Monday, December 29, 2014

Slow Feeders

This years slow feeder design is improved over last years. They are easier to move, have higher sides and the screen has been welded to have more and smaller openings. Matt made a couple of them (basically as shown above). After Matt had made a couple on that model he was about out of scrap lumber.  Then, Ted and Terrence helped him to modify old cracked water troughs (as shown below) into additional slow feeders. We have two feeders in the little pasture and we are keeping at least three in the big pasture.
This one was modified after this photo - all smaller holes necessary!

It is pretty nice because we now feed hay only once a day and the horses take about 24 hours to clean up the appropriate ration of hay. Anyone getting supplements or extra rations gets those delivered in the evening individually but it's a very low workload compared to prior years while delivering better care for our horses. We used to feed hay three times a day and yet the horses were still eating 'meals' versus having constant access to feed.  The photo to the left shows a feeder with a freshly loaded bale of hay, the picture just below shows the mini feeder from the little pasture at 24 hours from a fill.

We are feeding less hay (in reality 'wasting' less), the horses are in better condition, and we spend less time achieving that. All around win win situation!

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Christmas Time! Different Gingerbread Scene this year

We have traditionally made a gingerbread train as one of our family Christmas projects. We always  enjoy decorating up the train cars and filling them with goodies. This year however, one of the kids suggested we make a horsemanship/western themed scene so here is the beginning of that project.

We did get the round pen and a couple of little sleighs up but there was a lot more on the creative idea list which we didn't actually get done yet.... Maybe next year we'll start earlier!  Check our facebook page  (you can find us by looking for Ted Nicholes or Foundations And Beyond Horsemanship)  too for more pictures!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Parade Pics from Saturday

Well, as often happens, it didn't go exactly as planned - but it was still a good experience for horses, ponies, and kids!  I meant to be purely on the sidelines and positioned to take pictures but I wasn't able to make that happen so all I have are just a few snapshots taken just before the parade got started.

Accident number one - Ardreth's cargo of gifts (he was meant to be a delivery elf) got left behind. Note we did have the bows for his packages a few of which we stuck on the saddle blanket. #2 - His elf shoes, which worked so well on the test run at home, turned out to be very vulnerable to nervous side stepping. At home there was no side stepping so this vulnerability was undiscovered until too late. We took Ardreth, Snip pulling the wagon, and Beth on Clay as our part of the parade but we were also collaborating with Nyssa Artistic Dance where our girls take lessons so we had loads of excited kids! Enough to make even a pony that lives at our place a little antsy for a few minutes. It didn't phase Snip of course, but then, she's been through this sort of thing before! When you add in about twenty excited and rather noisy dance students things change a little for a newbie pony.  If I would have just waited until a couple minutes later to put them on.... He settled down very quickly but not before he had remolded the wire frame inside the elf boots! I jerked them off the frame and fastened them around his fetlocks, (thank goodness for duct tape!).

I think he still passed with flying colors but I wish I had figured out a more resilient elf shoe! Also, (#3) his little elf/ballerina rider was without her blinking lights so he wasn't well illuminated. Oh well, Ardreth and she were still a hit based on pure cuteness.

Snip did her usual fantastic job. It was the first time I have put a blinking light on her nose; she didn't seem to notice. This was a triumphant date for LJ as she was allowed to drive Snip. She often does drive her but this is the first time she was allowed to in a parade/without an older person sitting with her directing. We did have Matt there just in case of anything going wrong but he just strolled alongside and LJ remained the driver for the duration.

Beth said she felt silly just riding her horse down the street (not standing up on her or doing any tricks or anything) and that she doesn't want to do a parade again if she isn't more prepared! Some people are born over achievers but I have to admit she isn't the only one around here. Maybe it's genetic?

Overall I think it turned out to be a good experience for kids and horses. If we repeat next year I will be better prepared so hopefully I will be able to take good pictures of the event (and remember all the props!). At any rate we appreciate (and try to maximize) the training value of everything we do, in a way we didn't in years past. It is amazing how much an increased understanding of horse psychology changes your perspective on everything you do with your horses.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Parade Tomorrow!

