lantairvlea: (Tru-D)
Digur has been doing pretty well with Debbie overall, but they have had a couple of sticking points. It can pretty much can be chalked up to him being a young horse lacking exposure. I only had one time where he was a little anxious when we took him to the horsepark, but he quickly worked through it. The problem is he's pretty chill, so getting an anxious spot so Debbie can then learn how to work through it can be difficult.

Last week we decided I would bring the big soccer ball to see if we could get a bit of a reaction and help him through it.

The ball certainly did the trick! His eyes doubled in size and he wanted to scootch a little when he first saw it. I worked him in-hand and explained that with scary things I like to put myself between the scary object and the horse to start if possible for several reasons, the top one being if he loses his mind over it I'm not in the way of his escape. Secondarily if I'm standing close to the object and not stressed (or being eaten) it can't be that terrifying.

He was a bit sticky yielding his haunches to the right (bending left) at the start, but got better. When he started to relax I put him between me and the ball and would release pressure any time he showed interest in investigating it. It didn't take too long before he was nosing it and I was ready to climb aboard and let him investigate further.

I worked him with the ball for a good 15 minutes before handing the reins over to Debbie. He wasn't quite 100% since Pebbles and BamBam (mini donkey and sheep respectively) would occasionally get overwhelmed and scamper off around the turnout.

All in all he did excellent and came around quickly, but it gave Debbie the chance to see how he can be worked through his anxiety. Next week we're going to try a tarp to challenge him mentally again.

Tuesday I worked Ellie again. This time there was no flailing canter and the trot wasn't too bad. Her dragon noises were there, but not constant. She was nicely crisp on the upward transitions, but quite sluggish in coming back down. Since she was a bit more reasonable we played with walk-trot transitions. Hopefully this leads to more steady progress and she will be lungeing nicely by the end of the month and I can consider climbing aboard again.

Grace and Dawn are moving along. Dawn acquired a sadddle. It's a newer, barely used Wintec. Yesterday we long lined Grace with it and I had Dawn play with it a bit as well (she got long lines too so she can do all the work inbetween session as she gets comfortable with it). Today we swapped out the gullet plates. It came with a medium, but Grace needs a wide. I only had a medium-wide on hand, but it was better than the medium. Hopefully the tack shop can get a wide in soon.

From here we'll alternate between "rides" and groundwork. Another week or two and we'll drop down to twice a week instead of three days as well, or at least that is the current plan.

This afternoon I had working students after the lesson was over so I pulled out Tru-D and grabbed Kitt's harness. I wanted to see how Tru-D was filling it out and help me decide on the width of the strapping for Tru-D's future harness. The verdict is that Tru-D is large enough that the 1" straps will look much more proportionate than the 3/4" (or less?) ones would. I think we'll go ahead and do the 2" traces as well.

I lunged Tru-D in it in all three gears. She wasn't so keen on the breeching in the canter. She tucked her tail and humped her butt, however she did figure out that if she didn't kick up the heelchains didn't slap down on her hip so much!

These work harnesses are great for desensitizing. After packing one of them a pleasure harness is nothing.

I had an extra set of hands available so there is video.



I think she was getting a little tired at the end as usually her transitions into trot are a little more crisp.

The harness is currently set a little too long for her so there is a bit more slack in the breeching than there would normally be, but despite that the rest fits pretty well. She does fill it out much better than the first time she wore it when the breeching ended up closer to her hocks and the hip strap almost to her tailhead! She technically could use Kitt's, but she should have a smaller collar and adjusting harnesses is a pain in the butt because it requires multiple strap adjustments unlike a saddle. Even considering a Western saddle with breastplate and back cinch you still have far fewer points of adjustment than a full harness! Now I need to measure her for the to-be-ordered harness.
lantairvlea: (lantair look)
The other morning Ruby, Tru-D, and McLintock were lined up in order of size. By the time I got my phone to take a picture Mac had moved, but it did give a good size comparison between Ruby and Tru-D currently (with Charm-N peaking over their backs).



More pictures and rambling )
Tomorrow is another full day and it looks like there are many full days ahead, which is good because in another month it is going to get even hotter and we'll see how many wilt.

The lady with the gypsy cob wants to move forward with driving training, but is weighing her options. Full training is still in the air, but traveling to where she boards is also an option.

The couple who started driving a couple weeks ago have a horse they are wanting to get driving too.

I might have found a bit of a niche with this driving thing.
lantairvlea: (Tru-D)
I had a break between lesson # 1 and 2 due to the holiday and people shuffling around so I pulled out Tru-D.

I played with asking her to step her haunches over from the whip aids and she is still very much prone to taking a forward step first. I should play more asking in hand from different positions.

We moved on to cruising around the arena. I still had two poles set up that we went over a few times. She jogged off once and a couple of quick turns brought her back down. When I asked her to trot purposefully the first time she took off and I didn't even bother to hold on. My arena is small so she really couldn't get away from me. She kicked out at the kicking strap slapping her hip, which caused it to slap her hip more and I pushed her faster. She stopped kicking at half a lap and I kept up the canter. She kept wanting to drop to a long trot under the trees and I said "no, you wanted to run you get to run!" When she was looking like she really wanted a better option than cantering around I asked for just a little more and then asked her to slow. She gratefully dropped to a trot, quickly came to the walk, and was happy to stand stock still off the voice as I picked the lines off the dirt.

Speaking of the lines, I added a new feature. Previously I had the lines looped through the rings that the crownpiece, cheek, and throatlatch attach to because they're only 1/4" diameter so no big deal and since Tru-D is the only one using them they could stay on her bridle. However, now that she has reached the magic number of three I may want reins that are shorter than 22' when I think about getting on her the first time. I wanted a new hame strap for Kitt's harness anyway so I ordered a set of mini and Haflinger sized bit straps from My Draft Horse Superstore. I buckled the mini ones onto the 1/4" lines and the Haflinger-sized set will wait for when my other lines get in (ordered three sets of 30' lines in 1/4" 3/8" and 5/16" so I and my clients can get a feel for different widths from Knotty Girlz/CB Knot Company) hopefully by the end next week. I'm debating trying to chop the clips off of my 1/2" MCR lines so I can swap to straps as I've become more weird and less fond of the feel of clips on bits.

Back to Tru-D. Once I gathered her back up we worked on our trot and when she started getting a bit quick we would halt and back. She soon realized staying in a soft, steady trot was the better option and when she did I softly asked for walk. We did have a couple words about staying standing (you walk off before I ask you get to back to where you were and maybe a couple steps further) and then we were good to hook to the tire. I had just a couple minutes left, but I have been keeping the tire pulling short so it didn't really matter. We did a few laps as my next set of students pulled in and Tru-D quietly pulled the load without complaint as little men drove their electric four-wheelers around. Did I mention I have a pretty good baby horse? She likes to follow the little men on their Power Wheel quads as they drive around the arena and yard.

I have picked up a couple new clients, one being a married couple learning to drive. I have another lady I set up for an evaluation on Tuesday for her Gypsy Cob to see about possibly taking it in for full training to drive. A little part of me is freaking out and shouting HACK! and the other part is super excited. After restarting Bud a horse without poor driving history is going to be easy. Plus I have Zetahra and almost Tru-D under my belt as started-from-scratch horses (not to mention others I've dealt with, but the brain still feels like I'm just pretending sometimes). It'll be especially interesting to see what I can do with a six day a week regime!

Speaking of Bud I'll be hauling him over to Michelle to see what she thinks about my almost five year project pony. Man, if I could put the same kind of time into Kitt as I did with Bud she'd be a freakishly awesome drivingnpony by now! Alas, client horses take precedence!

Goals this coming week:
Get geldings cleaned.
Get pictures of Tru-D working.
Brush Tru-D's mane and tail in preparation for trying to get nice three year-old pictures of the baby horse.

