lantairvlea: (lantair look)
Thursday I had another lesson with Carrie K. from the North valley. I admit I haven't done nearly so much active riding this pregnancy as I was with the last two, Regardless I'm trying to get what I can from these lessons. I wasn't able to make any last month so I'm going to try and double up this month. I'm not sure if I'll try for one in November, but we'll see! I definitely plan on picking back up in February and see where we go from there. I'd like to rotate between Kash and Kitt at that point, but Mr. Fancy can wait to make his debut until I am no longer expecting. He tends to be a bit of a knucklehead the first time to a new arena and I don't need that.

Anyway, we worked on moving her hip over and leg-yield both nose and tail to the rail. She's much better going left than right andbwe discovered that when we put her on a circle. To the left she was volunteering a shoulder-fore position and to the right she was a bit stickier.

We had some really nice tail to the rail yields (not quite a shoulder-in) in the trot that she held well. I like the idea or her holding her "shape" better on her own without a reminder to keep crossing over. I just started reading Nuno Oliveira's "Reflections on Equestrian Art" and one of the things he mentioned is that the horse should carry the movement, whatever it is, until there is an active change in request. That means when properly trained and conditioned you should be able to "shape" your horse into a half-pass, travers, etc. and have the horse maintain it until you request a new movement or transition with minimal rider correction.

It's so nice finding an instructor who actually knows what they're doing and can make me feel like I'm moving forward and learning things. I know I have missing pieces and it's so nice to have started finding them! I'm still debating if I should try a lesson or two over at CARA to have a go on more advanced horses, but the things I've heard lend me to think the horses have not been trained in a manner that one might term as "classical."

I should have written about it the day of or Friday, I'll try to be better about that next time.

Sunday we packed up and headed to California. The boys got their first trip to the beach Monday and after wearing them out thoroughly we had lunch and visited my grandparents.

Opa insisted on sending us off with money for dinner and Chris was super stealth sneaky and phoned in dinner for them tonight. Italian and carrot cake from a place we found while we were there.

We drove home today and had an uneventful drive. This week is pretty booked up and the schedule is filling nicely for the winter months.

I can't remember if I mentioned Marty and Dave acquired a puppy from the shelter while we were in Utah. Her name is Charlie (sp?) and she is some Poodle cross, possibly a havanese. She looks a little like Appy, but taller and lighter colored. Rolo was not sure what to do with her at first, but Marty managed to get them to settle in and now they run and hase each other around until Rolo passes out because Bulldogs got no stamina.

Tomorrow I have four or five lessons. We need to hit Costco for some vitals. I do not have the art class because they are on their fall break. The farrier is coming tomorrow, Chewy's bloodwork came back good so I can stop with the SMZs (yay!), and I am making my way through month six. Ten more weeks before the Nudge has permission to disembark.

Also Kelhan and Baby Puppy looked pretty sporty in their sunglasses on the drive home.



Ah yes, and after sharing a hotel room with the boys for two nights we have discovered that Kelhan still is a Grünter. Just not as terrible as he was while an infant. He only grunts and mumbles occasionally rather than constantly, but it's still enough to get you up to check on him only to realize he's still perfectly asleep.
lantairvlea: (zetahra)
I am very pleased with how Z did for her fall shots and tooth exam (she will need to be floated). She gave Chatham the eye and was moderately appeased by the apple wafer. She did a little side-stepping, but stood quite well and only took a minute to get the shot done and over with rather than the theatrics of this Spring. She still has a bit of a grudge against him, but I think we'll eventually work past it. Kash also needs his teeth done and when I set up the appointment I'll also take Chewy in to have her tear duct flushed.

Today started with Adora and Sierra. We started right off with ground driving and seeing what else the tiny mare knows. She is getting better about leg yielding off the left side, though we did have a moment where she got her tongue over the bit. I played with getting her to fan in both directions. She doesn't quite want to step over with her hip, at least not so much as with her shoulder, but that may change when she is between the shafts. Adora took the reins and we focused on keeping her distance and having Sierra move around her rather than her swinging around the mare. I think in the long run the pair of them are going to do fine and Adora is going to have a ball driving this mare around the neighborhood.

From there I went to driving training and We had Tenacity in the arena again working with the cones. We had some wonderful moments and got T about like butter in both directions. I misjudged how soft she was being on one turn and almost ended up in the fence as we overshot our turning point for the next cone, but instead of locking up I was able to just continue the circle and come around again for the turn.

I'm quite happy with how the last few lessons have gone and feel pretty good about my driving skills. I need to get Charm-N going again so I can take her to training and get her in a good place for Chris to start playing with driving her.

Lance came out and we got the arena mucked with a little excitement when Charm-N slipped through the gate after Lance and the wheelbarrow. I pushed the gate to and stepped off to get her when Ruby nudged the gate open and made a break for it with Kash on her heels. This time I latched the gate and had Lance stand in front of the alleyway along Sunny and Cinnamon's turnout to keep Ruby and Kash from wandering while I extracted Charm-N from a nice patch of grass.

Z was quite beside herself from the comotion and Kitt was wondering why she was the only one left in the arena. It took a minute or two for everyone to settle and I guarded the gate as Lance finished mucking. Charm-N tried another escape, but was thwarted. Goober.

Once the arena was picked clean I pulled out Charm-N's harness and Lance helped me get her groomed and tacked up and moved the tire so I could drag the arena. Charm-N walked off nicely the first time, but then got jiggy and short, which took some work to get through. We didn't get the whole thing done, but towarss the end she was more consistent in the walk and came around beautifully in both directions. I decided to end on a good note so we halted and called it a day.

I suspect that she will do better with the cart and the weight of the tire makes her buckle down and push harder into the collar than she would with a light cart behind. Of course her time off driving might just reset her to the "shut up and let me do my job" mode where she jogs off because that is what she thinks she is supposed to do rather than relaxing and waiting for the request. Maybe I'll see if Lance will help me with the cart next week...

