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

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

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

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

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

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

Kristin plans on riding her tomorrow and will be hauling her to Carrie's for a lesson Thursday. After that I have two more rides, but I will probably schedule Kristin to come out and work on another two of mine. This could turn out to be quite the productive relationship for the two of us! My horses get body work and her filly gets rides.
lantairvlea: (lantair look)
Saturday was the Draft Horse Expo in conjunction with the local rodeo. What started out as me checking in with the Rodeo people to see if they wanted us to participate again turned into me managing the entire affair.

Many things learned for next time for sure and also for the upcoming show in November (eight months, aaaaggggg!). I didn't feel like I could push the event until it was locked in and I couldn't lock it in until we had insurance information taken care of and I had to wait (weeks...) on another member to get that taken care of. The problem is that the group is in flux and disarray so she assumed we weren't doing any events and didn't renew the insurance (which covers three events) when it expired.

I had a couple emails sent out through the group as well as an event posting on the Facebook page. I had two other people express interest ahead of time and Troy (our former President) called me this week saying one of his sons would be there.

Friday evening I had Henry and Bud. Bud had a minor meltdown over some kids setting up a lemonade stand. In his defence it did involve a pop-up shade, ice rattling around, the chest opening and closing, small sneaky-looking creatures (children), and a hand-pull wagon. I could have just let him jig-jog past it, but we turned around and passed it again and again until he was walking without more than a half-glance at it. Since it was right next to home we had to pass it again and he would have been perfect had they no dumped some ice into the bucket, but I'll take the half-second side-step over the shenanigans he was doing before!

I finished up with Bud and swung by Bashas' to see if I could find a table covering becaue I knew a least one of my tables was covered in paint. I ended up not needing it because the second one was reasonably paint-less, but while I was there I got a call from Lea.

She was concerned about the arena we were supposed to be in. It didn't appear to be set up for what we needed to do. At first I was hoping she had her North/South directions confused. I decided I needed to see for myself and since it's just a mile from home I drove down and jogged over to the arena. Nope, she was correct on her directions.

What we were dealing with was an arena set up for roping. It wouldn't have been too bad, but there were three sets of loose panels leaning up against the fence rail, the cattle chute was not blocked off and of course the "boxes" on either side that work great for small horses to wait for the cow to pop out of the chute are a death trap for something larger, especially something larger pulling a cart or wagon! To make matters worse, the North gate that we had used two years ago had temporary panels blocking it. There was a gate there, sure, but it had a 6' arch over it, which would decapitate anyone riding a draft and be impassible with a cart.

Troy's older son Riley was there (Troy 2.0 he said as I initially hailed them with "Is that Troy?"). He figured they would move all of it and it'd be good by morning as he headed off, but Lea was not so easily passified. The other thing is that the arena is right next to the carnival. Not only that, but all of the obnoxious swinging, twirly rides were in sight of the arena. Even if we did go down to the South end and use the big gate there (passing the cattle chute and all), we'd have to travel between the arena and the rides in a 30' path.

So I called Brook, the lady I have been conversing with via email about the event and she booked it down to see what we were talking about. She passed us in her little golf cart, swung to the North end of the arena to see the gate, and came back with apologies about the state of it.

Now there is an arena directly South of Arena 4, the one we were supposed to be in. Arena 2 had nothing in it but their glorious red dirt (Arena 4 had had the red footing pulled and replaced it with brown dirt to cater to whatever roping event they held previously). It also had a larger set of bleachers. Lea and I asked what was going on in Arena 2. Brook said it was the Corn Hole Toss Tournament and it didn't start until noon. I don't know about you, but I think the corn hole toss requires a big set of bleachers for spectators, really glorious footing, nor a full 150x300' arena. Brook said she would check with the organizers and get back with me that evening about what they could do.

While farther away from our parking and staging area we could access Arena 2 from the side road and not have to go anywhere near the carnival stuff. We did have the carnival rides going two years ago and most of the horses did surprisingly well, but Charm-N and I did nearly end up putting the forecart in a post when one of them started up. I think individually the rides wouldn't be a deal. Moving thing, okay, somewhat suspiscious, but predictable. Flashing lights? Okay, again, if it's predicitable and consisted they can chill out about it pretty well. Add in people screaming at random? Well, every horse has its limits.

Brook called me as I was finishing up dinner to say we had Arena 2. I quickly sent everyone messages about the change and we were good to go!

In all we ended up with nine horses and ten people participating. I had Kitt, Ruby, and Charm-N along with two students, Olivia and Susanne. Chris helped out and manned the table. Had it not been so hot (95°F!) we would have hooked Ruby and Chris would have done some driving too.

Lea and her husband had her two Percherons, Christina brought down her two Clydesdales and two people (didn't catch their names), and Troy's son Hayden did a demo with a team of Shires. So we had the four major draft breeds (Ruby is a Belgian) plus a Fjord.

We started out a little behind. While Lea got there before us they were still loitering around as we lead our crew over to the arena to start the halter classes. We did have the horses saddled, but it made the tack change later quicker as we just pulled the saddles and stuffed them in Lea's trailer. We were about 20 minutes behind to start, but Christina had a two hour drive to get down here with her rig so all in all I don't think that was too bad of a lag. Of course had we had anyone volunteer to give demos between classes we could have filled the dead space, but ah well! Next year!

I served as the announcer and judge to start. Everyone said I did well, but I can't help to feel like I sucked. This is why judges should also be impartial 3rd parties as I didn't want to place my students high because that would totally look like favoritism, but I didn't want to place them too low either because, if I do say so myself, my horses aren't all that bad looking. It didn't help that all the horses were pretty well put together.

