Welcome to Bit of Honey Training LLC

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

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Rawhide For Sale

Now Available!

12 y/o
Buckskin gelding, 1 sock, star and stripe
15 h (feels more like stocky 14.3)
90 days under saddle

Current on deworming, vaccinations, farrier, dental work, etc. 

$3500 neg to approved home

Riding video:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rzbc9QQLlh8

Sound:  Rawhide is sound.  His only blemish is an old scar on back of his right front pastern that has not caused any issues.

Riding:  He has smooth gaits at the walk, jog, trot, canter, and over ground poles and cross-rails.  Currently he rides in a loose ring snaffle.  He understands simple lead changes and backing, with basic turn on the haunches, forehand, and sidepassing.  He trail rides alone or in a group, loads and hauls nicely,  good for blanketing and tacking, and stands tied quietly. Clippers, bug spray, and bathing happen with some cookies for positive reinforcement. 

History:  Rawhide is a half quarter horse, half mustang gelding.  He lived with the same people from weaning until ten years old, and they used him for packing in the mountains as part of a string of horses.  Because of this Rawhide had worn all kinds of equipment but never really acquired a riding horse education.  He arrived at Bit of Honey Training nearly three months ago to be put under saddle as a twelve year old, after having had extensive groundwork done by his current owners over the past two years.  He has proved himself to be incredibly intelligent and athletic under saddle.  

Ideal for:  He is best suited to a confident rider looking to ride at least three times weekly.  He would be happy as an english or western mount, and is fun to trail ride anywhere.  Children and beginner riders would not be appropriate.  While Rawhide is definitely an attractive horse who can be very quiet, he still has some quirks from only having packed as part of a string for so long. 

More details can be found on the blog at 

Have questions?  Would you like to set an appointment to meet Rawhide?  
Contact Kim at 970-231-9999 by text first, or email at bitofhoneytraining@gmail.com

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Travels and a Helmet Cover

This has been a busy month!  I was out of town for a family reunion for a week, and I've been trying to cram as many rides in on the horses as I can to make up for being gone so long.

I also got my hair redone a month or two ago, and haven't had a chance to post pictures of myself without a helmet.  My sister-in-law took some photos for us in exchange for me doing family photos for them, and here are a few of my favorites.

We did a lot of hiking on the trip, and a little shopping.  My best find was a helmet cover for ski and snowboard helmets, but I'll wear it on my riding helmet for the pair pace we are going to in September.  Costumes are encouraged at this activity, and while I'll mostly be wearing my eventing gear, I'll add to my black and yellow ensemble with this awesome and fun adornment.  Mine looks just like this.  Raven has already approved by trying to taste the soft fabric spikes and having a fabulous dressage ride with me wearing it. Billy was deeply disturbed by my fashion choice so I elected not to wear it while riding him this week.  Highboy hasn't seen it yet, but I'm sure he'll think it's super fun and awesome, because he thinks just about everything is.

My clients who drove in Tuesday for lessons to see me riding around in this helmet cover were politely stunned and tentatively asked what my purpose was with it.  I said mostly to make sure people don't think we're overly dignified here at Bit of Honey.

It will look cool on my new helmet, purchased on sale for Helmet Awareness Day.  I replace my helmet after every fall if the helmet touches the ground.  They are only good for one impact and damage is not always visible.  This is why I never buy used helmets, because you may not see that it was in a fall and then if that helmet were to be in another fall its integrity and protection is compromised.  I also replace my helmet every 3-5 years even if they are not in an accident.  This is because there are always new improvements to helmet safety technology and I want the best protection I can get.  Also, the materials will eventually start to degrade, and again I want the best protection I can get. 

The best helmet you can get is not necessarily the most expensive, but the one that fits your head the best.  A new $60 helmet may offer you better protection than a new $600 helmet, depending on how they fit.  It's best to have someone help you if it's your first time fitting yourself to a helmet, to make sure it's done correctly and you have the safest option available.  Make sure you tell the fitter whether you intend to wear your hair up in the helmet or in a ponytail out of it, as that will affect the fit.

When my hair was long I'd wear a size 7 1/8 long-oval shape helmet because I needed it to accommodate all my hair and still not move.  Now that my hair is so short, I go with a 7 long-oval because there's just less going into it.   I need the long-oval shape because my head is very narrow side-to-side, and longer forehead to back.  Most helmets have too much space on the sides of my head and pinch me front to back, but ordering long-oval shape is a better way for me to go, as even adjusting padding doesn't do enough for me. 

The helmet I replaced was for cross-country jumping.  My old one had not been in any falls, but it was old enough that it needed to be replaced.  I was sad to replace it, as it was gold and that company doesn't make a gold helmet anymore.  I ended up going with basic black, but of course I have my fun new helmet cover to dress it up if we need comedic relief.

