Building a Better Bond in Little Time

Everyone has a busy schedule, me included. Actually, make that-me especially. One husband, two little girls, and two small businesses leave little time for my personal horses.

Time is a precious commodity in our home, so when I do have any time carved out to ride or train my horses, I use it intentionally. Here are my tried-and-true methods to use my time with my horses efficiently and effectively.

Before I begin, I make a set of goals for my time. I first decide how my time would be spent best, whether it be riding, lunging, or doing ground work. Then I make a quick mental list of the things I want to accomplish. They are generally smaller, short-term goals to help build foundations for bigger goals. For instance, I'm currently working on a lead change with my horse, Hot Rod. If I have an hour to ride, I might set goals to work on straightness and balance at the lope. Establishing this small step will set me up for the next ride to continue towards a lead change. Have a plan before you ever pull your horse out of the pen.

Budget your time during your ride or training session. For me, it's always the cool-down I tend to neglect. I know how important a cool-down is to my ride and yet when I'm not intentionally budgeting my time, I will lope my ride away and poor Hot Rod gets a quick pat and is put back out to pasture. To remedy this problem, I have started using the stopwatch function on my phone. I will break up my ride into different sections and time them. Or, I will listen to a predetermined playlist to help keep my ride on schedule. Check out the playlist I'm using right now on my blog at www.rockingeboarding.com.

Use the time you have, as little as it may be. Did your day fill up with unforeseen errands and responsibilities? No problem. You don't have to have an hour of concentrated training to meet your goals. If you have an extra 10 minutes, give your horse a good grooming. Use the time to scout out any injuries and assess his weight. If you have an extra 15 minutes, work on a showmanship pattern. You don't have to show to practice showmanship. It's a great way to boost your horse's manners on the ground. Even if you have 20 minutes, you can saddle up just to work through your normal warm-up session. Walk and trot through serpentines to improve your horse's suppleness. When spending time with your horse, quality always trumps quantity. Just because you have little time, it does not mean it can't be beneficial time.

Finally, don't forget to enjoy your horse. Don't forget why you fell in love with horses in the first place. Not all your encounters with your horse have to be strictly scheduled. Maybe you are like me and spending time outdoors with my horse feeds my soul. Sometimes, the most beneficial way to spend time with your horse is not to plan at all. I've had some of my favorite rides when I was flexible in how I spent my time.

Keeping an organized schedule with your horse is important if you want to achieve big goals and dreams. But every once in a while, let loose and enjoy the moment. Ride down country roads, lope in a big open pasture, ride bareback, let him hand graze on green grass. Your horse will enjoy the break and your bond will be strengthened.
By planning ahead, budgeting your time, and using your time intentionally you can reach your goals with your horse. But don't forget to have some fun!

My Power Riding Playlist

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I never ride at home without my music. Ever. Music gets me pumped up, y’all! It helps me keep track of the time I’ve spent in the saddle, gives me a rhythm to trot and lope to, and keeps me motivated. I may or may not dance from the waist up when no one’s looking. I personally need an upbeat playlist for my rides. My horse is naturally slow and lazy, so it helps to have some energetic music in the background. Sometimes I take the headphones out and play it so he can hear it too. Silly, you say? Well, I don’t. Don’t knock until you try it. Here is my current riding playlist and how I use it to time my workout with my horses. It gets my blood pumpin’! You can change the exercises to fit your needs! This is meant for about a 30 minute ride.

Warm up at a walk. Include turns and circles to encourage suppleness:

Swedish House Mafia “Save the World” 3:36

Long trot while actively asking my horse to give his face to the bridle and collect:

The Weeknd “I Cant Feel My Face” 3 :38

Major Lazer & DJ Snake “Lean On” 2:58

Lope big circles with collection:

Lilly Wood and The Prick ” Prayer in C” 3:09

Swedish House Mafia “Don’t You Worry Child” 5:34

Calvin Harris “Blame” 4:15

Work on new maneuvers or patterns:

One republic “Counting Stars” 4:43

Katy Perry Ft. Juicy J “Dark Horse” 3:45

Cool down at the walk

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An Amateur’s Approach to Applying Standing Wraps

Standing wraps are an excellent tool to have in your horse-care arsenal. They can be used for several reasons, including support of the lower limbs during trailering, wound care on the lower limbs, and overnight support of the tendons and ligaments in the lower limbs after a hard workout.
Maybe you've seen other people apply standing wraps, but it seems intimidating to you. There are some important rules to follow when applying standing wraps for maximum effectiveness and safety. Here's a step-by-step guide to applying standing wraps correctly.
1. First gather your supplies. You'll need bandage quilts and standing wraps or polo wraps to wrap your quilts with. Generally, you'll need longer quilts for hind limbs and shorter quilts for fore limbs. These can be found at local feed stores or online.
2. Clean the lower legs thoroughly before applying your wrap. You do not want to wrap over wet or dirty legs, as this can create painful rubs.
3. Roll up your quilts and wraps before you begin. This will make wrapping more efficient so you are not struggling with long amounts of material. To roll up your standing wraps or polo wraps, start by folding the Velcro section on top of itself. This will cause the Velcro to face out when you're finishing your wrap.
4. Begin by placing the end of your quilt on the inside of the leg. You should be looking at the inside of the rolled up portion of the quilt as you work your way around the leg. It is very important to wrap the left legs counter-clockwise and the right legs clockwise. This creates an even front-to-back pressure on the tendons. One phrase to help remember this technique is "tendons in," as in pulling the tendons toward the inside of the cannon bone. Hold your quilt in place after it has been completely wrapped around the leg.
5. Start your standing wrap or polo wrap on the inside of the leg, just as you did with the quilt, about halfway down the leg. As you wrap, use a steady, even pressure spiraling down to the base of your quilt, back up to the top, and once more down to about the halfway point. Each turn around the leg should cover about 50% of the wrap's width. Use your Velcro to secure the wrap. If your wraps are for shipping purposes, longer quilts are more suitable so you create a sling for the fetlock. Otherwise, your wrap should end just above the quilt and the fetlock. The wrap should be smooth from top to bottom, void of any wrinkles or bumps.