Speaking of carts we need to get the shafts on the forecart and take it in to slap a new (used) pair of tires on it.
lantairvlea: (zetahra)
I set up the first lesson with the mini mare and her owner this morning. Sierra, the mare, is about 29" and comes to the middleish of my thigh. She's tobiano and I think a silver dapple (black). I don't think she's grulla as she doesn't have a dorsal stripe or anything. She is a slate grey color besides.

We started with seeing what she knew ground-wise and how she responded to whip cues. Not very educated, but she wasn't reactive or silly about it either. We then played with the harness and got it fitted to her. The shaft hobble set-up was weird, but I think we have it figured out. I ground drove her briefly and she steered alright. Next time we'll see how the whip buttons are (moving shoulder and hip over and eventually leg-yield and side-pass) and do some more ground driving. Depending on how that goes we'll hitch her to the cart and go from there. She has a nice-sized turn-out to get the feel of the mini and the shoulders on the roads are pretty wide when we're ready for that.

And no, I didn't stand there wondering what the heck to do with it. I can see how people get into trouble with minis. There's just not much to them and you can get away with skipping some things and not immediately kill yourself because the power between mini and person is a bit more even.

I then had Natalie's lesson and we had Chewy in the roundpen so we could concentrate on the posting trot. Her mother was quite pleased n she commented that it was the first lesson where it looked like Natalie was where they had left off with the previous instructor. Next up posting and steering!

I had a brief break before going to Sue's to work with her and Bud. After spending the last few weeks playing in Sue's turnout and waiting on the new set of shafts. The new shafts were on this morning and we reset the harness accordingly. The traces got to be shortened two holes, which put Bud closer to the cart and improved the balance quite a bit as we had hoped. We adjusted the hold backs as well and were quite happy with the overall picture. Once we got him moving we determined that it was set properly and I was abke to sit a bit closer to the back of the bench. With the old shafts I had to sit at the very front of the seat to keep the shafts from bouncing. I started at the back of the seat this time and moved forward a couple inches after I asked him to trot off as they did bounce a little in the hobbles. If it were just me in the cart or just Sue it would be fine, but I think our combined 350+ is a little more than the cart is balanced for set against the back of tthe bench. It doesn't help that both of us are short-legged. It's just as well. I have to sit forward on the bench to be able to plant my feet on the ground anyway (when I'm at training my instructor puts a Western saddle pad down that gives me a good extra 3").

So the cart was much better balanced and I think Bud was happily surprised to not have the shafts poke him in the neck when he bentt around. Considering it has been about six weeks since Bud has been around the neighborhood he did awesome. No spooks and just a few eyeballs. Sue had him for about half the time and is getting more confident and comfortable. She even had him trot a bit. Now that things are cooling down and the shafts have been squared away Sue plans on driving him between lessons. At least in her turn out area; she isn't quite ready to tackle the neighborhood alone just yet. I think once she works through some of her confidence issues the pair of them will do just fine.

The last of the carpet went in today. When the carpet guy asked me to look at it I was worried at first. The early morning brightness shining on it caused it to look vaguely like astroturf (it is a green color). On closer inspection and at a different angle it lookes better, but I wasn't completely comforted until I saw it an hour or so later in the house. It looks quite nice if I do say so myself and Chris was rather pleased when he came home.

Now we just have counter tops on Wednesday and the accompanying appliances and plumbing to finish.
lantairvlea: (lantair look)
Yesterday I had a lwsson with Sue and Bud. Bud was most excellent, much better than the dingbat he pretended to be last week. I started him off before handing the reins over to Sue. She'a still getting used to the feel of him and she hasn't driven or ridden in a few years. Bud had a couple cerfupples, but I think it was Sue's response more than the object that goobered him. The first time wasn't too terrible, but she handed the reins over so she could settle. The second time I snatched them because we were in danger of running Bud into someone's gate. It didn't take much for me to put him back together. I think in time Sue will work through her stiffness and nerves and really enjoy him. She is already really pleased with him and realizes that it is more her right now than him. He's in a pretty good place if I do say so myself.

This morning I took Zetahra to Horseshoe and harnessed her up. She was feeling a bit fresh to start, but she worked our of it. I also worked her around the scary end of the arena with the generator and such. After that I grabbed the singletree and hitched her up to it. She didn't stand terribly well, but in her defence another horse passed by and she was distracted.

I set the reins in one hand with an "emergency line" attached to her halter so I wouldn't injure her mouth if she took poorly to it. I started holding the singletree off the ground, but not putting pressure on the collar. I turned her and let it rub her hocks, hip, and cannons on both sides before experimenting with dropping it and ketting it drag. The footing at Horseshoe muffles the noise quite nicely whereas my home footing amplifies the rattle quite a bit. I'll have to play with it at home a bit before adding the tire. She wasn't phased one bit. I then played with putting some weight in the traces and getting her to step into it, which she handled quite nicely. I'll have to go through the Parelli/Bowers DVD again and look at some of the other stuff I thought might be useful before introducing the cart. I admit I was disappointed in the video because they nevwr really put the horse to. I'm sure they're setring up for a second DVD, but come on! How do you manage a video about driving without ever actually driving the horse?

Anyway, Zetahra continues to do well and progress. I don't know if I'll get her put to the cart come June, but maybe I'll at least have her to the tire, which I think was my goal anyway.

I had driving training with Charm-N today. We hitched up and drove straight out. She walked off nicely and only vaugely eyeballed the goats, llamas, and alpacas. We headed down a side road and came across quite the test of Charm-N's steadiness. There were two guys trimming a tree. One of them was in a cherry-picker. At least one of them had a chainsaw. Not only that but the cherry-picker guy was moving up and down as we passed. Charm-N understandably got a little up, her neck disappearing into the recesses of her collar and she picked up a trot, but it was all rather quiet and calm and after we passed a little waya down she dropped nicely to the walk again.

