Monday, April 12, 2010

Tuff Has His First 'Riders'!

Hey everyone! Sorry its taken me so long to get to this post!

Last Saturday was a really fun day! My husband didn't go to work like he has every saturday for at least 2 months, and we just hung out at home and enjoyed the beautiful weather.

Well later that afternoon I got my stuff together while he was mowing the lawn and headed out to the round pen. Dropped my stuff off, tracked down the western cinch I was going to try with my english saddle, and went and got Tuff. They were of course down in the other pasture again, but this time I just called them up and had them follow me up to the barn, instead of going and fetching Tuff and leading him. Worked great! After we got to the house they all went on up the fence line to the hay rack and Tuff walked right up to me. Nabbed him and we were out of there with no trouble at all!

So on out to the round pen. I put his full-cheek on again, this time under the halter, that seemed to work well. Then I put his saddle on and tried the cinch. FAIL again, lol, way too short still. Sigh! So anyway I took that off and walked him a few rounds on the lead to make sure everything was good with his bit and then on to lunging! Which went a lot better this time. I kept my cool, patience, etc, and did everything slow and as obvious as I could. He did great! Was cantering on the left lead in sync (no cross firing!) and he got his right lead about three times. He even did a few good right inside turns, I think he's finally getting the idea a bit. Just takes practice!

All this time he was carrying his bit and had no trouble with it at all. His mouth was quiet most of the time, he chewed a bit, which is totally fine with me. Thats a good sign. Clenched mouth = bad sign!

So after we did a good bit of lunging I went back to the gate and decided I would go ahead and just try the FILs western saddle on him. This is the point where my memory card completely filled up in my camera and I didnt get anything else on video until my husband came out and I cleaned a bit off to get the last bit of our work out.

Anyway, the saddle was still in the hay barn from Scarlets ride, which is right next to the round pen, so not problem finding it. The problem was carrying the huge thing while leading a horse! Not so fun! I about broke my back lugging it over there hunched over with one hand (I made Tuff carry his saddle blanket, haha, he didn't mind) and we made it, thankfully its quite close to the pen.

I settled him in there, straightened his blanket, let him sniff the saddle a bit, and up it went! I think he might have blinked, and that was it, lol. That thing is a good 25+ lbs! So I moved it about a bit, got my cinch attatched, and tightened him up a bit. Still no problem at all. He was more interested in chewing on his grooming bucket, lol. I flapped the stirrups on his sides a bit and then we moved on out into the round pen. He looked a little confused but walked along well and didn't offer any trouble at all. So for the next 15-20 minutes I would stop every so often to wiggle the saddle side to side, pull on it as if I were getting on, (also hopping up and down like a fool next to him, lol) and then after he did well with all that I started putting my foot in the stirrup and putting a bit of weight in it, not stepping up in it yet, just enough to make the saddle pull a bit. After that was boring I started hoping up into the stirrup for a second and then back down, all of this on both sides. He was so good! I called my husband somewhere in there and when he got over there I had him hold him while I stepped up in it a little more.

At this point I was feeling pretty brave and had my husband hold onto the outside stirrup while I stepped up and layed on my chest/stomach over the saddle. I was holding my breath, pretty positive I wouldn't have any trouble, but you never know! But of course, I didn't! So I did that a few times, and then I told the husband to give it a try. When his much more substantial weight stepped up Tuff moved quite a bit to get his balance, but was in no way alarmed. He got back down and stepped up again and that time he didn't move at all. Good boy!

So then! I leaned up over him again and told the husband to lead us a few steps. THRILL OF A LIFETIME. He did great. Of course he was a little hesitant about moving but so calm about it all. I slid off again and then we repeated and he did even better about moving out that time. We only did like 3 or 4 steps, but it was huge to me! :D

So there you have it! Tuffs first 'ride'! Very good and uneventful! If I wasn't pregnant I probably would have swung over, but I'm not going to risk that. Plus I want him to do some more growing. By fall I think we will be set!

