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Discipline: LD/Endurance, CMO, Trail Rider, Cartoonist, Writer, Co-Director/ Green Bean Endurance

June 27, 2010

Figuring out the Phebes

Finally saddle time this morning. We worked on schooling for about an hour. I'm trying to figure out what is working well and what needs serious work. Working in a clockwise rotation she is pretty fluid, has some nice bend, and moves off of my left leg really well. But reverse it to a counter clockwise direction and it is like rusty, grinding, gyrating gears. She does well pivoting on her front using my right leg, and can barely get her to move the opposite direction using my left. It is the same with side passing to the right or backing a counter clockwise circle (again using my right leg). So whenever she is cued by my right leg, or right rein she is soft and responsive. Left leg, left rein, pretty bad. What I discovered in my hour session is that I have a very one-sided horse. What I also discovered is I have a tendency to work in the clockwise, vs the counter direction. Which probably means because I am right side dominant I'm in my comfort zone working off of my right leg and right rein.

Looks like a lot of left rein, left leg, and counter clockwise work is in our future.

We both worked up a dripping sweat even though we weren't working all that hard. It is only getting up to 88 degrees today but humidity is at 81%. Sauna anyone?

There is an XTREME Trail Course Competition scheduled for July 31st near here. I'm wanting to go and see the competition, it is something we might want to eventually shoot for as it has almost all the elements I like best about riding. These are similar to the Cowboy races you see on RFD TV. You work your horse on the clock through an obstacle course. Most of the skills we do not have, but I would have a lot of fun teaching these, and this is the type of work that Phebes likes the most.

1. Side Pass: Side pass down an L-Shaped log. (I tried this today and she would not budge because of the log).

2. Take out the Trash: Pick up a bag of garbage off of barrel A, travel to barrel B and set the bad down on the barrel, then back your horse thru the first set of barrels. (This one would need a little work because of the sound).

3. Bridge & Mail Box: Travel across a bridge (I'm assuming a wooden bridge), stop in the middle, open the mail box, close the mail box, and finish going across the bridge. (I think we can do this one pretty easily)

4. Ground tie: Ground tie your horse with one rein, pick up each hind foot, and then remount. (Visualize the horse galloping off into the sunset).

5. Gate: Open a gate without removing your hand from the gate, and then close the gate. (Hmmm....this would depend on how the gate opens and closes).

6. Trash Alley: Negotiate horse through an alley way of trash (not junk, just trash).

7. 360 Box: Walk into a 6 X 6 box, turn 360 degrees, then back the horse out (This skill we could do pretty quickly as she has a beautiful turn on the forehand).

8. Trust log: Rider dismounts and sends horse over log. (wonder how high that sucker is?)

9. Spin Board: Mounted, rider picks up one end of a twelve foot board off barrel #1, then rider compleges a full circle without the board coming off barrel #2 then rider puts the end of the board back at the start position.

10. Back through an L-pattern: If it is backing with the turn to the left...we can get it done. If it is to the right? uh.........gotta work on that one.

11. Trailer Load: Rider must dismount the horse, then load the horse on the trailer without stepping into the trailer with the horse. (We'd need a lot of work on that one.)

Other skills:

Unsaddle and run to trailer, horse loads, but rider doesn't step in.

Calf carry: Pick up a 30 lb. bag of feed from point A, put it on the horse, remount and carry to point B.

Steer roping: Pick up a rope from barrel A and rope a steer head. (go ahead laugh now....)

Log jump: Jump your horse over 3 logs (doesn't say how high)

Tire crossing: walk your horse through tires (this is the only skill I don't like as I can see a train wreck in the making, but I guess that is the point, that the horse handle it with grace).

Back through a U shaped course.

Drag a log at the walk and trot.

Canter with a plastic tarp flapping behind you.

This last one I'd roll right on off the horse and be standing on my head...Side pass to the left down a log, reach down and pick a hat up off of an orange cone (look at her! going......going.....gone!!!) the rest of it would be to walk forward and put the hat on the next cone and then side pass down a log the opposite direction, but I'd still be crumpled in a top heavy heap on the ground at the first orange cone).

Many of these skills are useful in being able to control the horse's body and move the horse using your body to communicate. I think it would be fun to work on and fun to try one of these rides someday.

This competition has $1000 in prizes and paybacks and it only costs $20 to enter. It is being held at Leading Way Farm, North Vernon Indiana July 31, at 9:00 A.M.


  1. Wow - I think Doc & I can do most of those things. Sounds like fun! I was thinking of going horse camping that weekend, but this sounds cool too.

  2. We can't participate, but I intend to go watch and see what I think of the competition. It sounds like a fun diversion...

  3. E.G- I think you'll find that if you can start working on some of this stuff with Phebes, alot of her issues will melt away in time. We've had a trail course set up at home for several years now, includin a bridge, a pedestal , a Faux water crossing with tarps, a carwash (using tarps) and a teeter totter. (just thought I would give you some other ideas !) I love working on that kind of stuff with my horses and when something comes up on the trail, it's not an issue. I think it really lends a hand to building a relationship with your horse but what I really enjoy is that it gives me and my horse purpose , o ther than just riding circles or working on lateral work. Im a strong believer that the more we can do with our horses, the better off the horse and the rider become together!

    Very cool that you are looking into this!

  4. Leading Way Farm, North Vernon?? Never heard of it, but I will have to try to make it over to watch and visit!!

    Do you mind emailing me the details? (address, phone number, etc)

    We dont' have the required skills do participate, but it WOULD be fun to watch!

  5. Kevin & Susan
    220 East County Rd. 175 North
    North Vernon, IN 47265


    Open riding
    Birthday Parties
    and more.