Teaching your DOR to use a mounting block

All of our DORs have seen the movie cowboy who jumps off the hotel balcony onto his horse's back. When they were kids they probably dreamed of being able to mount a horse that way. As a horse I know better, I wince every time I see it.
Not only is it not a pleasant experience for me, but your DOR can get hurt. While there are only a few DORs who will insist rudely jumping on their horses from buildings or other stationary objects, there are plenty out there who plop down on their horse's back when mounting. Why? It takes little extra effort to sit down lightly and is less likely to cause pain in their rears. If you want to have a long, pleasant relationship with your DOR, get them to think when they sit. Teach your DOR to let their your down easily as they settle into the saddle.
Many DORs think mounting blocks are for people who are not flexible enough to mount a horse without one. I would ask everyone to think of what happens when you mount a horse by pulling sideways on the saddle as you heft your weight into one of the stirrups. The horse's spine is pulled sideways-not only that but you get the saddle shifted into the wrong position
When there is a mounting block, have your DOR use it. By using a mounting block, the rider doesn't look so silly trying to haul themselves up into the saddle.
So here is what I have been doing with my DOR. I have been training her to stand quietly on the mounting block while I get myself in position to allow her to mount. If she is twitchy I move off and start repositioning myself once more. Once I am in position I allow her to pat me and lean across my back, building up her confidence in preparation to sit in the saddle. As long as she remains confident I will stand still, but if she appears nervous I will start the process all over from the beginning. Next I have her place her foot in the stirrup and she uses my mane, the pommel of the saddle, and a slight hop to get herself up in position to throw her leg over and sit down. I give my DOR one practice hop and then she is to get one, any more and I know she isn't confident and I make her start clear back at the beginning. Once she throws her leg over and sits down gently I reward her by standing still-if she flops down I will dance around a bit to let her know that was NOT okay. I have my DOR practice mounting until she can sit quietly . She has managed to mount properly for the past three days, but that does not mean that I can be complacent-it is possible for her to forget her training.
Enjoy your day and don't forget to hug your DOR


Feelin' hot hot hot!

The DOR does not do well in 100+ degree weather. I have to make sure not that she does not get too hot. I have just been having her do one hour of ground work in the late evening, trying to help her stay cool. The other thing is I keep an overhead sprinkler on at the arena so she can stand in the mist and stay cooler. I also will spray my DOR with the hose. She gives me a nice hose down when we are done working, I make sure and mouth the end of the hose which shoots a blast of spray at my DOR-she loves it!

My DOR has been making progress and I am very proud of her. We are now able to do some simple at liberty movements; yeilding my hindquarters, yeilding my head, changing eyes, walking the arena, backing a few steps, and going sideways in both direstions. There are times she looses focus and I can't keep her on task, but she is getting better with each session. I have also had her working her arms out with the flag.

This week looks like it will be to hot to do much more than spend some quality time with the DOR letting her brush me, clean my hooves, and possibly short sessions in the arena late at night.

Enjoy your day and don't forget to hug your DOR


How to help your DOR tone up their "batwings"

I found out that most people over forty (70%), especially women, have "bat wings"- a cute name given to that flab that hangs when the DOR raises their arms out to their sides. Now I work to stay fit and trim, I like looking my best. I believe it is important for my DOR to do the same. I am also a responsible owner of a human, so it my duty to make sure she gets in proper shape. With that in mind I have put a daily exercise program together for my DOR, it is really simple and may work for your DOR.

1) While walking your DOR in the pasture make sure they hold one arm out to the side touching you neck while walking. Now to make this happen you may need to allow them to get too close, they will then put their hand on you neck or cheek to remind themselves to keep their distance. You may also need to let them get too far ahead or behind so that they will put their hand up to remind themselves where they need to be. Make sure and have them work on both sides.

2) Before you have your DOR groom you make sure and roll, getting really dirty, if you can find a muddy spot that is even better. Brushing with light pressure is really good for your DORs triceps.

3) When making your DOR turn in small circles, keeping their eye on you at all times, make sure they have to wiggle the rope back and forth before you stop and look at them-this will work their underarms too. You can also have them do this when you are transitioning into a slower gait.

4) When your DOR is going to put the saddle on you make sure that they have to hold the saddle out and up a bit for at least 30 seconds before you allow them to set it on. It is best if you can get them to saddle you from both sides. Both of these objectives can be achieved if you dance around a bit. This is especially effective with heavy western saddles. If your DOR rides english, you may need to have them hold the saddle for up to one minute to get the same results.

5) While you are allowing your DOR to go for a ride have them practice one rein stops for a minimum of 20 times on each side. This will work both arms at the same time and ensure that your DOR is prepared for frightening things that may come up while you are taking them for a ride. This way they will respond properly when they are frightened and not squeeze the crap out of you when they have that "eeek" reaction that humans are prone to have.

6) Now that the ride is over there is one more sure-fire method to make sure your DOR works out their arms. When they unsaddle you wince a bit like you have a sore back...this will get you a back massage. Not only will your DOR be toning up, but you will get to enjoy some quality time being pampered a bit. After all you deserve it...look at all you do for your DOR.

All of these exercises can be completed daily. I personally have my DOR work out three hours a day.

