'Cool Running Creek'

'Cool Running Creek'

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Day 2-Under Saddle

Friday morning came with the same nervous tension as yesterday. We arrived at the arena before 7. The walk thru with the judges was to be at 8 and I didn't want to miss it. Chapin and I tended our horses and made our way to the arena. The course was simple in design but did have a couple of objects that do tend to affect a horse. The course begins by leading into the arena, left turn and stop at the cone. Mount and lope off on the left lead along side the rail, at the cone continue a left lead and circle for 1 revolution and stop. Reverse and pick up a right lead and circle around one complete circle, drop to a trot and move directly into a cross formation. Stop, back down 1 leg and walk forward to a rope gate with flowers. Open the gate, pass thru,and re-attach gate always maintaining contact with the rope. This did require, in most cases a side-pass thru moving the hindquarters around to position yourself for the next object, a wooden bridge with 4 flowers. (For some reason potted plants just about scare all horses). Trot over poles, both flat and elevated 6-8 inches. Four minutes to complete this portion. Second came a two minute free-style where you could use any props attached to yourself or saddle. OK, this doesn't seem to bad so off to saddle up and get ready. I drew eleventh place so this gave the nerves a chance to settle by watching a few horses go thru the course. I moved Pardon as close to the arena as possible in hope of his fears falling by the wayside before entering. I noticed several horses had a difficult time with the rope gate, just the appearance alone created quite a havoc for most. OK, our turn..........
Gate opens, in we go as I lead Pardon to the left and make a tight circle and what the #$%^&*; Pardon comes unglued right here in front of the entire world. I haven't seen him buck this bad since the saddle rolled under him two months before. I felt like a kid with a "June Bug on a string" as he went round and round with me holding the reins. After the second or third round I noticed his flank strap was way out of position. Somehow, the tie that connects the flank strap to the cinch had broken and did we have a rodeo taking place. It took me over a minute to get him settled down enough for me to remove the flank strap and bring him back down to earth. Once removed, he settled right down and I was able "with much reservation" to mount him with no issues. Off we go on a left lead lope around completing the circle and a half. Halt at the cone, 180 degree and lope off on the right lead one full circle and trot towards the T. Well, it just so happens the cross was right beside where the monster had just taked a chunk out of Pardon and he would have no part of going anywhere near that spot. We had walked into this same configuration dozens of times over the past month with no problems but now, his preservation instint was taking over. With no amount of persuasion, left to right, approach and retreat, backing into the area, squeeze and kick, clicking and clucking could move him into that area. Well, as luck would have it, the time ran out after the third of seven tasks completed and we were done. I guess three tasks are better than none, Next, our freestyle, I had not planned on much other than but just to show his softness, ability to rate in trot and lope, stop, back up, yield both fore and hind quarters and stand. We did go thru each of these with style. By now I was feeling better and he had relaxed somewhat, so I just had to finish off with a bang, so we stop in the middle of the arena, I drop the reins, move myself to a kneeling position and up I stand on this little man. He never moved as I gave my salute to the crowd with a better finish than start and off we go! Knowing we were out of the running I still had a strong feeling for this guy, having understood all the things he had overcome in the past 100 days. Back to the stall and get ready for Chapin's run.
Chapin came into the arena with a flair! From walking Razin' Cain into place for mounting to trotting over the poles everthing moved as smooth as a swiss watch. From the first task on, tears began to pool in my eyes as my son completed this course without any issues. The cross? No hesitation, The gate? Normally a problem for most gave these guys little resistance. The bridge? Right across, Poles? No touching, WOW! His freestyle was much like mine, other than he had a spectatular finish. Sitting on the saddle he fires off 2 shots from his pistol, standing in the saddle he fires off 3 more shots and valts over Razin' Cain's head and fires his last shot as he lands on the ground! Not a flinch from this brave horse! My mind has now moved from a competor in the event to the most proud father in the world!
Now, how did we finish? The results were in later that evening and we both were very surprised! Pardon and I completed the entire event placing 33rd overall, moving down only 2 positions. Chapin on the other hand, moved up to 19th. His score under saddle placed him 16th. What more could a father ask for!
The pride I had in my 2 children that evening gave me one of the best feelings I have ever had in my entire life! Emily placing 11th, and Chapin placing 19th with this being their first ever training competion was more than I or they could ever have dreamed of. WOW
Off to dinner with my 2 winners and friends at the Cattleman's Steak House to celebrate.........

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Day 1 of Competition-Conditioning and In-hand

