Welcome to Bit of Honey Training LLC

Welcome to Bit of Honey Training LLC
Welcome to Bit of Honey Training LLC

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Rerun of Old Post with New Technology

My sister-in-law is in town visiting and she has the same iphone as I do, and she had a way to take still photographs from video.  I was able to get a similar app on my phone, and I took these stills from video I had of Cole and Highboy WWF horse wrestling in the round pen the first week we were here at the new place.
First Highboy goes after Cole with teeth...

Then Cole opens his mouth to aim...

Then there's a "who's taller?" competition

And finally Cole succeeds in being big and tough.  It's only taken him 14 years to actually win one of these arguments!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Full Day at Bit of Honey

Today was really full!  I started out helping Phoenix and Cosmo do a bareback ride, while riding Beauty myself.  She is a blue roan quarter horse mare that is living here in training.  I showed Beauty's owner what Beauty and I have been working on, and how fit the girl is looking.  She can pretty much trot and canter as much as we like without getting tired.  Her haunches are developing some nice muscling from all of the conditioning gallops and lot trotting afternoons all over the hills in the back pastures.  Then Beauty's owner got on and did a riding lesson, we worked on walk/halt transitions so that the owner could experience how sensitive Beauty has become to breathing and weight shifts.  When they went into some trot work Beauty was great too, she really lengthened out her stride and slowed her pace so that her trot became much more rhythmic.  Even some simple pattern work went well, with the owner easily able to turn Beauty by merely rotating her own torso in the direction she wanted to turn.

During Beauty's ride I had two new clients arrive so that they could audit the lesson to get a feel for my teaching style to see whether they wanted to pursue horsemanship instruction.  They were able to see how my focus is mostly on getting the rider to use her body effectively to influence the horse's motion.  There is a lot of nuance to this type of riding, and Beauty was good at illustrating how different types of breathing (shallow and quick versus deep and slow) can make the horse speed up or slow down.  The new folks enjoyed auditing and will be back soon to start some lessons themselves with Cole.

As we wrapped up Beauty's ride, three of my other clients arrived to ride their own horses, and then two more clients arrived for their 11am training session with their young five year old half mustangs.  We let the girls play in the round pen so they could get used to the place, since this was their first big field trip away from their home stable.  Once they had gotten their jollies out we brought them back to the trailer and got their saddles on, and then returned to the round pen for some groundwork.  This was my first opportunity to work with the husband, and it was great to meet him for the first time and get a feel for how he and the horses communicate.

As we were finishing with the mustangs two more clients came, bringing in their two horses who arrived for boarding.  They joined the other two new horses in the front pasture.  We're up to twelve horses on the place now, and I have another arriving for training tomorrow.  It's wonderful to have the space to tell people, "Let's put you on the schedule!" instead of "I have a six month waiting list, can you call again in two months?" like I had to do for so long at the old place.  There were several times today when I walked through the parking area and thought about how I never could have fit this many horse trailers and trucks and client vehicles at the old place.  Also, today it was no big deal to have six people riding in various places!  This new facility is amazing, and I'm excited to see how Bit of Honey Training continues to grow. 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Jumping Show Photos - Cosmo

 This first photo is of Phoenix and Cosmo schooling at home the day before the show
 The warm up at the show went smoothly, Cosmo certainly works hard when Phoenix puts him through his paces!

 Cosmo is such a plucky little fellow!

 Two of my favorite students! 
Cosmo knocked one of the jumps down, but after the fact as I examined photos, it became clear that he had just gotten to a really long spot when he jumped.  Truly we can feel grateful he took such good care of Phoenix when the poles were hit!

Jumping Show Photos - Obie

 Next we have Michelle and Obie. 
Just a year ago they went to this show together as a somewhat nervous pair, and now the ride to the arena from the parking area is no sweat!

More Photos from the Triple Creek Show - Highboy

I finally got a minute to go through and edit photos from the last Triple Creek jumping show - we got some great ones! We start with the warm-up

Yes, Highboy did go over the cross rail, only to halt and poop on it.  This is what he thinks of small jumps.

He checked to see if any of the spectators had cookies to share

Highboy did his best Tennessee Walking Horse impression

Maybe I should call him Twinkle Toes

After everything was done, he amused himself by eating a tumbleweed - much to the chagrin of a few other, more formal trainers. 

