lantairvlea: (lantair look)
I had my lesson with Carrie yesterday. I was the last ride of the day for her and apparently I was the last chance at a good, productive lesson. Everyone had attention issues to varying degrees. Kristen was on Ellie and she was distracted by Aliki and Moose pulling in along with the wind. Aliki said Moose did okay and was typical distracted baby in new place, but when she went to pull the reins over at the end he had a moment and bumped into Robin's mare Betty as they were coming in so Betty took a good chunk of her lesson to come down. Carrie said it was pretty much the same lesson for all three: refocus! Aliki was a bit mortified at Moose's behavior, but hopefully she will join our merry little crew on a regular basis.

Kitt redeemed the day by paying attention to her job and we had a pretty productive lesson. Her walking leg yields were fabulous and we moved on to the trot, which was less fabulous, but got better.

She tends to either dump or rush on her outside shoulder so we worked walk-halt within the leg yield and getting her both more prompt to stop and quicker to step off. It was interesting asking her to walk off immediately into the leg yield.

Our trot-halt transitions started out pretty poor. I'm debating doing the bitless bridle next time, but we'll see. I can't do a recognized show in the bitless so probably just keep working in the bitted bridle. I guess I could throw a bit on her bitless bridle (I use Moss Rock Endurance's Evolution Bridle which has a bitted option) and see how it goes.

I was curious and looked Carrie up on Centerline and was slightly disappointed to find she hasn't shown above first level (at least not anything recognizrd) with lackluster scores. Granted, they were over ten years ago and in the meantime she has gotten her degree and had a kid so she has an excuse for her showing break. I don't think she is too much older than I am. In spite of that I'm sticking around. I can't deny the results it has had on Kitt and I look forward to starting to put it to the test, even if it is just schooling shows.

There is a little part of my head that is running around screaming "I am a hack!" right now. I have my first horse due in for full driving training the end of June. It's the Gypsy mare Chroi I evaluated almost a month ago. I have six weeks to get her put to.

The closest I've come to having a horse in full training was Bud when I was working him three days a week. It'll be interesting to see what I can do in a more intense timetable. From the evaluation the mare should be a "born broke" type, but no step skipping here! I'm meeting with her owner tomorrow so she can see the place and know where her mare is going to be kept.

Speaking of driving training, Ballad is a little rock star.



He is absolutely adorable.



The driving view.

He has started to tell the difference between when I have the lines and Monique. This should remedy itself as Monique gets more consistent and capable, but it does bring out the more stereotypical pony in him. Of course it didn't help that she would pick up the line, he would question it, and then she would let him go so in a short period of time she had him turning the opposite way with her rein aid. Once caught it was easy to fix fortunately!

Today I had Olaf for his official start of driving training. He had his evaluation a couple weeks ago too and needs more familiarizing with the harness. We lunged first with the training harness (breastcollar, surcingle, and crupper with kicking strap/trace carriers). He was vaguely reluctant going forward into the breastcollar, but not bad like last time. He wanted to drop the canter going right and to the left he humped up once.

From lungeing we switched gears to whip aids, starting with being sure he could flex his neck (not looking for a big bend) without moving before moving his haunches and shoulders away. He was excellent for moving his hip over and moving his shoulders towards the bend. Moving his shoulders to the outside of the bend was a littke harder. When he was doing it reasonably well and since it was obvious he knew how to move his hip away from pressure I asked him to move his hip towards me. This one is tricky for a lot of horses and I ended up using the fence to keep him from pushing forward too much.

And I'll continue this tomorrow with other training musings because Quentan just fell asleep and I should head to bed.
lantairvlea: (lantair look)
The other morning Ruby, Tru-D, and McLintock were lined up in order of size. By the time I got my phone to take a picture Mac had moved, but it did give a good size comparison between Ruby and Tru-D currently (with Charm-N peaking over their backs).



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

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

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

I might have found a bit of a niche with this driving thing.
lantairvlea: (lantair look)
I still have some serious catch-up to do with my bookkeeping, but I made a little headway today.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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