Tuesday, October 25, 2011

I have 'that' horse ...

the one with the NECK!  Woo Hoo:)  3 years of hard work has finally paid off.  The ear plugs worked GREAT, and he was much improved this weekend.  Jumping was again most excellent, and he was much quieter during the flat classes.  MVP for sure.

Yesterday off, and today I decided to put him in the dressage saddle and work in the mare's back 15.  Last time I did that I was riding with Nicole and Sparky and he was a horrible turd brain.  Today, we worked back and forth along the fence line and did a w/t/c, shoulder-in, and some leg yields.  He was GOOD.  Very, very good.  I was super proud.  He was steady and well behaved and I was happy with him.

As I walked out the gate, I realized that Tiki is now "that" horse with a gorgeous neck.  It has a topline, it has an arch, and it made me happy:)

Today's Tip of the Week; brought to you by Me
When putting hay in a hay net, first put it in a 5 gallon bucket, like one of the Home Depot paint buckets.  Place net over the bucket, dump hay in, easy as pie!  If YOU have a tip or trick, please e-mail me at dakotawyatt2002@yahoo.com

Hope everyone has a great week!  Hope to get in some nice rides this week; got a good start so far:)

Couldn't resist.  This pic I took today and it cracked me up!

Friday, October 21, 2011

The Great Pony Swap parts 2 and 3 ...

Training bank

N train

Real live drop
brand new firewood stack


The other new jump

So, I've had almost a week to process our awesome outing from last Saturday.  Gave Muffin Mon off, and Tues went by with me needing to do some work at the house, so he got then off as well.  Little sis rode him on Wednesday:  Nicole's blog

I hopped on yesterday to walk hills (which it's been awhile since we did that).  Today I had an obligation at my church, so no ride today.  I plan to actually head over tomorrow and do a nice little hack before the IEA show on Sunday.  Going to try little sis' bit which is a full cheek snaffle with a copper ball pacifier.The bit in question  She thought she liked it.  I think I liked it too, but didn't get above a walk:)

Another lightbulb moment was had:  Going downhill (especially the steep one), he tends to flip his head and pull the reins through my fingers ... EXACTLY like he does when we halt.  Since hills are supposed to be low stress, I usually let him do it (bad me).  Yesterday, when he tried to pull the reins through, I 'floated' my hands, squeezed my ring finger, and he flexed perfectly at the poll and didn't pull.  YAY!

Project pony swap days 2 and 3 are not too exciting.  Day 2 began with a bit of a 'come to Jesus' meeting about mounting.  I spent probably 10 minutes of my ride working on getting on.  I witnessed a girl getting bucked off when mounting (suffered a broken hand), so to me it's a safety thing that a horse should stand STILL when you get on.  The ride consisted of using his xc setup; a loose ring Duo bit with a figure 8 noseband.  Sparky in general doesn't need the figure 8, but the duo isn't QUITE enough 'whoa' on the xc course, so by increasing the pressure on the nose and around the bit was perfect for him.

I just worked on straight with him.  He is little (14.2 3/4), but wants to fall in hard core.  I worked on keeping that inside shoulder in, so did lots of circles, and shoulder in.  He was better in the duo vs. the above mentioned bit Tiki is borrowing.  In the steel pacifier, he just got too behind it.  The duo allows him to stretch into it, and in fact, he even was more willing to get above it, which is preferable to getting behind it.   I thought he worked VERY well.  Yesterday, he was PISSY.  I was quite honestly shocked.  Sparky is so easy going and happy.  However ... he DID just get a full body clip ... AND it was about 45 degrees ... when it had been 78 the day before ... AND the wind was whipping like crazy.  Poor boy.  He did NOT have any interest in working for me, but we pushed through.  During the cold months, Nicole doesn't get to ride him outside quite as often because she comes to the barn after work when it's dark, so I thought riding him in his pasture would be good for him.  Walked hills like I did with Tiki.