The other spot was some dogs running out and against the fence, but she just took one or two quick steps and not much more than that.

I think a few more times around Michelle's neighborhood and I'll have her come out and we'll hitch her up to the carriage and cruise oir neighborhood. I would like Chris to be able to drive his own horse. I need to drag him with Charm-N down to Horseshoe and have him try her out a bit. I do miss Jed, but Charm-N is coming along rather nicely and should be a nice pleasure drive. Who knows, maybe I'll do a little competing with her, but I don't have any visions of granduer. She's nice, but not super flashy or anything. If I can figure oit how to get her consistently bending and put a leg/whip yield on her we'll be doing good.

And then I had to take both of the harnesses out of the trailer and drag them back to the tack shed. I wondered for a moment why I like driving so much when it comes with sich heavy, unwieldy equipment. Then I remind myself that there are lighter harnesses that are mich less cumbersome, but they're not as versatile and not good for dragging things on the ground. That and I'm in love with collar and hames, even if they weigh a ton. Admittedly Kitt/Z's harness is mich lighter than Charm-N and Ruby's, bit it is still a beaat compared to yoir typical pleasure harness.
lantairvlea: (bastek kunst)
The scan yesterday went well (at least I assume so). It was a new machine and the radiologist (I assume that's what he was) was not in his usual office so he was slightly scattered trying to remember where everything he needed was and is probably part of the reason why instead of going in at 11 when my appointment was I didn't get in until after 12.

That contrast dye is weird stuff and, as prescribed, I've been drinking fluids like I don't think I ever have before to flush the crap out of my system. It must be working as the frequency of bathroom visits have increased dramatically.

Hopefully the results of the scan can be processed quickly and I'll be able to get in and have the cyst removed before the end of next week. It's getting rather annoying having to shift my head around in order to lay on my left side comfortably. Certain types of pressure are also rather uncomfortable, such as a shirt collar getting caught on the lobe. I'll be glad when it's gone and done with. I'll hope that I don't get another one ever. Of course with my family history it's doubtful that there won't be a recurrance, but I can hope.

After the scan yesterday Mom took me to lunch, which was rather nice. I was slightly starving as I wasn't allowed to eat or drink 4 hours before the scan and, well, by the time it was over with it'd been more than 6.

After lunch we hit the Verizon Wireless store (we're on Alltel and it's been bought out or merging or somesuch by Verizon) as Mom had to get something and I've been meaning to get a new phone as my current one has a crack in the hinge, which pops ominously when opened and closed. Since we're supposed to be getting new phones anyways as we switch over to Verizon I figured why not.

Of course my desire for a "Just Plain Phone" was rather squashed because they don't really make those anymore. My only requirement is that it stores numbers and can text. Not that I text a lot, but it's how I communicate with my riding instructor who is deaf. That desire thwarted I went to the other end and eyeballed the nearly indestructible phone. You know the one that can survive in 10' of water and be run over by a truck or something like that? It definitely wouldn't have been a bad choice considering what most of my phones have gone through (irrigation water, creeks, and other things...). I wouldn't use the push-to-talk option or most of the other features on the thing, but my other choice was the Blackberry Pearl flip phone. It's the complete opposite of my "just plain phone" desire, but if it's not one extreme it's the other, right?

Anyway, I'm being schooled by Chris on the phone's doodads and I've announced a couple times "I can see hours at a time vanishing into this thing." Of course, Chris was anti-cell phone before he got his phone (same as mine, Blackberry Pearl flip phone ... or rather, mine's the same as his). I don't think I like the calendar on it and will probably continue to use my faithful Palm, which in addition to its large screen, has the option of a stylus, which makes jumping around and selection options much easier. The Palm also has more options when scheduling things.

So far so good, though.

The Horse Show was on Saturday and once again Ola and I loaded up Kash and Panda and headed over. Panda did wonderfully. She was steady and much more relaxed. While she still eyeballed the people leaning on the rails she was more accepting of them and didn't get as worried about what they were doing.

Kash did better than last time, though he started out a little worse. He was actually rearing when Ola first rode him into the arena and she said he was very much trying to take off. Unfortunately there wasn't time before our first class to work him out of it so I went in solo again in the first walk-trot class.

Between classes Ola worked with Kash a bit on the lunge line and he did wonderfully, responsive, respectful and all that. However when she got on him he didn't do so beautifully. He'd be fine standing still, but when asked to move forward, according to Ola, that's where the issues started. I had her get on and instead of asking for him to move forward, as for a couple side or backwards steps. We managed a half dozen passable walking steps before stopping and calling it good. After a lunch and water break I ended up getting on him and working the boy. He was definitely distracted and a little tight. I just worked him around the grounds, walking him down to an open area next to one of the other arenas where they had some speed events going on. I spent most of the time just asking him to move off my legs. Yield left, yield right, shoulder here, hip there, just things to keep his mind working and redirecting the energy. I didn't worry about him trotting to fast, just keeping him moving and listening to my seat and leg. He softened up and started to quiet down (he had been whinnying to the other horses rather persistently.

Once I had him moving nicely in the walk and trot I returned to Ola and had her work with him. He returned to some tightness, mostly due to her nervousness and I helped her work through it. His usual trick of popping his shoulder out returned and I had to really emphasize the use of her leg in order to get him to move over. They got to the point where they were working pretty good together. Ola asked if I'd ride him first in the covered arena during the break before our class and I did. I had her ride Panda and offered that the two of them ride in the next class together if I couldn't get Kash sorted out.

