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Challenge Updates

May 29, 2015

I ended up abandoning both the 21 day challenge and the Northfield Farms challenge. Don’t be disappointed – I was stricken with a “wellness” and surrendered myself and my time to a home and life decluttering and an expansion of creative and artistic activities.

After a long and productive weekend at Shalimar Farms with fellow students and Sarah Drew I am back on my horsemanship track as well. Had a wonderful ride with Augie this morning.

Lots to share, but it will have to come in drips and drabs – the theme for the moment is every area of my consciousness is Moving Freely Forward.

Cheers, and I plan to make time for details soon.


21 Day Challenge Day 14

January 4, 2015

The forecast was dismal but it was not raining and actually warmish, so I went out with Augie for day 14 of the 21 day challenge. We played with maintain gait on a circle (freestyle) and some transitions within a gait, the walk. I felt a little frustration which was manageable, and a huge improvement over my level of frustration a few months ago. I feel a growing sense of harmony in our rides, and as usual Augie blew out multiple times. John Baar made a point in the last clinic I attended, that blowing out means the horse is relaxing his mid-section, zone 3. This is essential for him to move correctly and carry himself in a way that is healthy and not prone to injury.

We also repeated the Buck Brannaman small serpentine exercise, and Augie relaxed into it after a couple of laps of my mud truncated arena.

Adding a New Challenge

January 4, 2015

I don’t “think” I am being crazy, but I haven’t finished the 21 day challenge yet and have signed up for another motivational activity, the Northwood Farms 2015 12 Week Horsemanship Challenge (another great use of Facebook!):

“Alright guys! We are off and running! As you know, The 2015 Twelve Week Horsemanship Challenge is simple but not easy. We’ve chosen one horse and ONE HORSE ONLY to spend a total of 40 horsemanship hours including 30 rides. (Up to 5 of those rides can be bareback and the rest need to be saddled.) If you’ve declared your horse a driving horse instead of a riding horse then in this case your 30 “rides” would be at least 25 harnessed and hitched and 5 can be ground-driven (with or without harness). Check under files to see who made it IN! If you just missed us, you’re welcome to stay and see what we’re up to but posting and commenting is for challengers only! Lets Rock N Roll!”

“Good morning everyone!!! It’s time to Rock. And. Roll. Today is the first day our twelve week adventure. For some of us, we’ll start out in the dark, the freezing cold, the wind and the rain but by the time we reach the end, the days will be longer and it will be nearly spring. By then, we’ll have put so much time in the bank with our horses that the rest of the year we can expect a compounded measure of the effort we’ve already put in. Our relationship with our horses, our personal skills will be just winding up. One session, one ride at a time we can make some real progress with the special equine partners that we’ve chosen. Here is our traditional kick off video. Welcome to the grind. There are 776 of us so you are not alone. We are with you. We know that there is a difference between thinking about horses and actually becoming the best horsemen we can be. Wherever we are we just start from there. United in our passion, our love for horses and our desire to do more than talk or think, we are THE 2015 TWELVE WEEK HORSEMANSHIP CHALLENGERS. So rise and shine.

Into 2015

January 2, 2015

Dancer and Kelly

Dancer and Kelly

I know have more pictures of Kelly and dancer on my phone, but this is accessible now, LOL. Kelly has ridden him 3 times and each time he is more relaxed. She also coached me on Augie, and she said “Now I see why your horses won’t go, you are stopping in your body.” She made me work very hard, and also ride with contact. The improvement was pretty awesome, and today when I rode Augie. he would trot and keep trotting, rather than seeing a stop at every opportunity. She suggested we work on transitions within gaits too, walking both slow and fast, trotting slow then fast and to make sure our stops were not so abrupt (dropping the anchor). Now Kelly is off on vacation for a month,but I think I know what I need to work on in the meantime.

I also added another day (13!!) to the 21 day challenge by also working on circling the barrel, and I added a task (maintain gait at a trot on a circle) to the breakdown. I am basically using only 2/3rds of the arena as the western end is quite muddy.

I Didn’t Forget

December 15, 2014

I haven’t written much about Dancer lately because I stopped riding him. A year ago last August (August 2013) we had a little mishap and he bucked me off. It was my own fault. So I was working up to riding him again over last Winter and in the Spring, but he just would get sticky about moving forward and trotting, and I lacked the confidence to ride him through that.

Several friends in our area have hired Kelly A. to start or work with their horses, and I have gotten to watch her work with them under saddle and in a round pen. Last week I took the plunge and asked her to work with Dancer. Last Tuesday she came out and played with him on the ground and rode him and I think it was a huge success. She was kind with him, she READ HIM VERY WELL, and the one time he did an “I’m outta here” move she stuck with him and got her way without any mishaps. She is coming back this afternoon and I hope to get some photos or maybe even video to share.

21 Day Challenge – Day 11

December 14, 2014

What a nice ride today with Augie. If I remember back to last Spring, I can see that we have improved quite a bit. I played Follow the Rail (FTR) at a walk and trot. We got 3 laps each way at a walk and also at a trot both directions. We did it smoothly at a walk and less so at the trot, but we hung in there. Then we played with circling the barrel again and I didn’t spend long on it because he was super responsive. Doing the trotting first really gives him more impulsion for other tasks. The sun even came out for a few minutes!



I have started to trim the horses on my own. Last week I trimmed Dancer’s fronts (2 weeks before I did all 4 feet). They didn’t need much, but it is a LOT easier when I stay on top of them. Today I started with Augie, and tomorrow I will finish up. When I put his left hind foot in the hoof jack cradle, he stopped eating. This is his sore side, and when Barbara was trimming she held his foot really low so it would not bother him. But I am not as flexible as she, and I cannot work bent over that far, so I took a chance. While he did stop eating, he left his foot in the cradle and didn’t try to take it away, so I think that was a good indication it was not too difficult for him. He has been looking more sound out in the pasture, and has not limped with me riding except one day when I was just beginning to ride frequently.

Possibly the biggest benefit to the 21 DAY challenge (so far) is getting me out riding regularly. My fitness could stand improvement.

21 Day Challenge – Session10

December 8, 2014

I am more than 1/2 way there!


Weather has not been terribly cooperative (as seen above), but I did get in a ride Sunday. Trotting was the focus and it went well.