The Circle M Ranch is about a thirty minute drive east and then south for me. Michaella is an accomplished horse woman. Her mare won a $10, 000 cutting competition, a futurity, and she won the Extreme Mustang Challenge in 2010. She trains horses, and she trains people. Her personality is like a bright shining comet that swirls straight into your orbit. She isn't shy about telling you what you are doing wrong, but she is also very encouraging when you get something right. The ranch sits up on ridge with a beautiful view off to the southeast, looks like you landed in Appalachia! The cattle on the farm are Scottish Highlands and they are not nice cows! Big brutal shaggy beasts with hard little eyes, and big massive horns. We had one case of a bull charging a horse and rider on day one. Thank goodness it wasn't Journey and I. We eventually got to round up these critters, but first we worked our horses on the flag. At this point in Journey's training she has no back up to speak of, and her whoa is rather ...um...dull. She was good at tracking the flag, but not to hot on her rollback. Okay, her rollback sucked. But it was still a lot of fun and it helped her in other ways. Journey is a bungee horse and when she is around other horses it is like a magnetic force is pulling you towards this horse, or that horse, and her attention is constantly adrift. This exercise had her standing in a line-up of horses while other horses that were pretty good were having their turn at the flag. At first she struggled with this but by the end of day two she was able to stand still consistently while some pretty good cutting horses went after the flag with energy and impulsion. Journey's life-long bungie buddy Cody was there too. That created some training opportunities as well. When I tied her to the trailer she started having herself a melt down, doing mini-rears, and pushing into my space because she wanted to be with him. At first I tried to deal with her, and then finally I thought to myself FITS ARE FREE. I'm here if she tries to kill herself, but otherwise I ignored her, and by gosh she defused herself when it suddenly seemed like a lot of work. She stood quiet after that and I didn't hear a peep out of her. Journey got a lot of good exposure this weekend. But all I could think when working that flag was I should have brought Phebes. Phebes would have been all about kicking butt on that flag with her sweet little back-up and front leg yield. If this is offered again I may take her to see how she does...or I might build one of those contraptions for her.
Lida was at the clinic with Doc, and that Saddlebred never ceases to amaze me. You should have seen him going after those shaggy cattle! All beautiful and dressage-like with ears pointed forward... herd cattle he did. Doc is what I call a good all around horse. Lida has done some many things with Doc that as horses go he is a wise ole sage. Lida has promised to hook me up to the Snap Fish link so I can maybe get some digital images of the clinic. If I get some I'll post them up. Fun weekend .