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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Also, I found two Tru-D baby teeth this past week. She's growing up! She also measured at 15.1 (and a half...) up front and juuuust shy of 15.2 in the back. I think we'll be getting another inch out her. She's filling out nicely viewed from the side, though she does still look a bit babyish from the front as her chest could use some more filling out. I shall get pictures.
lantairvlea: (Tru-D)
If this is a little disjointed and rambly I blame lack of time to write in one sitting and also baby-induced sleep depribation.

Now that I'm back into full swing with both teaching and riding I am seeing where my fitness isn't quite where I'd like it. I think I am being a bit more demanding with myself riding than with Tristan and Kelhan because I have Mac to bring along as well as client horses to hop on too so maybe it is just more obvious this time around.

Nelson has two horses, Molly a Quarter Horse mare and Roy (formerly Royal who used to belong to my client Debbie), an Arab gelding. Molly is a long time trail horse and while she did have some gaps in her training we're slowly filling them. She's forgiving and pretty straight forwarded. I got on her last week for the first time (I was pregnant when Nelson sarted up and wasn't getting on unknown horses) and got a chance to feel her out better. With me back to riding the plan is for Nelson to work on himself with Molly and I'll be working on Royal. Roy's trot has come a long way since Debbie first got him and he had no rhythm or balance whatsoever, but it is still very thrusty and he's making my thighs burn with the posting and little bits of two-pointing I am doing on him. His canter is also naturally thrusty and at the moment he tends to flail over his inside shoulder, which will be a point of focus for me. He's not quite so forgiving as Molly, but he isn't maliscious. Once Nelson's seat gets up to par he's really looking forward to taking his big-moving gelding down the trails. They have done great in the walk, but Nelson's rhythm and strength isn't quite there to post Roy's trot (forget sitting it). We have played with two-point and that went smoother, but since I'm able to climb on now we're doubling up and letting Nelson work on himself with Molly while I get Roy more rateable in his trot. I've managed tonget him down to a slightly softer trot that is more sitable, but only after a few thrusty strides of his normal trot. The gelding can do more than eight inches of overstriding, which is insane. He is a Huckleberry Bey great-grandson I believe (might be two greats) and has that potential park horse movement.

The other thing I have been working on with Roy is bridling. He had the issue since Debbie owned him, but she usually had hin tacked and ready to go I only found out he had an issue when she finally wasn't able to get the bridle on him one day. She's shorter than I am (5'4" myself) and Royal is about 15.2 hands, if not more (haven't measures him myself). I only worked on his issue that one time with Debbie and I assumed she was able to improve enough to be workable fr her. When Nelson and I looked at Royal at Aliki's place she mentioned his ear issue and said he just wanted his head rubbed, which I thought was a bit of a misreading as she's torquing his ear to get it under the crownpiece.

It doesn't help that Roy also is a mouthy creature and if you're not 100% confident and smooth in putting it on he will eat the cheekpieces, reins, and noseband (if applicable). We have him going in one of the Moss Rock Evolution bitless bridles, which he goes well in. He takes the bit alright, but he constantly jaws it and will twist and drop his jaw at the contact. We haven't found a bit that he's really happy in so bitless it is.

ANYWAY! The major problem is the right ear. You would touch it and he would push into the hand, or try to snake out from your arm. Nelson did have the vet rule out a physical issue so we were just facing years of self-defense in poor ear handling. The crummy thing about ear shy horses is it tends to be self-fulfilling. The more the horse tries to protect its ear the more likely the (average) human is to squish the ear while trying to get the equipment on. Proper handling of the ears is something I try to drove home with my students because I certainly don't want my students to ever cause the problem! Getting back on track again Royal doesn't have issues with his left ear being touched, just the right one. This is actually pretty typical with ear issues as people typically put the bridle on from the left side the right ear is farther away and slightly more awkward to grab and harder to see.

To work on Roy's issue I first got him dropping his head because I have a hard time reaching anything when he is impersonating a giraffe and a high head typically leads to an anxious horse. If I can get him to drop his head I can encourage a calmer state of mind. I would then rub near the ear and work towards briefly touching it. I made some progress, but actually what seemed to really help was putting the lead or reins over his neck and then applying slight pressure behind his ears. His first reaction was to try and push into it and jerk out of it. I stayed with him until he gave slightly to the pressure and let it slide off the right ear and then the left. Once he was giving to it softly he was better about the split second it took to get the crown over his ear. Nelson also did his part in between sessions with me in just rubbing and loving on Royal's head and getting in some time of touching his ears without an agenda. Thursday there was a nice change in Roy regarding his ears. I was able to touch the right one without him automatically ducking out and he was quicker to give to the pressure behind his ears. It took less than five minutes to get the bridle on without drama compared to over twenty the first few times with drama. I'm hoping he will soon reach the point where he just slides his head into the bridle with zero defensiveness about his right ear. Thursday was definitely encouraging and I hope to see more of that in the coming weeks.

On Nelson himself his leg is getting stronger and his posting more consistent at the trot. We're working in his larger turnout now instead of the roundpen so steering is now a factor and using the leg while posting is hit or miss at the moment. While he doesn't always get out between lessons doing two a week is helping to keep things moving forward.

On the McLintock front the little guy gets better each time I ride him. He's getting used to the bitless bridle and his bending both directions and starting to move off of the leg nicely. He's like Chewy and can be very soft and bendy when he wants to be. Yesterday I worked on backing, which he started pretty ugly on with flipping his nose around and trying to push into the pressure. After a few times he started giving nicely and softly rounding into the backwards steps. I have a couple students who are excited to try him out soon. I'll probably try to keep up with riding him once a week once I get him in the rotation as there are things he should be working on (like cantering) that most of my students aren't going to be able to school (might be able to get a canter, but they won't necessarily help him improve the depart).

Today Mac got "attacked" by my working students and he had braids all over in his mane and tail. He took the attention in stride.

I was also able to play with Tru-D today. Her shoulders are a little sticky when I ask them to come towards me. I broke it down a bit and worked on having her bend towards me and move her shoulders away, which she found to be hard at first. After loosening that up she was able to bring the shoulder better and I also got a couple steps of sidepass towards me.

I also played with asking her to lift individual feet from light taps from the whip and got her to take a couple very small steps deeper under herself with her hind feet. I'd like to work towards a "goat on the mountain" stance to encourage stretching over her topline. I'm toying with the idea of teaching her to lay down. She's coming up on 15.2 and I'm not fit enough yet to swing up from the ground, though at the moment bouncing up and down next to her and half-swinging up is adequate for training purposes. Earlier this week I had time to throw the saddle on her and bounced in the stirrups a bit, which she was completely chill about. She has come a long way from the wild creature she was when we got her. She isn't super brave by nature, but she has a whole lot of try and seeks out the answers.

Jumping around again Debbie and her new little Icelandic gelding are getting along well. This week we had Debbie get right on and worked a little on bending, turning, and yielding before asking Digur to step up his gait. She had a hard time getting him to move out in the roundpen, but we got him to step up nicely with some minor changes and got a couple of good spans of gaiting from him. Debbie has been taking him for walks around the neighborhood and feels pretty comfortable with him (much more comfortable than she ever did with Royal). There's things we could keep doing in the roundpen, but considering her goals we're going to head out around the neighborhood next week. I'm not sure who I'll bring out yet, but it'll be good to get someone out and about!
lantairvlea: (lantair look)
Yesterday was my first day back to work. As mentioned before there's a little bit of me that wishes I could take a couple months off, but working does provide a type of "me" time that can be lacking.

