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)
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 GrĂ¼nter. 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.

Bud

Dec. 19th, 2015 10:08 pm
lantairvlea: (lantair look)
Had another awesome drive with Bud today. Sue started out, but her hands were giving her a little trouble so I took over as we got into the desert area. We got him into a nice jog and I asked him to canter again twice. The first time he seemed unsure of what I wanted and the second time he rolled into it better, but he doesn't hold it very long, which is fine for now as I'd rather he slow down than take off. We may try for some more active trot-canter-trot transitions and this coming week I might get him on the long lines and see about tuning that up from the ground. Under saddle his canter is coming along, but there are more aids when I'm sitting on him.

As we swung back towards home I did a lot of wonderful bendy circles, turns, and direction changes around the terrain and we discussed maybe getting him out to a Darby or HDT in the coming year. The turns were smooth and I barely had to use the whip to ensure he stayed round and balanced through them. He is a pretty fun driving horse now and I hope I can get Kitt in the same state. Granted Sue's little cart is much smoother and quieter than the forecart, but you use what you have, right? I guess we have the wagonette, but it might be a bit big for Kitt and I don't have shafts that would fit her besides.

Anyway, Bud has come a long ways and I know I've said it a couple times already, but he's now the horse Sue was hoping to buy and I am actively enjoying my time with him. It's hard to believe he was such a pushy knucklehead at the beginning! We dragged tires around the neighborhood for about a hear before we hooked him tonthe cart again and all of that walking paid off. A year and a half ago I started riding him and he has come a long ways there too. He is still happier driving and that may never change, but he is definitely a more enjoyable ride than he used to be! I'm even playing with introducing the half pass at this point, which is exciting and fun (and makes me wish I could put the same time into my crew...).

Short version: Bud has gone from a pain to awesome in the last three and a half years.
lantairvlea: (lantair look)
Had Kitt over at Michelle's again today. We were solo today, which meant we got to focus just on the jumps and not having to factor other horses working in the ring.

We started with ground poles and worked up to the cavelletti before making two crossrails at opposite ends of the arena. She dodged out to start, I let her have a hard look at it and she went gingerly over. She decided she wanted to suck along the East wall and ignore my right rein. I swung her left a few times, but she didn't come off of it until I insisted she back off and bring her off her left shoulder to the right. I think when she realized I wasn't going to to leave off with my left leg and right rein she stopped insisting and followed my set track much better. Once she took the two crossrails in a row she got a break, repeat a couple times and then we added in the cavelletti that were set up as a double bounce between them.

I dropped her the first time to the second crossrail, but we made it well the second time through and came back the opposite direction, which she did really well and we called it a day. She is getting to a good place much quicker in the sessions and if I had the ability to school her a couple times a week instead of just once or every other week, I think she would become nicely consistent over the crossrails and then get her consistent over some low verticals and my students could start having fun with her.

We're pretty much just keeping it at the trot right now, though she did canter and jump over the cavelletti bounce. It is a bit of a stretch for her, another reason to get something set up at home eventually

Michelle didn't say much and it really is me paying more for the use of her place than instruction at this point, which is where it got with using her driving horses (the reason I swapped to my horses since I need(ed) to build my skill at driving less trained horses).

I know there are a couple other places nearby that offer jumping and I may sample what they have to teach at this point. We'll see. I know Kitt's at a point that she just needs to do it and I need to build my skill more so I can circumvent arguments, but that also depends on her trust in me as well and that what I am asking her to do is easier than whatever she thinks she should do instead.

I was amused to reflect that she has five years to be where Chewy was when we got her. I think she'll get there and beyond. Just a matter of continuing to build her training and confidence.

I am still riding her bitless. I thought about putting the bit on this morning, but she came around. After her cooldown I asked her to back a few times and she was super sticky. We spun in some circles as she hung again on the right rein. When she realized hanging and pushing wasn't getting her the release she offered a few good steps. We built on that and she finally reached a point where I just squeezed (I want to say squoze... is that a word?) my hand and she dropped into the bridle, a bare flutter of leg and she lifted her shoulders into a beautiful back. I need to get another video of our work.

My seatbones were pretty sore from riding in the draft saddle yesterday (took Charm-N out with Debbie and her mare Eden) so spending most of the time in the two-point was pretty welcome, even if my thighs and calves were feeling it by the end.
lantairvlea: (lantair look)
Today started out hot. I had a lesson and rode Panda during it. She doesn't care about the stirrup leathers snapping any more and I tormented her a bit by riding poorly and being a little noisy in my seat and legs as well as flailing my arms around. Kaylen has come a ways in the last year with Kash. I actually had to boot her off of him for a bit because they were having quite the negative feedback loop going on with her getting anxious and him getting quick in response to it. She got some canter out of him today and is doing better at not letting him noodle around.

After that I loaded up Kitt and took her to Michelle's. The shafts still aren't done and I figured Kitt could use some me time. The truck said it was 103 as we headed over. The Weather Channel on my phone said it was 100. It was 10am.

