Punks Kid Rock is the registered name of my American Quarter horse gelding, Rocky. This blog chronicles our adventures together,
as well as stories from my horse past and, occasionally, a tidbit from my non horse life.

Friday, August 17, 2012


I have to write a fast post this morning but I wanted to send this one out as it has been on my mind. There are several things that people do while driving that make me want to rip their hair out. Namely:
1. Not using turn lanes properly.  If you are turning and there is a turn lane available, you have to move your vehicle ALL THE WAY into the lane, slow down, and turn.  It sounds simple, but there are a lot of people who ignore turn lanes completely, or slowly wander halfway into the lane so that no one can really go past them.
2. Weaving back and forth in their lane. It looks like you are drunk or a terrible driver, and it makes me worry that you are suddenly going to smash into something (me) or go off the road.  Drive straight, please.
3. Not using turn signals, suddenly slowing down and making a turn. Even worse, not using a turn signal, wandering to a stop (!) and then slooooooowly making your turn. Come on, other people have places to go without trying to figure out what the heck you're doing.
4. Driving 10 mph below the speed limit until getting to a place where I can pass you.  Then speeding up to go 10 over. Seriously?
5. Almost hitting me as I pass you. LOOK AROUND before changing lanes, please.

I'm sure there's more, and I may add them later.  For now, please be a good driver.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


Rocky likes to stick his nose out.  He generally travels in a long, spread out manner, his nose leading the charge.  He moves like that even in the pasture, so it's just his natural way of getting from A to B.  Most of the time, especially as he's been growing up, I have ignored his stuck out nose.  Okay, to be fair, I didn't know how to ask him NOT to root his nose, but I also didn't want to push him into travelling in a frame (or collected) before his growing body could handle it.  There are so many differing opinions about how to push or not push young horses!  General consensus, however, is that a 6 year old is just tipping past "young horse" into "mature horse" territory.

We're there.  Rocky turned 6 this spring, and sometimes I can't believe that I have already owned him for 3 years.  This last year, I have started working with him using Clinton Anderson's methods, and have seen a lot of improvement from both of us.  The biggest thing so far (for me, anyway) has been flexing him horizontally- asking him to bend his nose to touch my boot while I'm on him.  He has been getting lighter and lighter about doing this, and each time I ride him I let him warm up to it, but then I can ask him to flex with just a couple of fingers. It's awesome.

Last fall, I started learning how to ask him to "vertically flex from the poll-" to tip his nose towards his chest when I pick up with the reins. Now, for my stuck out nose horse, tipping his nose towards his chest did not initially make much sense.  To ask for it, you put the horse in a snaffle bit that would be uncomfortable but not painful for the horse to lean against. Then you pick up first with one rein, sliding your hand toward the bit and pulling back to hold steady pressure on the horse's mouth.  You do the same with the other rein until the horse has steady backwards pressure on his mouth, again enough to make them uncomfortable but not enough to be painful.  

Then you wait, hands holding reins on your thighs until the horse is standing still and they figure out to give to you.  You're waiting for them to bump their nose in, giving to the bit for just a second.  Then you release the pressure, rewarding them for that give.  The first time Rocky and I did this last fall, my arms were shaking from holding his big head. He didn't get it, and stood for probably 20 minutes at a time pulling against the pressure. It didn't help that the bit I was using was too thick, giving him too much to lean against.  I now have a snaffle that isn't thick, with nice copper inlay. Alright, it's my mom's bit that she isn't using right now, but I digress.

That's where we started, Rocky leaning against the bit for 20 minutes or so before giving me the slightest nose bob.  Of course, you can't try something just once and expect them to get it... so I ended up sitting in the arena looking like I wasn't doing much for over an hour. Ah, horse training.

Since then we have much improved, I forget to practice but Rocky is a smart horse and quickly picks up where we left off.  Thank goodness for forgiving horses! 

Yesterday he started flexing vertically from his poll when I would just pick up the reins.  He wasn't consistent about it yet, but lightness is coming into it.  He's finally started to really *get* it, and he definitely had his thinking cap on.  I am pretty sure his 'thinking cap' pushes his ears out, because when he is really concentrating, his ears go out to the side and his eyebrows wrinkle. It's not really a pretty look... but I love it because I know how hard he's trying to do what I'm asking.

We got the vertical flexion at a standstill, and even started working on it at a walk! I had to put my spurs on to help him figure out that he now needs to move and flex at the same time, but it didn't take him long to start to catch on.  We worked on it until he started getting it fairly consistently in the arena, then went for a short trail ride.  He gave really nicely even out on the trails! 

After the ride was over, he was tired but happy. 

On a side note, I just spent about half an hour trying to get my phone to connect to the computer so I could put the picture I took of Rocky at the end of this post. It's not working and I'm getting mad at it, so I'm going to post a different picture.

