It’s been a very hectic week or so. I spent three days at the Western & English market show in Denver. It is one of the biggest market shows there is—a show where manufacturers and distributors sell goods at wholesale to tack stores and the like. It’s a bit overwhelming with all the products, from fashion apparel to tack to new and innovative products just coming on the scene. It’s fun but exhausting, and a great time to network with other professionals and see what’s new in the industry. It was nice to say hello to a fellow clinicians like Ken McNabb, Craig Cameron, Chris Cox and Stacey Westfall.
On Monday, we jumped a flight to Phoenix and Tuesday-Wednesday-Thursday was spent filming six new episodes of Horse Master. It’s a very busy three days when we film. We start at first light and continue, with only a brief lunch break, until the sun sets and it’s too dark. Thankfully, we have an awesome crew—the regulars are Heidi (producer), Steve (videographer and editor), Cheryl (wardrobe) and T Cody (trainer that works with the riders in their practice sessions). We are also always dependent on a few volunteer “grips” (Hollywood slang for go-fors) and this time we had two local women that were absolutely incredible to work with—Vicky and Leanne. We always try to have fun while we are filming but it is still lots of hard work and long days and I appreciate the dedicated work of all the crew.
We had a great variety of subjects to film—Barbara, with a giant forward moving TB that she couldn’t stop; Andrea, with an OTTB (off-the-track Thoroughbred) who she was hoping to convert into a family horse; Mika, with a herd-bound QH mare that threw tantrums any time you separate her from her buddy; Beth, whose spooky young horse was afraid of everything, including the saddle; Devon, a young man with a half-Arab sport horse that had very explosive canter transitions; and Laurie, whose TB gelding wouldn’t load in a trailer (understatement).
I think all of the episodes turned out well. My two favorites were Devon and Laurie, because their horses made the most dramatic turnarounds. When I watched Devon as we filmed his “before” footage (the very first thing we do in each episode—this is the time when we decide what the issue really is) I could see the very obvious problem, but wasn’t sure what I could do for him. When Devon cued his horse, he would explode into the canter, sometimes bucking, always running off; then he would be nervous and jiggy and anticipating the cue. “Rocky” was a very handsome horse that they bought with the hopes of showing but his behavior made showing impossible and it wasn’t obvious to me what Devon was doing to cause this kind of reaction. I got on and rode Rocky and found the key to smooth transitions and amazingly, Devon was able to change the way he rode this horse right away and the results were tremendous. Both Devon and his mom were thrilled with the progress they made.
The trailer loading episode was pretty wild and I have sore muscles all over my body as a reminder. Turned out the horse had some ground manner issues (no surprise) and had learned the very nasty trick of rearing, snatching his nose away and running off, dragging behind him whoever happened to be holding the lead line (fondly referred to as dirt skiing). This issue was separate from the loading problem, but made loading difficult, if not downright impossible. I had to put a chain on his nose, over the rope halter, in order to gain the leverage I needed to keep control of him. Once we got that problem resolved, it was a short time before he was walking calmly in and out of the trailer. Again, the turnaround was very dramatic and I think we got some great footage.
All the best,