Along for the ride:

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Call to Horses! Dinah Mustang Deserves Support

Dinah Mustang will link you to the ongoing story of the 90 day transformation of a wild mustang named Dinah Shore, written by the young woman who is her trainer and foster mom. I've stolen some excerpts from her blog to give you a taste of how far she has come since February. There're only a few weeks to go until Dinah will be shown off, with the goal of finding her a great home and bright future. Join up and follow her to the conclusion of this chapter of her life.

Dinah Shore

30 trainers were selected and assigned wild mustangs. These trainers have about 90 days to completely train the horses to be ridden as well as ride in a trailer and do all the things a horse should do. On May 18 we will go to a competition and show off how much we have learned. The following day there is an auction and the mustangs will find new homes and hopefully live long happy lives with their new owners.

TUESDAY, MAY 1, 2012

The countdown

It is 3 weeks till the competition. Last week I took Dinah on a field trip to my friend Laura's farm in gilroy, which is about an hour from where we live. She loaded in the trailer like a champ and was very calm throughout the experience. On the first day I longed her in a small arena and then I rode her in a full size dressage arena, which is bigger than the arena I usually ride in. This arena also has mirrors all along the short side at C, which Dinah was very funny about. She wasn't exactly scared, but she was very curious about the cute horse staring back at her. When I rode her I was working a lot on her canter transitions, trot to canter and walk to canter. I was also really focusing on her rhythm, keeping her slow from my body and using half halts, but not shortening her neck. Because of the way Dinah is built she tends to want to shorten and tense her neck an shorten her steps. It is important to regulate her rhythm and keep her forward into the contact, but not quickening. She stayed in a barn with a box stall and small run next to a shetland pony named JoJo. She was good staying in the stall and did not seem concerned about separating from her boyfriend at moon valley ranch, George.

The next day I worked her in the round pen, and Laura helped me to get her moving forward in the round pen. She wanted to look outside the pen so this was an important lesson for her to learn that she needs to focus on the person, that is her job. We also practiced turning around in the round pen, changing direction. After the round pen work I rode her in the dressage arena. I noticed that she looked a little sore on her left front, possibly because she had thrush in that foot. I worked her lightly and focused on rhythm and half halts. She also could have been sore from the trailer ride, which shows that I need to trailer her as much as possible to prepare for the 6 hour ride to Norco.
She trailered home perfectly.

The next day I worked her lightly at home first on the longe to assess her soundness, (she seemed fine) so I rode her just walk trot. She was great and is much more wiling to relax and stretch her neck down. Every day she feels stronger and more balanced. I have taught her leg yields and also turn on the haunches, which she is quite good at.

I have started thinking of her freestyle pattern and playing with a few different tricks. I am also trying to think of ideas for a costume and music.

Yesterday I had a dressage lesson with the classical dressage trainer Jec Ballou. The lesson was great, she helped me work on Dinah's walk and halt transitions. To work on the halt transitions she had me move her walk out and then slowly collect it up. From the collected walk sometimes I would ride a halt and sometimes I would just push her back up to the extended walk. The idea is to keep the forward energy so that she stops with her back legs underneath her instead of out behind her. To keep her active behind so that she is balanced and ready to move out of the halt. I also practiced keeping her round in the halt by softening her and the rewarding her when she gave to the pressure. It was a great lesson and Jec was very complimentary of Dinah.

I am trying to decide on good music so any suggestions are appreciated.
The countdown in on!
Please contact me if you know anyone who may be a good fit for Dinah, I really want her to find a great home.

This is a video of Dinah from about three weeks ago.

Thanks for reading!!


  1. Wow. I'm full of admiration who can work with wild animals in this way.

  2. Steve, patience, persistence and skill is all it takes:)

  3. Hi ER, it's been a little while, hope all is good in the sunny west, and that Dinah does well... wherever she ends up... Bises from Paris...

  4. Hi Owen, nice to see you here. I visited your egg photos yesterday but didn't have the juice to comment. I've some other creative outlets just now wearing me out in a good way. I did love the contrasts between the luminously complete sphere and the sparse twigs of the nest. Actual and metaphorical balancing acts. Bravo!

  5. It must sometimes seem a case of two steps forward , one step back .... but they're both doing so well !