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Final Day at LS Ranch

February 24, 2014

Today was the perfect way to end my LS Ranch adventure.  It was action-packed and I had a blast.

We started the day rounding up the cattle in prep to get the bull loaded into a trailer to make his way to the sale barn.  This bull is easily 2,000 lbs and just a massive animal.  I could Dave was tense about getting this bull loaded.  We moved all the cows into an arena and then into a round pen in the arena.  Jody played with Houston, their Road to the Summit horse and exposed him to the cows.  She ponied him through the herd, had him follow the herd, then got on and had Houston pushing the herd around.  I took video and moved the cows a little to help Houston gain confidence.  He was trotting behind a cow in the end, looking quite pleased with himself.

Jody started by ponying Houston through the cows.  Houston will be 2 yrs old this spring.

Jody started by ponying Houston through the cows. Houston will be 2 yrs old this spring.

Dave then sorted the bull and a couple heffers out, planning to move the bull into a chute and into the trailer.  As he moved down the chute, we were to insert boards across the chute to keep him from exiting the chute the way he came in.

After a few attempts, it was clear that he wasn’t going down the chute alone, so we got a couple heffers to go with him, then peeled them off down the chute.  When he made it to the trailer opening, he realized he was trapped and panicked a bit.  He leaped over the other heffer, banged against the panels (bending them), crashed through the boards…  such an impressive animal and he could hurl himself around and make quite a mess!  He bent panels but luckily he didn’t escape.  He calmed and we waited while he discovered the alfalfa in the trailer.  Some people might have hot shot him at this point, but Jody thought if we just waited while he calmed and found the hay, he would load himself.  She was right.  He hopped into the trailer and Ilena quickly closed the trailer door!  The banging around he’d done had put a panel in the way of the latch, so there was a fevered moment of Jody and Dave latching the trailer door.  There was a collective sigh of relief and Dave decided he’d better get going before the bull became unsettled.  We’d done it with only a small amount of trouble, thankfully.

Dave’s horse needed to get back to the herd and Dave asked that I ride him back.  That’s right, I got to ride Dave’s horse.  His saddle is fantastic and I immediately appreciated it!  It’s a custom made Parelli saddle from Dave’s specifications.  It has tapaderos and they offered a lot of motion – new experience for me.  Watson was fun to ride, for sure – light, willing, handy.  I managed a couple gates with him and moved a heffer back into the herd before riding back.  Nice experience for me!

Then, got to ride Jody’s horse – Country.  Jody thought Country could help me even more with my development in equitation.  I just rode her for about 20 minutes near the pens while she helped me develop more upright posture and get more strutcture in my sitting trot.  I’m definitely stiffer to the left, discovered by trying to put one hand on the croup and ride leaning on that hand.  Lots of things for me to think about from this little 20 minute window.

Next, Jody put the jumping saddle on Ricky so I could get a little english jumping experience.  After explaining how to knuckle the horse’s neck to give me balance, and spending some time in the large round pen getting a feel for it, we went to the obstacles to start jumping.  I played with sitting jumps, posting jumps and 2-pointing jumps.  It made me laugh often, as it was such a foreign feel to me and I had to get over some fear.  In the end, I was way more comfortable with my approach, preparing for the jump, managing straightness with my horse and finding the rhythm going over.  What a blast!  I might need to get into some jumping lessons at home because that was damned fun.

Then, got some of Jody’s thoughts on riding Keeper.  I had enjoyed Keeper but the third day I rode her, Dave had me doing some things that seemed to cause Keeper to get unwound and I wasn’t able to help her very well.  So Jody and I played with riding keeper bridleless.  Jody explained how the connection with Keeper would HAVE to come from my seat and I’d have to be very rigid and just with my expectations of Keeper from my seat requests.  She’s a responsive little mare and she certainly seemed to appreciate when I got it right and used clarity with her.  I tried riding a trotting pattern with the question box using the carrot stick and no head gear.  I was late and slow sometimes, but sometimes I got it right.  Honestly, it felt similar to my mare Zarah and I remembered our challenges with freestyle riding.  I’m better now, but still have plenty of develop to do in order to have success with a horse like Keeper.  Very good session for me and understanding having a plan and raising my expectations for the communication and connection.

Big day – great ending to a great week!  Loved it.  We all met for dinner afterwards as Ilena and I were both ending our time at LS Ranch.  We talked some about my career days and my life in high tech.  I’ve made such a drastic change in my life over the last 2 years and I’m so much happier as a full-time horsewoman.  I’ll keep striving to become the best I can be with horses and this ten day experience has given me just the leap forward I needed.

Thanks, Dave and Jody Ellis!

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One Comment
  1. adriana oliveira permalink

    what a wonderrful experience Tia. your blogs inspire me to keep trying, at same time is so much information, so much to learn, overwhelming. Can’t wait to see you and hear all about those days.

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