Thursday, January 19, 2017

Dressage Lesson!

Last night I got to have a lesson again! The weather was cooperative two weeks in a row! Amazing!

It has been SO WARM, here in the south lately. Like nearly mid 70's, LOVE. IT. We had a beautiful weekend and I got to ride Harold Saturday and the girls got to ride their pony Sunday. I'm soaking it all up! I know it will turn to the 30's and 40's again soon.

As you can see, the girls had a great time! And they were SO brave this time! Last ride they didn't even really want to move. I got Shelby to walk but only for a few strides. This time they both rocked it! They led her around first a bit and then Chloe rode and she did so good! No crying and was getting her to woah by herself and also turning her a bit. She even was nudging her with her heels to get her to move again. Which Snowy didn't seem to have a whole lot of experience with as she jumped the first time Chloe tried it (although she did kind of kick her the first time, lol, because she misunderstood what I said). I wish horses and ponys came with a carfax of sorts, haha. I'd love to know what actually went on in her life.

On Saturday I rode my main man. He was a LAZY SLUG. I was wishing for a crop to whap his butt with fervently. When he decides he's tired and doesn't want to go faster I can barely get him to speed up with pony club kicks and smacks with my hand on his butt. And it severely wears me out!! 

SO, before my lesson Monday I made sure to dig out my spurs I have been meaning to find for the last couple months. And then will be making an appearance next ride!

Anyway, I put him in his new dressage saddle again, and our NEW white saddle pad that arrived! He looked beautiful of course! 

I love vertical flexion shots, ;)
I did a bit of groundwork before hand (mainly lunging for respect) since it had been quite a while. Then I tacked him up all but his bridle and started the video. It took me a good 10 minutes to find a place I thought at the time, would work to see us most of the time. Yeah...not so much. Anyway, then I went in and fitted him with my bitless bridle (Dr. Cook's) I feel like he is still concerned and chewy with the bit when I try to take up more contact, so thought just for kicks I would see how he did in the bitless. WELL, he was a lazy slug. Lol, so after getting tired of lazy, very dull reactions to my aids I jumped off and swapped back to his bit. Which was instant sensitivity again, yeah. I may try a different bit on him. Any suggestions?? I need to get a new one for his dressage bridle that should be shipping in a few days anyway.

Is an eggbutt my only option there?? Or a loose ring? Which I don't really like...I'm even thinking about a french link of some sort. Let me know in the comments! Don't be shy!

Fixing stirrups, thought it was a cute picture of Biscuit and him, lol

Our bending attempt. Love those posts for that!
Ignore the dog, lol
Sorry for the icky quality, they are all video stills. It was a rare ride without kiddos in tow! So we worked on more contact with my hands, also lots of bending. And going straight in the direction that I want instead of weaving all over and trying to constantly get back to his friends. This all happens at a snail walk as well, lol.

One time the mini and Chatterbox took off to the back of the pasture to see the other horses across the fence and he got all excited and acted like he wanted to follow suit which made me a tad nervous! But all I had to do was pull back and put him on a circle and he shut it down. Good boy!

I had put a post that fell over in an area we could walk or trot over it and we walked over it a few times which was fun. I will definitely hold off on the jump training until we can get all this other dealt with! Steady, good speed at all gaits, good acceptance of the bit, good bending. Sigh, seems like such a long list. I wish we had a nice arena to work in, as always. But I just have to make do with what I have! 

Lesson report! I rode Goldie this week. I decked her out in my dressage stuff and had my new spurs I found and also a dressage whip I found in the closet. I didn't need the whip but definitely strapped on the spurs. Which turned out not to work as well as the lesson I rode her with spurs last time. She was like YES ma'am, the previous time, although still very heavy. This time I never did get her all the way on the bit, and any time I tried to use my spurs I got the next gait instead. But it was still a decent lesson. We did some bending exercises and then ran through our perspective dressage test we each had been working on.

Her head looks halfway decent here but we were coming down
to a walk and I was pulling pretty hard! Her downward transitions
are pretty sticky

The sort of 'artificial' give she did all ride is shown here.
 And yes, I had my sleeves rolled up! It was WARM!

Here's the vid of our ride, along with my instructor L's comments, lol. She kept telling me the whole lesson that day to put my shoulders back and I didn't understand until I saw the video. I thought she meant to square them and pull them back. Not lean my entire body back. I was sitting forward the whole ride like a hunt seat rider! Dummy! I guess it's because she takes so much hand to ride I just get pulled forward. But if she had said to SIT BACK I think I would have done better. 

ALSO, she told my my saddle is a tad too big for me, ugh! I was afraid of that. In a deep seat like that I think I need a 17. The 17.5 was really for my knees, which are not a factor in a dressage saddle. Boo. I kept sitting on the cantle too much as you can see in a few pics and on the video. I'm not sure if it's going to be bad enough to have to sell it or not yet...

