Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Goin' Solo part 2

Well, my last ride was ... when? Friday? No, it rained Friday. Thursday was my solo ride, wasn't it? Geez, how the days all run together.:) Worked yesterday and didn't have time to ride the boy, so I ATTEMPTED to do so today. Rain cut my ride super short, but at least I did get on. Let me tell y'all, the boy could have seriously used a spin on the longe line before going out today. It's been weirdly cool for a few days, but he HAS been out at night. Since I was racing the rain, I just trusted that our last outing was enough to keep him sane. Hopped on, and headed out the same way I did last time. He was FRESH. His walk was RIGHT on the edge of a jig. We went down the road, next to the pasture fence, and Kelly decided to RUN right next to us. Yeah, it freaked him out a little. VERY googly eyed, snorted a bit, and cranked his head towards her. Made it to the end of the fence, and he spooked at a big, ugly dead bush. Launched backwards and spun around. I growled "HEY, cut it out!" at him, and pushed him back forward. It is DANGEROUS to be spinning and backing up 10 feet from a busy road. Got him past the bush, and had a bit of a reprieve, as there's about a 5 minute walk through a field a safe distance from the road. He was blowing and whuffling the entire time. Offered up a few head shakes, but nothing too serious. Walked down the road to the entrance of the woods, and really had to keep contact and half halt down the hill. Walked nicely over a log and into the woods. Stopped dead at the water, but then walked through perfectly, with NO leap/run through at all this time. We hopped over our usual jump log, and he came right back to the walk, no problem. Came to a tree that was down, and had to dismount to move it. Got back on, and walked through a big water puddle that usually isn't there (did I mentioned it's rained cats and dogs the last few days?) with NO problem. Not even a pause, and he just walked through, no bolting through.

Went in to make the loop, and picked up a trot. He was VERY sucked up and looky. Swished the tail and shook his head a little. Again, not bad. It began to rain. Not only that, but as we got deeper into the forest, the sound of heavy equipment got louder and louder. He stopped dead again and stared into the woods. I didn't blame him; at this point, the heavy machinery was very loud. I waited patiently, rubbed his neck, and closed my leg to ask him to walk forward. He was reluctant, but he did it. I made him walk for about another 30 seconds, but then turned around. At this point it was raining heavier, and he wasn't happy about it. I trotted, but he REALLY wanted to do his snorty Thoroughbred canter. So, I made him walk. Jumped the log again, walked until we got to the hill going out, then let him do his snorting, jolty canter. Pulled him up before he got out of hand, and walked to the gate of the back pasture. I dismounted and unlocked the gate, then went in through the back pasture. We were both pretty wet by this time, so I took him in to untack and dry off.

Sadly, this was my last ride on him for 2 weeks.:( I hope he enjoys his vacation, because that's where I'll be! We leave Monday for a 9 day cruise to Panama, Belize, and Costa Rica. This weekend is my Zone Finals at Chateau Elan, so Friday-Sunday will be at the horse show. It's supposed to rain the rest of the week until Thursday night, which is why I'm sure today was my last riding day, unless I can squeeze in some time Sunday. So, don't leave my blog! I'll just have nothing to blog about until I get home, when I will update our activities!:) So, I'll try to post something Sunday, whether or not I ride, and then y'all will just have to hang out and wait and enjoy Spring Break!!:):)

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Goin' Solo

So, yesterday I knew would be my last opportunity to ride before it rained ... and rained ... and rained. Really wasn't up for an intense ring ride because I have a MASSIVE bruise on my leg from where my horse nailed me in our struggles to get on the trailer coming home. Tacked him up and walked out of the driveway and next to the road around the perimeter of the barn. Headed into the woods at our usual spot, and very soon was at the water. Didn't even have to kick him. Just a little squeeze right, squeeze left, and he went through quietly and calmly. Gradually, I let him all the way out onto the buckle. We stayed that way through most of the ride. Took the loop, and made our way back and he was still perfect. Started walking a little faster but no jigging or trying to trot. All in all, the trip was an hour and a half of perfection. Not a single look, start, spook, or even a googly eye. Good boy! Now he's off duty until I decide whether I'm taking him to PWF on Saturday due to the fact that it will be raining the next 3 days.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Just enjoying life!

