Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Dennis #2

Today, we worked on leads and canter departs and transitions it was an amazing lesson. I was getting something better from Z than I've ever gotten. I'm absolutely thrilled. He started off by teaching me a new way to back. I hold both reins concentrated then lift them, one at a time, alternating sides. I also bicycle backwards (something I've been doing already). It causes Z to drop her head and use her body to go backwards. It also keeps me from pulling on her mouth. My hands need to be even softer. So we started transitioning. He had me always go up then down to a backup. We were trot departing, then backing, then trot departing... We then started canter departing from the trot. I was dropping my shoulder to the inside, so I'm trying to ride with my shoulders more straight. I'm also hunching a little, so I need to make sure I stay up tall and look forward. Anyway, we transitioned up and down and rode the rail and changed direction. We were getting a ton better in no time flat. Then we stopped and talked about sideways and how to get sideways bridleless. We worked on isolating the ends with just the neck rope and a stick. That went well. I have to remember to lift the stick up and down to get backwards and not be afraid to use the stick on either side of her head. I also have to ask her softly with my cues if I want a soft horse. I'm asking too much with my heel and leg. I have to ask, then promise. Z picks it up quickly if I'm clear.

For sideways, keep me and my horse straight and use the stick. To get more energy going sideways use the stick and keep my leg/heel aid light. Don't let Z bend as much as possible and make sure my inside toe is pointing out and my head is facing in the direction of travel. Use the stick to push the fore and then the hind repeatedly.

When bridleless, asking for a turn on the fore, have the stick in my outside hand and reach it over to reinforce my soft ask behind the girth. Also, simulate an indirect rein with the neck rope by turning my hand sideways. For the turn on the haunches, use my stick to reinforce the ask and use my neck rope to simulate a direct rein. Use the same hand position I would with reins on the neckrope. Practice backing her with my backwards bike pedaling and using the neck rope with the stick to reinforce by going up and down in Zone 1.

Then we went back to transitions and canter departs. I got some beautiful canter departs! They felt so right! Wow!! I was smiling from ear to ear. Z was not pissed at me and she was working hard and truly trying. Dennis reminded me to pet her rump, too - not only her shoulders and neck. He said it's good for me to stretch back and rub her and good for her to feel my stroke her there from the saddle. He also had me rubbing her rump while we cantered. At first, she got defensive about me reaching back there while she cantered. Told me something important.

Remember, for casual rein, hold with the inside hand! Never heard that before. To get the correct lead, ask with the outside leg behind the girth. This pushes the hind toward the center which allows the horse to get light on the inside fore and take that lead. Keep the inside leg at the girth. Also, stretch the inside arm forward to make sure the horse doesn't run into the reins by accident. Sit back and look forward and almost up.

We found a good place to stop, where I was getting consistent canter departs. I was elated. We talked about 20 mins and just got to know each other a little better. I see him again next Wed at 2pm. I've been needing this disparately.

At the end, he commented on how nice my horse is and how well I've done with her. A compliment! :-) A huge compliment coming from someone of his skill level and experience. He also told me it was obvious my horse wanted to be with me and that said I'm doing a lot of things right. We talked about L3 students and he hasn't had many pass. He seems to think I'd do better to just listen to my horse and build something good with her w/o feeling like I HAVE to go the Parelli path. Easy for him to say... I wonder what we'll look like in 6 months.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Riding with Kids

I was going to head out on a ride when the kids showed up after school. Delaney wanted to skip karate and ride with me!?!? Of course, I'm absolutely thrilled. So we get our act together, he rode Rain and I rode Z and ponied Gemini. All three of my horses out and about with a kid, too! Nirvana? Darn close. We even had Deuce, the wonder trail dog. Gemini is a hard horse to pony because he gets so bored. He has to make fun for himself by fiddling with ropes, saddle strings, Z's neck... Arrrggghhh! Just walk and keep your hands to yourself, Gemini! It's especially fun because Z does not like being the pony horse - especially to geldings. So, every 100 yds, she reaches back and tells him he's annoying and then I have to ask her to please just do her job then Gemini reacts to being scolded by her then she's reacting to my request for her to just walk and do her job... The whole time, I'm quite sure that Gemini is snickering to himself. For a brief moment, he's not so bored. Comical.

