Archive for the ‘CISCO’ Category
I set up the arena for fun! I had two upright barrels standing close together and two large plastic jump boxes standing together. I had the arena alone today so we played at liberty on the ground.
Firstly, I needed to do my exercising so Cisco and I walked at a goodly speed twice around the arena. I broke out into a near run while Cisco sped his long legs up ever so little. He stayed with me the entire time. I like to put my hand on his neck just behind his head, so that as his goal. He passed!
I’ve had a problem keeping him going around me in a very close circle. He takes advantage of his freedom and moves further away from me. Today, I layed the carrot stick on his back and proceeded to walk forward. He stayed right with me and then I turned it into me standing in place and he circled me! Aha!
Next was our barrel and block squeezes. I had a heck of a time getting Cisco to walk between these obstacles at liberty. First it was tough to get him to follow me thru the obstacles. He preferred to go around the obstacles rather than thru them. That took a while. He also got a treat. Next I tried to stand near the obstacles and “send him through”. That didn’t work at all! We had a lot of discussion about where his body should be. I wanted his body lined up ready to walk thru the obstacles. He wanted his body completely on the other side of the obstacle from where I was standing. In all our discussion, he never left me to go running around the arena. For that I was quite pleased. I never did direct him thru the obstacles. It ended up with me begging him to come thru them to join up with me.
I was amazed at his level of distrust at something that he should have had confidence with. We will do more of this to raise his confidence!
I got on Cisco and off we went at a loose fast walk. This is his rehab gait. We did not experience any limping or shortened strides. I was so happy at that. Next our task was to ride thru the obstacles. We did extremely well. Next, we sped up a little and went between them at a just a bit faster than a walk speed. I also set up the barrels with a cone to hold my stick and string. We pretended the string was a gate and we opened and then shut the gait as we went between the barrels.
We did some backing around the obstacles as well as backed between. We need much more practice to get his confidence raised at backing thru.
What a fun arena time we had. We did get a nice flat foot walk going and a few steps of the fox trot.
Note: on the next day’s arena fun time, Cisco is perfectly fine with going between the obastacles at all kinds of requests from me!
We also did some great ground play sideways. From about 15′ away from me, he sidepassed over four comes about 20′ apart. I was standing almost in front of him. That meant I tapped my carrot stick on the ground, holding it out at my side. Even I was amazed that he understood that cue!
At the end of our fun day, I stood 22′ away from Cisco and asked him to sidepass down the wall from 22′ away.
Ground play is so much fun with an amazing horse!
I believe that Cisco is a Million Dollar Horse (MDH). He just hasn’t had the opportunity to prove it yet.
What? You want to know what a million dollar horse (MDH)is? No, it isn’t a Kentucky Deby winner or an Olympic horse champion.
Have you seen pictures of three to six year old children riding a horse without a nearby adult? The children’s legs don’t reach below the saddle pad. The horse walks slowly along. Or if the child is somewhat familiar with a horse, the horse will reluctantly go slightly faster if asked and asked again. A MDH is aso a lesson horse that you can put beginning adult riders on. The beginning adult rider might scream bloody murderer in fear and the horse ignores it. The beginning rider might lock up their body in nervous tension and the MDH ignores the fear and plods along. A MDH does not spook. All four feet stay sanely on the ground. Folks, I have described a Million Dollar Horse.
Following is the story of how Cisco earned his half million dollar title.
“She Who Will Not Be Named” (SWWNBN) asked an amazing professional trainer to ride Cisco today to evaluate his lameness recovery. The amazing trainer needed to ride Cisco using her own saddle. SWWNBN walked Cisco down the barn aisle to where the saddle and pad were waiting. Always helpful, SWWNBN planned to saddle up Cisco while the amazing trainer put up a horse and moved another horse around the horse lots. SWWNBN Had plenty of time to saddle Cisco.