Anyway, the first time I asked her to trot she threw a little attitude, but settled nicely. I sent her over the single cavelletto and did the set of four ground poles once, which she backed off and gingerly moved over. Michelle believes Kitt is not afraid of things (definitely believe that), but is checking it out. We did the ground pole set back and forth and Michelle pointed out that the first time she overexaggerated, and then she would be too lazy, and go back and forth until she figured out the exact amount of effort required to go over it. She would start to build up speed a little and rush a smidge, and that came into play as we did the raised cavelletti.

The three cavelletti were set on a bounce distance (we just trotted them) and she did a similar thing. She backed way off to start, then started rushing a bit. Would over do it a little, then hit Every Single One. We finally had a few good times over at the trot and moved to a single crossrail that had a small gate between the bars. It was a LOT more solid than anything I have asked her to jump at home as she also had a groundrail on each side out about a foot.

There was a lot of negotiating and finally I was just keeping her in the trot and presenting her over and over again until she finally took it. Lots of praise, try again. Michelle ended up standing on one side and put a pole up as a wing on the other. Kitt jumped the wing SIDEWAYS several times before she decided to pop over the actual jump again. Much praise, try again. Then she tried ducking out before the side pole and she was still a bit backed off about going over. We hopped over the side pole a couple times and then she finally gave and jumped. We did it a couple times until she fluidly went over it and called it a day.

For a chunky 14.1 (and a half) hand pony she is VERY agile! I did grab a little mane here and there and was very glad I left a hand grip when I returned her mane to its traditional Fjord mohawk this spring.

I will definitley be taking Kitt back for some more "me" time. Whether that is next week or next month we'll see. Once the shafts are done I want to buckle down and get Z polished off and, hopefully, officially greenbroke to drive. Marty got me a couple of big cans that I plan on making some noise with in the next week or so. Z has been standing around most of this week. I think I'll try to ride her tomorrow.

And I am out of time. I have a lesson at six tomorrow morning and I should have been sleeping already.
lantairvlea: (zetahra)
Thursday was another lesson with Michelle and Zetahra. I failed in my desire to get the bridle fitted to her this last week. Luckily when I put the bridle on it fit just fine. Apparently Kitt's fat head (and I say that in an affectionate, loving way) is compensated by Z's length (though her head isn't thin by any means). I left the butterfly on and just used the snaffle setting. She didn't seem to mind the French Link at all either.

She didn't seem to mind the blinders at all. We joked that her forelock prepped her for the blinders. When I first put the bridle on I'm pretty sure she was completely blind for a moment, the blinders covering the sides and the forelock the rest. She moved her head a little more to compensate for her limited vision, but that aside she focused right in on the work at hand.

After a brief warm-up we hooked her to the drag and worked on getting her to hold herself up a bit better through the turns. I asked her to trot with it a couple times, which was quite humorous. She went to trot, thought that didn't give enough power, tried to canter and lost her forward momentum with each jump. I joked about teaching her to piaffe and passage with the drag. The point at least was that she made the effort. Both of us were quite happy and we had another 10 minutes in the lesson when we called it good with the drag. We played a bit with double-lungeing again to get her to cone off the bit and lift her shoulder through the turns. She sharpened up a bit and we callwd it good. Most excellent actually. Michelle said she doesn't really see anything that says I can't put her to next week, but I think next lesson we'll play with the false shafts. I doubt things will change with the blinders, but we'll cover our bases.

I think the lesson after that we'll officially introduce the cart and the last one ... we'll see! I don't know if I want to wait until March to have the first hitch or not. I don't think it'll mayter to Z either way. I shall have to think on this. Definitely use the work cart because it has an easy exit point just in case. Speaking of which I need to hit the True Value to see about shackle bolts and have Chris pull the singletree off the work cart to have the ends shortened and holes drilled for the aforementioned shacklebolts.

Makes me think I actually know what I'm doing needing only five sessions under Michelle to have her feel we're ready to move on. I'm excited and a little anxious. You try to get rid of all the question marks you can, but you never quite know until you finally hitch up or swing that leg over.
lantairvlea: (lantair look)
Today was Z's fourth lesson at Michelle's. I didn't get the chance to work her this last week so her last thoughts on work were from the session last week in Michelle's roundpen.

She was a bit more aware of the traffic as I was tacking up, but she stood still better. She swung her butt around once, but a few taps with the whip brought her back around. I love having buttons on my horses.

We tacked up and warmed up double-lungeing with frequent direction changes. She eyeballed one of the jumps and I worked her around it (she didn't blink at the sheep grazing a few yards away) and next to it until she decided it wasn't something I would accept her focusing on. She needed to keep with me and not worry about it. After a few nice canter transitions we called the warm-up good and decided to try the false shafts this time.

I have ground-driven her at home with them a few times and walked around the neighborhood once or twice with them, but the purpose of taking her to training with Michelle is to be sure I don't have any major holes and everything is where it should be before putting her to the first time.

Zetahra didn't think anything of the false shafts. I walked and trotted her with them and even cantered for the first time with them. She moved as if they weren't there.