After a very busy Wednesday moving over to the Will Rogers Complex, training, and meetings, Thursday came with a mixture of adrenalin and fatigue for both Pardon and me. We were 27th in the lineup so there was plenty of time for the bugs to set in. Chapin had drawn 23rd so I would get a chance to watch him go thru the course and hoped Pardon would relax with Raz'in Cain around. Watching the first few horses complete the in-hand portion made us relax as it was a simple course. I had met several trainers from last year and a couple of new ones prior to arriving at Ft Worth. Seemed all were a bit nervous so at least we were all on the same playing field.
I do want to explain a few differences from last year's competition to this year. First, there were 200 horses opposed to 100. Second, the trainers and horses were flighted by trainer choice. We were given the opportunity to select 1 of 3 levels to compete in. The first being the Stars division in which you performed in a roundpen and riding was optional. Next was the Idols and last the Legions. We were given the opportunity to move our self up in levels but not down. I had earlier selected Idols in hopes that I would have a horse as good as Medicine Man from last year. Well, as luck would have it I should have picked the Stars division. But that's neither here nor there so this is where we're at. Pardon and I will do the best we can.
OK, back to the competition. Prior to the start of todays event we were given an opportunity to have a walk-thru on the course with the judges. This also was new from last year. A very beneficial addition.
Now, Chapin and Raz'in Cain is up and boy, am I nervous for my son. The conditioning was done just prior to entering the arena. Cain's coat was excellent and he possibly was a bit under weight. Feet were great also. Next step.......Thought he would never say it Chapin was a shaky mess. In the arena he steps and begins the course. First off were 4 cones that you had to trot your horse thru from a stop. Cain just didn't see any reason to trot the entire way. So it was a slinky effect as he would trot-walk-trot-walk-trot-walk. Next into a eight foot square of poles and a right 360 degree turn in place. Cain did this well, out of the box and load into the trailer. No problem. 3 task down, now ground tie and pick up all 4 feet. Never have I seen this fellow give a problem with his feet until today. He just would not have any of this. As Chapin would attempt to pick up his feet he would step away. On and on until he picked up 3 of 4 feet. Right turn and trot across two different sets of poles and out the door. Chapin's score placed him thirty-third of 76.
Then my turn. Pardon's coat was superb, feet great, muscle tone good but his weight was a bit off. I felt Pardon should have been at least one hundred pounds heavier and the judges agreed. Into the arena we go and Pardon says WOW. What have you brought me into. The cones were a repeat of Chapin. We trotted thru the first 2 and then he also felt walking was much better. I would stop, regroup and advance again. We finally made it thru and into the box for our 360. He did this exceptional with no touching, just yielding from my non-touching hands completely around. Ok, now I'm feeling a bit better. Next the trailer, just a slight pause and he hops in, walks to the front and I back him out with no resistance. Ground tie and pick up the feet. As I start to the front feet he wants to back up slightly so we have to regroup, reposition, and try again. It took us about forty-five seconds to get around all four feet but we made it! Whew, now back up, a right turn and trot off thru the next 2 poles with no trotting problem and we are out of there. Pardon's performance puts us in 31st. Not a great score to win but an excellent score for this little fellow and his issues. The condition score = 20% and the in-hand = 30%. The riding portion tomorrow will be worth 50% of the total score. Pardon's weight cost us I'd say 10 positions. Now, back to the stall, relax and watch the rest of the performers.
Emily was up in the yearling class so we make a mad dash over for that. There were 70+ yearlings competing in her division. 18 years and up. Again, this dad was a wreck watching from the stands as Emily and Holly-Go-Lightly made their way into the arena. First up was walk in, up to the trailer, load, off-load, 360 turn to right, ground tie, pick up all four feet, trot off over a six inch jump, thru the cones, into an open box. 90 degree turn, back into a chute, walk out and trot off across a spoked configuration of poles, then 4 lateral poles and out. Folks, if I have ever been more proud of one of my children I couldn't remember when. This pair made this course look like a pleasure walk. Had I been the judge there would have been no question as to their abilities. The only hick-up was Holly stepped slightly to the left as Emily set to pick-up her feet. That was it! Like, WOW. Emily placed 11th missing the cut by one half of one point. She was ecstatic for the remainder of the day. I'm sorry to say this was the clincher as to whether this horse was going home or not. We would have at least one horse on the ride back to North Carolina. Horse course coming up tomorrow so relax for the remainder of the day. See Ft. Worth and eat.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

FT Worth and Pardon

We awoke with the energy of spaghetti. All were dragging but Pardon and Ft Worth had to meet. So up and at-um and down to the livery. All horses looked as if they had walked the entire distance themselves. Were they ever so tired. I brought Pardon out to the trailer and fed him during a good brushing and saddling. We moved around the area a bit before Exchange Street and he did quite well with all the distractions. Chapin and Emily both brought out their horses and we move up towards Exchange and Main for some pictures. The horses did well and were quite a sight for all the tourist that happened by for pictures. Pardon was quite the ham for all photo shoots with strangers and us alike. We got some great shots and I think it gave him a chance to realize all people don't consume horse meat. We rode around town for a couple of hours and met another EMM trainer from Washington State. He, his wife and sister had taken 4 days to make the jaunt to Ft Worth for the challenge. During our visit we made several neat pictures. Dusty is a full time trainer and had done very well with his EMM horse Delford. Another good friend made.
We had to move the horses over to the Will Rogers Complex by noon so off we go so we can get in a little arena time before the evening trainer meeting.
Upon arrival Pardon real quick decided he didn't want any part in this malay of horses, people, trucks, dogs, tractors, golf carts, loud speakers and mass confusion. I kinda felt the same way but this is what it's all about. So we find out stalls, case the area for all practice area's and make out plan. We decided to practice 2 times, 1 at 3:30 and another at 7:30. Each practice was for 30 mins so you had the make the best of your time. With over 250 horses there were alot of oops!
Our first practice was just with halter. To reach the arena you had to go thru a tunnel from 1 building to the next. The tunnel was large but very spooky for a horse. Pardon did well with this after a little coxing and promises that there were no equine eaters around. In the arena and we focused on relaxing and moving thru the obstacles and trailer loading. All went well and I was very pleased with the little fellow. Back for chow and the trainers meeting and practice under saddle.
The trainers meeting was typical with the opportunity to meet all the sponsors for the challenge. The judges were also introduced with Ken McNab being the celebrity. A great guy and super personality. Guy Wood, the winner from last year was also a selected judge. Meeting over and back for the last practice.
Pardon did not want to have anything to do with the tunnel under saddle. I took Chapin and Razin' Cain to coax Pardon thru with lots of stop and go to get thru. I knew if I got off and lead him it would defeat the purpose so we just worked thru it with patience and time. Made it and into the arena as if he'd never been there. Here we go again, you just gotta love him for his shortcomings. He just tries so hard but has so much to overcome. Anyway, 30 min's of banners, flowers, timbers, bridges, other excited horses was all he could stand. I felt he did well considering his abilities so we called it quits for the night. Start time tomorrow? 8:AM.