Also, I found two Tru-D baby teeth this past week. She's growing up! She also measured at 15.1 (and a half...) up front and juuuust shy of 15.2 in the back. I think we'll be getting another inch out her. She's filling out nicely viewed from the side, though she does still look a bit babyish from the front as her chest could use some more filling out. I shall get pictures.
lantairvlea: (lantair look)
I managed some time to long line Tru-D again. I had the poles set up from my previous lesson and we worked over them at the walk before doing some trot and canter work around them.

She wanted to side-step it to start, but gentle touches of the whip on her hip kept her on track. I would still like to see her step over or deeper rather than quicker, but she's getting better and will improve with time.

We were able to have smoother changes of direction in the trot this time and managed a brief canter around in both directions.

Once she was consistent over the poles and ahe felt pretty good we did a loop around the house. She was unsure about leaving the arena from the East gate (a new thing) and she's always been a little suspicious of the horse trailer. She tried to side-step and thought that returning to the arena might be a good choice, but I gently tipped her nose with the lines and softly tapped her with the whip and praised with each brave step she took forward. She ultimately marched past and we had a nice walk around the house before braving the space next to the horse trailer again and returning to the arena. We worked her halt briefly (and standing still!) before calling it a night.

She gets a little braver each time I think. I'd like to take her across the way to work, but that requires having a little more time.

Tuesday I put the first ride on Ellie, the Hanoverian filly I did some groundwork with last fall.

She was a little touchy with the whip in-hand and I reminded her about standing still to be mounted before we had a brief ride at the walk and trot. She tended to rush and get on the forehand while trotting and then she got opinionated about it and would do a bit of a head shake. The brakes also weren't quite where I would like them and I asked Kristin about her thoughts and she said Ellie does tend to run off in the trot a bit and Carrie's solution has been to just do smaller circles until the mare wound down. I asked if she minded if I long lined her next time to see if I can work on it there. I'm debating if I actually will or not. It depends on how she reacts to the lines moving around her I think. If she had a fit we'll probably just work on her accoetance of that, if she's good we'll go from there. I have three more session with her as Kristin and I are doing a trade. She did some body work on Kitt and Chewy and I'm working Ellie. I'd like to schedule her out for Kash and Mac as well (and possibly rotate through the herd) so I'll be seeing a bit of Ellie in the next few weeks I think.
lantairvlea: (twidget)
The day of the Draft Expo Marty mentioned she had someone interested in Hershey and Dakota. By that evening they were loaded up and gone. I didn't even see the truck and trailer. Dad hasn't sent me anything relating to them. We'll see if they've canceled the board payments or not next week. If not I get to mail them back.

I went back through some old entries a couple weeks ago because Marty was trying to remember when my parents brought Rowdy down and Dakota was (thakfully) removed from the herd and became part of "the boarders." I forgot how long I've been mildly disgruntled about taking care of my parents' horses.

They never really took horse ownership very seriously and I was constantly picking up the slack. The worst was when they bought Hershey as she had a foal at her side. I was very explicit that Mom needed to be out and messing with the foal regularly. I missed the bus from one campus to the other (saved me over 40 miles on my car not driving to the main university campus plus parking costs) at least once because I had to chase Réo around in order to get his fly mask on because he was never handled. As a yearling they sent him up to Utah to "grow up" at my Opa's place. He fell and broke his neck before the week was out (on Chris and I's anniversary no less ... I really didn't want to go up that week, but it was supposedly the only week my parents could). That was horrendous.

Way back when Mom at least used to come out and hold her horse for the vet and farrier, but she stopped doing that and I can't recall if it was before Lizanda or not. I should have written up an actual board agreement, but you figure it's family, right? They're not going to screw you over and take advantage of you right? Hahaha.

I guess Dad had the gall to ask if the people were willing to pay for the mares. At twenty-five and two years out of work plus Dakota needing medication for the rest of her life (plus due for shots, farrier, probably needing their teeth floated, and dewormed), they're lucky they found someone willing to take both of them!

I've known Dakota for twenty years. Opa bought her as a five year-old with a foal at her side. She came down here in 2005 because the glorious pastures in Utah made her fat and she foundered. My Opa bought Hershey for my parents in the end of 2008 I believe so Dad would have a horse to ride with Mom (none of mine are gaited) so Hershey has been around for eight years too. It's a little weird having them not there. It's strange not having to toss hay to them or check their buckets.

I do have to say it is sad to see them go, but at the same tine a great relief. I hope the people that took them put them to use and they get the brushing and doting that they deserve and never really got from my parents. Did I mention that Hershey got rainrot in the summer due to my parents not hosing her off after rides? She also got it the last couple years because my parents never came out to groom them since they weren't riding. NEVER. Guess who was the one who discovered the summer soar lesion on Dakota's belly and then spent two weeks treating it daily? Yep, me. I did get paid for it, but I don't think Mom even came out to look.

SO!

Enough dwelling on the past. What does Dakota and Hershey's departure mean for me? I am out $400 in board a month, however I probably spent $200 on hay for them. I've also gained an extra 15-20 minutes a day that would have been spent feeding and watering them. I now have space to take in a horse or two for training should I feel so inclined or open up to board client horses (clients only!!) with an iron-clad boarding agreement and a list of "additional charges" for anything outside of feeding the horse and giving it water.

Farewell Dakota and Hershey. I hope your new owners love and care for you better than your last ones. Good luck old ladies.
lantairvlea: (lantair look)
Saturday was the Draft Horse Expo in conjunction with the local rodeo. What started out as me checking in with the Rodeo people to see if they wanted us to participate again turned into me managing the entire affair.

Many things learned for next time for sure and also for the upcoming show in November (eight months, aaaaggggg!). I didn't feel like I could push the event until it was locked in and I couldn't lock it in until we had insurance information taken care of and I had to wait (weeks...) on another member to get that taken care of. The problem is that the group is in flux and disarray so she assumed we weren't doing any events and didn't renew the insurance (which covers three events) when it expired.

I had a couple emails sent out through the group as well as an event posting on the Facebook page. I had two other people express interest ahead of time and Troy (our former President) called me this week saying one of his sons would be there.

Friday evening I had Henry and Bud. Bud had a minor meltdown over some kids setting up a lemonade stand. In his defence it did involve a pop-up shade, ice rattling around, the chest opening and closing, small sneaky-looking creatures (children), and a hand-pull wagon. I could have just let him jig-jog past it, but we turned around and passed it again and again until he was walking without more than a half-glance at it. Since it was right next to home we had to pass it again and he would have been perfect had they no dumped some ice into the bucket, but I'll take the half-second side-step over the shenanigans he was doing before!

I finished up with Bud and swung by Bashas' to see if I could find a table covering becaue I knew a least one of my tables was covered in paint. I ended up not needing it because the second one was reasonably paint-less, but while I was there I got a call from Lea.

She was concerned about the arena we were supposed to be in. It didn't appear to be set up for what we needed to do. At first I was hoping she had her North/South directions confused. I decided I needed to see for myself and since it's just a mile from home I drove down and jogged over to the arena. Nope, she was correct on her directions.

What we were dealing with was an arena set up for roping. It wouldn't have been too bad, but there were three sets of loose panels leaning up against the fence rail, the cattle chute was not blocked off and of course the "boxes" on either side that work great for small horses to wait for the cow to pop out of the chute are a death trap for something larger, especially something larger pulling a cart or wagon! To make matters worse, the North gate that we had used two years ago had temporary panels blocking it. There was a gate there, sure, but it had a 6' arch over it, which would decapitate anyone riding a draft and be impassible with a cart.

Troy's older son Riley was there (Troy 2.0 he said as I initially hailed them with "Is that Troy?"). He figured they would move all of it and it'd be good by morning as he headed off, but Lea was not so easily passified. The other thing is that the arena is right next to the carnival. Not only that, but all of the obnoxious swinging, twirly rides were in sight of the arena. Even if we did go down to the South end and use the big gate there (passing the cattle chute and all), we'd have to travel between the arena and the rides in a 30' path.

So I called Brook, the lady I have been conversing with via email about the event and she booked it down to see what we were talking about. She passed us in her little golf cart, swung to the North end of the arena to see the gate, and came back with apologies about the state of it.