Delaney did great on Rain - he's getting better about handling her and she's such a safe kid horse. Every barn needs a horse like Rain. We went about 5 miles. We took a new trail - a good thing for me. I'm starting to name the trees since I see the same ones so often.

Z and I worked on stopping, slowing and backing to my seat only. We were getting something good going towards the end. We worked on speeds within the walk gait.

Then, it was Kendall's turn. She came running out, I shortened the stirrups as much as I could and she and I headed off. Z and I worked more on halt from my seat, sidepass, half-passing, isolation of the ends while Kendall just happily rode along. She and I rode in the front pasture. She asked me jump Z over a jump, so I got Z acquainted to the jump and then went for it. Tip: don't jump high jumps in a western saddle. Ouch. Horn jammed into sternum area. Not good.

Nice day mixing kids and horses. I love it. I also worked for hours in the barn today, watching horses mosey around the track. Rain chose to hang with me most of the time. She's the best.

Dennis tomorrow. Yea!!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Z and the 45

Today, I took Z out to my front pasture and played the 7 games with an obstacle on the 45'. The circle game was not so great - she had a serious egg shape happening with her pull to the barn. She's also great at changing directions whenever she wants on the 45'. Argghh! :-) I just send her back in the other direction, but I'll talk to Dennis about that on Wed.

We played yo-yo and backed her into the jump. We squeezed over the jump from about 40 ft. I tried to get her porcupine game better by adding driving game and lightening my pressure. That worked very well! (Thanks, Dennis!) I asked her to back up the hill to the 40' mark. I asked her to go sideways in front of the jump, then over the jump.

To end the session, I tied the 45' on her halter and drove her around some obstacles (over a jump, which was tough!) and then sideways against a rail. We practiced going left and right, which is hard on a 45'. The pressure comes under her head instead of from the side, so she has to figure it out. I asked her to trot sideways once I took the driving reins off. It was one of the most interesting sessions we've had in a while. Proud of us.

Tomorrow I'll ride as many horses as I can. The end of the week looks like rain. Want to get Rain and Gemini out on the trail and get them more fit. I want to take a stick and work on teaching my pony horse to be a better pony horse.

Playing with Gemini

I spent about an hour with Gemini yesterday. He surprised me by going right-brained several times. He started out really struggling to pay full attention to me and worrying severely about where the herd was. It took a solid 30 mins to get him with me. He was responsive, but he was clearly multi-tasking. One thought on me, the other on the herd. Towards the end, he stopped thinking about them.

We worked on starting to learn to transition down in a circle on line, change of directions, backing up onto an obstacle, trotting sideways and disengaging the hind end onto the bridge. He did pretty damn good for a horse only paying half his attention. Then, I took him into the round pen and we played a little more on line, working on the circle and transitions down. He wanted to canter off full speed and so we just kept working on it until he could be composed. He made some great progress. I also worked on the flank rope and got a little bit of a buck going to the left (left eye). That was it, though. He really figured out how to yield his hind-end to the flank rope. I also started teaching him to mirror me - I walk in zone 2 and he stops and goes with me. This was tough for him. If I stopped, he wanted to spin to face me. Having me in zone 2 or 3 is not a comfortable thing for him. I started teaching him the response to tail pressure and yielding backwards when I pull his tail. He was pretty good with that. I tested poll pressure and he was good when he was paying attention.

After a while, I sat in the middle of the round pen and gave him a mental break. He came and stood over me. :-) Immediately. He also stopped looking for the herd. We played stick to me and I tried to get him to trot or canter after me. He kept his eye on me, but didn't show much energy when I asked him to stick to me. We'll go back on line and work on that.

