• "I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of it's creed: "We hold these truths to self-evident that all men are created equal." I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave-owners will be to the sit down together at the talbe of brother-hood...I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of character." -Reverend Martin Luther King Jr.'s speech in front of the Lincoln Memorial
  • "But when a long train of abuses and usurptions pursuing invariably the same object, evinces a design to reduce them uder absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards to their future security." -Declaration of Independence
  • "There are no safe choices, Miss Temple. Only other choices." -A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray
  • "If you are a painter, paint. It doesn't mean you have to paint Jesus into every picture, just paint good. If you paint good enough, then people will aask why you do what you do." -Issac Slay; The Fray (on why the band doesn't use the name of Jesus in every song)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

One month down...

Wow, has it already been one month since I started the Mustang Makeover challenge? Amazing how times flies. Hard to believe that the same horse who dragged me halfway across the roundpen on Day 1 is now learning about bending, correct leads, and showing in his first dressage test on Saturday evening! To be honest, I do doubt whether or not I'm doing a good job with him, especially on what seems like a particularly bad day, but when I remember just how long I've had him, I realize just how far he's come along.

Today, I lunged him on lunge line for the first time and after some confused moments and a couple "I don't want too" hissy-fits, he settled in and did pretty good. He even got his right lead canter a couple times, which has been a problem for the past week or so. Then I walked and long-trotted him around the jump arena for a while, working on his bending, keeping his hip under him, and getting him quicker off my leg. Overall, he did really well during his workout.

Later that morning, the equine dentist came out to float some of the horses' teeth, including Raider's. Not only did he need his teeth floated, but he also needed his wolf teeth pulled. We thought that he would act up, especially when trying to pull his teeth (one tooth gave us a bit of a problem in coming out) but instead he stood perfectly still the whole time-and all he had was a light sedative (nearly killed my hips in holding up his head though-OUCH!)! The dentist couldn't believe how well-behaved he was for a 3-year-old mustang and I was simply very happy with how he acted. Thursday, he gets his feet trimmed for the first time, which I'm not worried about at all. He still thinks he can't quite stand on three feet, especially when you hold up his front feet, but he's getting the hang of it. So hopefully, he'll behave for the farrier just as good as he did today.

And I got some more photos of him!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Song of Gold

During the Extreme Mustang Makeover competition, the Top Ten Riders have to do a freestyle routine to a song of the rider's choice, a small list of pre-disposed maneuvers, and other maneuvers the rider can add for fun and effect. So for the past couple months, I have been scouring through my favorite songs and albums, looking for one little 4-5 minute gem that will help make a freestyle routine that will ultimately stand out to the judges and get the crowd to their feet. And I think I've found it. I won't make it public yet, because I have to make sure I can come up with a good routine outline to it (enter the guinea pig-horse named MJ! LOL) and run it by Marsha to see what she thinks about it. Because, let's face it, the cash prizes would be awesome to get, but ultimately I've got my eye on the really cool looking belt buckle the Top Rider gets. Sure, I can actually buy the belt buckle, but what's the fun in that? ^_^

Anyway, as for another little update: Raider is progressing very nicely. We're still working on trying to get him to take his right canter lead, but since he's weak in the right hind, it's extremely hard for him to take it. He takes the lead correctly maybe 20% of the time, whereas he takes his left lead 90-100% of the time. So we're going back to lots and lots of lunging. Hopefully, it'll click by the end of the week. Other than that, everything else is going smoothly. He lets me pick up his feet and clean them (still working on getting the cue down though) and we've already ventured out into the big arena with no problems. Tomorrow, I'll start long-trotting him down the arena fence; it'll help build up more muscle in his hind end too and help with his leads and his stamina.

OH! And before I forget...

Here are some pictures of Raider and I! There will be more coming, as well as videos:

Until next time!

God Bless,

Monday, August 15, 2011

Update on Mustang

Remember my last update on how I said it was a week and half before Marsha and I went to pick up the mustangs? Umm...well...ah...yeah...week and half came and went and I'm into week 2 of training my mustang. Wow, I am really bad at this blogging thing. I have actually been meaning to get on here and blog about my new mustang, but with trying to get into a new routine with training now three horses and plus hitting up some barrel races with MJ, things have been a little more than crazy around here. So I'll just get started.