Now there is an arena directly South of Arena 4, the one we were supposed to be in. Arena 2 had nothing in it but their glorious red dirt (Arena 4 had had the red footing pulled and replaced it with brown dirt to cater to whatever roping event they held previously). It also had a larger set of bleachers. Lea and I asked what was going on in Arena 2. Brook said it was the Corn Hole Toss Tournament and it didn't start until noon. I don't know about you, but I think the corn hole toss requires a big set of bleachers for spectators, really glorious footing, nor a full 150x300' arena. Brook said she would check with the organizers and get back with me that evening about what they could do.

While farther away from our parking and staging area we could access Arena 2 from the side road and not have to go anywhere near the carnival stuff. We did have the carnival rides going two years ago and most of the horses did surprisingly well, but Charm-N and I did nearly end up putting the forecart in a post when one of them started up. I think individually the rides wouldn't be a deal. Moving thing, okay, somewhat suspiscious, but predictable. Flashing lights? Okay, again, if it's predicitable and consisted they can chill out about it pretty well. Add in people screaming at random? Well, every horse has its limits.

Brook called me as I was finishing up dinner to say we had Arena 2. I quickly sent everyone messages about the change and we were good to go!

In all we ended up with nine horses and ten people participating. I had Kitt, Ruby, and Charm-N along with two students, Olivia and Susanne. Chris helped out and manned the table. Had it not been so hot (95°F!) we would have hooked Ruby and Chris would have done some driving too.

Lea and her husband had her two Percherons, Christina brought down her two Clydesdales and two people (didn't catch their names), and Troy's son Hayden did a demo with a team of Shires. So we had the four major draft breeds (Ruby is a Belgian) plus a Fjord.

We started out a little behind. While Lea got there before us they were still loitering around as we lead our crew over to the arena to start the halter classes. We did have the horses saddled, but it made the tack change later quicker as we just pulled the saddles and stuffed them in Lea's trailer. We were about 20 minutes behind to start, but Christina had a two hour drive to get down here with her rig so all in all I don't think that was too bad of a lag. Of course had we had anyone volunteer to give demos between classes we could have filled the dead space, but ah well! Next year!

I served as the announcer and judge to start. Everyone said I did well, but I can't help to feel like I sucked. This is why judges should also be impartial 3rd parties as I didn't want to place my students high because that would totally look like favoritism, but I didn't want to place them too low either because, if I do say so myself, my horses aren't all that bad looking. It didn't help that all the horses were pretty well put together.

I figured the best thing to do with Charm-N would be to hold her since she probaly wouldn't be happy left tied to the fence as six other horses left her behind. She wasn't overly happy being 60' away from them either and I dropped the mic once as she stepped on the cord. My papers also flew off once so I was feeling all types of professional.

Maybe next year we'll have actual entries and numbers and information sheets for people. As it was it was Fjord #1, Belgian #2, Clydesdale #3, Clydesdale #4, Percheron #5, and Percheron #6 in order of line-up. If I remember right I placed them Clyde #3, Percheron #5, Belgian #2, Clyde #4, Percheron #6, and Fjord #1. Kitt got last because she failed to trot in-hand the first time out. I also wasn't clear enough in my directions to Olivia and she and Kitt left the arena after the did their initial attempt at jogging instead of coming back around behind the last horse.

As we finished up the halter Hayden appeared with his team of Shires and he put on a great demonstration while we did our tack change for the riding classes. I also called Brook to hunt down the barrels that we were supposed to have since I didn't see them anywhere.

We had a moment after Hayden exited as we were mounting up that Lea's two horses got loose as they were getting their bridles on. I was laready on Charm-N so I was able to block Greta's escape and while I wasn't confident to get close enough to grab her I did manage to guide her into the arena gate where Lea got her. Her gelding Thor didn't go far and then the rest of them mounted up. I headed in first followed by Susanne on Ruby and Olivia on Kitt. We started our walk as Lea and her husband Mike reorganized themselves. On one pass I asked if they were going to scratch or not and they said they were good and joined us shortly thereafter.

Charm-N was a little looky and wanted to cut in away from the crowd a little, but didn't do anything to out of line. Ruby was her usual awesome self swinging along with her ears up and eyes bright. I swear she loves the squishy red dirt at Horseshoe. She gets an extra spring in her step and you wouldn't know she had severe ringbone in her right fore. Kitt was good and calm as well and didn't seem to mind Ruby and Charm-N marching boldly ahead of her.

Christina was on the mic served as announcer and judge. We picked up the trot and at one point Kitt got a little strong on Olivia while heading towards the gate (surprise) and cantered a couple strides. She got her back down with no issue. Lea and Mike hung in the center and let their horses google-eye stuff rather than take them around the ring. We changed direction at the trot and everyone kept gait this time before walking and lining up in the center. Christina then had each of us back before making her decision. Susanne and Ruby took first, Kitt and Olivia took second, but only because Kitt broke gait, and Charm-N and I took third. Mike and Lea got honorable mentions for at least making it into the arena.

The barrels had arrived and Chris and I set them up after the riding class. Lea was the timer and off we went! Charm-N trotted mostly and rolled into a canter heading home. We managed about 52 seconds on our run as we were a little wide around the turns. Susanne and Ruby did a solid trot the whole way. With Ruby's ringbone I told her to keep it at a trot. I don't remember the time, but it was close to Charm-N's. Olivia took Kitt in and the little goober dove to the gate after every barrel. Everyone figured the little sporty pony would get the best time, but it took her over a minute! I decided the cheeky pony needed a little schooling so I swing up and after adjusting the stirrups a about four holes up (I have nubby, nubby legs compared to my students) Kitt and I went for it again. She was quite strong any time the gate came in view, but I checked her strongly around and we managed to do it in 42 seconds, taking the best time. From there the plan was some driving, which required another tack change. Someone pulled the barrels as we headed back to the trailer. I lead Charm-N and the two girls rode behind me.

I hosed down Charm-N because she was done for the day and we pulled the tack off of Ruby and Kitt. We only brought the Kutzmann cart so just one horse at a time. Ruby and Charm-N hung out in the trailer as we hitched Kitt and I took her down.

Kitt was very vocal as we left her buddies behind, but kept a steady walk down the access road. As I was getting ready to turn towards the arena I spotted a water truck heading our way and put up my hand to ask them to stop. I actually raised my hand several times in a stopping motion as soon as I saw him a couple hundred feet away, giving him plenty of room to stop a fair distance back. Despite that as I swung Kitt around in order to make the opening the truck rumbled within 20 feet of us which didn't make me happy and made Kittquestion hard about swinging towards the truck and then squeezing between the barricades. The road we just came down looked like a much better option. Chris finally came and I told him to lead her through. I had to remind him he couldn't pull her around as sharp because we were in the cart not the carriage. We got through and I took her the rest of the way into the arena without incident. I think had the water truck not kept creeping up on us we would have been fine, but the big rumbling, moving barricade was a little much for Kitt at the moment. It has been well over a year since she has been off property while driving after all.

We had lost the majority of our crowd at that point and it was just Christina and I with Kitt and her Clyde playing around in the arena as Lea snapped some pictures.

I got the chance to get Kitt going a bit. Sneaky little bugger got a bit strong in the trot and offered a couple canter strides as we headed towards the gate. She would then nearly die as we got near the gate so we worked on trotting smoothly past the gate and called it good once she trotted without stopping.

I will probably pull off the driver's wedge from the cart. While I have my little foot box to give my nubby legs some purchase the wedge puts me up another two or three inches and pretty much negates it. I ended up bracing my heels between the wedge and the seat to feel like I had enough grip to keep myself stabilized. It was nice to be able to trot her out and get some nice big figures going. The footing is not so condusive to carts, especially after horses have been riding in it creating innumerable divots for the tires to roll through. I also think a piece of pipe wrap or some vet wrap will be in order next time I have the chance to cruise in it as the heel chains are a bit annoying.

