Dino’s Blog

Passage at Liberty

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted. We took a couple years off showing due to some health issues with both of us, but we didn’t just sit around. We worked on some cool liberty stuff. I had started the passage on Dino when he was just a young man. We took it slow, and I tried to make it fun for him. Dino’s passage was trained using 100% positive reinforcement. I used the whip as a target and guide. I like to think his passage is powered by carrots!

One of the the challenges with training the passage at liberty is increasing the collection. Dino is a pretty chill (kinda lazy) horse. He likes to expend the minimum energy required. We are working on increasing his push energy without going forward… all at liberty. It’s an interesting concept to train at liberty, because you have very limited controls. When I transferred the passage to under saddle, I found it much easier, because I have tactile rein aids and leg aids to help him understand.

Here’s a little video from DelMarHorseGirl on TikTok, showing some passage at liberty.


Unicorn Haflinger For Sale

I can’t believe I am writing this…..but Akira is up for sale. I know we shouldn’t sell her. She is a true once in a lifetime unicorn. I wish we could keep her, but Kelsey is off to Arizona for college , and I have my hands full being a mom and taking care of my horse Dino. So with tears in my eyes, I will write everything I know about this fabulous little horse. Maybe one of you knows someone looking for a jumper/eventer that is also a confidence builder or maybe you know someone looking for a future FEI dressage pony. I would LOVE to see her go to someone I know. She is just too special.

Akira’s Info

  • Registered Haflinger (Excellent bloodlines: Her great-grandfather is Aristocrat TOF. They made a Breyer Horse model of him). Registered name is Princes Noble
  • 9 years old ( just turned 9 in April)
  • 14.1 Hands
  • Incredibly athletic. Has jumped up to 4′ (up to 3’9″ with junior rider).
  • Perfect jumping form: This horse knows how to jump from any spot and get her knees up and out of the way.
  • Confidently jumps a variety of obstacles including up and down banks and ditches. Schooled all the BN fences at Copper Meadows.
  • Confirmed flying changes
  • Super easy keeper
  • Beautiful Mover
  • Excellent Confirmation
  • Sweet, Sweet, Sweet mare (very people oriented and just wants to hang out with you all day). Definitely not mare-ish. When she comes in season, she actually gets more cuddly.
  • Excellent on trail (alone or in groups)
  • Clips, ties, and trailers like a dream
  • Loves water and will cross anything
  • Trained and shown in Dressage, Jumpers, Hunter under Saddle, and Cross Country
  • Can go barefoot all around and even Evented barefoot
  • Akira is strong and big bodied enough for an adult to feel comfortable on her (I am 5’9″ and ride her). She is also sweet enough for young/green riders.
  • Stunning and Incredibly photogenic, Akira has had an art exhibit around her images taken by a famous photographer
  • In your pocket , incredibly loving mare that bonds with her owner and wants to take care of you.
  • Gets along with other horses
  • Very Brave Horse. If something does scare her, she usually just stands still
  • Mane down to her legs. Tail to the ground. Simply stunning.
  • Always at the gate and happy to see you.
  • This is the perfect horse for someone to learn jumping or eventing on. She has a solid foundation and is ready to move up the levels now. You could also train her up the levels in dressage and take her to the National Dressage Pony Cup in Kentucky. I have no doubt she can make it to the FEI level. Super easy to sit her big trot too!

Akira’s accomplishments

  • Copper Meadows Eventing Year End Champion 2018 with junior rider
  • Multiple wins at Copper Meadows Eventing Elementary level with junior rider.
  • Shown dressage up to First level. Scores up to low 70’s with junior rider. Always in the top ribbons.
  • Has shown Hunter under Saddle with a very young, absolute beginner as well and was calm, sweet and always in the top ribbons.

Akira’s Special Talents

  • Akira can say the word “banana”
  • Excellent Swimmer
  • Akira will squeak like a dolphin when she is really happy or proud of herself (never heard a horse vocalize like this in the 40 years I have worked with them!)
  • Knows the Spanish Walk
  • Can smile and give kisses on command

I am sure there is so much more to this little mare than I am mentioning. If she was a full sized horse, she would be worth $30K or more. So, if you are on the smaller side, this is your chance to get an amazing horse for a lot less money. I really can’t say enough good things about her. I originally purchased her because of her athleticism and personality. She did not disappoint. This horse will give you a confidence boost and be your best friend at the same time. She deserves a home that will cherish her and treat her like the super special little mare that she is. $14,250

Contact via Email: kimyin1@yahoo.com

UPDATE: Just couldn’t do it! I cancelled all showings. Going to keep this little girl….

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Half Pass at Liberty!

Now that Dino is at a new barn with lots of space and arenas to play in, I thought I’d get back to doing what I love….Liberty Training! It’s been eons since I have played with teaching Dino the Half Pass at liberty. So imagine my surprise when I asked for it and Dino gave me a few beautiful steps! Sometimes Dino makes me sooooo happy!

The Half Pass at liberty takes a ton of shaping. Notice the nice bend in his body toward the direction of travel. He leads with his shoulder and crosses over behind. I’d like to see more forward movement, but that will come. Also note that I didn’t use the arena wall or a circle to get the bend. This bend is from straight up shaping! Fun stuff (for a horse training nerd anyway!). Also for my western friends, the primary difference between a Half Pass and a leg yield is the direction of the bend. A bend INTO the direction of travel is a much more difficult gymnastic than a leg yield. Leg yields are pretty straight forward and easy to train (even at liberty). A Half Pass at liberty takes a bit more creativity!

