Friday, December 30, 2011

Jess and Rebekah ride their horse

Started in the round pen, but the footing was so bad. So we moved to the indoor. Ellie handled it all quite well. Jess and I are concerned that the change to my property has been hard on Ellie, as well as living in a stall/run. We agreed to just let her be with the herd with hopes that she doesn't get hurt. I hope this helps improve her spirits.

The footing was good enough to do any trotting in the round pen and I didn't get back on her in the indoor. I will do that next, however. She was a little worried in the indoor as it was her first time in there. I led Rebekah around on her and she was calm and good for Jess' daughter.

Just a very nice horse with a great brain.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Trimming and riding a new horse

Today was a pretty cool day. My friend Jen came up from Co. Springs so that we could talk about trimming approaches. She's advancing her skills as a natural trimmer and wanted another perspective. She got a chance to see the property and the indoor, too. We trimmed Z together and I pulled my hoof meter reader out to see how we were doing. It was fun to think about basics and test my skills against a measuring tool. We were able to give Z a nice trim. She was not very helpful for trim time and I realized I haven't done much with her in a while. She was worried about being away from the herd. Doh - time to spend more time and get our relationship back in order.

After that, I had an appointment with my dressage instructor to try out a horse. His name was Irish and he's a 7 yr old Sporthorse (WB cross of some sort). He's a gorgeous gray with lots of black points, about 16'2". He's been ridden by dressage trainers for about a year now. He needed a lot of contact as that's what he's been trained to do. He had huge movement and I really enjoyed riding him! I had to slow him down and get him in a frame before I could handle his trot. I was all over the place before that. His canter is lovely, however. He covers some serious ground with all his gaits. I imagine he'd be great all the trail as well. He was a very nice horse, guessing an LBI. He had some nice curiosity, but horses aren't really allowed to show curiosity in the world of dressage. I imagine in a world with less rules, a real personality would emerge. I was literally sweaty from riding him for about 30 minutes. What a lot of work he is, but boy would he be great for dressage. I'll be thinking about it for sure.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Another ride on Ellie

We took it slow today. The snow is melting rapidly and very slick. Even at a walk, she was losing her footing at times. So, at the walk we worked on indirect and direct rein, go and whoa and staying on the rail. I had absolutely zero head tossing today! She's losing that brace which is a great change.

Before we went into the round pen, I tacked her up and did a few minutes of ground work. While she was tied for saddling, she slipped in the barn aisle and went down. Poor girl. She got a couple scratches, but it was minor. What was most impressive was how she handled it. She was calm and easy about the whole thing. She worked to get her footing back, but she didn't freak out and she came off the adrenalin so quickly afterwards. This horse has an amazing brain!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Another ride on Ellie

Another great ride. Worked mainly on trot transitions and getting softness in the rope hack. Started with just a few minutes of ground work and got into the saddle easily. She stood still for mounting, as well. She was bracy at first and threw her head a little. We worked through that before moving in to the trot transitions. She's working through her balance as she carries me at faster speeds. There's still a lot of snow on the ground, but the air was fairly warm today.

I will move her to the big arena and work on passenger riding at the trot either in the next session or after 2 sessions.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Ellie gains balance in the trot

She's doing so great!! We started with a little ground work, then went into the round pen for riding. We started with walking and just working on softness in the hackamore. I used the rope hack today for the first time (instead of 1 rein with the 12'). She had a little trouble with the confinement, so we worked on that for a while. She got more and more relaxed with it and I worked very hard on releasing at the correct time. Then, we started to build the trot. We got some nice trot circles in both directions after she figured out how to carry me at that gait. She is doing so well!!

We had a foot of snow to trudge through for this ride today. Made it extra fun. I wish I had gotten some video of our session today.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Ellie wears a saddle!

Put a ride on Ellie and it was her first time with the saddle in the round pen. I did get a few strides of trot towards the end but we mainly worked at the walk. Worked on direct rein quite a bit. I did not work very much on indirect rein. Played with friendly game with the rope over her head.

Monday, December 19, 2011


Kris Warner came over and we took care of Rain Gemini and Ellie. Ellie had an awful lot of hoof wall but she actually has quite a good foot. Kris trimmed Rain and Ellie and I trimmed Gemini. I didn't put a great trim on Gem, I wasn't feeling well.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Coaching out the brace

I put a ride on Ellie, first time wearing a saddle. She did quite well and I made it short.
Ride and play with Oso! Jen came over and we played with her gelding. I put a ride on him so she could see how I'd handle things. I tried to soften his "go", but using an effective phase 4 after lightly applying my leg and giving him the forward feeling. He responded with a kick out a few times, but he quickly got the idea that forward was a good option and kept me quiet. I also worked on softening his neck with serpentines and snaky bends.

Jen and Oso then spent some time in the arena and she tried to apply my methods. She could already feel a good difference in her horse. She just needs to raise her expectations of him and she'll do great.

After that, Jen rode Gem for a few minutes. I wanted her to feel what I'd developed with him. He was quite dull when I first started developing him but he's become very soft and willing. I'm proud of him.

I then did a short ride on Gem to show his knowledge. The footing was sloppy and he was taking very short strides, but he felt great.

We had a fun day of growing and feeling horses. Loved it!

Jen has asked that I write about brace and I hope to get that done soon. I think I've become more skilled at removing brace over the years and I hope I can get something in black and white that may help someone else.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Kendall wants to go faster... and faster... and FASTER!

More time with Gem and Kendall on Rain. There's still a lot of snow, so we went cantering through it again today. Having so much fun with Kendall lately. Her confidence is soaring and it makes our time together so fun!

Steve got some video and pics.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Starting Elli

I went down to Yoder today to ride with Kime and Jess. I didn't take a horse, I planned to play with Ellie, Jess' TB.

Kime gave me some great coaching and we had a fantastic, stress-free first ride. I did it bareback with a 12' line as 1 rein. Things to remember: get my waist on her spine. Have her maintain the responsibility of being at the mounting block. A great first ride for Ellie and for me as well. Soft, quiet... I was a passenger for a bit, then made sure she could handle the rope going over her head for me to change reins. After that was clearly a non-issue, I played with direct and indirect rein. She was amazing.

I started the day on the ground with her. We had some great moments online. I was able to teach her to jump half way over a 2' log in just a few minutes. She's super smart. I really enjoy playing with this horse!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Riding through the snow

With Kendall on Rain, me on Z. What a blast! Cantering up the hills, trotting through the deep areas. I love it and so does Kendall.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

A little playing in the snow

Had fun with Gemini today. We played with the spanish walk and he's quite animated about it, which I appreciate. We did some zone 4and 5 driving, working on improving his try on following my focus. We played circle game in the indoor (sending with a lighter phase 1). I want him focusing more on my body and watching for my ask. Basically, trying to get him to take more responsibility for his part of the games. We also practiced rearing - which is a hoot! He gets way up there and is pretty pleased with himself.

Not seeing a left lead during the circle game on the 22', though. We'll keep working on it.

Saturday, December 3, 2011


Trimmed Nina in Kiowa. Snowy and cold, but it was nice to get her feet in a good place.