Well, Saturday morning began with a fight.:( I managed to screw up my horse that loaded perfectly by shoving him on a too small tin can trailer last time I took him to PWF. This time, the trailer is a huge, open 3 horse slant, and he stopped and said NO WAY. Took half an hour and the longe line, and we were on our way. Arrived uneventfully, and put him in the round pen with hay and water. He chilled for about an hour until Becca arrived, and then they made their way up to the "big ring". It was a GORGEOUS day, and Tiki came out quiet. They walked for a while, then began trotting, and he was beautiful. Slow, quiet, and Becca's assesment is that he's "Such a jumper, it's not even funny!" Yay! They went over a few poles, and he was good. She cantered the left lead for quiet awhile and he was a rock star; not caring at all when the other horses in the lesson cantered around him. She's ridden him the other time I took him to PWF, and couldn't get his right lead. It's tricky, and I'm not sure I really do a good enough job explaining how I get it. This time, though, she was persistent and patient, and they got it on the 5th or 6th try. He held it and didn't swap, so that was good. The exercise I gave them was a left lead canter over a pole, 6 stride bending line to a "medium" cavelletti, down to the trot to a wide sweeping right hand half circle, then a trot back over the pole towards 'home', and a straight line halt. He did great over the pole, then lost the canter to the cavelletti, then had a nice trot and halt. Tried again next time, and he was perfect! Jumped a 'high' cavelletti (ours are about 2') with NO problem what so ever.:) Trotted in, cantered out, acted like he'd been doing it his whole life! Tried our first ever solid ring obstacle; a brush box with flowers. He was perfect. Pushed our luck, and tried the brick wall jump as well (which is a very scary obstacle for one of our schoolies; she only jumps it the first try maybe 50% of the time, and she's lived with it and jumped it for the last 2 years:0 ). Again, perfection!!! So, she jumped off, loosened the girth, and he was done for the day.

Had plans to go trail ride on this FANTASTIC day, but my non horsey husband gave me a huge guilt trip, which is why I'm sitting here typing out this blog.:( Sucks for me. Oh well, I'm sure the boy is enjoying his day of recovery, and I'll ride him tomorrow in our usual pasture and just wait for next Saturday. I am SO blessed.:):)

Friday, March 20, 2009

Just another one of those days ...

When the boy was freaking awesome, woo hoo! I actually showed up at the barn around 8:30 (in the chilliness) and got him all tacked up. Went to the front pasture, and reset some gymnastics I had set for my friend last night. She did a hay bale to a baby vertical to about a 2'3 vertical, all bounces. This morning, the hay bales were gone, so I just set those as poles, left the baby vertical (it's probably 21", so almost 2'), and set the bigger vertical as poles. Mounted and he stood quietly. Warmed up with my 2-point. Walked a full lap at the walk, then picked up my trot. As per usual, the boy wanted to get fast with me in 2-point. I let him. Stayed TOTALLY quiet, let him trot fast, and then he totally got it out of his system. VERY softly came down to posting, and posted a l o n g area. All the way from the gate down to the road, and back again. He felt awesome, like a "real" horse. My reins were soft, my leg was soft, and he stayed slow all by himself.:) Trotted through the poles, and did serpentines through them, making sure he was fine with the colors and stuff. This was to be his first time trotting over a regular vertical jump with standards and a pole. He's done the height, but it's always either been a log or a cavelletti. Walked him over the poles and up to the jump. He was fine; forward and willing. Then, it was time to bite the bullet. Trotted towards the gymnastic, grabbed mane, and he went through perfectly! Wasn't quite sure where to put his feet since it was bounces, so he did kick some poles, but he was SO willing. Went through again, and he bounced correctly. Went through one more time to reinforce, then turned around to make it harder. One pole, the jump, then bounce, bounce. He was GREAT! Went through one last time, then gave him a minute to walk on a loose rein and catch his breath. THEN I cantered, lol. Left lead, did a half circle, asked for a simple change and he didn't get it ... back to trot, asked again and he gave the right lead, cantered a big, soft circle, and quit with that. Gave him lots of pats and praise, and was putting him back in his stall just as Wayne the cowboy showed up. Rode the babies on a short trail ride, and they were GREAT! Will take Tiki to PWF tomorrow for my friend Becca to ride, then plan to trail ride on Sunday. Not looking forward to the early morning, but I am looking forward to having him out and about this weekend.:)

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Takin it easy ...

Today was just one of those days when I didn't plan to push. Ended up pushing the envelope, but not pushing physically. Put the mares up, and left the gate to the pasture open so I could just ride in. Rode in, and came to the water. Oh, the lovely water. Leaped over it and cantered up the hill. Ooookay. Turned around and went over again, and again ... went on into the pasture, and set to walking up a big hill. Got to the top, walked down another one, walked back up another one, etc. Picked up a trot and trotted some circles in the lovely flat area of the pasture. Heading towards the barn, of course, he wanted to get fast, so I worked on the usual half halt and slow posting. REALLY concentrated on not grabbing and holding his face. I think I succeeded pretty well.:) Did another hill, then trotted some more. He was a little fresh today, and the hind end wanted to leave the ground a little when he thought it was time to canter. Little did he know, I had no plans to canter today. After not riding for a week, I just wanted to do the hills and some trot sets. No jump or anything. I will show up again at 8 in the morning, and ride Tiki before riding the babies tomorrow. I think I may jump the hay bale tomorrow.:) Depends on how quiet the booger is.