I took her around the jumps and between some cones and ground poles before sending her over the poles. I was curious to see how she'd respond to the false shafts bouncing over them. She avoided them a few times, but I did get her to walk and trot over them and her avoidance was typical horse-not-wanting-to-go-over-poles avoidance. She didn't think a thing about the shafts hitting the ground poles.

At the end she halted wonderfully and stood well as we talked about where to go next. I think I have four weeks left before I should call it quits for a time and Michelle thinks that will be a good spot to pause. She believes the next thing to do is repeat what we've done in the closed bridle and is pretty confident that the next thing to do after that is put her to a cart. Exciting!

I feel pretty good having done everything myself up to this point. It's nice to have the confirmation that I'm on the right track and the onky real holes (Z's focus and attitude) showed up mostly due to her age and being in a new environment. Not too shabby.

I will try and spend a minute this week fitting the driving bridle to her and swap the bit out. I don't know if I should work her in it or let Michelle see Z's first time working in it. I guess we'll wee. I don't suspect with Christmas in less than a week I'll have time to do more than fit the bridle!

Michelle was impressed that Z did so well today without having work between. She says we're her weekly entertainment too. Z is very expressive along with being opinionated so her expressions of her opinions can be quite amusing I have to agree.
lantairvlea: (lantair look)
Thursday I took Z to Michelle's again. I had worked her Tuesday and taken her for a walk another day last week (forget what day, had been pkanning on harness and false shafts, but ran into time so just walking, better than nothing). Tuesday she was greatn nice and focused in the warm-up so I hooked her right up to the tire. We worked on bending properly through the turns with the weight and did some trotting with the tire and threw in a few canter strides because it was feeling good. A nice little session and I must say she is a bit better at home than she is out, probably a comfort thing.

The walk the other day was ok, but not spectacular. She was a little reactive to cars coming up behind, which she needs to get over. It'll happen, but at the moment I suspect she is playing it up a little because she's bored just working in a straight line. Maybe I'll play with more leg-yielding and perhaps play with a little shoulder-in.

Anyway, back to Thursday: Zetahra was good tacking up and stood welk to start, but then she realized Jim and Andy (student and horse) were still working in the arena and the fact I wasn't letring her stand and gawk was not settling well. She was wanting to blow to the outside and circled around and through the cavelleti and she got herself placed in front of one of the jumps, she stopped and I insisted she go forward (she had space to go around), which she wasn't terribly happy about. Michelle suggested we put her in the roundpen so she wouldn't have as much space to noodle away from me. This put her in a new part of Michelle's place, between her turnout for her herd and her neighbor's property along with sharing a fence with the arena.

You can imagine that she was a bit high on herself, especially since Spinner got blowing (and he looks a LOT like Kash) and the neighbor's horse was also a bit up. When I asked for the first canter in there she went to buck up and ended up having her whole hind end slip out from under her. She thought better of such silliness the next times I asked. We did a lot of direction changes to get her focus and to work her towards the outside as she was wanting to push in away from the "scary" spots.

It was a pretty good work-out and she did get up a bit of a sweat. By the end of it she was relaxed and swinging and much more focused on me. I'd like to see her reach the point where she is just as easy away as she is at home. We're plugging holes basically and making sure everything is as solid as her desensitizing work.

I am excited to out her to the first time, but I also want to be sure I'm doing it right and not leaving any gaping holes that will get both of us in trouble. I feel pretty good about how I've brought her along thus far and think it hasn't been too bad conaidering this is my first time training a driving horse from complete scratch.
lantairvlea: (lantair look)
I took Z to training again today. She was more focused this time and less distracted by the sheep and llamas next door. I was also better at demanding she stay focused and staying on the set track. She got irritated when she slipped the first time asking her up to canter, but I only had to hind her up twice and immediately sent her back forward. Michelle suggested the next time I needed to push Z forward if she got opinionated and the next time she did I growled at her and pushed her forward as she was starting to anticipate and sewk the "rest" after being brought down out of her little bucking fits. She woke right up when I got after her and went sideways a bit, ending up behind one of the jumps where she wondered if she still had to work or not and she did, which she settled right back into.

Once she gave some nice canter transitions we dragged the singletree around and explored the rest of the arena. She eyeballed the jumps and thought about "spooking," but reminding myself to keep her straight between the reins and using the whip to leg-yield as necessary to refocus her.

Michelle commented that Z has no problem with the singletree as it jingled and the traces rubbed against her sides and hocks. Z gave a little trouble with standing still and danced around and over the single tree and even managed to get the traces crossed, which I'm still not quite sure how she did it.

We hitched her to Michelle's drag, which is much heavier than just the tires, though part of that could be that it actually has teeth to bite into the ground so it has more, well, drag.

We did two loops in Michelle's arena with it, which Z actually did quite well leaning into, though she did tend to wander sideways and counterbend, something to work on at home and be aware of. After we made our passes Z was breathing a little heavy unlike our trot and canter work earlier so the weight definitely was working her! Hopefully in the next week I can put her to the tire a couple times and work on the bending, straightness, and impulsion at home.