I once again worked on getting him to relax and move off my leg. Managed to do some figures, but the other horses in the arena were quite distracting to him and the longer I rode the more he wanted to magnetize back towards the gate. Nearly caused two wrecks, one of which was around a rather hot and flighty saddleseat horse. I ended on a good note at the far end of the arena, hopped off, and walked him out the gate.

Ola and Panda were getting along famously and with a little extra coaching they went into the second class that we had signed up for. Kash and I stood outside and cheered them on. They did really well, though Panda did get a little fast in her trot at one point, but none too shabby. I would have felt rather bad had Ola not gotten a chance to at least ride in the show, thus I had her take Panda in.

Panda is a very honest horse and does what you ask so long as she understands. Kash is not necessarily deceitful, but he demands proper riding, especially when he is in a more excited frame of mind. I am glad that he did much better than the highly distracted, nearly unresponsive thing he was last time, but I was a little bummed that Ola missed out working him in a class. She did get to ride though, which is good and she had a good time and felt better for the whole experience (Kash's antics included).

I don't know when we'll try to go next, but the EVAHA curcuit is over with so I'll have to ask Kim if she knows of any nice, close low-grade shows on a Saturday.

And I need to eat lunch. One of these days I'll update more regularly so I'm not writing novels with each post...
lantairvlea: (Default)
Kindof cross-posted with [livejournal.com profile] backyardhorse

Our herd is holding at five right now. We sold Jinjer back in May to a young girl and her family. Last I heard they are doing wonderfully and they couldn't have found a better first horse for their situation. I'm glad she's in a place where she can get some one-on-one attention and our herd dynamics have settled significantly since her departure.

Panda was bred back in April and is in foal, hurrah! We did an ultrasound at three months and got to see the heartbeat and it kicked a little bit. Exciting stuff. The vet thinks it is probably a filly (it spent the first minute possibly being a colt as it kept moving), but we'll find out for sure come March when it's on the ground.
Panda and Hedzer photos )

In other Panda-related news, she's been doing quite well. She's getting more relaxed and the canter transitions are coming off more smoothly. Today I did a lesson on her and we were able to get to working on the canter a lot quicker than before. Part of it is that I'm more relaxed and able to channel her energy better and the other part is Panda relaxing and shedding her nervous energy. Not to say she's a bundle of nerves, but she is not a horse you could just hop on and kick to go because that first kick will probably send her out from under you. She'll do whatever you ask so long as she understands, but if you get aggressive with your aids she does not respond well and those legs move pretty fast for a draft! Anyway, she is accepting whip cues now without overreacting to it and the same with the leg. The biggest thing continues to be getting her to round up and soften, but again, she's coming along and has come a long way since we bought her three years ago when she didn't even know that she could canter under saddle.

Kitt the Fjord )

Chewy is still going strong and I don't know what my lessons would be like without her. I need to get my butt moving working with Kitt so I have two really nice lesson horses. The only thing with Chewy is that she's pretty much just a walk-trot horse. Partially because at 18 I don't really want to worry about getting her cantering and polishing that off when I have younger horses that I can mold into my walk-trot-canter horse, which leads into the boy.

Kash is doing wonderfully. I'm part-leasing him to one of my older students and the two of them are doing quite well together. She is a good enough rider to handle Kash's little quirks, and Kash is enough of a challenge to keep her interested and learning, especially with his insistence on the proper use of the aids. You just try and pull him around to go somewhere instead of light, correct aids. I guarantee you'll go everywhere but where you think you want to go. That said I haven't ridden my boy much, but he's been getting worked three times a week besides so I'm able to focus more on Kitt and Panda who are in greater need of the attention without feeling too guilty.

Ruby continues to be the big good lady. I was able to take her out with Kash and Ola (girl leasing him) Monday and rode up to the Horse Park (it's less than two miles away, an easy ride from the house). I even got her to canter in both directions and it was a lot easier than I expected, especially since I don't think I've asked her to do that in over a year. A big Belgian mare cantering around is quite a sight to see and pretty comfortable as well!

The Strudel-horse under saddle )

I think that covers everyone in our herd. My in-laws horses are still over-fed and underworked. I have used Sunny in a couple of lessons (Cinnamon's mom). My parents' horses are doing well. We took Réo (RAY-o) up to Utah in May and, tragically, he fell out in the pasture and broke his neck (compression fracture the vet said). One of those freak accidents you have no control over. I was the one who found him stumbling around the pasture and, needless to say, the whole incident was terribly distressing. Dakota and Hershey are being worked on a somewhat regular basis, which is a good thing.

In other news I've started driving lessons! It's fun and different and I'm looking forward to using the knowledge on our group (Panda, Kitt, and Ruby all drive to some extent). I practiced ground-driving Kitt the other day. Of course that was the one day it decided to rain and, from the sounds of it, it just rained on Kitt and I, accursed weather. It stopped raining once I had her put up and I thought of working Panda too, upon which thought it started raining again. Anyway, the driving lessons will be a couple times a month and once we get our cart stripped down and repainted we should be good to go. That and have the tugs adjusted on Ruby's harness as currently they sit towards the top of her shoulder rather than more level with the point of shoulder, which would put the cart where it's supposed to be in a level frame rather than tipped back where it was previously.

Kevin came today to do the horse's feet. They're all looking quite good. Kash was begging to be worked or at least have some attention paid to him. He kept on coming over and licking me and nibbling on my boots. I backed him up and moved him off his shoulder a few times, though I really should have grabbed the lunge line and given him something more to think about, but I didn't.

I need to do more ground work, like ground driving in general. After working Kitt the other day I was a bit sore. Apparently I'm not nearly so fit as I'd like to think I am. I'll have to work in ground work, especially driving, at least twice a week both for my horse's fitness as well as my own!

