lantairvlea: (lantair look)
This morning started early with Bud. Sue was finally feeling better after her back surgery last year and joined Bud and I on a slow walk around the block. We then swapped Sue for Henry to do some trot sets. Bud was confused. He has gotten good at passing home, but stopping was a little much. There was some weaving drunkenly across the road, but he eventually straightened out so he got to turn back home ... and passed it again. We also went through the driveway and out again before finally turning in for home.

As my 8am had dress rehearsals for their play I pulled Tru-D out and threw Kitt's harness on her. She is great for putting the noisy thing on and even tolerates the collar being pushed over her head. I buckled the holdbacks to the shaftloops this time. With the team harness the quarter straps already keep the breeching from moving around too much, but I wanted to make it just a little more solid against her haunch.

I have to admit, she looks good in harness.



She was a bit tight to start and just wanted to trot with it. She wanted to kick up again and I grumped at her, asked her the yield and then sent her off again. She tried it a couple more times with the same response from me and decided it was better to just canter without being opinionated about the thing on her butt.

I sense some more lungeing with the harness in her future. She did it with the Western saddle Wednesday which has leather ties on it. Previously she hasn't shown a propencity to buck up and kick out, but the harness can't be scootched out from underneath so I guess her next logical thing to do to get rid of it would be kicking up.

I think I mentioned ride # 3 went well on Wednesday. Hopefully I can get her worked 2-3 times a week whether it is under saddle or in harness.



I can't get over how GOOD she looks. Maybe I'm barn blind, but outside of her hip being on the steeper side I think she is a pretty well put together horse.

I called Galen and got her dam's name (Babe) and birth year. She can be registered through the Draft Cross Breeders and Owners Association (their website kindof sucks) so I wanted to have a little more information about her to send in. I chatted with him a bit and learned that her sire has passed away. No more possible siblings. I let him know how she was doing with her training and he's welcome to drop by. He hasn't had much occasion to get his horses out recently, but has been doing well enough overall.

I think we managed to find a pretty nice filly in the little 10 month old wild creature that she was!

Today was the last day for the private school horsemanship classes until fall. I need to get my schedule sorted.

We have the class list and entry form finalized for the show and need to polish up the sponsorship package. I need to hammer out a renewal/membership letter this week and get that out!
lantairvlea: (lantair look)


Wednesdays might be Ride A Tru-D day for a bit. I have working students, but usually not lessons so I'm outside supervising, though both of them are really good at this point and I'm there "just in case" or if they finish a task and need direction for the next one.

I started by helping Susanne muck out the arena and part of the stalls before grabbing Tru-D. She might actually be enjoying the work now as she is no longer a pill about being caught. Of course as soon as I say that she might promptly decide that being caught is for the birds again, but we'll hope not!

I lunged her first and she had a little kick up in the canter. I think she might have been expecting the breeching on her butt again. I'll have to lunge her in full harness again and maybe snug up the breeching a bit more so it is less floppy. Other than that she was nicely responsive so I figured we were good to go. Swapped my hat for the helmet and threw on the vest before standing in the stirrup a couple times and climbing aboard. She stood great and this time instead of asking her to walk straight off I asked for some turn on the forehand first. She did quite well with that and we proceeded to have a nice short walk where she spent a lot of time stopping to check in with my balance, which I'm appreciating at the moment. She's trying to figure out that forward is still the easiest, just like with pulling when she tries to shift left or right to see if it is easier. We went a little over double the distance of the first ride, did a couple of turns, and called it good. Brief and positive is the best!

Speaking of other first rides, last week I leaned up on Grace for the first time. We did a lot of work on her right side because she was pretty skittish about me being up on the block on that side or bouncing so we did a lot of up and down on the mounting block, bouncing in place, and generally being a nuisance until she relaxed about it. I got her to take a few steps with me draped across her like a sack of potatoes and called it good.

Over the weekend I realized I was doing it the hard way when I had Dawn right there to assist so today after some initial up and down and being sure she was good with me moving around on both sides of her I had Dawn grab her lunge line and I had the lead rope. I stepped on and had Dawn lead Grace for a bit before feeding us out the lunge line. We walked and halted a couple of times and then called it good. I think she'll get going a little faster than Tru-D because she is more physically mature and also I'm working her twice a week (down from the three times we did at the start) and Dawn is great about doing her homework inbetween and asking questions when she has trouble.

As noted before Dawn said she was interested in doing All The Things with Grace so we'll be measuring her for a harness tomorrow as well as putting in another short ride.

I haven't started wearing the air vest yet, but I should. I think I've established that both of these greenies are going to be good and stand long enough for me to attach the lanyard so time to make use of my investment!

