training progress - week 5

We went to Iron Horse to watch Nemo & Koda's training session yesterday. It had only been a week since we last observed, but even my untrained eyes could notice a difference. They were quieter in general. I've uploaded a couple short clips of their training, you'll see both Koda & Nemo in all the clips.

They worked both of them outside all week, but it was just a bit too windy & cool to be outside yesterday morning as planned.
Patty had Koda go first this time, she lunged him, and then hopped on without anyone holding him. He didn't budge. As you'll see in the video below, he was more like himself. Koda fussed a lot less with the bit, and was a more willing riding partner in general, as she could turn him with ease. She said he did stop playing with the bit all together for a while last week. I can see he is progressing. His favorite word continues to be whoa, that horse stops on a dime! Koda is also learning that taking a break doesn't necessarily mean your done working. Incase you haven't picked up on it, my boy is on the lazy side. We had a nice discussion last week about flipping that trait, I didn't know that could be done. Looks like he's making progress with that too.

Koda starting out, and acting more like himself. Nemo is lunging at the far end of the arena.

Koda loping. Nemo starting out.

Amanda (Assistant Trainer) handled Nemo the whole time yesterday, as they have added working the boys (some days) together. Patty mentioned she feels it's important for a pair of horses to learn to work together, as well as apart. Amanda let us know Nemo has the start of a cinch sore, it didn't surprise us as he has lighter hair and thinner skin. Nothing visible, he saddled and rode fine, it's just tender - something to be aware of and watch. Amanda lunged him, and hopped right on without him
being held. She also didn't do the up, down, lean over, wiggle saddle thing with him. They did mention while training outside during the week, Nemo was the more sensitive (aka aware) of the two and gets a little more fired up. Yep, that's our Nemo - nothing new there.

Nemo loping. Koda continues working at the far end of the arena.

Nemo loping the other direction, with Koda in the middle.

I like that Iron Horse changes up how they train the horses on a regular basis, they keep it fresh. They will begin to work on softening their faces. Nemo's head needs to come down (he is very high headed), and Koda needs to be softer in general. We talked about clipping bridle paths, which we have done with both boys - altho you still have to take it slow, especially with Nemo. She also asked if/how we want their manes cut, gasp! Brad busted out laughing, as we've had many related discussions. I don't want Koda's gorgeous mane cut, ever. Maybe someday I'll consider it, if it really needs to be cut for a special show. Thank goodness Patty asked (I guess she always does). He will remain with the "natural cow horse look". Brad is cutting what mane Nemo has, to what I think she called a flat top cut. It's the same cut Harmony sports when she is actively being shown. It will look good on him.

We are going up to Iron Horse again next Saturday, and Patty thinks they'll be ready for us....TO RIDE ?
?!! It will be right around the 45 day training mark. They will begin to adjust some of our horse's training, according to what they observe. Basically we'll begin the owner training part of her program! I am soooo excited, I can't even tell you. I've been waiting my whole life to ride my own horse...my eyes well-up just thinking about getting started. Saturday is now officially my favorite day of the week :)


a blog award, from a beautiful blogger

A sincere thank you to Jeni from Super Size my Cob for the Beautiful Blogger award. Check out her blog if you haven't already, it's an interesting, informative, and heartfelt well written blog!

The Beautiful Blogger award Rules are:
1. Link back to the person who gave you the award
2. Share 7 things about yourself
3. Pass the award to 15 other bloggers

Thing 1: When I was a teenager, I jokingly told my mom not to worry about me I plan to marry Robert Redford. I'm really not a big fan, must have been the "steady-type" older actor at the time. Well I did better. He's got darker hair, he's my best friend - and we are rich beyond compare, money not included.

Thing 2: I've been a fitness instructor for over 20 years, altho you can't tell by looking at me...especially these days. I've recently turned down some nice teaching positions. It's my second job. I'm currently a sub. I'm thinking about hanging up the towel, to keep all my evenings free to spend with my family & focus on horseback riding.

Thing 3: One of my dreams is to ride on a beach, splash in the waves, riding bareback - ideally on a Friesian (my dream horse). In reality, any horse would make the dream come true (no honey, a puddle and/or stream doesn't count).