All in all a great session for both of us. I tied him for a while when we were done and he was calm and relaxed. I think during our session I noticed him coming off his adrenaline and he got very tired. I think being tied for a while to finish letting himself come of his high was a good thing. He's cool.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Pasture Paradise

Well, we now have the horses living in a track. VERY COOL!! Over the coming months, we'll add some varying terrain such as water, rocks, sand, obstacles (tree parts, jumps, etc...). The idea is to have the horses always moving by pushing each other through the track. I have a book dedicated to this idea and how to carry it out. I've been thinking and planning for this for some time now. I'm hoping to do a decent job of chronicling the journey with hoof pics, horse measurements and pics of their physique and again in 6 mos. I'm expecting them to all look a little more fit and to have better fit as the moving is what makes their feet grow and get stronger. We also plan to plant some trees so they will have natural weather protection. We'll have to run sprinkles so we're working on figuring that part out.

At first, they trotted and cantered the track a few times. Then, they investigated much more slowly. Now, I see them hanging around the barn and wondering when I'm going to give them food! :-) No poop to scoop! I'm anxious to see how this goes...

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Z's first endurance ride!!

We did the Kenlyn Urban Challenge today. Stoney and I on Cowboy and Zarah. We won it!! Since it's an unofficial ride, there are no prizes except for bragging rights. I'm cool with that! It was a great ride and the horses were not at all tired at the end. There was plenty of horse left after the 15. The vet even told us we'd done a great job conditioning our horses! Quite a complement. I've got the fever big time now. I'm checking the endurance calendar and starting to run more to get myself in better shape to help cover the longer rides. Zarah was full of life and there were a couple times where she didn't want to transition down. We'll keep working on that. I love my life.

Took Cowboy home and brought Rain back to our ranch. She'd been at Jen's and I missed her terribly. Jen and Kirk were happy to see Cowboy looking so fit, but it made them realize he's probably not the horse they want for their 2nd. He'll probably be on the market soon. He's an amazing horse and worth some serious money - easily $5k to $6k. I think he's great and if I had room in my life for another, I'd keep him. I can't have 4.

The pad system I used didn't work so great - I used the Equipedic with shims and she had dry spots just behind the withers. Arrrgghhh! I'll keep figuring that out.

A great day!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

A New Mentor... Finally

An ex-Parelli 5-star instructor came into my life. I've been waiting and longing for a new mentor. I haven't had the motivation to go see Teri and when she came down to see me a week or two ago I remembered why I haven't been up to see her. And now, I'm so happy that I have another option. We spent four hours today and it was awesome. I felt again like I could start growing. I've been feeling so stifled... not growing, sitting on a plataeu of my horsemanship journey.

In an effort to record all the things we learned:
1) Started with Z. I'm not being specific enough when I ask for things. She's gotten dull and lazy. I'm not asking for more.

2) Our send needs to get better! She's leaving in a complacent manner and I've allowed it - perhaps even asked for it.

3) Time with Gemini - he and I have a much better conversation than Z and me. So, we worked on something new. Flank rope - holy crap. Gemini no likey the flank rope! He bucked his brains out. However, we worked it through and by the end I could back him into the pressure of the flank rope w/o trouble. Very cool and a great experience for me.

4) Get more creative! I'm drilling. I'm trying not to, but I am with Z and not Gemini. How interesting!

5) Teach my horse to count to 3! No nagging!

6) Swoop the stick up towards the horse to move that end - this was a brand new concept to me and very effective for moving the hind end.

7) Dennis does NOT talk about horseanalities and I so appreciate that. I don't want to analyze my horse all the time. Sometimes I want to just focus on her doing what I've allowed.

Last Endurance Training Ride

Tammy and I did about 14 miles yesterday. It was a good ride - horses were good and strong and we seemed to handle the mileage with ease. We walked a little bit of it, which was good for us and our horses. We also met a neighbor of mine who does Foxhunts and rides endurance! She seemed like a neat lady and I hope to get to know her better.

Tammy's horse lost one of her front shoes, so now she's trying to get it replaced in time for the race. If she can't - she won't go. :-( Z has bruising on her back feet, I noticed it today. Oye! Her back was also a little sore after the 14 miles in the English saddle. Ugh! I don't know... we have some things to figure out. We'll do this race and chalk it up to a learning experience. We've got to work out some kinks, though.

