Saturday, August 8, 2009

Mouthy Mondays +

I had a question back on the last Mort story which I almost forgot about. Since it ties in with my definition of lightness I thought I'd stick it in here before we get to enjoy the next story. Then school's out for awhile, I promise.

It was about pushing my horses hip into the center of a circle when I'm loping him. Anon asked if I used my inside leg to block him so he wouldn't drift into the circle.

I don't. I have my inside leg relaxed and neutral.

I teach my horses to travel straight between my reins.

He also knows to head towards my leg if it comes off him and away from a leg that is putting pressure on him.

If I put pressure at the cinch he will move away from the pressure with his shoulders.

If I put pressure back towards the back cinch he will move his hindquarters away from the pressure.

My hands simply ask him to stay on the circle.

He knows these things before we try to move his hip into a circle at a lope.

So when he is travelling on his circle, which he does so often he carries himself along the same path no matter what, I don't change my hands other than raising them to get light contact and to remind him to stay on his circle.

Then I push with my outside calf, somewhere around the back cinch, keep my inside leg neutral and his hind legs go in towards the center.

Keep in mind, at this point in training my horse seeks the path of the circle because that's where the least input from me is.

So I push his hips in, release pressure and he steps back on the circle.

Then when it's time to change leads I push his hips out of the circle, he changes in the back as I guide his front end with my hand to the next circle.

I'm working on this in a straight line up the road of my stable at the moment. He is bringing his hips back to my straight line.

I'm thinking I'm going to end up with spot on lead changes and a cleaner run-down. We'll see.

Michelle sent in a history on her favorite breed. I lived in Boise Idaho when I was in grade school. I was an Appy fan then and held onto it when I first starting riding out at Mark Reynor stables.

I think I switched to QH simply because I found Mort first. I've known some nice Apps though.

You can check out Michelles blog at

A Spotted History

“From where the sun now stands, I will fight no more forever.” These words, spoken by Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce people, marked the end of the 1877 Nez Perce war and the demise of the carefully bred spotted horses the Nez Perces rode. After Chief Joseph’s surrender, those hardy horses were seized by the U.S. Calvary and either traded or shot.

The Nez Perce were one of the first groups to practice selective horse breeding. They carefully chose the stock that would reproduce and either traded or gelded inferior animals. Eventually, they developed a horse that was known for its hardiness, versatility, agility, and striking beauty. After the war, the confiscated horses were carelessly interbred with horses of varying quality, and the spotted “Palouse” horse was almost lost. In 1938, the Appaloosa Horse Club was formed and has since organized the redevelopment of the breed.

The modern Appaloosa has been outcrossed over recent generations to enhance various attributes of the breed. Thoroughbreds and Quarter Horses, in particular, have contributed to the current style of Appaloosas used in competition. While the outcrosses have increased the average size and refinement of the horse, they have resulted in fewer horses with the color patterns so closely associated with the breed. Changes to registration requirements in recent years have encouraged more frequent Appaloosa to Appaloosa breeding, and the obvious Appaloosa characteristics have become more apparent at horse shows once again.

What are the typical Appaloosa characteristics? Well, the most obvious is the colorful coat patterns that many Appaloosas sport. A wide range of base colors is acceptable, from white to grulla to black and everything in between. Coat patterns vary from roan (white hairs interspersed throughout the coat) to the classic blanket pattern or the easily recognizable leopard. Appaloosas also have less obvious characteristics. Mottled skin around the muzzle and genitals, white sclera around the eyes, and striped hooves are often found on Apps of any coloration. Many people aren’t aware that solid colored Appaloosas can also be registered and shown.

Throughout the history of the breed, Apps have retained their versatility and are widely used for a variety of careers. They excel in the show ring, performing in events such as hunter under saddle, barrel racing, jumping, western pleasure, and cutting. Appaloosas consistently hold their own in all-breed pleasure shows such as Just for Pleasure, the Reichert Celebration, and the Tom Powers futurities. Several Appaloosas have successfully competed in high level dressage and horse racing. They are known as being sure-footed trail mounts and sensible parade horses and are gentle enough for family horses.

The Appaloosa Horse Club and Appaloosa owners in general have a certain degree of pride for their horses’ colorful past. Every year, riders and their Appaloosas retrace a section of the path that Chief Joseph and his people followed on their attempt to reach Canada before being captured. This historic ride holds a powerful spot in the hearts of those who complete it. The history of the Appaloosa is also honored in the show ring with classes such as heritage, which includes native dress and a written historical summary of the pieces worn by horse and rider. Even the gaming classes give a nod to the ancestors, with the Camas Prairie Stump Race (barrels) and Nez Perce Stake Race (poles) being run horse against horse at breed specific shows.

All in all, the Appaloosa is a fantastic all-around horse. Their gentle, easy going nature, versatility and hardiness, rich history, and unique appearance make this breed an easy choice for many horse owners. If you haven’t experienced an App and you “spot” one, check it out! You won’t be sorry!


gtyyup said...

Yes! A spot on lead changes would be great. Specifically for me would be tips on preventing anticipation to the change and how to keep the horse level when making the change (Colt will sometimes raise up the front end as he pushes off with the rear making the change).

