Wednesday, April 26, 2017

The Awesome Trail Ride and the Show That Wasn't

As in, didn't happen. Rain out!! :( :(

But I think it was for the best. Now we have more time to practice!

Anyway, Harold and I have been working hard the past two weeks. I have rode or worked him consistently every other day nearly. And he has done so well. Not getting sour and working through anything I ask him. He's consistently on the bit now at the walk but still working on our trot. But ever since our breakthrough at L's he has been getting softer and easier every time.

A few Saturdays ago my friend A and I went to a day camp she used to be the equestrian director of. It was SO FUN. I fell even more in love with my level headed QH. He is amazing. My husband is ALSO amazing. He worked hard to get my trailer primered that morning before I left! And I got my tack room half painted a beautiful teal color!!




The camp was about an hour away, and seemed longer, lol. Mostly because I didn't know where I was going. But we got there in good time. There were some goats and mini horses right behind where I parked the trailer that he was pretty interested in! But nothing too bad. A got there and had brought us lunch so we went and ate that in the barn while the horses chilled and ate hay in the stalls.

I tacked him up in his dressage gear first so we could work in the arena first and go through test B. He was awesome of course!! After that we went and I put him in his western gear for the trail! We rode one big loop around the lake and he did so good. Like this was what he was born for. Never got excited, upset, didn't care if he was in the front or back. LOVED the lake and would have went swimming with me if I let him, haha. We went through a bunch of deep puddles and creeks too and he couldn't have cared less. I LOVE HIM!!

He has this back cracking motor walk he does down the trail. It was almost uncomfortable to ride it was such a long stride! Lol, I bet he was trained to do that down the trail to keep up with the faster/hotter horses like Arabians and gaited horses. He never picked his head up above his withers the whole time. We even met up and were passed by a gator. He barely noticed.

So it was getting a tad late and Lee and I had halfway planned on a date that night. So we headed back and loaded up! Another uneventful trip home. He is obviously used to trailering long distances.

Here are a few pics from our adventure!

Driving into the camp area

He's so crazy

Harold: Hi?
Scarlett: NO.

Snake! hehe

Besties!!
I rode without stirrups most of the time. Stinking things
needed to be turned and were killing my knees. (lookit his
sweet face!!)
 So! This past Sunday we were supposed to go to our first horse show together. This is the same one I have been talking about that L wanted me to take Goldie to. Well the two weeks before I started to think that Harold would be ready to go instead, and I'd really rather take him with me. I mentioned it to L and she acted kind of skeptical. She told me later after my lesson last Friday that she had no idea he had made so much progress since she had seen him the month previous, and was afraid it wouldn't be fun for me my first show out.

Well! I trailered him down to her place last week and he was a star as usual. She couldn't believe how well he was doing and thought he would be great. She also said I was the best amateur owner she has seen in a long time! :D :D We went through both Intro A and B and then I even jumped him over a little cavalletti! He is so perfect! <3 a="" and="" as="" been="" before="" below="" braids="" can="" chance="" dressage="" fancy="" get="" had="" hadn="" has="" he="" him="" his="" i="" in="" is="" jumped="" l="" nbsp="" night="" on.="" out.="" p="" practicing="" riding="" see="" t="" the="" them="" this="" to="" you="">



The picture below is his first jump schooling! L mentioned on Friday that we could also do a cavalletti class if we wanted to at the show. Which is essentially very low poles on the ground you can just trot over if you want, in a little course, haha. I was like sure! So I thought, well let me get him out and see what he does over some jumps! I've been wanting to He was great of course. Mainly he wanted to just trot or canter over them, lol. I did get a few jumps if I pushed him!





 So anyway. My hubby had scrubbed the trailer for 2 hours the previous day. I it all packed, my clothes on and about to wake up the kiddos to get ready and L texted me to say the show was OFF. It had been raining all night at the show grounds and was raining again, so the arena was a mess. BOO. It was pretty disappointing, but I held it together! We went to church and then picked up a trampoline someone gave us. The girls had a blast. Then I got a nap and had an enjoyable evening!


