Anniversary Gifts

A good place to keep children

Yesterday was our wedding anniversary. I got all kinds of really good gifts. The more normal ones, we got a sitter for the kids and went out to supper. By ourselves!

And the special, unique, and catered just to me type. My husband put back up the clothes line that rusty and I destroyed last fall. I can’t hang clothes out to dry much over the winter anyway but as spring warms the days I’ve really missed having the option. Now it is back and I immediately made use of it, getting a load of laundry out to dry on the gorgeous warm day. Long before I started wanting to, my husband who knows me too well, forbid me to bring a horse into the house. Now I am not allowed to have them in the yard either. Some weird thing about wanting to keep the clothes line up? 😉 It is unfortunate because I had some really fun ideas involving the swingset 🙁

He also took our son with him in the tractor for his afternoon nap. That gave me a couple of hours without having to worry about children to actually put a saddle on Rusty and go out for a real ride!! The reason we spend so much time trick training is that it is a way for me to get my horse fix with children underfoot. Without them we were free to roam.

Rusty was not thrilled about the roaming.

On the way out he kept stopping and asking me if I was sure about this. He said he was perfectly happy staying at the house and getting lots of treats. We persevered though and made it to the end of our drive then across the road into the neighbors CRP ground. There we rode over the hills and through the beautiful tall orange grass that nearly matches the color of my fiery orange pony. My dog, Daisy, ranged about underfoot chasing scents and rabbits. Rusty regained his go and we got to work on circles, stops, and being a grownup horse. The ride home down the long drive gave us a perfect chance to work on leg yields and haunches in. Back at the house we trotted a few circles, practicing transitions in hopes of doing a couple of western dressage shows this year despite our lack of riding time. A few steps of Spanish walk and I dismounted, pulled the saddle, and got one lay down before he went back out with his friends.

Today I am sun burnt and not hopeful of another ride. It was wonderful though and we’ll take what we can get. It was the perfect anniversary present.


Mounting Compilation

As long as people have been riding they’ve been debating the best way to get on.
It’s good to be able to get on from the ground.
Stirrups can be a big help.
Mounting blocks are good for the horse.
But when you’ve lost your bounce,
you might need to get more creative.
And sometimes it’s best to take a step back and rethink things.
And that is exactly what we did!
This is it, the closing chapter of our personal getting on challenge. We may revisit it if we find new ideas. It has been fun. A good way to stretch the imagination. A wonderful training exercise. Rusty has learned so much more than the obvious letting me on him part. I have crawled all over him. He learned to walk under things. To squeeze into tight spaces. To listen to me without fear or hesitation through all the weird things I ask of him. “Silly” training of tricks like this have taught Rusty far more than any running around a round pen or “desensitizing” ever did. Rusty comes running when called in the pasture and the only time I need to put a halter on him is to make him go back out with his buddies. His under saddle work, though sadly neglected most of the time, improves by leaps and bounds between riding times because of the trick training time we put in.
I am still trying to decide what to work on next. Any ideas are greatly appreciated! Until then tell me about and share videos of how you get on!

Not My Trick Video

Before I get to the final get on video here’s a fun trailer for a horse trick training book. She has Morgans and all the horses in the video are beautiful Morgans. She has a couple of babies she’s trick training. I can’t stop thinking about what wonderful horses these are going to be to start. By the time they are old enough to ride they’ll be so used to having people all over them and working off cues they’ll be a joy to start. It’s making me want a baby


The Laying Down Mount

Here is our last getting on method. Our first and, probably, only attempt at it. The video is a bit long because it’s a long involved process. Theoretically I knew we could do it. All the pieces were in place it was just a matter of putting them all together. And I had to catch him in the mood. We’ve been working on laying down for awhile. He does a good job of it on command-ish. But when he doesn’t feel like it he doesn’t feel like it and we don’t do it. I had tried before to catch this but he said no and I turned him out instead.
There is some danger to this method. Not that there isn’t in anything to do with horses, or anything we do in life. Not just in the getting up, but in the laying down. Rusty very nearly broke my foot doing this a few weeks ago. He was doing a perfect job at it. I was standing safely on the side away from his legs and he stood up. watching him now I can see the issue. As he stands he jumps back with his right front leg then pushes hard off of it. I made the mistake of standing in that exact spot and he pushed up off of my foot. It hurt. I may have yelled a little. Not at him, just at it hurting so bad. My yelling scared him and he thought I was mad at him. I was worried it would affect his lay down and had to comfort him before I could limp off to find some ice.
Today was one of his willing days so we gave it a try. I wasn’t sure exactly what would happen when we tried it and was pleasantly surprised when he just stood there. He was a bit confused when I sat on him and started asking for up. I’ve been adding an up cue to his bows. It seems like a good way to extend duration if he knows to stay down until I ask him to get up. I also thought it might help here. He looked at me for awhile like you want what!? Then very politely stood up.
This very nearly concludes our exploration of different and unusual ways to get on. Now I’m trying to think of what we can take apart, examine closely and put back together in new and unusual ways next?? Spanish walk? Bowing? I would like to do a riding something but most of this was done in small pieces, short amounts of time, with children running under foot that I need to keep an eye on. It’s hard for me to find time to saddle up and ride. If it is something simple I can do bareback, that would be good for both of us. Please let me know if you have any ideas!


