The Downtrodden

“Whether you think you can, or think you can’t, You’re right” ~Henry Ford

Our mind set in life is our most valuable and important tool. Without belief in ourselves we have nothing.

The same goes for our horses.

Often horses come from kill pens, from rescues along with a terrible back story. Other times they are the ‘wrong’ breed for the job. They can be too tall, too short, lacking the stellar blood lines. Whatever the cause we often decide a horse can’t do the things we would like to do with them.

Us deciding, knowing, that they are unable tells them that they are unable.

If we didn’t tell them they would go through life accomplishing all these things they can’t do, because they didn’t know any better. It might be a little more difficult, that only means success will be treasured all the more.

Why do we feel the need to tell anyone or anything that they have disadvantages and so can’t do all the things?

Useful Tricks

What counts as a trick?

People, who don’t do trick training, often discount tricks as silly, pointless, even teaching bad habits.

We know better of course.

But seriously, what counts as a trick?

Smiling? Sure. Bowing? Yes. And also as a bit of horse yoga to get them stretching and limber, work those muscles. Spanish walk? It depends, are you calling it a trick or high school dressage. Side stepping towards you? I guess, unless it’s to get your horse to the mounting block so you can get on. Then it’s a much sought after ability that you see people on horse pages asking about constantly because they can’t get their horses up to the mounting block.

A trick is only defined as a trick by people. Horses don’t know the difference between trick training and all the rest of the training we do in their lives. Except maybe that they like the trick training part best.

In  the teaching of tricks we are helping our horses learn to be confident and to trust us as well as how to listen when we ask them for something. Many tricks have very practical applications. Mat training teaches them to stand quietly and wait. A good recall means we never have to chase a horse down in the pasture. Pedestal training teaches them to be comfortable stepping onto different surfaces and makes trailer loading much easier.

We can of course teach tricks directly aimed at husbandry. A horse can be trained the wonderful trick of allowing you to give a shot or to happily eat worming medicine. Then there’s hoof care. So much easier to clean feet and trim when a horse picks their feet up as you point at them.

The principles of trick training can be used to better teach anything we want to do with our horses. By making the time we spend together enjoyable for horse and human, horses magically become easier to catch and more willing to work. Instead of fighting to accomplish goals we can work together and enjoy the time with our horses. That is the most useful trick of all.

Cow Work

Although technically it was a bull 😉

My darling husband took both children with him yesterday leaving me in peace to go ride.  I saddled up and headed for the pen  where a few head of cattle are living for the summer. We were going to play.

Rusty was doing so good I wanted to get some video. We all know that holding a camera while riding makes for better training after all.

The young bull was working good for us, slow and easy. Although technically Rusty is a working ranch horse, in reality he doesn’t actually work very often. He’s tracked cattle five or six times and worked great for sorting pairs once this spring. He was doing great watching the cattle. His biggest problem was wanting to creep forward towards them.

After a few nice easy back and forths the bull went for the fence.

So often horses will lose cattle at the fence because they are hesitant to run into a solid object. Perfectly understandable. I wouldn’t want to crash into a fence either. There isn’t any need to actually hit it but it’s still hard to run strong with a barrier right in front of you.

I wasn’t riding effectively because of the phone. Rusty is inexperienced with cattle. There was no way we could cut him off before he passed us running along the fence.

But Rusty did it!

All by himself, I sure wasn’t helping much, Rusty went full bore into the fence. Because of my lack of effective riding and assistance we turned the wrong way at the fence. That didn’t mean Rusty didn’t do a great job, just that he didn’t know what to do. What a good pony. We’re going to have to sneak out there more often. Maybe he could make a good cutting horse as well as trick horse!


Doing Laundry

Rusty just happened to be hanging out in the yard when I went out to do laundry the other day. It was a perfect chance to play with him.

I love how he knows his job and is happy to come help. He’s much more help than all the children. Although it was rather cute how 8 wandered through doing some bush whacking.



We’ve been working at being able to work together. Without anyone trying to kill the rest of them **coughRustycough** Not that anyone would ever try that 😉

I was pretty proud of them all!

This was getting ready to try for another flag waving video. I wanted to get one of them waving a flag, or all of them. Heildorf doesn’t know how to hold a flag so it couldn’t be more than two. It worked pretty good. This part was more impressive though.