The first lesson was Dawn with Kash. Kash is a bit of a button pusher (not push-button!) and he seems to know just how to make Dawn just a little uncomfortable on the ground, which gets her second-guessing and then Kash pushes more buttons. He was a bit of a grumpy face at the start. He hasn't been worked in over two weeks just like everyone else, but otherwise did really well. He was pokey for Dawn so we worked on some quick transitions trot-halt-trot and then did trot-walk-trot with just a couple of walk strides before jumping up again. The biggest thing to work on going forward is getting Dawn to keep herself balanced through the transitions. She tends to jump ahead during the upward transition and stays ahead in the downward transition, not expecting him to stop quite so promptly.

After Dawn's lesson we had some people come down to look at the wagonette. Chris had put or best offer on the ad and they tried to low-ball it by $500. That was a firm "No." We did agree on $200 down from asking because it does have a slight upholstery issue (granted that's why we listed it for $3k instead of $3500) and well, having it sold NOW was more appealing than it sitting around until another person decided they wanted it (bird in hand worth two in the bushn a dollar now is worth more than one tomorrow, and all that jazz).

Chris helped them load it up as I headed up the hill to see Debbie and meet her new horse.

Debbie found a little (13.1 hands ... well, with an extra half inch so just shy of 13.2) chestnut Icelandic gelding down in Tucson. He is seven years old and his name is Digur, which means stout or squat. He is fairly sturdy, though not nearly so stout as Mac or Chewy. She had some trouble getting him to chill in the roundpen and said he was definitely worried about the training stick or whip.

He was definitely charge-y when I sent him around and we worked on direction changes. She had said she had a hard time getting him to change direction. He came around a couple times before trying to blow past me, which earned him a smack on the shoulder and rump as he squoze between me and the fence. That was enough for him to not try that again and while he was consistently turning outside he was turning promptly, we'll work on the how later. He came down a lot quicker than I expected him to. Debbie had been a little worried because she had a hard time getting him to turn at all and he just ran (and gaited) around. I think she was pretty pleased to see him become a sensible creature and decide that he could walk around the roundpen.

Digur's previous owner thought he was a bit dim, but I don't think so. Once he settled I worked on his halt and while the first time was a bit messy (kept wanting to spin and go the other way as soon as I got in front of his shoulder) he picked up on it pretty quickly and was stopping off of the voice and a slight body lean in no time.

I asked Debbie what else she wanted me to work on so we did some desensitizing work with the training stick and he was much better than I expected him to be. Debbie said she had done a lot with it since we spoke and it showed. He did wiggle a little bit, but I was expecting him to want to leave town.

One of his little quirks did show up as I was working with the stick, or, rather, it became obvious. He will put his shoulder towards you and look away. He wasn't necessarily shoving into my space (though he did get a couple of thumps for doing just that), but he was definitely putting some conscious effort into getting me "out of sight, out of mind." I found it a bit funny and told Debbie it was almost like he was trying to shun me. I was doing thingsbhe wasn't super fond of so he was going to give me the cold shoulder. Funny little horse.

He was very easy to move both his haunches and forehand. Again I was expecting some more stiffnes and resistance than he gave me. We finished out with lungeing on the line with me and then I traded with Debbie and she sent him around a bit, focusing on keeping him in a relaxed walk, changing directions if he started to speed up, and getting a little more coordinated with the stick and lead.

I think she got a pretty good deal on the little guy and he seems like a pretty good sort. We'll find out more as we work, but I think he is going to be much better for her than Royal was.

I had a break for a bit and we messed with Ruby and the Challenger to see where we needed the pole adjusted and to be sure the doubletree was wide enough. Ruby is our widest horse through the hips and with the 26" trees on the Challenger we weren't quite sure if it would work (note: we took them at their word that it was draft sized, the Roberts had 28" trees). I was worried the traces would be slightly "pinched" behind Ruby's hip, but after hooking her up it was apparent that it wouldn't be a problem.

We played with the pole length as well as the length of the chain going from her neck strap to the pole. I think we found a good sweet spot, but we won't know until we have both of them hooked up and get it moving. We used Ruby because she'll stand rock solid all day long whereas Charm-N tends to get impatient.

We had lunch in there somewhere and I had my last lesson at 4pm along with a working student. The 4pm lesson was two siblings and this was their last lesson as they are moving. We pulled out the giant soccer ball and they had a blast getting the horses to push it around. I grabbed Ruby and had my first ride back on the big lady bareback. I also put one of the Stark Naked Bits on her and got to try out the Trensen Knebel that I picked up the other month. I used the Trensen Knebel to attach the bit to her halter so I didn't have to snug the chin strap at all on the jaw bit. They worked well and I'm excited to have them in my toolkit even if I might rarely use them.

Today I just had to lessons in the afternoon. We hit the grocery store and Kelhan rode Chewy. We also pulled out Kitt and tried her in the TR50.

We fussed with the shafts quite a bit moving them out and angling them in. I do think it managed to be just slightly downhill. If Kitt just had one more inch on her it'd be perfect. As is I am debating on putting the shafts on upside down.

I might get another inch out of it if I rotate them in just a smidge more. The nice thing is despite being slightly downhill you still have less than 10lbs in each shaft and when I had her trot off the floated slightly in the loops. Kitt is using the draft sized shafts because apparently she is almost as long as Ruby from shaft loops to butt.

The little men drove with me a bit. Chris didn't get to drive unfortunately as little men lost interest and then Quentan woke up and was very unhappy so we had to cut our time short. Next time! Kitt did stand very well as we made adjustments on her.

After mostly driving the forecart the view from up on the TR50 was quite something! It puts you a good foot above where the forecart sits so I can see up and around the horse a whole lot better. Of course this cart is going to be really nice for Tru-D when she is ready for it!

Tomorrow I just have morning lessons and I think we're going to hook the big girls up to the carriage.
lantairvlea: (lantair look)
I spent almost two hours today in the garden hacking at Bermuda grass and harvesting beets and carrots.

The star was this beet:

The rest of the beets were about a quarter that size. I wish I knew its secret!

The garden looked like a jungle when I started.

And it was much better by the time I finished.

Maybe some day raised beds so we don't have to deal with weeds, but I know if I weeded once a week instead of letting it grow wild we'd have better luck of it.

I pulled all the beets and boiled them. I think they taste better roasted. Notes for next time. I may also see if I can find a recipe for pickling them because I do love pickled beets.

I pulled most of the carrots. The horses were thrilled as they got all of the tops and the carrots I dubbed too small to process. They also got fistfulls of freshly chopped Bermuda because why leave a giant pile to eventually rake up and toss when I know it can be naturally procesed ad I can rake it up and toss it in two to three days in the form of manure.

Our primary ballots for our state races came in today. I am about halfway done. I need to research some of them as our "voter education guide" doesnvt have information on all the candidates, which stinks, but I guess you can't expect to have all of the info handed to you. I do love the opportunity we get to vote early and mail it in.

I also sat down and hammered out my syllabi for the coming semester. I got my "supplies needed" list for the art classes, which is very small. This is a good and a bad thing. Good because I don't have to spend much for more supplies. Bad because I probably have a thousand dollars or more in art supplies sitting around the little house at this point ... It will all eventually get used! (And replaced ... and used again ... and replaced again)

Suße Esel

Jul. 26th, 2016 07:27 pm
lantairvlea: (lantair look)
This morning started out with Molly the grade Quarter Horse mare. She's doing quite well. Nelson was able to walk right up to her this morning to catch. She is starting to relax more as we free lunge in the roundpen and when I picked up her feet she barely shifted for the hinds (the first few sessions we were spinning circles a bit) and she stood "tied" to the fence beautifully. I told Nelson he should start cleaning out her feet a couple times a week, which she should be good for now.

