Saturday, January 24, 2009

weekend fun

Cody was getting a ride today when the donkeys decided they wanted in on the action. As it turns out, the Quarter Horse knows how to do the herding thing. And of course the donkeys played along. :)


jme said...

oh that is too funny! every arena needs to have a few roaming donkeys to keep things interesting ;-)

billie said...

You'd have loved it - she'd been riding Cody in the back field, doing a bit of hill work, and then brought him in to do some w/t/c transitions in two point, and a few little jumps to practice the low release. :)

The donkeys snuck in when I opened the gate to go in and watch the release.

She decided to give Cody a break and that's when the herding happened - funny - as soon as he got focused on that, he relaxed and got into a really lovely frame. He clicked into doing it himself, so that she just had to stay with him.

There's a relatively "local" guy who teaches cow-herding clinics geared to sport horse riders, his claim being that getting them out of the arena/off the course and focused on something completely different can make a huge difference in their reactivity to "spooky" things, and more responsive to the rider w/o drilling the dressage movements and/or jumping. I've known a few people who did it and they swear their horses became much more solid citizens as a result.

I think my daughter would have a blast doing it with both the pony AND Cody. (Keil Bay I'm not so sure of - but it might be fun to try!)

This reminded me that it's always fun and rewarding to do something different with the horses. One of the most fun rides I've had on Keil Bay was the day I needed to trim branches around the arena and instead of using a ladder, I just rode him - which was perfect, b/c that's the exact measurement I needed to trim to - me on his back, no branches extending far enough/low enough to smack me in the face at the rising trot!

This involved riding him beneath the branches, asking for turns and backward steps and one step at a time to get in the best position to trim, and then pulling the branch down to snip it. Then dragging the branch to a pile near the wooded end of the arena.

It was so obvious he felt the "real job" part of this work, and he began to intuit what I needed him to do so that I didn't even have to ask. It really made me think about the relationship people had in years past with their working horses, and how valuable that can be now if we find ways to bring them into the daily working of the farm.

Much like young children appreciate the usefulness of "real" work - washing dishes, helping make dinner, cleaning kitchen floors, etc. It always amazed me when I would give my kids rags and bowls of soapy water and they spent hours walking around the house looking for places to clean.

Grey Horse Matters said...

That is just too funny. It looks like he's taking his job very seriously too. I'll bet they would have a blast doing some cowboy stuff from the guy in your area. It's always good to have a well-rounded horse.

billie said...

Arlene, it was hilarious. Cody was very good and also gentle. Rafer Johnson kicked up at him a couple of times, and Cody expertly dodged the kicks without missing a beat.

Salina kept an eye on things, but it was obvious the donkeys were playing along and having fun.

Rising Rainbow said...

Oh Geez! That's a dressage letter I see.....herding donks dressage!

billie said...

LOL - I'm glad you noticed that, MiKael... I put that photo in just for that reason. It struck me funny too.

F is for FUN. :)

jme said...

i think that's great. i'd love to try the herding thing for just that reason. i used to wrack my brains about how to best teach a horse to leg yield, rein back, turn on the forehand, etc. until i realized we need all of that to open and close a gate while riding, so i don't even bother to teach it in the arena at first - we hack out and learn as we go where stuff seems to have a context that gives it more meaning than just standing in an empty arena... and i've gone out to clear high branches on trails with the clippers hanging off my saddle too. i think they do know when there is a purpose to what you're doing and it makes it easier to learn - and it's fun :-)

billie said...

Oh, gosh - I forgot about gate opening from the saddle! You're right - that teaches about 5 things and works on them all once they're part of the training, so no need to do it out in the middle!

mamie said...

I got my good laugh for the day! Thanks for it, Billie!

billie said...

You're most welcome, Mamie. :)

Janet Roper said...

Hey billie,
I wish I could have been there to see that - what a hoot! When is the video coming out? ;-)

Check out the Talk2theAnimals 1 Year Birthday Contest, enter 'contest' in the search box at the blog for details.

billie said...

Janet, it was a hoot - the pony got a turn today and that was even more fun, but I wasn't out there to take pictures. Rafer Johnson and Redford line up to go in. They are such fun.

I saw your contest - congrats on the anniversary! I definitely want to enter but will have to see if I can make time to write the entry. I can't wait to read the winners, whoever they are. And your prizes are fantastic. So generous of you!

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

F is for Fabulous Friends! :)

I love these photos. Looks like you got yourself a litle cow pony.

Maybe she should consider riding Western and training for cutting or reining? hehehe

Thanks for sharing these cute photos, Billie.


billie said...

Cutting! That's what I was trying to think of earlier.

She has said it would be fun to take some lessons or do a few clinics, but I would bet she'd stick with her English saddle. :)

Sitting pretty far down my wish list but on it nonetheless is an Australian stock saddle. I love the ones that look English but have that extra support up front.