By that time it was over 90 degrees and we were hot. I asked Christina if she was okay with us nixing the obstacles and she was fine. We didn't hook up Ruby for the same reason. Too hot for our fuzzy Yaks. We cleared out of the arena a bit before 1pm. After loading Kitt and the cart Chris and I went back for the table and stuff.

I had contacted several breed organizations and told them about our event and that we wanted to share information about the draft breeds and most of them were very generous! People didn't take as much of the literature as I had hoped so I still have stacks of flyers and booklets from the Shire, Clydesdale, Percheron, Belgian, and Fjord registries. I forgot to grab the Suffolk stuff from Hayden, but that's okay. I was pretty impressed with their response and generosity and plan on having a similar display during the show in November, possibly adding the Haflingers (can't remember if I emailed them), Spotted Drafts, and maybe I'll contact the Gypsy people ... maybe. I remain unimpressed with some of their breeders.

Everyone seemed to have fun and I think it was good experience as I have a better idea of a few things for the show, primarily concerning tack change times. Definitely need a good-sized break between riding and driving classes!

I also have thoughts and ideas concerning this event for next year. I think the quieter arena suited us better. It would be awesome to get the covered one, but that spot is already spoken for and so long as it isn'1 too hot the uncovered arena is fine.

If I can get people to do demonstrations between classes that would be awesome. That has always been a bit of the trouble, filling time with tack changes and the like. Considering there were just four groups of us at work I think we managed to do really well. if I had another Hayden-like demo while we were getting the horses changed over from riding to driving we probably would have kept more of a crowd. Of course as we were breaking down the table we had a few people who were disappointed that they missed it.

A couple things I wish I had were solid information and flyers about the show in November, and membership forms for the club. I had emailed Kellie Thursday I think about it, but should have thought of it sooner. Drat. Well, next time!

We were pretty tired once we got home. We got the horses put up and the driving stuff away before cleaning up ourselves. The saddles and table are still in our horse trailer, but those could wait. We needed the driving stuff out of Dave and Marty's trailer first so we could park it back where it belongs.

As we were cleaning up Marty had sent me a text about Dakota an Hershey. Apparently her cousin's step-daughter was interested in them and possibly my parents' horse trailer. I got Marty the keys for both the property and trailer so they could check it out more. The tires on it are shot, which isn't a surprise. I don't think it has moved in a year and a half. We last put tires on it when we took Jed to the pleasure driving show in 2012 and it sits out in the sun all the time. Jeremy, Jessika's husband, climbed under it and discovered the back half of the floor is pretty much rotted out as well so they're going to consider what repairs will cost and make them an offer on it.

They decided free was a good price for Dakota and Hershey and they picked them up last night. It was a little weird this morning passing their empty pen and strange not having to feed an extra set of horses.

Yes I won't have the $400 in board a month for them, but close to half of that went into feeding them plus the chore of feeding and watering them. I also don't have to worry about being paid back for their vet and farrier work. The other week Marty had asked me about when Rowdy had first come over (the gelding they had before Hershey) and as I poked through my old entries I realized I have been a bit bitter and put out about taking care of my parents' horses off and on for a long time.

It's not that I actually mind taking care of them, but I very much mind thier lack of care for their own horses. I compared it to a child wanting a puppy and promising they'd take care of it and being the parent who ends up bathing, feeding, and cleaning up after said puppy that the child just HAD to have and was going to take such good care of.

I hope Jessika and Jeremy enjoy the two old mares and make their last years good ones.

In other news I now technically have space if I were to take a horse into training.
lantairvlea: (lantair look)
I doubled-up on working Tru-D today. This morning I had her wear the bridle during breakfast and then took her out to get the mail after lessons.

She was good for the bridle, though still likes to raise her head a little as the bit comes out, but it is better than she was.

She gave me a little look as I went to halter her, but stood still otherwise. She recently went through a period where she thought being caught was optional (it is not and resulted in me catching her more often).

We struck out and she was swinging as we walked and very aware.

She only hesitated slightly before crossing the wash onto the desert lot North of our neighbors. We made excellent time to Mews as she marched right along and then we hit our nemesis, the eighteen inch drop to the road. She did march right up to the edge, but then was nervous about taking the step down. I don't think the angle is any steeper than the sides of the wash, but for some reason the drop cerfupples her.

This time, however she finally stepped down and we didn't have to go around to the stop sign. She was curious about the horse who lives behind the mailboxes, but I kept her back a respectable distance as I grabbed the mail and we headed back. She was a little jiggy on the way home and was worried for a moment as some teens on skateboards rattled by on the road, barely visible through the creosote. I only had to bump her once to remind her to stay out of my space. We navigated the wash well and since she had been a little anxious on the homeward journey I lunged her briefly in the arena.

Next time I should carry a bag with me so I have a better place to put the mail than the waistband of my breeches.

I'm going to try to make mail retreival a weekly thing for her so she gets off property and sees things a little. She isn't the most naturally brave creature, but she does try hard and is far less skeptical than she was as a yearling.
lantairvlea: (powerpuff crop)
The TR50 is the two-wheeled Kutzman cart we acquired. It is technically designed for horses that are over 15 hands (the website says 150cm, which is just over 59") and Kitt is just shy of 14.2 so we knew it was going to be a stretch.

We turned the shafts upside down and because we had the marathon tips it worked fine, however I doubt it would really fly in a show so I needed a different solution. Shelley suggested turning them horizontal, but I didn't think it would work because we have chunky horses. Sure enough the 21" it left between the shafts was not enough space for Kitt so back upside down they went. The 24" space we set was good so I figured if I could get Magma to engineer me a set that would leave me 24" between the shafts I would be set!

Today I went out and measured the shafts. The tricky part is figuring out the angle the bend needs to be. With my handy plastic protractor I found the current angle is 150* which was my starting point.

The front of the shafts essentially make a trapezoid so I had the distance between the shafts at the base, the distance from the bend to the tip, which made up the sides and the distance between the shafts at the tips, which made the short base. I had two trapezoids, the one that the shafts currently made and the one I wanted to make. I needed the measurement of the angle made by the big base and the side which would tell me how much the bend angle would need to change.

My brain said "Math can tell me!" So I chopped the trapezoids into two triangles by connecting the opposite corners. I used the pythagorean theorem to discover the long sides of the triangles and then looked up the formula to find the angle I needed. It involved a cos^-1, which required me to find a real calculator rather than using the one on my phone.

And lo! I had my answer. The first angle was 47.12 and the second was 50.91, which is just shy of a four degree difference. I had eyeballed it at 5* and it is nice to have the math back that up. I will probably round up to 5* as 25" between the shafts wouln't be a bad thing. There is a little part of me that is worried about sounding too anal when i take the shaft in and say "I want you to make this, but make it x long and I need the bend angle 3.79* larger ... 5* just sounds more reasonable than 4.

You know, you sit in math wondering when the heck you are going to use this stuff and 15 years later you are looking up calculations so you can figure out how much bend you need in a new set of shafts for your horse drawn cart so it fits your pony who is technically 1 1/2" too short for it.

Such is life!
lantairvlea: (lantair look)
I was able to work Tru-D again yesterday morning because my 8am was sick (so many sick people canceled this past month). I used the Parelli feather lines again and attached them between the cheek pieces and throatlatch in the cross-under configuration. I had Susanne mucking in the arena so I took Tru-D out and around the house.

She did pretty well. We have some work to do on her bravery. With the work on the driveway and some other things moved around things Were Not The Same so she was a bit suspicious the first couple of passes. There were a couple moments of jigging that she came back quickly from and also a couple moments of trying to eat.

I definitely think the weight of the beta lines was the issue with her drifting backwards as she once again stood pretty solid when asked. I may work her a few weeks in the feather lines before going back to tbe beta lines and see what happens.

I did take the new whip as I worked her and it had a good reach. It is ridiculously light for its length and I like the lash length in addition. I need to get a longer lash for my other one. I need to start focusing on getting Tru-D calmly responsive to the whip aids while I ground drive her. She tends to speed up right now as she moves over so I need to step back and reinforce her moving sideways off of it.