Unaccomplished Goals

I got it! Today I accomplished the last weird way of mounting that I could think of. To celebrate here are two of the, many, really cool ways to get on that I am not capable of. These people do such a wonderful job with their horses and supply so much motivation and so many goals to work towards.


(Inspiration) Neck mount (not for everyone or every horse)

The Neck Mount – this was something I saw at a Parelli Event some 15 years ago and thought WOW! It is indeed a lot of fun, sometimes Mia can be so enthusiastic she can put me a metre up in the air or land me on the oher side on my feet :-DJust like everything I show it has a few isolations and needs to be practiced perfectly in order to not injure the horse.Therefore it comes with a WARNING LABEL:As mentioned not for everyone or every horseI weigh 51 kg, Mia's neck and head weigh probably triple that Notice I correct the balance firstI mount high up on the neck on the lifting muscle (trapezius)I land not on the center of the back Ask a profesional to help you who can actually do this themself and not just because you assume they know how to, or they tell you they know how………I know very few ;-)My advice is simply that if you do want to learn it, do it just for fun and not as a daily tool ♥♥♥

Posted by ZOE'S HORSE BYTES on Wednesday, March 7, 2018


Bareback Lift

Just wanted to share a video of a new trick I taught my TWH mare, Bella. She is wearing padded boots in the front to protect her legs. Excuse the wobbly camera, my 9 year old daughter was filming this and holding her pony at the same time.Disclaimer: I want to add that this really should not be done long term. I did this to see if I could do it not to perform over and over. If you notice in the video I have padded boots on her front legs and hooves to prevent rolling a tendon under my boot. Also, if you see when she gives me a lift she twists her knee out a little to give me that boost. Again, fine once in a while but that movement could possibly be bad if done alot. Thanks everyone for your support! Bella and I never thought it would get this reaction <3

Posted by Yvonne Lucius on Monday, July 28, 2014



Backwards Mount

I am not proud of this mount. Embarrassed really. But I am going to share it anyway.
Rusty decided to target me with his rear end the other day when I was trying to do something completely different. My horses are always the ones who teach me the best stuff so instead of complaining or reprimanding him, we went with it. Since it was a behavior that he wanted to do he has progressed very quickly with it. This is our first ever attempt at it, no practice here. I am going to rework the get on a little. It’s my awkward scrambling and fat rolls that are embarrassing, Rusty was wonderful and very patient


Self Loading

Not gonna lie, I’m pretty proud of this. All in all it was a pretty easy thing to teach. Our biggest problem was all the good green grass that kept distracting Rusty. Today I was able to turn him out to graze for a couple of hours before I worked him. In an ideal world I would be able to do that regularly. Unfortunately it doesn’t usually fit into my schedule. Today it worked and he was able to concentrate enough to play.
Nothing like having your horse self load. Self load their person that is 😉 Here is the latest in our search for ways to get on!


Jumping For Joy

On our quest to find many of the different mounting options a friend mentioned, perhaps jokingly, using a trampoline. It occurred to me that I had one! The next chance I had I drug the kids little trampoline out of the play house to try.

I really thought it would be more difficult. That’s the joy of a clicker trained horse. Or perhaps just of Rusty. Instead of having to work on getting him next to it, then used to the jumping, he just walked up and stood there chewing. I bounced around a few times to be sure. Laid across his back from both sides. Then got on!


Careful Targeting

Rusty and I have been playing with all the different way it is possible to get on a horse. Trying to think outside of the usual and come up with unusual, overly complicated methods. It has been fun digging into the different layers of training involved in some of the more interesting ones. It may seem like a silly useless undertaking on the surface but, like with all trick training, the benefits go so much deeper.

Yesterday though, we didn’t accomplish anything. Not what I had intended at least. It is spring and that green grass gets a little distracting. I was trying to get him to walk under my noodle and he was more interested in grazing. Or butt scratches. We did accomplish that.

Completely by accident I taught him to target me with his butt. He wanted it scratched. I, his lowly and loyal servant must comply with his wishes. There is simply no use arguing with someone of his determination.

After that amusing interlude I gave up. He was acting… weird. I don’t know how else to describe it. Other than the eating, that’s normal for right now, he kept leaving. He never leaves. He wants to be with me. If I don’t work him he eats the fence. If you ever wonder why so many boards are gone from the wind break, he is the reason.

I tied him up! And saddled him. The goal was to ride out through the cows, check calves. By the time we got to the gate into the pasture he had convinced me that was a bad idea. Not doing anything bad, just… weird. There was a storm blowing in. Dark clouds had ridden the horizon most of the day. The wind was sucking back into them, determined to take us all with. The warm air from earlier in the day was moving out to make way for cold. I was not brave enough to ride a hot colt who wasn’t interested in working out into the hills.

Once we turned around he proved my fears to be somewhat justified. He was never scary. He was, however, stuttery? He would leap forward with tons of energy, or freeze up and not want to move. The lightest leg was his cue to run. No amount of leg pressure was enough to persuade him to move when he was stopped.It was a good ride though. We did some leg yields, worked on haunches in, loped circles in the soon to be garden, and practiced his Spanish walk. Besides, he mastered targeting me with is butt. What more could I ask of a ride 😉

Here is a quick video of him targeting and, eventually, making around the pickup. Original goal accomplished.