He was just pissed.  He could see out of the corner of his eye his buddies, and he kept trying to pop his right shoulder and drag me to his friends.  NOT happening.  When I put my leg on and took contact, he got behind the bit.  Got him in front of my leg, and he tried to get "hoppy".  He strained SO hard against my leg and hand, I had to circle right repeatedly to keep from 'arm wrestling' him.  I felt like he was inches away from bucking my butt off, so I kept my heels down, and my sweet talking voice going.  Each time we made it to the top of the hill, I patted him and told him what a good boy he was.  Even the downhill he tried to drag me to his buddies, and he kept snorting and borderline spooking.  I just stayed patient, kept my leg on, and worked to keep him focused.  By the 6th time up the hill, he was *almost* relaxed; he definitely wasn't fighting me any more, yay.  Interesting ride, for sure.

IEA show on Sunday, going to use ear plugs and longe him first.  Hope it all goes well!  I will be back on Monday with a new tip of the week:)

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Calimar video

Jen and Tiki XC schooling

I think I'm riding so much better than I did at the Mud Creek show.  Also, I'm riding much better than I did a little over a year ago, schooling at Chatt Hills.  You can see the difference in both me and my horse:)  Nice fall, huh?  Lol.

Finally ... XC time!

 (almost ready!)
 (the Novice cabin)
(the beginner novice cabin I was so scared of last year)

The best part of our weekend?  I FINALLY got some video from Calimar, woo hoo!  Gotten some great pics, but not any video, so super excited about that.  I had some major nerves going on.  It worked out that I jetted up to Calimar after lessons on Saturday in my car, and Joyce hauled up Tiki, Sparky, and Guilder.  We had our own little Spotted Valley Stables crew along with one additional person:)  I made it there about 1:45.  Our session was at 3, so I got to watch for a bit.  My nerves went nuts when a particular horse had HUGE issues over the big ditch.  He did great over the little one, but was having NONE of the big ditch.  Poor rider had to get off and try to longe him over it for their entire 2 hour session.  He never did get it:(

Horses arrived right at 2:15, and I unloaded mine relieved to find him relatively sweat free, but alas COVERED in dirt!  Agh!  Figures.  And of course my brush box was at home in my trailer.  Oh well.  Used a borrowed hard brush to knock off as much dirt as possible, inspected his cut (which was much less warm than before), and determined he was good to go.  Y'all have to understand; my horse swells up and has heat in a FLY bite.  He is the epitome of "sensitive chestnut".  I have learned what *is* serious, and what *looks* serious.  I had purposely left my paddock boots/half chaps at home so I wouldn't be tempted to wear them.  Tall boots for clinic lessons!  One thing I DID do differently ... I slathered "Saddle Tite" all over the inside of my boots and on the flap of my saddle.  My boss gave me some for Christmas last year, and I have yet to use it.  I figured xc schooling for the first time since ... May? was the perfect time to use it!

Flat in the stadium ring felt great.  Mary Bess had us do a little w/t/c on our own.  Nothing hard.  Last time, we also practiced going from canter to gallop to canter, working on having a "bouncy" canter, but nothing like that this time.  Cantered into a crossrail, and I think it took Tiki by surprise.  I had been taking him over poles, and he was great over those, so I think the jump was like "HUH?"  We looked like a fool over it, oh well.  MB has us go again, and he jumped it fine.  She was being super picky about my position, (yay!), and had me go one more time.  Our "real" warm up was vertical (from the crossrail), sweeping right turn to a red/white oxer, sweeping right turn to barrels lying down.  He jumped everything great, and MB admonished me to make sure I got him straight.  I had felt straight, so I was a little puzzled by her comment, but I filed it away.

