Monday, June 9, 2014

More Firsts!

I am one blessed girl!! I FREAKIN' LOVE this horse!! 
I got on Danny today and worked in the ring. He's really getting the hang of it. A few shoulder bulges but he's picking up on the leg means scoot over part. He's getting better about contact and we even did some reinback today. Our circles are more circlish ;) And we worked on lengthening and shortening the stride from my core and seat again and he was still good. 

So then I was running short on time so I asked the girls if they wanted to hit the lake with me. Kelli and Judy did so we all hopped off and stripped tack and got back on. Yes... I rode the 3 year old bareback on a trail ride for his...oh....7th ride back! And he was fantastic!! He didn't do anything naughty! We even trotted a little bit. 

We got to the lake and I pulled my boots off and let him go in. He walked in and was trying to get Cash to play for a bit. Then he decided to go out for a swim. Eeeks!! He went in... and then went farther.. and then we were swimming!! It took him a minute to figure out how and he did that rearing sea horse thing! I got off and then got back on before he got to the shallow area. Once he got his feet underneath him he quit boinging up. Hee hee. SO MUCH FUN!! He had water in his ears and kept shaking his head and holding them sideways. Hee hee. But after about 10 minutes he was back to playing. Yay!!! He's gonna be a blast every summer, but I will definitely have to pull my tack off or plan on doing lots of conditioning of said tack. ;)
After we played a bit longer I had to run because of work. I grabbed my boots and put them back on. Kelli and Judy wanted to stay, so Dan and I headed home. He was good. He went willingly and didn't stop or have a fit. We even trotted some more. I almost cantered him but decided not to push my luck. We made it home with no incident. 

Such a good baby!!!! :) :) :)

Saturday, June 7, 2014


And it was magical! I'm still on cloud 9!!
It was a gorgeous day and I hopped on Dan. I did my "three ways to back up" like a good girl and off we went. We did a little bit of ring work first. He was really good! We're starting to have better steering. And he didn't try to leap or buck once! There were a few shoulder bulges and we may have exited the dressage arena a few times, but in general, he was much more cooperative. :) So as a reward, we set out for a solo trail ride.
Because how could we not?! It was GORGEOUS out.

We started off in the XC field and headed to the right over the little bridge. Danny had been a bit scared there before because of the cars but today he just marched on through. We then did some trotting and he was great. He crossed the creek like he's been doing it his whole life (which.. is actually true, so....) and trucked on. He didn't spook at the things he was spooking at the other day which makes me might suspicious that he was playing the "What if" game and/or trying to get the other horses to play with him. 

Since he was being so good and it was such a beautiful day... I decided to try for the canter. We crossed the creek and were on a good path with great footing and confining trails so I clucked and closed my leg... and we were cantering!!! IT WAS AWESOME!!!! I knew baby horse had an awesome looking canter, but OH MY!!! OH MY!!! It is a magical canter... a dream canter. So rhythmic, so uphill, so floaty, so lofty, and so smooth. It was GLORIOUS!!! He came right back down to the trot too as we hit the end of the trail. I seriously got goosebumps!! And may have squealed in delight! 

I was so proud I almost let him swim but decided I needed to take off the tack. So we headed back on the trails and cantered some more! He even does the snort with every stride. I LOVE that!! Oh gosh... I could ride that canter all day. So I had to do one more canter. This time we were heading towards home and he leapt up into a big canter!! A nice forward XC canter!! But he settled down quite nicely and despite heading towards home, it only took a few strides to get him back to the trot when I asked.
So after that I took him back and untacked him and hopped on Fleck bareback and we all headed to the lake for some well deserved relaxing.

And then they both got to graze for their hard work. 
Man alive though...I am PSYCHED about Danny!!! He really is going to be super lovely! I just hope I don't screw him up. But so far, so good. I'm really excited about his flatwork. I think he's going to be quite fancy! And if he loves to jump as much as I think he will, he may just be a superstar!! I can't wait!!!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Fancy boy!!!

Danny is so cool!!!!

So... I hauled him and Fleck up to Beth's for a lesson. I wasn't sure if I was doing things right or not and felt like we needed some "eyes on the ground". I got tacked up and did the "left, right, crouching tiger" stuff with him briefly. Then Beth showed me three ways to make him back up - the rope wiggle, the sweep, and then the head tap. He figured out all three quickly so then I did them with him too. Beth said I should do this before I ride him every time. 

