Saturday, November 28, 2009


Wow. Yesterday went AWESOME. Better than I could have hoped. Rode my boy at the end, after Mick and Audrey, and by the time I had him tacked and ready to go, C and Joyce were at the barn. That was a good thing because I DO prefer to have people around when I'm attempting something new.

Began by warming him up on the buckle, wtc. He was positively lovely; showing C how he will actually stretch his nose to the ground while I warm him up. Pulled him together at the trot and canter, pulled out a right to left lead change, then trotted over a cavelletti to warm up. I had a square 3' oxer set on one long side, my scary jump complete with his blanket draped over the pole and a pitchfork underneath on the other long side, and a 2 stride combination across the diagonal that was a single cav to the cav stack jump.

Jumped the 2 stride, and even though I set it short, it ended up long for him because he was a little crooked. I popped up a little, but did slip him the reins so I didn't hit him in the face. Came through again with a better canter, a straighter line, and more leg, and he jumped through flawlessly.

Next I approached the scary jump, used my crop behind my leg on approach, he bucked out a little bit, but didn't back off the jump at ALL. Yay! I came back on it the other way, no crop, and again ... perfect.:)

Finally, it was the 3' oxer. Haven't done one of those in ... 12 years or so. Cantered in on the left lead, saw it a tiny bit long, but closed my leg and sat up. Nailed it! He flew over, landed beautifully, and I whooped with happiness. He felt GREAT! Came again on the left lead and got a much better distance, and it was positively exhilirating. Did it one time off the right lead, got just a *hair* deep but it was still great. C was very complimentary, and it made me happy because it has been a while since she's seen him.

So excited; that was way fun. C worked on his muscles a little bit after untacking, and he is just so funny. He's a good boy. My little twit. Stopped by today and spent about 5 minutes just feeding him carrots. He liked it:) I'll flat a little bit Monday before hopefully shipping him out Tuesday to take a lesson with Janet.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Happy Turkey Day everyone!

(pic is the one that I saw online that made me drive to Maryland to go get him)
About to go spend Black Friday with my pony! It's a chilly one today; it's 10:45 and the car has only just now thawed out.:) Rode my boy on the flat Monday, and tried the new Myler bit. It felt like too much for him at first. Mouth is still gaping open and the head goes sideways. In fact, in this bit, he did something he's never done; lifted his head *way* up and looked backwards at me out of his left eye. He sucked WAY back and nearly stopped. Twice. It was strange. When he did that, I really let go and gave him a loose rein. By the time I popped him over a few cavs, he seemed to have accepted the contact, and actually pulled his head down, trying to pull the reins through my fingers.

Rode him in the bit again Wednesday out in the pasture. No trotting or anything today, JUST walking hills. He was fine in it, but did the head up and stare at me with his left eye again. I'll be putting that 0ne away, I think. He's very good in the Waterford, but after the first 2 weeks or so, his mouth was back to being wide open. I ride him in the figure 8 again, and he feels GREAT ... to ME. It's at the point now that I know what he's going to do before he does it ... I can read his body language like the back of my hand. But for the IEA shows, he's a little more unpredictable. Of course, he's only done 2, so I'm probably not getting an accurate read. He was GREAT at the first one, with appropriate level riders. The 2nd one wasn't so good, but that was with BEGINNER riders. He's not chilled enough for beginners yet. I'm taking him next Saturday to his third one, and was just hoping to find somthing with a *little* more WHOA if needed. Oh well. Whatever happens happens.

Today we're working on a scary jump. It will be fairly small, but I plan to build it up with a blanket, some brush, and maybe a pitchfork or something underneath. Just STUFF to make him look at it so I can take the opportunity to school him with a crop at the base of the jump. This stop and leap stuff has got to stop. He's brave once he's seen stuff; now he needs to be brave before he's seen stuff. Also going to set the 3' oxer; maybe I'll do it, maybe I won't, but the option will be there.:)

Hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving; I have a LOT to be thankful for.:):)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Shocked and Amazed.

