Monday, March 12, 2018

Two Horse Tack - Review

A few weeks ago I was contacted by Jacke at Two Horse Tack, asking if I'd be interested in reviewing one of their products. Two Horse Tack make Beta Biothane tack. It comes in many colors and is easy to clean and care for. I agreed to do a review and opted to get a new halter for Liam.

If you follow me on Instagram, you already know that I have one of the best little donkeys around. I'd like to keep him around for a long time but he also suffers from hoof problems. He's foundered at least twice, once before we got him and once when a friend had him. His hoof problems are definitely exacerbated by him being overweight. Side note: donkey's are actually desert dwelling animals and are not meant to be on our lush pasture, eating lots of good hay etc. Also, the majority of the worlds donkey population are working animals.

When Jacke contacted me I had just decided to try something for donkey weight loss, which is his very own greenguard grazing muzzle. I needed a second halter for him but wasn't sure where to go since he's a weird size. Two Horse Tack was the perfect solution as I was able to give them his custom measurements.  I chose to have it made in red as I have two nephews; one loves red and the other blue. Liam already has a blue blanket so I thought a red halter would be a nice. Wouldn't you know those two boys picked up on why I ordered red with out me even telling them. I also requested a leather crown piece so that the halter will break away if Liam gets himself hung up.

The halter arrived quickly, is well made, fits great and looks adorable on him. If you'd like to order your own Two Horse Tack product use the coupon below for 10% off your order.

They offer demos (try before you buy). You can also sign up for their newsletter to receive sale notifications and extra savings - you get a $10 gift card just for signing up!  

Halter model? Yes please. 

Big and little, his and hers,  
In case you are wondering, so far Liam is doing great with the muzzle. He doesn't seem traumatized by it and can still eat...but it slows him down. 

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Emi's Response - Part 2

I wrote Emi's Response just a few days after Roz was euthanized.  I've been meaning to write an update to that and since today would have been his 26th birthday, it seemed like the right time for an update. He's been gone over 6 months and Emi has done better than I could have asked for.
I'm so glad they got almost 4 years together. Roz was an excellent babysitter and teacher.
One more because it's too cute not to share
She and Liam get along well but she's not concerned about him, nor is she herd bound to him. She'll leave him behind for turn out (something Roz wouldn't tolerate when he was home before Emi), walks around the neighborhood with him home braying, and doesn't mind loading up with out him.

I've been impressed with how confident and settled she seems to be. I actually think living more alone has been good for her. If she were still at the boarding stable, I'm not sure she would willingly leave her stable full of friends to go solo trail riding. Perhaps she sees me as more of a member of her herd now that it's so small?

Hi! What are we doing today? 

One thing that has been very interesting is that she has never been vocal. Roz always had lots to say when I came out to feed and I hoped he would teach that to her, but he didn't. Since he's been gone she nickers at me pretty much every time she sees me and really seems to enjoy having interaction with me. She's always been personable so the interaction part isn't really new but the talking definitely is. I'm thankful that the transition has gone as smoothly as it has and I'm glad we already had the perfect companion in Liam.

The perfect pair

Monday, February 26, 2018

Sweetening the Pot

Over the past month or so I've been noticing a trend towards better rides with Emi. Her response to my aids is getting better and so is her attitude. I've put many of your suggestions into play and wanted to give an update on how that's going.

Keeping her honest to my aids is something that I've had to keep mentally on top of. "Good enough" is not actually good enough. It requires good focus and follow through on my part to be picky with the response I expect, but it's working. A mix of a good pony club kick and the whip seem to make the most difference for Emi. One big challenge I've had with this is the offense she takes to the whip. When this happens using the whip to correct her only results in bucking, not an actual response to your request. We've been working through this one and I think she's starting to understand that bucking is not the correct response. More and more I'm seeing some positive tension or anticipation from her that used to be nonexistent. It's so nice to feel that and I never mind her giving the answer of go, even if it's not what I'm looking for.