Cowboy will end up with the whole week off before this race. I think he'll be fine, but I wish I could have gotten him out Monday or Tuesday before his rest period.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

More Endurance Training

Today, Stoney and I did 13 miles. The horses seemed strong and fit and had life left at the end. Z wanted to canter and I had to keep holding her back a lot of the ride - even at the end. Last week, at the end of 13 miles, Z didn't have much left. We've done several training rides now and she's definitely stronger. I think she could give a 25 mile race, but not sure about the other horses (Ruby and Cowboy). As easy as Cowboy covered 13 today, he could probably go 12 more. They are both finishing nicely in the last few rides. Stoney and I agreed that we would decide on Saturday morning how far we wanted to race.

I think I should join AERC. Z and I are going to have some great endurance years ahead of us!

Today was the first time in my english saddle on a long trail ride. I've been using my western since I'm always ponying another horse. Today, I decided to focus on Z and not pony. I wanted to be sure the english saddle was going to be fine for us both. It was! I double shimmed it and she had nice, even sweat patterns with no ruffled hairs from friction. I'm not crazy about the way the pad bunches up under the back, but it didn't seem to bother Z a bit. Her back wasn't sore at the end at all. I'm happy! I put my endurance stirrups on it and my wool seat cover. Ready to go!

Now, I need to get some bran to make a mash this week and make sure I've got everything we need in my trailer. And a working truck!!

Gemini bonding...

Spent some time with Gemini yesterday. The wind was stupid! I didn't mount him, we did only ground work. We worked on the 22' and then some liberty in the round pen. Liberty is amazing with him! He's learning quickly that coming in to me is a great idea and his eyes are on me constantly. I will have to make sure I stay interesting - no drilling. I think I learned that well with Rain. A familiar feeling, when I play with him regularly, I realize how much I like him. He's smart and curious and playful and gregarious and willing. We worked on sending to the left and to the right, maintaining gait and then some trotting sideways. He's great at that! His Yo-yo is great and I started teaching him to trot in to me. I should teach him some tricks - he would be so great at tricks. His potential is amazing. I want to get him better on the trail over time. I think there's a reason he's still here with me. He's my horse - I just have to admit it. We have to keep finding that buck and let it work itself out of him for good. I need a new western stirrup and I don't want to ride him english until I'm sure the buck is gone. I need to be sure I can stay on so he doesn't get the idea that bucking works. He's the buckinest horse I've ever known and has offered the biggest buck I've ever ridden. He has a lot to teach me.

I miss Rain.

I worked on the track system with Steve in the stupid wind for a while. We got quite a bit done - I was surprised how quickly it went. I'm hoping we can get it done this week. I'd like to put the horses in it before I leave for the ISC. I'll be leaving 3 horses and the track will be good for that number, I think. Steve will have a much easier time of it with horses on the track. I'm so hopeful with this system and what it will do for all of us (horses and caregivers).

I want to find time to wash and braid manes and tails this week, too.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Night Riding

Had my first night ride of the year. I was on Cowboy and ponied Z. Started kinda late, about 7pm, and decided once I was out that we'd go the whole 8 miles, knowing it would get us home after dark. The air was so calm and it was such a nice, warm night. I could have ridden for hours longer, but I knew I had to get home. The horses did just fine. We trotted the first half and walked the 2nd half. I wanted to get them more time and slow things down a bit since we've going balls to the wall at the last few rides. I don't want them to think every ride is going to be wild. :-) Z was funny - every once in a while reaching over to bite Cowboy. She doesn't like him, but she's learning to tolerate him.

Earlier in the day, I was able to take an hour and work with Z on horizontal flexion. We did a few mins of groundwork, continuing to get the straight back and a strong send on the circle. Then I rode her to the far end of my front pasture and we worked on circles at the trot and canter with horizontal flexion. We also worked some on the canter depart. It felt good, but time was short and I had to call it quits. I would have liked to keep going - we were building some good foundation.

Before the night ride, I worked with Cowboy on the ground for a bit. We worked on moving the fore - which is hard for him, and the circle game. He's not quite sure why he needs to stay on the circle, so we'll keep building the expectation that he maintain gate and direction when asked. It was interesting on the trail, he wanted to break from the trot a few times and walk. It surprised me because he seems so forward usually. I think all this exercise is starting to bore him. :-) He's getting fit and he looks great - not skinny, full and muscular. Jen is lucky to have a horse like him.