SWWNBN put the saddle pad on Cisco and then picked up the saddle, rather tried to pick up the saddle. Darn, that saddle is heavy! Cisco is calmly standing in the aisle with a very loose lead rope dangling on SWWNBN’s arm. There was a mighty struggle going on with the saddle and the weak human. Finally, the human was able to lift the saddle and walk over to Cisco’s side. SWWNBN swung the saddle up on Cisco’s back. Sadly, the flung up saddle only reached Cisco’s side, not his top. The saddle hit Cisco’s side and bounced back into SWWNBN’s body. SWWNBN might have been a little off-balance by then. While stepping backwards to get her balance back, SWWNBN tripped. The saddle was dropped and fell in a crash right beside Cisco. The human fell backward and crashed into a stall wall. The human fell into a heap beside Cisco’s steel shod hooves.
Cisco did not move during this entire 20 second disaster. The rope attached to Cisco’s halter was also dropped. Cisco had been completely unrestained during the entire event. A heavy saddle was flung against his side, crashed to the ground and the human crashed against a stall and was knocked to the ground about a foot from his feet.
That is a half million dollar horse! Oh, by the way, Cisco is expected to make a full recovery! His leg did well in the assessment. “She WhoWill Not Be Named” will never be named.
I tell people that a new book is not possible because the humor of a person new to horses is gone. Maybe that theory is flawed. I might have had two humbling experiences just today and the last time I rode. I might have dramatic, pathetic and humorous stories, even now. You be the judge.
I decided to change bits today on Cisco’s bridle. Cisco made certain that he was involved in the exchange. He had his head mostly in my lap while I was trying to do this. Figuring out how to get the bit on the bridle and then the reins on this Wonder bit is complicated for me. I think they must call it a Wonder Bit because it makes people like me wonder how to install it correctly.
Finally, I got done and put the bridle on Cisco. Whoops, the bit must not have gone into his mouth. No, the bridle was too long and the bit just fell out of his mouth. I made the bridle shorter and put it on again. Hmmmm, the bridle still appears too long and the curb strap came no where near Cisco’s chin. I said, “The heck with this! I’ll just ride him bridleless today”.
I haven’t rode bridleless for quite a while. It appears that I have been assuming Cisco has been following my leg and body position (rather than the reins) quite well, but when you ride bridleless, you find the truth. I hate the truth. But the truth defines the journey!
Cisco and I were still impressive without the bridle but there is a lot of room for amazing “betterness”! (Yes, I just invented that word!)
I need to put more balance in my riding. I’ll be balancing my time with and without the bridle from now on.
Cisco had a nice weekend with this home herd. He and I went back to play today. Over the weekend, I had some alone time with four of my bridles. One of them had another bit all perfectly hitched up to the bridle. I was able to see how my bit should have been put on the bridle. With my old dirty used bridle with the reins that are slowly rotting, but with the correct installation of the Wonder bit, we are ready to ride!
I have rules for proper saddling and mounting a horse. The saddle rules are as follows: The horse must canter or jump over something along with tightening the girth at least three times. I followed the rules. Cisco cantered both ways in a round pen. I tightened the saddle gradually at least three times. The saddle was secure when I mounted. If the girth would have been loose, the saddle and I would have fallen off the horse during mounting.
Cisco and I spent a long while practicing skills in the arena. Near the end of our session, I asked him to canter. I had this strange feeling that my body couldn’t keep straight in the saddle. I stopped and scootched the saddle back straight on his back. We cantered off. Hmmm, I still had a wee problem with keeping my body balanced in the saddle. We stopped and walked for a moment when I heard banging. My saddle was making a banging noise. My saddle is normally a nice and quiet saddle. It has never made a banging noise. I checked those little straps that hang off the saddle. Nope, they were not causing a banging noise. I looked at my cinch. Good Lordy! My cinch wasn’t secured on the ring correctly. I had Cisco creep toward the round pen and I got off on the round pen panel. I climbed down the round pen to solid earth. I went to the other side of Cisco and looked at my girth. Good Lordy! My girth was not secure. It was not tight. It was barely even touching Cisco. I had been riding purely balanced on Cisco’s back with no anchor for the saddle. If he would have spooked sideways, the saddle and I would have left his back. If I had asked him to jump over something, I might have had quite an experience! I followed all the rules of tightening my girth. I broke the rule of securely fastening the strap to the saddle. I didn’t twist it around the ring at all. Good grief, protect me against brain loss!
What will happen the next time I ride Cisco? I am taking applications for guardian angel!
