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Erika on Diva
Horses have always been a part of my life. I feel blessed to work with my husband, James, on our 500+ acre dairy farm AND have the opportunity to pursue my passion for horses and dogs.
Along our journey to build this farming operation came four ambitious daughters who love the farm and seemingly every sport ever invented. Life is certainly challenging but the girls love the horses and have been showing locally since they were 4yrs old.
Finding that perfect horse/pony was impossible. This became my inspiration to breed, raise, and train my own horses for the safety of my children. It soon proved to be a great success for us. Along the way, I expanded my knowledge through local trainers and eventually was introduced to “NATURAL HORSEMANSHIP”.
My horse world changed profoundly. I love, love, love training horses now. The first ten rides define that horse’s life with humans and must be a positive one. Every horse is different and I continue to learn from them every day. I continue to participate in several horse clinics to feed my desire to learn and am never disappointed.
In 2005, I made the decision to sell off my broodmares and start buying weanlings coming from the west. I travelled west to visit some ranches and see the studs and mares. Now, I can buy the breeding, the sex, the colour, and the conformation that I desire. My favourite breeding is the “Driftwood and Sunfrost” line of horses. They are superior athletes with such laid back personalities. Always ready to take on a challenge and smooth to ride. I have a beautiful herd of the best horses I have ever owned. Each horse is trained as though it was for one of my daughters.
We train using “Natural Horsemanship” methods. It works for us and it makes perfect sense to the horse. I believe the initial (foundation) training you do with a horse is crucial to how your horse will interact and perceive humans during their life. Groundwork is extensive and necessary to desensitize and develop respect for their human. The human is “alpha” in horse world but it should be earned from respect, not fear.
Groundwork consists of round penning, balls, tarps, saddle, bikes, tractors/equip, dogs/cats, cows, tin cans, and much, much more.
Flexing and bending and moving from pressure while I am on the ground.
Free-lunge before each session wearing a headstall and snaffle
First ride, then moving forward, the stop, the backup
All riding is done in a simple rope halter (not a bridle)
Introduce light leg yielding if ready
Now we move into all 3 gaits and work on moving slow and fast at each gait (this helps immensely with transitions)
Leg yields (moving the front and hind quarters)
Continue moving forward AND turning without pause
WEEK#4: Continue to work on forward motion, stop, back up, lateral moves.
Working in large outdoor arena now (possibly in week 3)
Riding with other horses
Having my girls each ride since no two people ride the same way
Out on the trail
Continuing to repeat the basics
Many horses will be heavy on the front end so trotting poles are your best friend to elevate the front end
NOTE: This is generally how each of my horses is started. No two horses are the same and this program varies for each animal. This is just a basic guideline for me as some will speed through different areas of training and some need a little extra time. The weather also dictates my timeline. This training has made for fabulous horses that anyone can ride.
*I make no claims to be a professional horse trainer. I do what works best for me and my family. Several people have asked me for my ponies and horses so we usually have one or two to sell each year. The house has rooms of trophies and awards which I give full credit to my girls. We have been showing for years and started hauling to bigger shows and fairs. Lately, we have done some rodeos with great success.
As a rule, I generally only train my own horses but have made the time to do a few outside horses.
WE HAVE PUPPIES NOW.
BORN FEB 4TH
ONE WILL BE AVAILABLE
PLEASE SEE THE PUPPY PAGE OF MINI AMERICAN SHEPHERDS.
NEXT LITTER DUE APRIL 3RD
DON'T FORGET, WE WILL HAVE A LITTER OF ENGLISH GOLDEN RETRIEVERS IN 2024