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

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

I have to admit, she looks good in harness.



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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

It started out going behind the mountain for Nelson. He wasn't feeling too hot so I just rode Roy and Molly got a break. I'm able to sit more of Roy's trot, which I'm not sure how much of it is him getting better or me getting stronger! His canter is coming easier and is more balanced too. He'd be fun to take out on a big track and let out. He's got a lovely forward, thrusty canter.

From there I headed to Dawn's for Grace. She is doing quite well with her lungeing and basic groundwork so I will be bringing the surcingle tomorrow to introduce before getting to long lining.

After Grace I zipped home, swapped the Jeep for the truck and trailer, loaded Bud and his cart and headed to Michelle's new place for a driving lesson. Considering Bud has never hauled and driven (at least not in the last five years) he did awesome. Most of what needs to be worked on is me being pickier. Making sure he's bending through his body and not just his neck so he stays centered in the shafts rather than shoving his butt into the outside shaft. Also watching his left shoulder that likes to pop out. We also need to get him using his hip more through the transitions so he isn't popping his head up, but overall he did awesome and I've gotten him into a really nice place.

I took Bud home, pumped 10 oz. and then headed back up the mountain to work Ellie. Kristin said Ellie had been a bit off behind (not quite lame, but moving funny) and she's thinking maybe that caused our exciting spin last week. Ellie was a bit of a firebreathing dragon as I was lungeing her, though I managed to bring her down to earth.

From there I ran home again, took a breath, ate, and then headed to evaluate a Gypsy cob for possible full driving training. I'll write more about that later, but at least wanted to jot down part of my day. Tomorrow I have a little more breathing room, but Thursday is also packed. I have something like 23 lessons scheduled and then the training with Bud today plus training eith Carrie Thursday.

GOGOGO!
lantairvlea: (Tru-D)
I had a break between lesson # 1 and 2 due to the holiday and people shuffling around so I pulled out Tru-D.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Also, I found two Tru-D baby teeth this past week. She's growing up! She also measured at 15.1 (and a half...) up front and juuuust shy of 15.2 in the back. I think we'll be getting another inch out her. She's filling out nicely viewed from the side, though she does still look a bit babyish from the front as her chest could use some more filling out. I shall get pictures.
lantairvlea: (Tru-D)
Today was crazy-busy. I had five lessons starting at 7am and then took a client to pick up her new mare from Casa Grande at 2pm. After all was said and done I got home a bit after 5pm.

I'll talk about my client and her horse later (spent four hours horse shopping Thursday). Today is about Bud! Well, actually it's about Trensen Knebel.

Bud is sporting them, though he wasn't being very photogenic for me.



I don't know if there is even an English word for them, but I guess "bit cheeks" would be the best descriptive words for them. The dictionary wants to call then "bit gags," though trensen refers more to the cheeks of the bit than the whole bit to my understanding.



Sue and Henry were feeling under the weather so I put a ride on Bud today. He goes quite well in the Stark Naked Bit (the purple thing), though I wanted to secure it so if he fussed with it, it would stay secure. For the most part he's good about not messing with it, but that's where the trensen knebel come in.

As you can see they are a small piece of metal with a hook attached. The "cheek" so to speak, goes through the ring on the halter and then hooks to the bit ring.

Bud did well. We reinforced the lesson that if he goes straight past home without changing pace or wriggling he gets home faster.

The Trensen Knebel are an awesome thing to have in the toolkit. You can use a regular bit on a horse who might have issues with its ears being handled (buckle the halter on, slide the bit in). It is an easy way to try multiple bits without having to fuss with buckles. It basically makes any halter a halter-bridle.

I picked up three pair from pferdeladen.eu . They were happy to take my order and it was about $30 for the three pair including shipping, which was quite reasonable! The only downside is that you have to speak German in order to naviagte the website. A few places I looked at wouldn't ship to the USA so I was happy to find one that would!

I plan on messing with them a bit more here and there. I haven't tried them with the rope halters and I don't think it would be very feasible since it wouldn't have a good place to lock into, but I'll play with it and see!
lantairvlea: (lantair look)
For art:
Finish test painting
Maybe do a second test painting
Prep panels when they get in and at least lay out the sketch if not start painting

Horses:
Keep playing with the Stark Naked Bits
Measure Tabbi (I've been dreading it at this point, but she IS eating consistently now, I'll post about it eventually)
Work Tru-D twice a week, even if it is just taking her for a jaunt around the house.
Try to work Cinnamon once a week.
Bud consistent picking up right lead canter.

Other:
Set up VT appointments
See how long I can hold the two-point
Set up counseling session(s)

Taking antibiotics and grateful that I'm not really experiencing any of the possible side effects and it appears to be doing its job as plumbing seem back to normal.

Chris jump-started the garden on Saturday by getting the furrows ready. We picked up seeds and a couple plants today. Seeds include Eggplant, Butternut Squash (love butternut ...), carrots, spinach, beets, watermelon, pumpkin, and cantelope. We also picked up some little strawberry plants, two tomatoes, and bell and jalepeño peppers.

I'm excited to get it growing. The boys "helped." Tristan got distracted fairly quickly and abandoned us for Farfar's house. Kelhan kept wanting to water everything, including himself and ended up pouring water in his boots, which made him a bit grumpy. He was also pretty enthusiastic thrusting the seed into the dirt so we'll see where things end up growing!
lantairvlea: (Kash)
I was able to put in a second ride on both Chewy, Kash, and Kitt and rode Bud in them as well this week.

Here are my overarching observations that one might consider with these bits:

This is not a bit you let the horse just "hang out" in. Some might be okay, but most will start playing with it to some extent and will end up dropping it given enough time. I discovered this as I had to get on and off resetting poles as students knocked them over. No problem if you have a headstall, which is an option with these as well, but just as the jaw bit you don't want to leave them alone with it too long.

It's also not good for grass snatchers and drinking (having to swallow and move feed around makes them push the bit down because it doesn't have anything holding it up). It is also not good for leading unless your horse is SUPER light. I didn't push trying to lead with it because I knew the mechanics of it were non-condusive. If you need to lead a horse either leave the halter on or wait to put on the bit until right before you mount up.

