Monday, January 30, 2017

Lesson Recap and An Outing Friday!

*NOTE: I just realized I didn't post this last Thursday like I was supposed to! I'm writing an update on our lesson and will hopefully post it today! It went SO GOOD!!!)

Fox Hill Farms
So I'm so excited about the second part of my title, that I'm going to tell yall about that first.

I'm trailering Harold to L's tomorrow! I know! So exciting. I feel like I have him in a good spot finally so we can go out and get some new things to work on to progress us. I kind of feel like I am floundering a bit on what to do next, besides just make what we are doing now better. I've never trained a horse all the way through in english and I want to do it right!

So the plan right now is to go to L's maybe two Fridays out of the month. I hope he does well tomorrow!! I know he is generally a good, quiet boy. But he has had moments where he can get silly, just like any other horse! I think the main thing will be all the different horses there. There are horses in the pasture where we will park, in the stalls in the barn, in the pastures by the arena. Plus if we ride in the pasture by the road there will be cars to deal with. And there are woods on the far end of both pastures that even the school horses look at sometimes, lol. Although of all things that will probably be the least for him since he lives in a wooded area.

And its supposed to be PRETTY cool in the morning at the time we will be there. Probably around 40 degrees, boo!! But sunny at least!

So the plan is to run over and feed the horses early (hopefully before the kiddos wake up) and drop my eldest off at school around 7:50, get back home about 8. Hook up the trailer and load mister Harold up (all my tack etc will already be loaded in the dressing/tack room). Then I will head to the shop where I work to drop off the baby and Shelby girl with my mom who works on Fridays. And off to L's!

Last week I got to ride real quick on Friday afternoon. I parked the girls in the field again and rode in our pasture 'arena'. He was so much better this time then last. He was still speeding up and pulling toward the barn but not near as bad! And he wasn't lazy or too fast. Good boy! I actually toted all my tack from the parked car to him, tacked him up in the pasture and then rode him back to the arena. He was a STAR. Love him!! I worked on some circles and riding him with contact again. He kept cracking me up though with his speed games. If we were heading toward the pasture and buddies, zoom! If we were heading away, sloooww down. It was like automatic. After a few circles he gave up on that though, until we would change directions and he'd start it all over, lol.

Silly boy wondering why Chloe was yelling at him, lol (ears up!)


On lunch at work today I had to hit the feed store while I was out. WELL they have a new lady in there that has been actually ordering horse stuff! And I was like, uhh, I need that and that and that. Husband is gonna be like, what the?!

My haul!
So I grabbed a trailer tie which I've been needing, a new halter (isnt it perty!?) and a eggbutt bit I've been wanting. His rope halter got chewed up by the dog, and I figured he needed a nice one for outings anyway ;). And a bag of grain later and I'm out of there minus 80 bucks. Eep. 

That night I tried his halter on him and did some flexing in his new bit. He did awesome!! I'm so excited about tomorrow!!

So! Tuesday I had a lesson. I had a choice to ride Charlie or Landon. I chose the known rather then the uknonw, lol, and grabbed Charlie who was also conveniently in his stall. He did great! It's been several weeks since I've rode him. We did quite a bit of jumping that day too! We started out just with a cross rail and then worked up to a small 'course' of three. Nailed it! So. Much. Fun. After we were done I wasn't scared to jump him anymore at all. The last time I jumped him he would still try to stop right in front of it on you. He didn't even hint at it this time, yeah.

So I will update again after our lesson!! 

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!