In a nutshell, I got a three-year-old chestnut gelding from the Adobe Holding Facility in Adobe, Wyoming (I was really hoping for a mustang from the Pryor Range, but it's close enough too home ^_^). A while ago, I had mentioned I had a couple names I really liked that I was going to choose from when I saw him. The minute I saw him, I knew what his name was going to be. I named him Raider, from Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark. Marsha and I picked up Raider and Marsha's four-year-old mustang Balou in Mississippi and took them to a nearby trainer that Marsha knows for the weekend so we could spend the weekend playing with them and getting them started.

Day one was a little more than rough; I honestly felt like an idiot and I really didn't know what to do. Raider came off the trailer and he drug me a good twenty feet across the roundpen before I could plant my feet and skidded to a stop. Fortunately, as the afternoon progressed and I watched a one of Cohn Livingston's students (Marsha's friend and a really great guy all around) work with her mustang and I had a better idea of what I was doing. By the time we finished Friday evening, Raider was joining up with me and I could pet him and rub his head.

Day two, Saturday, we went back to Cohn's barn and taught our mustangs how to tie and stand as we walked in between them, clapped, made noise, etc. Raider didn't even flinch at all. He let us walk up too him and pet him all over his body. In fact, the only time he moved was when he figured out he could move his line and went to visit Balou. Otherwise, he simply stood there. As the day progressed, Cohn helped me with trying to lunge him and getting him to go forward, cause he would constantly stop and simply not move or push into my space. It took a while, but by the end of Sunday, I had a pretty good start with lunging. We also introduced the saddling process and he didn't mind it at all. He simply stood there and let us throw the saddle on and off several times and cinch him up (the only time he moved was when he got a little off-balance and he took a step to re-balance himself).

By the end of Sunday, day three, I was mounting and dismounting and being sent around by Cohn at a walk, trot, and canter. That's right, folks. Only three days out of the wild and I was already riding him. I also got him started on pivoting on his hind end on the ground. I was shocked and excited too no end whatsoever.

The original plan was to load up the horses on Marsha's trailer and head back home Sunday evening, but all weekend it downpoured frequently and Marsha didn't want to travel on wet roads late at night with a trailer loaded down with three horses (she also brought her Supreme mare, Splash). So we decided to leave on early Monday morning. Monday morning, we woke up (early again-thankfully not as early as Friday morning) and went down to the barn for the last time. Marsha and I took our mustangs out and we both loaded them into her slant load trailer like normal horses. We all were very surprised and happy at how level-headed and easy-going both Balou and Raider. It made for a great weekend all the way around.

After we got home, even though I had already ridden Raider, I spent about a week on doing nothing but ground work. By the end of the week, I had him in a snaffle bit and working off very light mouth pressure by ground-driving him twice a day. I also started riding him again at a walk and trot, this time, with steering capabilities. We've worked on in-hand showmanship skills and have been playing around with several different trail obstacles like walking over a tarp, walking and trotting over poles, and pivoting inside a box. He's got his hind-end pivot down on the left, but it still needs a little polishing going to the right (he has difficulties planting the left hind so he can spin around it, but he's getting it). We've also started cantering and currently working on his leads. Marsha said she's going to get on him and teach him how to bend his body, so hopefully it'll help him understand his leads and where to put his body a bit better.

As you can tell, the past couple of weeks with Raider have been extremely hectic and busy, but exciting and fun at the same time. The learning curve we've both had in the past two weeks have been simply incredible. I now have to start thinking about what I have to do for my freestyle routine for the competition in October. I'm still pouring over several songs that I really like (most of them from Thousand Foot Krutch and a couple from SuperChick and Fireflight) and I'm going to start playing around with them on MJ to see what I can come up with.

I will be updating a lot more as the days progress; at least once a week, if not more. I have also been posting pictures and such on my Facebook and started using my Twitter to update too (so if you want to find me on Twitter, there's a little button on the side that says "Follow me" you can click on ^_^). So there will be plenty of places there will be updates on Raider and also quite a few on MJ too, since I've started taking her her to barrel races more.

Until next time...

God Bless,