So here is the video! Mostly lunging, and at the end you get to watch the husband walk and trot around with Tuff dressed in his bridle and saddle, hehe.

Next steps! Start working with the bit. I haven't touched it so far, just been letting him carry it, so we will start doing some flexion with it next time I'm out. After I'm sure hes got the concept we will move on to ground driving, probably wearing his western saddle with the lines run through the stirrups. I'm so glad I tried the western on him, seeing as I can't get a girth to fit the english. I'm going to be riding him in the western anyway, I was just afraid it would be too big for him. Seems okay for what we want to do with it right now though.

After that? Well I can't think of anything else besides refining everything he has been taught and then actual riding. So we will probably work him off and on this summer when I have the time (and feel like it, I'm less then 3 months from my due date now!) and then sometime this fall start putting some rides on him.

Have a great week everyone!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Scarlet Gets Rode

Hello again everyone! Hope you are all getting the gorgeous weather we have been blessed with lately! Its been in the 80's all this week and most of last. Love it!

Anywho, the same day last week, Wednesday I believe, that I worked Tuff the FIL got his little mare out as well. My memory card was full of Tuff from earlier, so didn't get as much footage as I would have liked, but I got a bit!

So at first she was a little spazzy. He lunged her to begin with and she was a little racecar in there. She kind of looks like she is running scared. But when he asks her to woah, she WOAHS. And then looks at him hopefully like, "can I come in to you now??"

So he did that for a few rounds and then got out his saddle and bridle. That was a bit interesting, lol. We're not sure how many times she has been tacked up (and rode for that matter) but it can't have been many. You'll see how skittish/nervous she is in the video below. It's almost like she is expecting someone to mistreat her. She has a hard time keeping her feet still when you are messing with her. Even just brushing.

Anyway after he got the saddle on her he lunged her around some more with the saddle, she didn't buck or anything but she was definitely moving on out. After that he put a bridle on and thats where she had serious problems. Any time he tried to pull on her outside rein just standing next to her she would have a complete come apart and he would have to let her go. So he would calmly go and collect her and try again. Same thing 2 or 3 more times. So finally he told us to watch her and went and got some driving lines.

Now at this point I'm thinking to myself, okay something is not right, we need to go back to the beginning here and sort it out. And get that dang tom thumb out of her mouth. But of course its his horse so I'm not going to tell him how to train her.

Anyway, he comes back and hooks her up to those and she has one nasty episode (its hard to describe what she does, she doesnt buck or rear or jump, she just has a spaz attack!) and he hauled her in and made her back up and give to the bit. And BAM. She was a different horse. Head down, docile, do whatever you say, whenever you say. He walked her around that pen turning her both ways for another 10-15 minutes and she never picked her head up or offered anything that he didn't ask for. When they woahed, she stopped and stayed there. It was like a light switch flicked on! Crazy! He said is the way she has done when he's worked with her before, its like she has to have her little moments and then she just gives up! His phone even rang when he was on her and he walked around one handed talking on it and she didn't have any issue at all with it.

I'm hoping its because of the way she was handled before and that eventually she will figure out that we aren't going to hurt her and she doesn't have to put her defenses up every time we work her. Hopefully!

So after that he took the lines off and started pulling on her saddle, putting weight in the stirrup, etc, and then just swung up and walked her off. No problems! They rode around for quite awhile just walking and trotting. She looked relaxed and a okay with everything the whole time.

Here is the video of the saddling, a little of her spastic lunging, and them walking and trotting
around the round pen. (thats my handsome hubby assisting, hehe)

So anywho, definitely ended on a good note. I hope she remembers that and starts out that way next time!

Next Post: Tuff Has His First 'Riders'!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Tuff Lunging With His New Bit **Video Added**

Wow, I'm getting chatty lately, eh?