Texas or Bust!

The time is finally here and the big question is.......are we ready? Well, don't think so but 100 days is 100 days so here we go. We attempt to leave out around 2:00in the afternoon of Monday but Pardon and Holly-Go-Lightly must have figured out that they were in for a long ride. Never had either one ever refused to load until then. After 30 min's or so we finally convinced them that it was better in than out so off we went. Our travel party consisted of 3 horses, Pardon, Razin' Cain, and Holly. Pardon and Razin'Cain were both makeover horses with the latter being my son's EMM horse. Our 2 legged passengers were myself, Chapin, my son, Cody his special friend and Daniel, my nephew. Our plans were to drive stright thru and arrive around 12 noon on Tuesday and pick up Emily at the airport.
We had a few things on our mind for the trip. 1.Fuel, was it going to be a problem finding it after Ike. 2. Stops with the horses, were we going to have another loading problem, and 3. Had the storm cleared it's way past Texas and Arkansas. As luck would have it all 3 were non-issues and we make it to Ft Worth by 11:00 AM the following day. The trip went without a hitch and all were excited as we pulled into the Stockyards. We boarded the horses again this year at the Livery in the Stockyards historical district. My friend Gene, manager for the livery and the famous steer rider along Exchange Street was still around and he made us feel as welcomed as a buzzard on road kill. Horses boarded, stores to visit, ribs to eat and we were done for the night.

Monday, September 15, 2008

A Wopper of a Success!

Have you ever been shocked beyond belief with the gratitude and generosity of friends and stranger alike. Well, that is just what happened this weekend at the fundraiser. As mentioned earlier Jill and Connor Blakeney hosted a fundraiser to support t myself, Emily and Chapin on our journey to Ft. Worth for this years Extreme Mustang Makeover.
We arrived on site Saturday morning to find Dallas and company (owner of Southern States) hard at work getting the grounds ready for the event. Jill and Connor with a task force consisting of Missy and Joann, Shorty Cash, and Molly Brooks had put together a program for the day that consisted of meeting the horses, trainers, slide presentation, display board of several local mustangs, food, beverages, door prizes, raffle drawings and just good fellowship. All Team Thomas had to do was just show off our mustangs, meet some great people and do a couple of demo’s. The horses performed wonderfully with each trainer taking a few min’s to show off their accomplishments and speak with the crowd. As a father I have never been so proud as to watch my two kids show their stuff. Chapin ran Raszin Cain through his paces and finalized with a standing display in the saddle as he fired off 6 shots from his pistol. Cain performed without a glitch! Emily and Holly-Go-Lightly displayed a bond that only a young lady could create with a young horse. Upon finishing up her ground work she finished up with a bull whip and crawling through Holly’s legs. Now, how much prouder could a father be.
Total attendance seemed to be somewhere around 75 folks and proceeds totaled over $1,100 dollars. WOW! I can never express the friendship and appreciation from these attending horse lovers. With additional donations from a special friend from the coast, a local training and breeding facility in Sanford, The 11 Bar East, 2 local Vets, Dr Richard Kirkman, and Dr. Bonnie Terrell, we topped the mark at over $2,000 dollars. So, with all that being said I can only say for myself, Emily and Chapin thank you and we love you all! You are the ones that make dreams come true and are a large part in making the American Mustang a symbol in Chatham County.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

More info on the Show and Tell


With 100 days to tame wild to mild, 200 trainers from across America will gentle 200 Wild Nevada Mustangs in the 2008 Extreme Mustang Makeover in Fort Worth, Texas
WHEN: Saturday September 13th, 2008
WHERE: Country Farm & Home Supply, 203 S. Small Street in Pittsboro.
Chat with the trainers, see the horses, have breakfast, check out store sale items. Free breakfast for first 10 in line at the grill.

Jimmy, Emily, and Chapin will work their horses in the round pen and discuss techniques for working with wild mustangs.

Local owners will share slides and their experience in adopting mustang weanlings from Nevada.


Saturday, September 6, 2008

We've made the turn!