Our warm up was the same as last year; lincoln logs out of the arena, straight ahead to a hanging log, straight ahead to 'funky' log.  He jumped the logs perfect, the hanging log a little wonky, and the 'funky' log perfect.  MB wanted me to SLOW DOWN (gee, I've never heard THAT one before!) and keep my leg on slowly, then ride him down to the base.  I tend either to have NO leg, or  I tend to chase him.  Worked on sitting back, sitting lightly, and keeping leg on to the base.  Moved on to the ditches, joy.  Little one was the best he's ever done.  Back and forth over that, then back and forth over big one.  Wow, he was PERFECT!  I chanted to myself, "Sit up, eyes up, DON'T LOOK AT THE DITCH, and cluck ... stick at the ready".  All that feedback worked because he hopped over easy as you please:)  Strung together big ditch, new log pile.  Then turn around, log pile, big ditch, hanging log 2 stride combo.  I was a little unsure as to ride it in a 2 or a 3.  Kyle did it in 3, and Guilder is much bigger than Tiki.  We USUALLY get 3, but the last time I did it, he surprised me by almost doing a 2.  Decided to ride it as it was meant to be ridden.  Ditch was perfect, and I rode the log pile great.  He'd never seen it before, and I sat back, locked in my leg, and rode right to the base.  Turned it around, and he was a little off in the distance to it, but it was still fine, to the ditch a little awkwardly but clear, then I galloped over the 2.  Again, MB admonished me to get straight and slow down, and I realized by straight, I was slightly angling the jumps.  I've gotten so used to jumping our jumps at home on an angle, I wasn't squaring up his shoulders to the jump, and it's really important to help your horse read a ditch correctly by bringing them in square.  One more time, and I nailed it ... and went slow, and he STILL got the 2, good Muffin:)

Next was tiny bank up, tiny bank down, hanging log, big bank up, train, stop.  Train, big bank down, new log cradle jump, left turn to corner.  Yup, the corner!  Then up and around to an actual log drop off the tiny bank.  I was nervous, but I swallowed it and went on.  Tiny banks were perfect.  Hanging log right out of stride.  Big bank easy as pie, train he never looked at.  Train again and he was excellent, big bank down (easiest it's ever been), log cradle (was a little nervous) he was slow off the ground, but no hesitation, to the corner.  A stop at the corner, but it was a question he'd never been asked.  He willingly touched his nose to it, and then I came again.  He made it over this time well; still slow off ground, but honest this time.  Up and around to log drop, and I'd swear I was jumping off the end of the universe!  She had me do train, big bank down, log cradle, corner one more time, and they ALL felt amazing.  I felt like I was really riding well, thank goodness.  The big bank and the corner are Training questions.  Don't know about the new jumps; either BN or N I'm sure.

Finally to the water.  He trotted in with no hesitation whatsoever.  Our task was little bank in, little bank out, canter in ramp, then out over a vertical.  Left turn to a triple log coop, to the BN cabin next to the water wheel, left turn to the N cabin, then right hand turn to the big Training level drop into the water.  Banks were good, coop perfect, BN cabin not a look or stutter, novice cabin rode GREAT.  Then at the T drop into the water he dumped me.  Yup.  3 years and I've never actually fallen off my horse at ALL, so this was the first time.  I was expecting a stop, I was NOT expecting a stop and his head to completely disappear.  Almost landed on my feet, so no biggie.  Got back on, then went to medium bank in.  He was NOT going.  Got his feet wet again, and good.  Medium bank again and I had to "beat" him in with my stick and my leg.  Once he got in, took him down the medium bank about 5 times, then tried the big one again.  Again, he was stopping and shutting down.  I was exhausted.  I had no leg left.  Purposely had left off my spurs, and I was wishing I had them.  Did medium bank in again, then turn to big one, and another stop.  MB gave me one more try, then she was going to get on.  Hit him again behind my leg, turned, and in he went!  Woo Hoo!  We were done.  Truth be told, I was a little scared of a HUGE leap into the water, so I'm not sure I was 100% on asking him to go in.  98% for sure, but I was a little scared.  I am SO proud of him!

Well, anyone that has gotten to the end of this novel deserves a medal.  I had a GREAT time.  I feel like I rode really well, my horse has grown up SO much, and we accomplished more than I had hoped.  I feel very prepared for my planned BN event in Aiken in Feb.  Going to shoot for Full Gallop, I think.  So long as Squeaky and I make it around xc clear, it will be our last BN outing.  I feel like most of what we worked on yesterday was N/T, and that makes me really happy.  MB had lots of good things to say, and I think I followed directions well and did a good job.  I will post video on a separate blog.  Thanks for reading, and enjoy the upcoming week!

Continuing the update ...

As I sit here with the live footage from the USEF Medal finals minimized, I am reflecting on the journey I've had in horses so far in my life.  These kids spend THOUSANDS of dollars for this one chance to make it to this class, only to be eliminated at the first fence (2nd to last kid), or fall off (last kid).  In a way, I'm glad my entire junior life wasn't about horse-showing.  It's hard.  Just like making it big in the music industry (like a friend of ours is trying to do), "fame" is hard to come by.  I'm grateful for the experiences I've had.  I've shown in probably 15 horse shows TOTAL in my life, and I appreciate every one of them.  ANYWAY!