After fussing with her feet I introduced moving her hip and shoulder. Her left hip moved well, but with her right she kept shoving her shoulder at me, which I addressed a minute focusing on moving the shoulder out of my space before working on the hip again. She then did better moving the hip and only needed a couple soft reminders not to lean over her inside shoulder.

She was a bit sticky on her shoulders when I started them and also wanted to move forward more than sideways, but we got some improvement and called that part good. We ended on showing various ways to back her up, with direct pressure, rope wiggle, marching, tapping, etc.

Hopefully it's a little cooler next week and I'll have Nelson start to work with her. Despite the initial evaluation I think he'll end up with a decent mare. I suspect some good foundation training in there, but she spent the last few years being untrained by her previous owner. We're just reminding her how to be a good horse. Nelson has been impressed with how her overall demeanor has changed. She's a lot calmer and more comfortable with herself, which is great. I noted that without clear leadership horses can be pretty stressed. Once they know you have taken the helm (and are trustworthy!) they can let you worry about where the predators are and what is actually worrisome and what can be ignored.

He's still looking into saddle solutions, which is okay. I'd rather he find something that both he and Molly will like than settle with "well enough" and make both of them uncomfortable. Plus the groundwork is good for her and it's something Nelson can do in just a few minutes without having to groom and fully tack up.

After Molly I was back on my side of the mountain with Debbie. I think she's finally settled on moving Royal on, though I have my doubts she'll get what she wants out of him. I think she was pretty well taken advantage of when she bought him, but felt too guilty to send him back. She also bought him without having me go out to look with her. Short version: she could have gotten more horse for the money (especially after sinking a few more thousand in two months training last year ... wish I had had space to take him on!). He's not a bad boy, but he is a lot like Kash, which can be obnoxious to deal with if your aids aren't clear. His trot is very thrusty, which is difficult to absorb, but he has a lovely canter.

Anyway! Debbie also has a mini Donkey named Pebbles. Pebbles is a companion for Debbie's horse and is pretty adorable, if a little on the hefty side. Since deciding firmly to move Royal on she figured her last lesson wiuld be best focused on Pebbles. She'd like the little jenny to have something like a job so today was a mix of an evaluation and giving Debbie things she can work on until she can do another set of lessons.

For reference Pebbles looks like the lighter, dark-nosed donkey on the left-hand side of this random donkey picture because I suck at taking pictures of client critters:

Debbie had tried to lunge her in the roundpen the other day and she said Pebbles just kindof ran around and she wasn't able to get much of anything out of Pebbles so we started there. I started out just asking her to walk and halt. I talked about how Donkeys differ from horses from where they developed, open plains for horses and airid, desert mountains for donkeys. Horses could get away with running blindly at the drop of a hat to get away from potential threats, but donkeys couldn't so that. Running off a cliff or breaking your neck tripping on a rock is not condusive to evolutionary success. So instead donkeys tend to pause and assess before deciding to run, fight, or continue to observe. Not that horses are dumb, but they don't always think and donkeys are very much a think before react creature (something mules get from their sites).

Pebbles was a little sticky walking to start, but seemed to get it oretty quick. She wasn't sure what I was asking with "whoa" at first, but figured it out pretty quick. We just did a couple turns, enough for her tonget the idea and a couple brief trots. She charged off briefly when she first sped up, but settled into a trot fairly quickly. I mentioned to Debbie trying to get Pebbles to lunge like a horse does probably won't work very well. She will most likely go around once or twice and then wonder what the point is. So the lungeing for Pebbles has the goal of establishing the voice cues (walk, whoa, trot, turn/reverse, etc.) more than just sending her round and round and round. For exercise it will be more productive to take her out for walks and long lining when she gets to that point.

We accomplished what I wanted lungeing so I moved on to checking lateral flexion and moving body parts. She was a little heavy on the line, but figured it out. A rope halter might help, she currently has a flat nylon one. Pebbles picked up really quick on moving her haunches over. She wanted to back up more with her shoulders and she had to think about it a bit more, hut putting myself a litte behind her shoulder seemed to help. I had to take a moment to get over how tiny she was. I think she's between my knees and waist (I'm 5'4" for reference) and I had to bend over to give her rubs and scratches.

Once she seemed to have the idea I briefly explained the ultimate goal was to have Pebbles move her four corners around no matter where I was standing. She should be able to move her shoulders and hips both away and (respectfully) towards me. If Debbie decides she wants to drive Pebbles it'll help immensely with the whip aids (which replace your legs) while in harness.

From there we moved on to the long lines, which were a bit ridiculous on her. I suggested if Debbie was going to buy one piece of equipment right now it would be a small surcingle so she could long line without the lines dragging. I started with a single line around Pebbles' haunches to see how she reacted to the pressure around her haunches and how well she followed the feel. She did well so I moved on to the turning exercise Nate Bowers has in his Parelli driving training DVD. It basically consists of using the inside/direct rein to move the shoulders and the outside/indirect rein to move the hips (which for the purpose of the exercise should lay across the hip and the handler should be standing to one side of the equine). She got a little stuck with the outside rein and after pushing her shoulder slightly used the butt pressure as a reason to go forward and try to release the pressure that way instead of following the feel on her face. We got it sorted and we had enough time left over for Debbie to try the long lining exercise. I told her we can build on it to teach Pebbles to sidrpass off of the reins and also put the steeri g on her when she is ground driving.

So Debbie has a list of things to play with and work on the next few weeks. I'm going to dig in my tack room and see if I can find my old set of long lines for Debbie to borrow and lend her the Nate Bowers DVD (debating if I should get Vol. 2 and 3 of the group).

And I have now worked my first donkey and she was adorable and fun. Debbie has no idea the type of training Pebbles may or may not have had other than she was halter broke and you can handle her feet. I'm not sure what she knows either because I have no baseline to judge how an unbroke donkey handles, but she certainly did not handle like an unbroke horse!

The back of my mind has this terrible idea playing around in it. Well, maybe not terrible, but perhaps finding a nice jack to breed Charm-N wouldn't be as crazy an idea as I first thought when Chatham mentioned it. Or maybe just finding a good draft mule some day.

I don't know, it's marinating in my brain. I don't really have room for another equine, though if Debbie needed to rehome Pebbles I'd be sorely tempted!
lantairvlea: (lantair look)
Pilfered from [ profile] flirting.

Memeish )

I had a couple lessons today with a break between. During the break I decided to pull out Charm-N and Tru-D to see what type of trouble I could get into. I haven't ponied from Charm-N and I haven't tried ponying Tru-D yet so I guess I could have prepared a little better, but we did it!

Charm-N has a monster walk and Tru-D was not fond of trying to keep up. I ended up doing a single dally on the horn, let Charm-N walk, and allowed Tru-D to figure it out. It took a while, but she finally stepped up and put slack in the rope. To emphasize that was correct I stopped Charm-N and gave both of them lots of rubs. Charm-N for being tolerant and Tru-D for figuring it out. We repeated a few times and Tru-D was quicker to step up and get slack in the line. Then we swapped sides and Charm-N got to drag Tru-D's lagging butt for almost 10 minutes before the baby decided to step up. We ended with a few good strides without Tru-D dragging and called it good.

I sense more ponying in the future.

Thursday was the Meet the Teacher at the Elementary school Tristan will be attending Preschool at. He's excited. He has only one kid older than him in class, but that's okay. I just hope he doesn't get bored.

I think I finally feel like An Adult. I think having a kid in school does it. Tristan starts Tuesday and it will be three days for three hours each. We'll see if Kelhan misses him or not.

