Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Day 89 (Fateful Decision)


It’s been a while since my last blog. We’ve had so much going on here that I haven’t had time to write lately. Murphy has continued to do well and has made improvement everyday in his training, but I had to make a really tough decision recently about whether or not to take him back to Oklahoma or compete in the Mustang challenge. Through several days of praying and asking God what I needed to do I felt I got a clear answer to take him back. I won’t go into all the details, but the decision had nothing to do with Murphy. He is a wonderful horse and with a little more training will make someone a great partner. I just wasn’t able to have my cake and eat it too. There is a possibility that my mustang could have still been competitive to the extreme and been able to pull off a win, but with my lack of extra time and more on my schedule than I could handle, I felt that I needed to put more time into him that what I had to give. I enjoyed working with Murphy and building the relationship with him and I was very happy to hear that he would be going to another trainer to be finished out and eventually sold. I was really worried that all that hard work would go down the drain. I wanted to include several pictures of Murphy on our last obstacle course workout and also other special pictures of my little boy Tristan that I thought would get a laugh. This kid’s got potential, he is already helping mom teach a clinic, and man can he clean those stalls. Ha ha

Monday, August 27, 2007

Day 87 (Final Preparations...)


Diago is doing so well and I say that with extreme gladness in my spirit. I made a promise to myself that I would pray to God before each session with Diago and give him all the glory for the training and progress. It seems that all the training is paying off and coming together. I would love to be doing more with him but as I train him I am thinking in the back of my mind who might bid on Diago and take him home. I want that person to stay safe, have a calm, soft, and responsive mustang. He is getting much softer and lighter in all that we do. Until the competition I will continue to review what he has learned and prepare for the freestyle if we make it to the top ten.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Day 80 (Leads, Side Passes and Forehand Control...)

Diago is doing well, but it’s really draining. I am pleased with his training, but now with a month left I am wanting to do so much more with him and wondering how much further I can get him. It’s a competition and we all want to win and the stress of wondering how ready I am is coming out. This last week we worked mostly on picking up the right lead, side passing and forehand control. We rode through our obstacle course and then a small trail ride. We will continue to review and refine right up to the competition, add one or two new things and work on his softness.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Day 72 through 79 (Everyday little things...)

Murphy did well this week, we rode mostly in the arena, and worked on steering exercises, vertical flexion, stopping, backing, etc (nothing extreme mind you...).

My makeover mustang is coming along nicely and is learning fast. I had the farrier come and do his feet on Friday and we took a trip to the vet again that afternoon. Murphy took it all in stride. He was a little nervous with the farrier, but John does such a good job and helps the horses to really relax. He’s one of the best farrier’s we’ve ever had when it comes to working with young horses.

This week I also ran Murphy through the obstacle course again just to see what he would do, and he was really good. His leading is getting better and he doesn’t shy at things as much as he did. He will take a look at things first and then just follow my direction. Grooming, clipping, saddling and your everyday things are just normal to him now. I never thought this day would come. Ha ha

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Day 71 (Trust Building & Finding the Right Lead)

This week was pretty good. This week was I spent time reviewing and kind of just taking it easy. I did however run into a little trouble (nothing too extreme) on Tuesday when I started to lope circles to the right. I also worked on spook proofing Diago for the makeover challenge.

Diago would pick up his left lead fine when loping to the left but would not pick up his right lead when going to the right. After several attempts and breaking it down (exercises to help him take the correct lead) he finally picked up the right lead. He was pretty tired after that session so the next day I was going to just lope to the right and get him comfortable loping on the right lead on a circle to the right. We started out and he picked it up right off the bat. We loped for a few minutes and then spent the rest of the time just goofing off. This up coming week I plan on more loping, riding the obstacle course, and preparation work in the arena for the mustang competition.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Day 67 through 70 (Bringing Up Baby...)

I’ve ridden Murphy a few more times this week, just finished up with a ride a little while ago. We moved out under saddle at a walk, trot, and canter and he is doing well with that. I started working on more steering and vertical flexion. Murphy seems to be taking that all in stride. I include some spook proofing things with the ground work and riding for my makeover mustang. I put my son Tristan’s play pen in the shade so that I could keep a close watch on him and yet still get Murphy ridden today. Murphy didn’t know quite what to think about that noisy little kid crawling around and pulling up on the side of the play pen. Steve saved the day when he came out to get pictures. I think Tristan had just about enough of being confined and was sure letting me know about it. It is really hard to focus on your mustang when your baby is yelling. ha ha

I was unable to ride two days this week due to putting up square bales for the winter. Steve, Colton and I loaded and unloaded over 600 bales and the heat index was well over 100 degrees so needless to say I didn’t have much energy to ride a horse after that, so I was bound and determined to ride today. I can’t tell you how excited I am about Murphy’s progress. He seems really smart and willing to try anything if it isn't to extreme. If I can just keep building that confidence we may just be able to do some pretty fun things, who knows!!!!

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Day 55 through 66 (Riding Murphy & Singing His Praises)

I’ve started several new things with him and he is taking it all in stride. I’ve ridden him, clipped him with clippers, worked on his feet and a few other things. Unfortunately I have not worked with him everyday, but in spite of that he is doing well.

I can’t help but think how well he would do if I could work him more than an hour here and there. With a business to run, and a 16 month old son it is really hard to find all the time I want. I am just doing the best I can do and not worrying about the rest.

I really think Murphy is going to make someone a good horse. He has so many good attributes. With the number of days I have actually worked him, and how scared he started in the beginning, he is doing so well. We’ve had both Murphy and Diago about 60 days and I am pretty sure I would be lucky if I put a full 30 days on him. That really says a lot for him, to come so far in such a short amount of time. There were things I would try to do a month ago, that Murphy would have no part of, and I do them now and he calmly accepts them and does what I ask. I know a huge part of it is his confidence in me, but it is still soooo cool!!!!