Then I got on and made him stand at the mounting block. Then off we went. The first five minutes he was a brat. He let out a few leaps and bucks. He rooted with his head. He flung his head. He veered. Beth said to NOT let him root. If he roots, I'm supposed to pop the reins (one side or the other, but not the same one every time) and use my leg or whip. That is not acceptable! So I did, and the first time I used the whip. And whoo hoo!!! He did NOT appreciate that. It sent him into a leaping spree. But I kept him under control and we went back to work. Then he rooted a few more times and I did another little pop of the reins and a kick and/or gentler tap with the whip, and he got mad, but didn't leap so much. And then he stopped rooting. Beth kept telling me to make sure that when he does his shenanigans (and even when he's not) to really make sure to keep my legs in front of me, my shoulders up and back, and my hands low. When he goes to leap frogging, I shouldn't raise my hands, but instead grab the "ohcrapstrap" with one hand, and make sure my shoulders are up and back and my feet forward. It definitely is much easier to sit them that way. And he manages to run into himself essentially when I've grabbed the strap, so it's self-controlling in some ways.

After the shenanigans were over, he started to work like a good boy and was really quite good! We worked on trotting and then transitions. Trot to walk to trot to walk to trot to walk. It keeps his mind engaged and helps his body cooperate. Beth said that I could try baby leg yields to get him from falling in but to also remember that my whip could be lightly applied to his shoulder. He knows that aid already, so he should move away from the whip. If I add my leg, he'll start to figure out that leg means move off. :) And she also said to make sure that I don't let him counterbend that direction especially!! Even if it means we make tiny circles, no counter bending! Got it...

So then we worked on trot to walk to halt to walk to trot, but with only a few walk steps. And the key there was straightness. That took a bit, but we got it. So then I mentioned that at this point, he had it all figured out and was going to start to get bored and come up with ways to make it fun. ;) So Beth said our next step was to work on transitions within the gait! WHAT?! Eeeks! But he was simply awesome!!!! All I did was post taller and close my leg a teeny bit and his gait got bigger! Then I posted smaller and shorter and tightened my core and holy crapballs he shrunk his trot!!! I didn't even have to touch the reins! It was sooooo cool. It was like he already knew how to do it!! So SOOOO cool!! Now I just have to remember how sensitive he is to my seat and remember to ride from my seat first. 

Then we moved to trotting over two little skinny ground poles to stress straightness and steering. Hee hee. That was a little hard. He kept wanting to pop a shoulder, so I got to use my outside leg and I got him squared away. Then Kathy pulled the tractor up and Dan used that as an excuse and leapt up and went on a mini bucking spree! I lost a stirrup and thought I might come off but managed to sit up with my shoulders and get my feet in front of me and lo an behold, he came back to me. Then right back over those poles we went. :) 

So... he was SUPER!!! The key to him (Beth stressed repeatedly!) is that I really need to be firm. He's too smart and picks up on things too quickly. That means that I need to be very strict. If he's not allowed to root, he's not allowed to root. Once I'm firm with him, he behaves. But if I let him get away with it, he will. And it won't be any cuter when he's 4 and 5. I also need to mix it up to keep his brain and body engaged. Beth also said that I shouldn't really worry about connection just yet... work on getting the rooting under control and then we can work on the connection. But I have a sneaky suspicion that one more ride of "no rooting" and that will go away. We'll see if he tests me on it though or not. 

So yep... SUPER excited about him. He's got such nice gaits too. Even his walk is springy. Beth said he had super gaits too and was going to be really fantastic in his flat work. I'm so excited!!!!

Sunday, June 1, 2014

SCARY day!! didn't go quite as planned. But it was a good day. I took both boys to Ashland, anticipating riding Danny first on a trail ride... and maybe even cantering!! Then I was going to get on Fleck. 

I got Dan tacked up and even put Fleck's breastplate on him. And it fit!!! Without having to adjust it. Eeeks!! Though it probably could have used minor adjustments. But still. Anyways, it was rather busy at Ashland today. So I got on and headed towards the back lake with the scary dam. Then decided I wanted to do some ring work, so headed towards the ring. I got him in and we started to work. We got halfway down the long side and Danny noticed the pony clubbers jumping up in the upper arena. OHMYGODWHATISTHAT?!?!? Poor guy spun and stared... head up, tail up, and on high alert!! Then his heart started pounding in his chest!! Poor guy was terrified. I decided my best bet was to get off, so I did. Good thing because he spooked hard. I held on and put him to work doing our circles and haunch yielding/crouching tiger. He paid attention but was doing the warning snorts and had his tail up. But he listened. :) Then he settled down enough that I took him out of the ring and got back on. 

