Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Ride number 2

Another success!!! Man I love this Kid!

We hauled with Fleck to Beth's place and Dan was pretty darn good in the round pen while I jumped Flecky. He paced a bit and was impatient at the very end, but was pretty darn good. Especially with it being so hot out.

He tacked up well other than constantly trying to chew on my reins. I swear, that kid has such a mouth on him!! He lips me constantly too but so far he hasn't used his teeth. Just... wiggly lips. I was just giggling at him while tacking up. He's just like Fleck! :) :) :)

He was perfectly fine for me to get on and didn't even react. Honestly, I'd say that he was too distracted by the other horses and trying to eat his lead rope to realize I was up there, but... I think it's more that he just didn't care. I think I can safely and proudly say that I did my homework and he didn't care. :) I was able to get on after a minute of waving around and hanging over him. Then we worked on the basics again. Steering, stopping, and going. Beth told me this time to bump him gently with my heels if he wasn't responding to gentle leg pressure. I asked why, because I had thought that we didn't want to have to increase the "ask". She explained that yes, I was correct in that sense. But that I wasn't bumping him with force... only the same pressure as the constant leg. But because he was so distracted, the constant leg was unnoticeable to him. So the bump was a "wake up" and then I closed my leg. Aha! Makes sense.

He was awfully fussy and flingy with his head but I think he was just bored and distracted. We were able to do lots of transitions and even turns. Beth even let us farther out on the long line and we went to the rail and then did a tear drop turn in to her to change directions. He was so good!

So proud of my little man. And so excited about him. I can't wait!!! It's going to be very hard to take it slow and easy with him.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Another hack in the woods

Danaroo is a good kid. I took him for another trip to Ashland by himself for some long lining. He loaded right up and was good. We did about 1.8 miles in 45 minutes. He was a bit meandery through the fields, as he kept trying to eat grass. But he was walking forward mostly, so... I let him. Then we went up the trail in the woods with the hill towards the dogs. The dogs scared him so I had to lead him past them but he settled down after. We did a good bit of trotting, and some unintentional cantering. :) Then we stopped at the lake and he splashed around a bit and we headed back in. I made him go between the two lakes and this time he went right on through. Although we came from it backwards instead of the way he usually balks.

A fun night! As we were leaving, Judy and Cash were leaving too. She left first and then Dan got all sad that he was alone. He got a little "high" but wasn't bad. And was a little naughty loading up but we managed to get it done without too much drama.

He's such a good kid. I'm having so much fun with him. 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Thank God for Trainers!

It's amazing the difference a good trainer makes :) 

I told Beth about my problems with Dan and she ever so kindly said "let me help you"!. Hee hee. She has a excellent way to start babies and I was doing it wrong. I'm so glad I got her help. It's going to make a big difference. 

We met up at Ashland for a "double date" with Christina, Sham and May. Christina and I both had jump lessons on the big boys and then baby lessons on the kiddos. Fleck and Danny were both good and stood at the trailer while Christina rode Sham. Then I took Fleck away and left Dan by himself to go watch the tail end of Christinas lesson. She had May up there with her, so Danny was really all alone. But he was so good. He just stood there tied to the trailer without any problems. Yay! Luckily we didn't have to test him too long though. Christina brought her guys back to the trailer while Fleck and I jumped. And Fleck had a hissy fit. But Danny was good. ;) Go figure...

Anyways, after the big kids lessons, we started with May. Beth explained that for the first few rides you want a grounds person to make sure it goes well. The grounds persons job is to make sure that when we tell them to do something, they do it. So... if I say "whoa" and pull back on the reins, he should stop. If he doesn't, she uses the lunge line to accomplish that. If I close my leg and say "walk on", he should. If not, she urges him forward with the lead line or the whip waving around. The goal is to NOT increase the aids. My only job on him is to gently close my leg and keep it closed until he responds. I should not get stronger with my aids. This way we are teaching him to respond to soft quiet aids. And to that effect, the ONLY thing we are teaching these early sessions are go, stop, turn left, and turn right. My only job is to close my leg, close my hands, and turn. I am not asking for contact, not asking for bend, or round, or anything. Just go, stop, and turn. It's funny how hard it was not to start asking for inside leg to outside rein. Hee hee. But I'm quite proud of myself for getting the hang of it and I think I was even pretty good at my aid coordination with rewarding with a release of the aid.