She was much more focused today and had less attitude. Her button-pushing was more subtle (not standing still vs bucking) and the coxkiness was more settled into quiet confidence with the occasional blip of "I wonder what happens if..." when she started getting a little bored. Dang smart horses.

I'm still working students in the round pen. I may be able to uae the arena come Friday. We shall see.

Tomorrow is a trail ride with Chris, Thanksgiving at our place with Chris' family, and maybe giving everyone a ride in the wagonette. The latter will depend.
lantairvlea: (zetahra)
Obviously Zetahra has been in work and learning things from day one, and especially in the last year, but yesterday was the first time she's had another trainer lay eyes on her and assess where we are. Things have been going well with driving training so instead of working with Michelle's finished mare Tenacity I brought Zetahra this week.

I wanted to see how she'd do in the environment as well as get an assessment and have Michelle on hand to eventually start ground driving around the neighborhood when we are ready for that.

Z was a little looky, more about the llamas and Michelle's set-up. She didn't blink at the sight and sound of the traffic, though walking around our place the cars are 10 feet away, not on the other side of the trailer plus 20 or 30 feet more so well within her comfort zone Even with large semis and noisy trailers.

I harnessed her up and figured we'd just start with double lungeing and ground driving. She was looky and showed some attitude and bucked a little into the canter, which I drove her forward through. It took her about half a lap to smooth out of it.

Michelle gave her assessment: Zetahra is very confident, cocky, really and her lookiness was a combination of curiosity and seeing what I was going to do about it. The bucking was also a "what are you going to do about it" thing. Driving Z forward wasn't what was needed as it took her a half lap to cone out of it. It wasn't enough of a consequence for her to change the behavior so instead Michelle had me bind her up, essentially do a one-rein stop on the lines and shut her down.

Asked her upn nice walk, good trot, canter and she humped up so Michelle sat on the inside rein just about and Z spun about four times before she stopped nose to shoulder with a look like "what just happened and how did I get here?" She stood as we unraveled her and I took the reins and sent her off again. Canter, buck, one-rein stop, unwrap horse, rinse and repeat in both directions. At first the bucks were her typical "rocking horse" buck where she bounced from forehand to haunch and didn't really go anywhere (thus I would drive her forward because she appeared "stuck"), then as we implemented the new tactic she realizes that wasn't working so she would "take off" and do a flying buck, which also got shut down. Eventually she tried just a nice canter transition, which was rewarded with verbal praise and then a rest. When she was going consistently both ways we called it a day. Towards the end you could see her having thoughts about bucking or otherwise being silly, but thinking better of it.

Michelle was in stitches most of the time. Zetahra has a very expressive face and the type of smarts that causes her to feel out her boundaries. I admit it was pretty funny.

Michelle noted that so far as desensitizing goes Z was rock solid. If she had not been, getting spun around in the reins could have caused some serious issues. So I'm doing some things right! She also noted that Z knows this stuff (walk, trot, canter, whoa, etc.) She's just choosing to be opinionated about it, which needs to stop, especially in a driving setting. Part of it is Zetahra being in the teenage phase (coming 4 in April) and part is a lack of clear discipline from the other horses in her life as well as ill-defined boundaries with people at times (not completely faultless on that, but most of the mixed signals are probably from my working students).

All in all I think it went really well and gave me some more tools to use with Z. She hasn't bucked up at home in a long time so getting her in a new environment helps show the holes in her training better, which appear to be mostly attitude based rather than lack of knowledge on her part so I haven't been doing too bad.

Last night it started raining around 8pm pretty hard, then it vascillated between sprinkling and driving all night and today it has been sprinkling off and on all day. We have received more than an inch and needless to say we are soaked. Yes, it is still raining. I need to call my lesson that was scheduled for this evening.
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)
Two weeks ago Christa sent me a text letting me know she was planning on moving Panda and if I could put a few rides on her again. She finally had a trimmer who called her back so Panda got her feet rebalanced, though he did leave her fronts a little long. He could have brought her back another 1/4 inch and it would have gotten rid of the vague dish and eliminated the separation between the wall and her sole.

The first day the farrier hadn't been out just yet so I played with some slow stuff on the ground. She was pretty relaxed despite the time off. The second day her feet were done so I rode. We kept it easy, just walking and working on bending and doing some leg-yield and shoulder-in. This week I worked her Friday and Saturday. Friday when I asked for the canter she was a bit rushed, not too terrible, but it took some to bring her back down so instead of a little canter and more trot and walk we did a kot of transitions up and down, sometimes dropping her to a full stop to insist that she move off my hands and seat rather than pushing through them and being chargy. When she gave me a nice, light downward transition in each direction we called it a day with a nice cool-down. Yesterday we played with some vertical flexion and going more on the bit in the trot. We also revisited the trot-canter transition and she came back to it really quick. We called it good and today I met Christa to send off Panda to her new home.