On to the working thoughts: I have been able to use them with four horses at this point, Chewy the Haflinger, Kash the Arab, Kitt the Fjord, and my client's Haflinger, Bud. Chewy was the initial driver since she as the facial nerve that misfires. I know it is the trigeminal nerve and not the caudal, but I figured it was worth the shot at least. She still had some head shaking so that theory is out. She does wear a nose net on her usual bridle, which does help so I'll either need to put on a cavesson with it or put one on her halter. She was pretty good in it, though might have been slightly offended as she hasn't worn a bit in almost a year! There was a good amount of mouthing the first wearing and she dropped it a couple times (see above!). She didn't feel too different from her bitless and I would have to pull out her bitted bridle to see if there is any difference there (takes a double-jointed eggbutt with copper lozenge). The second time she was less mouthy and I was able to trot and bend and turn a bit more. She was wanting to fall in on the turns to the left, but that's more her than anything on her face or in her mouth.

A rare picture of the little mare. Biggest eyes I've ever seen on a horse of any size.



For Kash the first thing I noticed was how QUIET he was in his mouth compared to every other bit I have tried on him (and over 12+ years I have tried a lot of bits!). Yes he played with it a little to start, but he wasn't constantly jawing is as he is wont to do when not actively engaged in anything else (he goes pretty quiet when his brain is engaged). I got two rides in it with him thusfar and I'm pretty pleased with how he felt in it. He was off for other unrelated reasons (stepped on himself and biffed it a couple weeks ago and is still just a little sore), but so far as bit function goes he felt really good in it and it was so nice not hearing "Ka-clack, Ka-clack" and he chewed on his bit. I think it's also pretty hard for them to suck it up into their molars (no scratches, yay!) because of the snugness and the fact that the jaw gets wider towards the molars. Kash also neck reined beautifully with it and he was lovely and soft in it. He's not a very stiff horse in general and tends towards bending too much, but I think he was more responsive because he wasn't so distracted with trying to chew on it as he is with his conventional bits.

The first time with Kitt she played with it a moment, but then was pretty quiet until she got a bit of grass in her mouth to chew on and had a hard time figuring out how to work around it. I didn't do much hard work either ride with Kitt so it's still in the "wait and see" column. I did note she fussed with it a little more the second time, but I did leave her alone with it too. When I picked her up into a trot she responded pretty well with it. She did want to drop her head a bit more, not quite rooting, but not quite an honest stretch either. It'll help if I get the time to put in a "real" ride on her. We worked turn on the haunches and forehand today, which was good and she bent pretty readily.

I wonder with my three if any of the initial weirdness is due to them not working bitted at all for almost a year. I imagine there would have been a more notable difference going from a metal bit to the the biotbane jaw bit and less of an offended "why are you putting things in my mouth?!"

Bud went okay in it, but I think I had some other things going on with him too.



I thought he might be a little lame in his turnout so I took him out to the road where I would have a flat, straight surface that would tell me clearer. The neighbors down the road had some workers in their yard and a big stack of pallets that he was giving The Eye. He bowed out terribly and was sticky going forward and since I didn't have the whip I had to kick, which he was pretty dead to and was pretty exasperating. Once past it and turned around he power-trotted towards home dead-even. I was able to back him off pretty well with the bit and tried getting him the other way again with marginally more success. He wanted to rush home again and I finally picked up the whip and threw on my vest (I like having my vrst when riding on the road). The whip seemed to help since I wasn't throwing us off balance kicking him. He might have been a little less responsive than his usual low-port Kimberwick, but it can be hard to tell with him if you don't ride him in two bits side by side. Considering I had to work him past a super scary pile of pallets and didn't have the whip like I usually do he did very well! He came back from his power trot home well enough so that was the important part.

I think the Stark Naked Bit is an interesting option to have. It seems that no one is objecting horribly to it (yet). My horses who haven't had bits for close to a year were more skeptical than Bud who works in a bit all the time, but they all seemed to settle fairly quick so long as they don't have something else in their mouth or are left alone to play with it. I like that it molds easily around the tongue and while the stitches provide some texture there are no points, nubs, or joints creating possible pinch points or poking into the roof of the mouth. It also has a softer feel on the skin than any metal bit could, especially thinking about how this might feel on the bars of the mouth compared to metal.

The construction was nice with sturdy stitching. I also liked that they gave you options for strap width as well as ring diameter for a customized feel for both horse and rider. I went with the 3/4" strapping because I thought that the 1" might be a little too wide and isn't comparable to any bits I've ever used with my crew. They also offer a 1/2" which was narrower than I was wanting for my group.

I plan on continuing to try them now and again and hopefully get more of a ride in on them, but as most of the rides have been while I'm teaching there does end up being a lot of standing and observing than actively riding the horse.
lantairvlea: (lantair look)
I worked with Roxanne and Gypsy first this morning. We were in the roundpen at the property working on the canter. Roxanne had not yet cantered on Gypsy and had done it a little on Kash earlier this year. It had taken a while to bring her and Gypsy up because there was a saddle fit issue that we finally got resolved this summer. We had some good trot work then worked on the canter.

Roxanne had some anxiety starting the canter. We insisted on slow and correct rather than trying to rush or push Gypsy into it. We did manage a few good canter strides, but we have some work to do to keep Roxanne thinking and feeling through the transition rather than shutting down when she gets a little anxious.

Next week we'll work on the same and she has some exercises to work on between that will hopefully help with her anxiety.

My next lesson was a new-ish one. I had worked with Vickey briefly about a year and a half ago as she was dealing with some anxiety. She since lost her long-time mount, was horse less for a while, and ended up with a nice molly mule named Maybell. A couple months ago Vickey had a wreck on Miss Maybell during a multi-day trail ride. Day one was great, day two Maybell turned away and wasn't happy to be caught. On the third day Maybell was a pill to be caught and was a grump to saddle, but did well until they got on a steep grade and had to stop halfway down as the people ahead of her stopped in the trail. Maybell had finally had enough and bucked. Vickey got hurt pretty bad, but with where they were she had to get back on and ride the rest of the way back to the trailer, which Maybell was great for.

Needless to say she has since gotten a proper mule saddle and while Vickey had not ridden her since the wreck, her husband Jon has taken Miss Maybell hither and yon and even on a multi-day hunt trip with zero issues.

Vickey had tried to get on before I arrived, but Maybell had fidgeted and Vickey's anxiety was up so we started at ground zero. I showed her how to encourage Maybell to stand still by standing on the block, rubbing and stepping down, working towards putting my foot in the stirrup, down, standing, down, and eventually swinging on. The idea being it gave Vickey the chance to start somewhere she was comfortable and build from there. I walked Maybell around once and halted before swinging off. Nothing exciting for my first ride ever on a mule, but I can now say I've ridden one! Jon even got a picture, I'll share it when I get a copy.

