Friday, May 18, 2012

Blog hop: Buckaroo

Whew. I just got out of my last exam ever (at least for a few years). After the initial "Hooray! I just finished my exam and it's a beautiful day!" feeling, I realized I have no idea what I'm doing. My fate (AKA whether I'll be living with my parents indefinitely and whether I need to ramp back up my job search again) is in the hands of a couple interviewers who I'm waiting on decisions from.

So I'm going to do another blog hop.

Welcome to the Blog Hop. 
I hope you can join in the fun.

In case you are new... or as a reminder:

Each week I post at least one prompt.
Respond as you wish on your blog or in a comment.
Or, just link your blog to mine if you
care to share something else about yourself.

The part I like most is having blog hoppers
complete their blog posts (or comments) 
by asking a question of us.

I am really enjoying answering your questions,
and look forward to seeing other responses, too.
I think it's a great way to have a conversation of sorts!

Link your post to the Hobby Horse Blog Hop
by using the Linky Tool below.
Click where indicated, just after it says
"You are next...."
Leave a comment with your thoughts 
on my blog, down below.

Visit other participating blogs on the list
and respond to their questions in your comments on their pages.

Hobby Horse Blog Hop Prompts - Week 13:

This week I'm going to focus on a few of the things I heard from Buck that made me think about what I have been doing, or want to do with my horses. 

1. As Buck was working with a horse and throwing a rope so it touched the horse all over its body, and tickled its legs, Buck commented that we must prepare our horses for the unthinkable. What 'unthinkable(s)' have you tried to prepare your horse to deal with, and how did you proceed? 
I once did a judged trail ride for which I was NOT prepared; does that count? These were the challenges:

Open and close a gate without removing your hand: I had a height advantage riding a draft...but guess who doesn't neck rein or do lateral movements very well? I got the gate open but I had to take my hand off.  
Stalin the Belgian from GG
Walk across a tarp and drop a golf ball into a bucket: We did great at this actually. I had been practicing with tarps since I knew that would definitely be one of the tests.
Good boy! via GG
Drag a big scary tube that makes noise: No way, no how.
It looked like this but huge and black. via
Ride over the horsey teeter-totter: Wasn't going to happen. That thing was NOT built for a draft. I don't think it was even wide enough for him to stand on so we didn't do that challenge.
Back your horse in an L-shaped chute:  We tried! We were so close! But after the bend in the L, Stalin stepped out of the chute since he wasn't backing completely straight.
Two-hour treasure hunt ride: This was a change from past years of the judged trail ride. Apparently it only used to take about 30 minutes. Stalin is over 20 and he is nowhere near fit enough to ride for two hours so we only did like 15 minutes worth of the trail.
Judged pleasure trail riding is not my calling. 
2. Buck suggested that his assistant "rub bald spots" on the horse. He asked us to think about how a mare would comfort her foal by nuzzling and licking him, and how that might feel. In addition to rubbing your horse, have you found ways to comfort him/her when he or she is tense or needs reassurance?
I go into "man voice"--very low and with drawn-out vowels. Eaaa-seeeey. That's a goooood boy. Gooood boy. Etc. 
And this doesn't really help with tension, but I love blowing my breath into a horse's nostrils. They just perk up, totally at attention, and I think they look funny. 
3. When asked how to make a horse stand still, Buck replied that you really can't. He suggested that the rider "use the energy for a worthy cause" and make the horse move his feet; make the horse 'do' something. Then, after doing that for a time, the horse might be more inclined to stand still. Does your horse stand willingly? What types of exercises might you ask your horse to perform instead of standing still?
With Joey, it depends on the day. He has a tendency to walk off after I mount up, so first I ask for a halt with my seat, voice, hands, etc. Then if he doesn't listen, I up the rein pressure. Once I get a halt for like one second I move off into a forward, energetic walk.
 My question: What is the most valuable lesson you've learned from a trainer outside your chosen discipline?

As a H/J rider who has a tendency to lose stirrups (I even won a jump class with only one stirrup once), I like this dressage tip: The stirrups are only for posting. 

And an interesting fact you blog hoppers may like: "Buckaroo" comes from the Spanish word "vaquero," which was basically the equivalent of a cowboy. In Spain, "vaqueros" can also refer to jeans, which of course originally came from the vaqueros of old. The Spanish V can sometimes sound like B (ba-ke-ro) so it became Anglicized as "buckaroo."


  1. Congrats on finishing your exams...and school! Wow! You have some big things ahead of you :-) Our son graduates in December.... uh, the timing of that could be a series of blog posts!

    It was fun to see your responses and your pictures. Stalin is cute... an overgrown Haffie!! That pipe would be scary... I need to get a piece to torment my boys.

    Good question! I have to decide what my chosen discipline is, first! If I were to say that dressage is my chosen discipline, as that's kinda where I started when I was your age, then I'd have to say the best advice I've gotten is to "sit on my pockets". I tend to arch my back too much. Even Buck pointed out 3 positions - the first, like I'm accustomed to, with an arch, the 2nd being neutral - where the seat bones 'float' above the saddle (???? Float??? Yeah, right!) and the third where your pockets are on the saddle.
    If I say that Western riding is my chosen discipline, then I'd have to say that having and instructor harp on me to "look where I am going and keep my head up" is probably the most valuable lesson I have learned!

    1. Hmm... I will have to experiment with that floating thing. I also tend to arch my back too much and it does get tiring, especially at speed.

  2. At one point, I would have loved to do some judged trail riding, but I think I'm over that. We would have failed miserably at the L-shaped backing. Her Highness, Queen Estes, does not believe in backing if she can just fold herself in half and turn to face where she is going.

    I've only taken one riding lesson as an adult (the rest were when I was five or so and I don't remember much other than playing with my godmother's horse, Flame) and it was a dressage lesson, which is about as far outside of the kind of trail riding we do as you can get.

    Sharon, my instructor, had me post without stirrups, which I then carried over into my bareback riding. It's tough! But I can manage a few steps in a posting trot bareback. At first, Estes was like, "what are you doing back there?" but then she got it figured out - I think it's actually easier on her when I post bareback instead of trying to do a sitting trot.

    1. Yup! I like to torture myself with stirrupless posting as well. It's so good for you.

  3. Hi Carla!
    *sings* "Congratulations on finishing uni/college/school/whateverthehellyoucallitoverthere!"
    What are you going to do with your english degree? What kind of jobs have you applied to?
    Thanks for being the first human to read my blog btw :D

    1. Oh, the perennial question: "You're majoring in English? What are you going to do with that?"

      Since my days as the editor in chief of a high school publication, I've always loved the feel of a new book in my hands after I've been agonizing over it for months. So I knew I wanted to go into publishing. I like to learn about just about anything, and I saw that technical writing was where the money was (well, as far as writing goes) so I am applying for editorial positions at companies that write about everything from scuba news to stocks advice.