Ended with MORE water. I was very patient. I let him sniff at it, and after he ran through the puddle again, made him go through again and again until he went through QUIETLY. Walked around to just behind the little barn, and there is a HUGE mud pit with lots of standing water. Asked him to walk in. Instead, he backed up at mach 10 speed. Walked forward again, and he did his statue impression. I had had it with that. I agressively lifted my heel, turned my toe out, and alternated kicking him HARD with first my right leg then my left. Yay! That WORKED. He walked forward into the mud, and we walked around and around, splashing away. When he actually accepted his fate and just walked through it, I ended his misery and dismounted and loosened his girth. All in all, I would call today successful.:)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The "babies"

Soo, ran out of time and didn't get to ride my boy today, but I did ride "the babies". They're a pair of 3 year olds with 90 days of training on them, and my job is to keep them going. Rode them in the back pasture today; planned to do some hill work and hacking to save the pasture because it started raining Friday and didn't stop until early Monday morning. Reley, the palomino, had a moment when he came face to face with 4 baby longhorn cows across the way. He took off running, and fortunately, I was able to crank his head into my knee and stop him. Made him walk back up to the fence, and then walk back and forth along the fence line until he relaxed. Finished with walking over some running water that is runoff from the pond. He did NOT like that at ALL. Ended up working with him through all that water for about 15 minutes; honestly, that suprised me because Reley has a great brain. I actually was suprised all the way around, because he was generally pretty spooky, and hadn't offered that up before today. Rode Chester, the paint. Chester won the award for being a GOOD BOY today. Didn't freak at the cows, didn't spook at anything, and walked calmly through/over the water at the end. I was so proud of "my" boys! Will ride all 3 tomorrow; I plan to ride in the back again. Tiki will be going to PWF Saturday because I picked up my friend's trailer today, yay!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Managed to beat the rain:)

Got in a ride today, yay! I went straight to the barn after dropping Kody off at school, and arrived at precisely 8 am. Got Tiki out of his stall (he's on night turnout now), tacked him up, and led him out to the arena again. He's better in there. I don't fight his pace so much ... he's a little more "self regulating" in there. Left him a bit 'au natural'; no ear net, and no martingale. Mounted from the mounting block I left in the pasture, and he skittered backwards. I do believe he is a tad cold backed ... it was definitely cooler today, and the mounting block is shorter than the step ladder I got tired of dragging with me out to the pasture. Anyway, got him stopped, patted his neck, and got straight up in my 2-point. Walked the perimeter of the pasture, then sat and walked into the ring. Asked for a trot, and he jolted forward with a shake of his head and a swish of his tail. Oh boy, here we go again! I totally missed an opportunity yesterday with totally beautiful weather so I could stay home and perform some sorely neglected 'wifely duties'. Sooo, we were tail swishing, then cantering, then I just breathed and dropped the reins. Oddly enough, that worked. The monotony of circling the ring eventually helped him chill, and before I knew it, he had settled down completely. I had thrown 2 pvc poles in the ring on the ends of the ring, and he dropped his head hard, and jerked his feet up over them for several laps. Finally, after lots of circles and reverses, the just trotted over them quietly.

Yay! Did the shoulder-ins again; he was good. Did totfh both ways today, and they were MUCH better! Maybe 75% good today:) Got the right lead on the 2nd try, and he swapped out. Walked, regrouped, and asked again. Got it long enough to circle, yay! Reversed, and cantered left; we circled and cantered over the poles. He was GREAT! I was super happy. Decided to finish again with the crossrail/trot pole. I circled at the trot a few times to get him quiet since we'd just cantered. Trotted straight to the crossrail, and he did NOT get fast at ALL! Trotted in, hopped over, cantered away. Went one more time with the same result, so I hopped off and loosened my girth. What a GOOD BOY! I planned to ride tomorrow and Sunday, but the rain is coming in, so that plan probably won't work, bummer. Bringing my friend's trailer home with me tomorrow to borrow for a few weeks so I can take him to PWF for her to ride in lessons on Saturdays. Hopefully that will help him continue to build muscle and gain confidence. Overall, I am incredibly happy with my little guy!!!:)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

AWESOME day!:)