Thursday I had Nelson with Roy and Molly. He had the farrier out the other week and the farrier and Molly had a bit of a disagreement. Nelson had mentioned that we haven't been tying her solid. She has a tendency to set back and rather than have her break things we do a couple loops around the post to create a little friction to have her feel some pressure, but not enough to go into a full panic. If she sets back you just ask her to step back up and snug it back down. It's a lesson I learned with Judy's mare Sweeti who broke more halters and lead ropes than you could shake a stick at. It's no big deal and Molly has been getting better about standing "tied" with fewer incidences of setting back and coming forward quicker after it. Nelson had noted a couple months ago that the farrier appreciated that Molly was being better about her feet since I started working with her. This last session, however, the farrier's assistant got it in his head that he was going to "teach her" and snubbed her down on the post, which resulted in her setting back (surprise), fishtailing, and ultimately scraped her chest on the hitching rail as she came back forward. He was not able to get her back feet done at all.

I had offered to bring out my tools and at least knock the rough spots off. I forgot last week, but remembered Thursday. She had been good for Nelson cleaning her feet so I figured it wouldn't be much of a deal. We had built a decent rapport the last six or so months and I was hoping it would be no problem.

No such luck. She saw the bucket with the tools in it and her hind end became a 100% no go zone. We were back to square one with her spinning circles if I even got near her flank, let alone her hip and foot.

She reached one point where I was able to pick up her foot and was feeling like she needed a mental break so I spent a couple minutes putting the bridle off and on Roy. Royal is doing consistently better about his right ear, but is still touchy.

When I went back to Molly I was able to work her left hind and knock out the extra sole as well as trim the wall and do some rasping. Unfortunately we had to call it quits there. I was back out today. Molly was a little reluctant to be caught, but she just walked off about 50 feet and that was it. Nelson lead her up under the shade where we usually tie them, but when he went to put the rope over the rail she rocketed backwards. She was then wary to be under the shade at all and I had Nelson pause when she gave him a couple good steps forward before I took over.

Knowing her high anxiety under the cover I didn't push it and just kept her in hand. She was wanting to spin and I changed up strategies, instead of putting pressure on her gaskin as she walked and spun I slipped the rope around her leg and put some pressure on it. With my hand on her gaskin she would slow down, but it would take several steps (or spins) and she really was locked into a bad mental pattern. With the rope around her pastern I picked up pressure and she rethought her tactics very quickly. I kept the pressure on until she would relax the foot and then I would let it go. I was able to work down to touching the foot and eventually got both of them cleaned out before grabbing the hoof knife and focusing on her right hind. I had to use the rope again, but she settled quicker. She had worn out most of her sole so there wasn't much for it and gave her foot back before heading over for the nippers.

I can't remember if it was with the nippers or rasp that she kicked out just as I was about to give it back. Molly thought for sure I was going to explode on that one, but I just picked up the rope, quietly grabbed my tool, and worked to get her foot back, fussed with it again, and moved on.

I rasped the left hind a little again and then gave Nelson directions as to how to work on it until I came again Tuesday. He doesn't quite have the skill and timing to do it exactly as I did, but he could work on getting her comfotable again with him approaching and rubbing her barrel, hip, and eventually the leg.

Nelson and I talked quite a bit as I was working with her both days and while I didn't quite say my full thoughts we both came to the conclusion that the "teaching" that his farrier and his assistant did the week before last almost put us back to square one with Molly on her feet.

I admit I was not happy to see all of our good work pretty much flushed down the toilet because some idiot thought he was going to be a macho man and teach a horse how to stand tied by snubbing it to the post. Especially a horse that already has a history of setting back and in particular before she had a chance to do anything "bad!" Talk about setting her up for failure.

Nelson mentioned that Molly actually gets a little anxious when she sees the farrier's truck, which tells me he was already a source of anxiety. Nelson also said that his (soon to be former) farrier had set in his mind how Molly was and kept the opinion she just wasn't a good horse despite her improvement over the past six or seven months.

Molly definitely has some self-protective habits, but she certainly isn't a mean horse. The bucket of tools was definitely something she associated with People You Do Not Trust so it took a while to reconvince her I wasn't a threat.


I am of the mind that it isn't the farrier's job to teach my horse how to accept being trimmed and shod, but he certainly shouldn't make the horse worse! I gave Nelson Kevin's number and we'll see how that goes. I think we'll try to schedule it so I can be there when he comes out the first time. Not that I doubt Kevin's skill in handling horses, I did a 150+ hour internship with him for my Equine Science degree, but I don't think it would hurt if Kevin heard my direct perspective and be there to hold Molly if needed. Nelson is getting better, but he just doesn't have the years of experience to hold a horse that is working through issues.

In happier news we hooked Ruby and Charm-N up to the carriage again today and I think we finally have it set the way we need it. I'm ready to take them out and about! Once Ruby and Charm-N chilled out a bit Chris even drove them for a bit and the little men joined us. Tristan went around a couple times before deciding riding his bike was going to be more fun, but Kelhan hung out until we were done and then had to be persuaded to get off. He climbed on again as soon as we had the horses unhooked and was pretending to drive his team while Chris and I detacked the horses. I didn't take any pictures, but Chris managed one.

lantairvlea: (lantair look)
I was able to make time to work Tru-D again this afternoon betwern lessons and had a bit more luck. Part of that was because of a tack change.

My grand plan is to work Tru-D bitless until she has a full mouth. I was lucky with Z in that she never got any wolf teeth in. I had hoped to do the same with her, but the option I had at the time, just a lungeing cavesson, wasn't workable with the long lines or the reins. The signal just wasn't clear enough because the rings were too high up the nose and I think they tended to stick a bit too. I can't remember now other than the fact I deemed it unworkable so Zetahra worked in the bit much sooner than I had intended.

With Tru-D I have since found a bitless bridle that I really like and I had long lines made to work with it. The first time I used it the cross-under configuration was a bit much for Tru-D. She was very sucked back and I ended up using it as a sidepull for a time. This was all well and good, but I wanted a littke more possible pressure before hooking her to anything. After a few months I did try the cross-under again and she did well enough in it and had pulled the tire a half dozen times since.

One thing I was really aware of yesterday was Tru-D's tendency to drift backwards. She has a really nice stop on her, but I wasn't sure why she kept drifting back. This backwards drift is not a good thing, especially when you're pulling things. Yesterday she drifted back while I had paused a moment to help Kelhan and she ended up with the reins completely in front of her (yes, shame on me leaving the lines on the ground).

The reins I am using now are either 1/2" or 5/8" betathane. I'd have to measure them, but they are narrower so that they would be lighter over their 25' length because the usual 3/4" width the maker uses on her normal reins would have been pretty heavy. I like them, they have a good feel in the hand, but I was starting to wonder if the weight of them might be causing Tru-D to drift, especially with as light and sensitive as she can be in all other aspects of her training. My other thought is maybe they don't slide through the rings on the surcingle quite as freely because the beta material is grippy, unlike my MCR long lines I use with the regular bridles and the sidepull which I also like, but they slide quite readily when allowed.

The last thing I ordered before cancelling my Savvy Club subscription (all two months of it, acquired to save a bunch on the driving training dvd and then the On Line Savvy set) was a set of their "feather lines." One more tool in the toolbox, right?

I wasn't sure if I would like them because they are incredibly thin. Supposedly they are made out of the same material as their Savvy Strings, which are a little over 1/4" in diameter with a loop on one end and a little leather popper on the other.

I decided to experiment and put the feathet lines on the sidepull rings of Tru-D's bridle. I didn't put snaps on them so I just fed the string through itself to secure it. Eventually I'd like to put a little leather strap with a buckle on the end to secure them because I've gotten less fond of snaps on the end of reins or lines over time. Looping it through worked well enough, especially since I didn't need to take them off.

We worked in the arena walking and trotting and doing some direction changes (so nice not having to dodge large wet spots guys!). Her halts were nice and prompt and no backwards drift! She also was less pushy with her nose.