Hot

Aug. 5th, 2009 09:37 am
lantairvlea: (Default)
I stepped outside around 5am this morning and I could feel it like a warm blanket on a warm night with all the associated unpleasantness as the heat still radiated without even the sun to blame.

I knew it was going to be a hot day.

It's not even 10.00 and I admitted defeat after training this morning, mucking, and cleaning out the horse trailer. I was going to work Kitt, but I've abandoned that as the heat with the added humidity is intolerable.

I could be outside and I know I can tolerate it fairly well, but I'd rather not risk the heat both for myself and the horse when I don't have to be out there.

So instead of sweating into nothing outside I'm hiding out in the house with all the blind closed and will be sorting through magazines, saving good articles and sacrificing the rest to the scissors as I continue my fanatic collection of reference images (predominantly equine, but I'm starting to gather other stuff as well now).

The good news is that we should be dropping below 110+ and will actually be at 103 by Saturday, hurrah! The bad news is that yesterday we broke the record for the highest low/night temperature and it's near 114 today. I don't know what the humidity is, but I think it's over 30% (I know, the humidity isn't bad compared to other places, but you put that on top of the 114 and it gets really gross really fast).

Monday I finally took my computer in to have the RAID card look at. They're going to replace it so I'm without my personal computer until they get that done so at the moment I'm using Chris' Windows PC.

All of my students are starting the shift to evening times for lessons as school is starting up already for most of them. In my book it's pretty insane considering that, well, we're in Arizona. It's HOT and the kids won't be able to enjoy recess or anything like that because it just isn't safe for them to be out there in it. Of course Chris has suggested that in AZ the kids should be in school during the summer and loose over the winter because then they'd be able to be outside and running amuck when the weather is nice during their break rather than sitting on their butts inside because it's too hot to do anything else. Sounds reasonable.

Yesterday I had my second driving lesson. The harnessing is getting much easier now that I've done it a few times (on my horses as well as hers). We need to get the cart up and going so I can practise at home! We need to finish stripping down the paint and put a fresh coat on it. We also need to adjust the harness so that Ruby can pull the cart safely as currently the tugs (the hole where the shafts go through on a single-horse cart) are way too high on her and puts the balance much farther back than it should be, giving the cart the desire to flip over backwards and putting more pressure on the horse's belly rather than the chest and back. This will require punching holes in the harness leather, which will not be an easy task because I think it's almost a half inch thick!

I'm starting to get the hang of guiding a single horse and where to keep my hands. It's funny as when I ride I tend to have my hands a little too far forward sometimes, rather than allowing my upper arm to fall straight down I tend to open my elbow a bit and have it out infront of me. In driving I tend to have my elbows at my side rather than having them in front of me where they're supposed to be. I guess I'm just opposite! The reason one wants the elbows farther forward in driving is mostly due to the seat. Your arm can not come behind you as it can in the saddle as the back of the seat is in the way. I think the next thing to do is figure out how to use the whip as I'm not terribly effective with it yet, mostly because I haven't used it much. Fortunatley this is something that I can work on at home without the cart, just ground driving.

I'll either use Kitt or Panda as my guinea pig. Kitt because she's a bit shorter and supposedly has some driving training and Panda also because she's shorter than Ruby (though a full hand taller than Kitt) and she needs the work on the ground so she can become more relaxed around people.

Now that I'm getting my mornings back I need to do more riding and work with the horses. Of course, it'll help once the weather starts to cool down!

I think it's time for lunch-ish ... we'll call it brunch. When you eat breakfast around 5am lunch comes a bit early.
lantairvlea: (Default)
The Rant )

This was posted at Backyardhorse at the beginning of March. Since then my mom has come out a bit and at least loved on her colt a little, but it's still not what he needs, nor what she said she'd do when she purchased him and her mother. I made it VERY plain that I would not work with the colt unless she was there. Her horse, her responsibility.

I know she is more interested in just getting on and riding. She likes to go out on trails and such and doesn't have much interest in working in an arena or roundpen. That's all well and good if you have older horses who are already trained, but a yearling colt can't just sit around and be expected to lead, tie, be trimmed, and stand still for the vet if you never work with it! That said he was good for the Vet when he came out Wednesday (Mom was in CA ... in her defense she's over there taking care of my grandparents). He stood still for the shots (better than Cinnamon did), but trying to lead him was not so easy. He wasn't being bad per-se, but he wasn't leading as he should be at this point.

Mom asked for help teaching Rayo how to load in the trailer for her birthday/Mother's Day. I told her she needed to be there, she said yes. We'll see if it happens.

Not that I'm not willing to help out, but I do have my own horses that need work. Panda needs miles and desensitizing (need to start longeing her), Kitt needs miles (she's coming four), Kash can always use some more training, though he did wonderfully on Wednesday, and I have Cinnamon Strudel to start riding. She has some three rides thusfar, but I haven't ridden her with a bit yet (she's had the bridle on just once) and I need to start ponying her places again so she can see the wider world. I don't plan on working her hard at all, she won't be three until December, but there's nothing wrong with teaching her how to respond to basic cues now, nor getting used to a (light) rider on her back. Did I mention that she's 15.2hh now?

In other news, I had the family again this morning. Last week I ended up just working with the horse, and this week I ended doing it again. The parents noted that the kids have been a bit lethargic in getting up to do the lessons so they've decided to swap places. I'll be teaching the parents riding lessons (and groundwork) the next month or so until the kids decide whether or not they really want to do it and if they miss it. The good news is that both of the parents are rather excited at the prospect of learning. The dad has been terribly enthusiastic and wants to know everything from the ground up. (If only another horse owner I knew were so excited!)

And I should get off my duff and go give Panda a thorough scrubbing (she gets to go see her "man" today ... I should post some pictures of him *drool*).
lantairvlea: (Default)
Did you know it only costs about $200 less to take two classes than it does four at ASU?

