2012 Texoma Horse Expo-Breed Alley

Its that time of year again! This past Saturday, October 20th, Pie and I attended the THIRD annual Breed Alley during the Texoma Horse Expo in our “hometown” of Wichita Falls, Texas. This event, if you are a new follower of our blog, is an event that I organize each year thru the area horse committee in conjunction with the expo. The goal of Breed Alley is to introduce folks in our area to the “lesser known” breeds that live in our area, which is traditionaly Paint Horse and American Quarter Horse Country.

Each year we learn abit and improve. This year, breeds represented in the alley included Chincoteague Pony, Gypsy Horses, Tennessee Walking Horse, Arabian, Missouri Foxtrotter, Foxtrotter Pony,Peruvian Paso, and Freisians.

Each breed is alocated booth space, a stall and also gets time in the arena to showcase their breed’s unique attributes.

Pie enjoys going to this venue, but, without fail, each year, by Saturday evening, she is ready to go home. I think it takes every ounce of self control to stay clean and confined to a stall all weekend. 🙂

We arrived Friday afternoon to set up, get Pie settled and work her. She worked well..one thing I can always count on is her not being goofy in new places..that is why I love her so much. After, I got her settled in her stall and got to work on the booth. I think this was our best design yet!

Then outside for some graze time for Pie mental wellness.

We also caught up with our friend, Michele, who runs Underdog Ranch, a new horse rescue in our area. Kate, the worlds first painting border collie, was donating a painting for the rescue to sell. We had photo ops, shopped thru Underdog Ranch’s used tack sale (’cause you never can have to much tack!), fed Pie and headed home.

Saturday went extremly well..everyone’s demos in the arena went well and the crowd seemed to enjoy it. Pie did some nice things during her exhibition and , as always, loved getting on her stool. A Professional photographer got some AWESOME pics of us!

 

 

 

 

 

A Video of our demo!

And the expo participants

We then, as last year, got our picture taken with the horse expo banner..Fletcher came with me on Saturday and of course, had to be in the picture. It took about 20 tries to get the perfect picture..trying to get a Border Collie to stay put and Pie to put her ears up proved to be quite the task!!! 🙂

As always, I enjoy tremendously talking with folks about Pie and the Chincoteague Pony breed. Ive said, it is wonderful to see folks walk up, read the info and slowly a smile starts to spread across their face..you can tell they remember the book..THIS is a pony from their childhood, standing before them, real. 🙂 Pie never ceases to amaze me in how adaptable and amicable she is. She is so incrediably special.

Saturday evening, we headed home..and Pie was finally able to get dirty again..:)

Another expo in the books! til next year of course! 🙂 Thank you to everyone who brought their wonderful horses, came out to see the alley, came to the expo, offered support and help..you are appreciated more then you know!

 

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The Chincoteague Pony Drill Team

The chincoteague pony breed had a very big honor recently, where members of the Chincoteague Pony Drill Team were asked to present and perform at the American Youth Horse Symposium (AYHS)..but I am getting ahead of myself..

What is the Chincoteague Pony Drill team?

-A drill team is a group of riders (Ive even seen this done with dogs too!) who perform patterns and manuvers in unisom to music. Despite it looking “easy”, it takes long hours of practice and coordination to acheive a flawless performance.

The Chincoteague Pony Drill team is the only team in the world made entirely of Chincoteague ponies..one of a kind. Kendy Allen, who owned Misty II, created the drill team in 1996 and is still it’s coach. While the ponies and riders have changed thru the years, the concept has not.

The Chincoteague Pony Drill team has made numerous apperances at equine events..locally and nationally, including Equitana, The Washington International Horse Show, and even rode in the parade for the incoming Virginia governor.  While performing in their own right, they are also ambassadors of sorts for the Chincoteague Pony, showcasing the calm trainability this breed is famous for to the many fans who love them.

Most recently, the CPDT received a HUGE honor..as I said above, by being asked to perform at the American Youth Horse Symposium. The members representing the drill team and the chincoteague pony breed were Kerra Johnson with Misty’s Heart of the Storm, Devon Rowan with Teaguer, and Kenneth Allen with Chincoteague Cowboy.

