While I typically post my blog posts first thing in the morning, during the month of May, and blog posts related to my personal 100 mile challenge with Plezant, the posts will be late in the evening, after I have had my working session with him. This way I can not only share with you what we did for the day, but it also gives me some time to reflect on our training, and to think about what went well, and what we need to work on.
So if you look forward to seeing blog posts from me first thing in the morning, you may want to wait a day or two so you can go back and review our previous day. AND something else REALLY exciting – right now Noelle Floyd is offering their Masterclass Membership FREE for 30 days!!!! How awesome is this?!?!? So if you want to do a challenge, build your level of confidence with your horse, and really Master Your Mindset with Noelle Floyd’s challenge, sign up! It’s Free for 30 days! You can sign up here. And as a part of this Master Your Mindset Challenge, Equilab is giving 30 days for free as well. You can sign up through Noelle Floyd’s Challenge page (which you can find right here)
And not only will you have access to all of the Masterclasses, if you participate in this challenge, you will also be eligible to win some prizes for participating in their challenge.
If you want to see what an incredible program they offer, you should really give this a go. I have had so much fun with the Masterclasses, and now you can try it for free! So go sign up!!!! Ok, now that my little PSA is done, let’s get into my challenge!
May 1, 2020
Happy May! Today is the first day of my personal challenge! And I thought I would go through the process of what I am doing and why I am doing it. My goal over the next 31 days is to walk (or work) with Plezant to encompass 100 miles.
I wanted to do this because I was intrigued by a Facebook ad I saw. The name of the ad is 100 miles a month with your horse. And while I am not sure of the in’s and outs of it, because I’m not going to spend $99.00 for their 2 week program. And finding any information on their plan has proved to be impossible. But from their sales page, they start off by saying:
“Spending time building focus and relaxation with your horse is what really matters.”
And I do agree with that. The more I am with my horses, the better they get, especially Plezant.
So I started searching for the man putting on the 100 mile challenge, and I found out his name is Steve Halfpenny and he has a website called Silversand Horsemanship as well as SteveHalfpenny.com He has a YouTube channel too.
And from what I can learn about him from the internet, he is another trainer who is passionate about natural horsemanship. Which is awesome, because we can always learn, especially when t comes to horses right?
I also found on their sales page that the 14 day challenge covers topics all from the ground for the entire 14 days. Which is awesome, I would just like to know more about what it includes. A breakdown of each day would be helpful. But since they don’t have that, I just make up my own along the way.
But like I said, I am not plunking down $100 for a program that I can’t find any information about or reviews for. So I decided to make my own 100 miles in a month challenge.
I know I can’t just go grab Plezant, put on his halter and lead rope and go for a 5 or even 1 mile walk. No, I have to build up to that. And I want him to be quiet and calm, and feel safe while we are doing whatever it is we are going to be doing for the day. So day 1 may be small, but it’s just about connecting with him, and getting him to pay attention to my tools.
I know I have talked about the tools I choose to use many times, so I won’t go into it here. But if you are wondering about the tools I use, I wrote a blog post about it which you can read here.
I choose to use a knotted rope halter (with 4 knots across the noseband), a 14 foot lead rope, and my new favorite tool, the scratchy stick, which is a dressage whip with a scratching handle that I can use as a reward.
I have been getting Plezant used to these tools since I brought him home and was able to work with him. Which was a couple of months ago actually. But this isn’t something that happened overnight. And it’s still a learning process.
Every time I work with him I look for small improvements. And when I see an improvement, I make sure to reward him, and then ask something different of him.
First Day Photo
It seems like when I commit to doing something like this with my horses, I always forget to take a beginning photo. So I took a moment and remembered to capture a photo of Plezant for our first official day. This also gives me a reference point of what he looked like when we started this challenge.
He really is improving since I brought him home. I can’t see his hip bones sticking out anymore. And hopefully his winter coat will finish shedding out soon, so I can really see what’s under that fuzzy coat!
The First Day of a Challenge
The first day is mostly about getting out there and doing something with your horse. If you halter him up, lead him around and see how well he leads. This is a learning session, and he (or she) will probably not be perfect the first time. But with repetition and practice, each day will be better and better. And the first day your horse may not lead perfectly. But with practice, and repetition, he will.
