Welcome Luna

Luna and her soon-to-be-born Gypsy Sport Horse foal joined our family on winter solstice this year.

Luna Spotted Draft in foal to Gypsy Cob Stallion Jack FLash

Luna Spotted Draft in foal to Gypsy Stallion Jack Flash

Luna had been through four owners since April, through no fault of her own. Luna is a 4 year-old Spotted Draft mare, small despite her Shire blood. She’s sweet, sound and healthy, like so many equine victims of today’s economy.  A foreclosure loomed large in Luna’s recent past, as well as a cancer situation.  She was huge with foal and facing uncertainty with her now-trademark Mona Lisa smile.

We needed another horse like a fish needs a bicycle but Luna needed a safe place to foal.  As has become our mantra during this challenging season in our country, it’s not about what we need but about what needs us.

The sire of Luna’s baby is Jack Flash, a registered Gypsy Cob stallion imported from the UK.  (His owner took the original picture at their Dakota Winds Ranch, and Susan Gallien at Blue Moon Gypsies worked her magic to photoshop the wire fence out of the foreground.)

Jack Flash Gypsy Stallion

Both Luna and the foal will go through our foundational program in classical dressage and natural horsemanship before they specialize.  I can see Luna as a great little all-around mare- fox chasing, local shows and events, dressage… and of course donning garb for medieval reenactments.

Right now it matters not if we are just the open door to their happily-ever-after home.  Luna is happily munching hay on this blustery winter day, Mona Lisa smile keeping her foaling time secret, watched over by people who love her.

First Barefoot Trim

We tackled Luna’s hooves today, beginning what we hope will be an uneventful recovery process.  When we first looked at her, her owner told her reluctance to move forward was due to the added weight of pregnancy.  Forget the foal, her feet were a mess!  Every step must feel like walking on glass shards!

Flares in her hoof walls indicate laminar stretching and separation.  OUCH! The separation is also evident in the stretched water lines.  Subtle red marks indicate angry bruising. Overgrown walls and bars concentrate concussive and shearing forces with each step.  There is a Youtube video that illustrates this with revolting clarity–I’ll dig it up.

I just trimmed her front hooves.  The hinds can wait ’til tomorrow.  Healing is a process.

I asked Mark to walk her out to check the results in motion.  Tentative at first, Luna gained confidence in her newly found comfort as she walked.   Rebalancing the hooves caused a heel-first landing.  Her stride–and her topline–lengthened.  You could see the relief on her face!

Luna LF Before Barefoot trim

Luna LF After Barefoot Trim

Rolling the toe takes the pressure off the lamellar attachments, allowing them to heal.  Over time we’ll see the tubules begin to grow straight down.  The flares and resulting bruising will disappear.  The water line will shrink. The whole hoof capsule will tighten up, supporting the internal structures–and the whole horse–with the integrity for which it was designed.

 Luna LF Hoof Before barefoot trim

Luna LF After Barefoot Trim

The lighter coloration of the freshly rasped hoof is decieving.  To me it looks like there is a much greater difference between the heights of the structures.  In reality, the weight bearing surface is pretty smooth.  The bars and bottom of the wall are trimmed way down to help distribute the weight bearing load.

luna RF Hoof Before Barefoot Trim

Note the extra toe length as seen in the left front-before shot cracked and broke off a few days before.

 Luna RF After Barefoot Trim

Luna RF Before Barefoot Trim

Luna RF Hoof After Barefoot Trim

 I’m excited!  I think Luna has some darn good feet hiding behind the signs of neglect!

Merry Christmas to all our friends, past and present

Merry Christmas from us and the ponies to all of you who’ve been with us in the past and the present, and shared the blessings of our wonderful horses. May the year ahead be twice as good as the year behind you, and may your ponies be graced with lots and lots of carrots 🙂

Love,

K&M

Merry Christmas to Tray, Elizabeth, Marque, and Tyler Johnson!

A very Merry Christmas to Tray, Elizabeth, Marque, and Tyler Johnson!

We couldn’t think of a better present to offer to you this Christmas than…
A little time sharing our Dream by coming to tour our working horse farm! Step back into history and see the world as it was… see some rare breeds of horse that have all but vanished since the advent of the tractor. See descendants of the mighty warhorses of old.  And if the stars are right, perhaps ride one!

My wife Kirsten and I would be happy to host you! Merry Christmas!

Remmelt Friesian Stallion

Thanks go out again to Tonya, our beloved Gracie’s breeder, for sending more photographs.

These are of Remmelt, Gracie’s Granddaddy on her mother’s side.

Enjoy!

 Friesian Stallion Remmelt

 remmelt friesian stallion

Friesian Stallion Remmelt

Friesian Stallion Remmelt

 

 

Horsemanship Practice… At the Mall!

Kathy made my day today!  During a break in her lesson she told me she’s taken up walking at the mall.  Today she walked two miles.  More importantly, she confided, “I kept thinking about what we’ve been practicing in our riding lessons.  I keep reminding myself to breathe, and put on my cloak!”