I figured the best thing to do with Charm-N would be to hold her since she probaly wouldn't be happy left tied to the fence as six other horses left her behind. She wasn't overly happy being 60' away from them either and I dropped the mic once as she stepped on the cord. My papers also flew off once so I was feeling all types of professional.

Maybe next year we'll have actual entries and numbers and information sheets for people. As it was it was Fjord #1, Belgian #2, Clydesdale #3, Clydesdale #4, Percheron #5, and Percheron #6 in order of line-up. If I remember right I placed them Clyde #3, Percheron #5, Belgian #2, Clyde #4, Percheron #6, and Fjord #1. Kitt got last because she failed to trot in-hand the first time out. I also wasn't clear enough in my directions to Olivia and she and Kitt left the arena after the did their initial attempt at jogging instead of coming back around behind the last horse.

As we finished up the halter Hayden appeared with his team of Shires and he put on a great demonstration while we did our tack change for the riding classes. I also called Brook to hunt down the barrels that we were supposed to have since I didn't see them anywhere.

We had a moment after Hayden exited as we were mounting up that Lea's two horses got loose as they were getting their bridles on. I was laready on Charm-N so I was able to block Greta's escape and while I wasn't confident to get close enough to grab her I did manage to guide her into the arena gate where Lea got her. Her gelding Thor didn't go far and then the rest of them mounted up. I headed in first followed by Susanne on Ruby and Olivia on Kitt. We started our walk as Lea and her husband Mike reorganized themselves. On one pass I asked if they were going to scratch or not and they said they were good and joined us shortly thereafter.

Charm-N was a little looky and wanted to cut in away from the crowd a little, but didn't do anything to out of line. Ruby was her usual awesome self swinging along with her ears up and eyes bright. I swear she loves the squishy red dirt at Horseshoe. She gets an extra spring in her step and you wouldn't know she had severe ringbone in her right fore. Kitt was good and calm as well and didn't seem to mind Ruby and Charm-N marching boldly ahead of her.

Christina was on the mic served as announcer and judge. We picked up the trot and at one point Kitt got a little strong on Olivia while heading towards the gate (surprise) and cantered a couple strides. She got her back down with no issue. Lea and Mike hung in the center and let their horses google-eye stuff rather than take them around the ring. We changed direction at the trot and everyone kept gait this time before walking and lining up in the center. Christina then had each of us back before making her decision. Susanne and Ruby took first, Kitt and Olivia took second, but only because Kitt broke gait, and Charm-N and I took third. Mike and Lea got honorable mentions for at least making it into the arena.

The barrels had arrived and Chris and I set them up after the riding class. Lea was the timer and off we went! Charm-N trotted mostly and rolled into a canter heading home. We managed about 52 seconds on our run as we were a little wide around the turns. Susanne and Ruby did a solid trot the whole way. With Ruby's ringbone I told her to keep it at a trot. I don't remember the time, but it was close to Charm-N's. Olivia took Kitt in and the little goober dove to the gate after every barrel. Everyone figured the little sporty pony would get the best time, but it took her over a minute! I decided the cheeky pony needed a little schooling so I swing up and after adjusting the stirrups a about four holes up (I have nubby, nubby legs compared to my students) Kitt and I went for it again. She was quite strong any time the gate came in view, but I checked her strongly around and we managed to do it in 42 seconds, taking the best time. From there the plan was some driving, which required another tack change. Someone pulled the barrels as we headed back to the trailer. I lead Charm-N and the two girls rode behind me.

I hosed down Charm-N because she was done for the day and we pulled the tack off of Ruby and Kitt. We only brought the Kutzmann cart so just one horse at a time. Ruby and Charm-N hung out in the trailer as we hitched Kitt and I took her down.

Kitt was very vocal as we left her buddies behind, but kept a steady walk down the access road. As I was getting ready to turn towards the arena I spotted a water truck heading our way and put up my hand to ask them to stop. I actually raised my hand several times in a stopping motion as soon as I saw him a couple hundred feet away, giving him plenty of room to stop a fair distance back. Despite that as I swung Kitt around in order to make the opening the truck rumbled within 20 feet of us which didn't make me happy and made Kittquestion hard about swinging towards the truck and then squeezing between the barricades. The road we just came down looked like a much better option. Chris finally came and I told him to lead her through. I had to remind him he couldn't pull her around as sharp because we were in the cart not the carriage. We got through and I took her the rest of the way into the arena without incident. I think had the water truck not kept creeping up on us we would have been fine, but the big rumbling, moving barricade was a little much for Kitt at the moment. It has been well over a year since she has been off property while driving after all.

We had lost the majority of our crowd at that point and it was just Christina and I with Kitt and her Clyde playing around in the arena as Lea snapped some pictures.

I got the chance to get Kitt going a bit. Sneaky little bugger got a bit strong in the trot and offered a couple canter strides as we headed towards the gate. She would then nearly die as we got near the gate so we worked on trotting smoothly past the gate and called it good once she trotted without stopping.

I will probably pull off the driver's wedge from the cart. While I have my little foot box to give my nubby legs some purchase the wedge puts me up another two or three inches and pretty much negates it. I ended up bracing my heels between the wedge and the seat to feel like I had enough grip to keep myself stabilized. It was nice to be able to trot her out and get some nice big figures going. The footing is not so condusive to carts, especially after horses have been riding in it creating innumerable divots for the tires to roll through. I also think a piece of pipe wrap or some vet wrap will be in order next time I have the chance to cruise in it as the heel chains are a bit annoying.

By that time it was over 90 degrees and we were hot. I asked Christina if she was okay with us nixing the obstacles and she was fine. We didn't hook up Ruby for the same reason. Too hot for our fuzzy Yaks. We cleared out of the arena a bit before 1pm. After loading Kitt and the cart Chris and I went back for the table and stuff.