Yesterday I also did an evaluation on another Gypsy. His name is Olaf (Olav?) and I have no pictures because I don't have three hands. He's 14.3 hands and wears a size 4 shoe to give you an idea about his mass!

Olaf came from a lady who bought him from the local Gypsy breeder. The lady had him several years and didn't so much with him. He may have had some training from DJGV, but it's unclear what. I started out lungeing him, which he did stellar with. Someone put time into establishing good lungeing manners. I then got him outfitted in my training harness wkth the surcingle and breastcollar first. He took a little exception to the breastcollar and didn't think he could go forward and it was in his way. He got over it quickly enough, but still seemed a little short in his stride.

Deb had mentioned he was a bit goosey behind so I worked his tail gently and played with th end of the lunge line under it to give him the idea that lifting his tail gave him release. After that the crupper wasn't a problem and we moved on to the rope traces. I moved them behind his hocks, which he wasn't fond of, but got over and then I tested his reaction to weight in the breastcollar. He thought about backing up, but found the forward (just leaning) fairly quickly. I removed the traces before sending him out on the lunge line and having Deb make noise with the singletree. He was very much not a fan and had some opinions about that, but they didn't last very long. After tormenting him with the singletree we worked on the long lines, which he was quite respinsive to.

Overall he did quite well. He had a couple moments, but they didn't last long and I was pushing buttons to see what he knew and where we need to go. Obviously noise and getting him good about his hind end are top priorities. We're going to look at schedules and see about me working with him a couple times a week to move his driving training forward.

Busy days ahead, guys! It's kindof weird having about as many clients with their own horses as those that don't!
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: (Tru-D)
I've been looking at harness options for Tru-D. What I have works for dragging tires and such, but to get her in a vehicle I need something with a breeching (britchen ... brichen ... everything in driving has two or three names) and while I could jury-rig some shaft loops onto my training surcingle it would not be ideal.

I do like my work harnesses despite the fact that the farm hames can be a bit heavy, especially heaving up onto Ruby or Charm-N. I'm a bit of the mind that I'd rather have too much than not enough because I do have some heavy vehicles and I am prone to hooking to the tire or drag and, if ever we get more acerage, I would be inclined to try my hand at some small scale farming.

That all said my Grand Plan for Tru-D also includes doing the occasional pleasure show as well as CDE and ADT/HDTs (Combined Driving and Driving Trials, the driving world's equivalent of 3-day Eventing and Horse Trials respectively). While you do see the occasional neckcollar at these events they are buggy collars and hames that don't stick out beyond the hamebed on the collar so the pleasure people would probably look down their nose at my working hames and it might knock me slightly in the turnout column of the Dressage section. Not 100% sure, but I get the impression.

What to do? Well I do have a breastcollar for my training harness, but aren't particually fond of the idea of building a harness around it. Nor of having two full harnesses for a single horse (not that I don't love you Tru-D). That and Tru-D has grown a bit in the depth of her chest from point of shoulder to elbow so it is a little short on her in that regard anyway. Still functional for what we're doing, but not the supreme ideal.

I started toying with the idea of having a harness I could swap out the neckcollar and breastcollar on. The other downside to my beloved work harnesses is they just have a backpad for the surcingle which consists of a strip of biothane and we have fuzzy faux fleece backpads we shove under them for added cushioning, but really not ideal for working single as the weight of the shafts ends up on the spine.

The other issue is our work harnesses have two straps running from the hames to the top of the hip to prevent the collar from sliding forward or the breeching from falling down so there was a potential stability issue with the collar.

So checklist for my mythical harness:

Swap between working style neckcollar and hames and breastcollar in the front.

Gig saddle to distribute shaft weight and protect the spine.

Biothane (preferrably granite instead of shiny)

Full cavesson on the bridle.

Able to do team or single, which means breaststrap and quarter straps to go with the neckcollar.

Sized so that Tru-D will grow into it and not out of it.

We thought about the New England D-ring harness briefly, but I'm not sure how that would do with a breastcollar instead of the neckcollar. I looked at The Draft Horse Superstore where we got Ruby and Charm-N's harness. They only have one harness that has a gig saddle or full cavesson (though they can put a full nose on their other harnesses) and it wouldn't blend well with their work harness.

Shipshewana does some high quality work (our shaft loops are from them), but they don't really do shaped breastcollars (except for on their $3400 show harness...) and like Draft Horse Superstore, the pleasure driving and combined driving side of harnesses isn't their thing (at least that's my impression, Draft Horse Superstore does have a "marathon harness" now at least, but I don't think it would tie in well to their working harnesses.