So I tried out Tuff Tuffs new bit! I'm not sure about it...I think I'd be happier if it was another 1/2 inch wider. But, he doesn't seem to mind it as far as I can tell. He chewed on it for a bit, so I just left it on him while I went back to trying to brush off 20lbs of hair, and he quit after just a few minutes. Yeah! If I moved his halter around at all (which is under the bridle) he would start chewing on it sometimes, but he wasn't gaping his mouth, or putting his head up, etc. I can get my finger between his lip and bit easily, its not tight, but there is def not anything extra.

So! Here are some pictures of him wearing it that yall can look at and give me your thoughts about it. Too small? Okay for now? Just see how he does with it? Gracias! (they should get bigger if you click)

Sorry I didn't get a face on shot! Anyway, what are yalls thoughts?

Other then that yesterday, we started some work on turns on the longe line. Well, that was...uh hum...interesting. He was a bit of a pill at times, but I'm not altogether sure I wasn't contributing to it. I have a bit of a low patience level! So after we had a galloping fit done with we settled down and he started doing inside turns to the left when I pointed my arm in that direction, quite well! Quite quickly. But then the right was a totally different story. Sigh, he was just not getting it! I didn't know how to make it any clearer to him! He was at least starting to turn his head towards me but I still had to step in front of him and push his head to the right. Every time. But we will keep working on it! He is definitely a left sided horse, as are a lot of them.

I have a short video of us doing a few lefts and a right or two (thats when we go out of frame). I also took off his reins and left his bit in, leaving the lunge attatched to his halter of course. He didn't seem to mind a'tall. It was a beautiful day! I'm glad I put sunscreen on though, or I'd have been a bit crispy. Yeah for spring!

**Okay! Got to work, here is our video! (its short for once!)

A good note! His cantering was much improved yesterday! I was watching closely and didn't see him cross canter once either way! Whoo hoo! :D I did have video of that part too but somehow it got corrupted on my memory card. 30 minutes gone! GRRR.

I found my girth that goes on my bareback pad but it was WAY too short, I swear! So anyway I have a 30 inch western cinch that has a buckle on it, might try that next time. I know some of you are thinking "just buy one!" Well I would if I lived near a good tack store, or had the extra money right now to order one. But we are just floating with all the doctor bills and other baby things going on right now! Before I start riding him I will of course get a proper one.

So thats about it! After we worked quite a while on turns etc I took him back to the side of the pen and took his bridle off. I had taken it off once earlier and he put his head up but this time he stayed calm and wouldn't open his teeth to let it go! lol. Then we headed back to the house and I hosed him off a bit (he was a very good boy for that; he likes to drink from the hose) and let him graze for a bit. Boy did that make the other horses jealous ;)

I wanted to get out there again today but it rained this morning, so its probably a mess out there...its supposed to get sunny later on (which its 2 o'clock now and still cloudy boo) so maybe I'll go out there and just work on our turns and him toting that bit and saddle around.

Next Post: Scarlet Gets Rode. The FIL got her out and rode her for the first time yesterday.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Lookie What I Got!

It came in the mail yesterday, yeah! I cannot wait to get out and try it on him. I'm pretty sure its going to be too small though, what a dummy. I got caught up in the moment of only 15 seconds left at .99!! ;) It's a 4 inch.

Anywho, I was getting all excited about getting out there to work him this afternoon until I remembered the husband had already asked me yesterday if I had anything planned for today (which I said no at that point) and hes got me painting shelves all afternoon. Yeah. (we are painting a 5k sq foot house to pay for the babies doctor bills)

Oh well, I don't work Fridays anymore so maybe I can get out there then! :D

I'm trying to be optimistic and saying to myself, well he is pony SIZED so his mouth should be too! Haha, I did stick him the other night, still right around 14.1. GROWWWW!!! I swear the stud must have been a shetland pony. -_- *sigh* But at least he is a pretty 14.1. I keep telling my husband he is destined to be our little girls jumping pony, ;).

Ta ta!