And Dan was AWESOME!!! We started properly with standing on the mounting block and patting him everywhere. Then I hung over his side from both directions and Beth walked us around. He didn't care. So then I got on. With a saddle this time. Wheee!!! I closed my legs and said "walk on" and nothing.. I kept them closed and Beth led him forward. As soon as he stepped off, I took my legs off and told him how awesome he was. He has a pretty nice gait. I resisted the urge to nag for a bit more walk though. I'm being good! So then I asked for a halt. He's got that down! We did a few small loops with me asking for forward and stop and he started to get the hang of it. It makes total sense now. It's the whole "give a command and stop asking when you receive it" and they figure it out quickly. Duh! So then we were walking around and Christina asked how comfy he was. And within 2 seconds he decided to try to do something. Not sure if he was trying to trot, or buck, or what. But he quickly decided I was too big or he was too uncordinated with me on top to get too silly. Hee hee. It made my day though! He does have some spunk in there!!! I have a feeling I may be getting a big taste of it later. But for now... he made me happy. I like the little bit of sass. Especially if he's like Fleck... silly but not stupid. And I think that's how he's going to be. He spent a good bit of our walk trying to chew on the lead rope. Hee hee. Boys! So then we finished up with getting on and off on both sides. SUCH a good baby!! A VERY good first real session.

I plan to do a few "rides" a week for a few weeks and then be done for a year. We'll still work on long lining and everything else but I won't get back on him again til next year. But these next few weeks should be fun! Now I just have to find someone to be my grounds person. :) 

Sunday, July 14, 2013

He's getting it!

So... I got motivated to hop on Dan again tonight. Bareback again, but still with a helmet. :) I got on and he didn't care. He just stood there... and stood there... and stood there. I tried "walk on". I tried squeezing. I tried kicking. I tried turning him to get his feet moving. I tried clucking and smooching. I tried whacking his hiney. Nothing. Sigh... So I got off and took him down to the round pen and reinstalled "walk on". He was fine. So then I got back on, with my dressage whip. And "walk on". Nothing. So he got a little tap from the whip on his behind. No reaction. So he got a bit more of a whack. Forward... instant praise!! It only took about two more times with the whip encouraging him until he got it. Then it was a little bit of leg and "walk on" and he was moving!! YAY!!! I think I over did the sacking out so he didn't realize that my squeezes meant anything. But the whip was something he knew from long lining so he understood it. And then he quickly picked up that leg meant to go forward. He's a smarty. I'm sure I'll still have to encourage forward for a bit. And then I'm pretty sure I'll have to HANG ON FOR THE RIDE!! Hee hee..

Such a good baby!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Eating my words...

I was NOT, in fact, in for a wild ride. Hee hee....
Let me start from the beginning.

I had plans to meet a friend for a baby play date and the weather wasn't cooperating. But we toughed it out and went anyways and only had to deal with a light drizzle at the end. I'm glad I sucked it up, as I was exhausted and tired from a crazy work week. Anyways, Cindy let me borrow her rope halter and stick as Dan has just about outgrown his. Then she showed me some neat stuff. Natural Horsemanship stuff. We started with some bending and reaching. I took his halter lead and reached behind his wither. As soon as he brought his head around, I would release. Cindy pointed out to make sure that he wasn't just bending his neck, he had to bend his ribcage. Aha.. this could help Fleck too! So he got that down after a few tries and then we moved to disengaging his hindquarters. Or maybe just turning away from me... I can't remember specifically. But when I looked (and I need to remember to be very obvious about looking and bending down at his hocks) at his hiney, he needed to scoot away from me. And quickly. BUT, not run into me or past me. He needed to maintain eye contact with me. That one took a little bit longer, mostly cause I couldn't coordinate my aids. But we got it. So then we progressed to lunging. This really confused me but I got the hang of it eventually. ;) I had to hold the line like reins. And point to where I wanted him to go. So... I lift my right hand and point forward to the right ahead of Dan and he should go. If he doesn't, I bump him on the neck with my stick. Four taps, then stop. Then four harder taps, then stop. He got the hang of it. And he should stay going forward until I ask him to stop. So then to turn him I have two options. Stop the head/shoulders or flip the hindquarters. To flip the hindquarters I need to step in towards him and wave my stick like I'm going to smack his hiney. Similar to what we did in hand. He should flip those hindquarters away from me and turn to face me or then continue on the other direction. The other option is to catch his eye. So I (shoot. let's see if I remember this correctly)... step in front of him and then back up. He should stop and then come into me, maintaining my eye. He's actually pretty good at that because we already do that. Yay.