I poked around a couple other places, but kept coming back to the Yonies catalog. I had emailed them earlier this year and gotten Kitt a set of shaft loops with quick release loops on it for the Kutzmann vehicles. Nice workmanship and they were great to work with plus happy to customize the lengths to my specifications.

Daydreaming through their catalog they produce pretty much every type of harness except for a Norwegian (and a New England D-ring is somewhat similar to that and they make those) from racing to pleasure and working to performance, mini to draft.

I figured it wouldn't hurt to email them about it. I got a call from one of their harness makers and we played a bit of phone tag before we managed to connect on Saturday. He said it certainly was feasible and even mentiomed putting short tugs on the hames so I can use the same traces between the breastcollar and hames! We both had questions (1.5" or 2" traces?, how to stabilize the neckcollar, etc.) and I think we managed to answer most of them. I want to throw Kitt's harness on Tru-D again and see how she fills it out as that will help me make more of a decision on the width of the neck and hip straps as well as breeching and traces.

The harness maker is going to be out of town this week and I told him no rush. The idea was to get something between now and the fall, definitely not a rush job. He's going to get me some numbers next week and we'll talk and tweak from there. I need to measure Tru-D and see where she is size wise between horse and draft.

Exciting! I should be able to get my two-for-one(ish) harness and have it be perfectly functional.
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)
Saturday I was able to pull Tru-D out. I warmed her up on the long lines before hooking her to the tire. We made several passes in the walk before asking for a couple brief trots. I know she's ready for it, but there's still some fireworks going off in my brain prepared for her to freak out. Granted I do have the emergency panic snap set up for easy release of the tire if needs be. With Zetahra I was able to work the tire in all three gaits (granted the canter was very brief) and I hope to get Tru-D to the same place. I will eventually switch out to the singletree as well, but despite her being 100% good with it to this point I also don't want to screw it up and using the panic snap set-up a bit longer isn't going to hurt anything.

I do wish the feather lines were a good eight feet longer. Used as the cross-under I lose a good 18" at least so the 22' lines become 20' lines minus her body length I'm only a dozen feet away from her at the end of my outside line.

I ordered a rope sample from CBknot Company and I think I might try ordering and making my own lines. The rope I am looking at is less t cents a foot. I could get 100' of rope for $27 and be able to make three lines in different colors. I stumbled across someone mentioning having two different colored lines to make it easy to know which is your left or right line and I was thinking "that's brilliant!" I need to look up videos on splicing rope and decide if I want to save the money and spend the time or contact the Knotty Girlz and seeil what they would charge to make them. Things to chew on.

Today I rode Ellie the Hanoverian again. I brought the long lines and surcingle because I wasn't sure if I would ride. After chatting with Kristin and discovering that Ellie DID have a good stop when she got back from her initial 90 days I decided to ride first and see if I couldn't find a good stop again.

I made it really simple. I "stop" my body first, close my hands, then hold until she softened. I did use leg if she stopped, but was hanging, which resulted in some backing steps and also her ultimately softeneing. After a half dozen times I felt like I actually had brakes unlike last weeks ride! By the end I was able to stop my seat and she would halt. Not perfectly square, but she was stepping into it lightly without leaning on my hands.

From there we were able to work some trot. She volunteered the canter a couple times, but I want to feel like she's not rolling off her forehand in the trot before we go faster. She worked better if I constantly played back and forth between moving her hips and shoulders. Leaving her alone resulted in getting quick because she was falling on her forehand and the occasional locked shoulder. We had some successful changes of bend through the trot and a couple of brief spooks. One was at the sheep Kristin has (which have lived with Ellie her whole life...) and the other was at a pile of manure that had the nerve of being in the middle of the arena while I was trying to get her focus on a change of bend. We all survived and it lasted a grand two seconds. To her credit it was quite windy!

Kristin plans on riding her tomorrow and will be hauling her to Carrie's for a lesson Thursday. After that I have two more rides, but I will probably schedule Kristin to come out and work on another two of mine. This could turn out to be quite the productive relationship for the two of us! My horses get body work and her filly gets rides.
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: (lantair look)
We're getting information back from the NFHR membership survey. A little over 300 responses thusfar. The results are as postulated. Membership doesn't provide enough bang for the buck. A lot of people feel isolated and there is a lack of community. Our job now is to assess and figure out how to fix it, or at least make it better.

I'm also working on a new entry form for the draft show and Brenda and I are close to agreeing on an order of go. Then there is advertising and all that. Troy is supposed to get back with me on names for judges.