They did the breed proud and the report was, the ponies themselves garnered much attention and praise from the symposium participants. Every person that is shown this breed CAN and WILL do anything that is asked of them, is wonderful press for the whole Chincoteague community..the old saying “the proof is in the pudding” rings true..one can talk or write all they want..its SEEING them actually do it that sticks in people’s minds!

Interested in having the Drill Team perform at an event? contact The Chincoteague Pony Centre.

Fun tid-bit…

Beebe, who lives with Pie at Coyote Creek Ranch, was on the original Chincoteague Pony Drill team at it’s inception..her daughter, Zebie, is now a member..

Zebie, daughter of Beebe, at the 2012 Delaware Horse Expo

Pie gives the chincoteague pony drill time a “high hoof” for the stellar exposure they are giving the breed and big kisses all the way from Texas..WELL DONE Chincoteague Pony Drill Team!

Pie in the Bosal

One thing I have been aiming for, with training Pie, is taking the “traditional” path that many a reined cowhorse takes in their journey to becoming fully “broke”. Let me say, I have never brought a horse along like this, but I love the tradition behind it and heard such accolades about the process, I figured Pie would be as good as any horse to bring down this traditional path, progressing from snaffle, to bosal, to “two rein” and then to curb bit..

A bosal is not a bitless bridle..nor is it like many of the mechanical hackamores or even a sidepull.

They all function differently….

(above, a bosal and mecate, from Al Dunnings website)

(above a Jim Warner Hackamore..which encorporates a curb chain)

(above, a bitless bridle)

(above, Pie in a sidepull)

The bosal actually can trace it’s roots to the Spanish Moor’s, and was brought to America by Spain. For years, the Bosal was used pretty exclusively west of the Rocky Mountains and therefore was sometimes called the “california” style or “Vaquero”..for the spanish “cowboys” who employed this method of creating “bridle horses”.

The idea behind the progression of snaffle to bosal was

1. the snaffle teaches lateral flexion well..the bosal builds on that and starts teaching vertical flexion.

2. around the time a bosal was used, (3-4 years old), a young horse’s teeth were errupting, therefore carrying a bit could be uncomfortable.

3. the mecate, usually made of prickly horsehair, starts teaching the basics of neckreining.

(above, a bosal, mecate and hanger, made by Steve Guitron)

interestingly, the vaqueros actually started horses in a piece of equipment similar to a rope halter or sidepull, then the bosal..they progressively worked down to a smaller bosal and encorporated the spade bit the horse would evetually be ridden in..(this is where “two rein” comes in…the horse is ridden in a bosal AND a bit). When the english came to America, they brought with them the snaffle bit, and thus, the vaqueros encorporated the snaffle into their program. 🙂

A spade bit, while it looks monsterous to some, is actually only ment to be used on an older, well prepared horse with a FEATHER light touch. Riding a horse in a spade is akin to riding in a cadillac with power steering. Not every horse can “pack” a spade bit either. a traditionaly trained spade horse is the final step in this type of training..not every horse gets to this point..but the ones that do can akin their knowledge to having their PhD.

(above, Les Vogt on a finished bridle horse, complete with rein chains and Romel reins)

I bought a Bosal (bow-sal) and Mecate (Me-Ca-Tay) back in december and Ive been dieing to try it on Pie. This weekend, I finally got the chance..Although I havent gotten a traditional “hanger”, a browband headstall worked fine..and Pie did  really well.

The bosal is ridden abit differently then a snaffle, as you can lightly “bump” the bosal for a different cue, adding pressure to the horse’s nose and also using the knot under their chin(and why its totally different then a bitless, sidepull or hack). Gradually, the pressure is decreased as the horse starts to understand what the bosal means, while the rider continues to encorporate their seat and leg cues.

Pie really seemed relaxed and happy in the bosal..she kept wanting to stretch down into it and was very easy going and quiet..We will continue working on it, the first few rides are simply the horse getting used to the cues..but she is catching on quickly…I am excited to see how she progresses in this and the difference in her when she is moved into a curb bit evetually versus a horse that did not have time in the bosal. This type of training requires patience and time..but the benefits and rewards are great.