Every day I agonize over how I can let Cisco know what a wondrous horse he is to give me so much try and affection.
Should I just go into his pasture and feed him treats non stop all day long?
How about me brushing him daily for 3 hours?
Can I feed him a bag of horse feed every day?
Let me rub behind his ears, rub his withers, rub his head, rub his nose, scratch his belly, scratch other itchy places etc for three hours every day. Would that work?
Should I give him a warm bath every day? Should he be squeaky clean, oil and germ free clean every day?
I could stand in front of him and tell him, “Good Boy” one hundred times a day.
He would love me taking him out to find the greenest clover patches and letting him graze for four – six hours every day.
Instead of all the above,I take him out of his pasture, put a saddle on him and play with him on-line, at liberty and riding most every day. I try to rub him when he does something I’ve asked for him to do. I try to give him stops, rubbing and resting moments when he has put effort into a task. I give him a treat when his “try” is special. I do try to tell him, “Good Boy” when he gives me a great try. I do occasionally take him out to graze at wondrous clover patches after our playtime.
His feed program is healthy. His weight and body composition is perfect. His teeth are “adjusted” yearly. He gets veterinarian exam and yearly inoculations. His feet are trimmed by the best farrier on the planet.
I need to get an animal communicator so I can ask Cisco what more I can do for him!
I’ve wrapped up enough examples to know that Cicso is darn certain that a gate will kill him, We were so scared of the gate at the April 2015 Spring Horse show that we just zipped around it.
Cisco was terrifie of the gate at the 2015 versatility arena at Ava shows both June and September. We have yet to make an entrance through a strange gate using my right hand. Cisco can barely tolerate me using my left hand to open and shut a gate. Usually gates are set up to go thru with the rider’s right hand. We have to back through the gate when using the left hand, much more difficult.
Or is it something else? Cisco is a deep horse, one that thinks things through. He was very well trained when I got him.
While Cisco has been my horse, we found that he worries. He doesn’t get comfortable quickly in different places. He worries. It takes him a while to relax in strange places. This is not immediately apparent to anyone. He hides it well. Underneath that perfectly calm outer exterior can be a worried horse in an environment new to him.
I worry that ulcers can form. Therefore, I’ve taken to feeding him alfalfa pellets. Alfalfa produces digestive juices that flood the entire gut, lower and higher of the horse. Ulcers are found in the upper level of the horse’s system. When worry hits, the ulcers start hurting and the horse reacts. So, I’m trying to prevent ulcers from forming by getting that alfalfa to do the job of massaging the inside of the horse.
I’ve found that Cisco likes to move when he is worried. Standing still is not an option when he is highly worried. But yet, I let him walk out and he appears to be calm.
Standing still at a location new to him is not good. He moves his body around, trying to move forward while I’m telling him to stand still.
The rope gate at the latest horse show, Spring 2016, was a frightening thing. He had to hold still while I grabbed the rope loop off the fence. Oh that was difficult. He might have been worried that it was an electric fence kind of a rope. However, he has been just as scared of a regular metal gate. I finally was able to grab the rope with my right hand.
Cisco hopped up and down with his front feet. He was very upset. I felt no fear. I didn’t fear that Cisco was going to buck or bolt, so I hung on to the rope. I had a 22′ rope to hang on to and maneuver around with. In not too long, I got Cisco to back into the arena and I was able to hang the rope back on the post. It was incredible how upset he was. We went thru the trail obstacles fairly successful. He was very worried.
Next I had also signed up for the Open Trail Obstacle class. Our fearful rope gate adventure was repeated. On the 4th obstacle, the back thru L, Cisco lost it. We scratched that obstacle and went on to the next.
While the rest of the riders where going through their trail course, Cisco and I took advantage of being able to ride in the covered arena where the rest of the horse show was to be held. We moved and he was fine.
When it came time for Western Pleasure, Cisco did great. Cisco did great on all the remaining rail classes. He never stood still for too long while we waited to ride in the remaining five classes in which we were entered. The last class was Open Fox Trotter, Will Canter. Cisco’s canter was not exactly like a rocket. We didn’t go fast enough to orbit into outer space. I could tell that he was not yet relaxed and used to his surroundings. Oh my what a day it was!
