Thoughts about Thinking

I have to admit, I am not a horse person in the winter. It’s too cold. And I hate the cold. In case you don’t live in South Jersey, let me tell you a little bit about our recent weather situation. One day its raining and in the 40s. Day two consists of a bright sun and temperatures in the mid 50s, but don’t get too excited.. Day three is snow and more snow with a wind chill in the negatives. WHAT. Anyway, without a large heated indoor (that every horse person wishes they could have) I do not ride. This means Paisley has had no meaningful exercise in quite a while.

However, I will not let her talent go to waste. I’ve been thinking about which discipline I really want to pursue and after doing my research and spending hours upon hours debating, I’ve still got nothing. Sure a lot of things would be cool to do, but they’re just impractical. So I’m still deciding.. kind of like with my major. Don’t worry, thats a whole other can of worms to get into… 

With all of this in mind, there are 57 days until Spring. I have already committed my lovely warm weathered days to working with Paisley, no matter what the discipline may be. So stay tuned… and stay warm (: 

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Progress with Paisley

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When I first applied for Extreme Mustang Makeover (EMM), I had no idea what I would be getting myself into. As I awaited the decision to be trainer, I got more and more excited. Upon acceptance, I was overjoyed. The training, hard work, and time I would have to put in, weren’t a problem, but a story.

Already a month has flown by and I just want to share the progress I have made with Paisley. Granted, I am no professional horse trainer, just a girl who has been riding and working with horses for about eight years.

I used to ride and show with Nicole Barbye who is also doing the EMM. I asked her about her experience and the good times or difficulties she has faced so far as a trainer. She responded with, “Not to sound too cheesy, but it’s been a wild ride so far. I’ve learned more about myself and horses in 30 days with Z than I have in a whole lifetime of riding. She’s taught me  to forgive not just her, but myself for small mistakes. And I can’t get wrapped up in small failures because the next day might bring a HUGE success.”

I have created a timeline with pictures of most of the things we have worked on day by day. If you click on each photo in the timeline, it will also give you a sentence or two description. As a little “sneak peek:”

Day 1 was April 6, 2013 when my dad and I drove in a truck with a trailer down to Lorton, Virginia to pick up my mustang. I had no idea what number, color, or temperament horse I would be taking home. It took us about three hours to get there. After signing some papers the lady doing the office work told me “You have a chestnut. She is about five years old.” Her number was 9919 so I anxiously went to the holding pens to find her.

Day 2 I spent all day with Paisley, mostly trying to come up with a name, but also allowing her get familiar with me. I even got to touch her.

On Day 3 I could touch Paisley all over, so next we introduced the brush. We working on standing while being pet and brushed all over. Next, we worked on leading.

Day 4 was a little more in depth. Of course, I started with approaching and brushing Paisley. We practiced some leading and then I brought out the saddle pad and saddle. At first, she didn’t like either one. She snorted and backed away from them. After talking to her and giving her time, I could finally walk up to her with the item in my hand. So the next thing i did was kind of brush the object on her body to let her know it is okay.

By Day 5 I was amazed by the progress we had made so I decided I would climb onto Paisley’s back. She’s a little too tall to just “hop on” so I brought her close to the fence, climbed up the rails, and slid on. I only sat there for a minute or two, before something crazy happened. Of course, she was fine with me sitting there so I climbed down.

On Day 6 I worked on saddling and unsaddling with Paisley. After all, you can never practice too much. Day 7 was pouring rain so we didn’t get to do a whole lot, but we worked on picking up feet… in the mud.

I’ve learned the most important thing about horse training is repetition. It’s funny how one day Paisley would do something fine and then two days later act like she didn’t have a clue what I was trying to do. Nicky Franchette, another trainer competing in the EMM this year from New York, agreed by saying “Don’t think that what worked for you before will definitely work today- Try something different.” And that is just all part of the fun! Another important aspect is confidence. Horses can sense the way humans are feeling, so if I were really scared and nervous about working with Paisley, she would take advantage of that and we probably would not have accomplished what we have.

For more information, check out the timeline I’ve put together for “events” that happened over the past month.

I almost forgot!

Sorry, I almost forgot to give everyone the results of the poll for naming my mustang. It was a tie between Maggie, Penny, and Whiskey, where Belle had one vote. Since it is a three-way tie, I am naming her Paisley because that is fun, sweet  and so is she.  Everything is going very well, I can brush her, lead her, pick up her feet, she has been trimmed, put saddle her, get on her, and walk around bareback. She is awesome at turning, I have never seen a horse turn so well.