Today, I hope to get some time with Gemini. His rear right fetlock is still a little swollen. I need to cold hose it today and get some things done with him. He's had a couple days off and that's not a good thing.

I miss Rain. She comes home in a week. She's the best.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Something different...

Yesterday, I decided to spend some different kind of time with Z. We went in the round pen and started to learn to kick the ball. She caught on immediately. I started to kick the ball and she began to understand to go to it and kick it with her knee. She is a super smart horse. She actually got a little playful and I have to say, I barely ever see her get playful. It made me giggle!! We worked some on her mirroring me and we also worked on sending to the right at the trot at liberty. Much better - we've made lots of progress. Then, I put the bareback pad on with a nice western pad and did some bareback riding at the trot.

I learned something. I keep trying to ride bareback and bridleless and it goes ok. However, yesterday, I skipped the bridleless part and just rode her bareback in the rope hack. I have to do that more often. I have a terrible tendency to bite off large chunks, versus working on smaller pieces at a time. We had some fantastic bareback moments and she was ears forward almost the entire time. My round pen is on a slant and so at times going downhill she'll start to leave the rail and I'll ask her back. I think I ask her to leave the rail inadvertantly. We just have to keep practicing. I felt great when I got off her back.

I then tied her for about an hour while the other horses were out in the front pasture - acres away. Her independence from the herd has gotten so much better! I started last month making a conscious effort to help her build independence by stalling her on the north side of the barn, keeping her in when the others are out, riding her solo and letting her out in the front pasture alone. At first, she really called to them and felt insecure. She's made huge strides and I have to keep her just slightly on her own. She needs herd time and she gets it, but she also gets time everyday where she's with just me or even on her own. It's made her much more brave and I realize that's the way she is. She bonds instantly to other horses and it's probably the reason she has bonded so well to me. She has an amazing "stick to me" game and I realize that's her way. Not discounting what she and I have built, but she also has a tendency to bond and stick to a leader - more so than some other horses I've owned.

Today, we'll ride - maybe alone. Haven't decided. Want to go between 10-14 miles today. The endurance ride is next week, so we're down to the final training days.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

More Endurance Training

Yesterday, Tammy, Stony and I trailered to Sharptail and rode about 10 miles. We hauled a** and I had a blast. I rode Rain and ponied Z, Stony was on Cowboy. Rain was actually quite "up" in the beginning and I loved it! I love riding her when she's got druthers - her gaiting is beautiful and she's just a lot of fun. Z needed to just cover miles w/o me on her back - building endurance w/o the load. Z was feeling good and seemed fully recovered from the 13 mile ride before. I wanted to go farther than 10, but Stoney had to go and a winter storm was moving in.

Afterwards, we dropped off Rain at Jen's and picked up Starlet to take her back to Tammy. I can't handle 5 anymore and Tammy said she'd take Starlet back. I'm relieved, but sad that I haven't gotten much going with Starlet. I miss Rain terribly!! Dang - I love that horse. I will get her right after the race next weekend. Ugh! I hated to leave her. Hopefully, Jen and Kirk will get a chance to ride her while she's there. They can't have her for long. :-) She's my most special-ist horsey. Now, when the herd is out to pasture and I holler for feeding time, nobody comes. That was Rain's job. She'd hear me and come running and the others would follow. Now, they all hear me holler, lift their heads, look at me, and go back to grazing. Geesh.

Today, I'll try to ride and play with Gemini and Z. Work is light again. I love this.

While hauling yesterday, my truck started to act up. Great. Gotta get it fixed.

Lastly, Tammy found an ex-Parelli 5 star right here in Colorado!! He lives in Berthoud! I called him and I'm hoping he and I can get together this weekend! I'm hopeful he'll be a great mentor and will allow me to use Teri less. He sounded reasonable and friendly. Can't wait.