Rather than fight it, I decided to go on a trail ride. So we head out to XC. As we are about to go through the gate to where it opens up, I heard a tractor. Sigh... so I lined Dan up to see it and let him look. And the tractor comes through... pulling a hay wagon FULL of people! Oh great... I'm going to get dumped in front of all these people... Lucy included! Great! But Dan was good. He kept his cool and didn't panic. Phew! So we headed out into the woods and got a little ways and... OHMYWHATISTHAT?!?! I look... it's a cat Dan. A cat. You have those at home. He was super freaked though. Of course it moved behind the tree, so once I got Dan moving again, he saw it again and stopped, heart pounding. Before I could get off, he spun, cantered two steps, then heard me and came back to the trot, then piaffed and passaged before finally stopping. Heart still pounding. So I jumped off again. But man.. that boy can COLLECT!! And I don't think I was really yanking on him either. I may have been pulling more than I wanted, but he collected really nicely! So hen I walked him past where the cat was and got him past it. Got back on again (convenient with that mounting block right there!) and we headed off down the woods again. He walked right over the creek, no problem and then we even picked up the trot. 
I decided to go back behind the lake behind trailer parking as I was running out of time before meeting Kelli and Judy and Peri. So we headed that way and... that darn cat was there again!! This time Dan didn't spook and we even "chased" it on the trail a little ways. So we're carrying along happily for a bit and then we get to the dam. Which is scary. But even worse, there's a NEW pile of dirt off to the side. Danny was NOT going near it. Sigh... I got him going forward, then he'd plant, back up, try to run me into the trees... Finally, as I was starting to lose my temper, I got off. I hand walked him past the dirt clump, through the dam and then.. back through the dam. Then back again, and again, and again, and again. Then, I got back on and he walked bravely through the dam. 
Told you I always win baby horse! ;) 

It was a pretty good day though. I did get to canter - two steps! And considering that he's only 3, we were by ourselves, and even the big horses sometimes spook at the horse heads bobbing in the upper arena... I'd say he did pretty darn good. :) 

After I rode Fleck, we grabbed Danny and headed back to the lake. They had a good time. Danny was hilarious. He kept trying to get Cash to play with him and Cash just ignored him. Danny even rubbed his head on his butt. But then Cash tried to rub his head on Danny, and Fleck said "HELLZNO!" and made a big lunge dragon face at Cash. Hee hee.. Such a protective older brother! It was fun having another pool party!

Pool Party!

 Had a GREAT day today!!! Danny's had... a week off?? Roughly. And he was good. I didn't even lunge him or anything. Just got on. He was pretty darn good. A few little antics, but nothing major. We did a little ring work, then went for a little trail ride with Kelli and Caitlin. He was a bit of a turd wanting to lead but then being scared and not wanting to go first. But we figured it out and he settled down, even when Moose led. We walked the ditches a few times and even went in the water. He did NOT roll. :) Yay! He pawed a storm, but didn't roll. :) Then we went up to the ring. Danny was a bit turdier there. ;) He put in a few leaps and spins, but I managed to keep him in line and not fall off. Then we headed back and I got off Dan and got on Fleck. 

Then after we finished with Fleck, I grabbed Dan and ponied him to the lake to celebrate some birthday fun :) They had a blast!!!

More fun in the saddle!

 Look at that mane!!! Gracious.... That's after I cut it too! Danny and I had a great ride! He is a pretty good kid. We started in the ring and did some work on steering, changing gaits, etc. We even made a real circle... not a square, not an octagon, but an actual circle. Maybe even two. ;) 
 For his reward, I took him on a short trail ride around the lake. He was a good boy! It took a little convincing to get him over the dam, but he went. Such a good baby!
Then I had to laugh at him when we got home... Fleck has him trained so well! They both unloaded and walked off to pee. Hee hee.. Nice!

Happy 3rd Birthday Danny!

Danimal turns three!!!! Love my guy. He didn't really cooperate for pictures, but... HAPPY BIRTHDAY DANNY!!

ha ha.. classic Dan...

Okay.. so here is 3 days, 3 months, and 3 years!