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About mouche

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    Washington state
  1. To Stop It From Happening?

    If you ask for something and a horse overreacts, something is out of balance. Your cue is too strong, or he doesn't understand what you mean, or he feels he can't do what you're asking. That means it's time to take a step back, maybe go over some basics. Build his confidence. This is also a good way to reassert your position as boss. Groundwork, lunging, frequent praise during good work and when he's done well, let him stop and rest and tell him he's a fine fellow. Are you lunging him before rides? I'd start with that, putting him through W,T,C in both directions until he gives you "two poops and a sweat" as Ray Hunt used to say. Once he's settled and in a working mindset, get in the saddle and start working him slow and low, asking for relaxed forward movement at the walk and jog trot, circles, figure 8s, serpentines. Work him in an arena or round pen, no trails for a while. In the open, there are too many variables and distractions. You want him thinking about work and listening to you. Take him out of the riding-frustration-rearing mindset. I'd keep lessons short 15-20 minutes, even. You could do two or three short sessions a day this way. End when things are going well. Horses remember endings. If you are smiling and pleased and turn him back out with a pat and a "good boy!", he'll be happy to see you come by next time and will be more willing to work. In order to rear, a horse has to stop moving forward. If you feel his front end getting light, give him a little slack in the reins, lean forward, and drive him forward -- make him move! Then bring his head around and double him. Drive him forward again out of the double and keep working at what you were doing before his attempted tantrum. If he rears, give him slack in the reins and lean forward, and as soon as his front feet hit the ground, drive him forward, double, etc. After you've corrected him by doubling, it's important to let all tension leave your body. You are correcting him, not punishing him out of anger. He'll be worried and upset and you need to be calm and let him know that things will be just fine and the best way to proceed is to listen to your reasonable requests. Some old timers will recommend smacking a rearing horse on the head. Please don't listen to them. There are never any good results from cruelty.
  2. Helmet Opinions

    "Oh, my horse is bombproof. He never spooks at anything, and I'm a good rider. Besides those helmets are hot, and they mess up my hair. And it's not like we're jumping or anything -- we're just doing flat work in the arena. Why would I need a helmet?" Because this: (Yes, she has a helmet. Yes, she was fine. But it goes to show-- anything can happen, and happen fast, and wouldn't you rather live your life with no regrets?)
  3. Riding Boots

    I also like Ariats. I have a pair of their heritage lacers that are my main riding boots. They're comfortable, have a low but safe-for-riding heel, and wear like iron. Picked them up secondhand at Goodwill for fifteen bucks. My other pair is also laced, some vintage Acme Hawkeyes I got at a thrift shop for ten bucks. Thrift shops can be a terrific source of good brand name footwear. If you don't need them right now,you can take the time to be picky and check back frequently, and get a real bargain. Another place to check (though the postage can be a real bear) is They have other horse things too -- just search "horse" or look under "sporting goods; equestrian". I got a bulk lot that yielded a complete cob harness, two western bridles, two halters, a fleece cinch and breastcollar, a brand-new-with-tags leadrope, and two horse boots for $21. Bargains are everywhere if you take time to look!
  4. Adjusting To New "better" Horse

    My riding instructor says it takes about a year for a horse and rider to get accustomed to each other and learn to work together, even if it's the best horse and the best rider in the world. Some horses need stronger cues than others. Rider's balance and direction will have subtle differences from person to person. After a while your horse will learn to recognize your application of cues and how you ride and at the same time you'll be learning more about your horse and how to get him to do what you ask. I say relax and enjoy getting to know your new buddy!
  5. How Do I Get His Attention? New Gelding Problems

    When he bucks, what is your reaction? Do you just ride it out and then go on? I see this a lot, and I always wonder why the rider lets the horse get away with his tantrum. Double that horse. Pull his nose around to your knee and spur the opposite side to drive him in a circle. Then take his nose to the opposite side and turn him the other way. He can't buck in this position, and it's uncomfortable (but not painful) for him. After about three turns, return to normal rein position and keep him going. No time to rest! If he gives you attitude, back him up -- sit back in the saddle and make him walk backwards a few steps. The lesson learned is that it's much nicer to go forward and do as you ask than it is to have to turn around and back up and be uncomfortable. Don't yank the rein, but draw it firmly. And once you've doubled him and you move on, you must let go of any tension and continue like it never happened; it's a correction, not punishment.
  6. Crazy Barns

    If no one there has the decency to explain to you what their problem is, I don't think you have any reason to explain your actions to them. Stick with the instructor you like and that works well for you. You're the one paying for lessons. That means you get to choose your teacher. I don't know why you're hanging around hoping things will change. You don't need to take many bites of a poop sandwich to decide you don't want any more! I'd be out of that barn with my horse in tow and be halfway across town before the door stopped swinging.
  7. Helmet Opinions

    KatyB nailed it. I've spent 45 years putting things into my brain that I don't want to lose. Even a "dead broke", "bompproof" horse can have a spaz if a bee stings them or another horse makes a sudden move. ****, the other day my horse gave my tack bag a shove and knocked a wood-backed dandy brush onto my head while I was bent over, and I wished i was wearing a helmet then! Ow! Helmets are cheap, compared to medical bills, and I'd rather be safe than sorry. And I have hair that goes down to my waist. I just braid it or twist it into a low bun and it's never a problem.
  8. Vacuum Sealed?