We will be in the Nyssa Parade this year. The kids have been looking forward to it like crazy. Ardreth has a costume (elf), Snip even has a little bit of a costume (think blinking nose) and Beth and Clay will both be beautiful winter ballerinas!

It has been keeping us busy trying to make sure we are prepped for tomorrow which is parade day in Nyssa, Oregon. Since the horses will be in a very busy town setting the kids decided to put jingle bells on the ponies and take Ardreth on a practice walk through town with the pros (Clay and Snip). Ardreth is going to be the cutest Christmas elf pony in the history of elf ponies! Clay and Beth's parade performance may end up a little mundane compared to the last parade as Beth has been so busy this week she has done no standing riding practice at all.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Horse Sledding!

Sledding with horses!

An often overlooked benefit of having well trained horses. Particularly awesome for large families where, in a non-horse sledding scenario, the big kids barely get started before the littlest kids are worn out and ready to go home. In this setting (with horse and pony!), the bigger kids strategically plan who rides sleds up the hill, when, and who takes turns leading the pony and thus manipulate the situation so that everyone is able to enjoy playing as long as the weather holds (or until chore time!). Makes a lot of great family memories!

The time that is spent developing, soft, supple, responsive and calm, well trained horses and ponies pays off over and over and over! I love this. It is so awesome to be able to turn kids loose with horses and sleds and not worry for a second! I did stuff like this as a kid but I was not nearly as safe as my kids are. I had a well trained and relatively well behaved horse but it wasn't like what my kids have! We just didn't know then what we know now!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Collages from Oreana 2014 - Steph, Carrie, Virginia, Bob

I found a new toy in Picasa, collage makers! Thanks Karen Bumgarner for telling me to look for it! Click on the pictures to have it give you a better view!

Virginia and Flash

Bob and his big paint, whose name escapes my leaky memory at the moment!

Steph and Smokey

Carrie and Peanut (I have so many photos of Peanut from when he was here, he should get another collage!)

2015 Oreana Spring Clinic

We have selected the dates for the spring 2015 Oreana clinic! 
We will have a three day clinic at the Teeter Ranch in Oreana, Idaho March 20, 21, 22, 2015. 
In consideration of the many endurance riders who are interested we are having it early so as to be sure not to conflict with the ride season. We do expect to have another 2015 spring clinic a little bit later in the spring, (probably at Parma) but the exact dates are not set just yet. Contact Ted (541-212-3330) with any questions or contact Leni (541-212-3555) or to reserve your spot. $100 deposit will hold your spot and there will be a limit of seven participants. You can also check out some of the other posts on this blog to learn more about our clinics.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Horses at Home!

Fall is here and I have my camera back from the shop. Here are some recent shots!

First up; Pospy, the three year old appaloosa filly that Beth acquired this summer.
 Popsy is one of the calmest fillies we have ever seen and she seems absolutely destined to become a bombproof kids horse. She will be getting a lot of experience in different environments this winter. Beth has plans to take her to playdays, etc. in addition to all of our normal 'outside' ride areas.  

 This is one of the strategies we employ to help our horses be prepared to be worked by short, small folks! (note - We don't do this when it will compromise our ability to conduct training.  It is used only when the horse is well past the teaching stage of the exercise!

These next shots are of Cowboy. He is also destined by nature to become a fantastic all around bombproof kid or beginner horse. Cowboy is extremely motivated to find the answer when presented with a new problem but he is not motivated to waste any extra calories or to get excited about much of anything. Working on refining intermediate and adding in a bit of advanced exercises at this point. We are leaving Cowboy a stud for now although depending on what his final job becomes he may eventually be gelded. He is such a mellow stallion that it is very easy to leave him be one for now! I call him Ted's therapy horse because it always makes Ted happier when he spends some time working with Cowboy. This particular series of photos was double value therapy; Hang out with your three year old and work on your horse's training! 

More pictures of the Welsh pony that belongs to Beth! These are all photos of LJ working Ardreth. Beth is putting quite a bit of time on him but it really helps Beth to get all of her project horses handled that she has LJ to help with Ardreth.