Once she was warmed up I introduced the pvc "shafts." They are two different sizes and the smaller one pretty much slid right out of the shaft loop as soon as she stepped forward. The larger one stayed in better and she dragged a single one on both sides. There was a little uncertainty about it pushing into her hip a little, but she settled and did just fine. Now I need to get some bailing twine and jury rig them to stay in place better so I can use both of them at once and get her used to them rubbing and pushing on her.

So my experiment with the lighter lines was a success! Unfortunately I changed two variables by having lighter lines and using the sidepull rather than the cross-under method. I think I am going to take a moment tomorrow and see if I can get them to work as cross-under reins and then see if she drifts the next time I work her.
lantairvlea: (lantair look)
So Sunday we added dirt to the arena, We also ripped up our rock-hard footing. It looked like broken up concrete for several passes, but it improved as we went. Monday I had my first lessons in it. Sunny was a bit zoomy with Olivia, but they worked through it nicely. I think we have the footing to blame as Ruby was cantering around too!

Today I worked Tru-D and I think I need to build some more structure. We've been a bit haphazard in her sporadic sessions and I don't want to be leaving holes. It was so nice working her around and not having to dodge any wet spots, though! I long lined her before doing one round hooked to the tire and then had to call it quits because it started raining. I detacked her in her stall.

This evening I had another lesson using Chewy and Kash. Kash was a bit zoomy too and Chewy was a little extra forward, but I'm not sure if that was the footing or the student gripping as she trotted. It's going to be a nice change for sure! I'm hoping with the drag we can keep it maintained so that the moisture doesn't get concentrated like it did before. Our arena isn't huge, about 75'x85' but it is decent sized so long as you aren't losing over 200 square feet to nasty slop. I'm excited! Hopefully my students are able to manage the extra spring in the horses' step!

In other news I managed to finally sell my big desk. It went for $350, which is half of what I initially listed it for almost two years ago. It wasn't hurting anything languishing in the little house, but I really didn't want to stare at it for another 10 years or more before one of the boys is ready for a nice desk.

It was a beastly thing. The new owners had a short bed pickup and, as they put it, we had to play tetris to get it all to fit. It was an L-shaped desk that we kept in the corner of the room and it was almost six feet on both sides plus it had a hutch. I got it when my parents moved and it came with me when Chris and I were married less than a year later. It was my combination computer, writing, and art desk for years before I was able to acquire a separate art desk. When we built the "addition" I got a smaller computer desk and the beast was left in the little house, retired and gathering dust.

The windfall of the desk's sale will go towards a flat file to store paper similar to one of these. I will have a place to store my large sheets of paper without having to roll them or shove them behind/under the bed! It will also take up a third of the space as the desk so winning all around!
lantairvlea: (Tru-D)
This is a Dressage classic by many standards. It is not nearly so dense as D'Endrödy's "Give Your Horse a Chance," but quite a bit more specific than Oliveira's "Reflections on Equestrian Art."

I enjoyed it. It's always funny to realize how much things have both changed, but stayed the same. He lamented several times over people taking shortcuts with their horses, competitive dressage not holding the same standard for correctness as the Spanish Riding School, and horses being overbent. The reading level is moderate. It isn't overly technical, but I wouldn't recommend it to someone who isn't familiar with horses either.

He starts outlining history, naming many master horsemen of the distant past and the written works some of them left behind.

He outlines important principles of riding and training, such as "the self-taught person can never become more than a workman; only on a foundation of theory can riding develop to the realm of art." That is so true. I know I wouldn't be anywhere near the horseman (man used in the sense of huMan kind rather than apecifically gendered) I am today if I had to rely on just my own experience and experimentation.

He tries to keep the scope of the book focused, but he does touch on the importance of knowing as much as one can about the horse as a creature and not merely as something you ride. Good advice includes "any rider would be well advised to study the conformation of the horse he proposes to train" and he goes on to explain that while he is laying down the principles "there is no definite rule as to how to put them into practice." He further reminds us that "there are no rules for any difficulties that may appear. Remesies that are successful with one horse may prove unsuccessful with another." This coming from a man who spent 26 years at the Spanish Riding School, I am inclined to believe that there is no single training method that will work with every single horse. He reiterates this point several times throughout, that you should not be rigid in your application of training and to tailor it to the individual horse.

He thoroughly discusses the various gaits and paces of the horse and various other aspects including having the horse "on the bit," collection, "Raising the head and neck by action of the hindquarters" (what some would now term relative elevation), bending, and the aids.

On the aids he notes that one should only use their own body plus a whip and/or spur, anything else is a gimmick. He is careful to note that "the spur should never be used sharply as an aid, because it would then no longer be an aid but a punishment."

With the reins he warns that contact should never become a steady pull as the horse is guaranteed to win the tug-of-war.

While discussing the balance between rein and leg aids he states "the rider should never push more with his legs than he can control with his reins, or hold with his hands more than he can absorb with his legs and seat." The later makes more sense if you know that the rein aid does not act within the rider's arm alone, but should travel through the rider into his seat so that it can then transfer into the horse's back and haunches.

He talks in detail about the place of punishment, prefacing it with the warning that it should be restricted and "thevalue of punishment shouldnever be over-rated and employednas a substitute for correct aids."

He discusses the training of the horse from the lunge line to under saddle and in-hand work up to the airs above the ground.

Here he discusses the purpose of dressage, which is doubly to obtain clear, pure paces, and to make the horse stronger and more beautiful. This theme is visited again and again, which can be boiled down to the quotes "If during the course of training the natural paces are not improve, it would be proof that the training was incorrect" and "if the horse does not become better looking innthe course of his training, it would be a sign that the training was incorrect."

There was an annoyance in the middle of the book where the pages were printed out of order. At page 145 in order to follow the text properly younhave to jump to page 148, then 147, then 146 before proceeding to page 149. What editor didn't notice that?!

Much of the book is full of things I am already aware of from reading other volumes, but it is also good to go back to source material and see the foundation that others have built on. Some day I'll bridge the gap between Podhajsky and Xenophon, who Podhajsky quotes multiple times.

I'm slowly making mybway through my equestrian library. Next up Mark Rashid's "Horses Never Lie" before tackling Dr. Gerd Heuschmann's other two books.
lantairvlea: (lantair look)
Yesterday we hooked up Kitt again, this time with the shafts rotated upside down. I'm sure there is some driver out there who might have a coronary about that, but the enclosed shafts let us cheat like that. It put the cart level and I could actually put the shaft loops on the backband rings rather than my usual jury-rigging with carabiners *cough.*

Tristan lost interest by the time we were hooked up, but Kelhan climbed up next to me and we drove around the arena. I asked him if he wanted to drive so he sat in front of me and got to take the lines (with me holding behind his hands). He had fun steering and stopping her. We need to take her someplace bigger so he can take control a little more.



Nice and level now! It's pretty nice being that high up, especially after spending so much time driving the forecart which is really low.



Look at those little eager hands on the lines and happy face! I think I'm going to have a pretty good driving buddy. Chris said we have another rein hog in the family ... wonder who he could be talking about ...

Chris got to climb up with us and drive a bit as well. He was quite happy and rather liked the cart.

I do think I will have Magma engineer a set of shafts that are flat and angle in so that we can be respectable.
lantairvlea: (lantair look)
Yesterday I had one lesson and since Susanne is quite indpendent I grabbed Mac and rode him while she was on Kash.

It was Mac's first time in the bitless bridle and my first ride on him (third ride back, Ruby Wednesday, Kash schooled briefly Thursday). I did have two students on him since he arrived, which gave me some feedback, but he hasn't done anything since we got his teeth done so I was curious and figured since the goal is to get him bitless with students like the rest of the crew might as well just dive in on it. I will eventually get him his own bitted bridle to work in.

I also worked him today and between the two rides I can say most of his head unhappiness the first ride was related to him thinking this work thing might be for the birds. He was a bit pushy about his direction and had a few spots where he was pretty sticky. He'll definitely need some work on loosening up his shoulders. Today he came off of the leg a little nicer and was a bit more forward. He did get a little nervous when I growled at Kitt and her rider, but towards the end of the ride he realized if I hadn't asked him anything the grumpy voice wasn't ained at him.