Yesterday I long lined Tru-D. I had some nice moments of her moving off the whip, though she does tend to get quick with it. We worked a serpentine over the poles. Her steering is getting better and we're starting to be able to make some large turns in the trot. It was a bit breezy so she was a little looky on one end of the arena, but we worked through it.

I need to keep working on her being responsive to the whipas a lateral aid and not just "Go Faster!" This too shall come.



Tru-d and her current set-up with the feather lines looped through the bridle.



After I brushed her off we took a walk around the house. We had a little spook when Chris opened a window so I asked him to open and shut it a few times until she realized it wasn't a big deal. We then returned to the arena and I asked her to move around the mounting block before leaning and rubbing on her. She looked at me as if to say "what are you doing there?" and stood solid.

I let her loose and fed the herd.

It rained last night so my morning lesson is postponing a couple hours to let it clear up.

I'm dealing with some allergies or a cold. It started as a lump of nastiness in my throat and then I started hacking it up and now my nose is getting stuffed and my eyes are thinking about getting a bit puffy. I'm drinking a lot of Chamomile tea with honey and lemon.
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: (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)
If this is a little disjointed and rambly I blame lack of time to write in one sitting and also baby-induced sleep depribation.

Now that I'm back into full swing with both teaching and riding I am seeing where my fitness isn't quite where I'd like it. I think I am being a bit more demanding with myself riding than with Tristan and Kelhan because I have Mac to bring along as well as client horses to hop on too so maybe it is just more obvious this time around.

Nelson has two horses, Molly a Quarter Horse mare and Roy (formerly Royal who used to belong to my client Debbie), an Arab gelding. Molly is a long time trail horse and while she did have some gaps in her training we're slowly filling them. She's forgiving and pretty straight forwarded. I got on her last week for the first time (I was pregnant when Nelson sarted up and wasn't getting on unknown horses) and got a chance to feel her out better. With me back to riding the plan is for Nelson to work on himself with Molly and I'll be working on Royal. Roy's trot has come a long way since Debbie first got him and he had no rhythm or balance whatsoever, but it is still very thrusty and he's making my thighs burn with the posting and little bits of two-pointing I am doing on him. His canter is also naturally thrusty and at the moment he tends to flail over his inside shoulder, which will be a point of focus for me. He's not quite so forgiving as Molly, but he isn't maliscious. Once Nelson's seat gets up to par he's really looking forward to taking his big-moving gelding down the trails. They have done great in the walk, but Nelson's rhythm and strength isn't quite there to post Roy's trot (forget sitting it). We have played with two-point and that went smoother, but since I'm able to climb on now we're doubling up and letting Nelson work on himself with Molly while I get Roy more rateable in his trot. I've managed tonget him down to a slightly softer trot that is more sitable, but only after a few thrusty strides of his normal trot. The gelding can do more than eight inches of overstriding, which is insane. He is a Huckleberry Bey great-grandson I believe (might be two greats) and has that potential park horse movement.

The other thing I have been working on with Roy is bridling. He had the issue since Debbie owned him, but she usually had hin tacked and ready to go I only found out he had an issue when she finally wasn't able to get the bridle on him one day. She's shorter than I am (5'4" myself) and Royal is about 15.2 hands, if not more (haven't measures him myself). I only worked on his issue that one time with Debbie and I assumed she was able to improve enough to be workable fr her. When Nelson and I looked at Royal at Aliki's place she mentioned his ear issue and said he just wanted his head rubbed, which I thought was a bit of a misreading as she's torquing his ear to get it under the crownpiece.

It doesn't help that Roy also is a mouthy creature and if you're not 100% confident and smooth in putting it on he will eat the cheekpieces, reins, and noseband (if applicable). We have him going in one of the Moss Rock Evolution bitless bridles, which he goes well in. He takes the bit alright, but he constantly jaws it and will twist and drop his jaw at the contact. We haven't found a bit that he's really happy in so bitless it is.

ANYWAY! The major problem is the right ear. You would touch it and he would push into the hand, or try to snake out from your arm. Nelson did have the vet rule out a physical issue so we were just facing years of self-defense in poor ear handling. The crummy thing about ear shy horses is it tends to be self-fulfilling. The more the horse tries to protect its ear the more likely the (average) human is to squish the ear while trying to get the equipment on. Proper handling of the ears is something I try to drove home with my students because I certainly don't want my students to ever cause the problem! Getting back on track again Royal doesn't have issues with his left ear being touched, just the right one. This is actually pretty typical with ear issues as people typically put the bridle on from the left side the right ear is farther away and slightly more awkward to grab and harder to see.