I had contacted several breed organizations and told them about our event and that we wanted to share information about the draft breeds and most of them were very generous! People didn't take as much of the literature as I had hoped so I still have stacks of flyers and booklets from the Shire, Clydesdale, Percheron, Belgian, and Fjord registries. I forgot to grab the Suffolk stuff from Hayden, but that's okay. I was pretty impressed with their response and generosity and plan on having a similar display during the show in November, possibly adding the Haflingers (can't remember if I emailed them), Spotted Drafts, and maybe I'll contact the Gypsy people ... maybe. I remain unimpressed with some of their breeders.

Everyone seemed to have fun and I think it was good experience as I have a better idea of a few things for the show, primarily concerning tack change times. Definitely need a good-sized break between riding and driving classes!

I also have thoughts and ideas concerning this event for next year. I think the quieter arena suited us better. It would be awesome to get the covered one, but that spot is already spoken for and so long as it isn'1 too hot the uncovered arena is fine.

If I can get people to do demonstrations between classes that would be awesome. That has always been a bit of the trouble, filling time with tack changes and the like. Considering there were just four groups of us at work I think we managed to do really well. if I had another Hayden-like demo while we were getting the horses changed over from riding to driving we probably would have kept more of a crowd. Of course as we were breaking down the table we had a few people who were disappointed that they missed it.

A couple things I wish I had were solid information and flyers about the show in November, and membership forms for the club. I had emailed Kellie Thursday I think about it, but should have thought of it sooner. Drat. Well, next time!

We were pretty tired once we got home. We got the horses put up and the driving stuff away before cleaning up ourselves. The saddles and table are still in our horse trailer, but those could wait. We needed the driving stuff out of Dave and Marty's trailer first so we could park it back where it belongs.

As we were cleaning up Marty had sent me a text about Dakota an Hershey. Apparently her cousin's step-daughter was interested in them and possibly my parents' horse trailer. I got Marty the keys for both the property and trailer so they could check it out more. The tires on it are shot, which isn't a surprise. I don't think it has moved in a year and a half. We last put tires on it when we took Jed to the pleasure driving show in 2012 and it sits out in the sun all the time. Jeremy, Jessika's husband, climbed under it and discovered the back half of the floor is pretty much rotted out as well so they're going to consider what repairs will cost and make them an offer on it.

They decided free was a good price for Dakota and Hershey and they picked them up last night. It was a little weird this morning passing their empty pen and strange not having to feed an extra set of horses.

Yes I won't have the $400 in board a month for them, but close to half of that went into feeding them plus the chore of feeding and watering them. I also don't have to worry about being paid back for their vet and farrier work. The other week Marty had asked me about when Rowdy had first come over (the gelding they had before Hershey) and as I poked through my old entries I realized I have been a bit bitter and put out about taking care of my parents' horses off and on for a long time.

It's not that I actually mind taking care of them, but I very much mind thier lack of care for their own horses. I compared it to a child wanting a puppy and promising they'd take care of it and being the parent who ends up bathing, feeding, and cleaning up after said puppy that the child just HAD to have and was going to take such good care of.

I hope Jessika and Jeremy enjoy the two old mares and make their last years good ones.

In other news I now technically have space if I were to take a horse into training.
lantairvlea: (bastek kunst)
Saturday was day two of the Roots N' Boots Rodeo. The ADHMA was invited this year to give a show/demonstration/expo thing on day two of the three day event. It flew by the seat of our collective pants and not due to weather (unlike the first time).

I have come to the conclusion that I need to just stop waiting around for anyone to contact me about these things and just need to step in and do it. Yes, Troy is the President and Jay the V.P., but I am technically on the show committee so that should mean I have some clout and say, right? Just because I am the same age as some of their kids doesn't mean I have to wait around for them to decide to do something, right? I can say "Hey! Let's do a meeting for this thing!" or "We really should get on about having a program for the show this year." and the like.

Anyway, Saturday dawned early and we fed the herd and finished loading up. Chris had taken Friday off to get things ready, but since he didn't tell me until Monday or Tuesday I didn't cancel or reschedule lessons (I had five). We did get time in to play with Ruby and Charm-N ground driving as a team again and loaded up the wagonette in the little red trailer among other things, but we didn't have nearly so much time together as I was running around doing lessons (two were off property).

Haley, the intern, was a good help throughout the day Saturday, even if there was quite a bit of hurry up and wait going on. Did I mention before that I picked up an intern from the same two year Equine Science program I went through? I did, and she's doing well I think.

We took Kitt and the forecart with the truck and horsetrailer and followed Chris who had the Whimobile and the wagonette in the little red trailer. Chris then went back to get Ruby and Charm-N as Haley and I lead Kitt around and got our bearings. The carnival rides were mercifully quiet.

Chris came back with the big girls and we started grooming up. I can't remember the exact order of everything, but I warmed up Charm-N in the forecart and was very pleased with how she did. While she wasn't completely loose and swingy in the walk the whole time she did walk for the majority of the time, which is a big change from her old "shut up and let me drive" mind set. She knows how to handle herself in a cart, she just doesn't always think she needs input from her driver.... I am also happy to report that she worked the whole time on the snaffle ring of her elbow bit with the low port. Up until this the last few drives under Michelle's instruction I have always worked Charm-N on some sort of leverage option either on the liverpool or the new elbow we acquired, but I think we have managed to come to a happy place where the leverage is not the go-to and we can happily work on the snaffle setting. Friday while we ground drove them Chris actually hooked her lines to the bitless bridle as a sidepull and she actually did pretty well with it. I have thoughts of acquiring a bitless driving bridle now for sheer curiosity's sake. Stopping wasn't the best under the sidepull option, but it was OK.

