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

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!

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!