To work on Roy's issue I first got him dropping his head because I have a hard time reaching anything when he is impersonating a giraffe and a high head typically leads to an anxious horse. If I can get him to drop his head I can encourage a calmer state of mind. I would then rub near the ear and work towards briefly touching it. I made some progress, but actually what seemed to really help was putting the lead or reins over his neck and then applying slight pressure behind his ears. His first reaction was to try and push into it and jerk out of it. I stayed with him until he gave slightly to the pressure and let it slide off the right ear and then the left. Once he was giving to it softly he was better about the split second it took to get the crown over his ear. Nelson also did his part in between sessions with me in just rubbing and loving on Royal's head and getting in some time of touching his ears without an agenda. Thursday there was a nice change in Roy regarding his ears. I was able to touch the right one without him automatically ducking out and he was quicker to give to the pressure behind his ears. It took less than five minutes to get the bridle on without drama compared to over twenty the first few times with drama. I'm hoping he will soon reach the point where he just slides his head into the bridle with zero defensiveness about his right ear. Thursday was definitely encouraging and I hope to see more of that in the coming weeks.

On Nelson himself his leg is getting stronger and his posting more consistent at the trot. We're working in his larger turnout now instead of the roundpen so steering is now a factor and using the leg while posting is hit or miss at the moment. While he doesn't always get out between lessons doing two a week is helping to keep things moving forward.

On the McLintock front the little guy gets better each time I ride him. He's getting used to the bitless bridle and his bending both directions and starting to move off of the leg nicely. He's like Chewy and can be very soft and bendy when he wants to be. Yesterday I worked on backing, which he started pretty ugly on with flipping his nose around and trying to push into the pressure. After a few times he started giving nicely and softly rounding into the backwards steps. I have a couple students who are excited to try him out soon. I'll probably try to keep up with riding him once a week once I get him in the rotation as there are things he should be working on (like cantering) that most of my students aren't going to be able to school (might be able to get a canter, but they won't necessarily help him improve the depart).

Today Mac got "attacked" by my working students and he had braids all over in his mane and tail. He took the attention in stride.

I was also able to play with Tru-D today. Her shoulders are a little sticky when I ask them to come towards me. I broke it down a bit and worked on having her bend towards me and move her shoulders away, which she found to be hard at first. After loosening that up she was able to bring the shoulder better and I also got a couple steps of sidepass towards me.

I also played with asking her to lift individual feet from light taps from the whip and got her to take a couple very small steps deeper under herself with her hind feet. I'd like to work towards a "goat on the mountain" stance to encourage stretching over her topline. I'm toying with the idea of teaching her to lay down. She's coming up on 15.2 and I'm not fit enough yet to swing up from the ground, though at the moment bouncing up and down next to her and half-swinging up is adequate for training purposes. Earlier this week I had time to throw the saddle on her and bounced in the stirrups a bit, which she was completely chill about. She has come a long way from the wild creature she was when we got her. She isn't super brave by nature, but she has a whole lot of try and seeks out the answers.

Jumping around again Debbie and her new little Icelandic gelding are getting along well. This week we had Debbie get right on and worked a little on bending, turning, and yielding before asking Digur to step up his gait. She had a hard time getting him to move out in the roundpen, but we got him to step up nicely with some minor changes and got a couple of good spans of gaiting from him. Debbie has been taking him for walks around the neighborhood and feels pretty comfortable with him (much more comfortable than she ever did with Royal). There's things we could keep doing in the roundpen, but considering her goals we're going to head out around the neighborhood next week. I'm not sure who I'll bring out yet, but it'll be good to get someone out and about!
lantairvlea: (Tru-D)
Tru-D has been doing well in her training and I'd like to get her put to the cart this coming year.

She'll be three in April and while she is probably close to her full height I imagine she has some filling out to do. Unlike Zetahra she doesn't quite fit in Kitt's harness. I tried it today and she still looks like a little kid wearing her mom's sweater.

2016-12-14 19.43.04.jpg

2016-12-14 19.42.32.jpg

Not nearly so bad as it was this spring when the top of the hip strap was down by her tailhead. It is still way more adjusting than I want to do back and forth and the collar is definitely too large for her. I'm sizing up my options as I don't want to be stuck with a harness that ends up being too small!

Speaking of driving I ordered the last two parts of the Parelli/Nate Bowers DVD series for driving. I wasn't super impressed with the value of the first one for the money, but they had a really good sale and I picked up both of them for less than one of them normally retails. We'll see how they are.
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: (Tru-D)
My 7:30 wasn't feeling well this morning and postponed to Thursday. Since I was up and dressed I decided to work Tru-D this morning. I pulled out the training harness and tire before grabbing her.