Chris hooked up Ruby and I tacked up Kitt and we cruised down to the arena to scope it out before the show officially started (bumped from a 9am start time to 10... ish.). Kitt was OK, though she did throw a few bucks on me. A little bit was nerves, some from the strangeness, some from the speaker noise, some from her not thinking she had to work so hard. She was really perturbed when Chris and Ruby left and I wouldn't let her vacate the arena. She finally settled and worked really nice once she realized that leaving the arena was not an option (even if the gates were wide open). I know there were spots that I could have handled better, especially when I realized I stopped using my legs at some point and guess what happened when I started activating them? She was a bit more obedient! Imagine that! Anyway, she got worked entirely in her bitless bridle Saturday from the morning warm-up to the breed demo that we did between the Unicorn hitch and the Four Abreast and the barrel race in the afternoon.

(Feel free to critique form. I know I am far away and there is a Clyde in the way most of the time [I was kind of hoping she would walk the horse around and not just stand in one spot...], but you can have at it just the same.)

I have some video proof of our demo ride. Chris hung out next to the in gate and shot it. Before I went in I had asked the lady with the Clyde if she wanted to join me as all three hitches were leaving the arena and I was thinking Kitt might enjoy the company. I was wrong. Kitt just needed to be told that the in/out gate was not the place to be and she then settled nicely. I even got her to gallop a bit and do some really nice halts. I haven't ever asked Kitt to go that fast before and she did it brilliantly once she realized that listening was a whole lot easier than arguing.

The show schedule seemes to fluxuate on Troy's whims. Did I mention that we had no judge? No placings, no ribbons, but also no entry fees so I guess it's all good.

I missed the Western riding class with Kitt because Troy had told us it was after the Street Cart class so I was with Chris in the wagonette waiting for the Street Cart class to start and then realizing that there were the Western riding people in the class... ah well. Ruby did great pulling the wagonette in the class, even with the carnival rides going full tilt (you see the ferris wheel and catch a brief glimps of one of the others, but there were four different spinning, twirling rides screaming people and all).

There was a lunch break in there somewhere and I got on Kitt again to hit the barrel race. No bucks during the barrel race (she did jump a pee spot another horse left coming to the third barrel) and she still had plenty of oomph and attitude to go. Kitt is in much better shape than I give her credit for with all the lessons she does. I had a lot of pony still left at the end of the day.

There was supposed to be a cart obstacle class, which we had hoped to run all three mares in, but it got nixed. There was also supposed to be a log skid, but that got nixed too because Troy forgot the log or didn't bring it. There was also no feed team race as Troy didn't bring the sledges (maybe a little too reliant on or fearless leader?).

Not that I want to harp on Troy or anything, but I do think that the club needs to decentralize a bit. Granted I do know that Troy probably has most of the experience out of everyone with his hitch that he tours with and demos all over the country, but he is a busy guy. He's also a good guy, but I do think the club needs to be able to function without waiting for his word on everything, even if he is the president of the club.

So we didn't get to do quite as much as we had initially hoped, but it was definitely better than the first time we were invited to Roots N' Boots! I do hope they invite us back again next year and hopefully we can all get our acts together (read: I finally step up and take some responsibility and help get the thing organized properly) and make it even better.

After the last class a crowd of us managed to get together and have a pseudo meeting. We talked about the fun trail drive coming up at the end of the month, the Equistar show in May that is supposed to have draft classes, and the possibility of shifting the yearly show to be with Equistar Show rather than the Equifest Expo in September like they did last year (heard it was quite a bust). I also brought up the possibility of a vehicle maintainence clinic, which they thought was a good idea and something to do towards the end of the year as it cools down again (bring your own vehicle! Pot luck perhaps?).

I'd have pictures, but I was too busy doing stuff to take any. I'll have to ask Haley if she took some and pester my clients who were there as well (had a half dozen show up I think).

Edit To Add: The bitless bridle functioned great. I did have a slighty issue with the noseband creeping down towards her nostrils at one point, but I only had to move it once during the whole day and I am not sure if that was due to her head-dipping threaten-to-buck shenanigans or what (probably). I did want to mention that the reins stayed as they should and the crown didn't get twisted at all on her head. I do think that the throatlatch attachment is what makes the difference in this function in steadying the pressure so the crown doesn't twist. Five stars.
lantairvlea: (lantair look)
I put a ride on Sunny yesterday during a lesson. I still had the Dr. Cook's bridle in our tack room from using it on Panda Saturday so I out that on her and decided to try my Dressage saddle on for chuckles and giggles. She was very reluctant to trot and generally unhappy in her face. I blamed the bridle first and pulled it off" replacing it with her halter and climbed back on. Slightly hapoier in her face, but still not hapoy moving forward. I pulled off the saddle and got on again. She was a little blah to start, but then started going better. I have no idea if the tack changes made a difference or if she realized after four or more times getting on and off the ride wasn't over and she might as well just play along. Marty thinks Sunny has a dinner/meal delay issue more than anything. The mare hates to (think she could) miss a meal. Of course if I could get her ridden more than once a month that would be good too!

If I get Sunny into decent work I can use her for lessons. If I get Cinnamon going I can work her during lessons and maybe use her in another year or so (can't believe The Stink is going to be eight this year). Marty is paying me to work her two girls, up to two rides a week at half my usual rate because I don't always do a full hour and she watches my kids. It's a prettt fair trade, especially considering I did all of Cinnamon's training pro bono until I was pregnant with Tristan (she was four at the time).

I do wish it had worked out better with Trish working Cinnamon as I would like to have seen what a steady 30 days would have done for her, but ah well. Sunny is just a matter of getting her tuned up. I think even just five days in a row would do her. Cinnamon needs miles and a work ethic, which takes a lot longer to establish, especially when it's a once or twice a week deal.
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.
lantairvlea: (zetahra)
I rode Z down to the mailboxes at Mews today. It's a little less than a 1/4 mile there so probably 3/8 of a mile or something like that total for the ride, but short and sweet was the game plan.