It's crazy-hot. Supposed to be 114 or somesuch today. I finished lessons at 9am, but had a working student 9-10. The stalls got cleaned along with the little turnout. I got a couple things done while she worked then helped get Ruby's stall done. It'll be nice doing just the arena Monday after getting it done Thursday too. Hurrah working students! I can't wait to have a few hours a week of them again.

Both the truck and Jeep got oil changes this week. The Jeep has a crack in the windshield washer fluid resivoir. It's covered by warranty, but only for another 500 miles so we'll be taking it in again next week.

Tru-D is slowly trying to catch up to Ruby.

It helps that Ruby is standing in a hole.
lantairvlea: (lantair look)
I've picked up another "Molly" except this one is a horse, not a mule. Nelson had contacted me some months ago about evaluating a horse for him, but that one apparently fell through for various reasons and when Molly came up he called me again for an assessment. He had been boarding her for free/feed leasing her for close to a year, but hasn't done much of anything with her himself other than basic care.

My first visit was to assess her attitude and see if we had any major holes.

To start with she was hard to catch, pushy to lead, and the thought of tying sent her flailing backwards. She also wasn't keen on the idea of having her feet handled. As a teenaged horse these are things that she should be an old pro at. Her previous owner sounded like an accident waiting to happen. They had a second horse she was best buds with and would follow placidly on the trail and didn't need to be tied when he was around because she wouldn't leave his side.

I sent her around the roundpen and I have a sneaking suspension someone did some Clinton Anderson training with her. She thought that trot and canter were the only option when sent off and she would actually disengage her hindquarters at a suggestion. I also played with some flexions towards the end and it was pretty easy and felt like she had done it before.

I did see some nice things. She never offered to kick or buck, she seemed pretty honest, even in her crowding behavior, which I suspect roots from people letting her so whatever the heck she wanted and working around her rather than insisting she stay where she is supposed to.

I told him he has some work to do, but if she had a decent start at some point it's just a matter of reminding and finding her old buttons.

Fast-forward about a month and he's working on getting a saddle that fits and has a bridle and bit that should work. She's figuring out that she can walk in the roundpen, though she still takes a minute to figure it out. Her turns are more consistent and she isn't cutting in on one side anymore.

The feet were a little bit of a challenge, the backs moreso than the front. He was able to get the farrier out two weeks ago and she did great for the fronts and did okay for the backs, but got wiggly as he tried to rasp behind. Her feet looked much better when I saw her last week regardless.

This week he had an old Circle Y to try on her, but it was a bit tight behind her shoulders (suspecting too steep and angle) and all the sweat was right around her shoulders with a small patch towards her loin. Not a good fit.

She was much quicker to walk this week and I even "tied" her to work on her feet. By tying I simply looped the lead rope twice over the bar. Just enough to give a feel, but loose enough she could pull out some slack if she felt threatened. Fronts were good, right hind was pretty good, hut she kept wanting to swing against the fence as I asked for the left. I worked on moving her hip back to the left and will work some on getting her to stay where put, but compared to the first day she is making nice progress and Nelson is noticing she's easier to handle in general and seems happier with life. All good things we want to hear. As it cools down (and we find a suitable saddle) we'll add in some ridden work as well, but for now it's learning to walk in the roundpen and stay in the direction asked and picking up her feet and having them handled. I'll also start working on moving her hips and shoulders around so she can increase her awareness and respect for people space.
lantairvlea: (lantair look)
Arizona has a big fat high pressure system sitting over the top of it and the thing isn't budging. I think it was 118 yesterday. Walking outside felt like stepping into an oven and all the air was vibrating with heat. We hosed the horses down twice throghout the day and will be repeating the same today.

One of my clients baked cookies in their car yesterday. They said the cookies were delicious, if gooey, and one of her aunts would bake break in the car during the summer too.

I managed to get the arena mucked this morning with the help of a working student. We filled three cans and a little bit more. The stalls are still gross, but there are only so many workable hours in the day. A lot of my working students are passing on working for the summer or are out of town so I've been trying to pick up the slack, but most of the prime mucking time is filled with lessons (not complaining about earning money) so I have gotten a bit behind, which bothers me. I'm geatefull I've kept up enough to keep the flies from being too terrible, but it isn't my standard or desired level of cleanliness right now.

I finally ordered some new Ariat terrains because my right one has a big gaping hole on the interior next to my foot pad. Other cracks and holes are present, but I figure the 2" gap looks a little unprofessional. I let them go longer than usual because I want them to last at least a year. The hole has been there a couple months and keeps getting bigger so time to replace.

I am feeling better. I have a suspicion the multivitamin I was taking was partly to blame. I had run out and had decided I wasn't super keen on the gummies as they are a little too sweet and you have to take two of them, however the swallowing pill I swaped to apparently made me nauseous, which is terrible, but it took me a couple weeks to realize that might have been it. I picked up some chewable gummies Saturday and have been feeling better. Go figure.

Tru-D has sat around and done nothing the last few weeks. I don't think she's complaining, but I'd like to get her training moving consistently forward. We need to smooth out our long lining and I'd like to introduce some whip work while ground driving as well as introducing some noises like the pole or tire being dragged. I have a plan! It's just a matter of executing it.

It's supposed to be over 110 all week (over 43° C for metric system folks, which means it was almost 48° yesterday because I think they said it was 118° F). I will be doing my job then hiding in the house. Lots of gatorade, ice water, and filling my bandana with ice. This morning I had put several cubes in it and what I do is tie it around my neck so as the ice melts it wets my neck and back to keep me cool. This morning, however, it was pretty much dry after two hours.

While the heat is terrible I have been enjoying a slowed down schedule. Having only 10-15 lessons a week is a big difference from 20-25 and allows me to breathe and even get some stuff done around the house, especially with Chris gone during the day. I admit to being a bit of a slug the past couple weeks, but that should change as I feel better.
lantairvlea: (powerpuff crop)
I had four lessons today, three this morning followed by looking at a horse with the S family and painting before the final lesson.

Looking at a horse is always an interesting experience. My bodyworker had mentioned this guy the beginning of March and asked if I knew of anyone who might be looking. I finally mentioned it to both Keara and Roxanne the latter portion of the month. I was under the impression he was being "given away to good home," but maybe Kristin misunderstood the owner's intent or "giving away" just means "really cheap" as the young woman was fishing for some sort of price, but wouldn't name a number. This might have been because Roxanne was up front with the intent that he would be a train and resell project for Keara.

The layout was a bit confusing finding the place because it was tucked behind a couple other properties and Hal and Keara weren't anywhere to be found despite the truck and trailer being there. We finally found them and the girl selling the horse.

His name is Bucket and he's a coming nine year-old Thoroughbred (tatoo and all). He was in a field with two other horses that had been irrigated a few days prior so the ground was still a little mushy. She had acquires him herself as a project, but ran out of time with this semester of college and hates seeing him sit around and do nothing. He's been working in all three gaits and supposedly started over jumps.

He was easy to catch. He seemed well enough put together, but on the thin side and around 15.3 hands. His feet were overdue and not quite balanced and he was shod all the way around. He picked up his foot well enough for her and then she went to lunge him. She prefaced it saying he had sad for three months and "hated lungeing," which usually means the person hasn't taught the horse to lunge properly and sure enough when she went to send him off he stared at her with his big doe eyes and looed slightly bewildered that he could be asked to do more than have head rubs and scratches. He trotted for a few strides, but not enough to really see. Keara picked him up and tried. She had retreived a whip from their truck, but he was expert in lungeing avoidance and easily sucked her into all of the least effective positions she could be in. I offered some suggestions, primarily keeping her feet still and turning the energy up, but she kept wandering as he wandered and I offered to have a go.