I was able to get him to trot quite a bit yesterday and as I suspected he didn't need a whole lot of goading forward despite how his previous rider rode him. He did suck back here and there, but it wasn't much to get him going again. I sent him over a pair of cavelletti today and he went over them atraight and honest, which was quite nice.

I'm hoping if I keep working him a few days a week by the end of the month he will be ready for students to start using during actual lessons and I'll have a pretty good handle on how he functions.

Yesterday after we ran some errands Chris pulled out Ruby and Charm-N. We had used Ruby the other day to get some measurements for a chain attachment for the Challenger (Chris jokingly dubbed it the "bank robber"). The Roberts carriage had used a neck yoke and this one just has two rings on the end of the pole. If we had breastcollar harnesses there would be straps that ran from the breastcollar to the rings on the end of the pole. With our harnesses thereis a neck strap that comes down from the collar and usually snaps onto a neck yoke. The straps usually sits center of the chest and reaching it across the front of the horses to the pole wasn't going to happen so we had a piece of chain to bridge the gap.

We got them adjusted and I took our maiden drive. Both mares were a little forward, but not bad. The breeching wasn't engaging ad I liked and we fussed a bit with the adjustments, but didn't really find anything we were happy with. Then we realized the breast strap's snap slid along the strap, which really didn't help as it kept increasing the distance before the breeching engaged!

We brainstormed a bit and decided we're going to order a neck yoke that will bolt to the end of the pole. We've seen other configurations with chains and such, but the neck yoke will give us a nice fixed point to work with and not have to worry about getting more chain and fussing with it to no end. Just hook up the yoke and adjust the heelchains as necessary.

We also had the evener fixed and I'm not sure I like that. We removed the bolts so that the evener will do it's job next time.

It does look pretty sporty all hooked up!



There is a mixture of excitement and terror driving the new carriage. The terror will wsne as we become more familiar with it and certainly once we get the fit properly adjusted. I trusted it to turn a bit better than the Roberts (might be the shorter pole) and I will probably notice the ride better when I'm not worrying so much about how the horses' harnesses are engaging.
lantairvlea: (lantair look)
As usual I start with reviewing and commenting on last year's goals.
Conveniently under a cut )

Art
Share some drawings here monthly.
Finish the driving drawing!
Start a painting of the house (at least do some thumbnails and get the final sketch transferred).
Use my Polaroid/instant film ...

Writing
Finish editing and properly name STP-REALLY!
Another 10 pages on Fire Forged Key. (Slow and steady wins the race guys.)
Start case report on Zetahra.

Horses
Tru-D pulling tire and drag. Walks around neighborhood, ponying, at least introduce the cart, start riding!
Cinnamon- break the Stink to drive!
Kitt dressage show, driving show, driving around neighborhood.
Get someone off-property a couple times a month, even if it is just across the way. Help keep them sane.
McKlintock- turn him into a good lesson pony who can fill Chewy's shoes.
Get McKlintock's eyes taken care of.

Work
Take lessons myself for continuing education, maybe attend a clinic.
Promote driving side of business.

Religion
Temple work, idealy once a quarter at least.
Be a better visiting teacher (which means I need to take charge and not wait around for my partner to contact me...)
Continue reading Qur'an.
Read at least one book about religion and/or church history
Keep up with lesson reading for the Book of Mormon this year (preferrably in German!)
Build family history folder, preferably for both Chris and I, but at least get my side going first.

Self/Life in General
Have a healthy, baby boy #3 and get used to life with three kids.
Do some exercise daily outside of normal horse work, try toconvince Chris to join me.
Two-point for 15 minutes.
Do monthly goals and evaluations about overarching resolutions. This should help everything else fall into place.
Once things are settled see about doing counseling with my parents again. I've been at peace just leaving things as-is, but would like to have some sort of healthy relationship if possible.
lantairvlea: (lantair look)
... AND SO MUCH FUN!



Nine month pregnant lady here just driving her horse through the mud after a long rain trying to aerate the ground a little so it dries faster.

I might be a bad pregnant lady doing things like this, but I guess we'll let my doctor tell me if I'm over doing it... my body certainly hasn't been informing me otherwise! Though I do admit raking the roundpen by hand was towards the limit I think.
lantairvlea: (Tru-D)
Well, she only danced a little bit. She mostly walked like a good girl.

My usual 9am is drowning in final papers and exams so I had an extra hour between lessons. I debated on what to do with Tru-D, but since my working students were hard at work in the arena I decided to take her for a walk around the house. I wanted to put her new bridle to use so I threw on the training surcingle and grabbed the long lines.

I took her for her first ground drive "in the open" around the house. She was a little distracted passing Ruby and was very suspiscious of the blue tarp by the pepper plants. Chris helped by offering a little hay and walking by her head the first time past. We went back and forth a few times until she was passing it calmly before heading on around the front.

Chris had hosed off the Jeep's trunk mat so there was a damp spot trickling off the driveway. She was suspiscious about it, but crossed without too much fanfare. I let her graze a little for being so brave, but then had a little fight about the difference between her being given permission to eat and when she's supposed to be working.

I turned her around and we went back across the front. She suddenly decided either the flag or the porch decorations were of grave concern. We did a lot of circles back and forth and a couple times she was a little surprised as I picked up the outside rein to turn her and it suddenly came across her haunches. She got over herself and we went past the tarp a couple times without issue and ended crossing the front of the house without fanfare before stopping at the cross ties.

Chris wanted to measure and Tru-D shows almost 15.2 hands already. She may just hit 15.3 at this rate. She's about 1050lbs, which is less than I was expecting, but she has a few years to fill out.



She certainly looks huge in this picture! She is staring very intently at the offensive blue tarp.

Her bridle fits nicely and has room to grow. I am debating if I should adjust the breastcollar yet or not. I figure she needs a dozen or two pulls on the tire before I try the drag and she needs several calm ground drives around the house before adventuring farther afield (and probably a few more walks to the mailbox and back too).



She isn't quite so huge looking here.

I'm still on the fence about when to really start looking for a harness for her. I know the harness should have adjustability, but I wonder about how much filling out she will do in the next three years ad I'd prefer to buy just one harness. I think I'll have to try Kitt's on her again and see if I might be able to make it work. If I get her a collar I want to do an adjustable one and have it so that the smallest size fits her now as I doubt her neck will gain another two inches. I haven't dealt with enough young driving horses to know what to expect when it comes to them filling out a collar. I know with Kitt between four and six years I went from using a collar pad to none because she had filled the space (about an inch).

And someone just posted a Haflinger gelding about Chewy's size and eight years old. Might be worth a look...
lantairvlea: (lantair look)
My drag finally came in Tuesday. The gate that we ordered was not the right type and wouldn't work with our panels even though I specifically mentioned the brand and color when I ordered it.

I ended up ordering another one with the product number from the H&W website and they said they should be getting it in shortly (relative to the 6 weeks it took for the drag and the wrong gate ...).

Then it was a matter of finding the time to use it!

Today I had the private school classes and the last one drove Kitt. Since Kitt was already harnessed up Chris asked if I would just leave her harnessed and he pulled the drag into the arena and we hooked her up.

Chris drove her first and I walked by her head just in case. She's always been good with the cart and tire, but you never quite know and it's better to be safe than sorry with new equipment. In the seven years of having her this was actually the first time that Chris has directly worked Kitt. He's never ridden her and I think only the boys have been in the cart with me while driving her.

Chris went around several times and then asked me if I wanted a go and of course I did! He even offered to take some video.



Yes, eight month pregnant lady dragging the arena with her Fjord.

The drag didn't make much of a dent on the dry stuff, but it dug into the wet areas nicely and I'm hoping if I do it regularly I'll see a more even distribution of moisture so I no longer have the stark contrast of dry and rock hard or boggy wetness (where the horses pee...) and instead have semi-moist dirt with a little spring to it all around.