The past couple of weeks have really been great for Pardon. Daily riding and just human contact has caused the little fellow to grow inside and out. His nerves has worked a toll on his weight but as he relaxes his weight is coming back. His attitude around other horses is very relaxed except for strange areas. After the trip to Uhawarie we've made a couple of small trips to add to his exposure. It does seem he forgets the small things, leading thought a gate that he went thru yesterday, walking down the isle of the barn he enters on his own daily, I just can't figure. He still will back into any fear with little concern opposed to walking forward into it. Hmmmmm. Yesterday he had a pedicure on all four feet for the second time. I really think he enjoyed the quite time and contact. I think the heel clicking with his back feet might come from his feet being out of balance. Both bars on his rear feet caused an inside step. I trimmed that down and that should move him more center on his step and balance. (But what do I know, I'm no farrier). I'll consult George on that one. He really helped alot with Medicine Man last year and I respect his knowledge.
We had another visitor this week from Jacksonville, NC. Sherie brought up a mustang she's had for 10 months for a little team building. She has a really nice sorrel that is going to make a great trail horse. She had done alot of ground work with him and with a couple of pointers I think they'll be riding within a couple of weeks.
I did take Pardon out for show and tell while she was here and thought he didn't impress her on the ground I do think his movements under saddle did get a compliment. His only big issue now is an ear problem he's picked put. His right ear has suddenly become off limits. At first I thought it might be an infection or soreness but after alot of working around it I can't find a tender spot. It's just when you first approach it with the bridle or your hands. He takes the bit well but when you pull it up and over he's very resistant. We'll get thru it I'm sure. Just time and patience.

Now, what can we do with him.........walk, trot, lope on demand with a slight cluck and squeeze. Stops from a lope in 3-4 steps. Backs with little finger pressure. Flexes left and right, bends at the pole. Handles all four feet with no problem. Water, logs, ditches, hills, bridges, are all no concern. He catches fairly easy with a halter, (the ear thing without). Cars are no problem, throw a rope from his back, pulls a log forward and backwards. Saddles without being tied, stands untied for saddling, feet trimming, grooming and washing. Wears a blue tarp like a raincoat, ropes around his legs no problem, stands for whips popping as well a firearms. Backs thru an L shaped course, turns left and right within an eight foot box. Can turn off both the front and rear feet with slight cues. When the monsters do get him he shuts down with a slight one rein lift. All in all a good little fellow.
Just want to remind everyone again of the fundraiser next weekend in Pittsboro at the Southern States, 8:30 to 12:00. Food and fellowship available with lots of raffle items plus we want to meet you!

Monday, August 25, 2008


I do want to invite any and all to our Mustang Makeover Fundraiser for Pardon, Rasin' Cain, and Holly-Go-Lightly before our Fort Worth trip. With the idea and hard work of our friends Jill and Connor Blankney, we will be showing our soon to be famous horses at the Southern States Feed store in Pittsboro, NC on Saturday,13 Sep from 8:30 to 12:00. All horses will be there and each trainer will have an opportunity to share with the public a few of the skills we use in working with horses. Their will also be several door prizes and drawings throughout the morning. We will be serving both breakfast sandwiches and burgers for lunch! Please mark it on your calender and plan on attending! More to come........

Update on Pardon

OK folks, its been 3 weeks since my last update and Pardon is coming around, slowly but with reverence. Each day we go thru almost all skills to keep working on his confidence. From leading, yielding fore and hind, picking up feet, roundpening, lounging, sacking out, tarp treatment, whips, and any other loud noises I can muster to bring out the fears. Our next long ride was 1 week later and his flight desire has decreased. I think our only real scare was a plastic water bottle in my rear pocket and a St Bernard all at the same time. A quick hop, side jump and he's back to himself. My friend Helena rode along with me this time and we went thru all his gates with no problem. This past weekend was spend on an overnighter at Uhwarrie. A great place for overnighters and lots of riding, more horses, 4 wheelers, loud noises, people, jeeps and just plain commotion around the campground. His first couple of hours had him a total bundle of nerves but did settle to a slack rein either in the front, middle, or rear of the pack. He would ride off on his own when asked with little effort. I was really proud of this little fellow. He remained tied on a highline overnight with no problems. He was the only horse that didn't get loose that weekend.
For those that have kept up with the blog from last year you will understand a scare we did have. During the night on Friday, Medicine Man, who belongs to Dean and Helena decided to take a little trip on his own. On Saturday morning he came up missing. However, we did find him about 1/4 mile from camp just walking along the road eating grass. Now tell me, how many horses will leave the heard on their own! This fellow cares only for his own preservation. What a horse. They still love him and he is making a great trail horse for Cassidy.
I'm still trying to get as many different riders on Pardon as possible to continue his trust of the human. So far he's had 5 different riders with no problem. You just have to relax on him to assure him of safety. We have started to add a few moves with him that should help out at Fort Worth. His back is great, softness is excellent and we are working on a little side pass and lead changes. His stop from a lope is 2 steps in the arena and he is gaining a good collection. Now it's just up to me to improve these things and continue to build his trust!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Emily's blogg!

I just wanted to share with you my daughter's blog for her EMM yearling. Emily also is involved in the competition this year as a yearling trainer. Dubbed, "Mission 007" opens up the opportunity for trainers wanting to participate with yearlings in the competition. Emily's mustang, "Holly Go Lightly" is a yearling mare, bay, with the courage of the mountain lion. She is constantly into everything and afraid of nothing. If you have a chance follow her at www.thebartfilly.blogspot.com/

Out of the roundpen?