More info later, time is scrunched!
lantairvlea: (lantair look)
I had backed off of my riding (meaning jumping) lessons with Michelle to focus on getting Charm-N driving well (or, rather, convincing Charm-N that I knew what I was doing so she would tune into me rather than telling me "shut up, I'm driving"). Charm-N is doing great by the way. I even took her out "by myself" (without Michelle) last week with Marty tagging along. So with Charm-N's driving goal accomplished and the past two trainings with her consisting pretty much of Michelle enjoying the ride I'm shifting back to using her mare Tenacity for driving or one of the others for riding. This past week I figured we'd change it up and ride, which through Michelle off a bit as the past four months or so we've been in driving mode.

I pulled out Shadow, her bay Appy gelding and warmed him up a bit. I'm not sure if it's a combination of getting my confidence on Z of riding more aggressively with Colter, or even just taking a bit of a break or what, but I had the best ride on Shadow. He was more responsive to my leg and I found myself settling into my leg better rather than popping up on my toes. I got my hands under my shoulders a bit rather than stuck on his wither and overall felt very accomplished. I went from cantering three cavelleti to a two bounce to one stride gymnastic. Woo! I think I'll be riding again next week and then settle into an every other week thing leapfrogging my lessons with Colter (or perhaps someone else... we'll see where that goes).

Now I just need to start jumping my own horses...

In other news I accomplished my Task of the Day. It took me a kittlw over two hours, but I'm actually surprised it didn't take longer. I undid all of Z's braids, brushed her mane, scrubbed it and rinsed, hand-grazed her while it dried and then re-braided the whole thing. It looks good. Perhaps I can get a working student to help next time. I also need to tackle her tail, but that will be another day. It ia dragging the ground ao I need to trim it to keep her from stepping on it. Yes, long manes and tails are pretty, but I see no point in having one so long that it impairs proper movement. Of course Z's dad had a mane that was about to that point. If it was long and he dropped his head he'd step on it.

House related news: cabinets arrived this morning and they are installing like mad! Basic was out here and drilled the dry well. Yesterday the Carpenter vanquished his arc nemesis the French Door and now it closes beautifully. We also have doornobs and handles now.
lantairvlea: (lantair look)
Charm-N is going to be an awesome pleasure driving horse. She does really well around the neighborhood. At this point I think I can manage her on my own and am going to try and get Chris to drive with me once a week. I'll go back to driving Michelle's mare or perhaps doing some jumping again. We'll see on that.

I had forgotten how nice the wagonette is to drive. I haven't had it out since November when we took Jed to the ADCS pleasure driving show. It sits you up above the horse unlike the work cart, which sit you behind and below the horse. What a difference in visibility, especially when dealing with a horse with Charm-N's broad posterior.

Tomorrow I'm taking Zetahra out on her first trail ride. At this point I'm pretty positive I am going to ride her and not just lead her around so long as she doesn't decide to be silly. I think leading her around the neighborhood the past month or so has toned down her reactions to things and a jogger or biker won't be nearly so bothersome as a truck with a noisy trailer or school bus.

Lessons have definitely cut back. I'm about at half of what I had been doing, which is typical.

Sunday it was 109, a record I believe. I can't wait for fall already.
lantairvlea: (Default)

I am not a stuffy elitist. I promise. I do, however believe that there are certain standards of conduct and a way in which one should present themselves when they count themselves as professionals and are representatives and proponents of their craft.

For example when I teach I wear a polo shirt or a CERT shirt (T-shirt with my logo and such on it) with jeans or breeches (I.e. clothing suitable to ride in) and boots. A student may find me occasionally in my kick around shoes when they first arrive as I'm prepping but before the official start I'm in my boots. I always wear close-toed shoes around the horses (because you know the one time I didn't I got myself stepped on). So I wear the same things I'd ride in, no excuses because I don't need a kid saying "but you're wearing shorts!" or some other such thing. I'm suffering in the heat with you my long pants and polo shirt. My driving instructor is always in breeches and boots with a t-shirt. The guy that I drove an hour and a half one way to ride with was always dressed to ride.

I pulled up to the place where I going to potentially start learning a bit more about Dressage this morning. The goal is to see if I can't get myself to the point where I can feel comfortable with all of the movements and not feel like I'm going to have to flounder with Z as she starts to progress in her training beyond my skill set and I end up holding her back. Admittedly I do have a good two or three years before that is likely to happen, but I definitely want a head start in this and if I want to ultimately pursue the medals I have to start somewhere. I got a bit of a taste for it driving out to Peoria, but that avenue closed with the onset of Summer that year and the doors did not reopen. The place sits on possibly five acres with irrigated turn-outs and a barn that holds a tack room and a half dozen stalls. I met Juliet who was in her sweats and sneakers as she was finishing up morning barn chores. She walked me out to get the horse I was going to ride, "Baby." We walked past their covered arena, which I am terribly jealous of with its even footing, letters, and most importantly SHADE. They also had a good-sized grass area with a little bank and some jumps.

