Sunday, November 24, 2013


Poor Dannaroo! I don't think I've done anything with him since our last lesson. Though in my defense, I was in Kansas. Peri fed and said he was good. Though one night he wouldn't come in and when he finally did he was pokey and Peri noticed a lot of swishing behind him in the leaves. He had a 6 foot piece of barbed wire tangled in his tail dragging behind him!!! Thank God it didn't get tangled up in his legs. And thank God he didn't panic. Jeesh... She jokingly said she was going to cut it out but figured I'd be mad at her for cutting his tail. hee hee. Luckily she was able to pry it out easily enough. So yeah.. poor kid.

Luckily for him, while in Kansas learning animal chiropractic, we talked about biomechanics. They suggested that the best thing to get a horse using himself properly was to lunge them on a hill and rate their speed. That way they have to engage their hineys and work properly, over their topline. Cool!! We also talked about cross cantering and they said that perhaps he needed an adjustment. And we talked about how keeping them adjusted as they grew was fantastic!!! If we wait til they're old and really out, there's all sorts of compensations and muscle memory that becomes learned. So... I had Dr. Heidi do Dan while she was out. He was so good for it! He even let her do his occiput! Which was out. Go figure... perhaps when he was flinging his head around and fell. ;) I was very proud of him. 

Then today I went for a trail ride with Liz and Cindy and Cindy and I got there early to mess with the babies. I put Danny's rope halter on him and realized Wyatt had chewed it. Almost into pieces. Sigh. So I had to tape it up. But now it's extra cool because it's navy and white. :) 

Anyways, we headed out to the XC field and I was aiming to do some lunging on the hill. You know, because I'm a good student and learn. :) I started off and Cindy was watching and starting yelling things to me. She showed me what she meant and wow.. it makes total sense. So... here's my guide to lunging!
  • Hold the lunge line like a rein. You can even half halt with it.
  • Stand behind him so I'm driving him forward. And walk forward while I'm lunging so that I am pushing him forward from behind. Then he always goes forward and I don't have to nag.
  • Don't nag.
  • Watch his inside hock and drive that forward with my legs and eyes. 
  • I can control the circle width by driving him by walking forward.
  • He should respond pretty instantly.
  • When I want him to change direction, I should catch his eye, walk in front of him, and then back up. He should come towards me when I back up and then change direction fluidly, in a figure 8 type pattern. 
  • When I do all this,  he starts to move beautifully. He supples his topline, he reaches over his back, he softens the underside of his neck and starts getting prancy! And his stride gets bigger and he starts over striding.

It was awesome!! He was very respectful and managable and man... that trot!!! Even when we cantered he was much more balanced and wasn't cross cantering hardly at all. Even on the hill he looked better. Then I was able to drive him over the little logs (once I figured out my depth perception ;) HA!). We even went in and out of the water via the bank happily!! And he used to hesitate at that. 

I'm so proud of the little guy! He really is super. And bless his heart.. because I have no idea what I'm doing. I'm trying to not change the rules on him too much, but there is always stuff to learn. Good thing he's an easy going dude. :) 

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Side Reins

Our lesson yesterday was postponed until today. But that is fine as I was able to paint the garage. And let me just tell you... THAT was WAY scarier than anything Dan has thrown at me yet. Eeeekks.... Look at this though... The 16' ladder wasn't tall enough so I had to get a 24' ladder. And reach to the very top. I was terrified!
 So Bring it Baby horse!! ;) 

He was good though. We had our lesson the day after. I lunged him briefly in the jump ring while Peri was finishing her lesson and he was pretty good. So we put the side reins on, as loose as they could go. He was good going to the left and much fussier going to the right. So Aunty Beth decided that if he was fine enough with them to snort and fuss and bunny hop, we could tighten them up a bit. He settled into them and was fine. And they are still super loose. But man, does he look fancy!!!

Oh, and I put Fleck's figure 8 bridle on him. Just because. I wanted to see if it fit. And it did!!! I had to tighten it up, but it fit. And that is a mix of horse and oversized!! 

Anyways, I was super proud of him. He was a bit of a turd when Peri and her mare left. He did that whole thing where he would trot around but as soon as he hit the section near the exit, he'd bolt out and try to get off the circle and then go backwards. It took about 8 - 12 circles but we finally convinced him he had to keep going forward and then he behaved himself quite nicely. He's so funny. Tantrum, tantrum, tantrum... oh, you win? Okay.. and then he's perfect. Babies! We even did some cantering and he was getting the hang of it. We were in the corner by the woods, where even the big horses spook. And of course, Danny got excited. BUT... at one point he spooked and was coming right at me. He decided to "spook" again and go around me. SMART baby!!! See, he's learning :) 

Then I hopped on for about 3 minutes. He was good. Still a bit fussy, but he's getting the hang of my seat aides already even!! He's been transitioning within walk, trot, and halt with just voice aids and maybe a soft squeezing of my hands. But now, he's doing it without the voice aids - so just leg and a soft squeeze. But tonight, he did it just from my seat changes!! 

I'm SOOOOOOOO sooooo excited about him. Beth and I were giggling as he was being a maniac and showing off on the lunge line. She laughed and said I was going to have my hands full. I told her I did say I wanted more spunk! Then I said "But think how much fun he's going to be to run prelim"! She laughed and said "First you have to survive BN"! hee hee..

I love this kid!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

I couldn't resist....

Man... I knew this was going to be hard! I decided to hop on Dan again today. I've got another baby lesson with Beth tomorrow and I thought that it might behoove me to hop on again, just in case that's what we do tomorrow too. THEN he can get the rest of the Winter and Spring off. I was thinking he was done already, but I couldn't resist one or two more rides. He's just so fun! And he didn't disappoint.
I lunged him first and he was mostly unexcited about it. Can't say I blame him. ;) Then I tacked him up and we headed back down to the round pen. I got on and off we went. No naughtyness really. He acted like he sort of wanted to maybe get a little humpy but he never did. We turned both ways, halted, and trotted! The tough part with him is going from the trot to the walk. He wants to then immediately stop. Same with on the lunge line. I need to remember to immediately close my leg and keep him walking. He's quick to go back to the walk, but he always wants to stop from the trot. Hey, it could be worse right?! :) 
After about 5 minutes in the ring, I sidled him up to the gate and we opened it and I let him out in the back pasture. We did a little bit of balking but really not bad. We walked up the hill, which took him a minute to figure out. Then we even did a teensy bit of trotting in the pasture too! GOOD PONY!!!!

Man.. his trot is really fun. I am having a hard time waiting!!!! Next Summer is going to be fun and the year after is going to be even more fun!!!