Yes, things have made the turn-around for Pardon. Saturday brought 2 more opportunities for Pardon and me to work on our under saddle skills. Round and round we went, left and right inside and outside turns, moving off the front and rear have improved with slight leg cues. His gas pedal still has some issues beyond a trot. Seems his lopes are very uncomfortable for him. He has an issue with his rear feet hitting each other in the roundpen during a lope, don't know why but quite evident.

This morning, Sunday I invited over a couple of friends for a trail ride to bring Pardon out of the roundpen and pasture. I first introduced Scooter, Chapin's roping horse to him inside the roundpen for a little socialization and follow the leader. This went well so out of the pen and into the pasture for several laps of both walking and trotting with Pardon both following and leading the way. I have several obstacles in the pasture, logs, a wood bridge, traffic cones, cross ties and a four wheeler. We accomplished all these tasks with no problems so I guess the trail was next. With 4 horses total, we left out with Pardon 3rd in line. Into the drive, up a short woods trail, down by the highway, first car, barking dogs, 2 ditches and we're into the main trail. Pardon handled all this exceptionally well as we went along. In the first 20 min's the only issue I had to address was him trying to follow to closely to the lead horse. We fixed this with that rider holding a short limb over the rear of the horse and swatting at Pardon each time he got within range. Pardon picked this up quickly, (20 swats) and found his place. Across 2 fields, into more woods and then his first water. I must say I've never introduced a horse to water for the first time with no refusal until today. Not just a small stream but 3 feet of water as we moved up the creek. I think he actually enjoyed it! So, back around and backtrack to the last field.
We stop for a short talk and suddenly all (*&#$(#*&$# breaks loose with Pardon. Don't know what caused it but for the first time today he really sets up for the big one. I guess for some reason I was prepared and we really had a bucking fit for 5-10 seconds. Yielding him around to the left we got things back under control and he stops with this very uncomfortable feeling. (Maybe for his first trail ride I should have shortened the time). Back on the trail, through the woods, into the next field with no problem. About half way of the second field Pardon moves along Reba, my personal horse and I rein him back and here we go again. Bucking and rearing this time and I'm without the right stirrup, Now this was the big one and I really thought I was a goner until a good lunge and rear gets me back in the seat giving me a chance to really hunker down. I felt like this episode lasted 44 min's 'til he relented to the one rein shut down. Now I have the shakes. Before we make it back to the house he tried 6 more times with each one being less and less severe. The last few were quickly dispersed within 1/2 second by shutting him down with 1 rein. (Thank goodness for the one rein stop). His softness is not nearly as good as I'd like but time should fix that. I did ride in a full cheek snaffle today so it was very difficult for him to resist the pressure when applied.

All in all I am very excited and pleased with Pardon's performance for the last 5 days. He is quickly meeting new people and that's making a difference in his acceptance of new things. He received his first full bath yesterday with shampoo and conditioner. He accepted this with only a line laid over the rail. No moving or pulling during the whole soaping and enjoyed the whole experience to include drinking out of the hose. Tomorrow, into the arena (a flat part in the pasture) for a little improvement in his responsiveness and handling.
We're heading to Ft Worth in 45 days!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Whewww, A saddle and rider, Finally

I know, I know, no word from the Bar T in over 20 days. Well, I must admit I didn't have much positive to write about. 10 days ago I saddled Pardon for the 3rd or 4th time with little problem. Each time saddled though I would get on and off both sides and he would stand for all this activity and then suddenly burst with fear as if he'd just awoken from a nap sending his rider reaching for the ejector switch. This happened several times with myself and nephew Daniel finding ourselves on the ground in odd shapes. The last ride left Pardon with a saddle totally upside down and slid back! Well let me give you a story to tell; as Pardon rounded the pen in total dis-array Daniel began to slide towards the outside with saddle. His grip on the night-latch was relentless and never gave up 'til he was completely left sided of Pardon. Off he comes and the saddle slips under creating a fright for the young horse. Round and round he went really recking havoc on the round pen. Now, this round pen is 6+ feet tall, 2x8 White Oak boards nailed with 20 penny barn nails. Well, in a matter of 1-2 mins he had brought down 5 boards and didn't seem as if he was giving up. I'd try to step in front of him several times to bring him back to this earth but Pardon was having no part of it. Next thought was open the gate in front of him as he comes around, ok, it worked. He slams on the breaks, hard right, around the gate and out into the pasture before I could cut him off. Now what have I done?....Round the pasture he goes with this nasty saddle moving farther back each time he bucks. Well, he's not having any of that so right thru a 4 wire high tensile fence to the back pasture. This one is much bigger so he has about 4 acres to outrun this saddle. After over 10 min's of this malay he finally stops at the far back corner. I'm finally able to walk up to this poor fellow and give him some relief. Well, as soon as I touched that cinch to loosen it off he goes again. The monster is back! 3-4 more min's, thru 1 more fence and he's in a paddock attached to the round pen with 2 more mustangs. Whew, friends to comfort him but nope, this just scared them all so we're back now in the round pen running, now 3 horses. After a couple of min's we cut the other horses away from Pardon and now he's back where it began. Exhausted from this ordeal Pardon stops and gives me the opportunity to use a razor and cut the cinch strap dropping the saddle under him. Folks, I think this is the ultimate de-sensitivity tool ever. Though, he totally destroyed my best and oldest ranch saddle, a Hermon Hiezer made in Denver, Co around 1900 it did serve its purpose. Inspection showes no cuts, a few abrasions and a totally exhausted horse. Pardon was back to himself later that evening so I wanted to take advantage of this exhausted state for some more exposure. Well, it worked. His first jumps accross logs on the lunge line, sending exercises, cross the bridge, and loading in the trailer. Though we didn't get very far under saddle today we made tremendous advancements in these other tasks. Final analyst. Much more ground work to soften the nerves of this nice horse.