Very nice post on the Appaloosa Michelle! One of my best drill team horses was an Appy mare. She had a trot and canter to die for. We lost her winter before last and is sadly missed.

gtyyup said... have two posts on stopping. One tagged "stopping" and the other tagged "stops." There are some similarities and some differences in the two posts. My stops in my reining are crap. So, which method would be best to work on with Colt? Thanks!

mugwump said...

gtyyup - As far as Colt coming up in the air when he changes, as long as he's clean I would leave him be. He'll get better and lower as time goes on.When you're scored on your circles the judge scores the circle, not the change itself.

The Monte Foreman stop helps riders who need to figure out the rhythms involved with a horses way of going, or aren't far enough along to teach a stop with their seat and legs.
It also can help a horse who isn't sure of how to get his body together to slide.
My gelding Pete liked to ignore all cues, fold over the top of the bit and speed up a little when I said whoa.
He might have had coordination issues, but I suspected he was being funny.Pete does have a sense of humor.
The Monte Foreman stop fixed him. So whatever was going on got straightened out by going "primitive" on him.
Now he stops fine.

The second stop is how I teach it most of the time. If your horse is already started you can still teach them to stop by taking off your legs and deepening your seat.It creates a pretty show stop without pulling on them too much.
I also want my horses to stop when I say Whoa and pull. Sometimes you need it.
Another thing to keep in mind is to have some contact with your young horse's face while he stops. He needs the support to help him carry the slide. Again, this need fades as they get better.
I stop along a rail at first too. It helps my horse stay straight while he's sorting things out.

Shanster said...

My old 31 yr old gelding is an appy... tho' he did not get any color and is a solid bay. My farriers have always been suprised at how HARD his hooves are and say it's the appy in him.

My very first horse, after my pony, was a blanket appy who turned into a leopard appy after one winter - shedded out his coat and boy oh boy were there lotsa spots!

I like them too... nice post!

autumnblaze said...

I've known some very nice Apps... good post! :)

Oh I'd like a spot on lead changes. Starting to try those, so I'm reading all I can.

LeopardAppy said...

Love the Appaloosas. Go Apps.

Karen V said...

The Appaloosa post forgot to mention "Appy-tude". Mine has it in spades! She has more personality than any horse I've ever known. Every Spring, I get a "new" horse, as her coat pattern changes every year! She is NEVER boring!

Deered said...

The op may be interested to know that "Bradcast News" a NZ olympic eveter was an appy - by "time'll Tell"
This is cut from the NZ appy page

The infinitely talented Broadcast News, a Te Awamutu bred solid coloured Appaloosa, took the F.E.I.'s Eventing Horse of the World title in 1998, proving his dominance beyond question. His sire Time'll Tell is pictured above right, demonstrating his own versatility.

Deered said...

Ahh crap I can't spell again today - the eventer is called Broadcast News

Horse was initally ridden by Viky Latta, then taken over by Mark Todd

Winterstormranch said...

I have been lurking on this blog for sometime and just finished reading all the old posts. I have enjoyed them a lot and found a lot of good advice. I plan to keep up now and maybe comment. Still shy about comments. What a perfect post to be introducing my self, I own an AQHA Mare but my mom has 6 Appy's and they are awesome horses. My mare was only started under saddle when I bought her year ago and I have done all the training on her. She was in foal and so the real training begins in 4 months and I can't wait to take her to the next level. Looking foreword to learning lots.

Winter Storm Ranch

Anonymous said...

Thanks Mugs, thats just what I wanted to know :D
That was a great post on Appaloosas Michelle. I think my first gelding had a bit of appaloosa in him, but then, that fat old horse seemed to be a mixture of 5 different breeds.

amarygma said...

I'll second the Appy-tude!

mugwump said...

Hi Winterstormranch - I'm happy to hear from you.We'll look forward to hearing about your training and your new baby!

gillian said...

Big R loved his appy dressage horse, Peggy. (Back when his back was good enough to ride with.) They showed in first level dressage in the PNW and schooled at second level. They did pretty well for themselves. He tells me there was some breed based hostility from some judges. He says that just pushed him to do his best, because those judges were looking hard for any fault they could find, but if they couldn't find 'em, they were fair about it.

spottedmonster said...

We sure love our spotted monster! She has loads of Appy-tude to spare too! She packs the kid around and has done a great job taking care of her....just wish she had those good Appy feet I keep hearing about!

Justaplainsam said...

Love the post on Appaloosas. :) Got a topic for discussion:

Anyone seen YOR's new stud "Reminic In Spots"? DNA tested AQHA with a full appaloosa blanket

Intresting about color genitics isnt it? My friend has a AQHA mare with mottled skin and more spots than my fully papered F2 appaloosa.

I really think the next few years with DNA and genetics ApHC, APHA, and AQHA are going to have to do some serious genitic marking to prove what each breed really is.

Michelle said...

Thanks so much for reprinting my post on your site! I'm glad to see there are so many App fans out there - sometimes I feel lost among the bays and sorrels! =) If anyone wants to visit my site, the website address is:

Thanks again!

belambi said...

I am lucky enough to breed appaloosa and sportaloosa horses, competing in non traditional disciplines. There has been a new sportaloosa association formed which is gaining in popularity

Follow by Email


This content is not yet available over encrypted connections.