I mounted up in the side yard and rode out the South driveway. We stuck to the East side of the road, which has a nice wide shoulder most of the way down. She was a little tender on the gravel, but she did just have her feet trimmed this morning. Maybe some day boots.

She was good about the cars passing behind, though I would stop her if I heard them first and give her some pats and scratches telling her how brave she was. It also encouraged the drivers to be a little slower.

Her one tense spot was passing between the line of mailboxes and the fence by Mews. She jigged slightly, but mostly walked and looked. When we headed back home she thought about jigging a little, but a couole of firm halts and she gave it up.

Now that I have survived once I need to do it more, heh. Hopefully in the next few months I can be riding down to the property and work her there.
lantairvlea: (lantair look)
I have been putting some rides on Cinnamon for Marty (seems fair, she watches my kids most days, I can put some rides on her mares) and have asked her if she wanted me to work Sunny too and today she decided it would be a Sunny day.

For those who don't know (and I think that counts as everyone at this point) Sunny is Cinnamon's mother. Long story short Dave and Marty were looking for a horse before we bought Ruby and Chris found Sunny. The lady they bought her from was classic backyard breeder. Her neighbor got in a chestnut Fox Trotter stud and "to see what he threw" bred both Sunny and her TWH mare. IN JANUARY. We saw the stud briefly when we picked up Sunny and all I remember was a nondescript chestnut with a smudge of a star. The lady wasn't sure if Sunny was pregnant as her "vet had short arms." It's amazing Cinnamon came out so well!

Chris rode Sunny for a bit before buying Ruby and I used her briefly for lessons until she stopped getting worked regularly. Part of it was because she had a parasitic ulcer occur in the corner of her mouth, which scarred and shortened her lips so that the bit no longer sits straight in her mouth. Marty got a nice hackamore/bosal for her, which she went pretty well in and acquired a Dr. Cook's bitless bridle a couple years ago that we have used on Cinnamon.

Sunny was Clinton Anderson "trained" by her previous owner. This did some awesome things and some not so awesome things. For one it took a LONG time before Sunny realized she could walk in the roundpen. She's also the reason we kindof got into the Clinton Anderson thing, went to a couple clinics, acquired snazzy sticks, and a couple videos.

Today was the first time Sunny has had the Dr. Cook bridle on and it is the first time I have ridden her in possibly three years. Maybe not the wisest of choices. I lunged her and tested her bending, stop, and back with the bridle before climbing on. Since Sunny is terribly out of shape I was planning on just walking and trotting her a bit. She ended up offering the canter as she has defaulted to her old mode of "leg pressure while I trot means canter!" We had a couple moments of a slow-as-snot canter. She's like Kash, why trot faster when I can just canter?

She made some faces while trotting and I'm not sure how much she likes the facial pressure. She HATED the mechanical hackamore, but did pretty well in the bosal (I think the physical noise from the chain irritated her more than anything). I figure give her a few rides in it and if she is still making weird faces switch back to the bosal and see if that doesn't fix it. It almost looks like a grimace.

She's also a bit braced in her neck and wanting to stop with a giraffe neck and backing up instead of giving her face. We did some explaining on the difference between sidepassing and turn on the forehand and then called it a day.

Tomorrow is another pair of lessons, Shilo bringing her boy Henry over, and the little brothers in the evening. I may try to work Z before my first lesson...
lantairvlea: (lantair look)
It has been at least breezy for the last three weeks. This sucks as Chewy has an issue with a facial nerve that seems to be triggered by breezy days. It causes her to flinch and toss her head. Her fly mask seems to help, but doesn't eliminate it entirely. I have contemplated getting those nose nets for her, but as it stands she is retired from windy days.

This morning started out with a light breeze, just barely moving the needles on the pines so I thought I might use Chewy for the first lesson. Lesson number one did not show up so I grabbed Zetahra.

I warmed her up lungeing, which she was pretty good for, though she kept cutting in as she approached the block wall. Once she felt reasonably responsive I donned my vest and helmet and climbed aboard. I used the general purpose saddle this time and she did move forward better, but I'm not sure if that was partially due to the wind! Things really picked up after I got on and we had a few veils of dust swing through the arena.

She was still leery of the block wall and I tried leg-yielding her towards it, which had marginal success. Yes she yielded, but not very well or promptly. Then I realized the issue: she was leaning on my outside rein to motor in despite softening to the inside rein and ample use of leg. Once I realized that I checked her off the outside rein and she stepped into the space and started to relax about the block wall (along with the wind neighbors had their sprinklers running [highly effective in the wind...] and they also have fun things like a greenhouse, yard equipment, curtains around their gazebo, and a basketball hoop over there).

She tried to get stick in the corner by the pass through and gave me a little "don't want to go forward" fit by cantering in place for two strides. We did some halfway decent trotting figure eights and managed a half dozen or so straight and forward canter strides in a row. In the next few weeks we should be able to canter the whole arena. I may ask Suzy if she can meet us at Horseshoe with Tommy so we can reintroduce the big arena with a buddy.

Still not bad for a four year old with nine months off and a week between sessions. Must ride her more. I think a coupke more rides and I should be able to ride her during some of my more advanced students, lessons. I'll mostly be standing, but that is good for her too.

I had Bud this afternoon. Sue asked if I would ride him and I agreed. We fit him with a bridle and the Kimberwick she had. I had him on the least severe rein notch and that may have been a little much. I'm going to try him on the D next time.

