Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Flying kites.... or baby ponies....

Holy toledo! It was WINDY today!! I started off the morning in shorts, but by the evening it was FREEZING!!! The wind just kept getting worse and worse.
I took both boys to Ashland for my jump lesson. Dan hung out in the trailer while I jumped Fleck and then did a cool off hack in the XC field while Beth jumped. Then it was Dan's turn. As I was trying to pick out his feet, he was dancing around. So I got mad and smacked at him which caused him to really jump and in doing so, he smacked me in the face and then pulled back on his halter. He was pulling back so hard his little front feet were all hanging and buckled. Finally he "walked on' and came back forward and once the pressure was off, he was fine. He had a little scrape on his nose, and I had a bloody nose. Darn pony! After that he stood like a gentleman though. So then Beth was back out in the XC field because a girl who wanted to try Tucker happened to be there. She asked if I was coming to watch, so... I took Dan out there. He was pretty darn good considering how bad the wind was. Only twice did his tail go up over his back and only once did he whirl around. The rest of the time he grazed. Then we headed back up to the rings and did some lunge work. He was REALLY good considering! We worked on crouching tiger and he was doing much better. Or I was ;) Regardless, he and I both are getting the hang of it. We even did a teeny bit of canters again today. He tried to squirt off two or three times but t was only half-hearted. Especially because we're still lunging off the bit. At least until he stops trying to squirt off. :) 

But again, considering it was super windy, he was really good for a baby!
No pictures from today, but we took this last night... Notice the lack of blankets... not so much tonight!

Swimmer Swimmer, chicken dinner

So Mr. Dan was naughty today! He called "shenanigans!" 

I took Fleck out for fitness work and afterwards I grabbed Dan to go down to the lake and let him soak. Danny was pretty good getting to the lake and had fun playing. His lead rope apparently wasn't snapped properly because it suddenly came off! So Dan went out for a real swim. Doh! He came right back though and I was able to put his lead back on. So then he splashed around some more and then went for another swim. I let him go that time. ;)
 Danny's swim
 Then we were going to head back in and him and Fleck were both being butts so we ended up going the opposite direction and headed away from the trailers down the dam road. We got about halfway down and saw Missy and Marti in the woods. Danny decided to jump around a bit. So...I was about to go back in but decided to hang with Missy and Marty a bit. Danny was good but was trying to play with Zhar. 
So then we really decided to head in and he was all prancy. He reared up slightly two or three times and tried to break free, but didn't. We made it back to the trailer and then it was his turn. 

We did some more lunging and worked on "crouching tiger" again. He was good. We even got a few steps of canter. And no running off. Whooo hooo!!


Friday, March 21, 2014

More ponying....

Danny got to play today!!! Yay! Finally, he says! I meant to do more but with the rain and icky weather... Wed was the first day.

We ended up heading to Ashland and ponying. We did four miles! Danny started off a little squirrely, but by the end he was mentally and physically settled and calm. I need to remember this when I get back on him! Pony him first so he's settled and gets his "fun" out.

After that, I put him in the trailer and rode Fleck for a bit. Then I pulled Danny back out and did some more "crouching tiger" lunging with him. He was pretty darn good.

Love this guy!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Lunge lesson

So... After our lunging issues, I decided to get a lesson with Beth and see what the problem was. I wasn't sure if Danny was having balance issues or if he was having "whee, I'm gonna be free" issues. ;) 

So...we met up and as I was getting ready another horse that was loading up freaked out. We ended up spending close to 45 minutes helping the woman load her horse so Dan learned some patience... tied to the trailer. He stood like a good boy mostly and only pawed at the trailer once. 