This week it rained a good bit.  Tiki had Monday and Tuesday off after his long Sunday working at the IEA show.  Nicole rode him on Wednesday, and he was a good boy.
Honorary Little Sis' recap of her ride

Thursday, I had a LESSON!  Woo Hoo!  It's been a fairly long time since I've had a dressage lesson from Susan, and it was about time!  I did NOT have high hopes.  For one, his last flat rides were less than stellar.  For another, he'd just had his fall shot booster the day before, and thirdly he had just had his feet done about 2 hours prior.  Walking around to warm up, he felt tight.  Susan noticed, and set up a slightly raised grid to get his hind end to unlock.  We trotted through it a few times, and it was hard to get him to be straight and NOT kick the poles.  He did pretty well with it, and by then he was looking a LITTLE better.  Trotted on a pretty small circle working on our transitions, and that was REALLY good.  By that time, he was starting to feel much looser and more willing to step underneath himself.  Susan was very complimentary of the homework we'd been doing, and was quite happy with his consistency through the bridle, yay!

We FINALLY got some quality instruction for our lateral work.  I have been dying to really work on that, but we've just never been truly ready for it.  I've been doing my shoulder in left perfectly, but the right one needed a little more work.  The leg yields, I tend to overbend.  We worked on straightening his body through those, and did an exercise where we leg yielded/straightened/leg yielded, back to the rail.  He was moving off my leg beautifully:)  Worked on collected canter, and by this point, my leg was just dying, ugh! I'd left my spurs at home (not on purpose), and started out with a dressage whip, but I tend to toss it down because I feel it just makes both of us stiff.  Her words, "pretend you're cantering around a tea cup!".  I got some LOVELY, balanced canter ... "one step just like the last!".

My hip flexors were numb at this point, but I was game to work on some haunches in.  He was pretty dead at this point as well, so the haunches in were pretty good because he was very non reactive off my leg by then.  We got several good steps, but it was FAR from perfect.  The best part of the lesson is the "light bulb moment" I got.  If you have followed this blog for a little bit, you'll know I've struggled with my downward transitions; keeping Tiki from hollowing out during them.  I stiffen my arms and brace against him too much, but when I use primarily seat, he pulls down hard on my hands and the transition is NOT good.  I know to "carry my hands".  I holler it at my students all the time.  I try to carry my hands.  But when Susan said to "float my hands" during the downward transitions, I did, and he kept his contact BEAUTIFULLY!  He didn't try to yank me down, he didn't show any attitude, he was LOVELY.  Love some lightbulbs:)

Friday, I'd planned to do some light "long and low", because I was SORE, and I figured Tiki could use a nice, stretchy ride before our xc lesson on Saturday.  Good thing I'd planned that because his left hind was swollen with a large scrape looking thing.  It was hot, nasty looking, and tight with fluid.  I trotted him out and he was sound, so I tacked him up in the cc saddle, the dressage bridle with no noseband, and no boots. He worked well; just lots of stretchy trot, some nice canter work, and that was it.  The leg looked slightly less puffy, but it was definitely still hot, so after untacking, I cold hosed for 12 minutes.  Gave him a full bath and tossed him in his stall.  Could not WAIT for Saturday!!!!!!!!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Lots to catch up on!

(one year ago, before our first only recognized horse trial!)

Wow.  I'm sitting here fairly exhausted from an AWESOME ride at Calimar today:)  Last blog update was from Friday a week ago when I rode honorary little sis' boy, Sparky.  I promised a Tiki update as well, and I'll be darned if I haven't already forgotten what I did!  I want to say that I put on the cc saddle and the bridle I'll be using for IEA shows, and did a nice flat hack; I'm thinking I actually put on the dressage saddle, though.  Sad.  That's why I have this blog, so I don't FORGET what I do!