Groundwork in the Wind

Dang - it blew and blew on Tuesday. I wanted to ride, but it was so windy and miserable that I decided to just do some groundwork and ride the next day. I started with Gemini. I took him into the roundpen and we played at liberty. He was quite responsive! He was NOT the bucking horse from the other day. We played stick to me, all 7 games, touch the object and I had him mirror me a bit. His rear fetlock was still a little swollen from the bucking, so I tried to keep things light and easy. I took out my exercise ball and tried to teach him to push that around a bit. He was a little worried about the ball surprisingly, but he started to get the hang of it. I'll be doing more with him today.

Then Miss Z. We worked on backing straight, sending to the left and then went into the roundpen to try the ball out a little. She got the hang of it quicker than Gemini. She seemed to enjoy doing different things than normal. I've got to be careful with my direct thinking when I work with her. Her introverted nature makes her likely to get bored. We also worked on trotting and cantering sideways, but she seemed still sore from the 13 mile ride on Sunday, so I took it easy and didn't play long on this.

I put Cowboy in the roundpen afterwards, thinking I'd play with him and build his sideways game. I ran out of time however and he just got to move and roll out of his run. He's staying in his run until he goes home because he's taking big chunks out of Capaill's hide. He's riding many miles with me, so not worried about his exercise needs. He can manage to be in for another week or so.

Got lots of horse time and was very pleased. Having a lighter work week and squeezing everything I can out of it.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Feedback from Teri!

I've been really needing this. I haven't seen my regular instructor since last fall. I've been working in a vacuum, basically. So, today the silence was broken and Teri gave me a lesson for about 90 minutes. I am so glad, too. I got some important feedback and one of the big things was regarding my Liberty tape. She send, "Send it in!". I've been holding off thinking it's not perfect, but she said send it in anyway! And so, I will...

We worked on haunches in, stretching her long and low (horizontal flexion), and we re-shimed my Theraflex and talked about how she looks physically. She felt that her look was improved, but that she still wasn't developing good muscle around her withers. Will watch and see if the new shim setup helps. We also need to work more on horizontal flexion and making sure I do some of that on the trail at times. We talked a lot, which I really needed. I've had no guidance for too long and my growth is stifled. She said that we had improved, but not as much as she'd have liked over that many months. Tough to get compliments out of Teri. :-)

When they first showed up she mentioned right away that we had to work on my Finesse. My horse was stubbing her toes on all 4's (instead of just the rears like usual), her shoulder looked rotated forward and the wither development wasn't progressing. So, I immediately thought I was in for a rough lesson. However, once I explained that I had done a 13 mile ride the day before, she thought that might explain it all. She watched me ride and didn't notice me doing anything terribly wrong. She never says anything like, "Wow, that's great!". It's more that she says, "I didn't see anything blatantly gross looking". Maybe she wants to be sure I never get conceited? :-) It's a teaching style that can be brutal and leave you feeling small and I've had to learn to cope with it.

Anyway, I have some great things to go work on and I'm excited. Specifically, I need to work on horizontal flexion at all 3 gaits and do more passenger lessons at the canter.

Endurance training and a Buck!

A few weeks ago, I decided I really want to ride in the Kenlyn Endurance Ride on April 26th. I think Z is near to ready and I had a buddy that wanted to do it with me. My buddy dropped out last week, worried that the excitement will be too much and be detrimental to what she and her horse have built. So, I was going to be the solo rider. No problem. I mentioned it to my personal trainer and she wanted IN! Now, I've got to have 2 horses ready and I think we're better off going for the 15 than the 25.

We did our first training ride yesterday and went for 13. I'm concerned about starting too fast, but my horses are not starting from ground zero. They will cover 7-8 mile rides 1-3 times/week. We took 3 horses (Z, Rain, Cowboy), taking 2 extras so Stoney could decide who she'd rather ride. She preferred a non-gaited ride so Rain will go along as my pony horse on training rides.

The 2nd half, Stoney rode Rain and I ponied Cowboy. Both my mares are not happy about Cowboy being around and pony-ing him off Z was quite an experience. She got better, but there was plenty of bucking and kicking in the canter back at Cowboy and I'm sure she has a headache from pinning her ears so much. :-) I probably won't do that again and I understand she has a job to do as lead mare and I'm imposing on that by asking her to pony Cowboy. I also need her to do a job - tough position. Probably a great example of one of the reasons people prefer geldings.

