Friday, October 28, 2011

Happy Halloween- Fantasy Costume Class!


Friesian people take their costume classes SERIOUSLY. How are these horses not spooking at themselves? Each other?? WINGS???

Friesian people are a little weird.

I feel I have the right to say that.


Oh, and the Queen of Hearts was my favorite.

Don't bother to watch it to the end, it takes 20 minutes for the judges to decide then cuts off before the winner is announced. I think it was the Eagle though.

Oh oh and the yellow horse with the horsey LEGGINGS is a sphinx. Dude. Horsey leggings. The particulars behind those boggle the mind.

I'm pretty sure I'm going to come up with an outfit like the pink vegas showgirl's for the next time we compete XC. Or wait... wings...

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Beginings of Modern Day Eventing

Holy crap, check out this video:


These guys are flying.

I wonder if it helped the horses' courage to be in large groups while galloping at breakneck speeds over giant obstacles? Seems like if one stopped he'd pretty much be rammed from behind. Might instill a "go or die" element to the training?

It's sobering to think these horses were being trained to charge into battle under fire. I can't imagine doing a BN cross country course while dodging bullets. Not cool man, not cool!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Equine Assisted Psychotherapy

Last weekend I was down in Portland, Oregon area for a training in EAP for work. It's a really interesting model and if you're in the health care field I recommend you take a look at it. EAGALA (Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Assoc.) puts on trainings throughout the US and abroad (for some reason my boss didn't think it was necessary for me to go to Europe or South America to get certified...???) and offer them pretty much year round.

It's a team approach, so there's a licensed Mental Health person, an Equine Specialist, and a horse or horses. The client (or clients) come in, are given a task (for instance, go get a horse and bring it over here), and the MH and ES step back and watch what happens. The MH person is watching the people, while the ES person watches the horses and looks for Shifts, Patterns, Uniqueness, Discrepancies, and/or Self-awareness.

When the client feels they are done, you process what happened. It doesn't matter if they complete the task or not. Questions are asked in the here and now, and always relate back to the horses. (In other words, it is not talk therapy). For instance, if the task is to bring a horse back to a certain area (probably without ropes, etc.) the ES might ask, "I noticed when you walked towards the horses, the one you were closest to ran very quickly down the side of the arena. What was that about?" I would ask this question because I'm interested to know if the client saw the horse running away as a success or a failure, and if it brought up issues for them.

-I thought it was good, the horse got to have some freedom and do what it wanted.
-It ran away from me like everyone else does.
-I didn't really notice when that happened.
-I just went on to a different horse.
-I felt like I failed, because I was going after that horse.
-etc. etc. etc. etc.

You can see that all of these answers would tell something about the client. Then the MH person comes in and either asks another question or relates the answer back to the client's life.

It's a great way for kids, especially angry and somewhat reluctant kids to start opening up. You're lucky to get some kids to sit across from you and talk for 10 minutes, while they can be doing EAP and processing for an hour.

Oh, and the horses are AMAZING. You would not believe some of the things they do in these sessions. It's like they know exactly what the client needs and take care of business. Pretty cool. I'm looking forward to getting this started at the Ranch.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Letting Gogo go.

Andrea at Eventing-A-Gogo is letting her beautiful young mare go today rather than keeping her around to live in pain. One of the most popular blogs in our horsey community, most of us have been following Andrea and Gogo's adventures into eventing for years. Unfortunately the injuries to Gogo's hind legs are not healing and instead are breaking down further. Today Andrea lets her beloved mare leave her pain behind.

Andrea, Gogo's story has been inspirational to us all. I think every one of us out here in blogger land has shed a few tears for you today. Hang in there and just know you have a huge community of support to fall back on if you need to. Hugs to you and Gogo.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Pre-Green Division Champions!

We came. We saw. We walked about 15 miles up and down and up and down the dirt road while everyone else sat on their half asleep horses and watched the competition. We won!

Jasper was... tense. I'd say he was high as a kite, but it gives the wrong impression. He wasn't rearing and screaming and spinning in circles, but he would not stand still. For. a. second. He was humpy and tail swishy and oh so in front of my leg, and I'm wondering if maybe he was a little bit sore. It's hard to tell because he was so excited. At the same time he would walk happily around the grounds on a loose rein.

The jumping classes got better as the day went on, the jumps are great because they give him something to focus on. We warmed up in the 2' division, ending our first class in a nice kick and bolt when the audience clapped. Luckily they were an attentive bunch and waited to clap from then on.

The classes in the Pre-Green division (2'-2'6) were by far our best, he was finally starting to relax a bit. In each division you had to ride a flat class at the end, and the judge suggested that perhaps my horse was "not fond of the flat classes". I don't know why, just because he broke into canter often, did hopping transitions, picked up the wrong leads, and even kicked out a few times!

The video shows our last and best class of the day. He's great once he's jumping. There were people on the hillside, horses in pastures on the far side of the arena, a road down below, and the usual show hubbub. He never thought about refusing anything and was very, very brave, especially considering he hasn't been out of the barn since April. He also does an automatic lead change, which I missed, so I made him trot and do a simple one. Doh!

Pam & the goods!

We won our jumping classes and got last I think in the flat class, putting us in first for the division. The "trophy" is a nice saddle pad from SmartPak with fancy 2 tone rope edging and the Post Falls Equestrian Center's logo on it. It is the nicest one I own. They're so... white when they're new...! :)

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Fresh and Clean as a...

(Ignore dirt and rocks on mat and slight holes in front of it, just concentrate on the er... calm expression and all four hooves in contact with the ground)

All cleaned up with somewhere to go. I had to take a picture for posterity since today was Jasper's first bath with shampoo this year. On the first of October. This is as clean as he gets. He was not happy about it and got in trouble several times. Clean horse, clean tack, ready to go have some fun tomorrow... Post Falls here we come!

The new indoor! They did all this structural work today. IN ONE DAY. Three guys and tractor type lifty machines. Yesterday it was just a flat expanse of dirt with some concrete & rebar footings sticking out. Today it has a ribcage. It's going to have lighting and a sprinkler system. Very exciting.

I heard that Alexandre's new people have bought materials to put in fencing and build shelters so they can put their horses on their property. What will I do when I drive up in my car and there's not a deep, rumbling Harley Davidson greeting?