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Pole Bending Training

Pole Bending Training

Mikki and I got our first pole bending lessons last night and we even got the Kid back on a horse, briefly. Horse friends invited us over to try pole bending and it’s something Mikki has been wanting to try on Cash anyway. Even though Cash is a gaited horse (Tennessee Walking Horse), we think he might be good in the poles, especially since we’re sticking to small local events. If we win something, great, but we like to have fun, too. Trying to hel the Kid get over his fear of horses, we saddled him up on our most trained and calm horse, Romeo and made sure the stirrups were at the right height and headed out. I used a bit and reins so he could practice holding the reins while balancing on a saddle but I walked Romeo using a lead rope. The Kid was a nervous wreck since his last ride ended with him on the ground.

Mikki rode Cash, who seemed easy to spook tonight. That’s unusual for him because he’s normally very calm and sure. At first he didn’t like the poles and then something in the woods made him nervous. Eventually he settled down and did pretty well walking the poles. Hey, you’ve got to start somewhere! I hopped on Romeo and did the same. Romeo is an old pro at the poles so it wasn’t hard, though he was distracted by a hot little mare named River who was also trying the poles last night. And since I forgot my spurs, we ended up not going very fast. Romeo needs a little encouragement from at least bumper spurs. We ended up staying late and riding home in the dark, which was thankfully uneventful.

I can’t wait to try it again! Any of you guys run the poles?

BTW, I added a “Barrels and Poles” category.

Update on Moonshine

Update on Moonshine

It’s been 2 weeks since Moonshine left on a “training vacation.” Saturday we headed to the training farm to see how she’s doing. She seemed happy to see us and as if to receive some comfort from it, buried her face in Mikki’s chest. Sure, she’s a sweetie on the ground but riding has been a different story, which is why she’s off to be trained. Lance, our horse trainer, rode her around his pasture for us and I managed to snap photo proof (albeit blurry) that she’s not always willing to go for a ride. Lance informed us she doesn’t seem to want to buck if he longes her first but he wants her to be ridable straight from the barn. We want that, too.

Moonshine bucking
Sadly. I was unable to get the camera focused in time.

It’s funny to watch but not so fun when you’re sitting on her back while she’s doing it. She doesn’t buck much and Lance thinks that’s because her previous owners probably jumped off when she started and didn’t get back on. Part of this training exercise is also to train me as her rider how to deal with bucking, such as paying attention to her body language and pulling her head to one side if she does it. Next week we plan on taking a trail ride. I’ll be sure to wear a helmet!

Interestingly, she only wants to buck on canter. She walks, trots and runs just fine. She just doesn’t seem to want to canter. So basically I have a faulty transmission: first, second and fourth gear work but watch out for third!

I miss having her up at the barn and look forward to her returning. Obviously I’m going to need to make a time commitment to work with her and ride her regularly from now on and I should look into some more training for myself, as well.

Moonshine’s Leaving

Moonshine’s Leaving

Moonshine into trailerDon’t worry, it’s not forever!

I’m not sure how much we’ve shared about Moonshine, but to make a long story short, she hasn’t been fit for us to ride since we got her. Our horse friend, Shari, says she’s “green-broke” – she got only so far in her training, and then somebody stopped training her. Not far enough for someone who’s a green rider to feel safe on her. We have Sinbad for Bill to ride now, but he won’t be with us forever, given that he’s (1) not ours and (2) 26 years old. We’ve been going back and forth about getting another horse – namely Champ, the neighbor horse – but Shari is pretty adamant that we should not invest in another old horse who may , in addition, be arthritic. So she came up with an alternate plan.

Shari knows that even if we can never ride Moonshine, we can’t bear to get rid of her, so we’ll have a horse we have to pay to keep for no reason. She suggested that we take the money we were going to use to buy Champ and invest it in training Moonshine. She knows a trainer, Lance, who she highly recommends – he’s going to train her filly too. So Lance came over last Wednesday and worked with Moonshine for an hour. He suggested that it might be best for her to stay at his farm where he can ride her every day. We agreed, so today Moonshine left for boarding school for a month. We’ll miss her, but Lance has high hopes that after a month of intensive training she’ll be a fine horse.

So wish our Moonshine good luck! We hope she studies hard and comes back a new horse – one that doesn’t want to dump Bill off every time he gets in the saddle.