Between travel and weather that was my first riding in a week. Ugh!

Then, someone came to check out Gemini. He was not with me AT ALL. We played on the ground and I just couldn't get his mind. He got better but I just couldn't get him with me. I thought he was good enough to get on and we started to work on getting together. He was terrible - he didn't want to give, he argued with my hands constantly, he wanted to look at the herd and turn to the herd and nothing else. I backed him up some, rode him at a trot, worked on isolation of the ends, but he was really not getting better. I stayed with him and all of sudden he started to rear and buck. He did a holy mother-of-God humpbacked all 4 feet in the air buck, at least 7 times. I started to count - I had that much time. When he stopped, I sat there going - WTF??? He shocked me.

I immediately told them to feel free to drive away. I couldn't get off him, I had to keep riding him so he'd know that wasn't the answer. I stayed on him about 40 more mins. Of course, he got much better and started to give and get softer. I'm not riding him enough, obviously. I'm barely riding him at all. I'm not really playing with him either. He's getting little to no training time from me and he's telling me that's a bad move.

Now what? I guess I see about getting Starlet back to Tammy or selling her. I can't keep 4 horses anymore. It's just too much. I can't sell a bucking bronc, either. After all the drama with his hock, and losing that sale, I just wonder if this horse will ever leave my barn. Bizarre.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Riding Solo

Had a great time with Z today. I've been jonesin' for horse time since I was on the road and catching back up with the family with a day skiing. So, after hubby got home from baseball I was able to get "my time". Z and I started by taking L3 booklets 1-3 and going through them to see where we stood. There's quite a bit of freestyle riding all the way through the program and I think my ground work is ahead of my freestyle riding. I'm going to practice that after day I can from now on. We can trot freestyle and ride a pattern, but we've got to get to flying lead changes w/o a bridle and cantering and galloping a pattern. I have to figure out the "row, row, row your horse" thing. Hoping my Anglo-Arab doesn't get emotional! I'm expecting this won't be uneventful.

We then videotaped the Liberty tasks and I'm going to send this set. It's not perfect. She didn't come to a walk and stay there on the transitions. She walked a few strides, then trotted again for a few strides. It's just time for some feedback. The other things went ok, I believe. The flying lead change looked decent so we'll see...

Then, I groomed her a bit and took the clippers to her ears and bridle path and chin. Then, we headed off together. This is the first time we've ridden alone in quite some time and I was very happy that she went well w/o another horse. We rode a new way and went between 8-9 miles. She spooked big from a board laying in the grass and I was grateful to be in a western saddle! :o She also really wants to canter... a LOT. Like all the time! I rode in the rope hack and her down transitions were not great. We worked on transitions some, but I honestly just felt like riding and not teaching/practicing. We need to work more on transitions on the trail. In the arena, they are fine. She was relaxed and happy on the trail - she never seemed nervous or worried and after a while we did some stopping for green grass nibbling. All in all, a fantastic ride with my mare! I was very pleased and thankful for the time with her. My other horses are getting fat, though. ;-)

Friday, April 4, 2008

Back in the saddle...

I spent the week in Las Vegas for work and couldn't wait to get home and play with horses. Marcy wanted to ride Cowboy so I met her outside to get her some time with him. Marcy is still working on understanding the best way to communicate with horses and Cowboy wasn't too good with her on the ground. However, once she got in the saddle he was the horse I expected. Easy to ride, happy to leave the other horse or stay - didn't matter. Happy to go the gait you're asking. He's just a very cool horse and he continues to impress me.

I rode Z and she did just fine. Marcy didn't have much time, so we came back after just a few miles and I rode Z around in the front pasture. We worked on circles at the trot and canter, some light stopping, and some sidepassing. She felt good and we were in synch. I want to take her on a long trail ride, but the weekend is not shaping up for horse time at all. I'm trying to not be annoyed, but it's hard. I want to get her a little more ready for the Kenlyn ride at the end of April.