Monday, April 22, 2013

Quick update - show prepping!!

Sorry for the lack of posting, have been pretty busy around here.  Combine that with work and I just haven't had time to blog much.  Hopefully that will change, I will at least aim to post about my trip next weekend and my show the weekend following.  What is next weekend you ask?  I am going to ROLEX!!!!  It has been 10 years since I was able to go and am very excited to finally make it this year. Is anyone else going?  If so let me know and we can plan on meeting up!

What have I been doing these past 2 weeks?  Riding.  A lot of riding.  Working a lot on dressage to get the TWH show ready. Mix in a good amount of fitness so that he can canter 4-5 minutes without being completely out of breath and it adds up to a lot of riding.  We are getting there fitness wise, he can do 3 minutes of a nice FORWARD canter without sounding like he is ready to pass out so we are progressing.  The collected canters are easy, it is the forward, faster ones that drain the TWH's gas tank.

I think when I blogged last I was talking about my pending jumping lesson.  How did that go you ask?  Pretty well I would say!  The TWH did really well in the bigger arena and while he technically refused one fence, H said it was a miscommunication as he thought we were going around it instead so I shouldn't get after him too badly.  I did kick and kick and kick and kick, put him a tight circle and had him jump the little 2' jump from almost a standstill before I moved on and he gave no more refusals the rest of the day.  He handled all of the jumps really well, even when going in the more forward canter.  Here are some small video clips of it too!!  (note due to my extremely slow internet and video taking forever to upload, these are small snippets)

Our dressage is coming along, we are working really hard on 3 items right now.  Our canter to trot transition on a straight line, 10m circles (to head up the centerline) and our freewalk.  Since the beginner novice dressage test has you turn the corner, trot before the middle of the arena and then turn in a 10m circle up the centerline at the end of the arena, we don't have a lot of time to perfect the trot before we have a new move.  Who am I kidding, there is no time!  Thus the 2-4 shuffle steps he has been taking really need to disappear and I am pretty confident they won't appear in our test with the progress we have made.

The 10m circles are getting a good bit better, I worked on them tonight actually.  The TWH likes to do one of two things, push off and pivot around the corner, almost like shying away from the corner, or he will break gait as he makes the turn.  Since neither are an ideal scenario it has required a good bit of work to fix and it is getting there.  He is no longer pivoting, who am I kidding-just not doing it most of the time, and as long as he isn't tired he is keeping his gait.  Hopefully we will get there!

Finally is the freewalk, the freewalk is actually a really good gait for him because of his nice swingy, overreaching flatwalk.  The issue is that I need him to stretch forward and downward while he does it which is the opposite of what he likes to do in the flatwalk.  Ugh horse!  This is actually the one piece I am not sure how well we will fix before the show, I can get the walk, I can get the forward and I can get the downward.  I just can't get all three of them at once.  We are still working on it however, I think if I can get the walk and the forward stretch it should be sufficient enough.  I hope.

Hopefully I will find time to post a about my Rolex trip next Monday or Tuesday, I am really looking forward to the vacation.  If not you may just get a condensed version and then have a post about cross country schooling on the 4th and the show on the 5th.  Wish me luck!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Some announcements and going for a walk

Unfortunately there has been precious little riding since my lesson thanks to the holiday weekend, busy schedules and an extremely dusty arena.  It is now very obvious that the flooding that I have had over this past winter has washed away most of my arena treatment as I tried to ride on Monday and it was simply too dusty to anything more than walk. How frustrating!  My tentative plan is to throw down some more treatment on Saturday and see how it does.

I have delayed posting about this but I figure I need to share that Daisy is now living with alpacas and is not our babysitter.  She has become increasingly noisy in her protest that she is turned out separately from the boys in the morning.  Since the hay I secured for the boys last year is mostly alfalfa, she can't have it so she has to have breakfast separately and wait for the boys to finish eating.  Around lunch I go outside and let her in with the boys. The issue is her braying at least every hour because she is separated and then when I turn her out with the boys, she immediately goes over and eats as much of the alfalfa chafing as she can.  She has become lame a couple of times, has been ouchy on her feet and the farrier agreed it is likely her alfalfa chafing consumption.  On top of this, she decided that she didn't want to be caught at night unless boys had already left. She could be standing at the gate, when I walk to the gate to get everyone she would turn, walk away and refuse to come up to me if I called.  Half of the time if I then walked over to her she would walk away.  BUT as soon as I took the boys out of the pasture, even if they were just on the other side of the gate, she come right up to the gate waiting for me to bring her out and I would then have no problems catching her.  I tried round penning her (which she did really well at but didn't fix the issue outside of the round pen), treats, ear scratches and chasing when she walked away and she kept up her behavior for 3 weeks.

Eventually I posted on a forum asking for ideas and someone that is about 45 mins away said they were looking for a friendly guard donkey for their alpacas.  They had just started an alpaca farm and this was their first birthing season, they wanted something to guard the babies.  I met them and really liked the couple, they met Daisy and fell in LOVE.  I brought her down to their farm and Daisy hopped off of the trailer and walked through the yard like she owned the place.  She didn't spook at anything and was very interested in everything.  When she was put in with the alpacas, she immediately walked over to them and chased them off of a flake of hay on the ground.  I have kept in touch with the people and Daisy is doing great.  The alpacas decided she wasn't evil after 2 days and Daisy has stopped braying every day.  They even have pics of their young grandson sitting on Daisy.  She seems very happy.  Chippy wasn't happy though, he stared at the trailer when we brought it home and looked for Daisy for a full 2 days before settling down.  Thankfully he got over his heartbreak and he is now fine with having the TWH to buddy with.

Last weekend the vet was out for spring shots, he drew blood on the App for his yearly CBC and said his levels are the same where the were last year, yay!  He has some kidney disease so I am glad it isn't getting worse.  He did say, however, that he is glad I retired the App from jumping last year.  Apparently when in bright sunlight, and his pupil is small, the App about 75% blind. *sniff* That makes me really sad, I guess I can't just pull the App out of retirement if the TWH can't do eventing : (  I guess he is going to have to be happy as a lesson horse and slowly adjust to life with limited-to-no visibility.

Since I haven't been able to ride, and I am trying to get back into a shape that isn't round, I have started walking.  Taking a tip from the NuzzMuzz book I took the boys on a walk.  I don't have any awesome trails to walk on but I did walk almost 1.5 miles last night on our quiet little road and it went really well!   I expected the App to jig and rush like he can under saddle but he was an angel, they both were.  They stopped when I did, backed up when I did and I held both of them on a very loose lead line.  Walking win!