Happy Fourth Of July

We slept a little late the morning of the fourth. Finishing breakfast about seven thirty the phone rang. It was m father in law, he might need some help. There were cows in the corn.

At first he was telling my daughter this. Hearing parts of the conversation I thought I should maybe get the phone. I had to verify everything. There was no reason  there should be cows anywhere near us. Much less in the corn. Did he mean here or over at the pasture? Where was he?

Coming into the yard apparently.

Yelling at the kids to get dressed we ran out the door. They were in the in laws yard heading for the garden.

My husband went running to save his garden. I ran to open gates into the corrals. By the time I got things arranged the herd was coming around our house headed my way. I made sure they didn’t duck  back through our yard and they were in.

That was exciting. Now to find out who’s cows they were but the excitement was over.

My daughter, who had shoes on and had made it out the door by then, went to let the bottle calves out to their grass for the day. While we were there a ruckus rose from behind us, banging and clattering, metallic shrieks. Looking back towards the corrals we could see the cattle fighting over an automatic waterer. It is an old one, rather fragile and held together with duct tape and a prayer. It stands out from  the fence a couple of feet allowing the cattle to get all the way around it.

It was about to die, a terrible death.

We both ran to save our waterer. Climbing the fence I screamed at the cattle to get. They weren’t budging. I went looking for backup. We both searched for a stick and finally found a sturdy one. Waving it over the fence didn’t budge the cattle any more than my yelling did. The waterer was lurching and screeching as the cattle pushed and shoved fighting to be the one to get a drink.  Any minute it would go over, destroyed beyond repair. I jumped over the fence.

Swinging my sturdy staff I fought the cattle back. Two bulls had their heads in  and would not be moving until t hey had satisfied their thirst. I apologized to the girls, no chivalry here. The boys would not be letting them go first and I cold get the cows to step back. Yelling, wielding my stick, and cussing the cattle in the thick dust they raised, I fought them back from  the tank. Held them to one side so they didn’t topple the poor old girl.

It was a small automatic waterer, there wasn’t much water storage, they were slurping it up as fast as water came in. My daughter stood on the fence behind me, yelling her encouragement. In the midts of the battle I thought how proud I was that she was learning how to wage battle and that she was jumping in. Jumping in every bit as much as I wanted her too. Standing in a fence corner eye to eye with two strange bulls who were tolerating me much like they would a buzzing fly, in with me was the last place I wanted her. I didn’t want to be there either.

My stick was getting shorter and the cows didn’t show any sign of abating their thirst. I was thankful that half of them were trying to  destroy the other waterer they could get to. I could hear banging coming from that way too. That waterer is in a fence line, a fence made of guard rail. It had a better chance of surviving. I couldn’t leave my station. I yelled for my daughter to go try to find her father. I needed back up.

My stick  got shorter as I waited. I hoped not to have to give up my stand. The bulls looked me in the eye saying clear as day that they would not be moving. Cows came and went as others forced their way in. The waterer groaned under the pressure.

Finally my daughter returned.

There would be no back up. She spotted the guys on the other side of a corn field trying to figure out where these cattle had come from.

I could have told them. All these tags was at eye level with said the name of the owner on them. I wished they would come back. Some cows were backing off but others rushed in to take their place. The dust stung my eyes and chaffed my throat.

Then fourwheelers pulled up. I’d never been so glad to hear them. My husband jumped over the fence to join me. I needed to get them pushed out of here, he said. No kidding, I said, I can’t…

He walked towards them and the herd left.

I hadn’t hated him so much since the semi incident. Shifting into low range is hard to remember 😉

The tank was out of immediate danger. The other tank was in greater danger now. This was one thirsty herd of cattle.

We began to revise our theories as to why this herd had shown up. They were obviously looking for a drink.

We got them pushed out to a pen with a big tank instead of these automatic waterers. They could drink their fill without destroying anything. Time to look for owners.

After much calling around they were located, at the lake for the weekend. They’d see if they could find someone to come get their cattle. When someone did arrive my son was out helping his father fix a pivot, I drug my daughter along to help get the cattle out of the corrals. She was great help opening gates and even bravely holding the opening we didn’t want the cattle to go down. Seeing her standing her ground in the wind and dust, arms waving yelling at those cattle, I was so proud of her. Such a fierce little thing.