I pointed, raised the whip, he stared. I clucked, swished the whip, he looked slightly alarmed and raised his head. I asked again and he started backing. I twirled the whip and kept the same tension on the line and orientation to him until he finally jumped in the direction and trotted off. He had a very nice, floaty trot, especially for a three month pasture pet. I got him to trot and canter well in both directions before calling it good and cheekily commented to Hal and Roxanne "That's why I'm the trainer!" He had some weakness behind and cross-fired a couple times, but that could be chalked up to lack of fitness at this point. He was a little leery of me for a minute before forgiving me of being horrendously abusive in insisting he work and knowing how to block his efforts to avoid it.

We talked a bit. Gave a cursory assessment and she said she had another person coming to look at him tomorrow (perhaps why he was not a "giveaway" at this point). She would let the S family know by the end of the week.

They also talked about a possible lease for the first month before committing to buying, which would be a win-win for the owner, especially if Keara puts any type of work into him before sending him back (which I don't see happening unless he is a total lemon).

We talked little after we were out of earshot of the owner and then I headed back. I did additional thinking on the drive home and sent Roxanne some thoughts to chew on as she, Hal, and Keara think about whether or not to move forward with Bucket. I do have some little red flags with not seeing him under saddle (I have a picture, but that doesn't really count) as I wanted to see how he had been ridden. The lungeing attempt told me how well he had (not) been lunged at least. If Keara wants to bring him along as if he had never been backed and treat him as such it wouldn't be a bad idea. I also noted they need to consider the skills they want to instill in him, goal sale price, care costs until sold and, for here at least, the fact that summer is not peak riding season and most people in the valley aren't necessarily thinking of mounting up come May and June. From a fitness standpoint they are probably looking at a six week minimum to bring him back into whatever shape he was plus the effort of packing the groceries back on. All things to think about.

In other news I am almost done with the wagon. I need to start pouring in the hours if I am going to get this thing done by the end of the month. I didn't have my art class today and won't have it next week, which will help, but I also need to throw time at it tomorrow and whatever I can spare, really. Good news, Wendy will be sending a check shortly so payment is good!

lantairvlea: (lantair look)
Thursday marked the end of an era. I sold my 16" semi quarter horse bars Big Horn saddle to one of my clients. It was my second saddle and I can't quite recall if I bought it before or after Kash, but it was after I started working for Judy because it took me a couple months to realize my old 14" didn't fit me anymore (I still occasionally pop on as small as a 13" for very brief demonstrations).

I acquired a 16" FQH bars High Horse by Circle Y a week ago Monday and was able to try it out the following Thursday. It sits more like a 15" than a 16" because of the way the cantle is shaped. It's a little more "closed" than the Big Horn. I had to move one student up to the 17" because it fit better, but the rest of them were comfortable in the new one.

I rode Kash in it with a thicker pad and it seemed to go pretty well for as much as it is(n't) going to be used on him. The old one fit him really well, but he was the last horse that it really fit. I think Sunny was OK in it, but she can get along well enough in the FQH bars too through the thicker pad too. I don't really forsee getting another light breed horse so hanging on to the SQH bars saddle is a little purposeless, especially with the need for the wider saddle for Chewy, Kitt, and it will fit Charm-N and Ruby well enough too.

There's a little, irrational part of me that wants to hang on to it, but we do have a 17" SQH bars saddle sitting in the shed too that has seen a lot fewer miles.

It served me well, and hopefully will serve my client well for years to come. Fare the well saddle!

In other saddle-related news I put a saddle on Tru-D for the first time today and she wore it well. I had her in the arena and tossed the blanket on and off of her until she stopped insisting she sniff it every time.

I then took the little 12" western saddle and did the same. She also wanted to sniff it a lot. After putting it on both sides several times and even sliding it off of her rump I put the pad and saddle on together. She stood really well, though eyeballed me slightly when I did up the girth. The surcingle she has been using has English billets on it so the latigo rolling up was a new sensation.

I led her around with it a couple minutes before lungeing her in the walk and trot. There were two little weird moments, but I don't know if they were saddle-caused or just a little freshness. No buck, but more a slight startle.

She did lunge nicely and seeing her carry the saddle fot me a little excited. She's going to be a smooth ride I think, the stirrups barely jiggled as she trotted.

She makes the little kid saddle look pretty tiny.

The hardest part was getting her to stand still without wanting to follow me.
lantairvlea: (lantair look)
Ug, grammar fails me (those with better German than I can feel free to correct any mishaps in my titles).

I worked more on the painting today. I am finished with the snow and itbturned out fairly well, I think, though I still had my moments of doubt.

And then I tried to start on some of the lower areas on the mountain that are more grassy and I think I am going to have to repaint those sections (again, the first round was pretty grotesque, we won't speak of it...), but I am going to let it "rest" and do the middle-background trees first and am probably hoping in vain that it will settle and look less horrible once there are more colors and context in the painting to help it settle in.

I am getting along okay with the acrylics. They still aren't very natural for me to work with, but used in mostly large blocks of color this way with a little dry brushing and such here and there it isn't so bad. I am enjoying having an "excuse" to have studio time, though even getting paid for it I still have some vague guilt. I was having thoughts today that I could do this art thing for a living, but I think it would be way too sporadic and now would not be the time to try and build a new business venture.

Granted business with lessons is almost too good. I've cut the discount I offer on books of four lessons in half (was $20 savings, now $10) and am seriously considering raising the prices on my private lessons for new clients. I currently have a $10 difference between a group and a private lesson and am thinking about making it $15. I had a new student start last week, another one came out today to watch a lesson and ask questions (they're starting Saturday), and a new one starting Friday, plus another new set of siblings starting Saturday afternoon on top of all that. Oh, and an email I need to get back on asking about lessons too!

I am close to scheduling 30 lessons a week. Holy crap.

If I keep this up I should be able to pay off my credit cards fairly quickly...

I also measured Tru-D and Chewy today. Tru-D is a tick under 15 hands (14.3 and a half hands) and about 960lbs. Chewy has gone from skinny to Very Fleshy. I did too well getting her fattened back up and she measures at 1260. Of course two years ago she was less than 900, which was way too skinny. A couple weeks ago I dropped her pellets by 6lbs (she was getting 18!). I'm going to check her again next month and see if she is making progress towards a good weight (ideally about 1000lbs, maybe towards 1100). Her shoulder blades are disappearing and her tailhead is sunken into her butt as well as the gutter developing down her back. Hard to believe I was worried about her being too skinny for a while there!
lantairvlea: (lantair look)
Thursday I had two am lessons and worked Molly before three afternoon lessons. Friday I had seven lessons scheduled, though one was a half hour and didn't show up so I only (ha!) taught six. I rode Charm-N during the first one, Chewy in the second, and used Tru-D twice to demonstrate with the Horsemanship 102 class as we were working on lungeing skills. The last lesson I rode Kash. We also hit the feedstore and got groceries during my breaks. Today I had two lessons this morning and worked Cinnamon Strudel on the long lines before working with Bud and Sue and coming back for two more lessons, in which I rode Kitt during the second one. I am ready for my day of rest Sunday!

Of course that doesn't mention all of us going to the zoo Monday (plus one lesson), hitting the Barrett-Jackson auto auction Tuesday with Tristan and Chris (plus two lessons), and four leasons and a horse worked Wednesday.