A year ago today, my horse had been ridden in various pastures, had done 'mini' trail rides at the park next to Crazy Lady's farm, and had taken his first trip to Patchwork where he "jumped" a single crossrail (actually knocked down the pole).

Friday, I rode him in the ring, and cantered back and forth over 2'9 and 3' verticals like they were cavelletti's. He was just wonderful; so relaxed and "whatever" about our ride. I was very happy and proud of him. Experimenting with bits right now so that when he participates in the next IEA show the girls can stop him easily. I borrowed a Myler bit with a low port that I'll try on him tomorrow if it's not raining. I'm still looking for something he likes enough to go in quietly without cranking his neck sideways or opening and gaping his mouth. I'm convinced he can get there, I just have to find the 'magic key' ... or in this case, the 'magic bit'.

Next on the agenda (hopefully this week) is to build me a super scary jump to school him over. Blankets, flowers, brush, etc. The other jump is to tackle a 3' oxer. I've done one at 2'9, and he was easily over it. Didn't look/back off/etc. So ... if we're ever going to do the level 2 jumpers, I've got to canter down to a 'big one'. He'll be fine, I know it.

Looking forward to continuing our journey together this year. My "big" goal is the George Morris clinic next October at Black Jack Farm in Birmingham. There. I've put it out there in more ways than just words. Now I need to continue to lose weight and tone up, find a bit my horse is truly happy in, and conquer the height obstacles that are in my head. We'll get there.:)

Thursday, November 19, 2009


My boy is sound. Phew. Gave him the weekend off, C came and massaged him Sunday, and I took him up to the ring Monday to longe him on the end of his lead rope and see how he looked. He looked about 99% on that teeny circle. Let him off the lead and ran him a little and he looked just fine. Gave him an extra day on Tuesday, then rode yesterday and today. I'm trying a different bit because I think he needs more brakes for the kids at the IEA shows. Tried a mullen happy mouth 2 ring elevator, and he went fine in it. I do think he had more brakes in it. Flat work felt good, the canter was good, cantered the cavs on the low setting, and cantered a small crossrail. The boy felt nice and relaxed.

Today was "butt Thursday", and I rode him in the pasture to walk hills. He was GREAT until I made him walk a particularily difficult hill. At that point, he got an attitude on him, but was doing fine. As a reward, I let him canter to the top of the pasture, and he threw a few pretty big bucks, the little turd. Yanked him up, and he rewarded me by shaking his head all around. Asked him to trot around in the flat area up top, and he was just fresh and bucky. Hacked until he settled in a bit, then cantered and cantered, and cantered. Then cantered again. Then trotted some more, and he was a little more willing to do that. Let him end there. Plan to try and jump around a little tomorrow; we'll see how the booger is feeling.

Friday, November 13, 2009

First lame steps:(

Well, the muffin man stepped up to the farrier stand sound, and walked away lame:( Farrier swears up and down the horse looks fine, but Joyce and I both noticed right away as he walked away that he was walking stiff legged. Doesn't appear to have a hot nail or anything, but maybe he was trimmed a little too short? Or maybe he jammed his shoulder on the hoof stand because he was acting up while the farrier did the front feet. I don't know. Got on and walked some hills Thursday, and he felt pretty ok, but didn't ride today since Joyce had commented he still didn't look 100%. Oh well, show this weekend, so I'll re-evaluate him Monday. Keep yur hooves crossed for him!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Lots of rides

Had a great few days with my boy. Rode Friday and worked him in my 'ghetto' draw reins (they consist of bright yellow boat rope, ha ha). He knows what those are about, and works very hard. Cantered on a 20 meter circle each direction, and did lots of trotting and direction changes. He really felt great. I massaged in Sore no More into his lower back area, because that's where he holds in a lot of pain and tension.

Gave him the absolutely beautiful weekend OFF, then worked today on prompt transitions and going back and forth over the jumps. Had my tall cav 'stack' jump set up again, and jumped a lot of jumps on the diagonal line; sometimes going right, and sometimes going left. Set my long side jump as a very tall crossrail to encourage him to rock back and jump square. He felt very good again today, but my back was VERY tired for some reason:( Untacked and rubbed in some more Sore No More, then turned him out because it's supposed to storm tonight. A hurricane is passing through tomorrow, so I'm sure I won't be leaving the house unless I absolutely HAVE to. Will update at the end of the week!:)

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Gorgeous week!