I could not POSSIBLY forget about the show on Sunday, though.  What I DO remember about Friday is that he was really, really good.  He was lazy as heck, but a few well timed squeeze of the spurs, and he was feeling better.  Saturday, Tiki went outside during the day and stayed in that night because it was literally 4:15 am when we (Nicole and I) arrived on Sunday morning.  The show was 2 hours away, so we loaded up Squeaky and Star Mare and made the uneventful trip north to Dahlonega, GA.  He unloaded with a light sheen of sweat, and stood with his usual tail swishiness while I tacked him up.  His IEA bit is his dressage bit (a jointed Myler D ring with no hooks) and the hunter bridle.  No martingale or anything, because he REALLY doesn't need one, but I do use his fleecy boots in front and polos behind.

Mounted and walked him around outside the ring for about 10 minutes.  I was hoping he would really relax in and settle down, but he didn't.  He was fine outside, but the SECOND we stepped in the (DEEP) ring, he became jiggy, swishy, and head shakey.  Ugh.  It's been since February since he's been ridden with OTHER horses working around him, and he just hates it.  That's why eventing suits us; it's a solitary sport.  That's why my dressage tests have thus far been barely mediocre; group warm up.  I TRIED to get him to bend, asking for some shoulder-in.  I lost the hind end pretty hard core.  Asked him to move off my leg and his head shot straight up and he spurted into a fast, choppy trot.  Sigh.  The other horses had already jumped around by the time I cantered, so I took him around.  He was very pissy and got heavy on me.  I REALLY wished I'd had the wonder bit in, but I do not want kids to have those kind of brakes to hit him with if they get left behind.  Plus, as pissy as he was, he would only get behind the bit anyway, so I made the most of what we had.  The jumps themselves were no problem, but the line that was supposedly a 5, I nearly caused him to flip in.  I'm trying to get him to consistently "make the step", so I jumped in and used my leg.  He was about 3/4 of a stride too far away, but he jumped anyway, and hung a leg pretty badly.  Added and did 6, and it was perfect.

I buried him to the oxer once, but other than that mistake, he jumped around nicely.  He had three flat classes and 2 jumping; one of the jumping he was pulled from because he is weight restricted, and an over the weight rider had drawn him by accident.  So, one o/f, 3 flat.  Well, his first rider BOOTED him in the very beginning, and he damn near bucked her off.  It was ugly.  In all 3 classes, he was cross cantering, flipping that head around, and actually picked all 4 feet of the ground and bucked a few times.  He was JUST not happy:(  To top things off, as we held him outside the ring, he was incessantly kicking that right hind ... over, and over, and over, etc.  I had no less than 3 people suggest I may want to remove his polo wraps.  I just smiled and said thanks, that's not it, but great suggestion.  FRESH pony.

Finally, the flat torture was over, and he went in for his one jumping class; GREAT.  He was SO much happier to be in the ring ALONE; it's like he was breathing a huge sigh of relief.  His kid got a ribbon, and all was well:)  Both of my teams (my 'other' highschool team, and a new middle school team) won Reserve Champion, yay!  I will try ear plugs at the next show next Sunday, and may even spin him on the longe line for a few minutes before I get on to warm up.  Hopefully it was just "haven't been anywhere in months and I'm fresh" syndrome, because when he's bad I take it personally.

Friday, October 7, 2011

And ... the lightbulbs keep coming ...

I have become a wimp in my old age.  15 years ago, I literally wrote down the name of every single horse I sat on.  It was a mission of mine to sit on as MANY as possible.  Up until 3 years ago, I still had this mentality a little bit.  I used to go over to a barn that re trained ottb's, and got to ride pretty much whenever I wanted.  Weirdly enough, these horses were much more difficult than Tiki, but flatting I felt pretty good, so I was fine on them.

Once Tiki turned into a 'real' horse, and we started jumping 'real' jumps, I lost the desire to ride other horses.  ANY other horses.  It is so much pressure to get in the necessary rides on my ONE horse that there's definitely not enough time in the day to ride multiple horses.  Ok, maybe that's a little bit of an excuse.  Ever since I warmed up one of our lesson horses for IEA Regionals 2 years ago, and he literally stopped and jumped every single jump from a standstill to the point that I ended up behind the saddle, voluntarily dismounted while moving, and passed him off to a better rider, I've been a little gun shy about performing in public on unfamiliar horses.