It just doesn't seem right, not simply unfair, but just plain not right.

Anyway! Mom, her friend Rachel, and I went out on a trail ride early this morning when the ground was still slightly frosty and it was disturbingly easy to see breath. I took Panda out again. If I'm not careful the boy's going to think I've abandoned him. But Panda needs the miles a lot more than he does and I should be able to start getting some good time on him as well. Panda did well, especially considering the construction at the trail head and a number of bicycles that passed us by. That and the fact that we were riding East to begin with and the sun was thoroughly in all of our eyes for the first half of the ride before we turned around.

Panda is coming along nicely. She's getting less reactive, though the first portion of the ride she was a little jiggy (nothing compared to what most people consider jiggy, but I don't like any jig at all...), but worked out of it into a relaxed, but swinging walk.

I've set up to start going back to Kim's next Friday and I'll start going to a place out in Peoria the end of the month. I'll probably go to the place in Peoria for a few months (and only every other week) due to the distance, but I am curious as to what they have to share. They're the same people with the Arab gelding and the warmblood mare that I checked out back in December.

In other news, the hunt is still on for Natalie and has begun for the siblings (a third one will be joining them in taking lessons next week, actually). I went with Nat and her Mom Saturday morning to look at a Standardbred mare. She was only 800 and I took a look at her and asked if she had been lunged, the lady said "kindof," but never with a whip. So I gave it a shot. Very low-key, just asking her to walk around me at first and WOOSH! hoof flying past my head! The mare tried to kick me THREE TIMES while lungeing her. She settle down into some form of work, but wasn't terribly happy about it. We then watched the lady ride her and I continued to be unimpressed. Well, unimpressed by the training not necessarily by the athleticism of the horse. When asked to trot she did this half-canter, but not really thing, elevating quite impressively as she rocked back and took these huge, exaggerated steps, but she wouldn't really settle into an easy, forward trot.

Now I know the horse was only 800, but I think they could do MUCH better in quality by waiting and possibly finding one that is a little more, but doesn't have the issues. The fact that she tried kicking me in the head (three times) didn't help the mare's case any either.
lantairvlea: (Default)
She likes to lay down in the middle of the arena and snooze during the middle of the day. The first couple of times I saw her do it, it was slightly alarming because the first thought is "horse down, something must be wrong!" Apparently, though that's just the way Panda is and she likes flopping over and dozing in the sun. I do think it is a little odd to sunbathe on a perfectly hot and sunny day, but that's okay, whatever makes the mare happy.

Panda did get a bit of a workout this morning. After warming her up and trying to loosen her up a bit in the walk and trot we worked on trot-canter and canter-trot transitions. I basically counted 15 strides in the trot (a stride for each beat) and 10 in the canter (which is three-beats, but a stride is considered the 1-2-3 plus moment of suspension). Going back and forth has really improved her canter departures, especially to the right. The left is still a bit ... I want to say "scattered," but I don't think it's quite the right word. She doesn't pick it up quite as readily or easily as the right does and still has a slight tendency to want to run into it (trot faster and faster until it's easier to just canter), but not for so many strides as she had before. I was quite happy with how she did and then we went a roaming outside of the arena.

I took her across our property and cut through the neighbor's to the little access road and then up to San Tan before going down the road to Dave and Marty's and having fun watching the guys working on their roof. Panda wasn't quite sure about the crazy wild people pounding away and crawling around on the roof, but she stood and watched. The first couple times I tried flexing her neck she started walking off into a turn because she was a bit stiff and nervous. With several repetitions she calmed down and flexed easily, though there were a couple moments when cars made noise on the road behind us or the men working did something that caused her to get slightly nervous and want to move her feet. She did great, though despite not really being OUT in quite a few weeks.

I had a lesson with the new kid, Zane. I think it'll be a slow progress to getting him focused and really listening. His mom mentioned that he's latched on to the bullriding thing and would, ultimately, like to do that (and go fast and all such other wonderful things). Of course, his mother isn't so sure about the riding bulls thing, but she does understand that there's a process and set of skills that one needs in order to be able to stay on any fast-moving animal, be it simply running or bucking crazily. I personally am not enamored with the idea of climbing aboard something that I KNOW is going to explode under me, but I guess that's personal preference, and there's not much that can deter the fearless five-year-old. With the knowledge of what he wants to work towards, though (moving faster in particular) I think I can use it to help him focus more and understand that he can't progress and get to the "fun stuff" until he's able to do the boring, slow stuff first.

Yesterday consisted of training on Kash with Kim. I think I am FINALLY getting off of my left hand when it is the inside rein and starting to pick up some contact with the outside and being a bit more effective when moving to the left. I think I'm also starting to balance a bit better through the turns. Kim notes that I have great balance in the canter, but I can be a little shaky with the trot.

I think part of the reason I hang on the inside going to the left (especially when riding Kash) is that he is stronger going to the left and more prone to doing something silly, like deciding that he doesn't want to go left anymore and trying to take off straight or pop his shoulder out and shoot to the right. It sounds counter-intuitive, you'd think that bringing his face to the inside would make him turn, picking up with the outside rein to prevent him from overbending has been quite the eye-opener and a bit empowering. Instead of trying to beat him back around to the left with the right leg and left rein, I close my outside leg and use the outside rein to prevent him from overbending and popping the shoulder out. It works great, especially when I remember to do it!

The rest of yesterday was fairly nondescript. I worked on the website redesign and wrote three letters. One to the woman I'm collaborating with on a short comic, one to Darcy, and the third to Aubrey, my friend who is serving her mission in Portugal at the moment.

