Lessons on the trail and in the arena

Yesterday, my student Tamara and I took a short trailer ride to Empire Mine for an instructional trail ride. Star wore the Western saddle with the pannier packed with bulky items. We encountered many joggers, walkers, horses and bicycles, and Tamara brought her bike to ride on the trail to desensitize her horse Nakota. I…

The class takes a trail ride

I led our first instructional trail ride of the season last week. This is me on Dave in the lead, followed by Star (being ponied — she’s not missing a rider!), then Kim on Riley, and then you can just see Nakota’s ears in the lower right. Tamara is not in the shot because, well,…

Stayin’ cool

As the weather heats up, we’re all grateful for the covered arena. Not only do the students (and I!) stay cool, relatively speaking, we don’t get sunburned while playing with the horses. Creative use of obstacles and patterns means our arena sessions are never boring, and there’s always a lap or two around the ranch…

Star and Hermoso learn about wearing saddles

Star wore the Western saddle with a back cinch for the first time this week and I was able to snap some before and after pictures with my phone. You can see why it’s important to give a horse time at liberty to get used to the new sensations, even after you have introduced them…

Riley and Rociada out in the world

Kim played with Riley this morning, and Riley got all four feet on the pedestal for the first time at liberty: Then Kim took Riley out of the arena for her first trail ride, following Rociada and I around the ranch, as relaxed and engaged as any trail pro. It was also Rociada’s first ride…

First rides for Ta-Tu and Hermoso; Rociada had a busy week

Ta-Tu had her first ride today. ¬†Danielle crawled all over her and I walked her around while Danielle took a passenger lesson. It took Ta-Tu a little while to balance herself and she was a little oppositional, but we worked through it and at the end she was moving forward nicely and licking and chewing….

Rociada’s first ride in the Western saddle

Rociada made great improvements this week. She had her first ride with the Western saddle, practicing walking, stopping, and turning. She was nervous at first but relaxed when I had her follow Danielle. She was kept in the barn during the day this week just for a change of scenery, and I was able to…

Star, saddles, and space bubbles

Star is now wearing an English saddle and is doing great at the walk, although she still humps her back a bit at a fast trot or canter.¬† I will start to spend some time on her bare back. Before I mount her with the saddle on, she’ll wear the English and eventually the Western…