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Note Rides Again

I've been casually riding Note, or One For Nothing, over the past several months.  He is definitely coming around, and I'm starting to think he just needed THAT MUCH TIME to let down from racing life and acclimate to being a gelding instead of a stallion.  He's gotten much quieter for everything:  handling, tacking, grooming, riding.  I can ride him in the arena by himself or with other horses, or ride out in the back forty by himself or with other horses.  He's much more civilized when I am handling him and we are around mares, he rarely says dirty words or yells any catcalls to them anymore.

When I'm not around  he can still be quite aggressive with other people and horses, but at least he understands the rules when he's wearing a halter and I'm nearby.  He's a beautiful horse with a ton of athleticism and talent, and he's definitely making progress, but I still don't trust him with other people.  It remains to be seen whether ultimately he will become trustworthy, but at least he's going the right direction!

I finally found a good combination of bit and saddle for him.  He was so mouthy, biting at the bit, manically chewing on it while riding, twisting his head around.  I'd had his teeth checked by the veterinarian and there were no issues, so I'd ruled out dental problems.  I began the process of finding him a bit that he liked.  I tried many different kinds, on many different rides:

He didn't like any of the above bits because the mouthpieces were too straight and so didn't lie comfortably in his mouth.  He also doesn't like the loose rings because the bit moves too much.

These three piece snaffles were ok for a little while, but ultimately he decided he didn't like that much movement inside his mouth, either.

These two are quite expensive name-brand bits, and in the past my pickiest horses have like them because of the shape of the middle piece.  Note said absolutely not, though, because he doesn't like the loose ring or the three pieces, and he didn't care that these are expensive quality bits.

The one he ended up choosing was this: 

He likes it because the mouthpiece is solidly attached to the D ring sides, so the bit doesn't swing around on the ring.  It has only one joint in the middle, so there's minimal movement inside his mouth.  The mouthpiece is also slightly curved, which accommodates the shape of his tongue and the bars of his mouth.  Finding the right combination of features is a process of elimination.  I had to determine the bit that he liked, and going through this somewhat lengthy affair gives me sufficient information about how his mouth is shaped and what exactly he doesn't like about each type of bit.

Once I found his favorite, he rode like a different horse.  Absolutely no head twisting, no incessant chewing, no excessive saliva, but not a totally dry mouth.  He had a straight neck and head, gently bending at the poll, with quiet lips, tongue, and mouth.  He also was much more comfortable moving forward, lengthening his stride at the walk, trot, and canter without me having to really push him.  His "stickiness" and shuffling gaits were another indicator that he didn't like what was in his mouth, because bits are the brakes.

I also discovered that Raven's newer jumping saddle fits Note better than the others I'd been using on him.  The combination of a happy mouth and comfortable back made for a great ride today.

Here is some of his trot work over cross rails.  It's been a while since I have done any jumping with him, so we were essentially beginning again with Going Over Poles 101.  When horses are at the very start of jumping training I keep everything very positive and encouraging to make sure the horse enjoys the job.  I don't mind the stopping and looking at fences, because how else will he know what he's going over if he doesn't check it out?  Better he learn what this is about at slow speeds, looking while we are jogging or walking, rather than stopping to look when we are going fast and unseating the rider.  You can see the progression in this video from staring at the first jump, to finally trotting over uneventfully.

This weekend Note also demonstrated his skills at opening gates.  I teach all my horses how to do this politely so that we can leave the arena and hack out in the fields without me having to dismount.  It also comes in handy when we are on the trails and I need to go through a latched gate, and it fits well with one of my mantras:  Every good dressage horse should open gates.  Forrest the border collie is pictured here supervising.

Note also had his first bareback ride with me yesterday.  I had the bareback pad on him because he has some super high withers, but it was his first time being ridden without a saddle.  Initially I got some funny looks with Note asking me if I'd noticed I'd forgotten something, but he settled in quickly and we ended up having a good ride at the walk, trot, and canter, and walking over ground poles.

Saturday, August 4, 2018

The Mare Might Have Wings

I did a jump school with Raven today.  After her long weekend in Steamboat Springs focusing on dressage, we were both ready to get back in the air.  I love this horse, she totally should have wings with the hops she has!

These photos and video were taken by Jasi while she was riding another horse, so it's a little hard to tell how high Raven was.  For reference, the blue standards are 4' tall, and Raven cleared them by a good foot, which means she probably went close to 5'.  This mare is FUN.

Here are two of her videos, just doing the last vertical of the whole course.


