Slowly Healing

So I added pics of my pinky so that you would understand that this is not a simple tiny broken bone!

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What you are seeing is a pin going down the middle of the bone because it broke horizontally. The other pin (this is not a complete piece of metal like it appears) goes through the bone because it also split vertically. The metal “button” that is stitched through the fingernail is holding my tendon back in place as it was disconnected. In 3 weeks i get this cast off and then will find out the course of action for the button. If that doesn’t churn your stomach a little, you must be a doctor, a nurse, or a horse trainer. 😉 When I came out of surgery I was in a cast so I was a little shocked at how gnarly my finger actually was. Just like EVERY thing, God can use it for good, and He did! I realized I was in trouble of lagging behind with my horses and being in the right place at the right time with this cast. A friend of mine since high school kept telling me how great her boyfriend was at training horses. Blah blah blah, everybody is a horse trainer. Anyway, over time I have had a chance to get to know Jeff and before I knew he was partnered with me, in getting these mustangs ready for competition! I will post again later with pics of Jeff and I working. We had a friend come out and take pictures, and I am waiting to get those back! And let me just say, Jeff is a serious GOD SEND. He is one of the top two trainers I have ever worked with, and maybe the best…we will see.

In the meantime, I gotta wear this…

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A New Mustang

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After all the issues that have come up with the black mustang mare that I call “Jive” for now, I am uncertain of her future. All I mean by that is that we are given five months to take these horses from wild to competition. They have to be able to handle a certain level of stress, both physical and mental. At this point Jive cannot handle the physical and therefore we really cannot know of her mental ability. We discovered she was 7, not 4. It’s a much different experience when training an animal that has a few years experience wild compared to all of its youth. SO, without my husbands permission-I’m sorry honey. This is an “ask for forgiveness later” situation.

Because I made this decision to check out the LAST adoption of horses that qualify for the Mustang Million, I did not make the preview.

This is such an amazing gathering of horsemen, that once again, a cowboy helped me out with horses that really stood out to him. So, surprisingly, I picked up a 3 yr-old buckskin gelding for $200. I had several people tell me that had they not already bought another horse-this guy was way toward the end of the sale-that they were going to pick him. One guy said he rubbed all over him yesterday! I’m excited to get him home. Right now I’m waiting to load him up.

Oops! Worse than I thought

So the injury was worse than I thought! While I am supposed to be merrily on my way to preview the mustangs-I have a non-negotiable appointment with an orthopedic at 1 pm today. Thankfully they forced me in, and thankfully the preview goes until 8pm tonight. Here’s a couple pics of the X-Ray. It has not been confirmed, but the primary doc and NP believes that the pinky bone split down the middle, and that piece is trying to exit the body! Ouch!!

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At least I didn’t break an arm

Oops. As I sit in the doctors office Thursday morning, awaiting X-rays, I decided to give my last entry for a while on Little Joe.

Today is the day I go and preview the mustangs that I hope to be adopting one or two of, for the Mustang Million. So, yesterday was my last day to work with Little Joe. Yes, he was an untouched horse, age 4, stallion. I knew he wasn’t ready to take his first step with me on his back. However, I wasn’t sure if he wasn’t ready, or if I wasn’t. Unfortunately, neither of us were. He did great as mounted, got my outside foot in the stirrup-which I had never done before. He was quiet the whole time. I asked him to step forward and he did quietly. Then it all went south. He gradually begin to bolt, and instead of me riding him out, I turned him toward the fence and then attempted to grab it for a dismount. At about the same time he bucked and went left, I went right, and gravity took over from there.

I hit the ground and he continued to buck around the pen. I felt terrible. I should have never had him scared enough that he felt like defending himself. See, horses only buck in self defense. Sure they do little hops in the pasture, but you won’t see a horse running through a pasture bucking hard unless he is being attacked. So, I felt bad. I knew better. In the process he was fine and I broke my pinky. Well, I assume its broken. I’m waiting in X-ray now. My husband was upset because it was going to cost $1000 for an ER visit, but I told him I could wait until today. I forget that such a tiny injury can cause so much pain. Oh well, it’s just a part of it, especially when I make mistakes.

So, I did what I’m supposed to-I got back on. I didn’t ask him to step off, though. He was calm and quiet and happy to be by me, so I unbridled him, placed his halter on and lead him to the tack shed. I unsaddled him, returned him to his pen and gave him his evening feed. I hate to halt his training there, but I think he needs a break anyway.

So, I’ll keep you posted. The picture is a freeze frame from the video my husband shot on my phone.

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I’ve Never Been a Clinic Person, but…

No, really-I’ve never been a clinic person. I went to one clinic in high school and I was 15. I was also the least experienced horse person with the least experienced horse. Both of us had about 60 days horse/person experience! We were basically pushed to the side and forgotten about. If I asked a question I was talked down to as if I didn’t belong. So, as far as I was concerned, I didn’t belong at any clinic. For the next 22 years I would not attend another.

Now, when I was 18, and worked on the guest ranch in Estes Park, CO, I would assist in hosting mini horse training clinics for the guests. I was working for Mark Rashid, and we were training mustangs. I remember one day thinking “I am living the ultimate dream. Now what do I do. I got to dream bigger!” Little did I know that this would come full circle to the Mustang Million.

Back on track to what I mentioned previously now that I was training again-something was missing. I knew I had the know how and experience, but something wasn’t right on the inside. The whole reason for the name of this blog-A Renewed Heart…-is because in the time away from training horses to have babies, I got to know God and his son, Jesus. I changed my life and started living for Christ, and no longer lived for myself or the world. This doesn’t mean I became perfect. It does mean that instead of trying to train horses for my glory and fame (which never did happen though I ran a successful horse training business for a while), I would train and hope in doing so I would somehow glorify God.

