Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Horse show?!?

RB4 is working out wonderfully and is coming out 3-4 times a week to ride.  As a result both the horses and I are starting to get fit again.  I have a lesson scheduled for Saturday on the TWH and am working hard to get him in shape for it.  I am really looking forward to the lesson, here's to hoping it goes better than the last anyway.

The nightly rides are going well, RB4 had a really good ride on the App last night.  The first time she rode him, I forgot to give her an encouragement stick so he was slow and unresponsive.  She didn't really enjoy the ride and was a bit frustrated with him.  The second ride went much better as she brought the stick, she was impressed with him and enjoyed the ride much more.  This third ride, however, he really showed his skills.  She said she was very easily able to work on herself without managing him.  She was impressed with the ease that he can do a shoulder in and how he can collect himself without much effort.  She was able to do changes of direction with a shift of balance and he was responsive to her seat.  She commented several times how she liked the TWH but the App was now quickly gaining favor.  Go Chip!  He can be such a rock star when he wants to be.

I rode the TWH, working mostly on pushing from behind and staying in gait.  Lots of serpentines, spirals and small circles to get him to push forward while trotting.  Overall the ride went well though we did have several sticky points.  His pacy self kept showing through and at one point I had to give him a good hard kick to get the point across that he shouldn't pace when I ask for a trot.  I know it will come back, it is just frustrating that I let riding lapse so he isn't behaving like he did back in October.  At the end we worked on our trot-canter and canter-trot transitions, these are the hardest and most important for showing.  After a few attempts the trot-canter went smoothly though we still have work to do in the canter-trot transitions.  Only once did he give me the canter-trot without more than 2 steps of pace, the rest of the time it was a quarter to half of a circle of pace before picking up the trot.  It was hard to get it last year, I am sure it will be hard to get it this year.

On another note, there is possibly a horse show I will go to!  There is a dressage show about 1.5 hours away on March 18th and then there is a CT (combined test, it's eventing) show on April 1st.  I am going to talk to the instructor about both to see what her thoughts are.  I can only do one of them and am free for both dates to attend either.  Now I have something to work towards, we have work to do!

Dirty ponies playing in the snow.
Don't mind the TWH trying to look like a paint.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Getting older sucks

A quick update, I rode again last night with RB4 and had a really good ride.  She rode the App with an encouragement stick and actually enjoyed riding him this time.  Even she commented how much easier it is to ride him by just holding a whip, ah my old man.  The TWH did pretty good too, we worked a little on the shoulder in a a trot (quite difficult for this lateral horse to stay in a trot during this) and 10 meter circles.  We also worked on speeds within the canter as he finally has the speeds within the trot down pretty well.  Overall it was a pretty good ride for both of us.

I will say, however, that I still have not fully recovered from my 7 mile ride/fight with the App.  I am quite sore even 2 days later.  On Tuesday I woke up early, did a bunch of outside chores, did normal morning chores and started work without any issues.  At lunch I went to go down the stairs and didn't know if I would make it, I felt like I was a 70yr old lady!  Being immobile for those 4 hours must have really did a number as I was completely stiff.  I am still moving stiffly even today but am not letting it slow me down.  No drugs yet, just pushing through the pain. Hopefully by tomorrow this will have subsided, I haven't been this sore since last spring when I rode in two point for the first time in months.  Getting older sucks.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Going right for a change

With all the issues I have been encountering with getting into the saddle, this past week things are going right.  I rode 4 times, more than I have ridden in a good while!  The new riding buddy is completely content to ride in the arena with me at night and is completely smitten with the TWH.  She rode the App and liked him but she had forgotten to grab the encouragement stick and was getting frustrated with his inattentiveness and laziness, something I completely understand.  She didn't want to borrow my spurs and didn't want to bother getting the stick, she said she will definitely remember next time lol.

RB4 and I are getting along pretty well, she has horses of her own but can't ride due to current weather conditions and she is out of shape.  She does have a couple of hackney ponies she drives which I think is super cool, she said I can come over sometime and we can drive them.  How cool is that?  I will eagerly take that opportunity as I haven't actually done more than ground drive and drive from a wagon once.  I haven't actually ever harnessed a horse (or donkey) and think it will be fantastic experience.  Gotta know how to do it if I want to drive a donkey right?!

RB3 came over and we went on the x-long loop, a 7 mile loop on the dirt roads, and took the new dog.  Things went really well until about mile 3 when the App, whom I was riding, decided to start spooking at stupid stuff like a large rock.  That we ride by fairly regularly.  And the spooks were becoming worse, with him spinning to face it instead of continuing to walk and/or jumping sideways only when cars were trying to pass.  The rock was the third random thing he was spooking at so I gave him some strong kicks and made him face and stand next to the rock.  I made him stand there for a few and then we continued on.  He was kind of spooky as we walked over a cement "bridge"/large culvert and then decided to be a butt the rest of the ride.

He alternated between jigging and walking quite fast for the rest of the ride and completely refusing to listen.  Halts to allow cars to go by required way more pull than should be needed, leg halts were completely ignored, moving off of the leg was completely ignored.  I finally untied the dog from our saddle and gave her to RB3 so I could really work to try to fix the App.  Every time he started doing anything than a normal walk we would back up.  We did this for a full mile before I finally gave up and tried galloping him.  I galloped him over a mile, at a full gallop, and thought all was good as he put his head down and plodded back to the TWH.  When we turned around to continue heading home, however, he went back to his previous self and was again jigging and going fast.  I finally gave up and just rode with extremely short reins so that neither of us enjoyed the rest of the ride.  When we got home I immediately put him on a lunge line and made him gallop for another 5 mins so he didn't think that going home would mean rest like it normally does.  Urgh!!!