Then it was Vickey's turn and we started with the same, step up, tell Maybell how awesome she was, and step down. We adjusted some of the things she was doing slightly mounting up, like having the mane and rein in her left hand instead of holding the saddle in both as well as thrusting off of her right leg versus stepping down into the left stirrup, which provided a smoother and more balanced mount.

Vickey was so happy to be back in the saddle. She admited she wasn't sure she'd be able to swing on because her anxiety had been so bad in her previous attempts after the wreck. We're looking forward to more progress next week! She rode around, got off and on two more times and we did some minor tweaks to her steering aids, but the big thing was getting Vickey comfortably on and off, mission accomplished!

After Vickey I had an extra lesson with Sue and Bud. We worked driving with the reins in one hand, which Sue found much more comfortable not having to work the whip and right rein at the same time. Following that I had two more lessons, Eleyna on Chewy followed by Susanne on Kash. Susanne had a really good ride on the boy and we hiked her stirrups up a hole or so, which seemed to help a little over the crossrails. She's really getting how to handle Kash now and is having a ball jumping him (even if they are just baby crossrails).

I rode Sunny during Susanne's lesson and she did much better than Monday. I kept her forelock under the browband, which seemed to help in keeping her forelock from tickling her ears. I think the second day of work also helped get her out if feral horse mode and thinking she was retired. I took her over the crossrails, which she pretty much just stepped over, did some canter, and held the trot fairly nicely. She still needs some work on being more supple and actively listening to her rider, but I'd feel comfortable with some of my intermediate students on her again.

The final task of the day was getting Ruby x-rayed. She is moving great and I think tomorrow we may drop the ointment to once a day for a couple days before backing off the bute another gram or two.

Preliminary look says that it is still very much in the pastern joint and the coffin joint is not involved. It is not fused yet, which is why she was so painful when it flared up. I forgot a thumb drive and will need to drop by tomorrow with one to get the images and see about printing some off for Kevin to look at.

And now I should be in bed. Only four lessons tomorrow (three are half hour) so a short day. Try to hit the feed store before it closes and drop by to pick up the x-ray images.

Happy New Year all!

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)
Last week Chris went with me to work Bud Wednesday. I didn't realize how nervous Chris had gotten driving, but I don't think we've hitched up one of ours since the Sedona trip in March. We had an open stock trailer come up behind us, which made Bud a little nervous, but he did really well. Chris was less chill about it, but survived. We trotted just a little bit and kept to the road insdead of crossing the wash to work in the desert.

Saturday Sue was still recovering from a stomach bug so Henry joined me. We went out to the desert area and Bud was feeling really good so I asked Henry if he minded I try the canter and he was good with it so I had my first purposeful canter in a cart. Bud did awesome. He was questioning, but didn't get flustered at all about the faster speed and what the cart was doing. I allowed him to peter out and asked two more times. He isn't quite speedy or graceful in it, but soft and slow is fine by me right now!

I am really pleased with how Bud has come along. He started out as such a knucklehead it's great to see how well he goes now, especially with how he and Sue are coming along together. I may work myself out of a job with them yet. It may not be for another year or so, but the progress is steady and good.

Tru-D is closing in on being kindof greenbroke to ground drive. The last time I pulled her out she was a bit zoomy to start, but did settle into some nice work. I may dona couple regular lungeing sessions the next couple times I work with her and am debating on how long I should work in just the halter before shifting to a sidepull or some such.

Poor Tru-D did get stomped on my Charm-N yesterday as the two of them tried going through the gate at the same time. We did some soaking with epsom salts today and gave her some Bute this afternoon. She is putting weight on it, if moving gingerly, and it actually doesn't appear swollen at all so we're giving her another day and see how she is. Hopefully itvs just bruised and nothing major.

I was looking at Tru-D the other day and realized something...



I think she has Kash out-massed! I don't quite know when it happened. I need to measure her again and see where she is at now.

Monday for Tristan's birthday we had planned on going to the zoon but it was raining so we went to the "indoor zoo" instead, which is Cabelas' and on the other side of the valley, but the boys enjoyed it with watching the big fishea and turtles as well as seeing their collection of stuffed/taxidermed animals. They also enjoyed getting fudge, some lunch, and playing at the shooting arcade, which lead into them really wanting these toy rifles that make shooting noises (they do not fire, so no actual shooting). We had some time aftet we got home tongrab some last-minute things before Marty, Dave, and Chris' brother Brad plus family came over. There was pizza and instead of a cake there was cookie dough, which made Tristan's freshly four year-old heart giddy. Tristan enjoyed his gifts and had fun chasing and being chased by his Trout cousins.

Still haven't heard back from my older brother. Dad apparently stopped by Dave and Marty's, which I'll expound on later.

Two weeks ago I cantered Royal for the first time. He may have a rough trot, but his canter is NICE. Debbie got to experience it briefly last week a bit unintentionally, but she agreed it was lovely. Today we tried out a Monte Foreman "Balance Ride" saddle that Janiece W. thought would be a great fit. Janiece is somewhere between 60 and 70 I think and trained under Monte Foreman. She can TALK and knows that she knows a lot, but she's also a bit set in her ways and seems a bit inflexible. I haven't had a lot of experience with her, but my farrier does her horses too and her daughter put a couple months on Toby (anyone seen "Wild Horse, Wild Ride"? That would be Wylene) a few years ago.

Anyway, she was basically trying to sell Debbie this saddle for $1500 and it looked older than dirt. The leather was still good and soft, but I wouldn't pay that much for something that looked like they had been used hard for the last 20 years. Anyway, the big idea behind the balance ride is that the stirrups are hung further forward and the seat is pretty much flat. The rigging is in-skirt so less bulk under your leg and the stirrups have a really interesting double-adjustment system that I couldn't even start to describe. You'd have to see it.

I didn't really like how it sat on Royal, it looked "down" in front and the back of the saddle curved up away from his back, like the rock was too steep for his back shape. I tried it anyway and Devbie and I discussed how it was put together and what it was doing to my position. I liked that my knees stayed over my toes, but I could definitely feel my lower leg was not under my seat. The flat, wide seat felt like it was prying my thighs apart and rotating then outward uncomfortably and it forced me to sit almost entirely on my seatbones. Walking was manegable, but posting the trot was pretty hopeless. My thighs ran into the swells and as the stirrups were forward returning down and in balance wasn't quite happening as it should.

I've ridden in some sub-par saddles and had to make due, but this one combined with Royal's thrusty trot was not doing me any favors. Royal started out okay, but towards the end was less than happy with my lack of balance and I told him he was a good boy for at least humoring us.