Below is a short video of her riding around abit in the bosal..

Nom Nom Nom

Practical Application of the Clicker

Many know that Pie has learned all her tricks utilizing the clicker. I’ve really found this method to make trick training FUN and encourage Pie to “think”.

What I come across alot of times though, is many people don’t realize the “practical” application that a clicker can be used for. Im not talking EVERYTHING needs to involve the clicker..but in certain circumstances, with certain horses, it can be benefical.

For example, Beezie Madden, who is an international show jumping competitior and rider of one of my favorite “famous” horses, Judgement, has utilized clicker training in a not so traditional way…by helping her horse overcome a fear of jumping liverpools!

an article mentioning Judgement’s success with the clicker

I always mention Beezie when folks ask about the clicker..if a Olympian can find a use for it, alot of folks probably could too!

Onto Pie and I’s experience! Being the weather is starting to warm up, Pie and I have put ourselves back into work, which means Pie’s slideplates have to go back on. Pie has always been alittle funny about having hind shoes put on..the hammering is the issue with her. I’ve taken some time to try and work with her on this..and while shes gotten better, this past time she was not particularly cooperative. Anytime Todd, our farrier tried to nail her plate on, she tried to jerk her foot away.:(

We got one plate on and then I decided to try utilizing the clicker for her other hoof. Anytime she stood quietly while Todd hammered, I clicked and treated. It worked! Pie stood stark still, did not try to jerk her hoof away and was extremly good. 🙂

This definantly covered something more then just “tricks” or even just “training”..this covered safety too!

You cannot win in a pulling match with a pony..the clicker allowed us to completly bypass the need to do that!

Whats in a name???

Whenever we go somewhere I always get funny looks when I tell someone Pie’s registered name. Pie’s “barn” name also has a unique story. Her breeder, Lisa Christian, Called her Moonpie, due to the white streak thru her mane, which looks like a moonpie. (and if you don’t know what a moonpie is, I pity ya..come down to Texas and you will try one, they are a southern delicacy..;) ) I shortened it to Pie evetually.

But her registered name is even more interesting..The Duchess of Lightning. Now, this name encompasses alot, its a “big shoe” to fill..

The Duchess of Lightning was a diving horse that traveled the country during the 1930’s. A diving horse was a unique act in which a horse cantered up a long ramp at a gradual incline. At the top, the horse “dove” off into a deep pool of water. Over time, a rider was added, who made a moving mount right before the horse jumped off. Dr. Carver, a member of Wild Bill’s Western Show created the act and he traveled the country, until finally getting a consistent billing at the world famous Steel Pier in New Jersey.

 

Many have seen the Disney movie Wild Hearts Cant be Broken..this movie is loosely based on the book A Girl and Five Brave Horses, written by Sonora Webster Carver, the main rider of the diving horses, including The Duchess of Lightning. Sonora is famous for diving 60 feet into a pool of water horseback..even after she went completly blind!

Sonora and an unidentified horse diving 60 feet in atlantic city..(notice the smaller ramp below, which was used during training)

The Duchess of Lightning was described in Sonora’s book as a large, big boned dapple gray mare of draft blood. They originally called her Lightning due to the speed at which she worked and learned. While in Canada one show, a Duchess tried to buy her..Dr. Carver refused, but added “Duchess” onto Lightning’s name in honor of the Duchess’ interest.

The Duchess of Lightning diving with Sonora up

Bear in mind, these horses were not forced to jump. Numerous accounts from the people who rode, trained and cared for these horses attested to this fact..while it may look incrediably scary, the horses doing it were handpicked and weeded out of many, they truly loved what they did.

I have always been facinated by this act, the horses and the riders..and The Duchess of Lightning was my favorite horse of Sonora’s troupe.