We will be practicing a rope gate, and comparing, remembering and thinking about Cisco and his worries.
Fast forward to late 2016. We now have assessed Cisco to be a right brain extrovert . Read about the right brain extrovert In this article.
What personality is your horse?
I spent three days at the World Show watching Velvet and Powder perform magnificently in their classes. Way to go Nichole Hack and Caitlyn Vaught! You both are amazing and bring the best to these lucky horses you ride! They are truly blessed to have you.
That was three exciting days. I arrived in Ava, Mo and discovered, I left both my iPad and my iPhone at home. That was not acceptable since I was going on to Colorado,for more marvelous picture moments. I drove back home…200 miles… on Monday to get them. Back again 200 miles to Ava on Tuesday to root for Powder and Velvet… And maybe everyone else in the versatility arena. On Wednesday afternoon after the versatility speed events, I met up with my great friends, Apryl and Hope, and off we went to the Parelli Summit in Pagosa Springs, Colorda. We took two days to get there.
Upon our arrival the next morning at the Parelli ranch, I discovered someone had taken all the oxygen out of the air. We watched the amazing horses and horsemanship and then we struggled up and down slight slopes to get to the porta potties and vendor tents. Occasionally, my heart felt like it would explode out of my chest and at my age, it could really happen. The Summit was Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Off we went late Sunday afternoon headed home. We made it to Garden City, Ks and then home on Monday. Then it was a 2 hour drive for me to get to Kansas City. I had that deep tiredness inside me.
Last month I gave my beloved Circle Y Flex Tree saddle to Yellow Boot Saddlery to clean and restore. On the drive to Pagosa Springs, Donna called me with heart-breaking news. My tree was broken on both sides. What! My beloved saddle that I worship and used for an unknown number of years is broken beyond repair! My beloved saddle is dead. I fussed at Donna. She was the bearer of horrid news. Poor Donna. My response was, well, gruff!
Donna told me that they had found a lot of saddles with broken trees. A lot of us are wandering around with broken trees. Tony Vaught had been telling me for years, there was something wrong with flex saddles. Apparently he was right about this particular saddle. Luckily, I had been using the CSI saddle pad for a long time. That might have helped the horses I had ridden with that saddle.
Tuesday was a Susan Universe shut down and I emerged slightly tired tarnished on Wednesday. We had a clinic with Tony and Jenny Vaught on Friday, two hours away at Harmony Horseman in Hiawatha, Ks. Off I went on Friday late morning. I knew I would be late, but I had a great excuse! I pulled in around 2:00 pm and was sad when entering the arena as there were only a few people there. Oh No! Hardly anyone came to the clinic! What’s up with that? I got unpacked, got Cisco saddled, warmed up and rode him. Around 4:00 or so, I found out the clinic was Saturday and Sunday, not Friday and Saturday. My brain failed me!
The good part of this is that I got to ride Cisco and I was on-time for the clinic starting on Saturday. I got to take part in the introduction and tell people my name and what I wanted to work on. I was first to talk. I decided to demonstrate what I wanted to work on rather than the express it verbally. I got up and skipped across the space and changed my lead foot to skip on the other foot. There were a few people in attendance that had never met me. Oh boy, I bet they thought I was a deranged old adult. I was non verbally telling Jnny I wanted to work on flying lead changes. She got it right away!
Playing with Cisco on the ground and riding him is always an incredible experience. We communicated. He tried to understand my fumbling cues. He gives me two or three times what I ask for. He tries his heart out. That is his personality.
Saturday afternoon about 3:00, my brain got hot. It didn’t hurt, it just got hot. I didn’t feel bad, dizzy or sick. My brain just got hot. I gave up about 4:30, got Cisco bathed, fed and settled and went to my room, took a shower and crawled into the bed. I was in the dark and finally, the brain cooled down around 8:30. What the heck was that! I didn’t get to go out and eat dinner with the crowd. I hate missing the social part of the clinics!
I did suffer from saddle grief throughout the clinic. I have two more Circle Y flex Lite saddles. I rode one of them on Friday and my body cursed it. It doesn’t have the padding that my beloved saddle has or something. It causes parts of my unmentionable parts to experience pain. I changed saddles on Saturday. This saddle has always been challenging for me to keep my right foot in the stirrup. About two hours into the clinic on Saturday, both my feet started hurting. It is the darn stirrups causing the problem. I have Don Orel stirrups on my beloved saddle. I need those stirrups on this saddle!