And now it's about time to think about giving the horses their evening ration. My parents' still need their joint supplement and I really need to take some time to work Rowdy tomorrow. I've been working my parents' horses for some extra cash to make up for the pitiful lack of lessons I've had this summer, particularly this month. I just need to get my butt moving and do it. I should have worked them today, but had to run some errands and the lesson ran a bit over this morning.
lantairvlea: (Default)
This morning I was going to go to training, but Kim wasn't feeling well so we rescheduled for Monday. Instead I worked Kash in the walk and trot around the neighborhood and realized that he's not been out around the neighborhood in a while. He didn't do bad, but he was a bit distracted and not really "on the aids."

After that I had a lesson and Emma got to start the trot, she was quite excited. Granted, there was some minor trauma when Chewy stepped on Emma's toe. Of course, it wasn't until Chewy's hoof was OFF Emma's foot that she cried. We took off her boot and sock to reassure Emma that her toe was OK. A few more sniffles and the reapplication of said footwear and she was good to go. Her focus is becoming much better and thus her riding is improving. She really likes draft horses and so having Chewy plus Ruby and Panda is quite a treat for her.

Following the lesson I was going to work Mom's two horses, but discovered Dakota in quite a state. She was standing under the shade with Rowdy but unlike the big black gelding, she was breathing quite heavily, practically panting, but just through her nose. Knowing this not to be a good thing I led her over to the hose and spent the next 10-20 minutes hosing the mare with water to help cool her down. Granted, now we were standing in the sun, but the water was much cooler than her hot flesh. After I hosed her down she, of course, rolled and created a rather muddy mess, but that's okay, she was breathing much more steadily and had drunk quite a bit of water.

Then it was off and running errands. I FINALLY mailed the computer to its new home. (It should be there the 31st!) It's insured and being sent via UPS, they'll e-mail me the tracking number later. The lady at the counter was quite slow in getting everything inputed, though. I remember when I worked at Kwik Ship and having to do a much, much quicker job. By the time I was done there were three other people waiting to be served. I could hear another person in back packing things. Ah, yes, the old memories of working for shipping places!

The next stop was Marley Feeds to pick up some joint pellets for Mom's horses. When I pulled up around noon some crazy person was out working a horse over jumps. My thought is either she was exceptionally dedicated or extremely stupid. Not only is it hard on the rider, but 105˚ at 20-30% humidity does NOT agree with the equine athlete. That's a rough guestimate, I don't actually know what the humidity was, but the temperature is about the same and since it's the monsoon season the dewpoint and humidity are both up. As I was pulling out I noticed that they changed riders and a second person worked the horse over some low jumps. I don't know, I can work outside until about 11.00 without too much worry, but I will NOT work a horse after 10.30 in the summer. It's just stupid and foolish and it most definitely isn't worth the health of the horse or the risk of some sort of heat stroke or exhaustion for both horse and rider.

As I wandered back home I hit the feed store to grab some oats and pick up a few things for Marty. I finally made it home a bit after 1.00 and have been working on page 24 for Shifting Times, which is just about finished! I'm quite excited, I haven't had this quick of a turn-around for pages in quite some time. I hope I can keep it up and get myself a bit caught up and then maintain once school starts. It would be REALLY nice to be able to finish with the first chapter before the end of next year.

Speaking of next year ... did you know I will be graduated in less than 10 months? WOHOOOOOOO!!!!! *Dances happily.*

I need to finish the re-vamp for my site next week and try and get some more information down for Kashian. I don't think I ever mentioned that I finally have Aitnu's family line figured out, mwah ha ha, but I can't tell until after I'm done with Merging Worlds (the first part/book of the Shifting Times series). Part of me can't believe that I've managed to stick with it this long, and the other part knew I was quite stubborn all along.

Once I finish Chapter One: Runaways, I plan on re-doing the first two pages (at least) and then possibly getting it published, just a small self-published run. It'll mostly be for myself, but if anyone's interested I'll make more copies, probably to sell near cost (unless I manage some massive following in the next year, which, given my current track record, is highly unlikely).

Which brings me to the ever-present curiosity that occasionally plagues my mind of why I don't get more recognition for my art. I know I have a small, fierce following, but they are friends more than fans, which is actually quite a good thing, but it can get frustrating because at times I don't feel like I get the recognition that my ability deserves...? I think part of it continues to fall back on the fact that I don't really promote myself much (or well for that matter). I might have my art a lot of places, but I don't always go out of my way in trying to engage people. I'm not very good at self-promotion and I feel a bit self-conscious and don't want to get obnoxious.

Ach, whatever. I'm still in college (for a little while at least). As I've figured before, I won't worry too much about promoting myself until I'm through and have the time for such pursuits, like more conventions and the like (if I have the money for it, and I should, I WILL be at FC in 2010!). And checking out local galleries and getting into the First Friday thing down in Phoenix where they have the artwalk and other activities once a month.

Of course then there's the consideration that both horses and art take up a lot of time and I do have to consider that there will be a bit of give and take there. I don't ever plan on doing a whole lot of showing, but I do think it would be a fun experience to compete and get a sense of how good I actually am compared to other riders.

Time to wander off the computer and feed horses, or at least get them their Psyllium, Kash already had his this morning, but the other three went without due to lack of oats.
lantairvlea: (Default)
But not really.

I finished two of the three pieces that are due Monday. Of course, the third one will be the most time-consuming as it is a colored pencil piece.

Our final project in Drawing III will be a massive triptych with three 22X30" pieces. I think I might do pastels, but I don't know.

I have a sad attempt at starting the final paper for Teaching Art Processes and an inkling of what to do for the second half of the paper for Stokrocki.

I did, however, finish page 22 of Shifting Times, which makes me happy. Hopefully I'll get page 23 done in time even with school gnawing on the back of my neck.

Shifting Times, page 22, with detail shot! )

It's good to get back into the groove of lessons. While two ended up being postponed this week, I will still have taught five lessons come Saturday, which is good. March will still be a woefully bad month and February wasn't much better, but there were a few things that were beyond my control and being absent a week didn't help any.