So, for the next 15 days we ground drove, lunged, sent, worked feet, introduced to a bridle, lots of saddling, baths, trimmed feet again, exposed to the outside world beyond the roundpen and pasture. With lots of on and off without saddle and I just could not get him to remove that guard and fear of someone on his back moving around. OK, I'm at a point of giving up or moving to the last ditch effort of causing him to submit himself to the human. I've only had to lay down one other horse in my training career and really didn't want to so I consulted with a super friend of mine, another trainer and excellent finisher on cow horses. Suggestion from Reggie was lets pony Pardon with a rider using his big head horse, Goose. OK, let's give it a try. So we set the date and made it happen. Results, not-to-good! Pardon just could not get the concept of leading along close enough to Goose without a rider for a rider to sit him without being in jeopardy. Several times Pardon who is 14 hands would rear up over Goose, 16.2 hands refusing the pull. Pardon leads super so this was a big fear thing that Reggie working over 2 hrs with Goose and Pardon could not overcome. Our last recourse was to lay him down. Trying to be as calm as possible, with the least amount of stress it took over one hour to finally put Pardon on the ground. If there is another horse in this world with a stronger will I, nor Reggie have yet to meet him. With little force, lots of patience, and a exhausted horse he finally relents and lays down. I began first by putting a blanket over his eyes and completely worked over his entire body with my hands. Removed the blanket and repeated the process. Folks, this was one tired horse and we were concerned if he could get back up on his own. I must say you could watch the fear leave his body as this process continued. After maybe 10-15 min's Reggie and I helped him back up and gave him a short rest and water. So, now lets see how this may have helped. Saddled and with a long lead Daniel mounts Pardon with no issues. We lead him off, left and right, forward and backwards, lunge in a small circle, direction changes, walk and trot and no issues. OK, is this because he's totally exhausted, calmed from laying him down, or did we find his easy button? I can't answer. I'll wait until the next day and see. So, a bath and a lot of just walking around the pasture so Pardon can destress and work out those (I'm sure) tired muscles before supper.

Next morning Pardon did show a more relaxed sense when I entered the stall to get him. His normal snorts and nervous actions were barely noticeable.I saddled Pardon up, a little lunge work, flexing and finally Daniel again mounts up. Pardon showed little concern with this so we move off, first leading, next sending left and right with Daniel giving cues from the saddle and me following up from the ground. As things progressed I was able to remove the lunge line and drive Pardon around the roundpen with left and right turns, stops, starts, walk, trot and lopes. By sessions end Pardon is moving at the request of Daniel as he is beginning to understanding the cues being given without my encouragement. I think we have crossed over and should have plenty of time to make him a competitive prospect for the competition. Pictures will be posted this weekend.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Here's where we are......and then some

Things are very busy here at the Bar T. With 3 new mustangs and our personal horses combined leaves little time for anything. Pardon continues to make daily progress with the least bit of attention. I think with the time I spent with Medicine Man last year Pardon would already be in the parades. In the past week I’ve only been able to give him an average of 45 min’s per day. I spend more time with him in the stall than the round pen. BUT, with that said here’s where we are. Monday we worked on all the basics learned before any new tasks. Round pen left and right with a stop on command at any point. He did have his favorite spots in the round pen where he was most comfortable but now we can operate in any place. Without lead we can brush his entire body including his tail. He loves his head and pole scratched and rubbing his eyes will almost put him to sleep. With the lounge whip we can crack it all around, slap the ground, and toss it all over his body and around his legs. No problem. Bag on a stick? Well, If you could hold up he would stand while you beat him with it for hours with no interest. Thru his legs, belly, hind-end, manly-parts, no problem. Bug spray? I think he now knows that it keeps those nasty horse fly’s away. I have given him 2 doses of equi-spot and that’s working a lot of the fly issues. A rinse off is tolerated but not really loved. Leads forward and backward on request with a slack rope. He is just beginning to follow slightly without any lead until he gets distracted but can be picked up again just by turning in a circle. I still want him a bit further up on my shoulder as we lead, now he stays about 2 feet behind me. Feet, I have both fronts with little panic from him and can hold 10-15 seconds. Going for the rear feet later this week. Blue tarp is no problem walking on or having it rubbed on him. I did trim his bridle path with electric clippers over the weekend. We even cut back a few whiskers in the process. Now for the new stuff. My goal Monday was to get on his back. That went well. Within 10 min’s of first attempt I had laid across his back from both sides, slid all around from neck to hips and put a pad on and off 10-15 times. The little fellow didn’t quite know what to think when I started jumping up a down as I rubbed his body. I think he envisioned me being the big bad tiger… after we got thru that Pardon only spooked 1 time after I got on moving more from my own fright than his. A super horse. With the pad I was able to get on and off either side at my leisure by the end of the session. I really haven’t found a true issue with this fellow. His trust is slowly overcoming his fears, his manners well outweighs the times he does spook keeping he and I safe during that brief second. Can’t wait until tomorrow. Saddle time!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Day 3 and a Name change!