**UPDATE: I just realized that the photo I uploaded here previously is one that I put in a different post.  Oops! Here's a new photo instead:
Rocky and I going through some water!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012


Sometimes, I don't "like" things on Facebook that have already been "liked" a lot, because I feel as though my "like" is no longer special.

I am currently sitting perched on the edge of my office chair so that Bennett can stay sleeping behind me without interruption.  Fox has decided to join us on the chair, and is curled up on the back.  Okay, he just slid down behind me to cuddle with Bennett. I think they're licking each other behind my back.

I work today.  I started coughing a minute ago, and felt like I was going to throw up.  Just a bit anxious...

I work the next 6 days in a row, and I am really needing to concentrate on one day at a time.  Heck, right now, one is overwhelming. I hate this feeling so much.

Last night, my uncle shipped out to Afghanistan for two months. I feel really selfish being this anxious and worried about my job, when he is risking his life over in another country.  He has four beautiful children and a loving wife here.  Seeing him off wasn't as heart wrenching as I thought it would be, at least at first.  We made the kind of desperately casual small talk one makes in these situations, talking about fishing, the weather, and such. He showed us where he works, walked us around the building and told us what everything does.  He has a sign in his office that says "DO NOT DISCUSS SECRETS ON THE TELEPHONE." It reminded me of some sort of elite club where girls whisper behind their hands and then giggle when anyone walks by.

The worst part about him leaving was watching mothers pulling their wailing children out of the building where everyone was gathered to say good bye.  Kids don't have that "we are in public so don't make a scene" sensor.  They screamed like the rest of us wanted to.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Deer shack!

In my last post I mentioned fulfilling the childhood dream of riding at my family's cabin, also known as the "Deer Shack." It was the first time my mom and I trailered out for a ride on our own.  We got going about half an hour behind schedule (which is usually right on time in the horse world...) and it took us about 45 minutes to an hour to get to the cabin from the barn.

We tacked up and I did some ground work with Rocky before mounting up, as he was a bit snorty at things around the cabin.  After some lunging and sending exercises, his thinking brain was back on so we headed out.  My mom and I brought our dogs to come along, and they were very excited to go out on the trail.  Dexter, my mom's black lab/newfoundland mix, likes to cut into the woods or run ahead, checking things out.  Bear moves between my mom and I, guarding us from the sides and rear.  It's a good system, and the horses like the feeling of security.

We got out on the four wheeler trail after crossing a meadow, and Rocky was in the lead with a confident stride.  Normally when we go out on trail rides with a group, Rocky ends up in the back and middle of the pack.   He's not a fast guy, in fact, there have been jokes made about how slow he can be.  Tapper is slower than Rocky is- to the point that we can turn around and ride back to where Tapper is plodding along.

We did that for a bit, and then we came upon a stand of young poplar trees.  Rocky stopped and his head shot up, eyes wide. He then began to side step.  I asked him to flex and he refused, mouth and neck hardened against my ask so that he could stare into the trees.  At this point I'm getting worried, because he is clearly alarmed at the trees and is resistant to following my directions.  I look over, and Tapper has also frozen, his eyes showing white.

Tapper has been generally unflappable to this point, so the fact that his front feet are planted and he looks like someone just told him he will never get grain again made me go "aww shit..." I then look at my mother... who is trying to look over Tapper's head to see what he is scared of.  She looks mildly concerned, but more curious about what's going on.

I take all of this in and realize that one of these horses is going to try to flee the scene very soon, and when one goes, the other will be with him like a shot.  I start pulling harder on my rein to get Rocky to flex, and tell my mom that she should flex Tapper, too.  She goes, "oh, yeah, he does seem kind of scared..."

At this point, I'm scared.  My mom can't afford to get hurt, and I would really rather not get hurt myself.  My response to her casual statement?

"NO! You need to flex him NOW!!"  It made my mom jump, and she quickly began to pull Tapper's nose in to her boot.  At about that time, Rocky finally gave me his face a bit so we stood there and flexed our horses until they were at least responsive to us. After they had relaxed a bit, I explained to my mom that when Rocky is really scared, I can feel his heart beat through the saddle.  This was one of those times, and I could tell that Tapper was ready to panic, too.

We had a good laugh about it later, joking about my mom "getting us killed" by trying to figure out what the horses were so scared of rather than addressing their fear.

The rest of the ride went well, but we had to hurry back as the skies were starting to get stormy dark.  We made it back in time for a few sprinkles to start, but we decided to take some quick pictures anyway.

Rocky, Bear and I. You can see the storm coming in the back ground!
Bear and Dexter were tired boys on the drive home!

It was a good trip, and I can't wait to do it again!