I always ride her with treats in my pocket. She doesn't get them for her normal every day work but a good effort in something difficult results in a verbal whoa from me and a cookie. She likes this a lot and I think it has helped us to have a "friendly" riding relationship when there's some positive reinforcement to be had. I was a little uncertain about riding her with cookies because I thought it might turn her in to a monster, always looking for (or trying to stop) for cookies but it hasn't at all.

The other thing I've gone back to, which also relates to the whoa and treat, is that if she does something really well at the end of the ride I stop her, provide a cookie and hop off. I did this quite a bit when she was in her first 6 months or so under saddle and I think it's a really concrete "yes" to the answer that is provided.

I feel like we are edging towards a breakthrough and I'm excited to see how things progress in the coming months. Thank you all for your encouragement and ideas.  It feels good to be heading in a mostly positive direction.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Blog Hop - Horse Blogger Yard Sale

Who doesn't love to do some spring cleaning?  Bel Joeor is hosting a yard sale blog hop. 

SOLD 1) Dark Jewel Designs browbands. One in black and one in brown. These are labeled as cob but are closer to a horse size at 15 and 3/4 inches. Several beautiful bead strands, these have been used so a couple do show some light wear (scuffs on the beads). Strands are interchangeable between the brown and black brow bands. $60 for all (2 browbands and 7 bead strands). 

2) Slight u shaped browband. Teal and clear crystals. Purchased at Rolex last year, this was my first foray into the dropped browband. Horse sized - 16 inches $25.

SOLD 3) Blue Esperia dressage pad - $18.  

4) Purple smartpak dressage pad - $18.

5) How Good Riders Get Good - $16

6) World-class Grooming - $16

7) Basic Training of the Young Horse - $25

I may add a few more things after I look around. 

Thursday, February 22, 2018


The sun was shining when I got off work today and I was finally looking forward to hopping on Emi (since I'm finally feeling good again). Despite the sunshine it was quite cool outside and windy. I hopped on and we walked around the arena for 10 minutes. I started heading towards real work and she spooked forward, turning around to look behind her. The neighbors goats were being wild, running around, rearing up and butting each other. We watched them carry on for a little bit and when they wandered off we went back to work. I attempted to put her to work and things were going okay when she took off again, attempting to bronc....that's when we headed back for the lunge line and side reins.

Wild? I'm not wild! 
Isn't that how horse training (and life) go? We have our own plans but things often don't go the way we expect. We can be frustrated that the horse that showed up to play wasn't the one we wanted, or we can embrace the struggle and enjoy the change of plans.  Instead of practicing our canter transitions under saddle I got to admire her beautiful way of going and we practiced those transitions on the lunge line. It could have been worse.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Happy Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day from me and my furry friends.  

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Final Lesson Thoughts (and video)

Thank you all for the feedback regarding my last lesson. I feel like the distinction between mistakes and negligence really is important. I'm always looking for good mistakes and JW preaches taking a risk in your riding because "what's the worst that can happen?"

One question I was asked is whether she's coming 5 or coming 6. She's coming 5 (in June) I need to cut us some slack. There are still a lot of growth and balance changes through out this stage which can make things difficult. I know this is going to shock most of you (yeah right) but I'm definitely guilty of being a little too hard on Emi in this area. I think it's one spot where raising her from a baby has not helped me. In my mind she's not a "baby" anymore where as if I had purchased her at 3 or 4 should would definitely seem more baby like. She's also generally so good that I expect more from her too. #goodponyproblems

We also discussed that the lateral work is currently a little bit hard for Emi. Partially due to the growth/balance issues mentioned above but also because she's pretty narrow and gets "tangled up."

The overall progress report was that we are right on track and continue to improve. The thing that I most excited about regarding our progress is that I'm beginning to see a real attitude shift in her. She used to do something but with a snotty attitude (ears back, maybe a little head shake), similar to what you would think of with a teenager. As I've been cracking down on her the attitude is going away. Woohoo!

Lesson video is below for those who are interested in watching it. You can't hear very well but I think you get the gist of where things are at.