Last night was my regular lesson day. It went well! I rode Charlie for the first time in months. He was much easier to ride now that I know what I'm doing even more. We did a few jumps too which was fun! It's been a while. It took me a bit to get back into the groove, but I did finally do a few good ones.


Well that's all for now! I haven't worked with Harold since last Friday at L's so we definitely need to get back in the groove. I hope to ride him tonight and maybe do a bit of pole work.

Until later!


Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Great Lesson and Trail Ride This Weekend!

Hey all!

So lots has been happening, let me try and recap.

Riding lessons have been going good! We have been doing some dressage and jumping both in each lesson lately. I have been riding Goldie pretty much exclusively. Which is fine with me! We get along good and it's been nice to be able to concentrate on my equitation. Plus we are hitting our first show together the 23rd!

video

I was pretty excited when L said I was getting good enough at jumping that I can start being counted on to keep track of my horses stride and make sure to lengthen or shorten it if the distance isn't going to be right. 

Jumpy, jump!

Last night I rode Prince, a horse there for some training. He likes to pick up the wrong lead and also hasn't been rode right at home in regards to contact, etc. He's a QH that looks a lot like Harold size wise and color (although much less wide in the body, I felt like I was riding an Arab!).

He was a good boy! I got him going on the bit well and we just had a few wrong leads on his sticky side. I will be back on Goldie next week L said so we can get geared up for the show in a few weeks. 

So Harold news!! The last two Fridays we have had a lesson with L. The Friday before last was an 'okay' lesson. I didn't get to warm him up like I usually do at home and we just kind of jumped into work. I never did get him to settle into the contact like I wanted. We did canter some and it went pretty good, really. He was a calm, good boy as usual. Afterwards L was riding one of her new lesson horses so I put him in a pen with some hay to chill and watched her. It was neat to see her ride and work a horse.

Harold: "Nap time?"
In between the next lesson I did a lunge session in his pasture between Hailey's nap. I have been really interested in the art2ride program and think it would be great to help get Harold's back raise up and strong. Check it out! Art2Ride. I wasn't ever able to get him to do what I wanted though, gotta study some more and try again.

Not engaging like I want
So the program basically has you working the horse at a good pace to get them moving over there back, which in turn drops their head. The lower the head the more the horse can stretch and use his topline. After so long doing this (months? Year?) they say you can start slowly bringing the horses head up. If he stays engaged and rounded through his topline, he's ready. If not, you need to keep building muscle with his head down.

Anyway on to this past Friday. It was a awesome day. I dropped the kids off at Lee's moms and went on over to L's. Got mister Harold out and was able to warm him up by myself which was great. I did what we usually do at home so I had a soft horse ready to go when L got there. I still was having trouble at the trot so I remembered I wanted L to ride him for me last week, just to see what she thought, and to actually feel what he does so she can help me ride him better.

Well that was the best idea ever. She got him going SO WELL. She was able to work through some blocks we had had and unlock and put in some puzzle pieces we had been missing. After she rode him about 15 minutes I jumped on and was able to get him going well too! It felt amazing. She was yelling out how good he looked and that it was just what the judges wanted to see in First Level work. Hah! First Level! :D

Floaty feet!!


So anyway, was a great breakthrough and I was able to duplicate it two days later also at home. He wasn't quite as soft but his new 'buttons' worked and I was happy! Plus we were working in a uneven pasture, so I couldn't expect the same quality of work.

Go pony, go!!
That day was SO warm and I had time to give mister Harold his first bath in ages! He loved it because he got to mow the lawn at the same time, lol. The girls played in my tail soaking bucket and had a grand time also. I drug out their water table later and they loved that too. The day before we went to my parents lake house with a couple and their two girls that we are good friends with from church. We stayed the night and played all day. It was a great weekend! We are so blessed.