I love how these next two pictures show Laura sit, sit, sit - before she pulls!

Littlest Sis can't wait until next year as the projection is that she will be able to ride Ardreth next spring.

Terrence on Cruiser. This horse has been a great project for Terrence. Ted frequently states what  a great job Terrence has done with Cruiser's training. Terrence is currently refining some easy trick riding stunts on Cruiser and is working on Cruiser's progress through the Method. He is also making an effort to get Cruiser some other handler experience (in other words let someone else ride him once in a while!) The plan is to take all of our green horses to as many events as we can work in this winter and the hope is that Cruiser will be suitable for multiple kids to use at play days or team sortings, etc. It should be well within Cruiser's ability to fill that slot! Terrence practices riding in a western saddle, a treeless endurance saddle and bareback to solidify Cruiser's ability to discern the cues in various situations. Some of us also think that he likes to show off his ability to stick like a bur to his horse; but we forgive him!

Hugo getting some small handler preparation on his groundwork exercises. Hugo is one of Ted's favorite horses ever to work with. He has so much try it is a pleasure to teach him. 

 I seem to be missing pictures of some of the crowd; Clay, Clyde, M.J. and Snip all got left out of this post. I will try to get them on here soon!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Monday, October 13, 2014

OREANA CLINIC overview and pictures!

The clinic at the Teeter Ranch was awesome! The clinic did fill (at the last minute!) so we had seven students and their horses. It was a great weekend with a fantastic bunch of participants. We even had quite a few auditors over the three days which was particularly nice. Several of the participants indicate that they would love to do another clinic at the Teeter Ranch in the spring so we may be setting the date for another clinic there soon!     

Each day began somewhat like this picture of day one of the clinic.

On day two a little bit of practice without our horses followed the lecture time;

Morning three began with a round penning demonstration. Multiple participants told us that the round pen demo was extremely helpful to them. Ted used a two year old filly of Steph's for this demonstration. He explained throughout the exercise what he was doing and why. 

Each day was a full days work for all the participants. The first day was all ground work, with the second and third days being a mix of ground work and riding exercises.

Steph Teeter on Smokey during a session of riding exercises. 

More info and photos from the clinic to be added soon - keep checking in with us and thank you for visiting the blog! 

Friday, October 3, 2014

Another 4 Year Old - Cruiser

Current Training Projects - Finally - One for Terrence! Introducing Cruiser 

Our sixteen year old son Terrence is a hard working member of the horse team around here. Of late, he is a horseless hard working member of the horse team.  Terrence has been using hours and hours of his time helping train and care for the horses here owned by the rest of us! Like all members of the family; he is expected to buck hay, fix fences, clean pens, and in general pitch in with all duties. He even trims most of the hooves here, (which is suddenly getting to be quite a few hooves!). If any kid has ever done enough to earn the privilege of owning some "maintenance on four legs" of their own here's one (of course all of our kids work hard but Terrence undoubtedly puts in more hours on other peoples horses than anyone else!). Terrence has had the opportunity to work with a bunch of horses over the last two years in particular. As he has had exposure to all of these horses and gained experience he also developed a pretty good idea of just what kind of horse he was looking for. So how blessed is our family that exactly the perfect horse for Terrence just happens to become available this summer?

Terrence showing Cruiser's vertical flexion off!