The bridle I've been using is getting a bit too small. I'm on the last hole for the cheeks and throatlatch and today I gave her another hole on the noseband (one left!). I sent Lisa at Moss Rock Endurance an email about getting a new one and if she has an idea of the likelihood of her growing out of one made from her current measurements.

After lamenting the loss of my baby horse I long lined her walk a d trot before tying the traces shorter and hooking up to the tire. She tried to noodle sideways to find an easier place to go, but she found forward and put her shoulder into it.

Chris pulled the cans in from the road and I had a minor spook (in place leg flail) when I popped the emergency release snap on the traces. She didn't really care about the cans at all and I was being extra cautious. Once he was done moving and I hooked her back up and we pulled in both directions before calling it quits. She did a wonderful job and while she does toss her head slightly at times against the rein pressure her steering gets better and she does it less each time.

After my next lesson, errands, and lunch there was time and Kelhan had passed out at Marty's so no little men. I grabbed Tru-D again and we went to go check the mail. I'f been threatening to do it since they moved us to the mailbox units (which still suck) and hadn't yet because it was still over 90, but it is finally cooling down and we're in the 80s during the day. Not-Summer approaches!

She was curious when I pulled her out and as we marched right past the crossties she was a little skeptical. We went right along our neighbor's wall and she eyeballed the culverts and was highly suspicious of the "stop sign ahead" sign. I thought the best way would be cutting across the driveway and going down and across the wash so we didn't have to snuggle up next to a mesquite tree (they have thorns).

Tru-D was unconvinced that she could go down the steep-sided wash and snorted emphatically for emphasis. In favor of time I managed to get her one step forward before heading back to snuggle up next to the mesquite.

She marched nicely forward through the desert lot and was pretty brave until we got to the edge of the road where there was a drop into a shallow ditch that runs parallel to the gravel road. I spent several minutes trying to convince her to step down, but she couldn't quite make the mental hurdle to do it. Again I got one good step in the right direction before taking her further down to where there was no abrupt step down.

As I was working with her the horses next to the mailbox cluster were going pretty nuts, tails up and blowing as they ran around. Tru-D was mre concerned with the deathly footing than with the knuckleheads losing their minds across the way. She was a little concerned about the first car that hit the gravel, but for the most part ignored the vehicles that passed.

We did have a couple ladies appear in a little white sedan with a bucket of grain. They had seen Tru-D but didn't notice me so they thought they'd be catching a loose horse. I thanked them for their kidness and we worked a few more minutes on the drop before moving to find a more level spot.

I acquired the mail and we turned rigbt around and Tru-D marched bravely UP the bank without breaking stride. Babies.

She was forward heading home and I ended up mostly at her shoulder instead of by her head, but she wasn't rushing too bad and stayed attentive to me. She was leery of the sign again when we were almost home, but didn't do anything silly.

We had a ton of mail so I had it tucked under my arm that was holding the slack.

For her very first "long" distance outing she did awesome. I think if I can do that a few times a week she'll be good about traffic and such.
lantairvlea: (lantair look)
I had another lesson (i.e. training for me) with Carrie K. and Kitt yesterday. We warmed up and then got to work with the tail-to-the-rail leg yield, which went pretty well in both directions. We held the majority of the long side, though I had to be careful approaching the corners as she would want to drift in about 20' out instead of waiting for me to tell her to go straight.

We moved on to the circle and started doing it on the circle. After a few good steps we changed it up. Now we would go from the leg-yield into a renvers/haunches out on the circle by changing the bend. Needless to say we had some ugly moments from both of us as we tried to figure that one out!

Once Kitt got it the transition became easier and mostly my faux paux as I over thought it. She had some really lovely ones to the right, which is surprising because that is her stiffer side. Maybe she liked the shift to the left bend better.

We had a funny moment as Carrie was explaining the exercise and talking about the inside and outside aids and I asked "is that the new inside or the old one?" She paused a moment and laughed because she's not used to people who have inside/outside in relation to the bend engrained in their brains vs. relating it to the circle or arena. She was impressed I picked up on that and corrected what she had said so that it was clear where my aids needed to be.

We'll see if I can sneak in another lesson before my body protests. We spent the whole lesson in the walk, hut I could feel my inner thighs telling me that dismounting would be interesting. As it was I gingerly swing my leg over and paused for a minute standing in my near stirrup as all the connective tissues readapted to their new position not straddling a horse. Kitt stood like a rock until I hopped down and we called it a day.