Well until later!! Hopefully the weather will be nice to me again Monday! Looking like rain again, though, blahhh. Supposed to rain from here till then, yippee.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

First Lesson of the Year!

And I have no media. I know, what?!

So I got to ride Mr. Holster! Charlie and he are my favorite. And Goldie. Not sure what order. Probably Holster first then then Goldie and then Charlie. Just because Charlie can be a bit of a loose cannon, which still makes me a tad nervous. He's just not as schooled as the other two. He's getting there though!

Last night was a good lesson! I was glad to know I wasn't near as sore as I thought I would be! We did quite a bit of no stirrup work and and lots of jumping and canter work. Yeah! I haven't lost all my conditioning! I'm hoping from here on out I can be consistent every week again. If the weather would just cooperate! It rained last Monday :( and on Tuesday when we tried to do a make up lesson it was a lake in the arena.

Anyway! I was late getting there from work so L tacked him up for me, which was fine by me! Every one was already out in the arena warming up so I rushed and grabbed his bridle and tried to get that on him. TRIED being the key word here. I have heard of what a pill he can be for this sometimes but haven't experienced it yet. Its been quite a while since I've rode him so I guess he forgot that I am one to be respected and as soon as I tried to put the reins over his head he was spinning into the corner and headed to his feed trough. Then I had to chase him around the stall two or three times before I finally got it on him! Turd! He had his ears pinned the whole time. I've noticed all the horses that I have rode there will pin their ears at some point during tacking up. Which if I didn't know L so well would concern me. But I know she treats all her horses like her babies. I guess it's just having to deal with inexperienced hands all day that makes them cranky about girthing up and bridling.

So I made him move his hindquarters away from me several times both ways and he decided that I wasn't someone to mess with. I jumped on and joined them in the ring. We did some general conditioning work. Sitting trot, half point. We did some circles without stirrups, some cantering.

Then we got to the fun stuff! She had me and another girl go down and hit the cross rail to warm up for jumping. My horse needs a good bit of encouragement so we barely trotted over it the first time but then he did good! It was fun to jump without L watching me, so I could make some decisions myself.;./.'

After that we went down and did a neat cloverleaf jumping pattern. It was something like this:

I know, I have mad paint skills. Hah! So hopefully you can sort of see what we did. We went over one and then kept turning to the left to go to the next fence making big loops. Every time! I had to keep telling myself LEFT, LEFT, LEFT, lol, and still missed the last fence every time. The first time through we all crapped it up pretty good. My horse kept wanting to go towards the horses the other girls were riding and that was the OPPOSITE direction we were supposed to be going! One time he about fell down with me, which was no bueno! Thankfully he put his head back up and caught himself and I was able to rebalance. Whew! Another time right at the end, the other girls were leaving the arena right as we were going over a jump and he bunny hopped it huge and tried to go with them. I went over a little something like this: 

Image result for bad jump horse

Lol, if I hadn't been holding onto his mouth like that I'm pretty sure I would have been off. But he wasn't concerned and it was his fault for being naughty L said, lol.

Anyway after that we did two more jumps that went well! L said my leg and heel look good I just need to work on my shoulders and sitting up tall. AS ALWAYS. Gah!

I havne't got to ride mister Harold lately. It was BITTERLY cold last week (like negative wind chills! What?! This is the SOUTH) and it has also been raining a lot. 

We did get Snowy to the vet! But still don't know if she is carrying a baby Snowy. :( The vet said his hand was too big to get in there rectally and the ultrasound wouldn't pick anything up, even thought he shaved a pretty close little circle. Sigh. So he said to just watch her and see if she gets bigger! Uh, okayy! 

Well thats all for now!

Saturday, December 31, 2016

My New Beauty!

:Ahhhhhhh: Isn't it beautiful!

After last weeks lesson I realized how much I really wanted a saddle just for dressage. We were trying to do some no stirrup work with a long dressage leg and I was having a hard time in my forward flap doing what she was asking. Plus I have always admired and wanted one. And this spring I plan on Harold and I hitting some dressage shows!

So this is a Cliff Barnsby Anky Van Grunsven saddle. It's been a tad used and abused but has plenty of life left! It has a small hole in one of the knee pads that I will have to deal with eventually. And some cracky leather in places that needs lots of conditioning. But I only spent $200 on it and it came with all the fittings! Stirrups, leathers AND a girth. All things I don't have, so it was great.

I have a dressage saddle pad on order and a dressage bridle. Just need a bit and we are ready to go! It looks like the fad is eggbutt snaffle?

My main horsey goal right now is to make it to some small dressage shows with my boy this spring/summer. That will be SO fun.

Anyway! I've rode in it twice and it's so comfy! It seems to fit my boy good too. The first time I rode him he was super lazy and the second time he was super zoomy haha. So I'll be glad to have a quiet medium ride!