Ideally, horses are supposed to basically pivot on their hind end. This means, their back feet stay in place, and to turn, the horse crosses their front feet (one over the other) to well, pivot around! This video demonstrates the turn I am talking about, but obviously not so fast. There is also a discipline, or type of riding, for this skill called reining. It is by far the best event to watch because it is always exciting. Also, if you have a Facebook, you don’t have to add me as a friend, but you can like my page and follow along with what is going on with the training process. It will be a little easier and probably updated more often. Another thing coming up this week is a video so don’t go too far.

Oh! Sorry the pictures are so small; I have no idea what’s going on. However, you should be able to click on each one and see the image in a larger view.

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Home Safe and Sound, Still No Name

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Yesterday was such a long day! I got my mustang; She’s a five year-old, chestnut mare. Unfortunately, she still doesn’t have a name. I’m hoping she will do something and it will just come to me. When I arrived, I had to sign a few papers for the BLM. I was then given a folder with the horse’s record of shots. I was handed a yellow slip with the numbers “9919,” my name, and “chestnut” on it. Then I was allowed to search the pens for my new partner in this adventure. She was in a pen with another horse who seemed to be the bossy one. My mustang was curious and sweet from the start. Thankfully, we didn’t hit any traffic on our journey. We drove three hours to Virginia, five hours to central New Jersey to drop off another mustang, and then two hours home. It seems like a lot of riding in the truck, but it wasn’t all that bad because I could look back and see my new friend standing patiently in the trailer. Here are two pictures I took in Virginia while she was still in the holding pen. Any name ideas yet?

Extreme Mustang Makeover Here I Come!

Great news everybody! I was accepted to be a trainer in this year’s Extreme Mustang Makeover taking place at the Dream Park. I am so excited. My next step is to return the trainer’s acceptance packet and have to search for a sturdy round pen or build one.

I think the days to actually pick up the mustangs are April 5th and 6th, but I’ll keep you posted. Also, I think I read somewhere that everyone gets a gelding (male) mustang to train… but don’t quote me. Okay so I figured it out, every competition has all one gender, meaning some everyone has a gelding (boy) or mare (girl). It just so happens this competition will be mares.

I think the most fun part of this competition will be getting another horse and spending time with it everyday. The hardest part will definitely be all of the patience I’m going to need, not only with the mustang (no name yet). Also, I work and attend school full-time so I’ll have to learn to juggle.

This is where I need your help. I have a lot to do in the next month so hopefully you can help me. Does anyone have any cute names to suggest? Please comment below by clicking on the title of the post. For example, to comment on this post, click “Extreme Mustang Makeover Here I Come!” If I have enough options, I will make a poll at the end for everyone to vote! Did I mention I am super excited?  Thanks everyone.

Dreaming of the Extreme Mustang Makeover

Hey guys! Okay, so I have good news… Have you heard of the Extreme Mustang Makeover? (If not, check this out) It is basically a horse training competition- with different programs, including a program just for youth.  So once accepted as a trainer, each one will have approximately one hundred days to gentle and train a mustang. To gentle a mustang just means to be able to touch the horse and put a halter on it (the everyday things) and make it familiar to humans. The competition concludes with trainers showing off the tricks and qualities they have taught their new companion. After each trainer’s demonstration, the mustangs are adopted via auction. After a successful event last year, the Extreme Mustang Makeover competition will return to New Jersey at our very own Dream Park located in Logan Township. I applied to become a trainer and received an email Tuesday informing me that I should know if I am accepted to compete shortly after the February 15th deadline. Fingers crossed! If you have already trained a mustang, I’d love to hear about your experience! It’s really interesting how the Bureau of Land Management  works. Numerous mustangs are rounded up from California, Nevada, and Utah (just to name a few) for adoption to control the number of wild horses. Don’t worry, it isn’t to harm the horses. There are actually so many wild horses, that if the BLM didn’t monitor and control the population, there wouldn’t be enough food and water for all of the mustangs. If you’re interested and want more information, check out the film “Wild Horse, Wild Ride” that can be obtained through Redbox.

Photo by Gerry- Mustangs in Northwest Nevada

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