We talked more about saddle fit and also about how it should fit the rider. What the flat seat causes and why saddles have that rise from the seat instead of being completely flat (Janiece called the rise a "ball buster," classy). I think the flat seat would work for people comfortable sitting on their glutes instead of their seat bones, but when you are used to the three point contact of seatbones plus the pubic arch a completely flat seat isn't going to do it unless your pelvic anatomy is so devious as to have the pubic arch and seat bones at the same level (typically your pibic arch is higher than your seat bones).

Anyway, Debbie was glad that she didn't have to buy another saddle. Janiece seemed to be of the opinion that the Monte Foreman saddles will fit ANYTHING, but I have found that is not the case with horses. I think the only piece of tack that fits every horse is a lead rope and that isn't even directly touching the horse's body.

And I need to hit the hay otherwise I'd keep going.

It was COLD this morning and we are expecting another hard freeze tonight.
lantairvlea: (New filly)
Twenty-one lessons this week, two client horses worked, and the two classes at the private school so 25 hours of "active" work. I also got Tru-D worked today and Tabbi got worked by one of my working students, which I think will work out nicely.

I have another I can trust to work Tabbi too and hope to eek in a training session from me once a week to move her forward in her training along with getting her more fit. We had Chatham out for fall shots today and we discussed Tabbi a bit. Her coat appears a bit scruffy still despite her diet with rice bran, oil, mineral and hoof supplements. Once we get some days consistently below 80 we may do another blood sample and maybe consider a urine sample.

Tru-D did quite well today. Try number two with the long lining and this time the reins through the surcingle. I ended up working on getting her over a cavelleto, which we spent a good few minutes working on as she would rush, occasionally hit it, and get herself terribly kerfuppled. She did eventually walk it in both directions. She's not sure about the "woah" aid yet, which we'll work on. She can suck her neck into her chest really well and easily (not necessarily a good thing) and is nicely flexible in both directions. I think she is going to end up with a more Haflinger action over the Belgian (more hock and knee action). I think I'll work her a couple more times in the halter before switching over to the sidepull. She was pushing her nose into the pressure a bit, more like flipping it, but she hasn't experienced much backward pressure yet and using the surcingle rings disrupts my ability to jiggle the inside rein as I have done with lungeing to ask her to slow down.

My ride on Oakley this week went both faster and slower. He was much happier to walk at the start so we worked in gait, trot, and canter. There were still a good amount of circles and we had a few wider areas that I worked him to the right specifically to help improve his bend and getting some weight off of his right shoulder so he can extend it better. He tends to throw his left shoulder forward and pile his weight on the right, which is probably why he only takes his left lead. I did have a couple moments where he felt like he could take his right lead so we'll build on that. He likes to creep into the canter and we had a few moments where I did a pulley rein check and also others were we did some one-rein stops until he was listening again. Hoping to improve his "race brain" for her in the next few rides.

Bud did really awesome for Sue today. She drove almost the whole time. I took him past the irrigation ditch he had trouble with on Wednesday and I must have done something right when we trotted tiny circles until he marched past it because this time he flicked an ear at it and that was it. I also had him as we came up to their place as two ATVs drove past, which thankfully they were respectful and slowed and Bud walked by like they weren't a deal.

Tru-D was a little weirded out when she did her shot as we had the horses up closer to the road due to mud rather than back behind the house. Poor thing got stuck three times. The first time the needle slipped out just as he was going to depress it and she sidestepped, the second time he caught a blood vessel, and time three we were good to go.

Cinnamon did fairly well for hers. She's always been a pill about it, but continues to make small improvements. Stuffing her with cookies helped.

Sunny's mouth looks horrendous. It is no longer in the corner and has migrated towards her chin. The ulcer is almost as big as my palm and has some proud flesh going on. Marty is going to have him freeze it and do a biopsy to see what we're dealing with now. As much past dewormer as has been smeared on the thing we don't think we're dealing with the parasites anymore.

I ordered Marty one of the Moss Rock Endurance Evolution bridles for her birthday/Christmas. It came this week and I snuck out to check the fit on her two mares. Looks pretty good! Now I just need to wait a month for her birthday (sometimes I plan ahead).

Rolo now has a fenced in yard we can turn her out in so we don't have to stand out with her, which has been nice.
lantairvlea: (New filly)
At the beginning of the week today was booked with four lessons. Then my 7am had a family thing followed by 9am coming down sick, and then it rained last night, but not much. My 10am sent me a text this morning saying he wasn't feeling well so I worked Tru-D and she did quite well. I've only worked her in the roundpen three or four times now and she really is getting it. Especially since the arena is blocked from traffic by the house and the roundpen is about 20' from the road if that. Added that Dave was trimming trees while I was working her she did awesome. After sendinf her around a bit I put one of the bitless bridles on her and worked on bending and then asking her to turn on the forehand and then haunches. She is such a quick study! I just asked for one step each time, but once she figured out what it was I was asking she very willingly moved over. For a filly who thought all people were going to eat her eight months agonahe has become quite the people pleaser!

I need to retrieve my bithanger from Sue so I can start throwing a bitted bridle on her so she can get used to the bit. I don't have any intention of working her in a bit until she has a full mouth because this line of thought just makes sense to me (why put a bit in when they're still losing baby teeth?). I would like to see how far I can take her up the levels in Dressage and see what we can do driving, which will require her working in a bit unless the USDF decides to change things in the next two to three years.

After working Tru-D I pulled Tabbi out because what else was I to do being lessonless, right? Tabbi had a bit of sass to work out, which was fine by me. Last I had her out she was a little tender footed so seeing her spring in the air and run off a bit was good. She really needs to gain some muscle mass. You can tell in her hip especially. Marty's feeding her as much as her other two mares combined so she isn't wanting any groceries. She does tend to eat slowly and for some strange reason prefers the stems of the alfalfa to the leaves. If I can't find the time to lunge her a few times a week I need to see about maybe having a working student or two do it. I think I can trust Susanne and Roxanne both so that would give me two and then I would just need to do once, which is more feasible with my crazy schedule and hopefully the exercise can both jumpstart her appetite and start building more muscle on her.

I also played with bending and turn on the haunches and forehand. She was a bit more resistant than Tru-D, but loads better than where she was when it took a good 10 minutes before she would give on one side.

After working Tabbi I called to check on my away lesson. They got more rain than we did so we threw in the towel until next week. I did have a new potential client come out for a meet and greet and we set up for her daughter to start the first week of November.

Chris, the boys and I went into town and picked up two new pairs of pants for me. I was down to one for the last few months because in the spring I picked up breeches instead since they are about the same cost, (should) wear longer, are more comfortable (particularly riding), and aren't so hot in the summer.