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Now that you know how to wrap, there are some cardinal rules to follow.
1. If you are wrapping an injury on one leg, wrap the corresponding leg for even support and circulation.
2. Always wrap legs pulling the "tendons in," and do not pull too tightly or too loosely. A poorly wrapped bandage can most often do more harm than good.
3. Standing wraps are for horses who are, you guessed it, standing. These bandages are meant for stall rest or trailering only.
4. Practice makes perfect. Your wrapping skills will only improve with time and experience. This is a great activity for rainy days when you can't ride.

Lastly, if you need to apply a bandage but don't feel confident in your wrapping abilities yet, don't attempt it. Call your vet for help!

Wave Fork Review

 

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I clean a lot of stalls. Like, a lot. So it’s really important to use a good rake to scoop that poop with. There’s nothing more irritating than using a rake with lost tines and dropping manure with every scoop. It takes more of my valuable time to use a bad rake. Lately, I’ve had one too many of those bad rakes. The tines just didn’t seem strong enough to stand up against our Oklahoma clay in the runs of our stalls. Enter, the Wave Fork from Noble Outfitters. Noble Outfitters is a fairly new company to the horse world and their products have been beckoning me at the feed store for several weeks. This seemed like the perfect chance to try one out.

The Wave Fork, much like it’s name, has these nifty wavy tines instead of the straight ones most rakes have.

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They also are much more flexible than my last rakes.

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The tines can separate and come apart. They slide onto a plastic piece that goes along the top. So, if a tine does break, you just replace it instead of buying a brand new rake! You can see how the black and orange tines fit together in the photo.

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Best of all, it comes with a five year warranty! Pretty cool, in my opinion. And since I wasn’t paid to endorse this product, these are all my own honest thoughts and observations! I bought my Wave Fork at my local feed store, but you can order them online as well at Noble Outfitter’s website. They’re a bit pricey, but I’m hoping it will pay for itself in the long run.

Update!

I just wanted to give you all a casual update on what has been going on with me and my family. My last few posts have been, well, boring. But that's only because I've been super busy growing a baby, delivering a baby, and now caring for a real-life-sweet-little-urchin of a baby girl. Emmalee Belle. She was born on May 22, and is as healthy and as beautiful as can be. The Lord really outdid himself this time.

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Life with a newborn can be challenging. Throw in a four year old, a business, and three of your own horses to ride and it gets downright crazy. For the most part, our new family of four has adjusted smoothly and quickly. I rode Hot Rod and Kona up until the last two weeks before delivering, mainly due to the enormous amount of rainfall we had here in Oklahoma, and I worked in the barns up until the day before I delivered. After Emmalee was born, I started doing barn checks and light feedings three days later. Six weeks in, I'm riding three times a week and back to feeding everyday. Not bad! I could not have done any of this without my amazing and supportive husband. Thank you, Brad! This is three days after she was born. My body was still so swollen and puffy from all the fluids they gave me. Check out my monster feet and hands! Yikes!

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Now, after weeks off from riding I have started to put together a new riding program for each of my guys and make a new list of goals individual to them both. As a mom, I know there's nothing more frustrating than putting a puzzle together and realizing you have missing pieces, and that's about how I feel with my horses right now. So, the last two weeks I have been running through a mental list during my rides checking off the skills they have and making notes of their missing pieces so to speak. Here are a few of Hot Rod's "holes" to work on:
1. Loping off immediately from a halt with collection
2. Performing a working trot that is quick and lively without being nagged
3. More quick and precise back up
4. Performing a lead change without baubles or a step
You'll notice that most of those things are polishing skills he already possesses. In my mind, this means they are primarily rider concerns. I have not asked enough of him. I know he can physically do these things and I know he understands when I ask him. So it's up to me to show him it's time to clean up and polish our rides.
Kona is a different story. Though Kona is "broke" according to any cowboy's standards, he definitely is not finished. Here is Kona's list of "holes:"
1. Precise steering with a neck rein
2. Trotting off immediately when cued
3. Performing a half-pass and side-pass
4. Performing a turn on the haunches
5. Not acting gate sour
6. Loping off immediately without baubles
7. Giving the face without false curling of the neck
I know what you're thinking, "how do you even ride that horse?!" Well, it's not always fun and it requires focused concentration. Which is exactly why I have neglected him. Tonight I rode him and reminded myself that every time he's naughty it is an excellent opportunity for him to learn and me to grow as a rider. I have considered sending him to a trainer, but I know I can accomplish these things myself. Now that it's on paper, I know exactly what I'm working towards each ride with him. Even if we work hard for two weeks, we will make huge progress.
I love starting new routines, setting new goals, and watching hard work pay off. So here's to a new baby and new goals! Happy summer, everyone!

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About Allie

About Allie

Welcome to my blog! My name is Allie and my passion is caring for horses. My days consist of feeding, cleaning, and nurturing my two favorite things: horses and my little girl! I hope you enjoy reading about my adventures in equine ownership and life as a business-owning mommy!