Thing 4: I can't lie

Thing 5: The name Aurora runs in my family, it was my grandmothers name, my mothers name, mine, and my oldest daughter.

Thing 6: Another one of my dreams is to see the Northern Lights in Finland, altho I would settle for a Canadian sighting (hint, hint).

Thing 7: I am a firm believer in destiny.

I'm afraid I won't be able to comply with rule #3. This blog award has already been awarded to many bloggers whose blogs I regularly read, enjoy and also think are beautiful bloggers! Among them (in no particular order) are Super Size my Cob, All Horse Stuff, Mustang Diaries, Once Upon an Equine, Barn Door Tagz, Nuzzling Muzzles, A Year with Horses, If Wishes were Horses desert horses and more...below are very deserving beautiful bloggers who may, or may not, also already have the award:



Fern Valley Appaloosas


mystery spot

The word finally got around to me, "Harmony has a spot" from hubby, and "What happened to Harmony" concern from the daughter - and so, the 20 questions began. What I found out was that Harmony has a mysterious spot that appeared a few days before I was informed. No idea from what. No obvious injury. The skin is not broken, just a very slight skin irritation near the middle. Her hair is gone from a rather large area, in a rather odd shape. The spot doesn't bulge, and is not any warmer than any other part of her body. Not tender to the touch, and her movement is fine. Was it nerves? Did "resident pony" chew it off? Did she scrape herself in the woods? Who knows. My guess is Harmony rubbed the hair off, altho the round edge shape may indicate otherwise.

Please excuse the muddy photo, it has thankfully dried up since this photo was taken not to mention she's had many good brushings. Mud is hard to avoid with rough board, in wet WI spring weather. Her hair is already beginning to grow back. She's shedding like crazy now, too bad I can't fill in the spot!


30 day training update

We really enjoyed seeing our boys 30 day progress in action this morning! It was their first time in the indoor all week, when the weather is so gorgeous they train outside. Guess they did some pretty good snorting the first day out, enhanced by visiting cranes. Both of our boys were very aware of exactly where we were while they were being worked, but other than some brief hesitation at the gate (especially Koda) they listened well to the trainer. Patty said Nemo was exceptionally well behaved, and calmer then usual. Guess at times he still humps-up his back when they are riding him. Koda on the other hand wasn't having his best day. He never stopped adjusting and fussing with the bit the entire time they worked him. Patty said he usually settles into it better, but does still have a way to go. Nothing to worry about. Can't really see it in the video. They start the young horses with a smooth fat baby snaffle bit, pretty standard. Both Koda & Nemo required extra time working on "giving to the bit", Koda just takes longer to figure things out but when he does he is rock solid. Both boys are about where she expects them to be at 30 days. It was pretty funny when we were done and she said Nemo made her look reeeally good, but Koda sure could have helped her out more lol - she's a great lady with a huge heart, and boatloads of experience. We are happy with their progress, and physically they look great!

It was amazing to see them calmly walk, trot and lope (yes they both had young moments, but they were brief). Patty said the key is they don't make a big deal out of wrong answers. At their age, they really just want them safe and moving freely in a slow controlled manner so they think it's fun to go to work and want to learn more. I was thrilled to see Koda does indeed have a very smooth trot and lope with a rider on him, Nemo not so much. I was so curious to see if they had turned out to be different in action than we thought, but that wasn't the case. They behave and move the same for them as they do us and their personalities haven't changed a bit, altho they are maturing. It was so fun to listen and learn what Patty had to say about our boys and other training in general, she explains everything really well - which is rare. If you ask her a question, she whole-heartedly answers it. Everybody seems to really like Nemo & Koda at Iron Horse, they are very well cared for (all the horses are) we really lucked out!! Enjoy the clips/pics - and I apologize in advance for the "whoops..." quality of the video!

Nemo being warmed-up by Amanda, one of Patty's assistants.

Nemo & Amanda

Nemo & Patty

Patty loping Nemo
Patty & Nemo, job well done.

Koda being warmed-up by Amanda, he looks so short in these pictures.
She never did ride him, probably just timing or maybe he doesn't need as much warm-up?