I also had given my favorite bridles to Yellow Boots Saddlery to clean last month. I was riding Cisco in the Myler snaffle bit. He was resisting my directions. Finally, I got off and went to get a one-ear bridle that I never use. It does have a bit that Cisco likes and responds well too. It was near the end of the day and the heat in my brain mentioned above got to me soon after.
I started out using the one-earred bridle on Sunday. I discovered that Cisco’s head action during his fox trot immediately upon cantering throws the headstall off his hear backwards on his neck. So I was wearing a bridle with nothing to make it stay in place. That was irritating! I had to get off and take the time to change the good bit to a bridle with a browband! The entire weekend I was mad at my broken saddle for dying on me. I was occasionally mad at my bridles! These things cause grumpiness, especially when riding in temperatures in the upper 80′s temperature. GRUMPY!
Sunday when we started doing leg yields and flying change exercises, my mood went up into exceeding happiness. Again I repeat, Cisco gave me his heart and try! I love that horse!
I went to the 2016 Parelli Summit for one and maybe two reasons. I went to learn more horsemanship so I could be a better human for Cisco and because it was the 20 Year Anniversary!
I attended all three days Of David Lichman’s breakout sessions on advanced liberty training. His mentors have been Pat Parelli, a circus Liberty horse act performer and the woman who invented the clicker training with dolphins. You can’t get much better mentors than that!
I learned more advanced techniques in how those experts communicate with their animals.
We start out the advanced at-Liberty act by having the horse come to our body and laying his head on our chest. Cisco is dead set in his way of invisible worry. When he puts his head down, he can’t see the predators that might be stalking him. I knew about his problem with lowering his head and we have made great strides. He is doing really well at lowering his head when I am on his back and we are standing still. We have a long way to go to lowering his head when I ask him from the ground. Now he has to lower his head and rest it on my chest. Oh my! We did it, but not without issues, trust issues! At the end of our session today, I asked him to put his head on my chest while I was seated on a chair. Oh my, this took quite a while. We will be practicing this forever. When he lowers his head, he is relaxed and trusts me to be the protecting leader.
Then there is the boomerang move. I point, give the verbal cue. Cisco runs to and around an obstacle. He then runs to me and puts his head on my chest. That might be the description of what it might look like someday. We did a very inexperienced version of this today. There was absolutely no running and much directing on my part, but we did it at liberty!
Playing with a horse on the ground is a very special communication experience. I cherish this time with Cisco.
Usually after I have spent days watching what Pat and Linda Parelli can do with horses, I have 43 things to try and on my first ride with my horse, I try all 43 things during a hour ride. Poor horses in my past. I managed not to do this with Cisco. I do have some maturity now. Ha! But I had to end our riding session today riding bridleless. I love doing this as I have only the truth to deal with…no reins!
I have so much fun with Cisco! The days will fly by this fall, winter and spring. I’ll try to keep ou updated verbally and with a view movie clips!
If you are a Parelli person, many unParelli people think you are certifiable. If you follow the quest, you are still OK to be with other people. We are not dangerous. The Levels program in Parelli is like the black belt kind of thing in Judo. You don’t get the black belt unless you live the black belt. It becomes your life.
I need Cisco to worship me and want to do what I ask of him. I want his heart. If I have his heart, I will have everything he has to offer.
I was going to explain what I did “right” the last time I interacted with and rode him. I was going to explain what I did wrong. But it really isn’t wrong, it just a detour in earning his heart.
As you know, I have this one obsession. Cisco and I worked on my obsession. Worked is an illegal word. I did not play. I did not reward. We worked. We practiced. That is not going to win me his heart. I finally understand what linear (straight line) thinking is. Finally!
I made the goal an athletic task instead of thanking Cisco every time he figured out just what my confusing signals are. For every try, there should be a thank you, not a constant repetition demand.
If anyone can actually figure out what I said, welcome to the journey!