Baby was close to if not 17 hands of flea-bitten grey warmblood. Seventeen hands isn't nearly so tall when it weighs only 1300 pounds instead of 1700. He is a bit lazy and shows some wear. His feet were really long and I worry about his general soundness. He does have super-short cannons, roomy joints, and withers that go forever. I was worried the saddle was a bit wide for him, but I'm defaulting to it being their horse and they knowing what fits and what doesn't. It was pretty casual, which I don't mind. I was pretty much left to my own devices tacking up and wrapping his fronts. Juliet gave me a set of spurs and his bridle. The bridle worried me slightly, the leather in places is stiff and cracked and could probably use replacing. Juliet said that one of their students liked to rinse the thing down with water after her rides and it "was a little dry." I think that was a bit of an understatement.

Colter came out as I was about to get on. I don't know, maybe I am a stuffy elitist, but I had a hard time getting over the fact that he was in flip-flops. Flip-flops! I had to double-wrap my stirrups and still ended up on the top hole (dang short legs). I also noted that the stirrups are those fancy angled things that supposedly make it easier on your legs. I took Baby out to warm up and wasn't terribly impressed with is way of going. I'm sure at one point he had nice, even gaits, but time and injury have taken their toll I think. He did have his moments of some brilliance, but much of it was trying to compensate and absorb his little hitches in his get along and he had a couple of bad steps, most likely exacerbated by his long toes. He's supposedly a schoolmaster in pretty much all the movements and I think I can feel a bit of that in there, but at the same time I'm wondering if he should really be asked for such things at this stage in his career.

We worked on getting him round and forward, emphasis on dropping his head and raising his back. We did some leg-yielding at the walk and moved up to doing the same at the trot and adding in shoulder-in as well. We played briefly with flying changes in the canter, the instruction of which consisted primarily of saying "now" when the time was and also noting that it is cued for on the downswing. I had to take a couple lot breaks to recharge at the walk as absorbing his trot is a bit of work. Towards the end of the lesson I was really hating the angled stirrups. I think my right one was more offensive than the left and I dropped it a few times. It was a bit better without it, but I didn't really want to ride stirrup less so I reclaimed the annoying thing.

I could feel some of what must have been Baby's former brilliance here and there and I know why they use him as their litmus test for new riders. He may move better once his feet are back in balance. I was hoping to ride something that felt a little less lame, but okay.

I asked Colter if there was anything particularly good, bad or otherwise and he noted that I need to step in and insist on more forward as I was a little sucked back at times and needed to go a bit more leg into hand. I was left to my own devices to cool out Baby and caught some snippets of Juliet teaching her lesson. From just the snippets I caught I think her style is more to my liking, but she is the jumper and lower-level coach and Colter is the dressage coach.

And I'm using the term coach on purpose. I don't know if I would really label him as an instructor at this point. Most of the instruction sounded like this: "more forward, rounder, more forward. Now go down the centerline and leg-yield to the rail. Do it again. Shoulder-in down the long side. More forward, more forward. If his head were down two inches he'd be on the bit. Now canter. Circle, more forward. That's better."

I'm going to give it another lesson or two and see how it goes. I'm not terribly impressed to start, but I think there is potential there. When I told Suzy who I was riding with she had heard he was a brilliant rider, but not so good on the teaching end. I may believe that. I'm going to wait it out a bit longer, though. A lot of it is that I know the principles behind a lot of this stuff I just need the opportunity to DO it and get the muscle-memory for it. I think that is more where I am at right now in my training and perhaps just being told what to do and figuring out what works and what doesn't is where I'm at right now rather than having someone blather my ear off about basic principles and exact technique.

I don't know. A little discouraged, but we'll give it some time to see how it plays out. My other option out here is CARA, but that is $56 for a half hour or 45minute lesson. I don't know if I'm ready to fork over for that.

And speaking of lessons I need to get out and prep for teaching mine,

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPad.

lantairvlea: (Default)

Apparently the LJ ipad app automatically cross-posts things. Posted at backyardhorse

Since my last post here we've had a few changes around the place. We sold the meadowbrook cart back in December and just last week we picked up a "draft work cart" for quite the steal, less than half of what we sold the meadowbrook for. It's pretty indestructible too, thick steel frame with motorcycle tires for wheels. Just what I was needing and looking for to put Zetahra to for the first time. The Robert's carriage isn't really appropriate for starting a horse in harness because of the potential for it to jackknife since it is a four-wheeled vehicle.

Speaking of Zetahra, my goal is to get her to both drive and ride come June. As far as her training goes she currently: trailer loads like a charm, ties, cross-ties, good for feet and grooming, leads at walk and trot, lunges both in the round pen and on the line, accepts the saddle (Western with back cinch, will throw an English one on her eventually), stands while I stand up in the stirrups, stands while I lean over, will also walk as I lay across her without issue, accepts the surcingle with breastplate and crupper, wears the bridle, will back off of bit pressure and bend to bit pressure, starting to double-lunge and long-line. Right now with the long lines I'm using the lungeing cavesson so I don't have to worry about her mouth. She still has a bridle on underneath it, but until she's pretty consistent with the cavesson I'm keeping the lines off of the bit. I may ride her the first few times with the cavesson too, but we'll see.

