Wednesday, July 22, 2009

BB clinic in Redmond

It was a great clinic again this year in Bend, the Horsemanship 1 class had around 30 riders in it of all levels. There were a lot of good questions and Buck gave us the time to ask and answer all of them, Horsemanship went till amost 1:00 everyday, the third day it ended at 1:30. Ranch Roping had a small group of riders and some very talented ropers. Some friends of Bucks came over from Haines and these two young men where a pleasure to watch rope. Maybe one day, I might be able to throw some of those more difficult shots. Over the next couple post, I will be posting my thoughts and comments on what Buck said and what we did in the Horsemanship and Ranch Roping classes.

Enjoy the Journey


Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Buck Clinic Redmond, Or

We are just getting everything ready to head over to the Redmond area tomorrow morning for a weekend of horsemanship and Ranch Roping at the Buck clinic. Jessie and I are both excited to ride with him again in this clinic and look forward to learning alot. We hope to see you there.

Enjoy the Journey

Nick Donohue

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Riding in the Box

While we are riding if we can think of having a box surround our horse, first we will start with a rather large box, with lots of room to move forward, back and side to side, our goal will be of course to stay centered in the box. At first on a younger, greener horse, or maybe even our so-called broke horse, we will have trouble staying centered in the box, they may want to go faster than our box is moving and push on the front of the box, or they may startle suddenly and want to jump out the side of the box. This is why at first we want a larger box, so we can still be particular and try to center our horse but still acknowledging that they are greener and will need more room in the box. As they progress and we refine, the box will grow smaller, until one day it will be from the tip of the nose to the tail, from one leg to the other.

Today we are going to talk about your horse running through the front of the box. If your horse is going to fast and always pushing out the front, slow him down and bring him back to center, but don't hold him there, allow him to find center by releasing him and letting him make the mistake again. Try to catch the mistake though before it happens, the horse has to prepare to speed up before he actually speeds up, try to feel for this and correct it then. Sometimes you may have to exaggerate and not bring the horse back to center, but rather, bring them out the back of box and ride them back up to center. Play with this for awhile, remember that it may take some time, so don't get frustrated, keep a cool head, be patient and it will come. As your horse gets better at this, try shortening up your box a little to refine it, remember out goal is to eventually have the box reach from the horses nose to their tale.

Enjoy the Journey


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

So I dropped the ball, I am picking it back up!

Sorry, I have been bad this month getting posts up. I will be getting post up more regularly this month. I promise.

Don't forget the Ricky clinic is coming up April 30th - May 3rd, if you haven't already, let me know if you are planning on riding, the classes are filling up. We are doing two foundation horsemanship classes.

Enjoy the Journey

Nick Donohue

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Do you have your horses attention?

It is important when working with your horse that you have and maintain your horses attention. You cannot expect your horse to respond when you ask them to do something if they are not focused on you with their attention. Now, at the same time, we cannot ask our horse to forsake their natural ability to be aware of their surroundings, without this horses would not have survived the years. So with that being said, it is okay if something catches the horses attention momentarily, but they must not linger, their attention must come back to you. Of course that can be easier said than done sometimes.

So how do you keep your horses attention and bring it back when they linger? First, Be particular about this, but don't be picky. Don't get to upset if they linger a little, and don't act like a controlling human, instead, if the horses attention lingers for even a second, just bring it back to you. Use your leg to draw the nose the opposite direction the horses is focused on if you can, if not, use your rein, after you leg of course. When doing this don't be upset with your horse, remember it is their nature, but at the same time correct it with no bad feelings.

Okay, now the hard part, being consistent. You cannot expect your horse to offer you their undivided attention, if you are not consistent in asking for it. You have to be aware of where your horses attention is, this can be a difficult thing for the human to get. They want to get up on the horse and operate it like a machine, turn it on and let it do the work. Unfortunately for the human, it doesn't work that way, you must be mentally engaged with the horse at all times. If your not, how do you expect your horse to be mentally engaged with you?

Lastly, keep it interesting, don't just go ride around the arena day after day doing the same ole things time after time. Mix it up, get out and ride on the trail or on some open country. Find a friend with some cattle and learn to work cows. Give your horse a job, but give him one he can enjoy, not day after day of sitting in a cubical doing the same menial tasks. Make his ride something he will find interesting and look forward to doing rather then dreading and checking out.

Enjoy the Journey


Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Some points on Desensitizing

In the "Natural Horsemanship" world today, you hear a lot about desensitizing horses on TV shows, clinics and demonstrations. There was a great article in the Jan/Feb issue of Eclectic Horseman, which if you don't already get it, you ought to go to and subscribe, about this very subject. It got me thinking about this and I just wanted to add my thoughts about the subject.

1) Anymore horse people do everything they can to desensitize their horse, you see them introduce thing after thing, increasing the pressures until the horse learns to desensitize from these elements and essentially dull down, taking away their self preservation which has been essential in their survival. Then that same person goes and has to use excessive pressure to get the horse go operate and they wonder why their horses are not responsive and soft. Well the short answer is they took all that softness and responsiveness out when they did all the desensitization with the horse. Now I agree a certain level of desensitization is needed to be safe, you need to get a saddle on the horse, so you must desensitize them to a saddle blanket and saddle, they must be desensitized enough to touch and groom, swing a rope on, this should be enough to get the horse comfortable and confident, but much more beyond that is too much. Many times when a horse has been over desensitized and becomes dull, if and when they ever do "wake up" it usually ends up a pretty bad deal, people kid themselves into thinking a dull horse is a safe horse, when in reality, a light responsive horse, one that you can direct their feet with ease, is truly a safe horse.

2) Horses are around today because of their heightened sensitivity to their surroundings, without this, we would not have horses today. Now who are we to take it away from them, as Martin Black states in this article "Personally, I don't like to think that we should be trying to desensitize on of God's creations that He has made so sensitive. Horses are very intelligent, naturally sensitive animals, and such high sensitivity is essential to their survival. It is not "Natural" for them to operate without it." We should keep that in mind when we are working with our horses, anymore the word "Natural" is thrown around and used by anyone with a rope halter and a snaffle bit, well when you are working with your horse, really think it through, what is "Natural" for the horse.

3) Now here is another quote from the article, but I have heard this or at least something similar at a Ray Hunt clinic, and a Buck clinic. Really think about this: "People like to think they are more intelligent than the horse. If this is true, they should be able to rise to the horse's level of sensitivity and intuition instead of "desensitizing" the horse to their level." As trainers, handlers, horseman, or just horse people, if we truly want what is good for the horse, we must rise to their level.

Well, I hope this gives you something to think about and hopefully helps you improve your horsemanship. Always Remember "Enjoy the Journey"