Cinnamon did better than I expectedn but was still a bit of a knucklehead here and there. She eventually settled into the work, but I don't plan on getting on again until she is settled and workmanlike consistently. Of course it would help if I could find the time to work her consistently... she's going to be 10 in December. I have to get her consistently broke some time! And I always go back to my defense that she isn't mine and she's just had crummy timing: I got her greenbrokeish just before I was pregnant with Tristan, I started breaking Z to ride and drive after that, pregnant with Kelhan, finishing Z's training before she passed, and crazy-busy schedule now with Tru-D's training to work on and Tabbi if we can get her gaining weight again.

We have an appointment Tuesday morning with the vet to get Tabbi's teeth checked/done and pull some bloodwork. Monday we're getting our taxes done too and I need to run to the bank because I have a really big deposit to make and my bank account knows it because it feels sad and empty right now.

I also woke up with a ball of something in my throat and think I am threatening to lose my voice. Chamomile tea with honey and lemon juice it is.
lantairvlea: (lantair look)
Randy, the guy who had the mule from a year and a half ago named Molly, had asked me last year if I could keep an eye out for an older, well-broke pony for him and his granddaughter to enjoy, coming to the realization that a young, green thing wasn't really what he wanted or needed.

Molly was four years old when he got her so she should be coming six now. I only worked with her a half dozen times and she seemed smart, if green, and willing once she understood the task. I had started working her on the double-lunge when one thing after another came up on Randy's end (two eye surgeries, his house flooding and the repairs etc. required) so Molly sat for well over a year.

I finally had a few moments to do some searching and there isn't much out there in the terms of 14hh or less ponies. I ended up with a list of four, including a Fjord mare that Wendy has. I called him yesterday to check up on what exactly he was looking for and he said he had been meaning to call me about getting some work done with Molly. He'd rather see her doing something than sitting getting fat and sassy in his pasture. He caught wind of a mule sale that is going on a few miles away and figured he would consign her there, but she would need a little brush-up before going. So I set up to see her today and see where she is at and go from there.

She was initially under the shade, but when she caught sight of me and my gear she turned tail and bolted out to the pasture. I think she might have remembered me as the lady that made her work!

Randy went out with the halter to go get her and I moved to get out behind her to discourage her from high-tailing it to the far end of the pasture. She tried to make a break past me and I blocked her three times, at which point she appeared to consider me more carefully and, much to my surprise, hooked on.

I haltered her and took her into his smaller turnout to work. She lead well to start, but had a minor freak-out when I picked up the whip. I didn't even try to hold her and just picked up the lunge line again and started with just tapping the whip on the ground and working up to slapping the ground with it, rubbing her, and "casting" it over her back and rump. We then worked walk-halt on the lunge and she had a moment where she tried to leave between the tree and the fence, but the tree gave me some good leverage and she backed out of there and didn't try again. The funny part was her being leery of stepping over the lunge line.

I focused on getting her to step over it, which took a while of coaxing and persistent insistance. She scuttled over it with her back end a few times, but ultimately walked nicely and got lots of ear scratches (how she loves getting those big ears rubbed!).

She seems to remember most everything, though was pushing a little here and there and I blame a year of having no leader but herself the last year. Randy takes good care of her, but it is in the loves and rubs category, which is part of the reason to move her on, she's young and should be doing something other than loafing in the pasture.

I have four more sessions with her next week, including brushing up on her loading skills Friday. She was initially broke to ride, drive, and pack so I plan on ground driving her and possibly hopping on (with vest) in the next few days. I don't have a saddle with a mule tree so I'll be barebacking it. No need to cause trouble throwing something that doesn't fit on her.

So I get to work with Molly the mule again, if briefly. I hate seeing her go at an auction, but she is young and seems to have a good mind, even if she is green. The sale is not one of those weekly or monthly deals, it's an annual thing that supposedly draws some nice stock and has a two or three-day mulemanship clinic in conjunction with it so I don't think anyone is there looking for meat prices or offering one-way trips to Mexico. If I didn't already have enough projects I'd consider making an offer on her, but you do what you can and hopefully I can give her enough of a tune-up that someone will see what a nice, if green, girl she is.
lantairvlea: (lantair look)
Goal; 100
Words: 163
Various snippets that won't make sense )
I think I have decided that their ranks are not going to be used until after the official induction. It would make sense that they would keep the official names of the group's ranks under wraps. So then it is Mr., Ms, Mrs. or maybe just Ms because I don't know if some of them are maried or if that should be left open air at this point...

I also don't want to default to "professor" regardless of gender. I guess the good news is it's only for the first six weeks and then they shift over to their official Mime ranks. Something to chew on I guess.

In completely unrelated news my phone apparently has a crack onthe screen. I thought it was a hair, but it didn't brush away and when I angled it it looked much larger. The good news is that depending on the angle it doesn't affect viewing for the most part. It just stinks that the phone is under a year old, though. I think one of the boys must have done something to it.

Still other news I got in my "Oktoberfest" orders. Because I'm weird I have a little tradition of ordering stuff from to pseudo-celebrate Oktoberfest. Usually it includes a few movies, CDs, and a couple books (I have been admittedly bad about actually reading the books, but my "horse" German is even worse than my regular German so I would be glued to the dictionary reading them, granted some I have the English version of too so that helps. Anyway! This year I was a bit skimpier than usual for obvious reasons, but I still ordered a pair of CDs. A couple years ago I had taken a chance on some new-to-me artists that had recommended (and one Ola did) and enjoyed them, but hadn't sought out any more then last month I was thumbing through my iPod (which is probably close to ten years old now) and rediscovered Christina Stürmer's "In dieser Stadt" album and have been enjoying it over and over again. I went ahead and ordered two more of her albums, one I think is one of her first and the other was from 2013 and I am pleased to report I am happy with them and pleased with the quality of her music. I do still have some catching up to do with Nena and Peter Schilling (so happy he started making music again and Nena is just a music-making machine that has been going strong, if unheard of in the USA since 99 Red Balloons), but maybe next year.

Slightly more related,the boys are apparently obsessed with Elle King's "Ex's and Oh's" and have been rocking out to it nonstop. Needless to say I've had it stuck in my head.

I apparently need to make up my schedule for AFE in the Spring. I've also been asked about an art class for a home school group. We'll see how high the interest is. I need three at minimum to make it worth my while. I also need to decide what type of art class for AFE next semester. If I should offer the Intro again or do something else entirely. I'd really like to do a Visual Storytelling class helping them develop a visual narrative, be it a series of images or a comic, but I don't know. All things to think on and consider. It also depends on how invested I want to be in this and balance between it and my usual work. We're still just in the first year of the school so I don't honestly know where this will all end up. The Horsemanship portion has been very lucrative, the other two classes not so much, but a portion of those classes go back to the school for the facility upkeep, etc. whereas I get the bulk of the Horsemanship classes apart from a very small administrative fee. The school is still pretty small so the limited number of students makes me wonder at the longevity of any single class and how many times one will be able to offer it before interest peters out, unless they start really growing the school and broadening their base.

I think it is a really good idea having a private school/homeschool hub where people can take the electives or the full curiculum and I hope they can make a go of it and it'll be interesting to be along for the ride.
lantairvlea: (lantair look)
My 8am canceled last minute so I did some mucking and pulled out Kitt and her harness. I haven't harnessed up one of mine in WAY too long.

I pulled out the tire and hooked Kitt up and we dragged the arena. She was playing with the bit, but not really being fussy. I think she's gotten used to not having one with the bitless bridle. I might also look into more driving bit options down the line. I currently use a French Link Butterfly (three loops, drive her on the snaffle) on her with a copper link

She pulled like it hadn't been a day and was nice and light off of the reins. We dragged some of the wetter areas and what I would give for a harrow! The tire will have to do for now, but maybe once I get my card paid off I'll get one. I think I can improve the footing a bit in the arena if I had the ability to dig into the top soil a bit rather than just push it around as I do with the tire.