Back home at last. After being gone 6 days I felt Ricochet would have forgotten most of what we've learned. Yes he was a little shy, would rather run than be close to me but the face up and turns we're still there. It's Sunday evening, 7 days from the last session so a recap on all things learned were in order. It's really been hot lately and today is no exception. Temp is 96 and it 7pm. Wow, I think we need to do this in the fall! I had to rope him again, this must be the last time for roping and we were back in tune within 30 min's. Being so hot I'd brought in a water hose for a bath if he could stand it and boy did he. Being so shy and enjoying the cool water really confused him I think. Good things just can't come from humans........Yes folks, a bath on the 3rd lesson. After the bath a quick squeegee down and back to work. During my absence I thought a lot about a new name. His demeanor just didn't match his name. I gave lots of thought and I came up with the name that will stick. "PARDON" I've never had a horse or worked with a horse that had such manners. Under no circumstance will he run over you, bump into you, push you or just plain ol' walk into you. This fellow really respects his handler and fellow horses. To see him get in a stressful spot, he can't go back, won't go forward over you and left and right are out of the question so he just stands and trembles til the danger passes. What a gentleman! Plans for this evening was to move him out of the roundpen and into a stall in the barn. His fears would not let him walk into the barn. It was getting late so I just decided to try something he has become really great at. Backing! Whenever Pardon just won't walk thru it, over it, around it, or by it we just back right thru it. And does he do it with style. No pressure on the lead or halter. Just a sigh to back and off we go. We backed down the ally and right into his new stall. No problem. We will work on walking in forward tomorrow. So for the remainder of the evening Hay, sweetfeed, and water and a fan to keep cool by.......OHHHH, what a life.

Day 2, Ricochet continues to impress!

Monday morning came with one more chance to work with Ricochet. I had to leave town for a week today and wanted to get his halter on and off, start leading and work on a little de-spooking today.

Right out he came with yesterdays lessons still fresh on his mind. Left, right, face-up were still in the front of his mind. I did have a little trouble touching him so back out with the rope and we had a lead rope on him within ten min's. My nephew, Daniel was down and he is really interested in the horse training stuff. I started with hands all over his body rubbing face, pole, neck, withers, belly and back and worked down both rear legs to his hocks. Yes, sometimes he would run off but patience paid off as he had a complete rub down. I brought Daniel into the roundpen for some additional human exposure and Ricochet picked up on this quickly. We worked on yielding the hindquarters and facing up even when we walked tight circles. This fellow really did catch on quick! We finished up the day with a short lesson in lunging and again, he fell right into the task at hand. I put him away for the remainder of the week in hopes that his memory was as good as his attention.

School begans!

After arriving home early on Sunday morning, 2 AM I gave my project a little rest until Sunday evening. I had planned on getting the halter off, number tag off, and a little hands on before the day was done. Having only 1 roundpen and 2 mustangs we (Chapin and I) are having to schedule our times so as not to conflict. Chapin was in first and gave me the pen around 7 in the evening so I could have a couple of hours before dark. I picked a name during the ride home for my horse due to his reaction in and around confined areas. In watching him he reminded me of a pinball bouncing off anything he touched. Hence, the name Ricochet came to be.

Ricochet entered the roundpen with purpose. He was a little lost without Chapin's horse, "Razin Cain" in the pen so his focus was on the attached stalls. It didn't take long for Ricochet to pull into my world and he was very quick in facing up. This was really exciting because this can sometimes take 15 min's. With him, in less than 5. Direction change went well after that and he seemed genuinely interested in what was going on. After about 30 min's of left, right, face-up and follow me with his head I decided to put a rope on him to speed things up and go for the touch. Without the rope I was able to get within 10 feet of him. I didn't want to make the same mistake I did with Medicine Man in working til dark and having to deal with that.

So, out comes a new rope my kids game me for Father's day with a Buck Brannoman honda and around his neck it goes. Now, here was a big surprise, no bucking, kicking, snorting, or rude behavior when he felt the rope across his body or the pressure on his neck. (I had already thrown the rope on him several times during the initial roundpen work to kinda de-sensitize him to the new feel). Within 5 min's he was facing up fully and backing away from me when I applied to much pressure with my body. What else could you ask for! Within 30 min's, I was able to touch him on the forehead and a jaw rub. We had several observers that evening so the distractions were very large for this close contact. Our friend Helena decided she wanted to try her hand at this mustang taming stuff so in she comes and gives it a try. One thing I failed to tell her was don't try to hold him when he runs off, wait until the burst is over and have him face back up using the rope. Well, he gave her a real sand ski trip across the roundpen and her poor hands just could take the sliding rope and she wound up with several rope burns. I think she maybe learned a lesson. After a few touches I removed the number tag, removed the rope and gave him the rest of the evening to soak-in his lesson. Monday would bring new and exciting things.

Another horse? Just what I needed!