When honorary little sis Nicole suggested Project Pony Swap for the month of October (once a week, not every ride!), I thought, "Why not?"  Today was swap day one.  The victim willing participant:  Sparky, aka Napolean Dynamite.  Sparky is a mostly Morgan gelding that stands 14.2 1/2 on a tall day, and is the epitome of "Barbie" pony!  He also has a ... um, "Wheee" streak?  In the words of Greg Best (yes, THE Greg Best):  "Yes, you're right!  He IS an asshole!"  Let's just say that I took my phone with me up to the ring today;)

I opted to ride in cc saddle even though I was SORELY tempted to ride in the dressage saddle due to the GORGEOUS browband on his bridle.  Like little sis, I just could NOT bring myself to mix the black, obviously dressage bridle with the brown cc saddle, so I ended up using his "bad pony" bit.  For Sparky, "bad pony" is a full cheek snaffle with a double jointed center that attaches to a tiny round copper ball.  I knew he'd spent a little time in a stall lately, so I just wanted to make sure that I had recourse should I need it.  Headed up to the ring, raised my stirrups NINE holes, then hopped on.  Believe it or not, they were just a hole short, so lowered them to 8 holes up from little sis' length, and took off on a marching walk.

Sparky leans to the inside like he's an 18 hand warmblood.  Looks to the outside, leans and pops on that inside shoulder, and makes you work to get him in front of your leg.  THE most challenging type of horse for me and my short legs to ride.  Spent some quality time at the walk circling, spiraling, and performing shoulder-ins.  At the trot, he promptly arched that Barbie pony neck of his and dropped behind the bit.  I worked to get him up on the contact, and rode him with my LEGS.  He is exactly the type of horse I like to overuse my hands on, and cross my inside rein to attempt to get that inside shoulder STRAIGHT, so I tried hard to keep about 5" between my hands, right on the right, left on the left.  Gigi's advice thundered in my brain.  "FLEXION ON THE INSIDE REIN!  GET HIM DOWN INTO THE OUTSIDE REIN!"  So, I flexed him with the inside, used leg, and squeezed my outside rein, and he settled into a lovely contact with a nice, straight free flowing trot.  Thinking of his notorious "duck and run" move that he randomly does at random jumps, I set out 2 jumps as poles on the ground between 2 standards.  I have no plans to actually jump him, but working over poles and cavalettis are fair game.  Trotted over the poles at random intervals, and he did those better than my horse typically does.

The canter transition was VERY "runny".  In other words, not clean.  It FELT good once I got it.  Again, I concentrated on not crossing my inside rein, and kept him on the contact and not behind the contact.  Did my favorite exercise from when I was riding Mick (see MUCH earlier blog posts!), which is a 10m circle, reverse across a diagonal.  Rinse and repeat a million times.  I finally cantered him to a pole, and by GEORGE I think I've diagnosed WHY Sparky does the duck and spin at the last minute.  Even though he LOOKS like he's cantering in on the bit, I could feel him suck behind the bit, thus avoiding ALL correct contact.  Of COURSE that opens him up to being allowed to go wherever he wants, and since we all now know he can be an asshole ...

Just my theory!  The point of the swap is to improve us as riders, and hopefully fill in some gaps and help improve each other's horses as well.  I ended up having a great time, but I'm SURE I will have some super sore legs tomorrow.  Lessons tomorrow, first IEA show of the season Sunday, dressage lesson Thursday and XC lesson on Saturday.  TOTALLY looking forward to this week, woo hoo!

I did ride my pony today, but it's bed time, so I will update that tomorrow:)

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Maybe getting back into the swing of things?

(the boy at an IEA show 2 years ago with a 'Varsity Open' rider)

Maybe there's the possibility that I'm FINALLY able to do a few things before year's end?  God willing?  I went with Susan (dressage trainer I lesson from every few months) to watch her ride in a Gigi Nutter clinic (BN dressage trainer based here in GA).  I ALWAYS learn something when I watch; Gigi has this amazing eye, and  a sixth sense that I imagine all the BNT's have when it comes to getting through to a particular type of rider.  I FINALLY got to really watch LOTS of lateral work.  Basic lateral work, which is what I need work on.  

I learned that a half pass is a shoulder-in.  And a haunches-in.  At the same time.  

I learned a pirouette is a half pass on a circle.