After Kitt I had Debbie and Royal. I took Royal out in her desert lot next door and worked him first. He was looky, but not nervous, more distracted. I mostly walked him and did some brief trotsn which were nice and forward. He jumped into the canter a couple times, but it didn't seem like he was "running away" and he came right back as soon as I bent him around. He doesn't have a bad canter from the few strides I felt, but rock and gravely desert dirt isn't the best place to be doing much canter work!

Debbie rode him in the roundpen and had a pretty good ride. He picked up the trot a couple times without her intentionally asking for it, but she is getting quicker and more confident in making the correction. They may make a decent pair yet. We just hit the year mark from when I first went out to evaluate her and Eden. My how time flies!

After that I had a break in which we went to Home Depot to pick up stuff to get the lodge pole bed in order for Tristan to move into that room. He's been pestering us since we mentioned it and we've been having to pry Kelhan out of the Jeep bed for weeks now so the boys are ready for a bed swap.

After we got the boys home I was off to work Oakley again. He started out really good with lots of long, stretchy walks and we were able to get down to business pretty quickly. I worked some circles, which he got quick and rushy on, BUT! he was offering the right lead canter rather than constantly throwing himself on the left lead. I finally had enough of the nonsense and sat him on his butt and backed when he would start speeding up through the turn. That seemed to help some. We had some good cater/gallops on his right lead and I worked on rating him back a bit and trying to find a nice, round canter, which came in handy when we made a couple of sharp turns (farm roads with irrigation ditches and right angles for the most part). He doesn't always come back quick, but he does at least come back. On the one hand I'm having a blast with a horse who has the energy, stamina, and desire to GOOOOOO! and on the other hand I'm annoyed by his constant creeping faster. He is very slowly getting better and we had some good gaits today that lasted for half a minute or more instead of just a couple of jumbled steps into a left lead canter.

I'm actually surprised he is picking up the right lead so quickly at this point. I was expecting to struggle more with it. Granted I'm not doing a whole lot of canter transitions, it's more "we're going to canter for a quarter to half mile now" rather than trot, canter twenty strides, trot, repeat. He might benefit from it, but constant transitions aren't in his main job description. I'm mostly playing off of what he is telling me. If he's wanting to rush off he gets to work on his stop and even backing. Or for a change of pace some one-rein stops until he stands still for several seconds. He's an interesting puzzle and I'm riding in a way I haven't had the opportunity to in years.

After Oakley I had time to say "hi" to the boys before heading out for my next lesson. An hour break for lunch/dinner and then two more lessons before the day was over. Tomorrow will be a little more relaxed. My new lesson postponed until next week and the other one bjmped to Thursday so I just have Roxanne and Bud for the morning before a break and then the art and equine science class. Their auto deposit didn't pan out this month so I'll pick up my check tomorrow and hit the bank on the way home.

And I had started writing this between lessons, but didn't finish it until just now. Written over the course of five hours! Ha!

So tätig

Oct. 31st, 2015 07:41 pm
lantairvlea: (lantair look)
Barring any cancellations I have 29 hours scheduled next week between lessons, client horses, and the private school classes. This does not include travel time, record keeping, or the hour a day that the horses get for general maintenance (feeding and such).

If I keep this up I might have to raise rates on new clients. Of course the initial plan was to save that until I was using the property regularly, but there is that supply and demand thing and if my time is in short supply it becomes more valuable. Maybe what I may do instead of the $20 discount off of four I do currently I'll drop it to $10 so the individual cost stays the same. Something to think about.

We'll see how I manage [ profile] mini_wrimo or something like [ profile] nanomango this month if this keeps up, hahaha!

In other news, Tristan made a good ghost:

We couldn't convince Kelhan to wear his more than two seconds so he just went as himself and we have no photographic evidence of his costume. Better luck next year. Tristan did one round at the trunk or treat and then thoroughly enjoyed handing out candy with his little brother. I think that was more fun for him than getting candy!

Also we got part of the yard fenced for Rolo so she can roam without worrying about her sneaking under the horse panels.
lantairvlea: (New filly)
Twenty-one lessons this week, two client horses worked, and the two classes at the private school so 25 hours of "active" work. I also got Tru-D worked today and Tabbi got worked by one of my working students, which I think will work out nicely.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rolo now has a fenced in yard we can turn her out in so we don't have to stand out with her, which has been nice.
lantairvlea: (bastek kunst)
The end of Summer so far as the school year is concerned approaches. Some kids are going back next week, which as you might imagine stinks. Especially when it is hovering around 110 still. So for August I'll have to open up my evenings and be running 5-7pm Monday through Friday and my usual mornings (which I suspect to be rather empty) Tuesday-Saturday. Come the beginning of September I'll open up the afternoons as it should be only averaging around 97 for the highs at that point and I can get rid of the 6-7pm time slot.

It feels like I just barely got into the groove for Summer and now it's over. At least cool weather is on the horizon and I won't be sweating quite so much.

After going through most of the season I have to admit I really like my Icefil shirts. I was slightly skeptical to start, but with the long sleeves and mesh underarms as well as the fabric that is light and adds some cooling I am sold. I had tried one of those coolmedic vests a couple years ago, but I didn't like being wet all the time. These shirts also have the bonus of negating my need to apply sunscreen to my arms. I was also surprised to find that they felt cooler than my short sleeved polos. I'll be going back to the polos as it cools down, but it was nice to find something that makes the heat a little more bearable. I've also switched to wearing my breeches almost all the time (I think I wore my jeans twice this summer) because they are cooler than the jeans, plus I am a lot more likely to ride if I am wearing breeches than not. I dislike riding in jeans anymore if I can help it.

It looks like I am done with art lessons for the summer except for the open studio days on Saturday. No one signed up for the Visual Storytelling, which started this week and I don't have any prospects for Animal Anatomy next week, but it's all good. I've been using a little of the time to continue working on the drawing. I managed to beat the sky into shape yesterday and wrangled the shrubbery into somewhat decent order. The ground is giving me fits and I'm debating if the watercolor base was a good idea or not. I am also debating if I still like the Prismacolor pencils or if it is just because I am fighting my lazy, inconsistent watercolor base. I guess I'll find out when I get to the subjects who have a much smoother base to work on.

I should do a smaller piece and play with the Prismas to see if it's the base or just me. I've avoided them so long because I was enjoying the challenge of a limited palette (12-24) and the fact that the pencils with slightly harder lead don't shatter internally... I just haven't really been able to layer properly I guess and I am used to building it up very slowly from the white of the paper so the watercolor ground, especially with the various dark and light areas is throwing me for a loop.

I'll figure it out and get something halfway decent out of it. I am itching to do a large watercolor piece. I've had some 16x20" Aquabord laying around that has been calling to me. That will definitely require some sketching and thumbnailing, however.

Somewhat random I suggested to Marty puting E-va in the boys' names, inspired by [ profile] windy_withers latest post. While it will be a couple years before they rider her (she turned two in May) Dave and Marty took her in as a future grandkid pony so there you go. We're contemplating her name still. Current possibility is Esche, which is German for "Ash." Being grey dun/grulla she does look like she has ash smudged all over her and I was mulling over "ash" alone earlier, but I do have a cousin with a kid named Ash and there's also that Pokemon connotation with it too. Of course thinking about it today I remembered M. C. Escher,then thought maybe Escherin to make it feminine, but I guess we'll see. We'll try out the sound of Esche for a bit. I had liked the sound of Elna a little and then remembered Elbe, which doesn't sound too bad. Apparently I am stuck on "e" names and I am not quite sure why.