I lunged him first, which turned out to be a good idea because he was a complete nutball to start. He trotted around like a maniac and kept wanting to change directions without permission. He also cantered and kicked out at me, which was not received favorably by me and I let him know it.

When he settled down enough to walk, trot, and whoa like a sensible horse (plus change directions) I climbed on and tested him out. He is a little dead/indifferent to the leg and liked to careen around his turns, especially in the trot. Our figure eights were lacking. If I used my voice he stopped terribly on his forehand and if I used just my hand he would come back, but was slow to drop gait.

Sue said that his previous owners didn't ride him (rode him home once when the harness broke I guess) and the one before that was a therapy program in which he took advantage of his riders and went everywhere he was not asked to go. She guessed it's been about five years since the therapy riders and outside of me popping on him bareback once to get across a deep puddle (didn't feel like getting wet) that has been it. So his education under saddle is lacking. While Sue will probably never ride Bud she wants him to be able to do both and feels the work under saddle will compliment his driven work, which I agree with. I start working with him twice a week this week (once under saddle and the second time in harness with Sue).

I had two other lessons this afternoon and was going to meet Christa, but she bumped again to Monday. I was really hoping to do this evening meeting when Chris was at work so it didn't interfere with our time, but I don't have a 4pm Monday so 5-7pm it will be.

Panda was a bit of a goober Thursday when I went to get her. We pkayed the "I chase your butt and stop when you face me" game. I turned her out in the Downs' arena and gave her abfew minutes before catching her, which took 15 minutes. It would have gone quicker, but I had Kelhan with me so chasing her aggressively when she turned away from me wasn't really an option.

Friday she did better and I actually got her to latch on and follow me both directions, which is quite an accomplishment for two days after four months off. I gave her a thorough once-over and scrubbed her down. Her farrier still likes to leave her front toes long so they are slightly dished and there is a little separation between the sole and wall. I don't know how this guy manages to screw up, but at least they don't look any worse than the last time I saw them she has the best feet. It would take effort to screw them up.

Chris took some vacation time next week. We'll be taking one of the days to go Northward and see how the Jeep handles an extended trip. Chris plans on spending much of the time job hunting. Fingers crossed on that.
lantairvlea: (lantair look)
I rode Kash today and also started riding Kitt, but ended up on Charm-N.

Kash started out real heavy in the hand as well as being terribly inverted. Not much of a surprise because he has made a habit of moving that way with my students (I try!). I got him moving up pretty nicely with halt-canter and walk-canter transitions, but coming back down was a bit more of an issue so more transitions! I did get some nice turn on the haunches and walking half pirouettes and he was much softer at the end of it.

I do miss riding my boy. When he is on mark he is just a kick to ride. It will probably take a few more times with my butt in the saddle before he comes back to where he should be, but that's okay. I am going to try harder to ride during lessons, even if it means douling turns on the haunches and forehand as I watch my students go around or occasionally demonstrating something.

I had Mariah and Kaylen working on the one-rein stop and pulley rein. They picked Kash and Charm-N respectively and I grabbed Kitt to demo on. Charm-N was a terrible lug on the reins for Kaylen so I ended up swapping her horses so I could work on Charm-N and she could have some success with Kitt.

Charm-N took some convincing that the way to find her release was to GIVE to the pressure rather than just leaning on it. She is better with give-and-take pressure, but steady contact she still likes to lean and push through because she gets away with it so often.

As I told my students today: the horse seeks the release. He doesn't care if he has to push through or give, but he wants the release. Which way he finds it depends on when the rider releases and what the rider allows. If you give every time the horse pushes into the pressure there is no incentive for the horse to stop pushing.

So more riding, more tuning up my horses and keeping them happy so they can continue to do well for my students as they learn.
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: (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: (zetahra)
Thursday I worked three horses. One mine, one formerly so, and one not. All three black-and-white drafts (well, one part). I started with Gypsy as Keara was too exhausted from play practice to get up. The play was yesterday and today so life for her and Susanne should return to normal.

I have mixed thoughts about Gypsy. She's not nearly so simple as one might hope and I don't recall her doing much of what she has gotten into the first few rides I put on her last year. I know she doesn't have a great amount of education, but she has also learned she can push into the pressure and it takes a lot to convince her otherwise. I have a good knot in my left calf from her still. I think I'm going to use spurs next time to save my legs, whenever that ends up being.

I worked Zetahra next, ride number 10 I think. I did forget my vest, but she was good as she has been. I'll probably still wear the vest the next dozen or so rides to be on the safe side. She's still offering canter (the whole grand stride of it) when I ask for trot so we'll have to work on differentiating the two. She us starting to figure out the leg-yield cues and is getting more consistent about submitting to steering even when she is less sure about the situation. The focus will come in time. She is only three.

Panda was pretty good Thursday. I also worked her Friday too. Both times I started with the whip. Thursday she was quite nervous aboyt it, but settled out. Friday was better and quicker. She'll never need a whip a day in her life because she is tremendously forward, but she needs to learn/remember how to be relaxed around them. I admit that I am having fun working her, of course I always have. Part of me kicks myself for not having or making more time for her in the past. Of course if I did have the time for her I wouldn't have sold her. Panda is more a horse for a single, consistent, and confident rider where I think her daughter is going to be much more flexible. Anyway, she did well. The big sticky spot right now is getting her to lift her right shoulder as she canters. I'm looking forward to when Christa is able to start riding her again so they can really bond and work together.

Today I rode Kitt and Chewy during lessons. Kitt is really coming along nicely. She retains well despite the breaks in my rides on her. Hopefully this fall or next Spring I can get her out to some of the local shows and test the waters to see if I can start taking her out with students. She did quite well back in March and I look forward to see how she does in a quieter environment. You know, without ferris wheels and spinning rides or kids screaming and sheep loading in trucks and mud puddles and whatever else.

