Archive for April, 2008

PostHeaderIcon Sue – How Do You Do at Letting Susan Dismount…oh noooooo

Warmth has finally visited the midwest after a long icy and cold winter. Finally Sue and I got to ride outside…in a large turnout pasture right next to the arena.
I rode. We did great.
I dismounted to the wheel barrow platform for the manure pile.
I splatted onto the ground. (not the manure pile, thanks goodness)
It was right when my near foot went to the platform and my other leg was swinging over when Sue moved sideways.
Instead of keeping my near foot in the stirrup and swinging my leg over, I’ve gotten into the habit of finding high things to dismount on. I just put the near foot on the high thing and get off.
It’s so painfree.
But it doesn’t take into account that the horse can move before you get both feet plastered on the platform.
As Sue was sidepassing away from the platform, I was balanced on her. The more she went sidepassed, the more off balance I became. Finally she took the last step.
I was still reaching for her..not believing that this was happening, and I went flailing and crashed into the ground.
The nice thing about all this was that Sue didn’t run away. She stook quietly right there when I crashed. I was flailing. For Sue not to run away when my arms were out of control was a big deal.

I appreciated that.

After I managed to struggle to my feet, I rubbed her face and petted her.
I gave her a treat at the trailer.

I believe that the other person riding a horse in the same area must have caused her some concern. I bet the person came just a little too close to us…which for Sue could be anywhere from 50-100 feet.

I limped for a day or two.  I call that a learning limp.

PostHeaderIcon Sue-How Do You Do with a Big Heavy Breathing Saddlebred Horse?

This is the 2nd consecutive day of trail ride.  Oh woe if we could only have 5 days or 2 weeks or so consecutive days.

Today, Sue was more relaxed on the trail. 
Today, Sue was more nervous on the trail.


Even though the saddlebred did wonderful on his first trail ride, he is still a fairly high energy horse.  I believe that energy sparked more of Sue’s inner terror that still exists.

Part of today (the first half away from the trailer), we were able to follow our two trail riding buddies. She was relaxed enough to just follow instead of scooting ahead.  What a great ride that was!

When we hit the turn around spot where we are going back to the trailer, Sue’s energy comes up.  This is where I found out how great of a gait she had over deep mushy muck.  Well the same spot today with the saddlebred behind us caused a few more bolt forward reactions on our way back home.

When she startles forward, my body tenses in alarm and I grab for the rein. This causes the forward part to go on longer than if I were relaxed.  I wish I wouldn’t do it.

So, part of the way home to the trailer (when we weren’t in the deep squishy mud or muck), I had my fellow trail riders wave their arms around. It made Sue raise her head, but she didn’t spook.  We’re going to have to do this more so I can quit my over-reaction.

The nice thing about today in terms of Sue and I is that my confidence is still sky rocket high.  I can’t wait to get back on the trail again.

PostHeaderIcon Sue – How Do You Trail Ride in Smushy Grass and MUD!

Sue is sure-footed.

Sue can be very gaited – very smooth - in saturated 3″-4″ deep mud or grass.  That’s how far her feet sink.  That’s today at the park.

She judges where she wants to go and we just float over the muck.

I don’t ever remember going this fast before over muck.  I was amazed.

This, our first trail ride since last November. Sue is a great trail horse.  In fact, Sue is a darn great horse. I’m lucky to have her.  I’m still grateful to Nichole for bringing her further than I was able to .

PostHeaderIcon Sue-How Do You Do those Liquid Gold Eyes?

Sue – How Have Your Eyes Changed AGAIN

We had Sue with the dull look in her eyes.  That was when I first got her.  This post is written in April 2008.  I got Sue in April of 2006.

In 2007, we had the transformation Sue with the bright eyes. That was darn amazing.  Her eyes changed from dull to bright and interested. I’ll have to look back in the blog to see what month that was. Her eyes changed to bright , but they were still wide open for things of which to be very scared.

This afternoon, I noticed her eyes have changed again.