I may have to get a small tire to drop on the drag so it digs in a little better, but the big ones I currently have (off of tractors and semi trucks) are too massive to expect a single horse to pull it in addition to the drag for long. Either one singly would be no problem, but the combination of tire weight, drag weight, plus the resistance of the drag as it digs it the dirt would be a bit much.

Also: From the back you can't even tell I'm pregnant. The overall make it a little ambiguous too, but that's fine by me.

Edit: I did the assessments today for the Horsemanship classes. Hard to believe only one week left in classes! This semester felt incredibly short.



Two of the intermediate class students chilling as they waited for another to finish her assessment. I think Kitt and Chewy enjoyed the chill time as much as they did!
lantairvlea: (lantair look)
I still have some serious catch-up to do with my bookkeeping, but I made a little headway today.

I left the house at 8am to head up to AJ for the two Gypsies and didn't get back home until after 1:30.

I've started having Rob work with his two now since they seem to be at a spot where they understand what I expect and he can start building hs rapport with them.

Ballad the Welsh was again tiny and adorable if having a little attitude as his donkey friend and the goats got a snack and he had to work. Once caught he was fine. He was much softer today and moved all four quarters readily. I had Monique work with him too and got some nice results as we tweaked her position and timing.

Keeping with the theme we tried the 4 1/2" bit on Ballad. I actually held it up to his Liverpool and that appears to be a 4" so that'll work out great because there are a lot more options in the 4 1/2" size. I recommend she get a a couple different mouthpiece styles in the half cheek (or half spoon as thry are also called) so we can find one that he likes and works well in before investing in a Liverpool as his "finished" bit.

I had a little bit of a break, filled the jeep, had lunch, and worked on aforementioned bookkeeping before heading out for lessons. Keara slept through working Cinnamon apparently so I got the herd out up, fed, and then started on mucking the arena until my working student got there to help. The boys also appeared and "helped" muck for a bit before my 4pm lesson showed up.

Tomorrow I have the private school classes and only have two more weeks of it after that. I plan on doing the horsemanship classes in the spring (starting in February instead of January), but I'll take the semester off of the art classes. Rob with the Gypsies has one more session before he will be out of town for the holidays and we'll pick back up in February, except he'll haul out here instead of me going there (baby breastfeeding timer dictates max 3 hour seperation the first six months and preferably less than two and a half).

Tru-D's new bridle came today. Her first piece of tack that will really be just hers. The breastcollar was acquired for general training, but the bridle is just hers.

I did a slightly thicker strapping and stainless hardware so I can easily tell it from the smaller blue one.



She was loose with the herd when I went to put it on and was a slight goober about being "caught." It didn't help that Kash kept sneaking up and trying to lick me and Ruby thought that she needed all of the love for herself. Once I got it on, however she was glued to me and I had a hard time taking pictures. This was the best one I could manage. She looks good in blue.

Four weeks until the Nudge is allowed to exit and eight until we consider eviction. The end is nigh!
lantairvlea: (lantair look)
Too many days between substantial updates means that it feels like there is both everything and nothing to write about at once.

I kept saying I needed to write about the Gypsy yearlings again because I saw them the week before Thanksgiving, and here it is the week after and I am going to see them again.

Short version: Both needed some basic leading lessons. They were a perfect example of "they lead great! Except for where they don't want to..." Mini, the filly didn't want to go into the roundpen so I took over and the little goober actually struck out at me as I asked her to come up beside me. We focused on her leading skills and eventually got it somewhat sorted, though not where I'd like to see a long yearling she was better than where she started. Topper wasn't so bad, but he did have his suspiscions about where I insisted he needed to be positioned with me. This Thursday it will be review of the above and seeing where we are at with the roundpen work (if they're ready to walk around and change directions nicely rather than charging about like goobers), do more desensitizing with the whip (Topper especially needs it), and moving body parts around.

I picked up another driving client this past week. She has a 11.2hh section A Welsh pony. SO SMALL! He turned four this year and still has one baby tooth in his upper left incisor. He came, I believe, from a breeder in Phoenix and was already broke to drive. The owner is getting into horses again after some time away and isn't super confident about her skills. Thankfully she did the right thing in getting a horse that knows more than she does. She had one session with a well-known driver (who was our ADCS president for a year or two, actually) and she said he was very well-broke to start and the owner got a great deal. She also had some lessons with Michelle, who I learned to drive from, though they were geared towards basic horsemanship rather than driving and were a couple years ago. I guess Michelle was wanting to teach her on Michelle's own horses before thinking of doing anything with the little Welsh so she found me through the ADCS directory hoping I could work with both of them.

The first think I did with him was check out his ability to bend without moving (poor to start, but he got it), and then I played with moving his body parts, explaining what I was checking on and looking for and also why it was important during driving. From there we tried on his harness and he must have grown in the last year (not surprising, he should fill out for another year if not two) as there were a few spots we had to adjust. As I went over the harness I explained the parts, how we want them to fit, why I was adjusting this or that, and how they function in relation to the cart or pulling things in general.

I had both Monique and her husband Dave to work with so both would ask questions and I'd answer. Monique said her husband had the better memory and she needed more hands-on to really set things in place, which is good to know.

The bit was a little narrow on the gelding (his name is Ballad) so I suggested we'll need to look out for something that fits better. I ground drove him in it and he did well. He will need to be taught to carry himself a little better through the turns, but I wasn't too surprised considering how much he wanted to follow his nose in my preliminary ground work instead of just bending at the line pressure. I had Dave pull the cart around and while he (supposedly) has been well broke to drive I walked Ballad behind, alongside, and then in front of the cart before we stopped and went through the process of putting him too. He stood really well as I once again explained the steps, purpose, and safety reasons behind them (traces first, then breeching, then false belly band). Since we had run up on our time we then unhooked him and called it a day.

I told Monique we'd probably proceede in a similar manner, have the first half of the lesson focus on ground handling skills and getting her comfortable asking him things and moving him around and then the second half we'll get him in harness and build from there. Next time I won't ground drive him so much before putting him to, but the first drive will probably be a few steps, halt, and good depending on the time we have. She had sent me several videos that the seller had posted of him so I have a fair handle on where his training was a year ago and where to take it from here, starting with plugging holes I find in his foundation work.

I'm a bit excited to have another driving client. All of my work with Bud has made me feel like less of a hack and that I actually know what I'm doing with this driving thing. I don't think I mentioned that I cantered him in harness the other week again and we had a really good workout doing a bunch of crisp turns at the trot and just really enjoying him as a nearly finished driving horse rather than a project. Speaking of Bud I need to see if I can squeeze him in my schedule this week again as Henry was sick on Saturday. I have 22 lessons scheduled plus the two hours of the art class (one hour drive time round trip) and then the hour and a half I lose going to and from the Gypsies. I also have my doctor's appointment tomorrow and counseling. Busy, busy, busy!

Marty has had Keara putting some rides on Cinnamon. I've been eyes on the ground for her (I have been using Sunny a bit for lessons, payback for using Marty's mare) to help both of them get along and communicate. Cinnamon is getting less opinionated in the lungeing warm-up, though she had a few words today, probably because she was pulled away from dinner and it was almost 20 degrees cooler than it has been. We are working on the "happy forward" thing. Cinnamon seems to have a few good forward transitions and then she hits a little bit of a mental block where she stops seeing the point. I suspect this will be less of an issue once she gets out of the arena again, but I'd kindof like this issue gone before getting her out of the arena again! She did kick out a bit and threatened to pop her front end on Keara tonight, but finally went forward when she realized Keara was just going to quietly persist and we ended early when she gave three good walk to trot transitions in a row without opinion. We ask for less when she gives us more!

We finished decorating the tree today. We had to buy new lights so we set it up Friday and it has sat sadly in the corner without any decorations. We ran several other errands today and got them done early enough to catch a showing of "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them."

Tomorrow I'll be running hither and yon. I need to remember to grab my bucket of bits as we'll be trying some on Royal tomorrow as well as Carol's new mare after Nelson's lesson.

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