So, I can honestly say that I felt like I was being led by my God to attend my ol’ friend, Mark’s clinic in Bryan, TX.

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This is Mark and I on the last day of the clinic. Next time, I’ll tell you what I learned.

Days 2&3

Getting back in the saddle of horse training (bad pun intended), I continued working with Joe. I saddled him with a full sized adult saddle, without incident-meaning he didn’t buck, bolt, or jump. I also got him used to a plastic baggy all over his body. I attempted to get into the saddle, but he was really scared about this. Knowing that I have forgotten all my groundwork strategies, I backed off. It had been raining, and I was having a hard time keeping traction in the stirrup so that I could step up and get Joe accustomed to this simple motion anyway. I ground drive him with a halter and long ropes and he did very well. Again, very willing with no incidents.

I had placed a tarp in the round pen the day before the rain so that Joe could get used to something new on his own. On this day, it had water standing in it as well. As far as horses go, he was or was not going to cross that tarp regardless of the water. Because he had never seen one, he didn’t know the difference. So, I sent him around the round pen and eventually he jumped it, then stepped on it, then had no problem running over it.

People think that things you do from the ground, transfer to the saddle, and it isn’t always true. Similar in case here is that he would cross without a halter, but it was different when I asked him to follow me across.

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It didn’t take long, and eventually he followed me across as well.

I still was not feeling like I was doing something right. At this point, I felt like I was getting the horse to do what I wanted-but the horse was only doing it so that I, the predator, wouldn’t eat him! Something was missing and I was on a journey to figure out what was going on with me, and fast.

I have been keeping up with my old friend, Mark Rashid for years. He was the foreman, my boss, at a dude ranch in Estes Park, CO. He left the ranch a year or two after I did. We lost touch for a while as this was before everyone had a cell phone and Facebook. I went to equine college, and eventually moved back to Texas. I was married and had my two boys. Mark started a new family as well, and began traveling all over the world performing horse clinics. He also began to master the Martial Art of Aikido.

When I was browsing through Facebook one day I saw that Mark was coming to Texas, and it was time to reunite with my friend. I didn’t know what to expect, but I had expectations anyway. There is a song called House That Built Me by Miranda Lambert. I felt like seeing Mark again and attending his clinic would be like getting back to my roots and the house that built me in horse training.

I will write about it next, but I will tell you for sure that I was right. If you really want to change your perspective and interaction with horses forever, I highly encourage you to get to a Mark Rashid clinic or invite him to your place and host a clinic. Those three days fit divinely in with what I thought I was missing. The teachings from Mark also confirmed my thoughts that I have a renewed heart for training horses.

By the way, Mark has written many books, one of which is in the makings for a movie. Watch the trailer for Out of the Wild. You can also find him on Facebook under “Considering the Horse,” which is also the name of his first book.

A New beginning for Little Joe

As I mentioned earlier, I have this horse I call “Little Joe.” With all the horses I have met in my life, two were named Joe. Both were well-built, short, stocky ranch horses. One was the owner’s horse at 4UR Ranch in Creede, Co where I worked in the Summer of 1999 (I think.) The other belonged to a very rich man in Cranfills Gap, TX that has invented things that some of you probably have in your home. Anyway, I really liked both of these horses.
When my Joe was born he reminded me of them as all three were sorrel (red/orange) with a sorrel mane and tail with great Quarter Horse muscle tone.

(Read “The Reason for this blog” for Little Joe’s history).

The day had finally arrived for me to start training Joe. Since I couldn’t catch him in the middle of an open pasture, and because horses are naturally herd animals, I simply put a halter on whichever horse walked up to me first and lead the herd (which was 5 in this pasture) to the corrals. I caught them all individually and put three back into pasture, leaving Joe and our pony “Outlaw” in the pen.

I had decided that the pony would serve two purposes: he would be a companion for Joe, and my sons could start learning to care for and ride their own horse. It would be easier to have them both in the corral every day when we arrived.

The first thing I did was place a saddle on the ground in the middle of the round pen and let Joe in as well. Horses are prey animals and the first thing he did, was ensure himself that the strange, new object in his pen was safe and not going to eat him for lunch. Horse’s (prey) sight is different from ours (predators). Our eyes are in front of our head, and their eyes are on either side of theirs. This causes a blind spot, and their depth perception is not like ours. See image.
Because of this, Joe was very alert, and bobbing his head up and down at the saddle and snorting at it. Then he walked away and ignored it, but kept going back to it for reassurance. That’s what he is doing in these pictures. I did this so that he could introduce himself to the saddle, because at this point, I hadn’t even introduced myself.

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I first got Joe moving in the round pen to establish direction and to let him know that I was going to be asking him to do some things, but wasn’t going to hurt him. I got him to go to the right, and because of fear (horses number one motivator), he ran circles around me. I let him run until he calmed down and then sent him in the other direction.

Something funny happened. After I had established direction, and he began to understand that I was in control, I allowed him to stop and he swung around and stared at me. I was excited this happened. Now remember, I have started 100’s of colts, and it had only been 6 years since I trained my last one (after 17 years of training)-but for the life of me I couldn’t remember what to do next! Well, Little Joe didn’t have a clue either! We just stood there and stared at each other and I said out loud “Buddy, you’re doing great, but honestly, I don’t know what to do next.” Then I remembered my goal was to eventually get closer and halter him.

For the rest of our “session”, I worked him in the round pen and worked on him trusting me. I was able to eventually get close enough to get a hand on him, and then pet him, halter him and I even saddled him. I felt like that was way more than he probably needed, but he was just so willing, I kept going.

Over the next week I would learn that on this day I made some mistakes…

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