Chewy is a fun ride and I think she appreciates a good ride from time to time. If it weren't so windy I'd be using her more, as it is Kitt has passed her in earnings, but that is probably as it should be considering that Chewy is 22 this year and Kitt coming into her own at seven. I don't think Kitt will ever be as light and responsive as Chewy is, it isn't in her nature, but Kitt is good in her own way.

I need to ride more, the last few days were pretty good. Now I just need to make it a habit.
lantairvlea: (lantair look)

I haven't seen a video of myself riding in forever. I still keep my elbows too far open and out in front of me. Can I blame my vest pushing my arms away from my sides and the fact that I drove the day before where you're supposed to have your hands and elbows a bit more out in front?

Regardless, enjoy Z being adorable in her new-to-riding-ness.
lantairvlea: (Default)
Friday I rode Kash for the first time. It's actually the first ride he's had since +ctober sometime as he stopped doing lessons as we prepared for the draft show (both students that were using him were in the show and, well, he is not a draft so they weren't riding him).

He did awesome. I was going to just walk and trot, but as I asked for a bigger trot he did his usual "but cantering is so much easier than extending!" And I didn't stop him and it felt wonderful.

I rode him again yesterday. I put my breeches on in the morning, figuring if I had breeches on I was definitely going to get out there to ride. It took me until noon, but hey it happened!

Kash again did awesome. I rode him in the front of the property and he was just great. Towards the end of the concentrated part of the workout I asked for a couple walk-canter transitions and he went into them beautifully, even though my upper body wanted to pop forward the first couple times. That's particularly impressive as it's been well over four months since he's been asked for that and we weren't doing them very well at the time to boot. So much love for the boy. Now if I can only get him to stop scratching himself to pieces!
lantairvlea: (bastek kunst)
Marty is off of work this week and my Tuesday morning lessons jumped to Friday for this week so we worked a couple of horses. I had her help me longeing Kitt mostly to work on Marty's longeing skills.

... Needless to say Kitt really isn't the horse to try and teach someone how to longe with because, well, she's not very good at longeing to begin with, but that's okay. Marty puts in a good effort and is terribly enthusiastic even if she isn't always effective (which she realizes and rather humorously comments on).

After dinking with Kitt we got out the Cinnamon Strudel. Cinnamon hasn't been worked since the Spring really and I think the last time I was on her was before May. I longed her a bit to begin with and, per usual, she had a few little mini-fits, which are more amusing than anything. The first time I asked her to yield her hip she tried pitching a fit and ended up slipping and just about falling on her butt. It was actually pretty hysterical as she sat there a moment looking a bit blank and confused before flopping to her side for a moment to digest the thought and then getting back up.

Once she settled down into the work a bit I stopped her and put the lead rope back on and fussed with her a bit before climbing on. She did excellent all things considered. She had quite a draw towards Ruby for reasons unknown because the Big Lady is not terribly fond of the Stink. After walking around a bit we ventured the trot. It failed miserably at first because she's not terribly educated to the leg (read: not at all) and I ended up asking Marty for the dressage whip as you can only use the legs so much to ask for forward motion before it simply deadens the horse's sides or tenses up the back. The whip allows for a more consistent cue that is less irritable to the horse, plus she knows it better from work on the ground.

So I got to trot around a bit on the Strudel horse off the line on my own for a bit. It was quite fun and she was actually nice and light to turn in the trot since she had some forward motion going rather than the meandering half-focused half-distracted walk. Once we get the round pen back up or have Marty working well on the longe line I think we'll try the canter, but for now it's just walk and trot.

I do need to get the stinky one used to having a bit in her mouth. Just put the bridle on and let her wander around with it to get used to it.

Alas, I've been lacking in my attention to the starting of the Strudel horse under saddle! And yet it's been entirely low-stress and there's been no arguing or "interesting" incidents while I've been on her bad. While she sometimes crabs about what you ask her to do (shaking head, little jump or somesuch) she does it and is nice and responsive. Her mother sometimes has the same attitude, I think it was inherited.

And now I need to go and bust out some pastels or something and REALLY DRAW because I haven't in a while.
lantairvlea: (Default)
She likes to lay down in the middle of the arena and snooze during the middle of the day. The first couple of times I saw her do it, it was slightly alarming because the first thought is "horse down, something must be wrong!" Apparently, though that's just the way Panda is and she likes flopping over and dozing in the sun. I do think it is a little odd to sunbathe on a perfectly hot and sunny day, but that's okay, whatever makes the mare happy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

And now it's about time to think about giving the horses their evening ration. My parents' still need their joint supplement and I really need to take some time to work Rowdy tomorrow. I've been working my parents' horses for some extra cash to make up for the pitiful lack of lessons I've had this summer, particularly this month. I just need to get my butt moving and do it. I should have worked them today, but had to run some errands and the lesson ran a bit over this morning.
lantairvlea: (Default)
Jenny and I finally managed to meet up and do a lesson together. It didn't quite go smoothly as Kash made a bad step and twisted his shoe (not quite off). Luckily, Kim's farrier was there and he was able to put Kash's shoe back on.

Jenny brought Rodney, her big, lovable Belgian cross you can see him here, and he is a bit heavy on the fore and doesn't know how to balance himself very well yet, very similar to Panda, but still quite sweet. Anyway, they worked on getting him to bend and move off his inside shoulder while I worked Kash in trot to canter transitions, he still likes to fall out towards the gate, but I suppose that's to be expected. Everyone's a little barnsour.

Hopefully this will be a weekly ritual. I admit, you lose some of the one-on-one, but it's nice being able to watch another and learn from their experience as well.