Rode the boy today. He was a SUPERSTAR! Decided to ride in the little arena today instead of just in the pasture. He went back into PWF mode; rounding, reaching for the bit, attempting to bend, etc. We found a perfectly lovely trot rhythm, and warmed up on a nice, loose rein. I actually walked/trotted for about 5 minutes in my 2-point, and while he did want to get a little fast at first, he settled in nicely. Worked the leg yield at the walk, and performed shoulder-ins both directions for the first time today. Did those like a champ. Worked on the turn on the forehand ... that one needs a little work. He doesn't move readily off my leg (as evidenced when he decides to not MOVE, despite me "beating" him, lol), so the 'totfh' is sticky, at best. We're about 33% on that.:) Cantered BEAUTIFULLY on the left lead, staying soft and balanced despite the fact that the ring is unlevel and has virtually no short side. Deciding to continue our jumping work, I had set up a slightly bigger crossrail than what we'd been doing in the center of the ring with a trot pole. He has now decided jumping isn't too bad, and now tries to canter in all the time, so I will have to get him to relax and trot in without riding "backwards", and creating a stop. He needs a ton of pole/caveletti work, but we all know that's a little hard to do until the ring is finished. In the mean time, I'll do what I can when I can, and hopefully we'll be ready to do our hunter pace in October.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Trail today!

Today was fun. Went out with Joyce, Wayne, and Cindy. We went out the back pasture and across the road to the pulpwood forest. Took our usual loop that I could PROBABLY actually find on my own, lol. Only rode for around an hour or so. Tiki was perfect through the water, jumped a log nicely, and really wanted to be fresh today! He jigged a little bit, and wanted to do his big boy "power walk" instead of moseying with the babies. He was better on a loose rein, but he just walked too darn fast.:) As soon as I picked up contact, he wanted to jig away. I left off the Thinline pad, and used my fleece 'wither relief' pad today, and he seemed good. Didn't notice the patch of broken hair behind the withers today, so I think the saddle is ok. It's the Wintec I've been borrowing until I can get some wither tracings sent in to Trumbull Mtn. tack so maybe they can FINALLY help me find a saddle. He wasn't too bad; I was just a little over the whole jigging thing. I didn't get to ride him yesterday, though, because my son was sick and pitiful, so I didn't feel right making him sit in the car for 3 hours while I cleaned stalls, then sit for ANOTHER hour while I rode. I just have to remember that we have NO timetable, NO agenda, and NO plans. If he gets a week off here and there, he should enjoy it! There's no reason to stress about the inconsistent work because I have ALL summer to ride everyday and get on a solid schedule. Will be staying home tomorrow, and plan to ride Monday before I head out to PWF.:)

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Today was about as well as can be expected.

Today wasn't horrible. We've been worse, lol. I had low expectations for today since it had been Sat nearly 2 weeks ago since I'd ridden Tiki. All last week was just horrible, rainy, cold weather, and then over the weekend I had the Regionals, and then all week I've just been so tired. Anyway, I decided not to longe because he was looking pretty darn quiet while I tacked him up. Decided to try out a borrowed Thinline pad with my ill fitting borrowed Wintec saddle. I could not tell a difference. In fact, today was a day we hadn't had in quite awhile. He was trying to be a little bit bucky. Walked, leg yielded, and performed a half way decent turn on the forehand. Started out super quiet at the the trot, and then as I shortened my reins and asked for bend and collection, he started to get quick and bucky. I got onto him a bit, flexing him into by knee and using my leg a bit. We worked ALL over the pasture, and I finally just looped the reins at him. That did help. I just worked super hard at maintaining my posting rhythm and trying not to touch his mouth. Did a bunch of figure 8's that way, and he stayed quiet, just did not bend. Cantered on the left lead, and he did NOT offer to buck. Tried a few times for the right lead and didn't get it, so didn't push. Trotted a few times over a teeny crossrail I have set up in the pasture, and he felt pretty good. Ended with a good, quiet jump. I do have higher hopes for tomorrow; hopefully he will behave himself! I would like to ride in the back pasture if I can kick the mares out.:)

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Sorry for no updates!

Sorry it's been so long! My boy has had a week and a half break due to horrendous weather and my Regional Finals horseshow this weekend. Since I STILL have not ridden him (plan to tomorrow!) I will update my show results!:) My high school was CHAMPION and my middle school was RESERVE CHAMPION! So, we rocked our Regionals and qualified for Zones the first weekend in April. Happy, happy day! We even managed to do it in the first "real" snowstorm to hit GA in years. Luckily, it didn't stick and make driving the horses home treacherous, but it sure was cold, muddy, and miserable. Looking forward to the end of this week; the weather is supposed to be warm and LOVELY! From 33-73 in less than a week ... total craziness. Anyway, will give a good update tomorrow after my ride-should be interesting!:)