The cattle headed home. The owners swore the water had been checked a day and a half ago. The windmill must have broke down immediately after. Not a terrible amount of time for the cattle to be without water. Long enough for them to break through fences and go searching for a drink, especially in hundred degree weather. The most damage done was to the corn field they had been found in, the garden and the tanks had been saved. The town fire department was on their way to fill the cattle’s tanks with thousands of gallons of water.Hopefully they can get the windmill fixed soon and check their herd more often!

Of course I paused in  the middle of battle to get a picture 😜


‘”Agriculture is the most healthful, most useful and most noble employment of man.” ~George Washington

“O beautiful for spacious skies
For amber waves of grain
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!”

~Katherine Lee Bates

Ok, so these fields aren’t amber, yet. They need to be green before they can ripen to amber.

These are the farmers fields that feed this nation. Owned mostly by farmers, no matter what ‘they’ want to tell you. Supported usually by a job in town. Clung to tenaciously despite low markets and hatred from the very ones they strive to feed.

“It had to be somebody who’d plow deep and straight…and not cut corners. Somebody to seed and weed, feed and breed…and rake and disc and plow and plant and tie the fleece and strain the milk. Somebody to replenish the self feeder and then finish a hard days work with a five mile drive to church. Somebody who’d bale a family together with the soft strong bonds of sharing, who’d laugh and then sigh…and then respond with smiling eyes, when his son says he wants to spend his life “doing what dad does”. So, God made a farmer!” ~Paul Harvey

Mine Eyes Have Seen The Glory

On November 19 a very important event took place in Washington City (Washington, D. C.), and it did not involve political leaders or military leaders. It involved Julia Ward Howe, age 41 years, the wife of Boston political activist Samuel Howe, who was a well known physician and caregiver of the blind, a former secret financial supporter of the nefarious terrorist leader John Brown and a long-time Abolitionist leader. That day, November 19, 1861, Julia wrote the lyrics to the Abolitionist crusade song, “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.”   ~Howard Ray White

Fourth Of July

The Morgan horse is the first American breed, strong, dependable, and well known for the care they take of children in their charge.

Morgans are sturdy and can  be depended on to get any job done that they are asked to do. Their willingness to work for and with us is incomparable. Throughout the history of America they have been a  preferred mount used for farming, daily travel, ranch work, and pleasure. They were bred by the government for the cavalry because of their endurance and docility. Morgans have fought and died alongside the brave soldiers that rode them, fighting for the freedom of this country.

What could be more fitting to go with the Fourth of July, Independence Day, then, than Morgan horses and children.

Happy fourth of July.

All About The Marketing

This weekend was beautiful, not too hot, not too windy. We got out and enjoyed it  little.

There was a mounted shooting going on nearby so we went to watch. Having never seen one in person I was impressed. Horses and riders galloped about. The balloons self inflated ( that part was REALLY cool!). The children climbed all over the nearly deserted bleachers like a jungle gym.

As the quiet well behaved horses walked back and forth behind us the children would ooh and ahh over them. Every time a child would say “what a pretty horse!” the rider would stop, bring their horse over and say hi. They rode their very well behaved horses right up to the back of the bleachers and let children reach down and pet them or climb out from under the bleachers and stroke a nose.

The riders took time out of their days to talk  about their sport and introduce children to horses. Sure, our kids already have their own horses, the riders didn’t know that though. They loved it so much meeting all the different horses even having their own, think how much that would mean to a child who had never seen a horse up close.

As the world grows bigger and more children are raised without a chance to know animals at all, much less horses taking the time to introduce children to horses can make or break the future of riding.

When a child grows up only knowing what they see on tv and computers they are more susceptible to the influence of groups who are very actively working to spread misinformation  and lies. It is up to us to introduce everyone we can to horses, let them know how much we love them, let them know that our horses are well cared for, and invite them to learn about and participate in our sports.

When we get annoyed by someone who doesn’t know any better acting in a way we perceive as rude or wanting to pet our horses, when we are impatient and rude ourselves, we are driving away the future of horse ownership.  It doesn’t take long to take the time to smile and say hi. It isn’t hard to pause a moment and be kind. After all the future is at stake