When we got back home roads were flooded, the washes were running, and the places where washes used to be were flooded. Apparently we got absolutely dumped on the hour and a half or so we were out!

This was not a good week for lessons apparently. I had over twenty booked and ended up with only 14 (which is still a good amount). Next week should be better.

Rolo was 14.5 lbs when we had her at the vet for her shot. She has gained six pounds since we brought her home. She is doing really well with her potty training. We did have two accidents the last week, but that was our fault and sometimes it's hard to wrangle two toddlers and a puppy!

Wednesday I had three horses to ride. Royal is getting better now that we have a saddle that fits. He and Debbie are still figuring each other out, but he is doing pretty well for me. Then I met Kathryn and worked Oakley (young Kentucky Mountain Horse who may or may not have a chunk of Paso Finonin him, she does endurance on him and is hoping to get a 50 in this spring) and man is that little guy a pistol! I knew he was zoomy, but I spent almost 40 minutes convincing him that walking was the answer. He did give me some lovely, stretchy walks, but as soon as his head came up he was gaiting. There were a lot of circles. So many circles! When he did give me a consistent walk I actively asked him up and we did a brisk canter, maybe a slow gallop. He doesn't like his right lead. I tried my best, but the left stirrup was also a half hole longer than the right I think and as I tried to set him up he would just pile his weight on that right shoulder. He did swap behind on our last set, which was less than comfortable. I told Kathryn to get him to pick up his right lead we'll need a place to work him where I can do some large circles because straight farm roads that go on for a mile straight aren't helping to convince him that the right lead is a good idea. She also agreed that her left fender may be stretched and not helping. I'll be shortening my stirrups another hole next week on him (I have stubby legs, Kathryn is my height and this will put me three holes shorter than her).

After Oakley I put an hour in on Bud, which included trying to take my two-point time. It might not have been the best idea after working two other horses, but I managed to endure the burn to six minutes, which is about 1:45 better than my base time.

So lined up for next week I moved Debbie to Tuesday so I don't have a stack of four Wednesday morning (three of which I've been riding!), two lessons Monday, four Tuesday, two lessons and two horses to work Wednesday, four Thursday, five Friday, and if everyone shows up five or possibly six on Saturday. Keeping in mind that hours in lessons doesn't include time spent feeding and caring for the herd. I need to muck Monday too because I didn't have my usual muckers Thursday, Friday, OR today!

Chris has another interview on Monday (yay!). Never heard back from the other one. Chris suspects they were looking for another woman. The HR lady that set up the interview was really excited, but the women who actually interviewed him were much less so. Onward to more opportunities!

Bud

Sep. 21st, 2015 09:06 pm
lantairvlea: (lantair look)
I finally got back to working Bud two weeks ago. We had about a month off because Sue's body worker suggested he not do anything like collected work for two weeks after being worked on and she didn't want the breastcollar pushing on his shoulders either. I wonder if a collar or a more shaped breastcollar would do better for him. Sue has been wanting to get a new harness for him since day one and we remeasured him a couple months ago and I even helped her go over various harnesses and pick out one, but she quit her job due to a terrible work environment (verbally abusive boss who apparently goes through assistants a few times a year) so the funds for a new harness are tied up elsewhere.

Anyway, the two weeks were up and then I was in Utah and we had some really nasty hot, humid weeks and things finally came back together about three weeks ago.

He did really well his first drive and pretty good his second as well. Saturday was number three and Sue started out with him. Our first obstacle was a girl in a swing in her front yard and you could tell Bud was checking in with Sue to see how worried he should be about it. I did end up taking the reins as we pulled level with it as Sue was getting a little snatchy with the reins and not helping Hud mentally at all. We had a brief moment of "why are you demanding things of me?!" as I sharply asked for his attention and him to move forward. We passed the offending swing a couple times before moving on and ran into obstacle number two about a quarter mile away and around the corner. I saw it first, but I don't think Sue realized that there were people next to the pool until the girl jumped in. Bud shied sideways and forward and I quickly picked up the reins from Sue and worked to get him back in a thinking state of mind. We worked back and forth as the girl continued to swim and splash and his reactions got softer and softer. He eventually went by with a low head and some blows. I think any horse would have been a bit out out by a person jumping into a pool out of the corner of its vision so Bud still gets kudos for not quite completely losing his marbles and coming back to me quickly. We had a couple other little spots that Sue stressed about as she drove, like a van coming out of a drive so we worked on keeping her talking and maintaining soft, sympathetic rein aids in accordance to how Bud was responding.

As I told Sue when we dropped down to me working him once a week plus a lesson instead of twice, I could try and put all sorts of buttons on Bud at this point, but it won't do her any good if she lacks the confidence and skill to drive him. So our focus is getting her to drive him more and I'll be there to help out in the tricky spots. I told her if she started going out alone or with Henry it was perfectly OK to see an obstacle she wasn't comfortable with and turn around rather than trying to work past it at this point. I have also offered to do two lessons instead of the one work and one lesson, but she's yet to take me up on that offer despite my noting that I am perfectly happy to hook Bud up without Henry's assistance.

So the state of the Bud is good and he's at a point where, for the most part, I am enjoying working him and he is no longer this big chore. The Budoofus may be growing on me at this point. It has only taken three years! I don't think he likes being a riding horse as much as he does a driving horse, but he tolerates it well enough. I'll be taking him out on trail Thursday, which I haven't done since the beginning of summer.
lantairvlea: (New filly)
Yesterday I worked Tru-D a bit and as I brought her back from the roundpen we passed one of the tarps and I thought "why not?" so I worked with encouraging her to investigate it and am proud to note that she did cross over it several times. I'll have to try it again another day as well and see how quickly she will go over it.

Bud busted one of my billets off the surcingle yesterday. I hadn't noticed any weak spots in the leather, but I guess there was. I took it in to Tom's to have the billet replaced today.

Speaking of Bud, he's been doing alright. We had some really awesome drives, but the riding has been a little lackluster. I think I have been waffling about with him, lacking full purposr and I believe I know where we need to go now. He needs time on the ground to build his balance in the canter and time out and under saddle to figure out how to focus in the greater world. It's funny because even in an open bridle he is easier to refocus on the long lines so I don't quite know what it is about me sitting on him that causes him to be so easily distracted. He is better than he was for sure, but still work to be done.
lantairvlea: (lantair look)
Tru-D no longer thinks that the velcro noise is going to kill her when the fly mask is being put on and taken off of her. She will (mostly) stand to be fly sprayed so long as you have a hand on her mask. This is about the stage Charm-N was when we first got her so being as she's 13 years younger than Charm-N was I think we should be able to make good progress on that mark too.