 So another fun horsey weekend is planned for this week! My friend A is having a birthday this weekend and she wanted to know if I wanted to go to a equestrian center/day camp to trail ride with her and also work in the arena. I was like uh YEAH! So Sat after 11 (she has a massage appointment early in the day) I'm gonna drive about an hour to the camp. I bet we will probably work in the arena first (she's bringing her young horse to work in the arena, and her older trail savvy mare for the trails) and then hit the trails.

I have never trail rode with Harold, which is funny since that was what he was used for exclusively, lol. So I hope he hasn't forgot and doesn't throw any shenanigans! I have never really liked trail riding per say. It has always made me a little nervous, which doesn't make sense because that's all I did as a young girl on a safe old gelding. Anyway, I'm pretty sure he will be great. Plus A will be there with her good mare to help us if needed. I'm excited about getting to work Harold in a good arena again.

Well that's all for now! We are supposed to get storms and tornado weather today, so no riding. Tomorrow or Friday I may be able to get a work in though.

Until later!

Monday, March 13, 2017

Catch Up!

Well it's finally March! Whooo hoooo! Hello warmer and longer days, and more time with the ponehs!

His first monogrammed pad! ;)
Okay! I'll try and get back on track, I've been horrible updating lately. Every spare moment has disappeared. And if I do get one I usually take a nap! lol. I've also had some sickness hitting me off and on.

Anywho! It's lesson day again! I have had two lessons since reporting. Here is a video from the first! We have been doing a lot of jumping lately. I'm slowly getting better. I still have a ways to go but I'm improving, thats the main thing!



I had another lesson the next week with some more jumping, one I didn't feel like I did as good on. Just an off day I guess. Last weeks lesson went really well though. I was so proud of myself.

I rode London! The grey appendix I haven't rode since probably my third lesson back with L. Which did not go well. He is hotter and needs more finesse. I was just getting back into riding and still pretty weak and wobbly.

But that night went great! We did a dressage lesson and I had him going on the bit pretty consistently and he wasn't getting worried or hot or anything. Yeah! He is probably the 'hardest' horse to ride in the barn. I was pretty psyched.

Here is our dressage test, just look over the part where I did my 20m circle at the wrong spot, haha.



london from Britnieann on Vimeo.

On to Harold news!! I have been getting to ride him at least once a week, sometimes twice. I have done a few more side rein sessions with him, lots of dressage work. He's getting quite good at giving me some contact at the trot now. We have even done some canter work! :D

Here's a photo and video bomb from the last three or so weeks.


So happy with this boy!


Pretty halt!
Love him!


So as you see in the last photos I FINALLY GOT HIS TAIL UNTANGLED! Can you believe it?? It used to look like THIS:


It has had a huge what I called BAT, of matted hair. It was just tangled ridiculously until it became one bit mat of tail hair longer then my forearm. He had it when I bought him and I've never known what to do with it, or had time to work on it. 

Finally the other day I had some extra time and decided to try some WD-40 in it. And made some progress! A few days later I bought some of this MAGICAL stuff:


The magic part is NOT a lie. I did end up using close to half of the tube before I got done but it was WORTH it! I can't believe how awesome it worked. And his tail is just so full and beautiful now. I was so afraid I would have to cut that out!! I also banged it so its nice and neat at the bottom now. 

I made him a bridle path finally as well, something he was not real thriled with but I got it done just in the pasture without even a halter, lol. 

Oh! And speaking of grooming, I found another magical object, online this time. Behold! The SleekEZ! I'll let my video review speak for itself. 



So I flipping love this thing. Well worth the $20+ bucks. It has made shedding season easy as pie. 

So, trying to think what else I may have missed. I'm sure there is a lot, but oh well! 

Till later!





