way. It hurts too much. We used the term “tied off” but strongly suggest it doesn’t mean really tied. We use the term to mean someone took a couple of dallies or loops around the saddle horn. In a bind, you can let go of the rope and it will just unwind. Safety needs to always be a priority when dragging or pulling. You want to always be able to release the pressure in the event of an emergency or unexpected happening.