Today I had a bunch of cancellations, going from six planned lessons yesterday to two. I enjoyed a nap this afternoon as Kelhan passed out and Tristan wanted to go back to Farfar's. I also rode Kash during one of the lessons and played tag. I managed to elude tagging, I win.

With the three afternoon lessons out I grabbed Tru-D and saddled her up before walking to the roundpen. She eyeballed the tarp over the hay stack so we passed it twice, the second time she didn't change her steps so we called it good. At the roundpen she was nervous about the pile of branches Dave had hacked off of one of the pine trees. One branch was a little over six inches thick so I asked her to step over it. She sniffed it carefully and then sniffed the ground on the other side. She wasn't really sure about going over it. She put one foot over, took it back. Put two feet over a couple times and very carefully stepped back over. I got her to step over it and called it good and went into the roundpen. She was very distracted. I need to take her over there more often. It seems like each time we finally make it over something has changed or moved and it takes some time to settle her back down.

I'm thinking we should go on some walks and maybe she could be my buddy for the walk to the mailboxes.

Despite the cancellations all six of the horses got worked today. Wish I could do that with regularity!

Tomorrow I have three lessons scheduled, including a new client doing their first evaluation. The winter schedule is filling up!
lantairvlea: (lantair look)
Today marked yet another milestone for Tru-D!

Slightly modified from what I posted in [livejournal.com profile] equestrian.

This summer I acquired some more harness bits so I could advance her driving training without having to buy a full one before she has finished growing. She'll be three in April so she has close to a year to grow height wise and then another two to three to fully fill out. This Spring her body was too short for my Kitt's harness (but she now fills it out pretty well!), which is why I picked up a breastcollar and kicking strap to double as a trace holder to use with my training surcingle set up. Both came from Parry Tack and were really well priced. I also found some rope traces, which I used as her first thing to drag this Summer and introduce the feel of drag and more things touching around her side and haunches. I got the traces from MCR Whips who made them for Clay Maier before his website vanished off of the face of the internet (so wanted to get more of his DVDs too...). She also made the modified panic snap for hooking up to the tire.

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Here she is sporting all of her training gear. She's currently working bitless (has worn one a few times, but don't plan on working in one until she has a full mouth). I was working her in just the sidepull action, but recently switched to the cross-under, which she seems to do fairly well in. She has almost grown out of this blue bridle, however. Trimming her bridlepath has helped a little, but I think I am going to have to order one for her. I might see how Kitt's fits first. I worry about getting one now and her head growing out of it!

The breastcollar is secured to the surcingle by some large spring snaps so it doesn't slide forward and the traces snap into the buckles on the breastcollar with panic snaps so they are easy on and off. This is partly why I have a strong preference for buckle-in traces on a breastcollar as you can tie or snap alternate "training" traces to them or remove the traces entirely. Nothing's more annoying than having traces dangling around that you can't do anything with. The other end of the rope traces have 2" rings so you can attach them to whatever you're pulling. I wrapped the splices with electrical tape to keep dirt and such from getting in there. You can also use a rope or string to loop through the rings and what you want to hook to and simply drop the string and it slides apart. That's how I had her hooked to the singletree the other week when she dragged it.

So today I had an extra set of hands with Susanne and an hour break between lessons. I took the opportunity to hook Tru-D to the tire for the first time.

I started with Susanne dragging a singeltree around for noise while I ground drove Tru-D. She had dragged the singletree well previously. I also put some weight in the traces so she could feel some drag before we hooked her up. We then dragged the tire for some noise before hooking her to it. The tire has a large U-bolt with a heavy duty spring snap and a panic snap. The panic snap has a small eyehook on it that I tied a long string to so it can be released either by pulling (in this case I had my student holding the string) or stepping on it.

I wanted to test that the panic snap would do what it was supposed to and we discovered that the string has to be lower. If you're too high it doesn't engage properly. I held the traces as Susanne pulled the string. Since it was baling twine I wanted to be sure it would hold up to the pressure and engage properly if required. It took a minute to figure out the right angle and I wasn't quite ready for the release when it popped open and ended up on my butt, which was Tru-D's only little spood of the session.

I asked her to walk on and she initially bounced off of the pressure on the breastcollar. She tried stepping sideways to find less resistance, but with a little vocal encouragement she stepped into it and pulled the tire. I stopped her after about ten feet and gave her lots of verbal praise and repeating. A couple times after stopping her I walked up and rubbed and praised her lavishly. She seemed to step into it better each time with minimal sideways swing.

I had my students take some pictures.