I'm tempted to throw some of my older students on Kash again, but I figure get them back into regular lessons before we think of that. I do want to allow them to progress into the canter, but Chewy does not have anything resembling a smooth, balanced canter and neither does Panda. Sunny needs a thorough tune-up and isn't the best on the lunge line, forget about doing anything with her in the roundpen with a rider on her (she gets terribly excited, responsive, but too fast and a bit unbalanced for a rider to get used to the movement). Thus it leaves the boy, which means I need to get him worked three times a week or more to keep him on par. Four more weeks and school will be finished for the summer (not counting Summer School) so we might just be able to get 'Brose and Nat up again.

Speaking of Kash, he did fantastic in training today. There were a couple of wobbly moments, but overall he performed wonderfully as we worked a bit on shoulder-in, trot-canter-trot transitions, and moving from working to extended trot. We also did a little jumping, and my have I missed it! As soon as school is out I am going over to my parents' and getting the holes drilled for the jumping standards so I can start practicing at home. That's really what has been keeping me from doing it more at Kim's because I haven't been able to exercise him over them at home and I haven't really had the time to exercise him period. This last week he got a bit so I figured he'd be good to go.

And now I must be off!
lantairvlea: (bastek kunst)
The semester is nearing a close and I'm getting quite excited at the prospect of being freed from this rigorous schedule. The last couple weeks of being out of Stockrocki's class has been something of a heaven setn, allowing me time to get things done that I would not have been able to do otherwise.

Speaking of which, Tuesday I need to work my butt off and get those two (more like one and an eighth) papers done for Stockrocki's class. We have a guest speaker on Thrusday so I want to be prepared to turn them in just in case. There's no news on when our absentee teacher will return, she's still dealing with a family situation back east and I haven't heard anything since her initial e-mail noting the hiatus.

I spent a fair amount of time on Saturday working my butt off on the tutorial that I will have to do for her class. It is going to be quite insane. I can't wait until I actually get working on the actual image rather than the mind-numbingness of having to detail step-by-step how to scan the image and clean up the lineart. I have a feeling that I'll spend more time doing the tutorial than actually coloring the image at this point.

In other art-related news, I finished my stethescope of fishhooks Sunday and am currently lugging it about campus. It turned out quite nice, though I didn't have time to decorate any of the fish hooks in fly-fishing style (would have been so cool...), but that's okay, I think that's forgivable as tying those giant hooks that I used to hold up the piece would have been a pain. I did submit to the evil of the hot glue in order to keep the weights in place. At some point I might go back and pop it off, using crazy glue and some small nails (i.e. driving nail into board and gluing the weight to the head of the nail, eliminating the hot glue blob).

It's all good just the same. And I must note this was probably the most deadly art project that I've ever done, primarily due to the 150+ fish hooks that were used.

Farrier, Floating, and Lessons )
And I'll stop rattling and meander my way up to my first class.

Success!

Mar. 28th, 2007 10:04 am
lantairvlea: (Default)
For some strange reason, ASU finally decided that it was OK for me to sign up for my Painting class.  Now be that because the professor did something mighty and powerful with her professor powers as I e-mailed her about the class (didn't get a reply though), or the ASU system is erratic and spontaneous.  Well, there is a third option, that they fixed whatever bug was preventing me from registering in the first place.

Thus, fall semester is now set up to have me at ASU Mondays and Wednesdays from 7.40 until 1.30 and Thursdays from 4.30(pm) to 7.30.  This means that I have to catch the bus at 6.00am on Mondays and Wednesdays and I won't be home until 9.00 on Thursdays, but I will survive!  It makes me happy to have such an open schedule and I'll be able to teach lessons every day that I desire.  I see this as a good thing.

Summer is going to be crazy busy with lessons.  I need to call up some people the end or possibly mid-April to see if they are still interested in taking lessons, or if they're interested in starting again (I have at least one student who had to stop due to schedule conflics this Spring).  I'll also have a summer school course from May to the end of June running frum 11.20-2.30, which happens to be during the time of day when it's too hot to do anything anyway, so that makes me quite happy and will allow me to be a bit looser with my schedule in the coming semesters.   Depending on how it goes, I might pick up another summer school class next summer as well, allowing me to take only two classes my last semester or three my last two, probably two my last so I can be a full time student until then and reep the benefits of that.

Yesterday my afternoon lesson was modified due to weather.  We had some rather wicked wind rip through, which I don't think helped my sore throat any.  I showed Ashley how to do some braids, but it started getting too windy to finish and we retreated inside to learn some of the finer points of dismanteling and cleaning an English saddle (the stirrup leathers on it have never looked so good!).

I do like giving them the option when weather rules out a normal riding lesson of learning about cleaning tack, wraps and boots, braiding, or other such activities, some of which are quite essential (cleaning tack).  I do need to take some time to dismantle my western saddle and give it a thorough cleaning.  It's mostly synthetic so the Girths and panels I can just hose off, but I'll have to soap up the pommel, cantle, and breastplate.  I do need to clean tack more often than I do, especially considering the use the two english saddles get.

Panda started her schooling on Monday and the guy fell off.  Apparantly he's used to those Quarter Horses and other breeds that, y'know, actually have withers that will keep the saddle in place if the girth gets a little loose.  At least that's my thought (granted, I have met some mutton-withered QHs and Paints).  The girth got loose, and Panda did a little kick-out (not quite a buck, but she lifted her hind a little so I'm told) and the saddle slipped and Andrew met the dirt.  His grandfather got to have a good laugh about it and hopefully the guy learned a lesson about checking the girth after a warm-up especially on a mutton-withered horse (okay, I keep on wanting to spell it whither, but I know that's not right... I think ... or maybe it is, I'll have to look it up).

And time to be off to classes.

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