Enjoy your day and don't forget to hug your DOR


How to keep you DOR alert at all times

I am a laid back kinda guy, friendly, and inquisitive. If there is something new out there I want to check it out. That said I need to let you know I have been working with my DOR to be more trusting. She has a tendency to micro-manage when she is riding...HELLO I know what I am doing, I have been walking around on these four hooves for seven years now and she has been riding me for only three months.
So I finally have her where she is relaxed and not telling me what to do constantly, the arena is full of toys I have been playing with and she is staying nice and relaxed-almost too relaxed, in fact it is as if she is taking me for granted hmmmph. Well I need to make sure that while she is relaxed that she is also alert for anything that might come along and surprise her causing her to squeeze my sides. I hate it when she squeezes my sides and does that butt tightening, air sucking eeeek reaction when something surprises her...she needs to be desensitized a bit. So I decide to stop and visit with a lawn chair for a bit. DOR relaxes and sets both hands on the saddle horn and gives a big sigh...she is now not paying attention to me, she is kinda spacing out-now it the time to get her to focus back on me! So I nose the chair rocking it a bit (stage one), I push it to where it almost tips (stage two), she still is too relaxed so I push the chair completely over and squirt off to the left (stage three)-boy that got her attention! She is scrambling to not squeeze me, not loose the rein, and then she remembers (a bit too late) to do her one rein stop. Well I have now taught her that she must give me her attention at all times and to watch what I am doing. After a couple of these lessons I am sure I won't have to get to stage three again-but if I do it is okay because it is a heck of a lot of fun and good for a giggle.
Enjoy your day and don't forget to hug your DOR


Does this saddle make my butt look big?

Why is it when our DORs buy a saddle they are so worried about how they look in it? To heck with the human, what about me? My DOR calls me the WWB-wide white butt, that can hurt a sensitive guys feelings, she says it is because when she pulls up to the pasture the first thing she sees is my big ol' spotted hinny out in the field. I inherited my mom's big butt, I can't help it.
So DOR saddles me up and we are going to play in the arena. I have a nice saddle, it has a bit of decoration without being overdone, and it doesn't hurt my back. I am busy teaching the DOR how to make turns properly, to go between obstacles without being worried, how to stop appropriately, and not to get frightened when the lid of the BluKot spray can comes popping off in the heat. I hear a bit of snickering...Freedom is hanging out watching and laughing. Okay, so the DORs bright pink helmet is a bit embarrassing, but it is on her...why is he giggling at me? What, what, WHAT!!! Then it hits me-the saddle makes my butt look big!!! Okay that is not going to work at all. I stand a bit taller, if I can clear 15.2 hands it will help. I puff my sides out so my butt isn't so big looking, and I work to make sure my butt is always viewed at an angle to make it look a bit thinner.
So I get done with the DOR's lesson for the day, she did everything I asked and I am hopeful she will be just fine. Get back in the pasture and finally breath normally, only to find out the old guy was laughing because I broke a sweat-not my big butt. Well it is hard work trying to train a DOR. I think I will invite Freedom to the next lesson just to see what he can accomplish with her, after all I am cleaning up the mess he has made in the past three years.
Enjoy your day and don't forget to hug your DOR


Learning to make friends with traffic cones.

So my DOR takes me to the arena to "play", I like playing so this seems like a good idea. She is leading me around, showing me the toys and I am really happy to see a bunch of stuff to pick up and chew, toss around, and investigate. Do you think she will stop and let me look? Nooooo, she just keeps walking and talking...what the heck, I am seeing all kinds of things I want to get to know.
I keep looking at things and then looking at the DOR; she just smiles, pats my neck and keeps walking. Geeeze I am talking to you lady, I want to play with that cone I looked at, STOP ALREADY. I snort at a cone as we go by it for the 5th time, I am trying to let it know I might like to be its friend but "merry legs" here won't slow down. The next thing I know the DOR stopped. I looked at the cone, looked at her and rub her shoulder with my head (rewarding her for stopping) and I turn my attention back to the cone. After about 10 seconds of time to get to know the cone DOR decides that is enough and starts walking again-what the heck I wasn't done yet, I hadn't got to toss it around. HMMMM, how to get her to stand still? We get to the next cone, I snort, she stops, and I get some time to play with the cone. Seems to be a pattern here...I snort, she stops-this is going to be fun. I start snorting at everything and she stops, boy she learns quick. I also taught her to stay at the object as long as I am snorting. We get to a toy, I snort, she stops, I play with the toy and keep snorting and she just keeps standing there patiently until I quit snorting and then we move on to the next toy I want to play with.
So my DOR has the snort command down really well.
I am hopeful that by the end of the summer I will have the DOR responding to my commands to a level that she won't embarrass me in public.
Enjoy your day and don't forget to hug your DOR


Welcome to my journey

My name is Cactus Jack Splash, the most beautiful Appaloosa in the world, and this is a spot for me to talk about my journeys.
I joined my new owner three months ago and the adventures have begun. This week my owner decided that we would take lessons so we could communicate better. Well, I can tell you the communication breakdown is not on my part. How hard is it to understand what I am saying?
I snort at something and that means, hmmm that is interesting maybe I might be its friend. My owner thinks it means, oh crap I don't like that thing.
I stomp my foot and that means, hurry up times a wasting. My owner thinks it means, damn fly go over and bother some other horse.
I cock my foot when my owner reaches down to pick it up that means, here now you don't have to bend over and work so hard. My owner thinks it means, watch your head he may kick.
So as you can see I have a "dope on a rope" that I have to train. I invite you to join me in the joy of owning a human and laugh along with me as I train her to be a good horseman.

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