The best part about filming this movement is that I had to change my visual aids. I normally use both arms to cue Dino for a half pass, but that wouldn’t work while holding my camera. So, I improvised trying to do everything with one hand. I held a whip so it would be more visually obvious. In hindsight, the cue looked nothing like the normal cue. Dino was probably just guessing. I only have two movements that I have trained that give commands from behind Dino, and the other cue is very different. The half pass was just a great guess from the dinosaur. It just goes to show how smart horses are. They probably fill in the blanks more often than we think!

The Sun Sets on Sunset Horse Ranch.

As the last horses get ready to leave this property for good, I can’t help but think about all the amazing times that were had here. Horses have been on this property for at least 70 years. I have little information about the early days, but there is evidence of horse activities as early as the 1950s. Check out Lucia’s Leapers scratched into the concrete in 1953 (see pix). Right next to it are the words Sea Horse Farms. Was that the early stable name? I don’t know, but it’s possible. I do know the stable was called Clark Ranch for many years. Then it was Pomegranate Equestrian Center, and lastly, it was Sunset Horse Ranch.

Think of all the kids that learned to love horses on this little slice of heaven, all the friendships made, and dreams realized. My own daughter got her first pony here. We leased her a little white pony named AutoPilot. Pilot was a Christmas present and was wrapped in a huge red bow on Christmas morning. It was such a magical time for our family. Similar stories to ours played out so many times on this land. Girls of all ages getting their first horse and falling in love with the sport. It’s practically hallowed grounds. I can find quite a few initals, handprints and hoofprints left in the concrete. Memories of long ago friendships and adventures.

It makes me so sad to see this property turned into a retirement home. I know it was inevitable. Property values are rising. It’s happening all over North County….Seabreeze, Kalimar, and now Sunset. It’s a big loss to the San Diego community though. Everyone says we need more parks, but I think we need more horse ranches. When was the last time you made a life long friend at a park? How many people have gone to a park everyday rain or shine for years on end? Certainly not me. But you can find me at a horse ranch even in the middle of a storm!

Think of how many valuable lessons are learned through horses…. Patience, conquering fears, and even money management (living on Ramen noodles to afford your first horse). Every kid should have a chance to be around horses. There is so much to be gained.

I wish I knew more of the stories from this ranch. More of the happy times. It seems too quiet now. No kids, a few remaining horses waiting to move on to their next stable, abandoned paddocks that will never see a horse again. I can’t ever remember this place being so quiet. It’s like a ghost town. Sad.

I snapped a few pix as I wondered around the barn the other day… No one else in sight. I just wanted something to remember this place by. I was here for many years when it was Pomegranate and a year or two in the early Sunset days. I have a ton of good memories as I am sure so many do.

Today I feel like I am saying goodbye to an old friend. This ranch was once an integral part of my daily life. Soon it will all be plowed over. All the cryptic initials in the cement lost forever. All that will be left are the memories…


Lucia’s Leapers. Sea Horse Farms

Initials in the cement

Tiny hoofprints

An abandoned trophy adorns an empty tack room

Someone’s hand

Abandoned paddocks that will never see another horse

Ranch office sign in a trash pile

It was a nice arena while it lasted

So many kids learned to ride in this arena….

Who remembers when there was a pony living in the middle of the barns?

Abandoned tack room

Such a nice view. Hope the old folks enjoy it.

The remaining horses have moved to the barn awaiting a move to their final destination.

Mostly abandoned pipe corrals

A lot of kids tacked up horses here.

The shady area where camp kids did crafts.

Mounting block and tiny arena

Mostly empty pipe corrals

The small arena

Sunset Horse Ranch

It’s Me or The Horse!

I can’t believe it has come to this, but I must make a choice.

Most of you know Dino has some allergies. The allergies that I was initially most concerned with are the tree allergies as he was stabled under the very trees he is allergic to. But, some other allergies showed up on his allergy test.

It turns out Dino is allergic to certain types of hay. For my non-horse friends, there are 4 main varieties of hay readily available in California. They are alfalfa-a legume hay and 3 types of grass hays- Bermuda, Orchard and Timothy. Turns out that Dino is allergic to 2 of the grass hays, Bermuda and Orchard. It is generally accepted that Alfalfa is too high in protein and calcium to be the sole feed for a horse, so most horse owners mix alfalfa and a grass hay.

On the surface, Dino’s allergies are not a problem at all. He can live on a mix of alfalfa and Timothy hay. In fact, Dino LOVES both types of hay. Of course, life just isn’t that easy, and here is where the tough part comes in…..

As it turns out, I am allergic to Timothy hay! I am covered in hives as I write this. It feels like I have been attacked by thousands of mosquitoes! It is spreading too. I have tried to take precautions, but it just keeps getting worse. I can’t be anywhere near the stuff much less be the one who feeds Dino his Timothy hay lunch.

So who is going to end up suffering…. Me or the horse? What would you do? Help a girl out here. Make the decision for me!

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