Sunday, May 12, 2024

Horse Challenges at Home: Other Horses


Of all the distractions training at home, other horses might be the most challenging, especially when they’re all out grazing where your horse in training can see and talk to them. Our arena and roundpen are surrounded by pasture, so the horses at liberty can come right up and watch, call out to Tweed, and taunt him with their grass eating. 

The book I’m reading, The Compound Effect, is truly inspiring…and convicting. 

I believe I already mentioned that it talks about how your positive investments compound in your life, slowly at first, then exponentially faster later. 

But it also talks about how your negative habits do the same thing in reverse, eventually derailing you from your goals and your “why power.” 

He also points out that you are 100% responsible for the choices in your life. It’s not 50/50, 75/25, or 99/1. You are responsible for your life. No excuses. No blaming someone else. 

This has been a challenging year, and I was getting in the mindset that I didn’t have time to train/ride, exercise, or eat healthy, because I was so busy with my new responsibilities. 

That was incorrect thinking, and I am trying to fix it.  

One thing I’m doing is making sure I work with Tumbleweed everyday, even if it’s a short session. No excuses. My time constraints dictate that I stay put and not haul away every time I want to ride Tweed, which equals a little more work, but probably more gain, too.

Today, we were doing our thing, half circles and lope, trot, lope transitions, and the pony, Lily, came over to watch and talk to Tumbleweed. She’s low on his hierarchy, but it was distracting. 

Tumbleweed’s world goes like this:

#1 Foxy (by far)

#2 Epona

#3 Beautiful Girl

#4 All the rest 

So, Lily wasn’t the Big Bang, but she was a reminder that they were all eating grass while he was having to tune in and work. 

I am very proud to say that with very little correction Tumbleweed gave his attention back to me and completed his training. I made a big deal over him, then released him with the herd on a positive note. 

This ability to tune into me when he is with me will pay dividends out on the trail when he could easily become distracted and unsettled by the other horses I’m riding with or the unexpected people, dogs, wild animals, birds, and bikes we will most certainly meet on the trail. 

It is an investment that will compound little by little, but eventually pay off BIG. 

Happy Mother’s Day, cowgirls! I hope you’re enjoying your fur babies, and human ones, today.  


  1. Being able to get their attention when distracted is huge. I spend a lot of time on it.

    1. Yes, it is. And they are almost always distracted. My trainer loved that I started training at home more and was gleeful the first day she showed up and I had released the herd out to pasture, but kept Tweed in. She was like, OH WOW! THIS IS GREAT!! And I was like, Oh damn, I shouldn’t have released them!

  2. Getting their attention when the other horses are hollering at them is key! Velvet and Beamer tend to get a little vocal (eyeroll) when I take Gussie out to ride, and so far, she's pretty much ignoring them. She does get a little forward when we turn for home, so that's something I need to tend to.
    Hope you had a good Mother's day!

    1. Yes, even the golden ones, the “bomb proof” oldies, get worked up about the herd leaving them. It is in their DNA. Very primitive survival skill. It’s a testament to how good a horse Gussie is. If you can ride your horse at home, especially when the herd has just been released onto spring pasture, you deserve a trophy.

      My trainer, Sarah, used to tell me to ride Cowboy with the herd when they were released. She said it would be good practice to ride him among the horses at Liberty. I only did that a few times, and it was when they were on pasture 24/7 and Cowboy was older. It is a good suggestion though. Hopefully you don’t get dumped doing it.

      Thank you! Yes, I had a wonderful Mother’s Day. All my kids came over and a couple of my brothers and their families. The weather was perfect for eating outside. Then my daughter and I took our electric scooters out for a sunset ride. It was great from start to finish.


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