This horse came from the same ranch as Hugo and is also registered half Arabian, although unlike Hugo (who is half POA) Cruiser's non Arab half is AQHA.  The previous owners had run an endurance horse breeding ranch for many years but this summer were getting out of the horse business and putting their range to other use. Therefor they had quite a few horses to re-home in a short time period. This horse was a bit of an awkward case to place as he had not been gelded when he was younger so now he was a virtually untrained four year old half Arabian stallion. (So not an ideal prospect for many people!) Since this horse still needed to be gelded he was living with their other ranch stallions which means he was familiar with being picketed on a long line as their stallions spend a lot of time out on stakes. That was however, the only thing he was really familiar with! Upon arrival here Terrence scheduled to have him gelded, began training immediately and struggled to find a good name as he was NOT going to call him the name that he was going by when we picked him up (Hottie). Imagine that! What guy wouldn't want to introduce his horse as Hottie? (Presumably the nickname was derived from his registered name Hot Buttered Rum.) Terrence settled on the name Cruiser and had the horse gelded July 3. He was barely phased by the operation and Terrence was able to continue his training uninterrupted, putting his first ride on him on July 4th. Cruiser has finally started to realize he is not a stud horse anymore so we will be able to integrate him into the mixed pasture herd now. So far he has been in a gelding only group but we hope to be able to put most of the herd together on the bigger pasture for winter. Terrence has been working consistently with him and has done all of his training (with coaching and advice from Dad always available!).  As a half Arabian Cruiser has some physical traits (that extended trot!) of Arabs but he definitely didn't get the reactive streak that Hugo has. He is actually one of those 'in the middle' horses that everyone would love; calm and not over reactive but very willing to go.  He is also rather nicely put together and quite athletic, and according to Terrence, easy to teach.  Currently Terrence has Cruiser through the fundamental and intermediate levels and is now refining intermediate exercises in preparation for moving on to advanced. He is also devoting some of Cruiser's training sessions to preparing him for trick riding. Because who doesn't want to do headstands on top of a loping horse?

I finally got my camera back from the shop so I should be getting some more current photos up on here soon!
Next post on our current training projects will be Ted's new horse, a beautiful foundation bred AQHA bay stallion, Cowboy. Next post after that - my ride for this winter! I am so excited to have M.J. here!!!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Advanced Clinic

Advanced Clinic in Wyoming
If you know Ted at all you know he is always excited about learning and increasing his own skills. Thus he was super excited to be able to participate in this clinic!
This was a private clinic hosted by Robin and Dennis Harris at their beautiful property in Jackson, Wyoming this July and taught by Clinton Anderson Certified Professional Clinician Brittany Huff.   
I guess you should never be surprised when things don’t go as planned; it seems to be a bit of a pattern in life actually! Originally we had planned to take Karen Bumgarner's horse Brass along on our little jaunt to Wyoming. Ted had been preparing Brass for advanced work since our return from the Fundamentals Clinic in Texas. Brass has had intermittent soundness issues over the last year (as he recovers from years of nutritional neglect as well as what Pete Ramey (equine hoof expert his website is  calls LOF [lack of farrier] disease). When another instance of unexpected, mysterious lameness suddenly manifested itself just two days before we planned to head to the advanced clinic we both thought that we should reconsider taking Brass to Wyoming.  The lameness vanished almost as quickly as it appeared.  Karen was fairly confident that Brass’ issue that weekend was muscular and that it would likely not be a risk to Brass to take him to the clinic. Neither Ted nor I were comfortable with taking any risk whatsoever that there might be harm caused to Brass, and so in spite of Karen’s generosity we made the decision to proceed to the clinic without a horse in tow. This was a big disappointment for Ted who had been looking forward to this clinic all summer. I called Robin and explained what had happened and that unfortunately, we would not be bringing a horse with us so Ted would be observing only. Robin however insisted that Ted would have a mount for the clinic if she could make it happen. Twenty minutes later she called me back to tell me that Rio (a three year old gelding of the Harris’) would be available for Ted for the week! We had met Rio in Texas as Robin and Dennis' daughter Dusty had taken him as her horse for the Fundamentals Clinic this spring. Meanwhile Dennis had taken Rio through the Intermediate level of the Method (just as Ted was doing with Brass here!) so Rio was prepared to begin advanced level and was a perfect horse for Ted to work with at the clinic.  