I love that dressage REALLY is just a progressive exercise.  That's why I've had trouble trying a half pass; my horse doesn't have a very good haunches-in.  My canter cue is too similar to the cue to a h-i (identical, in fact), so I need to change my canter cue.  Homework!  And I didn't even have to spend MONEY!  Not even for GAS!  This is what I love about my sport:)

I will work on a few things and take a lesson from Susan next Thursday.  It's been awhile, and I feel it's time for a good booty kicking.  Speaking of booty kicking, the Saturday following next Thursday I will be hauling out to Calimar for a xc lesson from Mary Bess Sigman!  Yay!  Now, I love dressage as much as the next person, but I'm not NEARLY as excited about my dressage lesson as I am for my xc lesson.  It's been over a year; I last rode with Mary Bess last September ... that's the ONLY time I've ever had any type of xc instruction, so I hope I've come a long way and made some good progress.

Speaking of progress, here is the link to honorary little sis' blog about her ride on the Tiki Muffin:

Let's see, what's happened?  Monday he had off since little sis rode him Sunday.  What did I do Tuesday?  Oh!  Right, nothing because I went to Gigi.  Duh.  Yesterday I did trot sets.  I haven't done them in a fairly long time, so I patted myself on the back.  Dude ... my back was KILLING me.  Thank goodness the pony decided not to trip and fall on his face (literally) this time.  He was a teeny bit rotten, but not bad at all, yay!  Slow and tiny strided at first, I popped him with my crop once or twice, and he got better.  I let him stride out into a full on gallop; not a xc gallop, but a GALLOP.  He actually swapped out his lead so he could "kick it in" to gear.  Fun, fun, yay for nice flat pastures with good footing:)

Tomorrow I'm riding Sparky in my own Project Pony Swap, and will throw Tiki man into the dressage tack one more time for a good schooling before the IEA show this Sunday.   Looking forward to seeing my red head cart around some kidlets, and excited about warming him up:)

Monday, October 3, 2011


Soo, it makes me feel AMAZING when my horse goes well for someone else.  Even though I'd hoped for the fairy tale version of horse ownership where he came galloping to me in the pasture to lay his head on my shoulder and nicker softly in my ear, that's just not who we are.  I LIKE to share.  It is more of a measure of my success as a rider and trainer when my horse goes equally, or BETTER for someone else than for me.  I have been stingy about his re-training because I wanted to test my abilities and see how I could do with him on my OWN, but now that we've reached the land of lead changes, 3'3 being no big deal, and trucking around the 2'6 at IEA shows, I'm good with sharing:)

On Friday, I didn't plan to ride my boy because the new addition to the family had a vet appt to check everything out, and formally get adopted (if you're going "Huh?" click on the tab at the top of the blog called "10 random facts"), so that meant my cleaning schedule was messed up.  However, I got a phone call late Thursday night letting me know one of my kidlets had a HORRIBLE lesson at the barn for her school's equestrian team, and could I PLEASE restore her confidence on Friday????  Well, I don't teach on Fridays, but I told them if they were willing to come to me, I'd give said kidlet a lesson on Tiki.  They did, and I did.

He was a ROCK STAR.  Plain and simple.  She is a pretty beginner rider, 8th grade.  TALL and skinny, you know the typical Hunter/Jumper type;)  Just learning how to competently negotiate crossrails, and learn how to pilot around an inside/outside type course.  For safety's sake, I put him in the wonder bit (aka, BRAKES), but knowing how quiet he always is at home, did NOT worry.  He was GREAT for her!  Dead quiet, took nice big slow trot steps, never missed a lead, stayed slow and quiet at the canter.  Backed up when I had her try a totf because she used too much hand, but that was not a disobedience, just a "what?"  She did her first leg yield, and I was just bursting with pride.  Trotted a crossrail about 4 times, then jumped it at a canter one time off each lead, and he couldn't have been better.  Friday was more a measure of our success than any of the shows we've done lately, and I am just happy as can be!

Honorary little sis Nicole rode him yesterday, and she promises a full blog report, so when that happens I will link up.  Gave him today off since I put in 24 bags of bedding, but will ride tomorrow.  Full report then.  Thinking I will do trot sets in the pasture because it's been over a month since I've done them, bad girl!