For people who are visual learners, I use a lot of imagery in my explanations.  “Wearing the cloak” is one of my favorite and most effective visualizations to bring riders’ shoulders back into a supple but strong posture (exactly the opposite of how most of us march through our days!)

I ask the rider to picture the cloak clearly.  What color is it? What kind of fabric is made out of? does it reach to your saddle or stream along your horse’s back and hindquarters? Now, as you ride forward, feel how it flows and billows behind you in the wind.  The more senses you can involve in your visualization, the more effective the results. Go ahead! Try it Now!

Kathy realized that practicing good horsemanship doesn’t always require a horse.  Good horsemanship requires acute body awareness and control. You can hone your awareness and improve that control while walking, driving, standing in line… where ever!

The habits that you carry on the ground carry over into the saddle.  The silver lining in that cloud is that breakthroughs from the ground bring breakthroughs from the saddle.

As you walk the malls in search of the perfect gifts this season, I encourage you to seek your own breakthroughs!

Comment below and share your experiences–we love to hear from you!

Losgelassenheit and Natural Horsemanship

Breakthrough day for June!  This formerly stiff-as-a-board but quick-as-a-whip little mare learned to release to the pressure of the bit.  We’re not talking turn or tuck her head.  We are talking release negative tension throughout her entire body. This elementary lesson is June’s first step towards losgelassenheit.

…Before you say “gesundheit” let’s pull our dictionary!

The United States Dressage Federation (USDF) translates the German term “losgelassenheit” as: “Looselettingness” or “letlooseness,” shortened to “Looseness….”

The USDF further elaborates:  “The supple, elastic, unblocked, connected state of the horse’s musculature that permits an unrestricted flow of energy from back to front and front to back, which allows the aids/influences to freely go through to all parts of the horse (e.g., the rein aids go through and reach and influence the hind legs.”

For purposes of the Training Pyramid, the USDF uses the translation “Relaxation” … and the FEI uses the translation “Suppleness.”

Why pull out complicated foreign terms when we’re tallking about training a pleasure horse who will most likely never see be seen halting at X in a dressage arena?

Regardless of the owner’s goals a horse is a horse is a horse. “Dressage,” literally, is the French word for “training.” Classical dressage is the oldest, most pervasive, and most effective system of developing a horse into an athlete for war, for sport, for exhibition and for enjoyment.

Any effective training system, including what we’ve come to know as natural horsemanship, has its parallels in classical dressage. Every athletic effort between horse and human requires “the supple, elastic, unblocked, connected state of the horse’s musculature that permits an unrestricted flow of energy from back to front and front to back, which allows the aids/influences to freely go through to all parts of the horse (e.g., the rein aids go through and reach and influence the hind legs.”  A fixed frame or headset results in athletic–and emotional–restrictions.

Horses can achieve their athletic best only when their physical framework is supple enough to transmit energy efficiently to the rider’s chosen task, regardless of what style of saddle they wear.  Unfortunately, this can be taken to the extreme. EVERY discipline has their offenders who persist even through threatened action at a regulatory level.

Detractors of natural horsemanship often point accusingly–and sadly, accurately– to well-intentioned novices who overuse flexions and one-rein stops to the point of abuse.  The result are horses whose necks are disconnected from their bodies. Their backs can can be rigid, their hindquarters trailing, but their heads and necks flop back and forth like some macabre bobble-head toys.  Such horses are difficult to ride and fall far short of their athletic potential.  They may even end up injured, or worse.

June “knew her flexions” when she first came. She was quick to snap that neck around.  But she bent through muscular effort, not release.  She stiffened to the bit and locked her back, even as she curved her neck. The intended antidote was instead the pathology.

For June, it all changed in that lightbulb moment.  The bit used to mean tense yourself and twist.  Now it means release your body and mind to what comes next.

NOW we can begin an athetic adventure!

A few site updates…

Mark here,

Just a quick word that the site is being updated for clarity and presentation this morning, and we’re about done. If it’s been up and down, or absolutely hideous from time to time, it’s my fault :=)

Best to all, and today looks like a marvelous day to ride. I’ll be out there myself shortly.

Mark

Mods:

Combined Select & Special Sales.

Added images in category view for horses for sale.

Deleted extraneous home page links

Updated page footer links

Bold Step: 1995 16 hand bay registered TB gelding.

“Bold Step” 15 year old, 16 hand bay registered TB gelding. Thoughtful, athletic, sound and smart. Vetted clean including x-rays in 2004. He’s a lover in the barn, and quiet in the ring. He has the moves and the mind to excel in any discipline. Bold Step has impeccable form over fences! Always in the ribbons, Bold Step won Reserve Champion in the Children/Adult Hunter Division at his first outdoor show.  Kind hearted, Bold Step is currently giving lessons, teaching the next generation of young equestrians.

Bold Step profile

Bold Step Under Saddle

Bold Step jumping

Bold Step flat work