I just had the fill in the mustang world on a future addition to the Bar T before I get underway with my EMM Mustang. In early May while researching the BLM internet auction site I ran across the seldom seen mustang. A splattered paint, 15.2 hands, 5 years old and looking for a home. This young man was captured in CA 18 months ago and had not made it to an adoption site. Well, as luck would have it I was able to adopt him for a mear $280.00. I arranged shipment via the BLM (free if your willing to wait for them to leap frog your horse from the holding site to a local adoption) to Archdale. While we were in IL picking up our 3 EMM horses we where walking around the site and low and behold, there he stands awaiting transportation to NC . Not having enough room in the trailer or room here at the BAR T until we have these 3 manageable we just had to leave him in IL. I hope to have my EMM mustang well on his way by the time he gets here. I haven't named him yet so if anyone has any ideas just run'em up the flag pole!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Horses Arrive

Welcome all to the next Extreme Mustang Makeover 2008. We've just returned from Ewing, IL with our new gifts from BLM/EMM. The trip up was with much anticipation as to what was awaiting. After 12 hours on the road we arrived at the facility at 9:00 am. We were 2nd in line for our horses so we had some time to look around and check out the grounds. They had alot of horses ranging from weanling's to mature horses separated mainly by age in holding pens. Each pen of adequate size to support the number of horses with no overcrowding. They all had plenty of hay and fresh water. During our walk around we were surprised with 1 horse in particular. A very flashy paint gilding very similar to one I adopted earlier from the Internet adoption site. Well, as fate has it he was the same. I had adopted him in early May and arranged for shipment to our local adoption site here in NC for the annual adoption in July. Well, seems as if they have leap-frogged him to IL awaiting the local adoption here. This really was a pleasant surprise.
OK, own to the draw. Again as last year selection for horses had already been made prior to the trainer arrivals so there would be no favoritism. WE backed up to the pens and had our first look at our new projects. As mentioned earlier we were there for 3 horses. 2 EMM horses and a yearling for the yearling challenge. First out of the pen was a nice yearling, a bay filly with legs as long as a giraffe. That's for Emily and was she happy! 2 down the line was a bold and very stocky chestnut that turned out to be mine. More on him later. And third was Chapin's bay, a 3 year old slender but healthy gilding. As BLM requires a halter was put on all the horses with little trouble. The handlers at the facility were excellent in handling the horses and created a near to none stressful environment for the mustangs. Horses loaded and back on the road. We decided to stop a couple of hours down the road after they had settled in for a little hay and water. The trip went well afterwards and they ate and drank for the entire ride home. We arrived back at the Bar T around 1:00 AM and released our new friends directly into the round pen for sorting out later after a few hours of sleep.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Mustang Makeover # 2

Hello mustang enthusiast, it's been a while since the last post so lets bring you up to date. We've, that is Emily, Chapin, and myself have all been selected to participate in the 2008 Extreme Mustang Makeover to be held at Ft. Worth 18-22 September. Chapin and I were selected for the Makeover and Emily was selected as a yearling trainer. This years Makeover will consist of 200 mustangs and trainers and we will be competing for over $50,000 in prize money. That in itself has brought out some really superb trainers throughout the nation. North Carolina this year has 8 trainers going for the gold with 2 being returns from previous makeovers. Myself and Dave Robart, a reining trainer from the coast. Dave participated in the Mid-west challenge held in April and faired quite well placing 1st in the overall competition and came back for the run off and finished 3rd.

We will leave out Friday evening for our trip to IL to pick up our mustangs and hope to be back in Pittsboro by late Saturday evening. As last year's challenge anyone is welcome to come by the BAR T to visit and meet these wonderful horses and watch their progress. Keep us in your thoughts as we travel north for a safe trip and return!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Update from the Bar T

Well folks, its been a couple of months since Medicine Man has gone to his new home and things are really working out well for him and Cassy. I've been over a few times to work with the two and they have really blended into a team. In early December we trail roded together and Cas and I broke off and worked on water crossing and a little running away from the crowd. This really put a big grin on a little girl. Her mom has done allot to build confidence in the pair. Cas and her sister Cody ride nearly every day with Cody adding to the development of the pair. Cody is an excellent rider at 14 and gives lessons to several young riders in the area.
The first Sunday in December was the annual Christmas Parade held in here in Pittsboro and as you would expect Medicine Man and Cassy were the leaders of the pack having no problems throughout the day.
Medicine Man has gotten a little protective of his space lately by pinning his ears and kicking out when another horse gets to close. This is something that is taking time and effort to build his trust in other horses. Its improving slowly but surely each ride.
For Christmas Emily created a short DVD of Medicine Man and me from start to finish. I'll attempt to post. Hope it works out as it was a great production.
Chapin and I are awaiting the coming of spring for applications for the next Mustang Makeover. He will be of age this year and we hope to enter with each having our own horse. Chapin's training abilities are really exceptional and more so for his age. I've seen many adults not get half the results he acquires in the same period of time. I've even gone to him for some assistance recently in working with a Hanoverian I was starting for a local breeder. Results were great! He has created his own blog at www.thebartjr.blogspot.com. Give it a look.
Currently we have in training our 3rd Hanoverian and a halter breed starting under saddle. We're trying to keep our training to two per month with the weather and short evenings. We've been working on our new barn with hopes to have it finished by the first of April for the first and hope to be annual Extreme Horse Course. More on that later.
Again ,thanks for reading and keep warm!