I wonder how others in the Extreme Makeover Competiton are doing with their mustangs and if they are enjoying them as much as Steve and I are. It will sure be great to meet all of the trainers and horses and see the amazing things that I know they will be doing.

I have to be honest, I am so nervous about the competition. I don’t like to compete for the most part. I love teaching my horses to do cool stuff and I get a lot of pleasure out of helping others, but I hate being in the spot light. This will be really good for me. It’s been quite a while since I have shown in anything. Well enough for now -- I want to go ride Murphy before it gets too hot!!!!!

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Day 64 (Training, Training, and more Training)

This last week we have been hard at it again. Diago and I have been working on shoulder control, backing, vertical flexion, hindquarter control, two tracking, roll backs, and much, much, more. I think I will only review this week and not add anything new. He doesn’t quite have all of these exercises down well enough yet. I don’t want to overload him and cause any regression in his training.

There’s not much more to cover other than circles and review with him. I am almost to the point where all I should have to do is review and make sure he knows the training inside and out and is really solid, light, and relaxed.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Day 56 (Working Hard...)

Diago and I have been working hard this last week and I am very proud of him and where he is at in his training. We have been working in the arena doing so many different things, trying to get him to relax and get soft in all five body parts or as soft as I can get them. My goal is to bring them all together for my intermediate level maneuvers. Hopefully it will all work out. Right now I am doing basic level exercises trying to work my way to my goal. The last month I plan on working more with the obstacles and refining my ground work which I feel fairly good about now.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Day 54 (Why I love training!)

I am very proud of Murphy. The change in him is extreme. It is almost like I have a different horse in some aspects.

In the past 10 days, we have made a break through, finally!!!!! I can see that he has so much more confidence in me. He looks to me when he is a little unsure of things and when I ask him to try, he gives me his heart. That is the coolest thing.

I have to be honest, I wasn’t necessarily impressed or not impressed with Mustangs before. I’ve worked with them before and it was just another horse, but this guy is winning my heart. Don’t get me wrong, he’s not perfect, but it is amazing that even with all the days he’s had no work at all (due to the rain) he has made such a big change.

When I thought about signing on with the Extreme Mustang Makeover challenge, my first reaction was, it sure would be nice to win some extra cash and get some exposure. But I guess where I’m at in my life, I decided not to focus so much on that and to try to focus on how I could grow and improve myself. I wanted to get something else out of it, win or lose.

This far into it, I’ve learned a lot about myself. It’s made me remember how much I love horses, how much I love to teach them and take my time with them, to build their confidence slowly and progressively.

When you do this for a living, there is always the clock breathing down your neck. The customer wonders why you aren’t riding their horse yet, and why they aren’t neck reining yet, and why the horse isn’t absolutely perfect after 60 days of training. Then you remember why you got into training horses in the first place: because you love horses. It’s easy to forget that. I will be forever grateful to Murphy and God for reminding me of that.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Day 50 (Lazy Murphy)

Murphy (my makeover mustang) is doing wonderful, except for his lazy streak!!! He has become almost a different horse in the past few weeks. I gotta get him lifting up his feet going over obstacles though. I always thought mustangs were very careful with their feet, not this guy, he plows right through and uses the least amount of effort possible to pick up his feet!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Day 46 (Riding Diago)

Wow, I haven’t realized it’s been so long since I’ve last made an entry on the blog. Sorry for that. I have been real busy, the rain has dried up and I have been playing catch up with just about every thing. Diago, my mustang makeover horse, is doing great. I am now riding him at a relaxed walk, trot, and canter. I am going to ride him in the arena for the first time today. I feel he will do well because of the previous ground work on the obstacle course, arena and round pen.

The self control exercises are coming along well too which should help us out if we make it to the final ten in the competition (I can always dream!). Diago has gotten over a lot of his training mentally but still carries much of his instinctual nature with him, for example his biggest deal is if he gets startled or nervous he still wants to ark his body to be ready to wheel and kick. I can’t stand that BUT it is tremendously better that when he first arrived. This upcoming week I plan on working on his stop, go, gait, introduction to neck reining and try to introduce vertical flexion at the stand still and walk if he’s ready. The following week I would like to work on the rail, his steering, more body softness and control and more vertical flexion.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Day 33 thru 45 (Lots of hard work)

Murphy and I have worked on a lot of things since the last addition to the blog. We finally got a week and a half of dry weather and it has really helped Steve and I get some much needed time on our horses. I’ve worked on Trailer loading, picking up Murphy’s feet, standing tied lessons, a lot of desensitizing, lunging, and more. Murphy is doing well, he is becoming more confident, and he’s gone from trying to kill the plastic to accepting it pretty well. I decided that if he couldn’t deal with the plastic then he probably wouldn’t deal with me on his back too well, so even though that has really slowed us down, I continued to work at it until he was accepting of it. I would say starting out our hardest tasks have been the plastic and the lunging. Now I can’t pick out anything that he is having much difficulty with. He is a lot more trusting of me and relaxed around the barn. He’s not spooking and bolting constantly like before.

I noticed this week that as I taught Murphy to load in a two horse trailer, I was able to stand up on the fender well and load him from both sides. Two weeks ago if anyone climbed up on his round pen to watch him being worked he would come unglued. I would like more time to work him so I can get caught up to where I would like to be, but so far it’s just hard to find extra time. I will keep going and maybe I can get some spare time. We have a vet appointment tomorrow morning to pull the coggins and wolf teeth. Should be interesting to say the least.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Day 31 (Murphy makes progress)

Today we worked in the arena on all our previous exercises. Murphy made quite a bit of progress with the plastic bag