We went into the ring and Beth wanted me to show her what I did so she could see the issue. I admit that I kind of rushed into it. But lo and behold that darn baby horse cantered around on both leads happy as a clam. little turd!! So then Beth said that she wanted to see what he did with her so she took over. As she was getting him started I mentioned to Peri "I kind of want him to be bad so she can see what he does and show me how to fix it". Doh!! Next thing we know Danny has bolted, lost Beth, and is galloping towards the trailers! He saw the rope at the last minute and managed to mostly jump it. He was fine, the rope... not so much. Luckily he was investigating Kelli's trailer so I caught him with no issues. So from now on... no more lunging without the line on the bit! He needs to stop getting away with getting away.

So we put him on the long parelli rope instead of the much longer lunge line and hooked the lead to the bit, rather than the noseband. He was a gentleman. Beth tried to put it back on his noseband but he knew the difference and was attempting to pull on her. So she said to leave it on the bit for now. He knows the difference and isn't even trying to pull so I wasn't going to harden his mouth. 

Then she worked him and he was good. She reiterated to me the things I need to be doing and had been slack about. And some things I just wasn't 100% on and was therefore doing them wrong. So... back to lunging basics! She said that we mostly want to lunge to work on the ground work and respect. It's not so much about the work as the mental work. And transitions within walk and trot will help strengthen him. She also said that the yielding of the hindquarters will really help strengthen him and help make him more even. I can do a few steps of canter both ways but because our line is shorter to not do too much. Plus then he gets excited and we need him to forget that he can get away! 

So... my reminders...
  • Be the hungry tiger!!! When I want him to stop and yield his hindquarters... put my whip down, look at his stifle (not his face), drop my body into the crouch, and step in a bit. As he stops, turns, AND crosses underneath himself, I back off. The trick is that he must cross over. I got better and better with my timing, but darned if I can't remember to look at his butt. Become the tiger... taste that yummy butt! ;)
  • Don't nag. He should trot when I say trot and trot until I tell him otherwise. No more constantly egging him on. Ask for the trot and if he breaks, rain down holy hell! Then calmly trot until I ask him to come down.
  • Use my whip and my body language and my voice. When asking him for an upward transition, move the whip at him. (not up and down, towards him, so front to back). For a downward transition, drop the whip. Before asking him to move upwards, sing "Danny" in an upward tone and the "And trot". To ask him to come down, sing "Danny" in a downward tone and then "Annnnnnd walk". Keep it consistent. 
  • While he's moving, keep the whip up and aimed at his butt. Don't keep waving it constantly. Don't drop it down. As long as he's supposed to be maintaining the gait, I need to maintain the whip.
  • Don't let him come in for rewards! That is MY space and he needs to stay out on the circle. I can use the whip to rub him and reward him. 
But he's a smart cookie and we'll both relearn it and be pro's before our next lesson. Now to just make sure I find time to work with him!

Glorious Day

I decided to take Danny for pony off Fleck because it was just too pretty of a day not to. It was a Saturday, which... I usually try to avoid because I prefer less traffic in case Danny gets a wild hair. But it was late enough in the day and there wasn't anyone else signed up, so off we went. I rode Fleck first and then got Dan. I thought about lunging him first, but I just didn't have time. So he came off the trailer and back on Fleck I went, and then off all three of us went. And Danny was Fantastic!! He was really really good. 

He behaved himself quite nicely and the only antics were him chewing on Fleck a bit. But there was no pulling back or trying to get away. We even came up on a single horse and rider and then another group with horses and dogs. He didn't mind one bit. He was curious, but not nervous or naughty. He crossed all the creeks and bridges without hesitation and drank well too. We also passed two different sets of geese and he didn't react. Granted, Fleck was between the geese and him, but still. The only thing that got him a bit up was the golf cart. And that got Fleck a bit razzed too. They came down a steep hill and moving fairly quick. So it was a little scary. 

We did about 3 miles and even included some trotting. Danny was mostly good and only cantered a teeny bit but stayed even with Fleck the whole time. We finished off by playing in the lake. Both boys had a blast! As did I. It totally helped my grumpyness and bad mood!