Panda is almost ready to be signed over to her new owner, just two more payments. The two of them have been getting along great and we've arrange that on weeks she doesn't make it out for her lesson I'll put a ride on Panda instead.

Last week Jed went to his new home. They came out to look at him Tuesday and loaded him up to take him home the same afternoon. It is a place that has all the things we wanted for Jed: cooler climate, open spaces, and a JOB! He'll be pulling a carriage around Prescott on the weekends and driven (and possibly ridden) throughout the week.

With a smaller herd I'm breathing a little easier, hopefully the hay we just purchased will last a bit longer, plus cheaper Spring shots and the next farrier l to boot. I also like being able to have all of my horses doing something rather than sitting around waiting for me to have time for them. I can use all of my horses for lessons now except for Zetahra because she isn't broke yet.

A couple weekends ago Chris and I went to a driving clinic, centering on draft horses and using them for agriculture as well as genera driving. Every time I turned around it seemed Chris was driving a different team, which was great to see. As some of our horses age out (all but Z and Kitt are in their teens, except for Chewy who will be 22!) Chris really wants to get a team. We are going to see if we can get both Charm-N and Ruby driving again and perhaps drive them together, which would be great. We'll see how that project goes!

So how are you all doing?

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPad.

lantairvlea: (Default)
As If You Needed Another Reason to Avoid Weedy Hay )

Yesterday Chris and I spent time fortifying Panda's stall in preparation for the foal next month. Her stall is now a little green fortress of painted particle board. I just hope she doesn't eat it and destroy the thing before it serves its purpose.

Saturday I took my students to the Scottsdale Arab Show. Everyone seemed to have a good time and I failed to take very many pictures. I blame the fact that I'm trying to focus on my students with answering questions, etc. rather than taking pictures (and making sure the ones I was directly responsible for didn't disappear!). I thought about bringing the Olympus so I would have something physically hanging around my neck to remind me of its presence. As it was Chris' little Kodak enjoyed most of the show lounging in the bottom of my bag.

I'm going to try and get them together to hit the Carousel Charity Horse Show during spring break as well, which should be fun and something different to see (more than just Arabs!).

And I was going to try and take Kash to the mini-circuit show in March, but he's not going to be ready with the set-back with the allergy attack. Then I was going to simply take Kitt, but it's the first weekend in March, which is the same day as the Cottonwood Draft Horse and Mule auction so I will postpone. Apparently the second mini-circuit show is on a Sunday, which also means I won't be going so I might try the "beat the heat" show in April. I now have a shirt and stock tie and hair net so I'm all good to go and will look quite smart all dressed up. I just need a velvet helmet cover to complete the fancy look. I should take pictures. I look pretty good in it if I do say so myself.

Panda gets her last set of shots this Friday and everyone else gets their Spring shots as well. We're getting closer!

And did you know: If I set a schedule for myself and follow it I get more things done?? It's amazing! Why didn't I do this when I first graduated? Of course, I know why, I was sick of being scheduled and just wanted to flail about for a bit with no real purpose and direction and enjoy it!

Anyway, back to business. I'm actually a little behind schedule, need to go take Moab for a walk.

Oh, I took Sahara out for the first time last week. To say the least I'm wearing my vest/body protector in addition to my helmet. It was initially at Marty's request, but I'm not willing to relinquish the vest until I feel comfortable and confident she's not going to do anything too stupid ... which might be a while.

Time to go accomplish things!

Waiting

Feb. 3rd, 2010 08:48 am
lantairvlea: (Default)
Took my computer in Monday and waiting for the call that says I can go pick it up.

I'm currently using Chris' lap top so, while I have internet access, I don't have access to any of my files. Well, technically I do because even though I have a computer with a massive hard drive most of my files are still on my little external HD.

Going to the Horsepark Monday was a flop as it was still closed. If they were to just get in there and rake up the footing it would be perfectly fine! However, they haven't (or hadn't) and thus the water just sits there rather than being churned up and absorbed. They haven't been as good about keeping the footing nice as they were when it first opened last year, which has been a bit of a disappointment, but it's still a lot better footing than I have at home.

So Monday I ended up working Sahara on the property in front of the house. She started out okay, and then fell apart, and it got a bit ugly, but we managed even if she completely lost her head a couple times and kept trying to take off on me. Thank heavens she has good breaks! That and she isn't the sharpest tack in the box either, which means simple things work, unlike Kash who is entirely too smart for his own good.

I worked both the training horses yesterday. Lunged Moab, who shifted between saint and idiot. He didn't goober (much) passing the horse trailer, which is a nice change. You'd think after staring at it for three months walking by the horse trailer wouldn't be an issue... I took Sahara for a walk around the neighborhood. She walks terribly fast and by the end of it I had a rather good cramp going on, was a bit hot, and I think overheated. The walks are good for them, but part of me says that ponying would be better because then I get to work one of my horses too. However I am a bit out of shape and the walking is good for me. Probably did a half mile yesterday at a pretty good clip. If I had to guess it was close to 4mph on less-than-level ground.

AND!

