Monday, November 13, 2017

Baby Steps and A Baby

My equine journey of the last couple of years should be an inspiration to readers, as well as a cautionary tale.  An inspiration because I learned that you just have to keep going--baby steps--if you're going to get anywhere with your horses (100 Day Challenge) and a cautionary tale because it took me so long to learn that.  

This was clinic weekend--Trail and Colt Starting.  The Trail went great.  I had two of my granddaughters with me and they were awesome.  My oldest, rode Penny, Little Joe AND Leah through the challenge.  My youngest, rode Penny and Little Joe through.   I could not have been more proud of them.

On Sunday, I had the Colt Starting Clinic.  I took Cowgirl, Leah, and Beautiful Girl (Bee).  

As you know, I still have that bucking incident in my mind.  After that happened, I went back to the drawing board.  Lots of ground work and driving.  I wanted to have as much as solid as possible before adding the rider. (Even though, I did ride her a few times--but it didn't feel right.)

At the clinic, I walked her through, then drove her through in halter, then drove her through using the bit and long lines.  It was a lot of work!  She balked at several of the obstacles and it took some real work to get her to take those first steps into it.  It's amazing how brave they are when we're on the ground with them, versus when they can't see us.  

I felt so good about it all afterward, I asked if we could ride her through with Rebecca, the trainer, at our side.  I wanted her to get a feel for carrying a rider into tight, scary situations, but still have a security blanket.  She had to think about a lot--the bit giving her direction--my legs--her feet and where she was placing them--the saddle sliding around--and balancing my weight up and down the bridge (the bridge was set on four tires).

My hope is that we go so slow with this training---baby steps--that she comes out the other side a broke horse and doesn't even know it.

I also rode Cowgirl, who I've been stealing from my daughter.  She's always a rock star.  I'm hoping to start training her to open and close gates, pull logs, and higher level ranch work.

It's a win-win for me.  Someday, she may be carrying around my grand-babies!  She's a lot of horse and she needs to be used!

I rode Leah through it bareback on Sunday because she had already gone through and did the whole clinic on Saturday.  She was bored to death, so I asked one of the other ladies if she'd like to ride her.  She did and they did great.

After the clinic, I loaded Bee back into the trailer because she needs practice with that, but she surprised me and did AWESOME!!  (The other two mares were just let back into the pasture through an adjoining gate).  I  put her away and traded out for my heart horse--Cowboy.  We rode through the pastures in our neighborhood.  We walked, trotted, and we ran with the wind.  Then, we practiced opening and closing the gate in between the indoor arena and our pasture and visited with my trainer, Rebecca.


Did I tell you about the trail ride last week where my hubby and I were galloping through the woods at James T. Slavin Wildlife Preserve and my hubby lost his stirrup?  He grabbed onto the horn of his saddle, so I had to get alongside them and grab Penny's reins to bring her to a stop.  He thought he broke his tail bone, but it healed up after a couple of days and he's fine.  Poor guy. 


Today was rainy and a cold 38 degrees. I didn't want to go out side in it.

But I did.

After a clinic, I like to play the catch and release game.  I approach them with the halter--and of course, they don't want to get caught because they're eating and it's cold and they don't want to be hauled away.  But when they do finally get caught, I halter and release them and give them a treat.  Nowadays, it only takes doing it with one horse for the others to know the game is being played and they start coming over to get caught, too.  


Did I tell you I want to raise one more baby?  When Cowboy is fully retired, I want to raise one more.  I have immensely enjoyed training Leah and Bee--and I think I have it in me for one more.  Not yet, but in the near future.  If I'm 51-55, the baby would be nearing 30 by the time I turn 80.  I plan to be in saddle until AT LEAST 80 years old and that would be the way to go--aging with a baby I've raised and trained.  


  1. If you are working with just as many horses in one day as your granddaughters, I have no doubt you'll be busy in your 80s.

  2. The clinic seems like it went really well. Love how good they all were and it's such a great experience for everyone. You must have been bursting with pride about your granddaughters. I say go for it with a new baby to train, you've really done such a wonderful job with Leah and Bee I'm sure you'd have a great time training one more. Hope your hubby is feeling better that must have hurt.

    1. Oh yes, I was bursting with pride. NO doubt! And, my hubby is feeling 100% now. He just had a whole battery of tests--CSCAN, MRI, and the man is healthy as a horse! I have many more years with him and hopefully he with me.

  3. I really like working with young horses- it keeps me young! I'll be 67 when I swing a leg over Mesa the first time. I hope to be riding for a couple of decades yet.One of my mentors was riding into his mid 90's. Needed a little help getting on but he could still ride for hours.

    1. You're an inspiration! I love working with young horses, too. We had a filly in the colt starting clinic and I thought what a great opportunity for that little one. SHe's going to be rock solid when it comes to training her. Just a weanling now.

  4. LOVE that you were able to hand off Leah to a (strange) rider & she did great - a testament to your hard work Linda!
    Riding into your 80's is -totally- doable; my late Gramma rode her own horse until she was nearly 90, and my Aunty (her daughter) is still riding daily now in her late 80's!


Please feel welcome to join our discussion by telling us about your own thoughts and experiences.