In still other news Chewy produced seven glorious piles today and is eating and drinking well. She went back to work today too. I am debating feeding her hay or keeping to the soaked pellets. I have fed her really small portions of soaked hay and she's eaten it, but I do worry slightly about her ability to chew it.
lantairvlea: (lantair look)
Christa came out and had her first lesson on Panda since re-purchasing her. She and Panda had gotten along well in their previous rides, but after the experience with my other clients my confidence in others' ability to handle Panda, or perhaps Panda's ability to handle others, was a bit shot.

I got on first and warmed her up so Christa could see where Panda was at and also because she hadn't ridden since her last ride on Panda almost three months ago. Panda was great under me, granted, she's always good under me, so I handed her over and Christa climbed aboard. I didn't need to worry. Christa is exactly the type of rider mentally that Panda needs. The couple moments of "I'm worried" that Panda had stayed at just that as Christa responded with the simple cues and body language that said "you're fine, don't worry." It sounds so easy and simple, and for Christa and I it looks so easy and simple from the ground watching thatyou wouldn't believe how hard it is for most people to do and it's hard to teach because you almost have to be in crisis mode in order to learn how to manage yourself in one.

Anyway, the ride went great. She and Panda appear to be a really nice match and Christa is absolutely in love with her. We got to talking after and Christa observed something that both Chris and I had noted even in the first year or so of having her: in the wrong hands Panda could very easily be screwed up. Her answer to problems is to move forward, which not everyone can handle, and she is very sensitive. She's not spooky, but she does get worried. I trust the mare a lot. I just don't trust other people on her, which is exactly why I can't keep her and why Christa will be good for her. They will get to work together exclusively and Panda can get the one-on-one focused attention that she deserves.

Another busy day, that aside. Six other lessons, making it a pretty full day. Yesterday I received three e-mails asking about lessons and another one the day before. The other day I got a call from a former client about starting up again, which she did today. I am running out of time in the day! I don't think I want to try adding lights and working later until the house is done and we get everything shifted around. I do have to admit that being done at 6pm during the week and being able to get horses done and tack put away by 6:30 is really nice. We'll just see how it goes. Who knows, perhaps I'll end up with a waiting list at some point.

I do think that come the Spring I'll be opening up more "flex" lessons. It's been working rather well thus far and I think the clients who are participating enjoy it as well. I think I'm going to put two of them on Saturdays, which is obviously my most popular day with seven set lessons, and do one Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday each like I currently have, so five flex lessons and the rest open to whatever else people want.

Chris was saying I should put up some flyers at the feed store. I don't think I have enough open space to think about actively seeking to add more! I had 18 lessons after four cancellations and one of my usuals being off for the week!

So life is humming along. Work, as noted, is busy. If one considers I probably spend two hours a day outside of lessons doing horse-related stuff like mucking, feeding, filling water buckets, and other such things I'm doing just about 35 hours a week of work. I know, most people do 40, but considering my typical used to be half of what it is now, plus throwing in family stuff I am very busy. Apart from the two client horses I'm working I'm trying to get Zetahra worked three times a week, which I'm having success at. I'm riding Panda during some of my lessons to keep her in work for Christa (plus it's really good for her mentally and I do enjoy riding her even if I'm mostly standing around on her watching others and teaching). I am also trying to get Jed worked once a week at least. The last two Fridays I dragged the arena with him, which I really would like to do habitually. Multiple times a week would be great, but even just the one drag seems to make a difference in how well the wet spots dry up.

The game plan for Zetahra's training is going to be something like this: get her lungeing well in the roundpen without her getting excitable about it, which is already coming along quite nicely. It may just be another week, two max. Next step is lungeing her in the cavesson and lunge line, which should only take a session or two to figure out. After that is introducing the surcingle with the crupper, which will be the interesting part I'm sure. One she's over the crupper I'll add the breastplate, which builds my basic harness for the most part. Basically what I did with Charm. From there I introduce the long lines through lungeing (also called "dopplelunge" or double lungeing) before we start ground driving her. Once the ground driving is pretty good and without issue I will switch her over to the bridle before introducing the full harness. I'm not sure when I want to introduce the closed bridle (i.e. a bridle with blinders/blinkers/winkers on that you typically see a driving horse wear), though. I think I may just put her through everything in the open bridle so long as she doesn't key in too much to the whip cues visually like her mother does. Full harness, more ground driving, introduce the single tree, which is where I'm going to need help because I can't drive her while holding the single tree, but once that part is pretty smooth we add the weight of a tire. My current thought is just hitching her up to the big one so if she goobers at it the weight will keep her from being too silly, or at least staying silly for too long. I need to look back at my driving book and consider that. From there it's tires, tires, tires to pull, possibly even around the neighborhood, maybe out on trail if I'm feeling ambitious enough, until I'm pretty positive that she's not going to have an issue pulling the carriage. Somewhere in there, after she's ground driving well I'll do a bit of it with the saddle on her and maybe get on her for the first time. The goal is essentially broke to drive by March (pulling tires well, but not necessarily hitched to the carriage yet, but that'd be nice), and greenbroke to ride by June.

I better head to bed. I didn't sleep so well last night, mind kept running even though I was really tired, and I need to try and makeup for it to it, though I've squandered by hour of freedom... Well, maybe it squandered, but I could have been sleeping!

... Dang

Mar. 11th, 2011 03:56 pm
lantairvlea: (Default)
I've taught over 100 students already this year. I can't simply say "lessons" anymore as I now have a couple of pairs and a group I am teaching. I have taught more students in the last two and a half months than I did in the first five of last year. If I keep this up I should be able to get the card paid off before may *fingers crossed* and start saving again. FINALLY.

January was my best month ever, this month might be even better than that.

Of course this is all on paper. My account doesn't feel particularly prosperous, but that is mostly because of the $550 hole created by having the truck. Well, technically it's less than that, but I roundup to the nearest $50.

If I maintain this level of work I will be able to climb out of the slight hole I've been wallowing in. Hopefully I don't lose a bunch of people come summer. Summer's always slow. Fortunately hay is cheaper in summer and Charm-N should be in Utah then so one less mouth to feed.

In other news. In case you've been wondering what has been occupying most of my time, apart from teaching riding lessons, THIS would be the thing.

I took up the charge of redesigning the website of the woman we purchased Kitt from in exchange for a driving harness for Kitt. Just one little section left to go, unfortunately it's a rather time-consuming section, but it's going to be a nice little site for her business. I don't even know how many hours I've poured into it fussing with code to make it work across browsers as well as getting the things she wanted to work, but it's going to be worth it! I just have to clear a good five or six hours out of a day so I can drive Kitt out there to have her fitted and give Wendy a bit of a crash-course in how to work the website.

Once Kitt has her own harness I can start using her in my driving lessons. While the meadowbrook would need some work to get it serviceable, Kitt is the right size for my instructor's cart and she already said I could bring Kitt out to do my lessons with, mwah ha ha! I just need to long-line Kitt for a bit first to get used to her in the driving capacity as I haven't done much with her in that line. She's been great under saddle and should be much the same driving, just might take a little to remind her of the job.

Chewy, our Haflinger mare is going to be 20 years old next month! We're going to throw her a little party and all my students, both current and past, are going to be invited. Chris made up some invites for me to hand out and mail. Here's to hoping the little mare sticks around for another decade or two!


lantairvlea: (Default)

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