Yesterday was when I rode him second, we went to the pasture dressage arena and he was awesome walking over there and tacking up behind my suburban (where I had my saddle) but after I got on he was so ready to go back to his pasture and friends that I was fighting him constantly. I never got him to relax and listen for long. He never picked his head up much above level and he was never scary or spooky, just always pulling towards the barn and never really softening his mouth and neck. And every time we halted he was trying to walk off again to the barn, which is unlike him.

We did get a little bit of good work before the baby monitor on my waist started letting me know Hailey bug was awake.

I will say it was cool and WINDY so I was proud of how chill my guy was!

Monday I'm back to lessons so will update after!

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Pony Play!

As you can see the girls love her and she 
is doing so far! She is very sweet and friendly and lets the kids run up to her, scream and squeal around her, and also lead her around with no problems. I love that she is small enough I don't have to worry constantly about them getting run over or stepped on! Of course they will outgrow her pretty quick but for a first pony she is perfect. And I also have another little one coming up that will keep her busy in a few years!

I don't know much about her except what I heard second hand. She supposedly rides and pulls a cart. I don't know about the cart but she does fine with kids riding her and seems to know about this saddling business pretty good. She's not a big fan of cinching up which could mean she hasn't been rode a lot. To begin with we had to have some pretty firm ground work discussions, she was obviously used to walking on top of whoever was leading her and basically doing whatever she liked. Until I came along! Muahaha. I had a come to Jesus meeting with her (which entailed lots of her trying to run off at the end of the lead rope and even some rearing involved) and ever since she has done better and better each time. 

She MAY be pregnant but I still haven't confirmed that yet. She is pretty fat but it could just be her pony belly. With the holidays and all and the insistent rain I haven't gotten her to the vet. Hopefully this Friday! I'd love to get an ultrasound done on her just to see it for fun, and for the girls to experience it. That'd be so neat to see!! I've seen lots of baby ultrasounds but never a horse!

I bought the girls a Wintec leadline saddle for Christmas and we got to try it out yesterday. The girth the lady sent with it is a tad too long but we made it work. They were both quite timid about riding so they didnt do but a few steps (my oldest  didn't even want to move, lol) so it's fine for right now. They love to lead her around though!

In Harold news! I haven't gotten to ride him much lately. When I get a chance we have been out playing with the pony, lol. But I did get to ride Christmas Eve in our NEW DRESSAGE SADDLE! :Squee!: More to come on that!

I had a lesson FINALLY last Tuesday. It was on Goldie. There were 3 or 4 other girls in there so it was a tad busy. It was fun though! I wore spurs and Goldie was hot to trot! She was so forward and easy to get on the bit. She is very heavy in the hands though and will lean on you with no problem. I was so tired after from her pulling!

No lesson this week but hopefully back on schedule in the new year! 

Until later!

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

My DIY Dressage Arena and a New Equine!

So it's been a few weeks! I haven't had lessons in THREE weeks almost now, boo. We took of for Thanksgiving week and then the next week it rained. And THIS week it rained. We have been in a drought for months, and now it won't STOP raining. :roll eyes:

Anyway! I haven't got to ride Harold last week, or this week yet. But hope to Thursday or Friday.

The week before finally got my dressage arena up! It was a bit of a pain, but thankfully I had my awesome, handy husband to help me measure it all out and figure out the dimensions. I didn't have enough room for the long arena, but it works well enough!

Hubby pounding in my letters!

Harold super excited about it ;)

Surveying our new domain!
It was so fun! Harold did great, he was looking around a lot, but not spooky. I had a lot more motor with meant our test was nice and forward without me having to push, push! I walked and trotted him around a bit but the husband wanted to go in and watch the Iron Bowl (WAR EAGLE) so I hurried and just went through our test so he could video it for me. It was the first time he had ever done a dressage test in his life, I'm sure! LOL, but he rocked it. We of course are still working on connection and all, but he's getting it! Here we are!

I was so proud of him! His first halt was flipping AMAZING. What a good boy! I haven't got to ride out there again yet but definitely plan on it when I get a chance! All our work has paid off! I'd love to keep working him pretty consistent all winter and be able to start taking lessons at L's in the early spring so we can hit some shows when they start!

And the next exciting news!! WE GOT A PONY! AH! I know! The girls are so excited. Meet Snowy! She is a 10ish cremello mini horse. Who may also be bred. Yeah, I know! BABY MINI HORSE?! Adorable! I will be carting her to the vet soon to see for sure! Being a cremello means she could have a palomino or buckskin! EEE!

The girls are pretty excited! But we shall see how long it lasts, but if she just sits out there and eats hay, that is probably okay, its not like she will eat much!

So she was hanging out in a small pen inside Harold's pasture to get acclimated and all, but this morning I went to check on her and she was LOOSE out in the pasture! LOL. She had been having red marks on her shoulders so I think she has been pushing on the panels and finally got it opened enough where she could escape!

Anyway, they were all completely fine with her and even shared their hay, so we should be good!


Little, big, lol

Well, hopefully I will have a lesson update next week! Until later!