Cisco had thirty days with Nichole Hack to prepare him for me. I took my first ride and it was a good one. Cisco came home and I took him to my favorite summer arena to get better acquainted. I rode him in a clinic with Jenny Vaught. We were doing great. I started trusting him to take care of me.
Friend Chas called and wanted me to go on a trail ride with her. Gulp! My first trail ride with Cisco. I said yes and the deal was made. We agreed to ride at Holden Lake. It is a city lake with a trail that goes around the lake. The trail include riding through woods, behind people’s houses and across a long damn. Louie and Chas; Cisco and I.
Cisco was excited when I unloaded him. Chas and Louie showed up not long after we got there. Louie was excited too. Chas and I did the ground work with our horses. Chas got on Louie and came over close to where I was going to mount Cisco. I got up on the trailer fender, holding on to one of Cisco’s reins. Cisco was still a wee bit excited at the new place, but he appeared to me that he was going to let me mount. He stood sideways at the trailer so I could get my leg over the saddle. I had to turn around on the fender to get my body in proper position.I turned around and let loose of the rein for a millisecond. In that millisecond, Cisco took off. He left Louie, Chas and me behind. He galloped out of the parking lot neighing and screaming. There were two horses in a pasture across the road. Where was Cisco going? How far would he go? Was there a fence around the Lake Holden Park? If there was, it was too far off for us humans to be able to see it. Cisco continued his gallop.
The thing not to do is take a horse and run after the fleeing horse. This makes the fleeing horse think that the chasing horse is joining him and will gallop for freedom. Chas turned Louie around and started after Cisco at a calm and slow gait. She knew that Louie had to become Cisco’s anchor when Cisco’s right brain behavior was replaced by a thinking brain. She kept on trying to shorten the ever expanding gap between Louie and the galloping Cisco.
Heaven was my reward. Lake Holden was fenced off. I headed for the open gate so I could block Cisco if he ever found the way out of the park. Louie and Chas were still heading for Cisco. When Cisco came up short at the fence, he ran back and forth a bit trying to find a way out. He gave up and noticed Louie. His thinking brain came back. Cisco came over to Louie and Chas was able to grab a rein. Cisco was caught. He would not be running out wild on the gravel roads of Cass County.
Cisco and I reunited and did more ground games while Louie and Chas watched. Louie was impatient. I led Cisco up to the trailer fender again and did not let go of the reins. I was able to get into the saddle. Cisco and i moved out with some fretting going on with both Cisco and Louie. We started across the big meadow with an ugly black stump near a dried up ditch crossing. Louie was in the lead, but was uncertain of that stump and the narrow crossing. Cisco was fine. I let Cisco take the lead and away we went. We made it to the forest pathway where Cisco relaxed. Louie had taken the lead again and we were going on like you read in the perfect trail ride book. We did a water crossing. I think he jumped the water, but that was just fine with me. it brought back memories of riding Velvet on the trail.
Cisco and Louie went the entire distance around the lake or did we turn back and take the forest trail again. Maybe Chas will remember. It was a successful trail ride and one for the memory book. My horse got loose and galloped away on our first ever trail ride. scream
it happens. You go to get your horse. Your horse turns away and leaves you. I want my horse to come to me and anticipate our time together. My last post was news that Cisco turned his back to me. I was spurned.
Yesterday, I went out to feed the hungry horses. I offered to let Cisco out of the horse pasture. I opened the stall door. He looked at me, turned his tail and left me hanging.
Sadly, we had a major lesson coming up. Practice on the gaits and then my heaven on earth, lead changes. It was not deathly hot, but sweat snuck into every wrinkle I own. Cisco was wet. He had to expend a ton of effort. I tried to thank him and rub him when he did good. I get carried away during the lead change exercises and forget to rub him as often as I should.
We were done. His head itched with sweat. I took off the bridle and he rubbed his head against me. Then he put his head around my neck and kept it there. He was hugging me. I had no food to give him on his trailer ride home. He did get treats.
Today I went out to the stalls to see what would happen in our relationship. After the hardest of day of riding, Cisco did not turn away from me. He allowed himself to be haltered. I led him out of the stall to the trailer. I set a bucket of food down next to the trailer entrance and let him eat. When he was done, he went back into the horse pasture. I am back in his good graces. Whew!