Sue’s eyes are liquid melted gold. Her eyes are dark and deep.  She’s relaxed.  In the spirit of nature and the world created for us, I would like to utter these two words.  “My God!”

I rode her today and what a difference.  I didn’t feel like I was climbing on a little rocket.  I used to feel that and then I could get her to relax. This time, I got on a calm relaxed horse. I wasn’t scared to adjust my body in the saddle.  I adjusted and sat on my balance point…no reaction.   We moseyed up to the front of the arena and chatted with friends.  Sue stood there, the picture of calm and relaxed horse.

I rode her – impulsion bulls eye pattern.  We have a circle outlined by barrels.  We have to go around the circle with her listening to my seat and legs…no reins.  She’s always had a hard time at this.  Her right brain introvert takes over and she likes to veer off the circle on a straight line.  She still has a tough time of listening to me, but we didn’t rocket anywhere.  We finally got our circle completed without me picking up the reins at a gait faster than a walk.  I was looking not for a consistent exact gait.  I was looking for a little bit of speed and keeping on the path.  We got it both directions.

We went around the arena and sidepassed in and out at a flat foot walk. I decided that was enough for today.  She was glad that I decided that.  She was really glad that I had treats after I got off.

PostHeaderIcon Sue – How Do You Do after being with Nichole?

I took Sue home 4/1/08.  She’s been with Nichole all this time.  Our bond has slipped since Sue and I haven’t been together for quite a time.  My job is to get her trust again. 

I took her to a clinic today.  It’s called a Liberty Clinic.  It’s all about building a relationship and language so strong that your horse will sidepass, back, turn on the forequarters and hindquarters and circle around you and walk beside you…all while “loose”.  They have no halter no lead rope.. I learned that this is something that Ray Hunt refers to as feel!  What an ideal clinic to restart our partnership.

Introductions were done and I explained that I had played with my horse a lot at Liberty since she was hard to catch.  Jenny explained to the new people about Sue’s background. 

We had a round pen up and no one else volunteered to go in it.  So Sue and I started the clinic out inside the round pen.  Two people/horses were supposed to be in the round pen.  Jenny, the clinician, asked one of the participants why she didn’t go in there with Sue and I.  She explained that it was SUE who would be scared.  Jenny told her to go right on into the round pen.  We did great.  Sue and I practiced all the tasks with a halter and rope, but I just draped the rope over Sue’s shoulders and did most of the tasks without.  We hardly knew another horse was in the round pen with us.

Another participant has had her new Morgan bay horse for two weeks.  She and I ride together after work at night.  Her former horse…also a bay Morgan, rode with us many an evening.  A lot of the time, I was riding Sue.

Near the end of the clinic, the participant with the bay Morgan and I went into the round pen.  Our horses were “at liberty” and we did the tasks…sidepassing, backing, circling, turning, walking with the horse at our side.  Everything was great.  Neither horse ran off.  Near the end, both of us humans and horses were just standing in the round pen.  My riding buddy sez to me, “Which horse of the nine is that?”.  To me it sounded like she was asking who Sue was, so I decided I didn’t hear her correctly.  “Huh”, I said.  My riding buddy said, “WHICH OF THE NINE IS THAT?”  Then I decided she must be making a joke and I didn’t get it.  “What do you mean,” I said.  Now my friend was exasperated.  She said, “What is that horse’s name?”  I said, “This horse?”  My friend is now almost to the eye rolling phase and thinking I have lost my brain.  She said again, “Who is That?”  I said, “You don’t know who this horse is?”  She said, “No”.

I said, This is SUE!  My friend almost fainted.  “NO!” She yelled.  “That can’t be Sue.  She is so calm.  She’s not worried about other horses being close to her”  I can’t see her brace when another horse comes close to her.” 

“Good GAD!”  I said, “You didn’t know this was Sue the entire clinic?”  My riding buddy said “At first I thought she was Sue, but she acted so calm, I decided it couldn’t be.  I thought you got another horse.”

And so Sue’s story continues. Thank you Nichole Copple for riding Sue and helping to make her full recovery.

Next report should be a riding report. The trail calls.


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