All in all I had a good ride as I enjoyed the company.  We rode for a little over 2 hours and everyone is on their way to becoming fit again.  RB4 is coming out a couple of times this week and I am scheduling a lesson next week.  Here's to hoping it keeps up!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Small successes and a fail

This will be quick because unfortunately I have been, and still am, extremely busy at work.  My duties have changed slightly and I am much busier than before.  Anyway, after emailing with 5 other people, none of which set up a time to ride, I finally found a riding buddy!  She is now RB4, or at least she appears to be and time will tell if she keeps coming out.  She finally was able to come out last night and ride and it went really well. She lives about 10 mins away and has ridden dressage in the past and currently rides english when she rides, which currently is infrequently.  She is wanting to get back into shape so she can start training one of her horses, I am okay with being used that way lol.

She has a good base of skill and was able walk, trot and canter the TWH without too much issue.  It took her a while to get him to trot but then he would pick it up right away which made me happy.  She is certainly rusty but I think she will get it back in no time at all.  She is planning on coming out on Saturday and we will go riding again, I am looking forward to a frequent visit from her.

The fail is our planning, again.  Last March we had gutters installed on the arena and it was money very well spent.  SO dug a shallow trench and had installed a plastic drainage pipe to direct the water to the opposite side of the arena which slopes away from the pastures.  Unfortunately he didn't dig the trench nearly deep enough and the horses collapsed the pipe in no time at all.  Back in the fall we dug a dry well to hold the water, about 3.5 feet deep and about 3 feet wide.  Almost immediately we saw it wasn't deep enough as during steady rain the area in front of the arena would get extremely wet and eventually I could see water streaming out from the ground where the dry well sits. Well damn.

Last night we rode in the arena and the winter pasture was boot-sucking muddy, this morning when I went to turn out I found the front quarter of the arena had flooded.  It seems my driving the tractor into the arena to drag had created a trench through the mud and a LOT of water welcomed itself into my arena.  It was about 2 inches deep in some places, ugh!  I spent 25 mins creating new mud trenches to direct the water away from my arena and then one in the arena to try to direct the water to the side of the arena where it will hopefully drain.  Guess I need to rent small backhoe to redo this, just another thing on my list.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The beat goes on

So RB4 and RB5 were busts, I never heard from RB4 again and RB5 was very promising.  She came out to see the place first and we got along well but then she emailed me yesterday letting me know she severely hurt her back and is bowing out.  She will contact me again if she feels better in a couple of months.  Ugh.  I have someone else coming out on Thursday, they are pretty close to me and they also have a TWH.  They are interested in eventing so we will see.  I have put the word out with 2 different trainers that I am looking for a riding buddy with free use of my arena and have heard nothing but frozen crickets.  Maybe someday I will have a riding buddy.

I rode the TWH last Saturday and while he was his normal blond self, he was pretty well behaved.  I brought the new dog along to run and she was much better behaved on the leash, she is learning the routine pretty quickly.  The TWH, however, was extremely concerned about a LEASH that was attached to the saddle.  And it made NOISE(!) when it retracted.  O. M. G. right?  Lol.  He is so funny about things.  I was finally able to convince TWH that it was okay to have the leash retract and that he could in fact walk forward if the leash went in front of him when the dog crossed his path.  The latter was surprisingly difficult to convince though we got it in the end.  Both animals were very well behaved when cars drove by and a couple even stopped and said hi to us as we went.  One lady even knew TWH's name.  I liked that because it means people are recognizing my horses (in case they ever got out) even though I had no clue who she was lol.

I was also very proud of the TWH.  On our 3 mile trip around the block there is a small stream that runs beside the road for about 400 feet.  Last spring I couldn't get the TWH to walk down into this stream and it wasn't more than a trickle for the summer when I rode by it so I never tried again.  Last spring and summer, however, we went cross country and he learned he could jump in and out of water so when we rode by it on Sat and I saw it was a full stream I saw a challenge.  I pointed him to it (with the dog already splashing in the stream and trying to roll in the water) and after a couple of kicks he went in the water!  It is a stupid thing to be so proud of but water can be such a challenge when it is presented in less than ideal situations and TWH can be so flighty.  It made my ride and TWH got plenty of carrots(icles) when we got home.  Wahoo!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Picture time! Chip's feet pre and post trim

Chippy says Hi!  Everyone loves our spotted beast, except me when he is being grouchy and bossy, thus he wanted to say hello to his adoring fans.

Hay everyone!  Mmmmm, hay...
This is a continuing post on feet and unfortunately I planned badly and ran out of time.  I didn't get the detailed photos of his feet before like I did with Sinatra.  I am a bad person, I am sorry.  I was, however, able to grab 2 quick pictures of his front soles before they were worked on.  The left front is the one that was causing me concern and was the suspect in his mild lameness.  My farrier disagrees and thinks it is coming from his right front however his slight head bob is down on his right and he is/was landing toe first on his left front.  Any thoughts?

Before, left front:
Before, left front, front view
Before, left front, sole
After, left front:
After, left front, front view
After, left front, heel
After, left front, side
After, left front, sole
Before, right front:
Before, right front, sole
After, right front:
After, right front, front view
After, right front, heel (sorry about the sideways pic)
After, right front, side
After, right front, sole
After, left hind:
After, left hind, heel
After, left hind, side
After, left hind, sole
 After, right hind:
After, right hind, front
After, right hind, heel
After, right hind, side
After, right hind, sole
Hope everyone enjoys the pics!  I do have some videos but they are taking forever to upload and I can't wait for them right now.  So... followup post?