It has been quite an interesting Colorado spring so far, here on the northern Colorado plains. The beginning of April was t-shirt weather, followed by a week of snow, then more t-shirt weather followed, once again, by a week of snow and so-on. Thinking May is just around the corner we started brushing the horses out real good. (See the picture of Ben below) Well, we got them brushed out real good and had to double-blanket Ben and Doc the very next day (May 1st) because we got a good foot of wet, heavy snow! So much for May flowers because we aren’t done with the snow just yet. We sure did need all this moisture though, so I can’t complain too much.
Here are a few pictures of the 3 snow storms we have had this past month:
Echo looking for some food
Mini play time
Rosko helped me feed Doc and Echo by pulling the toboggan loaded with hay!
Rosko loves the snow!
Check out the drift behind the horse’s loafing shed.
Snowy morning breakfast
The snow behind our house.
The snow is melting leaving puddles and mud everywhere!
Ben shedding out, before a snowstorm. He got two blankets put on him the very next day!
Hope y’all are having a great start to your spring season. May the flowers bloom soon and the grass grow tall!
Kate with OCHS
Here is a video of the 12th day I trained Echo. The first video is just demonstrating the ground work we have done. He walks, trots, and canters on a long line, disengages his hindquarters, moves his shoulders away correctly, side passes long the fence, trots over poles, and most importantly: he’s very attentive to his handler and is very willing. He doesn’t have much spook about him either, he is quite the curious fellow!
Enjoy this video of the ground work done on Day 12 of training Echo:
In the second video, I will be riding Echo in the arena for the first time. This ride is the 4th time that I have ridden him. I have mentioned before that Echo has been ridden about half of a dozen times by his owner, Kelci, prior to his training here. So he has been ridden at a walk in a large round pen and an arena at the facility where she was boarding him in Greeley. During this ride I am just working on simple things, such as him getting more comfortable with a rider on his back, giving to the bit, stopping (which he does very well with just relaxation of the riders body and a verbal cue “Whoa”), and starting to work on the trot. This video shows his 3rd ride at a trot, but his first ride at a trot in a big open pen.
I hope y’all enjoy this video of day 12, part 2:
Best Wishes to all you horse enthusiasts,
Kate with OCHS
The weather has been colder here in Northern Colorado so I have had some time to finally get these training video’s edited and posted to YouTube!
Below is a video of Echo’s 9th day of training which happened on March 14, 2013. I did some ground work off camera just to make sure he was responding well and was ready to progress with his training under saddle. The video show’s a brief ground work session to show you how he is responding to my cues. You’ll notice in the video that he trips on his hind legs. Due to this, I stopped his training until March 26th. In the meantime, the farrier came out (on March 20th) to do a correction trim on his hooves to help fix his tripping issue. The corrective trim helped him immensely and he was good to go a few days later!
Echo is so light and willing. I hope you enjoy watching my second ride on him from March 14th:
Kate with OCHS
It’s already about the end of March now and I have put 5 rides on Echo. I have videos of the first couple of rides which I will try to post on here as quickly as I can. Echo has been doing awesome! He is very willing and is always trying to please his handler. His owner has been out here at the ranch a few times to work with him as well. Unfortunately Echo had a week off while he was here due to problems with his hooves. The farrier came out on March 20th to do some corrective trimming. You will see in the 2nd ride video (which I will post soon), that he trips on his hind leg. After that 2nd ride (which was on March 14th), I did not work with him for 11 days while he adjusted to the new hoof trim. Echo is still growing and needs a little more time before he gets ridden more than a walk and light trotting. Due to this Echo will be leaving on the first of April to go back to his momma for some love, continued ground work, and light riding until his body fills out more. It has been a true pleasure to work with Echo and see him progress so quickly.
I hope you enjoy this video of Echo’s first ride here at OCHS.
Kate Thomas with OCHS
Echo, a 3 yr old grade palomino gelding, has come to me for training during the months of March and April. His owner purchased him as a yearling and has put a solid foundation of ground work on him. I will be starting him under saddle and advancing his training under saddle. He arrived here at the ranch on the 23rd of February. I started his first day of training on March 2nd. For the first week that he was here I didn’t handle him much other than grooming and feeding. I wanted him to get comfortable in his new environment before his training began.
I have made a few videos of his training progress thus far. I hope you enjoy.
Here is a video of the first day of training:
Here are two videos of the fourth day of training.
I will post updates and videos periodically as his training progresses, so stay tuned!
Kate with OCHS
Did you know that horses need to drink about 10 gallons of water per day? That’s for an average horse (around 1,000lbs) at rest (grazing in the pasture) in normal conditions (the temperature outside is not too hot nor too cold). Did you know that’s how much they need to drink in all four seasons? Some horses drink less in the winter, for several reasons; but it’s important to get them to drink their normal amount even in winter. Here’s a great article about winter water for horses.
Please take a look: http://www.horsejournals.com/winter-water
Now, I have a tip on the types of water heaters to use. In the article they mention floating or sinking water heaters. I do NOT recommend the floating heaters if you have horses that are mouthy (they use their mouths to check out everything, they are usually playful and curious horses). Even the sinkable water heaters can be a risk because the cord is still inside the water tank. This means those playful / curious horses may bite and pull on it, and may even pull it right on out of the water tank. The best heater to use are the ones that plug into the tank and seal the hole. These water heaters do not have the cord inside the tank at all, less risk to the horse and to the heater itself! Horses are smart, so they won’t touch the heating element, but the sure wouldn’t mind play with a cord.
Here’s a picture of what I am referring to:
That’s all for now.
Kate with OCHS
Here’s some quick tips on riding:
- Remember when you’re riding to be focused on your own body, as well as the horses, but stay relaxed.
- When posting to the trot remember “Rise and fall with your leg on the wall” . So when you are trotting in a circle to your left, you will rise up when the horses right front leg or left hind leg is going up in the air and SIT when the horses right front / left rear has landed on the ground. Find the rhythm and count “1, 2, 1, 2, 1, 2″ to keep a steady pace.
- When cantering, don’t forget to breathe, stay relaxed, go with the horses flow, rock your hips in sync with the horse. The canter is a 3 beat gait.
- Think about your posture: straight but relaxed back, heels down, elbows bent, head up, calf resting on the horses sides, toes facing forward, and definitely don’t forget to wear a smile (oh and a helmet!!).
Here’s a nice little video, take a look:
Food for Thought: Can you tell when each of the horses legs are moving while you’re in the saddle, without looking down? If not, practice being able to feel the horses movement. Pick one leg and follow it until you know how it feels. Progress until you can feel every footfall, at the walk, trot, and canter.
Well, that’s all for now. Cheers until next time.
Kate with OCHS