    Just got done cleaning green fuzz off a bunch of bridles that were at the bottom of the tack box. These are very nice show bridles that don't get much use. I've taken all the steps to clean and condition them and got dessicant packs to prevent (or at least slow down) a reccurance. But I'm curious: has anyone ever tried putting reins/headstalls/etc into those seal-a-meal bags and storing them that way? If air and damp can't get in, that would keep mildew away, but my brain says no, leather has to breathe. It's either a stroke of storage genius or the worst idea yet. Anyone?
  9. Mother Hubbard

    Family friends came back from setting their (extremely elderly) mother's estate and brought me this as thanks for taking care of their dog while they were gone. It's in rough shape -- the leather is pebbly on the mochila, and a bit dry in the rigging/stirrups. I think the horn took was broken off at some point but it's been worn smooth as it is, so it's been worked that way for ages. Based on the history of the family and their location, I'm thinking this was made by Newton Bros in Vernal Utah, somewhere in the 1870-1890s, though I haven't found a maker's mark yet to confirm that. I cleaned it with Lexol Leather PH cleaner and when it dries, it'll get a light coat (or two or three) of pure neatsfoot oil before I top it with Lexol conditioner. I haven't the skill to restore it. Any idea if there's a collector's market for this kind of saddle, in this rough shape?
  10. Bucks During The Warm Up

    I ride a horse that had learned from a previous rider that if he gave a buck or ignored her cues, she'd end the ride and go away. Imagine the fun I've had teaching him otherwise! Like your horse, he is a beautiful mover and a wonderful ride -- when he gets over himself. My instructor watched me one day as I repeatedly asked for a trot, gradually increasing my cues until finally a hefty kick in the ribs got his attention, and she asked me why I was letting the horse argue with me. Ask once, nicely, and if the desired result is not achieved, then be unpleasant. Spur, crop, whatever. This horse of yours -- like mine -- knows what you're asking for. He's not confused and he doesn't lack training. When you ask for a trot and he ignores you, and you say please and he ignores you, and you ask again more firmly and he ignores you or acts annoyed, ears back, tail swish -- then what you're teaching him is that you will ask multiple times for something and he can ignore you the first few times. You're working too hard! If you ask for a trot and he ignores you, reprimand him! I cue with light leg pressure and if horsey can't be bothered to respond, then I poke him with my (round, blunt, fat) spurs. Suddenly, we have a trot! The next time I ask him, he is usually happy to go at once, to avoid my asking a second time with the spur. If he responds with a buck, then I double him to remind him that I have his face in my hands, and then ask him to go forward at the trot I asked for. DIscipline like this is not fun for either of us, but after a few months of corrective training, I am seeing a more willing horse that respects my cues. He seems happier at his work, too, because we're not spending all our time arguing and that makes lesson time more fun. Good luck with your horse!
  11. Clipping/trimming Advice

    I keep my Arab's bridle path clipped, but it's only about 5 inches. I like a tidy appearance.
  12. Bona Allen

    Under the stirrup leather on the skirting, I found a single ampersand (&) stamped above the line of tooling. I feel this must be a maker's mark, but I can't find anything on the web about it. Really wish Jack would chime in with his bountiful knowledge!
  13. Bona Allen

    I got it for $50 and came away feeling like a fox leaving the henhouse. It looks like it's all original, even the stirrups. Leather is in great shape for the most part and should clean up just dandy. The stirrup leathers lace up-- no buckles! I think it's pretty old. Can anyone help me with a guess at the age?
  14. Bona Allen

    Thinking about picking up this BA. It's a good (low) price, but I don't know much about the brand other than it was a big name back in the day. Seems I hear a lot of "the old so-and-so saddles were great, but the ones they make now are not as good". This one looks like it's older, but I don't know how old. Is it worth picking up -- assuming it's sound?
  15. Vintage Simco: Questions

    I took the skirts off this saddle to re-do the fleece and found three twenty-dollar bills stuck up in there! Has anyone ever heard of someone using their saddle as a bank? I'm gonna use the cash to buy another fixer-upper -- and you can bet I'll be checking that one for money, too!