Bud is a knucklehead who thinks that open trailer doors are very scary under saddle, but will walk right into it when lead. I have taken him out to the San Tans with a client of mine and he did very well. Eden did awesome with her owner out on trail, much better than either of us were anticipating and hoping for more nice, relaxed rides from the old Fox Trotter mare in the future.

E-va still has no name so far as Marty is concerned, but I am calling her E-va for lack of a better option. She seems to be eating well enough. I measured her last week and I think next week she should probably be measured again to see if we're making progress.

Tru-D seems to have sprouted. She suddenly seems very large for a yearling. I don't know if that has anything to do with E-va being much smaller and not quite a year older.

Sunny is finally getting something like consistent work. I tried her in the Moss Rock cross-under bridle earlier this week and didn't have any angry head-bobbing like I have with the Dr. Cook's. We'll see if it is just her giving it a grace period or if she really does like it better than the other. If she does like it better I am willing to bet it is the lack of the ring+rein buckle weight.

I also realized that I could get a sidepull bridle from Running Bear and order a set of reins from Moss Rock and end up with a pretty cool cross-under with the slightly fancier look of Running Bear and Moss Rock's genius rein design. That might be frivilous birthday money thoughts...

Mr. Grant said he wants to pass on one of his cameras plus a bunch of lenses and I was the first person he thought of. I am drooling massively I just don't know how much of it my pocketbook will be able to claim....

I need to pull out the Mamiya and take pictures of Kelhan while he is still a year old.

Budventure

Feb. 19th, 2015 08:56 pm
lantairvlea: (lantair look)
I took Bud out to the vacant acerage between the new school's baseball fields and one of the boom-time developments. For the most part Bud was quite good. I cantered him quite a bit away from home and settled into some really nice rhythms. I haven't had the chance to ride like that in a LONG time. The trails tend to be too crowded and winding and my little arena is not the place for lots and lots of cantering. The new place will be, but it's still in-process.

Anyway, as we turned for home Bud got a little tight and rushing and one of the times I circled him around to get him bending and thinking again I caught an unusual wing pattern out of the corner of my eye. We stopped and I saw these two:

20150219_123422

I have to say burrowing owls are some of the most adorable creatures.

Sue and I had seen some a few months back out driving and Marty wanted me to get some pictures next time because they are a protected species and their presence can prevent future developments occurring. Just need to figure out who to report it to.

I was happy to see them and Bud mostly stood still to get the shot. I have started tucking my phone in my halfchaps otherwise I would have been out of luck.

We resumed our ride and I worked him off my inside leg as he tried diving and motorbiking through the turns. He was wanting to rush home a bit so I didn't canter him towards home after the first attempt and I made good use of the pulley rein when he decided to ignore my "slow down" aids in the trot. We did hit a nice spot and I walked him the rest of the way in, which he did in a lovely, forward, marching gait until we got close to the wash we have to cross. He also goobered slightly at a roadwork sign as we were just about back, mostly just trying to suck back and go sideways away from it, which is still his go to evasion. Not nearly so bad as it used to be, however.

Bud is getting pretty fun to ride. Now if only Sue's farrier can get his sheered heels under control. I feel like an idiot not noticing it sooner. I don't recall if I mentioned I had Bud over here Thursday when Kevin was out and he pointed out a couple things as he watched him walk. I admit to just focusing on the training and not really looking at his feet, but once Kevin noted how off his heels were it's pretty much the only thing I see now. Her guy was out Friday and I didn't see a whole lot of difference, be also stumbled a bit Saturday and stumbled a couple times today, which makes it obvious that the issue isn't resolved. Sue said he was making the changes slowly, but we'll see if "slowly" doesn't mean "not making any changes whatsoever."
lantairvlea: (lantair look)
Today we went to the zoo. Chris' set schedule includes having Sunday, Monday, and Wednesday off so Mondays I leave the mornings open per usual and I moved my Wednesday morning lessons over to Thursday so we have that time too.

Tristan led the show wanting to see the tractors at the farm/petting zoo area before going on a quest to find the Rhinoceros. He was disappointed that the Rhino was white instead of black (same color it was last time!). From there he wanted to see the giraffes and then we headed home. Of course there were other animals betwern including the turkey that gobbled at us, all three cheetahs were out, the maned wolf was flopped in pretty much the same spot he was last time we were there and raised his head briefly to turn his ears about and decide it was best to go back asleep. The African Painted Dogs were out and moving again and I REALLY wished I had a real camera on me (maybe next time?). The lions were basking in the sun and the Fennec was flopped in it's little den right next to the glass. Fun stuff and reminding me of when i had my membership before except then I would spend a half hour or more at each place photographing or sketching (some day again!).

Yesterday I finally got out to Michelle's again with Kitt. I decided to try her with the bitless bridle (official review to come!) to see how she went. She was nicely forward and we got some nice little bounces over the cavelletti before moving to the two one stride combination. She actually picked up the canter voluntarily a few times, which is unheard of for my fat Fjord fanny! She did alright and was fairly forgiving of my foibles until she decided she'd had enough of it and started dodging out. I do admit the bitless doesn't allow for quick, demanding halts. She stops great when prepared, but when she blows past the jump and I wanted to sit her on her butt, realign and send her over it wasn't happening. The lateral aids were fine so we concentrated on a tight circle and then back over. Funny thing is she'd dodge at the set-up and then totally take the jump when I spun her and presented her completely crooked to it! Michelle suggested she might be bored at just the straight line so we may have to see what happens if we challenge her a little more.

It was some Kitt issues, but mostly me responding poorly to Kitt's little efficiency tests (is it easier to just go over or dodge past?). Once I just closed my leg and even a little tap with the crop here and there she straightened herself and went right over (you know, that thing I tell my students to do all the time with her).

I am looking forward to setting up my jump field and being able to school her properly at home. The current arena basically allows for a double bounce or a one stride combination. Yes you can get creative with it, but it only goes so far! Especially since most gymnastics seem to insist on having a hundred feet or more juat for the gymnastic let alone the approach or departure!

I also workes Bud yesterday and he was much better than Saturday, of course he was also home too! I did get some nice canter departs out of him without too much hassle even though I haven't asked it much under saddle recently.