Sunday, November 16, 2014

RMSC 2014 Awards Banquet

Last night we went to the Rockie Mountain Saddle Club awards banquet.  It was in Fort Collins at the Senior Center.  Even with missing several of the shows because of the vesicular stomatitis that was going around this summer (a disease similar to hoof-and-mouth but seen in horses), the Bit of Honey crew did quite well!  For year end points for level 3/4 English I came in third and won a black saddle pad with RMSC 2014 embroidered on it.  I've always wanted to win a saddle pad with embroidery, and this one is great!

 This club always has really great participation prizes as well.  Anyone who shows in at least one show gets those.  I also won a door prize in the raffle and picked out some great green bell boots that are big enough for my huge horse's feet.

This is the Bit of Honey summer crew.  Left to right we have Joyce, Kim H., Rebecca, me, Trisha and Chase.  Six of the horses lived at Trisha and Chase's barn over the summer while we were in-between homes, and we'll forever be grateful for their generosity.

Chase and Trisha also did a slide show using photos from the show season.  Thanks to Kim H.'s photography skills there were a lot of fun photos from the english division.  The slide show was really well done, and they even surprised us with a special tribute to the horses we've lost who competed with us over the season.  Abbey, Major, Lacey, and Star were all given beautiful recognition.  

We also took a photo of a larger group for the local newspaper to show our appreciation for the sponsors who donated prizes to the club.  On closer inspection I notice most of the adults seem to have skipped out on this shot, but at least you can see a lot of the kids.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Highboy, Obie, and Cosmo at the Last Show of the Season

Today was absolutely wonderful.  A year ago this weekend I took Highboy to the last jumping show of the season, and he was beyond wild.  People feared for their safety.  He flew around on the end of his lead rope like a 1100 lb kite.  I never got on.  Today we went to the same show, one year later.  He not only marched into the trailer like a seasoned veteran, but when we unloaded at the show grounds I tacked him up and hopped right on!  He was a little frisky in the warmup, but no terrible hijinks.  We rode around the show grounds while we waited for our classes, which took a while because there were SO MANY kids there showing!  It was great to see such huge attendance.  It's been a slow competition season for many people because of health issues in the horse community (fortunately no one at Bit of Honey ever got sick), and I think absolutely everyone turned out for this last show of the season to enjoy our gorgeous weather and get in one more show before winter arrives.  I don't have access to all the show photos yet, though our stable photographer was there and documented it all for us.  I'll hopefully get her photos tomorrow.  I do love this one pic that was posted on facebook, though.

Highboy and I are on the left, Michelle and Obie in the middle, and Phoenix with Cosmo on the end with Bethnie patting Cosmo.  Highboy is standing a little bit on a hill and slightly closer to the camera, but he really has grown a LOT.  Obie in the middle is 16.2 hands.  It was wonderful to have people telling me how good looking Highboy is, and noticing his size, rather than scattering like bowling pins as we approached!  We had time for some lunch before our classes started, and I had brought a banana since it's a great horse show snack - comes in its own wrapper.  I had forgotten Highboy's new affinity for bananas, and I only ate probably half of it because he kept begging for another piece!  He was determined that if I wasn't going to share he was going to help himself.

Highboy and I rode in two jumping classes, just at the walk and the trot over cross rails.  Highboy was squirrelly and antsy all morning, but as soon as he went in the arena to ride his course he was all business!  He trotted well, steering was quite good, and he happily stepped over each miniscule (for him) jump with panache.  Highboy even kept his enthusiasm under control during the flat class when we all were all having an exciting time trotting together around the perimeter of the arena.  I always cheer for my young horses when I'm riding at schooling shows when they are doing a good job, so I spent most of the rides telling him how brave and smart and fun he was.  Everyone on the edge of the arena was smiling as they listened to my running commentary from his back, and there was some praise from the sidelines when Highboy cleared his last fence.

Michelle and Obie were awesome as well, having good rounds over the cross rails and performing nicely in the flat classes.  Michelle won her first blue ribbon ever, with Obie her sweet mount, and even took reserve champion for the day for the division!  Rebecca had done a painting of Obie and brought it with her to the show.  Beautiful artwork.

Cosmo and Phoenix did great for their first show together, and Phoenix's first show as an independent rider (she did leadline classes when she was five).  Phoenix remembered her course and did all the jumps well and in order, and Cosmo was a champion behaving himself and taking such good care of Phoenix.
Such a fun day.  Makes me eager for show season 2015!