Thursday, February 16, 2017

2nd Friday Lesson With Harold

So I know yall might be tired of me bragging on my horse, but he really is pretty darn awesome. Just sayin. ;)

So last Friday I decided split second as I was rushing over to feed Harold before driving my oldest to school, that I would just load him up and let him eat his breakfast on the trailer. That way I wouldn't have to go to school, drive all the way home again and then go back to town. I knew I would be a little early to the shop to drop off the kiddos (meaning, my mom doesn't get out of bed early well, lol and wouldn't be there yet) but I figured it was better to be early rather then running late.

Of course Harold was pretty excited he had grain in his manger and hopped right on, all four legs this time, lol. And after I got to the shop he just chilled in the trailer munching on his hay while I waited. I settled both kids in with some breakfast and put Hailey in her jumpy hanging from the doorway and Shelby watching some youtube and figured my dad could handle it until my mom got there.

I learned that morning that I would be sharing the lesson with a home schooled girl on her little gypsy vanner. He's so cute! But like pony sized, lol. He can have a bit of an attitude and I had never rode Harold in the arena with another horse before. Well, I've never rode him with another horse before period actually! I wasn't really worried but it did add a element of the unknown for sure!

So I pulled into L's right before the girl I was riding with and we tacked up pretty much at the same time. I have rode with her several times in lessons so we knew each other fairly well. She's sweet.

Harold did great standing in the cross ties and I had him ready to go in quick order. I decided to walk him around in the arena first before moutning up just to make sure he remembered all was cool. He makes me smile every time we walk into the arena when he puts his head down and checks out the sand, lol.

Harold did great with the other horse. It was pretty amusing how he would speed up to follow him and then slow down to wait on him when the other horse got behind him, but he quite doing that after a bit.

Uh, yeah, the arena is not scary, mom

My first ears picture in a lesson with Harold!!
So it's been more then one sleep since the lesson (hah) so let me see if I can dredge up what we did. I'm sorry but having a major brain lapse. The main thing I remember is we CANTERED! I know! He was so awesome. I was afraid I would have a lot of trouble getting him into it but he was actually better then Charlie is! And got both leads each time no problem! Go, Harold, go Harold! (I will say I had to imploy mister whip a few times, hah) He also gave me some great trot work yielding to the bit.

We did some trot poles again but this time in a circle like we do in regular lessons. He did pretty good! Here is a video of one of our canters and then the poles.


Yeah us!! Of course my butt was bouncing out of the saddle nearly the whole time and my heel was up, but hey, we did it! Poor Harold needs some definite muscle work to strengthen him up for better position, but all in good time! I'm just so excited we were able to get leads, no bucking or other antics, and pretty good departs! Those are all huge wins for me!

So I watched the other girl do some jumping and and let Harold get his breath back. We are definitely not ready to jump but it was fun to just chill in the arena and watch. After that it was time for some treats and a brush down and a drink for Harold (he drank like a bucket of water! Thirsty boy) and off to get my kiddos!

Whatcha doin?
Monday lesson! The rain stayed away and we got to get a lesson in, whoop. I was on Charlie this time, which I was happy about! I've been on Goldie for the last three lessons I think. I don't know if she thinks I like Goldie or what, lol. Anyway, I had a lot of trouble this lesson unlocking his 'give to the bit' button. He was being a pill about it, just throwing his head up and pulling. I finally figured out I could ask for it on a circle and usually he would give it to me. He did unlock his mouth a bit towards the end of the lesson but then it was time for jumping!

So I haven't been in my hunt saddle for like over a month now, it felt really comfy but I haven't jumped in forever exept for that bit in the lesson last time. And it showed! I was so loosey goosey over the fences with a swinging leg. Sigh. So I'm hoping to fix that next time! I know it just takes time and repetition. I was pretty sore the next day but not too bad!

Last night I was able to get Harold out for a short work out before church. I wanted to ride but knew I didn't have time so I just grabbed him and suited him up in his bridle and surcingle. I then stood on a feed bucket, jumped up on my belly and swung my leg over and rode him bareback to the round pen, hah! What a good boy. We even opened and closed the little gate to the pasture! 