Driving clinic Friday and Saturday!
lantairvlea: (lantair look)
First thanks for the condolences on Appy's passing. When I get a few spare minutes I plan on posting the pictures Chris took of us last week. One thought that I have found comforting, as odd and possibly morbid as it is, is that had Appy been a "wild" dog she would have been gone a long time ago. Our pets and animal companions get such good care that they live a lot longer than they would, and longer than they did even a few decades ago. I am glad she had a long life. I am sad I had to make the choice, I would have preferred not to, but for her sake I did.

I have been very busy with lessons. I had five cancellations last week and still taught 19! That does not include working Bud either. I also finally caught up with my books (I was almost a month behind) and input all my new clients since the end of November. I have about 30 active clients. CRAZY.

Speaking of Bud I rode him three times this week. Tuesday I rode him out and worked him past a semi with a flatbed trailer. He was a little leery of it, but he worked through it fairly quickly. Thursday I rode him in his turnout and reviewed a bending counter-bending exercise and he did so well the first time through each direction I called it quits. Saturday Sue had things she needed to accomplish so I picked him up during a break and then rode him after my last lesson. I had a sense he'd be a bit full of himself as he srarted whinnying his head off as I led him over to the property.

I had a moment's though of lungeing him before I got on, but went ahead and swung up inside the dressage arena. He was certainly distracted in the warm-up and kept hollering for I-don't-know-who and trying to look this way and that. Bud's big issue is distraction. He does pretty well driving, but he also works in blinders. Riding him in an open bridle can be a chore as he just has a hard time focusing on the task at hand.

I started him in the trot and worked some serpentines. He kept speeding up as we headed North and I would check him and not quite get a full response and could feel him binding up a bit. I guess I should have really sat him on his butt rather than moderating his speed politely (because he wasn't politely increasing it, but being a bit chargey), but hindsight is 20-20. He finally threw a buck and charged off, which twisted the saddle out of place and took me a moment before I could properly engage my aids to stop him. When I got him stopped I had a pretty good stitch in my right side and the saddle was about six inches off center with me still sitting in the middle of his back. I dismounted, gingerly stretched my side and marched him to the roundpen where we did some trot-canter transitions from the ground and changes of direction until he realized I was more imortant to pay attention to me than whatever else was going on. When he looked like he was listening I asked him to walk, if it took more than five seconds he got to canter some more, then we'd trot and try again.

He was puffing pretty good when he finally decided listening was easier than blowing me off. I took him back to the arena and climbed on again. We walked a bit and then tried the trot again. As soon as he sped up I slammed the breaks and made him back up. Each time he increased speed unasked it was the same immediate shut down. He stopped speeding up pretty quickly and started trotting like a somewhat normal horse. I cooled him out and it was still warm enough to hose him down before returning him home.

I do need to remind myself I have only been riding him for about 10 months and to our knowledge that's pretty much the extent of his saddle training (not sure you count his brief stint as a therapy horse dragging people hither and yon). He still has a bit of stuff to work through as his previous owner(s) who let him get away with murder, but a far cry from my firat experiences with him!

He's still a knucklehead.

Full Days

Dec. 20th, 2014 10:00 pm
lantairvlea: (lantair look)
Thursday I did a jumping lesson with Kitt. She warmed up nicely and had a surprising spring to her trot. She warmed up nicely over the cavelletti both in trot and canter before we started work on the three jump combination (two single strides). It's hard to remember now when and where she refused, but it was an improvement on the last time. Michelle had me trot her in and canter her out at the end and also clarified that ahe wanted Kitt cantering it and not just holding the trot. The Kitt-monster was pretty much just trotting the crossrail (about a foot tall) and plank (18") before jumping the gate (2'). When I cantered her in she jumped all three and we had a couple clear goes at it before calling it good.

I do still wig out mentally at the 2' mark and the whole near-solid fence, but I am getting better and am pleasantly pleased by Kitt's scope, if not her initial lack of desire!

After training I picked up Bud before hanging out with the boys until my next lesson at 1pm. She has an older Fox Trotter mare and work in her roundpen and on her property has gone well so we were going to go out. Since I didn't want to walk I figured we'd kill two birds with one stone and I would take Bud.

The mare, Eden, was pretty comfortable on her bome turf and started out well as we went along. Bus goobered once and got her slightly as we went down a slight divot in the wash and I think the bank slid iut from under his foot slightly, which he got opinionated about with a squeal, head toss, and all.

We worked on getting Eden to stay focused passing "scary" things like a fire hydrant and worked her up and down the street that boarders the side of her property. I ended up getting on for aome more feedback, which told me she was really stiff to the right and would initially push into the leg instead of yielding to it. I talked about what I was feeling, what I was doing, and why as a little gator truck ashows up down the road. I didn't reaally have time to cross back to the open side of the road so I parked her on the same side as the little vehicle and let her watch it approach. She did fine until it got about ten feet away where she spun 180 degrees and tried to leave town (in the same direction as the vehicle!). I reined her up and she pretty much just sat right back down, but carried a lot of tension in her neck after that as I continued to work Eden to a point where she started to relax again.

It was good to see her actually act up and feel what was goiing on. I think Eden has done her share of shutting down and being stuffed that she holds it in a bit until she explodes, which is something that wasn't obvious at home where she is most comfortable.

After that I had to return Bud and then two more lessons. Friday was final Christmas shopping and seeing the Christmas lights at the Mesa Temple. We grabbed dinner on the way home and ate at the house as both boys had passed out.

Last night Chris came down with a terrible stomach bug reminiscent of the Great Illness of 2012 that downed Chris, myself, Dave, and Marty and I think my parents ended up with it too. It atarted with my nephew Zayne. We weren't sure if it wasn't food poisoning first, but I think we have determined that it is just a nasty stomach flu.

Needless to say Chris did not make it to work. I started lessons at 7am running off of just a couple hours sleep as Chris was up and down all night long. I had a break at eight, which was spent distributing psyllium and other supplements as well as initiating getting ready for the Clean-up Potluck. Nine to eleven were two more lessons and then I had two students helping me load up and take stuff over to the property.

As I was putting up the sign Haley drove up. She will most likely be soing an internship with me this Spring for her Equine Science degree (Associates, same program I went through). I am excited to have her along! There will definitely be no lack of things to do this Spring!

The potluck and clean up went quite well! I had the three mentioned earlier, TJ, Eli, and the rest of their family, Keara and Roxanne, Mariah and her mom, Emma, Chad, and Corrinne made it as well, and Katie and Payton. Not a bad turn out. Corrinne mentioned Emma's current trainer may be moving farther away and Emma's been anxious to get back on some of my horses again so who knows, I may get them back as clients.