So then we headed out to the field. And it was fun. She showed me how to "send him" over logs and stuff rather than having to trot alongside him or drive him with the long lines. He did great! He even went down the bank into the water without too much fuss. It took some getting used to but we managed to get it figured out. We did the banks, the ditches, and the water. Then we went to the lake for a little splashing. That's when it started drizzling. But oh well. It was hot and muggy, so it felt nice.

Once we got back to the barn I decided to hop on Danny since Cindy was there and could be my photographer and ambulance driver if needed. Ha! Danny was a star! I put the bridle with reins on him and sidled him up to the trailer and...slid on. He didn't really do anything. He walked forward a few steps and then kept trying to eat grass. Then he went backwards... slowly, but he walked backwards... and wouldn't go forward. So Cindy led him forwards a bit and he didn't care. He kept trying to eat my feet. Hee hee. So then I tried again without the lead and he walked a step or two and then stopped again. So I tried softly tapping him with my calves and saying "walk on" like when we long line. That didn't work, so then I tried kicking. Still nothing. Then I resorted to pony club kicking.... hee hee... Finally, we got a bit of forward. I told him if he would just go forward a few steps, I'd stop him and get off. So he did, so I held up my end of the bargain and stopped him and got off.

No fuss, no muss. Not quite the wild ride, eh!? But.. I have a feeling that may still be coming.

He'll get a the rest of the Summer off again (from riding... we'll still long line, etc) probably and then I'll sit on him again and do a few rides to teach walk, trot, stop, steer, etc and then give him another year off. But I have to admit... it was exciting!!!! And he's so comfy!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Wild Hoodlum!!

 I love him so! He just cracks me up. He hasn't been worked in quite some time, so I decided to take him to Ashland with Fleck and me for fun. I've been gone for a week and I didn't do much before I left, so he's had some time off for sure. He loaded up like a gentleman and we hauled to Ashland. I groomed them both and then tied them both up while I rode a friends mare. Halfway through my ride on the mare we look over and Dan is grazing a good 15 feet from the trailer. I guess he untied himself. But we decided to carry on as he didn't look like he was going anywhere. And he didn't! 

After I rode the mare, I got him and lunged him. And wow.. did he need to let off some steam! So, I know they shouldn't "play" on the lunge line... but then where are they supposed to let their steam off? He was bucking and cantering and carrying on like a fool. Sheesh! I'm in for a wild ride. But then he settled down and was a good boy. He was pretty responsive to the walk and trot and halt voice and boy commands. And he even picked up the canter command each direction too. Yay! 

Then I worked on some in hand triangle stuff. Holy cow can that boy trot!! His stride is miles long and I can barely keep up. And I don't think he's even trying. But, he actually stayed with me and we even managed one or two turns maintaining the trot. Yay! I still can't decide if I'll run him or let one of the pros do it. 

Then I went back to the trailer and tacked up Fleck. Dan had worked pretty hard so I thought he might be tired enough to pony, especially if we used the bit and bridle. And he was a good boy. No shenanigans really. Plus I figured Fleck would have a fit if we left Danny. We started off and Fleck was full of it so we ended up trotting.. and then cantering. It was fun. I got them reined back in, though I will admit to not trying to hard for a little bit. Then we headed to the lake as it was really looking like it was going to rain hard soon. Dan went for another swim. I had my phone but just had too much going on to try to get pictures. But Dan was swimming swimming! Not just playing in the water. :) So then we headed back out on the trail and they behaved. Danny got a snarky snake face from Fleck every time he got past his shoulder but they were good. Then we hit the open field again and I let them canter again. It was fun! It was like being on the carousel. Dan was in the up phase when Fleck was in the down phase. Quite neat! I wish I had a helmet cam! And then.. Fleck decided to kick the snot out of Dan. He nailed out three times and poor Dan bailed. I let him. I got Fleck reined in and then checked Dan. He was holding his right hind up and had a bit of blood on his cannon bone. But I think the reason he was holding it up was that his hoof wall had flaked up a good bit. I'm sure it was like stubbing your toe. The cut was more of a scrape... like from a pricker bush. And within 20 seconds he was sound on it. I think it just stung. So I got back on and we walked off. WALKED off! Then I heard the firecrackers! The big scary pppppppfffffffffffftttt boom kind! They were far enough away and only noise so while the horses were intriquied they didn't mind. I decided to head back in and call it a day. Dan stood tied to the trailer while I tried to do a bit more with Fleck. I quickly gave up as he was too obsessed with where Danny was. Sigh.. But Danny was good. They both got housed off and then loaded up nicely.

Another fun day! I'm so excited about Danny. He's going to be fun if I can hang on for the ride!