So he was pretty up that night, it was windy and quite cool. I think he was also a bit nervous about round penning since the last time I worked his butt off. I made sure he wasn't afraid of the whip and then sent him around. This time I had a lunge line run through the bit and over his poll so I could have some more steering control. I warmed him up without side reins both ways and then hooked them up. He did a lot better then last time and I really saw a lot of improvement with his give. He hardly ever pulled on them and I got some good work out of him. I even had him moving out at the walk and trot a lot faster then normal. We may be able to canter a bit with them next session as long as the footing is good. But I may need to get his fitness up a bit more at the canter first, I don't want to overface him.

We also walked and trotted over three ground poles a bit too. It was kind of soft footing around them but he did good figuring out where his feet were. One time he hit them wrong and actually cantered two of them. Good boy!

I found out I will be showing Goldie at least at my first show of the season. I hope I can become better partners with her before then! L wants me to come and watch the March shows and then start showing myself in April. Can't wait!

Well thats all for now. I'm hoping to be able to work Harold with side reins again today, although hooked up to his dressage saddle, and then ride after. Since I know we can canter without dying now, I might do a bit of that if the ground has dried out enough!

Adios!

PS, If anyone is out there reading, I'd love to hear from you! Share your blog if you have one so I can read yours! :)


Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Training Days


So I'm going to skim over last Tuesdays lesson real quick. I rode Goldie, and had to ride in a Wintec of L's because of a miscommunication. I was thinking we were doing just dressage and it turns out we were also jumping, lol. It was an okay saddle but not mine, you know? So I felt a little off in it.

Lean back!! I think this was the free walk of Intro B
I'm really getting annoyed with myself. I feel like instead of getting better here lately I am regressing. I think it all started when we began to do more dressage. I have gotten so used to sitting in a 'hunter perch' that I have a really hard time sitting vertical and not forward a bit. What is the deal! I'm also still having trouble sitting the canter. I can two point or forward seat it all day. But keep my behind in the saddle? HAHAHA. Grr. Any tips anyone?? I know all about the scoop, sitting back a bit, etc. It's gotten better but still needs work. I want to get solid on the lesson horses before I try to canter mister Harold. I havent loped him since I rode him western two years ago. I feel like on a green horse I might want a 'o crap' strap on my cantle, haha. His mane is pretty long but farther away then I'd like if I lose my balance! I'm also wondering if it will help me anchor my behind a bit too.

Gosh, I just got back to this post and so much has happened. I'm so behind!


Anyway its Monday now and I had another lesson at L's with Harold on Friday and once again he was absolutely wonderful.

Anyway last lesson on Goldie we first did dressage and then onto the jump arena. Goldie wasn't real into listening to my aids for collection again but we did an ok test.

I decided to take my spurs off for jumping and so glad I did. But it was kind of disappointing because L said I was just letting her pull me over the jump instead of knowing where to take off. I wasn't sure how to fix it and left the lesson a tad morose. Although I was proud for staying pretty solid when she jumped a crazy jump and went sideways in the air over it to look at it, haha.

This last week it rained so no lesson on Monday. Today should be good to go though!

So! Harold news. I didn't get to ride the week after his first lesson and just got one side rein work out in. But this last week I was able to ride twice! Hailey was nice enough to space her naps perfect for me to he able to ride after work.

He did great the first ride, the side rein work had helped a ton already, plus I wasn't just throwing my reins away at him anymore like I used to when he gave to the bit so he had somewhere to direct his new energy when I asked for contact.

Pretty pony in 'school'
So each ride I could hear L in my head saying, elbows by your side, close your hands! Shorter reins! Lol, and I tried to comply every time I thought of it. I also asked more of mister Harold and didn't 'baby' him as much.


So fuzzy!
So thats about all for now! Next post I'll talk about our Friday lesson! And I also had a jump lesson on Charlie last night. 

Till then!