We filled up ao many bags of stuff and found many strange things. The list includes: bra strap, socks (various singles), shoes (also no the same ones), lighter parts, bolts, and car battery terminals. There were also some drug vials complete with syringes, glad to get that off the property! I will probably throw a couple bags in our cans each week until they are gone. The large timber and cinder blocks will have t wait for a run to the dump or something.

After two and a half hours of picking up trash I went to work with Sue and Bud, who did pretty well. I then had one more lesson before feeding the herd, moving two bales (three-wire, not that pansy two wire stuff some of you chuck ... [how I wish we had two-wire bales...]), and then cleaning up and claiming the boys from Dave and Marty. Tristan finally went down a little after nine and Kelhan followed. Chris is claiming the master suite as a quarantine zone so Kelhan is sleeping in Tristan's room and I will be joining them ahortly. I just realized how tired I am. I don't think I'll be doing dishes before bed. I am doing good finishing this up.
lantairvlea: (lantair look)
With the rain last week training was postponed and I was able to squeeze in two days this week. Kitt doesn't know why I keep pestering her so much.

Yesterday we rode and warmed up over the cavelleti and got her cantering over them as well. It worked a bit better when I pipped my irons up and was able to settle into a better two point.

From there we hit the crossrail, which was the first in a three jump line consisting of two one-stride efforts so we had to come in at an angle, which Kitt took advantage of the first couple goes and then she realized I was insisting and she took it nicely. Then we added the plank jump, which she was a little backed off to start, but was eventually taking the two well also.

We then added the full line, the final one being a rather solid 2' gate. This is her second jump session with vertical jumps and 2' is definitely the biggest thing I've ever pointed her at and I am sure my own weird anxieties didn't help us in our first attempts!

It basically came down to Michelle reminding me that the most important thing in jumping is that the horse cross the obstacle. So when Kitt went to run out I stopped her, backed her up, and sent her forward over it (grabbing a bit of mane!). She can do a pretty impressive jump from a standstill!

At the end of one of our walk breaks as I was prepping for a canter depart she decided to dive into one of the stalls (Michelle leaves the gates open into the arena when her horses aren't in them). That resulted in a "Heck NO!" response, backing her butt up, and asking for an immediate canter depart and a nice, forward, and very determined ride down the line of three jumps! I kept her going after and brought her around again and she went right through it, no hesitation and we called it a day!

Today went slower than initially desired. I was going to work Bud at Horseshoe and then pick up Kitt and the cart for training, but when I unloaded Kitt yesterday I thought I heard a hissing noise, but couldn't pinpoint it. It honestly sounded like it was coming from the axel as the sound was about even on either side of the trailer. Sure enough when I went out this morning the left front tire was flat. Chris put air in it and I shot over to Discount and while they were patching the hole I had some pumpkin pancakes at IHOP (why not, right?). From there I went home, loaded Kitt, cart, and harness, and headed over to Michelle's.

Kitt was pretty nice from the get-go. She yielded nicely through the turns and didn't give me any opinion and simply complied when bending. She was a little resistent to back, but nothing like the head-flinging, butt-swinging tantrums she was pitching a few weeks back! We even played with some trot lengthenings. Michelle finally joined me in the cart now that we have most everything figured out and most of the big kinks ironed.

We did lots of big figures and moved to some tighter turns and direction changes. We ended the arena work early and took a quick walk out of the property and down the road. Michelle and I both admitted to being nervous when a big semi blew past,but Kitt barely flicked an ear at it. I think I may have a good driving pony.

After that I picked up Bud and worked him. Kitt managed to untie yerself from the trailer and was nosing through someone's leftover hay scraps. But and I reclaimed her and I tied her back up before finishing the ride.

Kitt went home and I discovered I left Chewy's water running. Took Bud back and picked the forecart back up from Michelle's before returning home.

Now I just realized I forgot to pull the cans to the road, but I can do that in the morning.
lantairvlea: (lantair look)
It rained Wednesday so getting the trailer out Thursday morning to take Kitt was a no go, especially since it rained more Thursday. Michelle had dragged her arena and the footing was good enough for a little bit of jump work. It would be a good test to see how much was me and how much was Kitt.

Michelle had Tenacity tacked up when I got there. I have mostly driven T and rode her once about two years ago when I startes soing jumping again for the evaluation ride. I then workes with her Appy gelding Shadow for a while so it was going to be interesting to see how thinga have shifted from that first ride. So far as driving goes T and I gel quite well at this point and I can get pretty much whatever I want out of her.

I was expecting a ride a bit similar to Kash, but her gaits weren't nearly so comfortable, which was surprising. She'd sully up as I'd gather the reins and wasn't happy in the walk-trot transition, mostly upward. Rather than bowing out as the boy she kept falling in and Michelle had me lift the inside rein towards my outside shoulder and essentially lock it until she moved her shoulder over. Not quite where I like to go with it, but effective and it's how she was trained. Our canter transitions were really ugly and I wasn't really feeling it. I partially blame the saddle. The leathers are about half a hole off of each other, which is why I used to bring my own irons when I'd ride Shadow. I did happily notice that despite the irons being almost 5" (my tall boots let me fit in 4 1/4" irons no problem as they are narrower than my Ariat Terrians) I wasn't constantly readjusting my foot so my leg has gotten more stable.

Tenacity really does separate her driving and her riding. There was some similarity in the reins, but she was much more backed off and stiff in it, choosing to lift and shorten her neck rather than rounding as I would take the contact.

We did sort out well enough and we worked over a pair of crossrails. I got my outside aids functioning properly and we worked on keeping my hands more forward. I'm wanting to follow the contact through, but we're using a long release instead, which is probably the way to go at this stage. I have done some jumping, but I really haven't done a whole lot so we're still really building the base and working through the "OMiGourd JUMP!" thing. Not as bad as two years ago, but it's still there in that I have tension that crops up in my body, mostly the hips.

Won't it be nice when I will have my own little jump field where I can leave things set up and don't have to spend ten minutes dragging poles around? Yes, yes it will be!

So no refusals or dodges, that part is definitely Kitt. Canter transitions could be a mix of me and the horse (I get them fine on Kash and Panda). All things to work on though.

Yesterday and Tuesday I worked Bud and I wrote a whole long thing about it and I hit post in a dead zone between Arizona and Utah and lost it.

Short version: The pad that worked with Charm was a Bad Idea for Bud because it caused the saddle to slip terribly. Bud appears to have chunked up so my extra wide Wintec dressage saddle appears to fit him now.

I need to ride more. I managed 8:07 in two point on Bud. I should take dressage lessons again after I meet my goals with Kitt and akash through Michelle.

I used a lot more words the first time.

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