Friday, March 9, 2018

Friday Ask

Hey friends,

I am feeling the need to pick up some books to help guide me and hopefully light the training fire in me again. In particular, I need a good book on ground work - I do want to take Arya to work with a trainer when I can, but for now, I don't really want her to just hang out and become more and more feral.

So, do you have any favorite training related books?

Also, if you've been eyeballing anything on my sales list, please make me an offer! I'm motivated to de-clutter my life - and to build up my funds so I can find myself some boots or half chaps that don't make me hate my life :)

Happy Friday!


  1. honestly from my experience, while there are specific exercises to practice in ground work (for instance, i've blogged about all the ones i know) there's no real mystical magical aura to any of it.

    it literally all boils down to : handle your horses consistently. your horses live on your own property, yet you say you go weeks at a time without actually catching arya. step #1 in making her less feral is... actually interacting with her purposefully every day. take the time you would spend reading and actually handle the horse instead. like if you literally just walk out to her field every day, catch her, handle her, move her around in a calm and positive way (ie, not just flying her around on the lunge and calling it "work"), i guarantee she would seem less feral. it really does not have to be complicated, only consistent.

    you've also mentioned a few times over the years that you intend to eventually work with a trainer with one or another of your horses, but you never actually take that step. i'm honestly not sure why. having a professional in person who can watch and guide could legitimately be a difference maker, and would certainly be more effective than most advice from strangers on the internet.

    1. Emma, you aren't wrong. I almost deleted the post because if this, but I need to stop running away from certain realities.

      I want to work with a trainer, but I have no room in my budget for it currently. Pure and simple. I can forecast when that will change, but in the mean time, I've got myself, a community of bloggers who often inspire, remind and shape my riding without even realizing it, and any books I can get my paws on.

      I will be honest and say that this winter has been the least productive one of my horse career; I spent a lot of time looking out of windows at them and not handling them due to weather, lack of motivation, etc, etc. I can catch Arya and bring her in at the end of the day but it doesn't take much to catch a horse who is used to your routine and knows that dinner is on the other end. I've been more thoughtful and have been able to take more time, and I'm quite pleased with the results in that area.

      However, training wise, I feel like I'm on the edge with this horse; we had a working relationship this summer post rearing incident and I could comfortably and confidently handle her on the ground and under saddle. She was making progress, and we were starting to connect. And some of that progress is still there - I can control and move her feet - but her brain is not in the game, at all. I feel like my exercises are not as effective as perhaps others would be, so I was hoping I could find some book related advice to tide me over until I have other options.

    2. i'm glad you didn't delete this post and i certainly don't want to sound harsh or out of line. i apologize if i did/do. being real: i don't know you. i don't know your life. i don't know anything about the circumstances of your horse world beyond what you've shared here. and this community *is* supposed to be inspiring and supportive, not shut people down. i get that.

      i also get that winter is just plain hard, as is adjusting to the dynamics of having the herd at home vs at a facility with a built in community. and motivation is hard to come by this time of year.

      honestly tho, i would challenge you: keep doing what you're doing with Arya. you've made progress with her before, you can do it again. try to be super consistent with at least 15min brief sessions 4x/wk for the next four weeks (daylight savings is this weekend!!) and find $75 in your budget in the next six weeks for a lesson with a trainer. lessons don't have to be weekly to be beneficial - just one session might be eye opening in giving you what you seek with more effective exercises. plus i bet your motivation will come flooding back as Arya begins to reflect the consistency you put into her.

    3. ooh also, it's not a book, but it's a youtube series i've watched literally a half dozen times probably. and maybe i've recommended it to you before so i'm sorry if i'm repeating myself. but i loves it and have found it so so so so useful for isabel and charlie, and my approach to horses in general:

      stacy westfall's jac series. here's the link for episode 1:

      it becomes less interesting once they're fully under saddle, but all the stuff she goes through in preparing the colt for backing is stuff that can be applied with any horse at any time, and she spends a lot of time discussing her methodology and reasoning behind everything.

  2. Not all groundwork exercises but I really like Jec Ballou's Equine Fitness book.

    1. I will look into that! If anything, Bailey is really hard to get fit and doesn't keep muscle well (I jokingly tell her it's the warmblood in her) so a fitness book would be great to have for her, too!

  3. When I started with Griffin, we worked through this book that you can preview nearly half of for free here:

    It's really intro level stuff for starting a young green horse, but that's what I had at the time. I still revisit the basic concepts of moving his feet and getting him to respond to my body language to this day. Consistency is key. When I went out to see him in the beginning, I went every day of the week. Some days we would work on this stuff, other day's we would just groom and spend time together, sometimes we would go on walks. It was the time spent that made as much a difference as the things from the book.

    You'll get there!!

    1. Thank you! Half a free book is awesome, and I'm going to dive in right now :D

      I think we (once again) need to start over with Arya - I can tell someone cut plenty of corners with her, and I'd like her to be a well rounded equine with a brain rather than rush her, so basics are exactly what we need! I almost feel like I need "basics for stallions" or something because so much of what I'm finding works great on submissive horses like my red horse, but Arya is all "lol cool story bro" and blows me off. I'm planning on going for walks, too, as soon as the drifts aren't knee high!