My little corner of GA has been blessed with some BEAUTIFUL weather this week! Rode Tiki yesterday in the field, working on that butt, always the butt.:) He was so much better this time. Walked a large hill 5 times, then hacked on the level area by the road. No gallop today; I don't want him to get it in his little TB pea brain that pasture=RUN. He was quite good. Rode in the ring today, and worked on my little course I had set up from last week. He felt pretty decent. Had a day today where he knocked off a pole twice. Ugh. Such a pain; it's just him being lazy with his front legs; that's why I like him to jump the solid cavellettis because if he hits it, it HURTS. He was good; felt very relaxed today. Warmed up with his nose on the ground, which is wonderful to feel:) He worked hard and got a bath at the end. Not sure what I'll do tomorrow ... whatever strikes my fancy, I guess:)

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

This weekend

The weekend dawned MISERABLE and cold. Taught lessons in the rain under the covered, then headed to the barn to get the ponie's stuff to load in the trailer. Patted my Squeaky Tiki, then it was home to the hacienda to get ready for Halloween and trick or treating. Sunday morning came way too early despite the fact that we "fell" back an hour. I got the trailer turned around, loaded Star and Tiki with no problems whatsoever, then made the hour and a half drive to Ballground to the horseshow. Saw where we had to park and was SUPER gun shy about parking in the grass since I'd gotten stuck for over 2 hours 2 weeks ago at Patchwork. Backed into the last "good" looking spot, and proceeded to unload both horses by myself since every one of the girls were late. Star did well, but crashed into the butt bar and scraped herself. Tiki came off like he usually does; slightly looky and wanting to longe himself on the end of the lead line. Tied them both to the trailer, and did some serious grooming. Did I mention it's rained ... a LOT? They were both muddy and dirty, and they both have winter coats, so by serious I mean SERIOUS, ha ha.

The overall show is a LONG story, but it ended with Star being perfect for all her flat classes and Tiki getting "excused". What happened is the genuises in charge of horse assignments decided to NOT use my horse at ALL. He was an alternate for 6 classes, but not used in a single one. I was MAD, because when a horse is an alternate, they have to stand there fully tacked up but doing nothing. And he did this all day. And it made him angry. So when they finally decided they HAD to use him, rather than use him in the advanced 2'6, 2' classes, they decided to use him for crossrails, and BEGINNER. He did well for the 2 crossrail riders, but the beginner rider started on a loose rein. I TOLD her to shorten, shorten, shorten, told her trainer to tell her to say "Whoa", but none of those things happended. The end result is during the trot of the class, Tiki got quicker and quicker, and when the canter was called for, he got pretty quick, and then wouldn't stop. Kid lost her stirrup, but stayed on, and we got him whoaed up, and he was done for the day. Threw one of my kids up on him to do a quick trot and canter and make sure he knew he wasn't going home acting like a turd, and he threw a few crow hops on her, but she kicked his butt a little and made him listen to her.

On the bright side, the judge had agreed to discuss a particular student's ride with me, and we got to talking about the fact that Tiki had kind of run off. She asked if the "little chestnut" was mine, and I said that's him, and she said she had really liked him! He was the winner in both of the crossrail classes, but the kids didn't ask correctly for the right lead, and he missed it the first time with both kids, so they dropped lower in the placings. So, a lone bright spot in a pretty, but dismal day.

The loading process took an hour. Tiki got himself all worked up, decided not to load, and made us all wait until it was fully dark before he decided to grace the trailer with his presence.:( That will teach me to DOUBLE CHECK and make sure that after I load him in the morning with the longe line, I make sure the line is back in the trailer before I leave the barn so I can load him to come home. Ugh. A fitting end to a yucky day, for sure:(

Had yesterday off, held horses for the farrier all day today, so I'll ride him the rest of the week.