Friday, August 3, 2018

2018 Front Range Exceptional Equestrians Show

I judged the FREE show this year again at the Budweiser Events Center in Loveland as part of the Larimer County Fair.  This is one of my favorite shows, one I attend as the judge every year since I have such a love of therapeutic riding.  I used to train horses for a therapy stable, and even though I no longer do that type of work I feel honored to be able to participate in this show every summer. 

This year we went and enjoyed the day, especially the costume classes.  My favorite was of course the quarter horse dressed as Secretariat the race horse. 

I love that we get to be part of this fun show every summer, and we are excited to do it again next year!

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Centered Riding Clinic in Steamboat Springs

We enjoyed a clinic in Steamboat Springs, Colorado last weekend.  It was an open clinic, so I wasn't updating my instructor certification this time, which meant I took Highboy and Raven to get help with furthering each of their training.  Kimberly Hale Photography took pictures for us and she also rode her mare, Rain.  Sara rode Dewey in the clinic.  The other riders in the clinic were great to watch as well!

Highboy's sessions were probably the most exciting.

This episode was the second day of the clinic while we were warming up.  He had ridden really well the first day, and because of that was a bit tired the second day.  I asked him to canter on his left lead (currently his harder one) and when he was about to break to a trot I gave him a little swat with my dressage whip.  This was his demonstrative objection to my encouragement.

As he finished his declaration he then began to canter on very nicely.  One of the other riders in the arena passed us and said, "Oh, so THAT'S why you call him Highboy....!"

The first day I dressed us in our Bit of Honey yellows, which made for really great photos.

Dewey was a champ, he behaved himself well and he and Sara made some good progress, including a  nice right lead canter!  Sara of course had them dressed to impress. 

Kim H. had some terrific rides on Rain as well.  Rain was a little "up" the first day with Raven screaming to her from the paddock during their ride, but Kim rode it well and managed to use the extra forward impulsion to get some nice gaits.

Raven did incredibly well.  She was a little hot the first day, but behaved herself considering I was riding her away from her friends and travel buddies.  Prior to this trip she's been kind of a jerk when we travel with other horses from home, not wanting to leave them and having temper tantrums when we did leave them.  This trip she rode much more like she rides at home, which was a refreshing change and very encouraging progress in her training!

Our other new friends had good rides, too.

We enjoyed meeting Susan and her two cool western horses.  She does cutting and reining with them, and they look like they're built perfectly for those jobs!

We also met Claudia.  Her grey Andalusian mare was powerful and gorgeous, and her liver chestnut horse was a pleasure to watch.

Bridget was from Elizabeth and is an instructor there who teaches a lot of kids.  She brought her bay thoroughbred gelding, so of course we loved him simply because he would fit in so well at our place!

Our Centered-Riding Southwest Area representative is Roxanne, or Rox as we know her.  She rides a stunning huge gaited chestnut gelding named Finn.  Everyone agreed that his canter departures made him look like pegasus, and all he needed was wings to have liftoff.

The other bay thoroughbred gelding we loved was Kevin, belonging to Lore who was hosting the clinic at her facility.  She has had him a little over a year and I was able to teach them last summer when I was there updating my instructor certification.  It was really fun to see how much progress the two of them have made over the past year.

Lore and her husband had put up a shed near the arena to shelter spectators and the peanut gallery from wind, sun, rain, etc.  Because it was a weekend of women, we dubbed it The She-Shed (instead of the man-cave) and whenever we needed onlookers input we would consult the She-Shed.

Lore's dog, Pip, was on alert throughout the clinic.

Pip and Vivien (Regina's Corgi) spent much of their time sounding false alarms for people arriving, as well as trying to herd clinic participants into an orderly line when we were doing unmounted work.

The trampoline exercises are great for several things, but on the morning we worked with them we practiced cantering.  It was fun to watch everyone trying out their left and right leads on the ground, then trying to canter in place on the ground and on the trampolines.  As Regina often said, "If you want to do it in the saddle, you have to be able to do it on the ground!"

The local wildlife consisted of birds eating berries in trees, as well as a giant statue of a bear across the street at the neighbors' place.  Surprisingly, the horses didn't seem to mind the giant wooden carving of a predator, but they did give it a good stare when they first noticed it.

Dewey seemed to have a tongue thing going on, we caught a few photos of him with his tongue out while he was thinking.

Raven, Dewey, and Rain shared a paddock while Highboy was in a stall.

It was a fantastic weekend, with productive riding lessons and unmounted work.  We all left with new things to practice at home on our horses.  We enjoyed meeting new friends and reconnecting with old ones, and we also had a chance to discuss plans for next summer when we'll all head to New Mexico for an Update Clinic for all of us instructors to renew our certifications.  There's so much fun to be had with our horsey travels!