I took her around our small ring once in each direction before calling it a day. Other than the initial "are you sure I can pull this?" question she was awesome. I couldn't have asked for a nicer first pull. During the turns she had some awesome cross-over front and back as she sidepassed through them. It was beautiful and I'm excited to see her harness work progress.

I also long lined her briefly at the end with a couple brief trots and called it good.

I don't know if I'll get her put to the cart before this baby drops. I'm excited, but don't want to rush either. I guess it depends on how often I can work her between then and now. I need her steering a little more steady and start doing some serious whip work to be sure I can ask her to precisely put her feet where I want them.

Plans going forward include more tire pulling in small doses, ground driving, ponying, and trailering out places.
lantairvlea: (zetahra)


Tristan helping fill Zetahra's water bucket four months before.

I'm okay when I don't think about the end too much.

As Tru-D comes along I can't help but compare the two. Z had a bit more sass and self-confidence, but she was ultimately respectful and wanted to please (though I am sure in other hands she may have been more self-serving!) Tru-D is more cautious and a little more reactive, but she lacked the 10 months of handling that Zetahra had from the start. She is coming around and is much more social and wanting attention and is always seeking the answer to the questions I ask her.

They have a surprisingly similar build (I need to get some good conformation shots of Tru-D as it cools down) and I think Tru-D's mane is going to be almost as ridiculous and is in desperate need of a good brushing, but there's more pressing things I need to do while sweating it out outside like mucking, teaching, and doing general care of the herd.

I'm hoping Tru-D comes along just as well as Zetahra did and I look forward to seeing her develop and mature, fingers crossed. Tru-D and Zetahra are four years and two days apart in age and I can't help but think that there isn't some purpose and connection in there somewhere. There's no replacing Zetahra, certainly, but Tru-D has been helping to fill the gaping hole that Z left behind.

Short update on Chewy. We have had some poop! Three piles yesterday even, but nothing yet today, however her input has pretty much sucked so there isn't much passing through. Yesterday we took her in for her teeth and they are definitely showing her age. She doesn't have much chewing surface left on the top and had some points that were starting to cause some cheek ulcers, which probably weren't helping. Dr. Roach (filling in for Chatham since his knee surgery three weeks ago) also found two small abcesses that had started. The vibration caused by the electric float caused them to rupture slightly so we're looking at a long course of antibiotics. I have some SMZs left over from Dakota last year and they are good until October so I will be using them up. The timing is surprisingly good and while Chewy hates that I'm shoving more stuff in her mouth twice a day hopefully it'll make her more comfortable in her mouth and get everything back in order. I'd love to have her healthy and sound another five years, but at twenty-five already I know it is going to take conscientious maintenance a bit of luck to get there.
lantairvlea: (lantair look)
Pilfered from [livejournal.com profile] flirting.

Memeish )

I had a couple lessons today with a break between. During the break I decided to pull out Charm-N and Tru-D to see what type of trouble I could get into. I haven't ponied from Charm-N and I haven't tried ponying Tru-D yet so I guess I could have prepared a little better, but we did it!

Charm-N has a monster walk and Tru-D was not fond of trying to keep up. I ended up doing a single dally on the horn, let Charm-N walk, and allowed Tru-D to figure it out. It took a while, but she finally stepped up and put slack in the rope. To emphasize that was correct I stopped Charm-N and gave both of them lots of rubs. Charm-N for being tolerant and Tru-D for figuring it out. We repeated a few times and Tru-D was quicker to step up and get slack in the line. Then we swapped sides and Charm-N got to drag Tru-D's lagging butt for almost 10 minutes before the baby decided to step up. We ended with a few good strides without Tru-D dragging and called it good.

I sense more ponying in the future.

Thursday was the Meet the Teacher at the Elementary school Tristan will be attending Preschool at. He's excited. He has only one kid older than him in class, but that's okay. I just hope he doesn't get bored.

I think I finally feel like An Adult. I think having a kid in school does it. Tristan starts Tuesday and it will be three days for three hours each. We'll see if Kelhan misses him or not.

It's crazy-hot. Supposed to be 114 or somesuch today. I finished lessons at 9am, but had a working student 9-10. The stalls got cleaned along with the little turnout. I got a couple things done while she worked then helped get Ruby's stall done. It'll be nice doing just the arena Monday after getting it done Thursday too. Hurrah working students! I can't wait to have a few hours a week of them again.

Both the truck and Jeep got oil changes this week. The Jeep has a crack in the windshield washer fluid resivoir. It's covered by warranty, but only for another 500 miles so we'll be taking it in again next week.

Tru-D is slowly trying to catch up to Ruby.



It helps that Ruby is standing in a hole.

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