A Little Video

Novels for Horse-Lovers

The Tipped Z Ranch books feature fictional stories but real horsemanship.

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Today I had to work all day, even though it was nearly 60 degrees out for the first time this year.

I can't complain, really. The flexibility of my job is the reason I was able to pick up two new horses on Tuesday, then give a presentation at the university yesterday followed by an immediate trip to the barn. But today was my comeuppance. I did take a moment to pull a brief video of Oliver and Aiden off my phone. Otherwise, I had to put thoughts of horses aside.



Fortunately, next week is spring break for Brian, and I intend to work reduced hours. So we should be able to get a lot of horse time in.

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First Rides

Novels for Horse-Lovers

The Tipped Z Ranch books feature fictional stories but real horsemanship.

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Today we headed out after work to see what our new guys were up to. They were easy to catch, and we took them indoors to do some groundwork. Both Aiden and Oliver need some serious work on ground manners. They aren't reactive or spooky or violent, but they are pushy, and seem to completely forget about their human handler the moment something more interesting/scary/exciting appears. Oliver is worse than Aiden. It takes more pressure to get him to back off, and more frequent reminders to get him to give you enough space to be safe. Since I'm still gimpy and injured, Brian worked with Oliver today. We need to stick these guys. I'm not sure how tall they are, but Oliver is big. He's burly as well as being a good height. Aiden is leaner, but also taller, I think. I'm pretty sure Aiden is taller than Steen. Aiden is 7, and he's a Quarter Horse. Read more

Aiden & Oliver

Novels for Horse-Lovers

The Tipped Z Ranch books feature fictional stories but real horsemanship.

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Today, I took the afternoon off work and headed to the barn. Once there, I climbed into a truck with our barn manager, and we drove north for a while. We pulled up at a farmhouse, and chatted with the man who came out to meet us. Soon thereafter, we loaded these two guys into the horse trailer.
And then we hauled them back to our barn, where we unloaded them and turned them out in the indoor arena. They were a tad wound up after their adventure, and romped a bit. I'd been watching them for a few minutes when Brian arrived, and we regarded our two new horses together.
...

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The Sunbather

Novels for Horse-Lovers

The Tipped Z Ranch books feature fictional stories but real horsemanship.

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This afternoon, I got a call from the manager at our barn. This always gives me a little lurch of worry. I picked up, and she said it might be nothing, but Laredo had been lying down for most of the day. It was a sunny day, and 'warm' (by which I mean way below average, but warmer than it has been), and it's possible he was just getting in some good naps. He hadn't shown any signs of distress, but she'd never seen him off his feet quite so much for so long. She said she could bring him in and monitor him for a while, but I said I'd rather come out. I was suffering from work-related inertia anyway, so it was a good excuse to leave the office. I found Laredo up and on the bale. He seemed perky and happy as I led him in. We did a bit of groundwork, and he seemed normal. I groomed him, and he was giving off every indication of being his usual self. I decided to do a light ride. I ha...

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Working with Tate

Novels for Horse-Lovers

The Tipped Z Ranch books feature fictional stories but real horsemanship.

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As I mentioned in my last post, one of our barn friends had a (non horse-related) accident that has left her unable to ride. She's probably going to be grounded for a month or two. Her horse is just a few months older than Laredo, and she got him right around the same time. Since she's out of commission and we're down to three horses, we offered to ride him a bit to help keep him in shape during her recovery. Of course, we're not being entirely altruistic. I'm at a stage where I find it so unbelievably interesting to work with different horses. We've been around this horse a lot, but never handled him. It seemed like a good opportunity. I've ridden him twice now, and it's been really interesting. Tate's owner doesn't ride the way we do, and we know from chatting with her that there are some things he does that she finds frustrating. So far we haven't encountered any 'bad' behavi...

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More Time in the Two Rein

Novels for Horse-Lovers

The Tipped Z Ranch books feature fictional stories but real horsemanship.

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This weekend I decided to get back to the two-rein. I have been working on the things my last ride in it identified as weaknesses, and we've also watched a couple more videos about riding in the two-rein, hand position, bit fit and choice, and various other things that have made me feel increasingly confident that the set-up we got is appropriate for Steen. One particularly encouraging snippet came from Martin Black's video on the two-rein, wherein he discusses why he prefers to take a horse directly from the hackamore to the spade (this is different from some progressions where the horse goes into a half-breed before the spade). Martin's take on this is that the spade is  a milder bit than a half-breed because of all the surface area contact, and so if you have the time to spend in the two-rein and make the transition slowly, he sees no benefit to delaying the move to a spade. Wit...

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My 2013 Fitness Failure

Novels for Horse-Lovers

The Tipped Z Ranch books feature fictional stories but real horsemanship.

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I've posted a handful of times here about fitness and strength, but I've been mum on the subject for a while. Here's why: 2013 was an awful year for me in terms of working out. A lot of it was bad luck. I suffered a series of minor injuries (for the record, none of them were caused by using weights). These were spread evenly throughout the year in such a way as to make it very difficult for me to stay on a workout program. The culmination of this was my fall with Steen. I had just gotten settled into a really great kettlebell program and was seeing some great gains and feeling excited. And then Steen had his totally inexplicable fall while we were cantering, which left me with a rib injury that is still nowhere close to healed. My 2013 workout goals were pretty big. I want...

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Out in the Snow

Novels for Horse-Lovers

The Tipped Z Ranch books feature fictional stories but real horsemanship.

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We were out of town last weekend, so no riding was done. It felt like we hadn't been to the barn in forever. But really it was just eight days. Still, it was great to get out to see the horses, and even better that we finally had some mild weather. Brian and I took advantage by heading out into the snowy fields.
We had two nice rides out and about. The first, yesterday, was good, except at times Steen got pretty exuberant. He was great walking, but as soon as we started trotting he just wanted to go. He'd do these sneaky shifts into the canter. When I tried to check him, he'd just coil into this collected frame and keep cantering. I wouldn't have minded except for the footing. Um, Steen, we've fallen over enough recently. Let's ke...

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Down to Three

Novels for Horse-Lovers

The Tipped Z Ranch books feature fictional stories but real horsemanship.

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First, we got word that Zoey made it to her new home safely. Her new parents even posted a series of photos on Facebook that showed her meeting her new pasture mates and being fed apples. It looks like she is settling in quite well.
Today, Brian and I found our normal conversation on the way to the barn about who would ride whom somewhat simplified. With three horses, it's not that tricky. We've decided we want to put a lot of hours on Laredo these next few months. With all the time and energy it took to get Zoey up to speed and rehomed, the kid has been just a little bit on the backburner lately. And you can kind of tell. He's rather on the chunky side, and we've lost a bit of the softness and refinement we had...

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Zoey Goes ‘Home’

Novels for Horse-Lovers

The Tipped Z Ranch books feature fictional stories but real horsemanship.

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It's been hard to sit on the news for a week, but I didn't want to post this until everything was final. However, as of today, Zoey is no longer our horse. We're just home from loading her into a trailer, and watching it drive away. Zoey new owners live north of Des Moines, a husband and wife who have a few horses, a lovely acreage, and trail access. He (I'll call him K) was looking for a horse with a willing attitude to finish up and take on the trails. He called for the first time two weeks ago. He'd seen Zoey's ad, and was impressed by the photos. I chatted with him for quite a while, telling him her story. He sounded curious, but I explained we didn't know how she'd be on the trails as we hadn't had her out much. He said maybe they'd come look at her in the spring. But honestly, I didn't think we'd hear back. Then, last Saturday, we got home from a ride and I saw I had a ...

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