Ted and I then decided to leave a day earlier than originally planned for Ted to have a chance to work with Rio a little bit before the official beginning of the clinic. So we spent our eighteenth wedding anniversary en route to Jackson! It was a very pleasant little drive in our Honda (in sharp contrast to a long unpleasant drive to Texas this spring!). The setting for the clinic was almost surreal; I have never been anyplace so beautiful before. Dennis and Robin were wonderful gracious hosts who made this Advanced level clinic possible for everyone. They have made their own home a lovely display of their personal artistry and craftsmanship; that added to the delightful scenery all around us made for a breathtaking week. I originally planned to watch each day of the clinic, learning what I could by watching, listening and taking notes. Of course I also planned to be taking a lot of pictures (as usual!). I definitely took a lot more pictures of the amazing surroundings then I did of the clinic! There were two different horses available for me to ride out into what we referred to as Robin and Dennis’ backyard (the back property gate goes straight onto National Forest Service property).  It was so beautiful and I absolutely loved the opportunity to simply mount up and head out to enjoy it! As a direct result I have less pictures of the clinic than I originally planned to have. The downside is that I learned very little from observing the clinic because I did not spend a lot of time observing!  Everything was a pleasure; the surroundings; the companions; the beautiful scenery; and for Ted the added pleasure of working alongside a like minded group of horsemen all focused on taking their horsemanship to a higher level. Ted enjoyed being able to work with Rio at the clinic, Rio was much better suited to the execution of the advanced maneuvers than Brass simply due to his conformation type. Ted said  his best takeaway piece of knowledge was how to put all the parts of a collected rollback together and perform it. 

Like the clinic in Texas; one of the best things about this one was the people there! Ted was one of four people invited by Robin and Dennis to participate in the five day lesson taught by Brittany. The amazing thing is we just met Dennis and Robin in Texas this spring; just barely in time for Ted to be able to participate in the only Advanced Clinic (which was technically a five day private lesson) that any of the Downunder Certified Clinicians have ever put on.We both are so thankful for having had this once in a lifetime experience! Like everyone else, we have our challenges in life but we have certainly been blessed by the people we keep meeting on our horsemanship journey!
This view is the beginning of almost every ride I went on! I love this photo!

This picture was taken from almost the same location as the previous photo only facing back towards the arena.
Some more pictures from my personal time on this trip follow. They are just scenes from my recreational rides out while Ted and the other participants worked on the Advanced exercises!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

One spot available at Oct. 10, 11, 12 Clinic

We have one participant spot still open for the October Clinic at the Teeter Ranch in Oreana next month. Ted limits the clinic group to seven students. The limit is in place in order to ensure that Ted is able to give enough individual attention to each student. We want everyone to have as much help as they need and to receive great learning value in their clinic experience. There is no auditor limit so if you would like to come watch any or all of the clinic feel free. This even extends to being able to camp at the Teeter Ranch for this particular clinic! Check out the page on the clinic and the recent events page for more information about what one of Ted's clinics is like. If you would like to participate in a clinic but this particular clinic timing is inconvenient (or you don't get a spot!), don't worry; Ted will schedule a clinic at a time and place which will work for you, see the services offered page or contact Ted for more information.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Current Training - Hugo

This has been the year for four year old geldings! Hugo is one of the three four year old geldings our family has acquired this summer. He is half Arabian, half POA and full of potential. I am super excited about him as our "Next Level" pony. He was an amazing find and we believe he will be with our family for years and years. He has a lot of athletic ability, fantastic hooves (open range raised!), and a super abundance of intelligence and energy. He is pretty much the polar opposite of Ardreth in personality, while Ardreth's favorite part of training is NOT moving, Hugo loves to go and the faster the better. Because Hugo was basically a wild horse and much more reactive than most of the horses which come here, Ted has spent significant time on him but at this point he is receiving a lot of training from Beth with some help from Terrence. Terrence has been 'lucky' to have several very reactive types of horses to work with over the last two years and so has really developed a lot of experience with reactive horses!

BETH on HUGO -still working on cruise control.

I love how Hugo watches her feet and follows every step!

I am so excited about his athleticism.

LJ gets saddle time on Hugo under direct Daddy supervision only at this point.

Even though she is the one who Hugo likes the most and who we hope will be the one enjoying him for the next several years she is not given any unsupervised ride time yet.  Hugo is so quick to learn that we are being very cautious that her lesser experience doesn't end up teaching him something we don't want him to know (i.e. - That she is not as quick or as strict as Terrence, Beth or Ted!).