So for our first day, I took Plezant for a walk on the road. And I pushed myself (and him) and we went further than we have before. Of course he got many breaks to be able to graze in the awesome grass that is growing along the road. But only in front of my house, as well as my next door neighbor, because I know we don’t use any chemicals to treat weeds.
And the dirt road is excellent footing for him to walk on throughout our neighborhood.
Overall, this was a good session. I’m not sure, but I think Plezant looks forward to our little sessions. And I know I do. He is a really good boy, and seems to take everything in stride. He isn’t reactive or spooky even on the road. But I really try to make sure this is a good experience for him, because then it will be a good experience for me as well.
As we have done this multiple times, this was not the first time he has walked on the road. But this is the first time we made it further past the houses we normally walk by. It helps me to be able to see his reactions, and how he feels about the new environment.
I also thinks it helps to take him off our property, and get away from the arena. So I have made a point to keep things new and engaging for him. We don’t walk endless circles in the arena. I want to challenge him, as well as myself. But I will typically start our walk with a few circles in both directions within the confines of the pasture, so I can gauge how energetic he is. And then when we get done with the walk, I bring him back to the pasture, walk him again in both directions.
And then I spend some time grooming him, and checking him over before tucking him in with his dinner for the evening.
Once we start our ‘workout’ I start my Equilab app. This way I can keep track of how far we walked, as well as the amount of time we have been out. It’s really fun, and it even has a GPS, so it can super impose your path over where you walked.
I think this is my favorite part of this app. I like seeing how far we have gone, or what we have done. And you can find your friends who are using the app too! A couple of you have sent ‘friend requests’ which I have happily accepted. I like this because it helps keep me accountable for the goal I have set for myself.
And because I am very reward motivated, and I love surprises, I am paying myself for the miles I walk. I have decided to pay myself $3.00 a mile for each mile walked (or worked). Hopefully by the end of May I will logged enough miles to reward myself with a surprise mystery box from Just Riding.
The box I want to buy is $198.00, plus $30.00 for shipping. And the last time I bought a big mystery box like that, I got some REALLY nice things. Like so nice I would never have been able to afford them if they were regular price. I got Equiline products for the horses, and Montar items for myself. On the regular, I can’t justify buying Equiline, their stuff is very nice, but far out of my price range! I really want to wait until the end of the challenge to buy my box, but it is so tempting to just buy it now so I have it! But no, I will refrain, and I will wait until I have saved up enough money to buy something awesome for myself, and my horses.
The First Week of 100 miles
I want to give you an overview of what I am planning on working on each day of my challenge a week at a time. Just in case you want to do it along with me. Oh, and if you are a member of Noelle Floyd’s Masterclass Group, they too are having a challenge for May! For their challenge you even have the opportunity to win prizes! See, a reward motivates! So they have rewards too! And yes, I know, the biggest reward we will get from doing this is more joy with our horses. I get that. But, it’s also fun to have a prize at the end, don’t you think?
Ok, I digress. Let me get back to what I want to work on during the first week. Keep in mind, today is done.
- Friday, May 1: Getting used to the tools, road walking
- Saturday, May 2: Grooming and going for a walk on the trail
- Sunday, May 3: Bathing and walking further on the trail
- Monday, May 4: Arena work with ground poles
- Tuesday, May 5: Standing tied, and walking to include hill work
- Wednesday, May 6: Introducing clippers and working over ground poles
- Thursday, May 7: Walking in the tack, lunging
- Friday, May 8: Walking on the trail and finding hidden treasures
100 Mile Challenge with Plezant
Ok, so that’s it! Those are my goals for the first week of my 100 mile challenge with Plezant. I think you can see almost every day incorporates some ground work skills along with getting out and walking. If you are able to get to your horse now, where you couldn’t last month, this might help give you some goals to work on with your horse.
I will also be including some of the things I am learning along the way with Noelle Floyd’s challenge too. We shall see if I am able to get to 100 miles. Only time will tell. But for now, I am totally motivated to make it happen!