So Jenny noted that she need someone with a bit more experience to ride the horses she's selling (Jenny is a "Horse Broker," her term, she doesn't like the connotations associated with "horse trader"). She currently has two girls working her horses and both of them ride, but they're not confident enough to work through the little hiccups that horses often have and often results in the horses learning bad habits (I still lament the loss of Charlie's trot). Jenny asked if I'd come ride and said she's even pay me, which perked me right up and after the lesson we talked it over a bit more. I asked what she paid the girls, told her what I made at Judy's before I quit, and Jenny made quite a good offer, so I'm sold.

I'll start next week and it'll be more like "contract labor" than an employed job, but I'm good either way. All I care about is that the pay is good and I'll be riding horses, lots of different horses and enjoying myself thoroughly.

Yes, I will need to keep up on working my own little herd, but if I get my butt in gear and do what I've been promising to do, it shouldn't be a problem. I made moderate improvement today as I had three stalls mucked before I had to leave for training and I did make myself work Panda afterwards.

Speaking of Panda, she's doing quite well. I think the little exercise Kim taught me, which was also taught to Rodney and Jenny today, seems to help her a little bit with her balance. She's doing better on her right side and is continuing to calm down and relax around people. She does get more worried when one is working around her right side, but again, she's better than she was and she's actually loosening up a bit more now.

I mostly worked with bending her and did some work walk and trot, after working her I did a little tune-up on leading her. She was a bit worried about the whip to begin with, but got used to the idea and started moving forward with me. She's a quick learner once she understands what's asked.

And some Lineart )
lantairvlea: (bastek kunst)
It looks like I'll break my previous high for making money from my lessons. This is good. The bad thing is that this month and last were obscene as far as expenses go having three (technically two-and-a-half) horses who had their teeth floated, spring vaccines, and also shoeing last month (Panda is still shot all-around).

I think I'm going to get a flyer together to advertise for pet portraits and general art as well as my services for photo portraits as well. See if we get any local bites. Of course, I'm going to have to figure out what to charge, egads.

In other more equine news, Mom and I took Dakota and Panda out on Monday since there was a massive gap of time. Panda did quite well. We were chased by a dog coming back home, which I didn't realize was Panda's problem until I turned her around and caught sight of it. We then chased said dog and he was decidedly less tough with a 1300lbs horse coming after him instead of moving away.

My training has been bumped to Friday and I still plan on taking Panda. I need to work Kash today sometime.

I also need to work that little Cinnamon Strudel horse sometime as I need to get into the habit of working her weekly, especially now that she's weaned.

And I need to get my butt outside to prepare for a lesson.

And what's with all of these defective Chinese products?


Jun. 25th, 2007 07:09 am
lantairvlea: (Default)
Training cancled today due to Kim's truck needing to go to the shop, so it's been moved to Friday.

Thursday is my last day for Drawing II and that will give me more time to work on my own stuff again, yay!

Chewy and Dakota had their teeth floated on Friday and, as Chatham said, both are "cheap drunks." Dakota was quite out of it and leaned heavily on the chest bar, but Chewy was much worse. The little mare kept on crossing her hind legs like a newborn foal and leaning heavily to either side, whichever would support her. At one point she had some issues standing and needed assistance to place her weight squarely on her left fore rather than placing it on her fetlock, poor little mare. It took a while for both of them to come out of it before loading up and bringing them back home.

Saturday we took out a few of the horses, Mom, her friend, JJ, and I. I rode Panda, Mom, of course, on Dakota, and her friend, Rachel rode Kash. JJ was on her grey mare, Juliet. It was quite a good ride and JJ kept the pace up to a fair speed. A lot of walking and quite a bit of trotting.

Kash did really well for Rachel, which made me quite happy, she said she hadn't had many positive experiences with Arabs, so it was good to hear he gave her one.

Panda did excellent. She only goobered about the Bicycles, which is understandable as she hasn't had much exposure to them. Even then, it wasn't a big spook, just a little shaky and unsure. We were just behind JJ, who was in the lead almost the whole ride and Panda really wanted to catch up at one point. I had her in a steady trot, and then she started building. She ignored my aids to slow down and jumped into the canter. I wasn't having any of that and did an emergency stop, gripping the cantel with my left hand I reached up and pulled her head around to the right. Thankfully we missed the barrel cactus and she came to a stop. After that she was a bit more responsive to my half-halts and checks on her speed. She wasn't trying to run away per-se and she would have stopped once she caught up with Juliet, but she needs to learn patience and to pay attention to her rider more than the horses around her when it comes to her speed.

Time to do something productive, I'm going outside.
lantairvlea: (bastek kunst)
I get spam e-mail in German. This amuses me. I don't read it, but I do get it, and that in and of itself brings a smile to my face.

And since we trimmed up Ruby and Chewy's legs the other day, I really wanted to get some shots of their clean-shaven legs. I seriously believe that the lack of feathering only proves to make Ruby's legs look bigger.

A glob of references for those who desire to draw Draft Horse Legs )

I worked Ruby and Panda today and cleaned out both their stalls. I took Ruby around the neighborhood, rode her bareback, which was quite fun. She did rather well. Threw a couple of warnings to a border collie mix who was a bit curious and, since I'd been trotting, was thinking about herding us. He thought better of it and watched us walk past.

Ruby's quite a nice ride. She's very wide, but gently so and one of the more comfortable horses I've ridden bareback.

And either I'm really out of shape from what I used to be, or it just takes a LOT of effort in order to get Panda to canter. I know I'm not in the same shape I was when I worked at Judy's, but Panda does take a lot of effort to push into it. It requires rocking of the hips and really encouraging her to get her hind end under her. That and she wants to cut in, so it takes a lot to keep her straight as well.

Hmm, hunger, time for lunch.


lantairvlea: (Default)

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