My choice of Pie’s registered name was solidified when I considered her sire and dam’s names..

her sire, Lightning of Chincoteague

her dam Denim and Diamonds

Ive always felt that a horse’s name is important..a name should fit the horse, should sound great said in a whisper or over the loudspeaker..it should cause a person to want to SEE that animal. All my animals names have significant meaning to me too…Pie’s name is extremly special as it encompasses so much, it is all tied together. My vet said it sounds like something a little girl would name her pony…;)..Ive gotten used to the good natured ribbing by now..:)

Odds N Ends…

January in Texas can be quite unpredictable, weatherwise. Some years we’ve had snow..some years I remember it hitting 70 degrees.

This past weekend, we had alittle of both…in a sense. Saturday dawned alittle chilly, but warmed up beautifully. I hauled Pie and Little Beebe down the road to a local ranch I give lessons at. Before I taught, Casey and I rode around the trails on the ranch. This place is right on the river and has “real” trees (not just mesquite) and was just great. Casey has been dieing to trail ride Beebe too..

So off we went..Casey and Beebe I think I had a fun time(see Beebe’s face, she is having a ball)

And Casey’s smile says it all..

He even got to lope her down the dirt road.

Pie was actually quite good..I got to thinking, she really has never been “trail ridden” per say. We had one spook, in which Pie jumped STRAIGHT up in the air (which put Casey into a fit of laughter, he was behind us)..but all in all, a good experience..I always count myself lucky not much actually scares Pie..and if she does spook, its a simple jump in place..no buck, no running off…Ive always felt that means my horse is thinking..kind of like if a person is startled..they dont run off, they jump..:)

Beebe of course is to worldy and ornery to be scared of anything..except mabey missing a meal..;)

Sunday dawned COOL..and got colder..but Casey and I snuck in a ride, again, between lessons..Casey rode Pie abit that day and I was so proud of both of them..Pie bridled up beautifully for Casey and jogged balanced and slow..much to Casey;s surprise. I have worked very hard to develop Pie’s collected jog. She can still speedtrot with the best of them..but comes right back if you ask.  She has also gotten really good at her backing..a simple weight shift and picking up my reins puts her backing..good girl Pie!

Looks like in afew weeks, we’ll put Pie’s slideplates back on and get back to serious work, preparing for events this year. We are starting to plan our scheduale for 2012..if you are interested in having Pie come and do a presentation or demo..please let us know so we can include you!

Newspaper Article-Bringing a Book to Life

Pie makes the front page!

Afew weeks ago I was contacted by our local newspaper, the Times Record News, about Pie, how I got her and what we do together.

The story ran last Thursday, we were on the front page!

Read the article and don’t forget to check out the video too!!!!

Pie’s newspaper article

It’s always great to share Pie with others!

2011 Horse Expo and Show

October 15th was the second annual Breed Alley at the Wichita Co. Horse Expo in Wichita Falls. This breed alley was my own brainchild, my goal being to bring attention to some of the “non quarter and paint horse” breeds of the general area.

It was a big success last year and this year proved similar. We had more horses this year. the breeds represented were Azteca, Chincoteague Pony (of course!), Friesians, Gypsy Horse, Mo. Foxtrotter, Shire, Warmblood, Morgan and Peruvian Paso.

Our booth

This year, Pie was actually ridden, unlike last year when I led her. Pie is not one to hold her feelings to herself and it was pretty obvious she wasnt super keen on spending 2 days in a stall, espcially being she lives outside at home. She did well, because I asked her..but I know she would have prefered her favorite dust hole to being CLEAN in a stall..Pie prefers to be filthy.

Pie trying to escape out the stall door

I debated on music to our freestyle and finally decided on Train’s “Hey Soul Sister”..this song always reminds me of Pie, its upbeat and happy..like her. Our freestyle went well..We had some speed change and a really nice turnaround to the right. We also showcased afew of her tricks.

Unfortunately, no video or pictures at this time…:(..hopefully, some of the professional photographers there got afew.

After the demo’s, Pie enjoyed meeting many new people who wandered down the alley..this seems to be her favorite part of these events, meeting people. 🙂

Sunday, Pie got to hang out while Casey, my son, showed Beebe. This was significant, as it was their FIRST show together. They had a great day, winning showmanship, placing third in the walk trot class and fifth in trail. It was a great gauge on how far they’ve come as a team in such a short time.

Another successful Breed Alley in the books!

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