Patty loping Koda left

Patty loping Koda right

Patty & Koda, job well done.


short and sweet visit

Haaay, those are my humans!

Nemo was so happy to see Brad, and was full of things to tell us - quite the chatter box.
His hooves looked great, we were pleasantly surprised the crack we've been slowly watching grow out - is gone.

Koda must have just gotten back in his stall, and was busy eating when we arrived. 
He did stop long enough so I could get a horsey-hug :)

Sorry I don't have any training updates,
our trainer postponed our appointment due to an unfortunate and sad personal reason.All I know is both boys are on track, and look great! 
We'll know more soon, can't wait to see them in action!


this game isn't much fun

The Mudville game goes something like this:

You get XP (experience points) for the following muddy experiences:

1) doing a step-n-slide into the mud
- yell/gasp or drop something in the process, you get bonus points
- slip and fall, moves you to the next game level

2) finding mud all the way up the side of your vehicle
- mud gets on your windows, you get bonus points
- splatter mud onto the vehicle behind you, moves you to the next game level

3) finding your horse is a different color
- brush the mud off, you get bonus points
- break the brush while trying to unsuccessfully brush the caked mud off, moves you to the next game level

4) sharing mud with your dogs
- get muddy paw prints on your clothes, you get bonus points
- slip and fall while trying to stop from getting paw prints on your clothes, moves you to the next game level

You can exchange the XP you’ve earned to enhance your Mudville experience for the following:
- add fog
- add rain
- add cold
- a larger, muddier pasture

Your Mudville friends can gift you:
- sunshine for 8 hours
- dry socks
- dry boots
- a helper to do your muddy chores 1X

Anyone else out there playing the not-so-fun game of Mudville?


grand prix riders announced

The Midwest Horse Fair riders for the Nutrena $40,000 Show Jumping Grand Prix have been announced. I’m quite frankly surprised there aren’t any riders from the Madison area, where I thought jumping was prevalent. Guess not, or at least not at this level. I was also surprised to see so many pairs, and in one case triplets, with the same family name get invited from the same location. Perhaps it’s common., but why not spread it out?

Some local radio/TV/Olympian celebrities are training for another jumping event, the Ariat Jumping with the Stars
. These should be entertaining to watch, and learn more about jumping. With that said, the only jumping I have any interest in doing would be over a log on a trail!

The list of riders are posted on the Midwest Horse Fair site


training update

Here is the latest update our trainer emailed us, and I quote " Nemo and Koda couldn't be better. We are riding both horses already because of the wonderful job you and Aurora have done with them. I love these guys, they are great horses."

While we are humbled by Patty's praise, we know darn well it's her training style that has made them excel. It also helps they have been bred with great bloodlines, but more importantly (to us) they have kind willing souls - for that we will forever be grateful to Diane.

We are planning a visit to see our boys in action in a week or so. I'll have a more detailed update, and hopefully photos. I can't tell you how exciting this is for us! Just the thought of riding our own horses out on the trail...will be a dream come true.


say it isn’t so!

Brad called AQHA to find out what was taking so long with Harmony’s papers – and they told him they can’t register her….what?!!

He was told her registered Dam never had DNA done on her, so they are unable to verify Harmony was her foal. I know what you are thinking, get DNA done on the Dam – one slight problem she’s dead. They suggested doing postmortem DNA if we know where she is buried. I’m pretty sure I was told she died on the farm we bought Harmony from, and is buried there. We will have our daughter ask, but it’s not likely to be an option – not to mention it’s a bit extreme.
AQHA did some searching through their records, and apparently Kelkees Plain Jane (the Dam) didn’t have enough foals to gather enough samples from, to compare verification with Harmony’s. Can you believe it? I can’t. This just furthers my deep-rooted disappointment in the stables we bought Harmony from…we now own an expensive grade mare. Not that owning a grade mare is a bad thing, it’s just not what we were told/payed/planned for. As I've said before, the horse is loved the same with or without papers. It's just very dissapointing. Our daughter hoped to show Harmony on the QH circuit some day…this is where I edit my negative comments. Moral of this story – don’t believe every “we’ve got paper’s, they can be registered…yada-yada-yada” as a selling point, it might not be true. In this case, it isn’t.