Something that I haven't mentioned! I'm going to the ROLEX! Mom's going with me. We're flying back to KY in April for the Kentucky Rolex three-day event. It's one of the qualifiers for the Olympics and the World Equestrian Games (WEG). The initial idea was to go to the WEG, but by the time Mom gave me the go-ahead to order tickets and everything, well ... I'm sure we could have gotten tickets, but all of the good hotels were either booked or charging $300 per night.

They will be running some test events for the WEG during the Rolex, which will be awesome. Grand Prix Dressage freestyles! Grand Prix Show Jumping! It'll be awesome! The tickets should be getting here in March I think and we have the flights, hotel, and car all booked. The only downside is that we'll be flying in late to Louisville and have to drive all the way to Lexington and find the hotel at 10 o'clock KY time (8 in AZ, but it's dark!). Neither of us have been to KY, so it should be a bit of an adventure.

When we're not watching the events we have access to the Kentucky Horse Park, which should be awesome! It's one of, if not the largest equestrian facility in America.

I've been fighting a runny nose the last several days. More annoying than anything. I'm hoping it doesn't turn into another sinus infection because I've had my sickness for the year already, thank you!

I received my package from Dover Saddlery yesterday. I now have a complete show ensemble from jacket to shirt, tie, and breeches! I'm still using a pair of paddock boots and half chaps, but they'll work. I might get some nice half-chaps later, but I don't know if I wouldn't be better served just purchasing a pair of boots (i.e. the knee-high English riding boots). We'll see. I need to try on the breeches to be sure they fit nicely. They are the right size, but some company's idea of a 28 regular can be a lot different than anothers!

And it's time to get off my butt and do something constructive. I slept in until almost seven this morning, I was rather tired I guess.

Training

Nov. 10th, 2009 02:41 pm
lantairvlea: (Default)
I think I failed to mention that a week ago Thursday my grandfather's horses arrived to start training with me. I've mostly done groundwork with them up to this point and they definitely need some work! The gelding (Moab) is terribly attached to Sahara (the mare) and is rather skittish overall. He will require a lot of desensitizing. Of course, he doesn't care about the saddle or the milk jug I tied to it banging about, but heaven forbid he be able to walk past the trailer, garbage can, or my car without thinking it's out to get him.

The mare is a bit more level-headed, but she hasn't had the work that she should have in her by now. She's a bit over-reactive on the ground and doesn't trust the line or the stick. I need to put the saddle on her this week and do more longeing work with her and get her more responsive to the aids on the ground before I get on her and start working her under saddle.

Both will require work, which was expected, though perhaps a little more than I initially thought. That's okay because any way it's good experience for me and Opa is getting some actual, real, descent training on his horses rather than having them sit somewhere and never actually being worked.

I think next week I'll see if I can pony them off of Kash or Panda in the arena and start taking them around the neighborhood with me.

I have other things to report, but I also have other things that I need to be doing!
lantairvlea: (Default)
Monday I have my pre-op exam and next Friday is the actual operation to have the cyst removed. I'm not allowed to have any advil between now and then, I'm assuming it has something to do with the anesthesia. Normally this wouldn't be a problem, but I start Tuesday and my body has been known to produce some rather wicked cramps. Let's just hope it's mild.... That's okay, I'm sure I'll survive.

I do need to know how long I'm not allowed to work around horses/teach lessons. For sure anything Friday will be out of the question, though the surgery is in the morning. Saturday will probably be out of the question as well. I'll just have to ask Monday.

Yesterday Opa's two palomino Fox Trotters arrived. I'm working them for him over the winter so they'll be good to go come the riding season up in UT. The mare has been worked under saddle before and I've ridden her myself at least once, but the gelding has next to no handling and will be a bit more of a challenge. I won't be the first one on him. After I do some good, solid groundwork on him I'll find someone else to put the first three or so rides on him. Part of this is for Chris' sake and the other part is that I don't like eating dirt if I can help it. Once I get a good handle on the ground with him I don't think there will be any issue. I think he's has about the same mind as the mare (they are at least half-siblings), but again, he's had next to no handling.

He's rather skittish and unsure. You should have seen him last night trying to eat out of the blue feeder. He was reaching as far forward as he could without actually stepping up to it, afraid that the thing was going to jump off the fence and grab him, I'm sure. So there's lots of desensitizing to be done for sure.

They'll be here for at least three, maybe four months, perhaps more, I don't know for sure, but in that time I'll get the gelding broke to ride and get the mare much more refined.

The first order of business, however, will be getting both of them thoroughly bathed. It's chilled a bit, but it's still warm enough in the afternoon for a good bath. This will be the first desensitizing step and also get rid of the caked-on filth that needs to be banished from their coats. After that I'll take some pictures and send them to my grandparents.

I plan on working them during the week. This should get me more motivated to be out there and working because, well, it's a job and I'm getting paid. I've been a bit slack in my riding because I've lacked the purpose and drive for working my own horses. Not that I don't want to, but since I haven't gotten myself in the mindset of it being an actual "job" I've allowed other things to get in the way.

And it's time for me to get going. Horses to work!

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